Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Varudu Release On March 31

Cast: Allu Arjun , Arya, Suhasini Maniratnam
Director: Gunasekhar
Producer: D.V.V Danayya
Music Director: Mani Sharma
Rating :- 3/5
Live Updates :— strtd wthout actor names…… strts at basket ball court… namaha sng strts wth excellent step….
4.1st sng lo hairstyle n dressng keka
5.”bumi meda puttina manishini evaraina champochu.manasulo puttina prema ni akasamlo puttina vadu kuda champaledu”—dialogue by bunny
6.bunny as sandeep….brahmi as marraige broker…
7.marraige sng lo sunil dance super….
8.marraige ki mundu procession lo bunny comes on elephant keka shot…
9.finally heroines comes not up to d mark…
10.heroine character name deepthi….
Review :–
Tagline :- Arranged Love Marriage.
Allu Arjun is same like in al his other movies with 6 pack and gud dances.Heroine is Bhanu Mehra as leaked by few sites.She is Good but not gr8,Can’t compare with Samantha anyway.The story initially revolves around a traditional arranged wedding setup and gud quotes explaining about a happy family.A happy couple is not based on whether its an arranged/love marriage but understanding between them.Movie starts with a voice over by none other than Megastar annaya Chiranjeevi with a gud quote.
Best elements :-
1.Good Wedding setup with huge graphics.
2.Arya(tamil hero) as villain did a very good job.
3.One lip 2 lip kiss
4. Good Timing For relarey Song
Gunasekhar couldn’t handle the genre of the film.He wanted to make a good traditional film ,but then might have tensed about commercial aspects in the movie and then added full action in second half.The movie is in bits and pieces. When a movie requires graphics(Like magadheera and Arundhathi).They will surely turnout very well.But when they add graphics just for name sake/hype,This is what happens.

Chocolate bar a day cuts risk of heart disease

Here’s some happy news for chocolate lovers: A bar of the sweet treat can slash your risk of heart disease and stroke by 39 per cent, according to an expert.

Dr. Brian Buijsse believes a 50g treat has the greatest effect, reports The Sun.
To reach the conclusion, Buijsse studied nearly 30,000 people aged 35 to 65 in Germany. His eight-year research found that even one small square can help. But if it was increased by 6g, there were 85 fewer heart attacks and strokes per 10,000 people. Dark chocolate containing 70 per cent cocoa is considered best.
Dr. Buijsse said, “Given the promising health effects of cocoa, it is tempting to indulge in more chocolate.”
“But we should make sure we are eating as part of a healthy and balanced diet.” Dr. Buijsse added.
“Small amounts of chocolate may help to prevent heart disease, but only if it replaces other energy-dense food - such as snacks - in order to keep body weight stable.” Dr. Buijsse said.

Artificial breeding of house sparrows mooted

To focus on the rapidly declining population of the bird, ornithologists and bird lovers in Orissa have suggested artificial breeding to increase their numbers

While the world observed the World House Sparrow Day on March 20 to focus on the rapidly declining population of the bird, ornithologists and bird lovers in Orissa have suggested artificial breeding to increase their numbers.
“Now time has come to think of artificial breeding of house—sparrows which, once found in plenty, are now rarely seen even in more wooded rural areas,” the state’s former chief conservator of forests, Sudhakar Mohapatra, said.
It would not be long when people would no longer be able to see the familiar scene of ‘ghara chatia’ in local parlance, or ‘charai’ in Bengali, having a hearty bath in dust indicating advent of rains, bird lovers said.
Ornithologists said the bird had been put on the ‘red list’ of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Although there are no concrete data on the rapidly declining population, bird—lovers claimed that about 80 per cent of sparrows had already disappeared from the face of earth for good in the last two decades.
House sparrows generally build their nests in thatched houses, but as concrete structures are replacing more and more their thatched varieties even in rural areas, the birds are in a bind, noted ornithologist U.N. Dev says.
“This is a problem which seems to defy any solution as people will not volunteer to build thatched houses to shelter sparrows,” Mr. Dev noted.
However, Mr. Dev still has a solution: The government should suitably amend designs of houses, built under the Indira Awas Yojana, to leave space for nests, hoping they would adjust to the new surrounding of concrete buildings.
Very recently, he pointed out, in a similar case of declining Peregrine Falcons, a popular bird found in South America, city fathers of Washington and Mexico City had begun changing designs of new buildings that were coming up in order to attract the birds to build nests.
Since the house sparrow is a familiar bird in Orissa, designers should also take note of the fact while preparing the structures, Mr. Dev suggested.
“For instance, the new houses can have gardens where trees and bushes can attract the birds to build nests,” he said.

Three dead in multiple shootings in U.S.

A hospital spokeswoman says three people are dead from a drive-by shooting that wounded six others in the U.S. capital.

Carolyn Hammond from Washington Hospital Centre says one victim died at the scene, one was dead on arrival at the hospital, and the third died in the operating room. She said a fourth person is in critical condition.

Police Department spokesman Officer Hugh Carew says the shootings of six men and three women happened about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in south-eastern Washington, D.C. Fire Department spokesman Pete Piringer says all the victims were in their 20s and 30s, except for one teenager.

Police say three people have been arrested and a weapon recovered. No motive for the shootings is known.

Four D.C. officers were slightly injured during a pursuit of a suspect’s vehicle.

Obama wants new sanctions on Iran within weeks

U.S. President Barack Obama has said he wants the new set of sanctions against Iran to be placed within weeks and not in months.

“My hope is that we are going to get this (sanctions against Iran) done this spring. So I am not interested in waiting months for a sanctions regime to be in place. I’m interested in seeing that regime in place in weeks,” Mr. Obama said in response to a question at a joint White House press conference with visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“We think that we can get sanctions within weeks,” Mr. Obama said, adding his administration is working to emphasise its international partners that this is not simply an issue of trying to isolate Iran.

The issue has enromous implications for the safety and the security of the entire region, according to him.

“We don’t want to see a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. A conflict in the Middle East as a consequence of Iran’s actions could have a huge destabilising effect in terms of the world economy at a time when it’s just coming out of a very deep recession,” the U.S. President said.

Referring to the initial policies of his administration, Mr. Obama said the approach to Tehran was to engage it and provide the opportunity to take the right path to prosperity.

The alternative path was further isolation and further consequences, he added.

“We mobilised the international community around this approach, including partners like Russia that in the past might have been more hesitant to take a firmer stance on Iran’s nuclear program. What we said, though, was that there was going to be a time limit to it and that if we had not seen progress by the end of the year, it was time for U.S. to move forward on that sanctions track,” he noted.

The U.S. President said the long—term consequences of a nuclear—armed Iran were unacceptable.

“And so Nicolas (Sarkozy), myself and others agree that we have engaged; the door remains open if the Iranians choose to walk through it. But they understand very clearly what the terms of a diplomatic solution would be. And in the interim we are going to move forcefully on a UN sanctions regime,” Mr. Obama said.

Acknowledging that there is no unanimity in the global community on this issue, he said more work has to be done, despite the U.S.’ stronger position to impose sanctions against Tehran.

“Partly (this was) because, Iran is a oil producer and there are a lot of countries around the world that, regardless of Iran’s offences, are thinking that their commercial interests are more important to them than these long—term geopolitical interests,” he said, adding the U.S. was “very clearly” communicating the importance of its stand.

Mr. Obama said he and the French President discussed their shared determination to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

“On this the U.S. and France are united, are inseparable.

With our P5—plus-1 partners, we offer Iran good faith proposals to resolve this matter through diplomacy. But Iran thus far has rejected those offers. Today, the international community is more united than ever on the need for Iran to uphold its obligations. And that’s why we’re pursuing strong sanctions through the UN Security Council,” he said.

Agreeing with his American counterpart, France president Mr. Sarkozy said the time has come to take decisions.

“Iran cannot continue its mad race. Now, we don’t want to punish Iran, which deserves better than what it has by way of leadership today, and therefore fully support in order to get stronger, tougher sanctions at the Security Council and take the necessary decisions is what you have,” Mr. Sarkozy said.

The French president also informed Mr. Obama that he, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Premier Gordon Brown would make all necessary efforts to ensure Europe’s engagement in the sanction regime.

Bebo says no to the Idiot Box

Kareena Kapoor is too busy to do television. The actress was recently offered a television show based on her, Main Kareena Kapoor Banna Chahti Hoon, for an astronomical amount. According to sources close to the actress, the show would have involved Kareena interacting with contestants from all over the country, hoping to make it big in Bollywood.
However, sources say that the actress is too busy with her films and brand endorsement and turned down the offer. Said a source: “Kareena has just started filming for Ra1 with SRK. She then has her hands full with Golmaal 3, Agent Vinod with Saif Ali Khan and an untitled film with Madhur Bhandarkar. As of now she doesn’t have the time for television.”
However those hoping to see Kareena on the small screen during prime time need not be disappointed, since the actress might just make her television debut in 2011. Says Bebo, “Television is an option that I definitely find exciting, but I would much rather concentrate on one thing now. So it’s films for the moment.”

Citizens told to carry ID proof

Curfew passes would be issued at the offices of all deputy commissioners of police, the office of the Special Branch at Purani Haveli, the main police control room opposite the Public Gardens, and at the offices of the assistant commissioner of police, in Abids, Goshamahal and Asifnagar.
The curfew passes would be issued between 8 am and 10 am; and between 4 pm and 7 pm.
People who want curfew passes should either be resident or should be working in the areas falling under the following police station limits: Afzal Gunj police station (East Zone); Begumbazaar police station (Central Zone); Habeebnagar police station (West Zone); Shahiniyath Gunj police station (West Zone); Tappachabura police station (West Zone); Asifnagar police station (West Zone); Manghalhat police station (West Zone); Kulsumpur police station (West Zone).
People seeking curfew cards should also possess valid identity cards or residential proof and display the same whenever asked by the police.
Every organisation and service centre should forward a formal letter with the names and designation of their employees to whom curfew passes should be issued.
For any query regarding curfew passes, public can contact on No 1090.

Rosaiah in no hurry to reshuffle Cabinet

The Chief Minister, Mr K. Rosaiah, is not in a hurry to go to New Delhi to clear the proposed Cabinet reshuffle in the state and is waiting for the city to become normal.
“This is not the right time for me to go to Delhi. It will take some more time and I am waiting for normalcy in the city,” Mr Rosaiah said.
In addition to that, the AP Congress affairs in-charge and Union law minister, Mr Veerappa Moily, is leaving for the US on Wednesday and will return on April 6.
On April 7, Mr Moily is expected to come to the city to chair the first meeting of the AP Congress coordination committee at Gandhi Bhavan.
The Congress president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, will be busy with the Parliament session from April 12. Mr Rosaiah said that he still needs to know the mind of Mrs Gandhi on the reshuffle and act accordingly.
A few days ago the Chief Minister had said that he will go to Delhi soon after the Budget Session is over.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister found fault with some Congress leaders including the Nizamabad MP, Mr Madhu Yashki Goud and MLA, Dr P. Shanker Rao, for rushing to the media without verifying facts. The two leaders had on Monday alleged that some leaders from Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema engineered the riots in the city to destablise the Rosaiah government. They also alleged a hidden hand behind the riots as in 1990. The Chief Minister asked the PCC chief, Mr D. Srinivas, to contact the two leaders and seek clarification on their

Shoot-at-sight in old city

Shoot at sight orders have been issued in Old City and indefinite curfew was extended to eight more places on Tuesday as clashes spread to more areas.

Fresh clashes broke out at Musheerabad, Nallagutta, Ramgopalpet, Begum Bazar, Kavadiguda, Rasoolpura, Malakpet and Kavadiguda in the wake of a religious procession.

One person suffered bullet injury on Tuesday after police opened fire on a mob resorting to violence at Karwan.

A huge mob ransacked two shops at Begum Bazar chatri, and set one shop on fire. Police fired at least 16 rounds including teargas shells and rubber bullets to disperse the mob. Six persons reportedly sustained injuries after being hit by bullets.

Eight persons, including a couple sustained injuries in sporadic incidents of stone pelting at Mangalhat and Puranapul. Most of the injured have been admitted in the Osmania General Hospital.

In the wake of the continuing clashes, indefinite curfew has been imposed in Afzalgunz, Begumbazar, Shahinathgunz, Tappachaputra, Asifnagar, Mangalhat, Kulsumpura and Habibnagar.

Curfew is unlikely to be relaxed on Wednesday morning and police has warned of action against those who enter public streets without letters from the competent authority.

The city commissioner, Mr A.K. Khan, said that police has been asked to take the maximum possible action against unruly mobs. “That includes opening fire at mobs resorting to violence and attacks," he asserted.

In all, two persons have died in the clashes in the Old City so far, even as new bouts of violence left 112 people injured.

Trouble was triggered on Tuesday by a religious procession that moved from Gowilpura to Tadbun in Bowenpally. All along the route there were clashes and several people were injured in stone pelting and attacks.

Clashes that began in South Zone limits of the Old City spread to Central Zone, West, East and North Zones.

City cops came under sever criticism for permitting the procession through sensitive areas. At some places hundreds of motorcycle-borne men deviated from the original procession route and resorted to violence. There was retaliation from the other group, leading to clashes.

The commissioner visited Musheerabad area soon after the clashes broke out. Two groups also clashed in Bholakpur and Indiranagar and set fire to several vehicles.

“We have taken around 25 trouble-makers into custody and three persons were injured in the clash at Musheerabad,” said the Central Zone DCP, Mr Hari Kumar. “We are making the leaders of both the communities sit together and sort the issues."

The North Zone DCP, Mr Murali Krishna, admitted that many who took part in the procession had deviated from the route.

Meanwhile, ordinary people were put to untold difficulty because of the clashes and curfew in more than 20 localities across the city.

"Police should relax curfew at least for two hours during day so that people can purchase vegetables, milk and other essentials," said Mr Abdul Hameed, a resident of Falaknuma.

Hundreds of rail passengers were also put to hardship following violence in Musheerabad, Bholakpur and areas adjacent to Secunderabad railway station. Though all the trains were operated as usual, many travellers found it difficult to reach the station.

"So far, we have not cancelled trains including MMTS services,” said Chandrima Roy, chief public relations officer of SCR. “We are taking the help of local police to know the situation in the city.”

The Hyderabad city region of APSRTC has cancelled around 400 bus services in Old City areas. Meanwhile, police informed that curfew passes were being issued at main control room, the commissioner of police office and the special branch office.

Bellary hand behind clashes?

Intelligence sleuths have got information that a key Karnataka BJP minister and Bellary strongman allegedly funded radical Hindu outfits to orchestrate riots in the city.

A top intelligence source told this correspondent that the minister, who runs mines in AP, had developed a grouse against the K. Rosaiah government for its swift action in curbing illegal mining and transport of ore and for its cancellation of mine leases.

“Using his money power, this minister had reportedly arranged funding to different outfits in the city,” said the source. The state Congress leadership, which has got the information about the Karnataka minister’s alleged role, has communicated it to the AICC leadership. It is learnt that the Congress president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, who was briefed about the intelligence findings, has directed the state government to take firm steps in handling the law and order situation.

Meanwhile, the Vijayawada Congress MP, Mr Lagadapati Rajagopal, who met the Congress president’s political secretary, Mr Ahmed Patel, also alleged that Hyderabad riots were the handiwork of the BJP.

“It is all happening after Mr Kishen Reddy took the reins of the party in the state,” he said. “The BJP wants to prove its existence in Hyderabad through this.” He appealed to state government to curb the incidents with iron hand and warned that Pakistan’s ISI would further exploit the situation.

The former minister, Mr J.C. Diwakar Reddy, a close confidante of the Chief Minister, also met Mr Ahmed Patel on Tuesday morning and briefed him about the latest situation in the state. Mr Diwakar Reddy told mediapersons, “Certainly there is an effort to destablise the Rosaiah government at any cost,” he said.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

8 hurt in fresh Hyderabad violence

At least eight persons including two cops were injured in stone-pelting incidents during a Hanuman Jayanti procession as communal clashes spread to new areas in curfew-clamped old city.

Shopkeepers shut down shutters as a precautionary measures in Ramagopalpet, Nallagutta, and Saleemnagar and Tarnaka as clashes spread to new areas in the Central Zone, police said.

Trouble started in Musheerabad area when a procession, taken out by VHP and Bajrang Dal workers holding saffron flags, was passing through Musheerabad area, police said.

Two groups belonging to different communities indulged in stone-pelting and miscreants set afire three vehicles in the area. However, police immediately swung into action and brought the situation under control. The police used tear gas shells and baton charged to quell the mob.

Tension also prevailed at Bholakpur and Kavadiguda areas. City Police Commissioner A K Khan immediately visited the Musheerabad and surrounding areas and additional forces have been deployed in the locality.

Shops in Gaddiannaram, Mangalhat, Puranapul, Boiguda Kaman were also shut down as speculation spread that trouble-makers tried to attack a place of worship at Kagazguda. One person died and 80 others injured in communal clashes in the city since Saturday.

Trouble began in Musarambagh area under Hussaini Alam police station limits when members of a community wanted to erect religious flags near a place of worship which was objected to by the other community, leading to clashes which escalated on Sunday and spread to other parts.

Curfew was imposed last evening in 17 police station areas of South Zone after fresh violence erupted in Moghalpura, Shalibanda, Charminar, Aliabad, Falaknuma, Shamsheergunj and Lal Darwaja localities.

"We have intensified patrolling in lanes and by-lanes in curfew-affected areas where communal clashes took place during the last three days," Khan said.

Due to curfew, 10th class examinations in 140 centres in South Zone area have been postponed, South Zone DCP Madhusudhan Reddy said.

Osmania University authorities, meanwhile, announced that the degree examination scheduled to be held from tomorrow has been postponed to April 7.

The Centre has rushed 1,800 paramilitary personnel to restore peace in the sensitive areas.

Clashes erupt in Musheerabad

A mob attacked a group of houses in Musheerabad and Bholakpur while they were taking out a rally on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti. Two cops were injured in the violence. Meanwhile, Osmania University has postponed all the exams in view of the attacks.

Curfew in 8 more police station zones: AK Khan

Curfew in 8 more PC Zones
Afzal gunj
Begam bazar
shahinaz gunj
Tapach butra
Asif Nagar
Habib Nagar

Clashes erupt in Musheerabad

A mob attacked a group of houses in Musheerabad and Bholakpur while they were taking out a rally on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti. Two cops were injured in the violence. Meanwhile, Osmania University has postponed all the exams in view of the attacks.

Kindle Vs iPad: E-book face-off on April 3, which has dominated the young but fast-growing electronic book market for the past few years with the Kindle, could get its biggest threat Saturday, when Apple releases its iPad multimedia tablet.

The Kindle starts at $259 and is designed mainly for reading text on a gray-and-black screen. The iPad starts at $499, but with the higher price comes more functions: a color touch screen for downloading books from Apple's new iBookstore, surfing the Web, playing videos and games and more.

It will take time to determine whether the iPad causes a tremor in the e-reader market, a high-magnitude quake or something in between. But in the meantime people who read electronic books or are considering buying a reading device will find their choices getting more complicated.

If the Kindle e-reader falls out of favour with people drawn to Apple’s offering, there could be a very thick silver lining for Amazon: It sells e-books that can be read on many kinds of devices, including the iPad and other Apple gadgets. That means the Kindle could fade and Amazon could still occupy a profitable perch in e-books.

However, Apple could find ways to tilt the field in its favour. At least for now, both the Apple iBookstore and the Kindle service will be accessible in much the same way on the iPad - as “application” icons that users can click. Eventually Apple could give its own bookstore and reading program more attention on the iPad.

Apple also could try to curry favour with publishers in a way that matters to consumers, perhaps by securing exclusive titles.

Publishers’ relationships with Amazon have been strained by Amazon's insistence on charging $9.99 for some popular e-books.

Publishers have complained that it is an attempt to get consumers used to unsustainably low prices. Amazon takes a loss on some books at that price, and the publishers fear that if the $9.99 tag sticks, Amazon will force publishers to lower their wholesale prices, cutting into their profits.

The iPad gives publishers an opportunity for a new pricing model. Some e-books will cost up to $14.99 initially, and Apple is insisting that publishers can't sell books at a lower price through a competitor. The iBookstore is launching with titles from major publishers such as Penguin, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group and Macmillan. One big publisher, Random House, has not yet struck a deal with Apple.

Amazon declined to comment on the iPad‘s release.

Although Amazon has tried to snag as much of the e-book market as possible since launching the Kindle in 2007, the company has never revealed how many Kindles it has sold. Analysts estimate it has sold 3 million. (Analysts believe Apple could sell that many iPads in the product's first year). Amazon has offered only sketches of the Kindle's effect on its business, such as by saying that when books are sold in both hard copy and the Kindle format, it sells 48 Kindle books for every 100 hard copies.

Compared to the Kindle, the iPad would seem to have some disadvantages. The entry-level model is nearly twice the price of the Kindle, yet it can't download books everywhere. It can do that only where it is connected to the Internet over Wi-Fi. At 1.5 pounds, it is more than twice as heavy as a Kindle. And its battery lasts for just 10 hours, compared with up to a week on a Kindle when it has its wireless access on.

However, among the elements in the iPad’s favor is a touch screen that is 9.7 inches (24 centimeters) diagonally, compared with 6 inches (15 centimeters) on the Kindle. Ron Skinner, 70, who lives in Las Vegas and bought a Kindle last February, says he has ordered Apple’s product because he thinks it will offer a better reading experience.

Mr. Skinner, an Apple investor who reads about three books a week, says the contrast between the text and the background is too low on the Kindle's “e-ink” screen, and reading on it bothers his eyes.

The difference between the Kindle screen and the iPad screen “is like daylight and dark,” Mr. Skinner says.

Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies Inc., says the iPad signals the start of a larger shift away from static digital versions of books and magazines. Eventually e-books will be expected to have multimedia dimensions, with video and interactive elements, he says, which calls for something more like Apple‘s tablet device than something that is largely dedicated to reading.

The main question then would be whether Amazon wants to try to soup up the Kindle to be more like a tablet, or whether it will remain content to offer something more specialized. Consider that the Kindle also can surf the Web, but it's not a feature that is highlighted or encouraged much.

Amazon stock has risen about 11 per cent since Apple unveiled the iPad in January, while Apple shares have climbed 13 per cent. But it's possible that investors haven't seen many risks yet for Amazon because it is not yet clear how people will see the iPad.

People might not want it as an alternative to the Kindle and a laptop, says James McQuivey, a Forrester analyst. Instead, he says, they might see the iPad mainly as a big iPod, leaving room for other kinds of devices. And the hype surrounding the iPad may help Kindle sales with consumers who want a less expensive digital reading experience.

“The iPad will bring all kinds of consumer benefits that the Kindle can't even pretend to attempt,” Mr. McQuivey says, “but at the same time the Kindle solves a very focused consumer need in a way the iPad can't do well.”

If you're choosing between a Kindle or an iPad for reading electronic books, you might keep in mind some advantages of both products.


Lower price- ($259)

Light weight- (10.2 ounces or 290 grams). The iPad is 1.5 pounds (680 grams).

Can wirelessly download books any time, anywhere from Amazon's Kindle Store without a monthly fee. The $499 entry-level iPad goes online only in Wi-Fi hot spots. Wireless connectivity anywhere requires an iPad that is $629 and up, plus a monthly service fee.

Gray-scale “e-ink” screen, which can be read in direct sunlight. Battery lasts up to a week with wireless connection on, or two weeks with it off.


LCD color touch screen is 9.7 inches (24 centimeters) diagonally, compared with 6 inches (15 centimeters) on the Kindle. That can give a more complete Web-surfing experience.

It also functions as an iPod and video player.

It can download music and videos from Apple’s iTunes Store and games and applications from its App Store including e-reading apps from Apple and other companies, such as Amazon.

Hyderabad continues to be tense

Situation remained tense on Tuesday in several areas of the old city where curfew was clamped following incidents of communal violence, which left one dead and 80 injured since Saturday.

Curfew, imposed on Monday evening, has been extended till 6 pm today, South Zone DCP Madhusudhan Reddy said.

Due to curfew, 10th class examinations in 140 centres in South Zone area have been postponed, he said.

The Centre has rushed 1,800 paramilitary personnel to restore peace in the sensitive areas. The entire force has been put on alert to maintain law and order in view of Hanuman Jayanti celebrations on Tuesday.

Fresh violence erupted on Monday in Moghalpura, Shalibanda, Charminar, Aliabad, Falaknuma, Shamsheergunj and Lal Darwaja localities after a group of miscreants pelted stones at passersby which increased tension, police said.

One person was stabbed to death yesterday and another hurt in the Shalibanda area. Another person was injured when a vehicle was attacked at Khilwat Chowrasta, they said.

About 130 persons, suspected to be involved in the communal clashes, have been taken into custody so far, police added.

Talking to babies boosts their brain power

Talking to babies can boost their brain power, a study has revealed.

Months before babies start to speak, words play an important role in their brain development and even at the age of three months, words have a bigger impact on their minds than other sounds, including music, reports

The research showed that babies who heard words were better able to "categorise" pictures than those who simply heard tones.

Almost 50 three-month-old boys and girls were shown a series of pictures of fish, accompanied by either words or beeps.

The babies were then shown pictures of a fish and one of a dinosaur side by side and the researchers measured how long they looked at each image.

Looking at the fish longer than the dinosaur demonstrated they had categorised the fish in their minds, the journal Child Development reports.

The researchers said the results were "striking". The babies in the word and tone groups saw exactly the same pictures for exactly the same amount of time, but only those in the word group looked at the fish for longer.

"For infants as young as three months of age, words exert a special influence that supports the ability to form a category. These findings offer the earliest evidence to date for a link between words and object categories," said researcher Susan Hespos, of Northwestern University in Illinois.

Added co-author Sandra Waxman: "We suspect that human speech, and perhaps especially infant-directed speech, engenders in young infants a kind of attention to the surrounding objects that promotes categorisation. We proposed that over time, this general attentional effect would become more refined, as infants begin to cull individual words from fluent speech, to distinguish among individual words and kinds of words, and to map those words to meaning."

The remarkable ability of the baby's brain doesn't end there. Previous research has concluded they can communicate remarkably complex thoughts at the age of 12 months.

In an experiment that has echoes of the John Travolta starrer "Look Who's Talking", researchers in Germany showed that year-old boys and girls are capable of understanding adults' thoughts.

In the study carried out by the Max Planck Institute in 2008, the infants were able to work out if the scientists needed help in finding objects that had fallen on the floor.

Then, if necessary, they made sure they got help to track them down.

The finding contradicts other studies which have suggested that the ability to understand what others know and do not know develops around the second year of life.

Other research has found that newborn babies cry with regional 'accents' copied from their mothers.

The discovery suggested that babies eavesdrop on their parents' conversations while still in the womb and are picking up their accents.

LPG, natural gas supply through pipelines soon

A handful of apartment complexes have installed the reticulated system (in-built pipe lines for LPG distribution) in the city and in other major cities such as Hyderabad. As per the reticulated system, the LPG will be provided to individual households in an apartment complex.
Mr Abid Khatri of HPCL observed, “The system will be an in-built one and installed during construction by the builder himself. The LPG will be provided to all the individual apartments and consumption will be tagged with the help of a metre gauge.”
When asked if HPCL had anything to do with the installation or restoration work, he said, “We will issue a permit for the construction of the pipeline to a responsible builder. As for maintenance, we will help the various resident bodies or association by supervising and providing technical support for maintenance work.”
Mr Khatri, however, noted that the trend was yet to catch up and only a few apartment complexes in the city, some under construction boasted of this facility. Sources further disclosed that natural gas would be provided for domestic use, under the Krishna-Godavari Basin Gas Network Programme.
They added that various companies from their rigs would supply gas to regions in and around Hyderabad, Kakinada, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam by the end of the year 2010.

Hike in material costs hits construction sector

The construction sector is badly affected in the city with the increase in the prices of building material during the last three weeks.
The prices of cement, iron and hardware increased between 10 and 20 per cent creating a tough time to the builders. Middle class and upper middle class families which have started the construction of houses are facing an uphill task to complete the houses as per the schedule and in the stipulated budget.
Due to the power holiday declared by the APSPDCL, the cement and iron production declined in the recent weeks in the state. So, the demand gradually increased for cement. Summer is the peak season for the construction sector. Cement prices per bag increased by Rs 40 to Rs 50 in three weeks.
Last month, the 50 kg bag was sold for Rs 130 to Rs 140. Now, it has increased to Rs 190 to Rs 200 per bag. The price of iron also increased between Rs 5,000 and Rs 6,000 per tonne. Last month, one tonne of iron was sold at Rs 34,000 and later it shot up to Rs 39,500.
Labour charges, which consume the lion’s share in the construction sector, also increased during the last one month. A mason used to get Rs 230 per day. Now, the daily earnings increased to Rs 280 per day while the helper’s daily income rose from Rs 150 per day to Rs 200. Metal rates are also gradually increasing.
The construction industry has been struggling for the last three years due to economic recession.
Nearly 700 apartments built in rec-ent years in the city are yet to be sold due to the meltdown. Besides, thousands of skilled and unskilled workers will be left without work if the construction works slow down in the city.
K. Nageswara Rao, a builder, said the prices of building material is likely to come down after summer as construction works will slow down in the rainy season and power supply will improve to the industries.

Ricky Martin says he is gay

Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin has revealed that he is a homosexual and feels "blessed" to be himself.

"Every word that I write in this letter is born out of love, acceptance, detachment and real contentment. Writing this is a solid step towards my inner peace and vital part of my evolution. I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am," the singer wrote in a statement posted on his website on Monday.

The pop star announced that he will write his memoirs, a project which will bring him "closer to an amazing turning point" in his life.

"From the moment I wrote the first phrase I was sure the book was the tool that was going to help me free myself from things I was carrying within me for a long time. Things that were too heavy for me to keep inside," he said.

He also admitted that he could not reveal his homosexuality over the years because he was told by his friends and associates that "many people in the world are not ready to accept your truth, your reality, your nature".

"Because all this advice came from people who I love dearly, I decided to move on with my life not sharing with the world my entire truth," Martin said. "Allowing myself to be seduced by fear and insecurity became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sabotage.

"Today I take full responsibility for my decisions and my actions," the singer, philanthropist and activist said.

In 2008, Ricky Martin became the father of twins with the help of a surrogate mother.

"What will happen from now on? It doesn't matter. I can only focus on what's happening to me in this moment," he said.

Ranbir’s cola capers

The recent Pepsi ad is creating havoc barely three days after it’s gone on air. The ad features Ranbir Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt and Jacqueline Fernandez. However, the most interesting part is that Ranbir’s ex-girlfriend Deepika is also the brand ambassador for the same soft drink brand.

Our source said, “The company had initially planned to use both of them in the ad but after their much publicised break-up, they had no choice but to bring in someone else at the last minute. They found Jacqueline and she was roped in as the wow girl for the ad.

“Ranbir had made it clear that he doesn’t want anything to do with Deepika and in spite of her being a brand ambassador, she was not asked to be a part of the ad. Now a different ad film is being worked upon which will have Deepika in it.”

1,200 miss SSC exam in old city

The commissioner and director of school education, Ms Poonam Malakondaiah, on Monday, said the SSC exams will be held as usual across the city except for the curfew-bound areas.

She said a decision to postpone the remaining exams will depend on the situation. The violence had an adverse impact on the students who appeared for the SSC exams for maths-I. Reports from the old city indicated that nearly 1,200 students had missed the exam on Monday, though nearly 30,000 others appeared for the exam in 110 centres located in trouble-hit areas. However, officials denied this saying that there was no violence during exam time.

“I visited several centres in trouble-hit areas of old city to lend moral support to our staff. There was no problem whatsoever and the instances of students missing the exams have not come to our notice,” Ms Malakondaiah said.

Some parents and students preferred to skip the exams. “The government should have postponed the exam on Monday,” said Mr Afzal Ahmed, a resident of Charminar.

“We can anyway appear for advanced supplementary exam. There is no fear that my son will lose an academic year if he misses the exam now,” Mr Ahmed said.

Property buyers vulnerable

The endowments minister, Mr Gade Venkata Reddy, on Monday said there was no provision in the existing laws to prevent registration of the same property to multiple buyers.

He was replying to a question posed by the Congress member, Dr D.L. Ravindra Reddy, in the Assembly.

There were proposals to amend the Registration Act empowering the state to identify and stop multiple registrations, the minister said adding that the Centre had also been considering certain initiatives in this regard.

Dr Ravindra Reddy said several innocent people, particularly those in the capital and its surroundings, were put to great financial loss.

Meanwhile, the state Assembly on Monday guillotined (passed) the demands for grants of 40 departments without any debate.

The guillotine was applied at 2 pm after briefly suspending the short discussion on rise of prices of essential commodities. The Speaker took up demands for voice vote and guillotined the same. Though the House took up discussion on demands of all the welfare subjects, it remained incomplete and the government did not give its reply to the discussion.

The Speaker interrupted the Praja Rajyam member, Ms Sobha Nagireddy, at 2 pm stating that it was mandatory for the House to pass the demands withing the time frame. Even as the Speaker was putting the demands for voice vote, the senior Telugu Desam member, Mr R. Chandrasekhar Reddy, blamed the ruling party for forcing guillotine of demands.

The ruling party members shouted back and accused the TD of wasting precious time of the House.

The Chief Minister, Mr K. Rosaiah, before leaving the House for the day briefly interacted with the media and said it is unfortunate that the demands of grants had to be approved without discussion in the House though the ruling Congress was particular about it. They said the Opposition was bent upon wasting time.

Double trouble hits education Act

The “dual administrative set-up” in the department of school education is an impediment to the implementation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act. The Act, which will come into force on April 1, makes free and compulsory education a right to children in the age group of six to 14 years, till Class VIII.

Though only two days are left for the RTE Act to come into force, there is no clarity on its implementation either at the ministers’ level or at the officials’ level.

While school education from Classes I to X is handled by a single department in all other states, it is not the case in AP. In AP, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) department handles education from Classes I to V, while the directorate of school education controls Classes VI to X.

And, there is absolutely no co-ordination between the two bodies over the implementation of the RTE Act.

The two departments have not even held a “joint meeting” over the RTE Act.

In addition, the non-allocation of funds for the RTE Act in the state government’s Budget this year has further compounded the problem. The government is

banking on funds provided by the Centre towards the SSA scheme to implement the RTE Act. Co-ordination between the SSA and the school education department, is therefore, necessary in order to spend the funds appropriately.

The minister for primary education, Mr Ahamadullah, under whose purview the the SSA comes, said, “Funds meant for the SSA would be utilised to implement the RTE Act, but I have not received any communication from the department of secondary education.”

Meanwhile, the minister for secondary education, Mr D. Manikya Vara Prasada Rao, was clueless on the implementation of the Act.

Sania to wed Shoaib, settle in Dubai

India’s ace tennis player, Sania Mirza is to marry Shoaib Malik, the former cricket captain of Pakistan. The wedding has been scheduled within a month.

“The couple will be based in Dubai, where Shoaib is a resident and Sania will continue to play tennis once she recovers fully from the serious wrist injury,” Sania’s father, Mr Imran Mirza, told this newspaper on Monday.

Sania is understandably excited about her marriage. “My wedding is, Inshallah, going to be the biggest day of my life,” the 23-year-old said, adding, “I have been in constant glare for too long and would appreciate the privacy at this very personal moment in my life.”

In a statement, Shoaib vowed to support Sania in her career. “I fully understand what it takes to be an international sportsperson and I will support Sania in her career as long as she wishes to play,” the cricketer said, while confirming the news.

Sania recently broke off her engagement with Mr Sohrab Mirza, a childhood friend. Shoaib was involved in a controversy over marrying Ms Ayesha Siddiqui, a Hyderabadi. Ms Siddiqui is also known to Sania’s family.

“Representing India at the 2012 Olympics is very important for her and I will be the proudest husband if she can win a medal for her country,” Shoaib added.

Sania, a former top-30 player, is planning a comeback just before Wimbledon in June. “I hope to be fully fit to represent India in the Commonwealth and Asian Games that are scheduled for later this year,” she said.

Imran, who has coached Sania through her career, observed: “This is a unique case where the husband and wife will represent their respective countries in sport.”

Sania’s mother, Ms Nasima Mirza, was delighted. “Marriages are made in heaven,” she said.

Curfew in old city, 1 stabbed to death

The police clamped indefinite curfew in 17 police station limits of the old city from 7 pm on Monday as a safety measure after two days of violence.

One person was killed and two were stabbed on Monday, after which the police took the decision to impose curfew for the first time after December 2003.

The commissioner of police, Mr A.K. Khan, said, “when curfew is in vogue, no one should come out of their houses.”

Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, that prohibits assembly of more than five persons, was imposed vogue in Asifnagar, Goshamahal and in Cyberabad. All processions have been banned in Cyberabad. Section 144 also prohibits carrying of arms, lathis, sticks and other instruments that can be used as weapons

Mr Khan said curfew was imposed after incidents of stabbing were reported from two to three places. “As communal elements are taking over the situation we had no option,” Mr Khan said.

“These communal elements don’t have value for life. We don’t want to take chances as there are likely to be processions for the festival,” he said.

The areas placed under curfew are under the jurisdisction of the following police stations: Charminar, Hussaini Alam, Kamatipura, Kalapattar, Bahadurpura, Falaknuma, Chandrayanagutta, Chatrinaka, Shah Ali Banda Mir Chowk Reinbazar, Moghalpura, Dabeerpura, Santoshnagar, Madannapet, Kanchanbagh and Bhavaninagar.

Section 144 has been imposed in the police station limits of Asifnagar, Begum Bazar, Goshamahal of Hyderabad. The Cyberabad under Section 144 include LB Nagar, Kukatpally, A.S. Rao Nagar, Moula Ali, Malkajgiri, Pahadishareef and areas on the outskirts.

The sudden announcement of curfew sent people scrambling to reach home in time, wihile others headed out to buy essentials.

The Centre is rushing 2,300 paramilitary personnel to the city. Four companies, or about 500 personnel, of the Border Security Force are to be airlifted later in the night from the capital and sent to the city to assist the local police.

About 400 Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel have already reached the city, another 400 RAF personnel are being airlifted from Ahmedabad and Coimbatore. The Centre will also send 700 CRPF and 300 CISF personnel to Hyderabad.

Earlier, an employee of a cash chest company was stabbed to death in the old city by miscreants on Monday afternoon.

At least 80 persons who were injured in multiple incidents were admitted to Osmania General Hospital. Rioters looted houses and burnt vehicles and the police ordered curfew after following a high-level decision taken by the state government. In some places, rioters threw petrol bombs on the police and hurled stones from atop buildings.

Trouble began on Saturday night when two groups clashed over tying of flags in Moosa Bowli area. Heavy stone hurling was reported at Hussaini Alam, Aliyabad, Lal Darwaza, Shamshergunj, Shah Ali Banda and Moghulpura. Groups of people wielding sticks and stones clashed on the streets and looted houses.

At least 20 rioters were taken into custody by the police. Most of the shops were closed around the Charminar and the main road from Charminar to Falaknuma was littered with stones.


Main Police Control Room 100, Landline: 23261166, 27852333
South Zone Police Control Room 27854779, 9490616551

Monday, March 29, 2010

Situation in old city of Hyderabad is worse and lead to Curfew in South Zone

The situation in old city of Hyderabad has transformed from bad to worse. People were seen pelting stones and in one incident one person who was stabbed died in the hospital. We would not like to reveal the religion of the dead person since this would only inflame the tensions.

Curfew has been imposed in the South Zone of Hyderabad which would come into effect from 7 PM today. South Zone covers Moosarambagh, Saidabad, Saroornagar, Barkas, Moghalpura, Falaknuma, Puranapul, Begum Bazaar, Shali Banda, and Rajendra area (For entire list please see the list below)

Seven more central battalions and additional forces, including nearly 1000 paramilitary personnel dispatched by the centre, were being deployed to restore peace in the trouble-hit areas.

Miscreants attacked passersby with knives and other sharp-edged weapons in Gowliguda, Falaknuma, Shamsheergunj and Chatrinaka areas after asking them to identify themselves. Women and children were not spared either. About a dozen places of worship were targeted by unruly crowds, who also torched a few shops, a cattle shelter and vehicles.

Even the media persons were not spared. TV9, NTV, TV5 and Eendau's reporters were reported to have suffered injuries.

Police Commissioner AK Khan has termed the incidents "pre-planned". Seventy people have been arrested in connection with the violence.

While the tensions have been rocking the old city the rain god sent rains to cool some tempers.

South Zone areas

Riyasat Nagar
Chandrayan gutta
Rain Bazar
Saleem Nagar
Old Malakpet
Noorkhan Bazar
Nawabsaheb Kunta
Fathe Darwaza
Shali Banda
Hussain Alam
Ghansi Bazar
Begum Bazar
Gosha Mahal
Rajendra Nagar
Rajendra Nagar

Curfue in South Zone: Commissionar AK Khan

Curfue in South Zone from 7:00 Pm onwords. The areas under cufue are Charminar, Falknuma, Hussaini Alam, Dabbir Pura, Chatrinaka, Madanna Pet, Mogal Pura, Chandrayan Gutta, Bahaddur Pura, Shali Banda, kala Patthar, Kamai pura, Meer chowk, Santosh Nagar, Bhavani Nagar, Rain Bazar.

Nizamabad ZP passes resolution on Telangana

The general body of the Zilla Parishad unanimously passed a resolution demanding the Government of India to table the Bill relating to the formation of Telangana state, in its meeting held here on Sunday.

The chairman K. Venkatramana Reddy presided over the meeting which was attended among others by the Minister for Medical Education P. Sudarshan Reddy, MLAs, MLCs, ZP vice-chairman Taher Bin Hamdan, ZPTC members, MPP presidents and other ex-officio members.

While moving the resolution the Telugu Desam Party member K. Dinesh urged the chairman to ensure its passage and submit the same to Justice Srikrishna Committee which was arriving in the district on April 2. The chairman immediately announced that the resolution was passed without any opposition.

Earlier, the members observed a two-minute silence in respect of Telangana student martyrs and the former Minister and former ZP chairman T. Bala Goud who passed away recently. The MLAs, MLCs and other members paid rich tributes to the late leader and martyrs in their addresses.

The meeting which was conducted after several months as it was postponed thrice, due to the agitation for Telangana witnessed pandemonium intermittently with charges and counter charges of the ruling and the Opposition members. At one stage the chairman and the TDP floor leader V. Mohan Reddy shouted aloud on each other.

After a prolonged discussion the general body cancelled the sanction of a proceeding given for works worth about Rs.1 crore in five mandals citing the reason that the works were allotted without introducing the related proposal in the ZP nor in its Standing Committee meetings.

There was a division on the issue in which even a couple of ruling party members raised hands in favour of the Opposition's demand.
Telangana activists held

About 90 pro-Telangana activists were arrested by the police when they tried to gain entry into the Zilla Parishad Conference Hall with an intention to thwart the proceedings, here on Sunday. They were shifted to different police stations and set free after execution of personal bonds later in the evening.

Some of the protestors who were taken to the Makloor police station staged a dharna inside it shouting slogans of Jai Telangana and Jai Jai Telangana. The arrested included the BJP, the CPI (ML)-New Democracy and the TRS workers and students.

Earlier there was a commotion on the ZP premises as the Telangana protagonists gheraoed Minister for Medical Education P. Sudarshan Reddy, chairman K. Venkatramana Reddy and the elected representatives demanding their resignations for Telangana. Police made tight security arrangement and enabled the Minister and other leaders to enter the conference hall standing guard to them.

Notwithstanding, mild tension prevailed with both the policemen and protesters pushing each other.

The meeting was called for after a long time and a couple of postponements due to the Telangana agitations.

The chairman took a firm stand to conduct it at any cost.

Even chappals were thrown from somewhere among the crowd of protesters. The proceedings were held smoothly after the arrest of protestors.

Praja Natya Mandali drive against price rise

The cultural wing of the Communist Party of India, AP Praja Natya Mandali, will undertake a drive, from State to village-level, to increase public awareness about the cascading effect of rising prices and the Centre's inability to check them.

After the mandali's State Council meeting, Puli Sambasiva Rao, president, told a press conference that apart from the campaign to educate people about the government's failure to contain prices, it would also mention Telangana. He said ‘injustice' done to the region for decades would be explained, along with what could be done redress it.Chada Venkat Reddy, CPI State Council member in-charge of Cultural Front, said the party would organise a ‘Jail bharo' programme on April 8 against the price rise. The programme would highlight ‘failure' of the PDS to streamline its supply chain management to help the poor. Mr. Rao said the mandali would exert pressure on government to declare April 16, the birthday of Kandukuri Veeresalingam Panthulu as ‘Telugu Natakaranga Dinotsavam'. It would reiterate the demand for the State to declare its cultural policy, while meeting Chief Minister K .Rosaiah and Information Minister J. Geeta Reddy.

Palle Narasimha, general secretary of the mandali, said it would redouble efforts to get performing artistes into the fold, especially from Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts.

Tension continues in old city of Hyderabad

Tension continued to grip the communally sensitive areas of old city of Hyderabad on Monday with mobs indulging in unabated stone hurling in different parts, even as the beleaguered police force is finding it difficult to contain the communal clashes that began on Saturday night.

Police used tear gas shells and stun grenades after repeated lathicharges, but did not have the desired impact. Heavy police contingents including the CRPF and RAF have been deployed in the old city but attacks on religious places and people at random continued.

Frenzied mobs raising full throated slogans were engaging the police forces in a hide and seek game in the labyrinthine lanes and bylanes of the old city.

Alarmed over the developing situation Home Minister,P. Sabitha Indra Reddy toured the area and assured the residents that peace would be restored in the areas. The DGP R.R. Girish Kumar too visited the troubled areas, while the Commissioner of Police, A.K. Khan is camping in the old city overseeing the security arrangements.

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah convened a meeting of senior police officers to take stock of the situation and the Home Minister Ms. Reddy met the city legislators and sought cooperation in restoring normalcy.

However, trouble broke out in the old city again hours after the Home Minister left the area.

Heavy stone hurling was reported at Lal Darwaza, a locality having mixed population of Hindus and Muslims. Groups of people wielding sticks and stones positioned themselves in their respective ‘strongholds’ and indulged in what is being described as the ’heaviest’ stone pelting so far. Police moved in to disperse the crowds, but the mobs had just melted into the bylanes only to resurface as the police teams retreated.

Trouble began in the old city on Saturday night when two groups belonging to different communities clashed over a dispute on hoisting religious flags in Moosa Bowli locality. Violence spread to different areas instantly. The skirmishes continued on Sunday too with innocent people being marked and attacked at different places simultaneously, as rumour mongers had a field day using short messages to spread unfounded reports of religious places being attacked.

By Sunday night, normalcy appeared to have returned, but clashes broke out again on Monday morning.

Andhra Government deploys additional forces in trouble hit old Hyderabad

The Andhra Pradesh Government on Monday ordered deployment of additional security forces in old Hyderabad city where tension prevails, following overnight clashes between two communities.

Over 60 people have been injured in violence between both communities in Hyderabad on Sunday evening.

Police have arrested 70 people, for indulging in violent activities.

There were reports of attacks on places of worship in several areas.

Incidents of stabbing, arson, stone pelting, attacks on places of worship, shops and vehicles were reported from over a dozen areas well past midnight Sunday.

Police opened fire in the air, used teargas shells and batons to bring the situation under control.

Addressing the State Assembly, Chief Minister K. Rosaiah said his government is constantly monitoring the situation.

“We are constantly monitoring and reviewing the situation and also talking to the Centre on this. The Centre has sent 10 companies of paramilitary forces on my request to Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram,” he said.

Rosaiah assured the House that the government would take every step to ensure peace and appealed to all sections of the society to observe restraint.

Meanwhile, police have imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of IPC, in 18 police stations of south zone and four police stations of Goshamahal division of west zone of the city. (ANI)

Jagan, CM avoid each other at airport lobby

The Kadapa MP, Mr Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, left the commemoration meeting for the departed Congress leader, Koneru Ranga Rao, before the Chief Minister, Mr K. Rosaiah, arrived.

Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy left for Gannavaram airport 10 minutes after the arrival of the Chief Minister. Though the two leaders spent about 15 minutes in the airport, they did not speak with each other. Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy left for Bengaluru later.

Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy reached the city by Narsapur Express at 5 am and rushed to a local hotel. He visited the Kanaka Durgamma temple at 9.15 am and and had left at 11.40 am from the Gudavalli village.

Meanwhile, Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy’s proposed Vodarpu (consolation) yatra from April 2 has sparked off a controversy even before it began, particularly from Congress leaders hailing from the Telangana region.

The Congress MPs, Mr V. Hanumantha Rao and Mr Madhu Yashki Goud, have reportedly complained to the party high command that Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy’s yatra in Telangana at this juncture will unnecessarily lead to troubles when the situation across the region is now under control. Apart from these MPs, the former Union minister, Ms Renuka Chowdary, has reportedly met the high command leaders in Delhi and complained against the tour in Khammam district as some party leaders who were expelled were organising the tour.

The Nizamabad MP, Mr Madhu Yashki, told the media on Sunday that it would be better if Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy confines his tour to the coastal Andhra area.

TD seeks BC data in Census

The Telugu Desam on Sunday, demanded a separate column in the Census form to secure caste details of the people. The TD observed that this would facilitate details about Other Backward Castes (OBCs) in the population.

The party politburo which met here after four months decided to press for a sub-quota within women reservations for BCs and minorities. The party chief, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, will write a letter to the UPA government pressing for an amendment to the Act.

“We demand an amendment to the Act. Only after amendment can the Bill be introduced in the Lok Sabha,” said Mr K. Yerran Naidu, senior party leader.

Fearing a clash between Telangana and Coastal Andhra region leaders, the politburo meeting was not held in the last four months. The TD used to convene the politburo meeting every fortnight to discuss matters of importance. But with the Telangana issue coming to the fore, the TD leadership chose not to convene a meeting. Interestingly, the poliburo did not discuss about Telangana.

Leaders from both the regions met after four months and discussed the party’s future course of action in the wake of severe criticism from other parties that the TD failed to perform its role as the main Opposition party.

The Adilabad MP, Mr Ramesh Rathod, has been nominated as head of the committee which will oversee the membership drive in the party that will start from April 1.

Teenager raped, burnt alive

A teenaged girl was raped and burnt alive by some unidentified persons in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir.

A semi-burnt body of the 17-year-old was found in a tin-shed in Majalta area of the district on Friday night, police said on Saturday.

During preliminary investigation, it was suspected that the girl was raped and then set afire by the attackers.

The Station House Officer (SHO), Mr Arvinder Kotwal, said that a case has been registered and an investigation was on.

3G phone service launched

Kotla Jayasuryaprakasa Reddy, Member of Parliament, formally launched 3G phone services here on Saturday.
Kurnool MLA T.G. Venkatesh, BSNL General Manager V.V.S. Raghava Kumar, General Manager Mobile Services Govindarajulu and Deputy General Manager John were present at the occasion among others.
Mr. Suryaprakasa Reddy appreciated BSNL for launching the latest phone services in Kurnool. He said that development in the area was linked to communication facilities.
Mr. T.G. Venaktesh recalled that two decades ago telephone operators were considered VIPs and people making long distance calls were at their mercy.
Explaining the features of the new facility, Mr. Raghava Kumar said that the 3G service would support video calling, mobile TV, mobile broadband, online gaming, video conferencing and faster video downloading.
The existing 2G customers could migrated to 3G through an online request SMS, typing “M3G120” for pre-paid and “M3G25” for post-paid, to 53733. Different tariff plans would be made available for pre-paid and post-paid customers.
Mr. Govindarajulu said that 3G would usher in a new era in telephony. He said that customers could retain their old number even after migrating to 3G. He said that the service was launched in 29 major cities and towns in the State.
The project cost BSNL Rs 800 crore in Andhra Pradesh.

28 injured in Hyderabad violence

Row over putting up of flags continues to simmer with fresh incidents being reported

The violence that erupted at Moosabowli in the old city here following a dispute over putting up flags on Saturday night continued to simmer with fresh incidents being reported in several localities in the old city and its environs.

Twentyeight persons, including video and photo journalists, were injured after mobs attacked them. Police resorted to firing of rubber bullets at Moosabowli and Shamshergunj to control the rampaging mobs.

SIT probe

Police Commissioner A.K. Khan told reporters later that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) would investigate the incidents and 70 persons were already taken into custody. Mobs set afire a shop and two wheelers at Gowliguda Kaman. In all, five vehicles were damaged in the violence. A goshala was also torched at Shamshergunj. Panic griped the residents of old city following rumours of communal clashes spreading, through SMSes. As tension escalated, shopkeepers in commercial areas of Siddiamber Bazar, Begum Bazar, Gowliguda, Afzalgunj and M.J Market rolled down the shutters.

Trouble over flags

On Saturday night, communal tension flared up over erection of flags by a community and objections by another in Moosabowli. Soon, this led to arguments and stone pelting in Hussainialam and Mylardevpalli in Rajendernagar, Siddiamber Bazar and Afzalgunj.

Small gangs armed with sticks moved around menacingly in some lanes beating up whoever they came across. Equipment of a daily's photographer too was smashed in the melee. Few shops were also selectively targeted and burnt by mobs in Begum Bazar, eyewitnesses said.

The situation turned worse at Siddiambar Bazar main road in the afternoon when some persons hurled stones on a religious structure triggering tension in the adjoining areas like Gowliguda and Begum Bazar. A vain bid was made to torch a petrol pump but alert staff thwarted it at Afzalgunj. There were reports of some places of worship being targeted at Kandikalgate, Afzalgunj, Shamshergunj and Enginebowli.

CM reviews situation

Chief Minister K. Rosaiah asked the police officials to ensure that there were no further untoward incidents in the twin cities ahead of Hanuman Jayanthi scheduled in the next two days.

Soon after returning from his tour of Krishna district, Mr. Rosaiah held a high level meeting of senior police officials. The meeting attended by the Home Minister P.Sabitha Indra Reddy, DGP R. R. Girish Kumar, Police Commissioner A. K. Khan, IG (Intelligence) M. Mahender Reddy saw the Chief Minister making it clear that there should be no compromise in maintaining law and order situation in the old city.

Singing to her own tune

Neha Bhasin on her forthcoming album, and what makes some songs special

Talking to Neha feels like chatting up with a neighbour over the common fence. She's bubbly, candid (“Gawd! What am I saying? Sorry. I'm really tired”) and very serious about her music, all at the same time.

So, what's her latest album about? “Well, I've not decided on a name yet... still figuring it out. It's a bold album, very contemporary and very commercial too,” she says. The first number of the nine-song album set for a July release is hip-hop, and the second, titled “Tabaah” (destruction) is about love and what a woman needs. It has grunge elements,” she reveals.

She's written some of the songs in her album, and composed for two numbers, along with Gaurav Dayal of “Sorry Bhai” fame. Though she's notched up many film hits, Neha has not forgotten where she's come from. “I would not have been here but for VIVA {Channel V's girl band that she was part of}. I come from an ordinary background - my dad's an advocate and my mom a great believer in my ability - and VIVA was a stepping stone towards where I wanted to be,” states the singer who also has plans for an English album.

Neha made her Tamil debut with the chartbuster ‘Pesugiraen' from “Satham Podadhey”, though she recorded for it after the sensuous ‘Sei Yedhavadhu' from “Billa”. She's even sung a Telugu number. How does she cope with languages so far removed from her own? “I never dreamt I would sing in these languages. Sometimes, you struggle to do things that you've planned. That way, this was a gift from God. Some songs tell you, ‘I'm a special song, sing me well'. That happened with ‘Pesugiraen' and ‘Kuchh Khaas' from ‘Fashion'. Sometimes, my eyes well up when I am recording for a song. That's the power of a good tune.”

And, how does she plan to balance her interest in albums with film music? “My first love was and continues to be non-film music. It's a part of me. I dream of the day when I'll sing my own music. That day, I would have arrived,” she concludes.

Stephen Court fire toll rises to 34

The toll in the Stephen Court fire here on Sunday rose to 34 as one more body was found under the rubbles in the fifth floor of the fire-raged building.
Fire brigade sources said the decomposed body was recovered from under the debris in the fifth floor and it has been sent to the SSKM Hospital for postmortem.
“The charred body is beyond recognition and we cannot say even whether it is male or female,” the sources said.
Meanwhile, a family from Jharkhand has lodged a complaint with the police, saying a member of it has been missing from Tuesday, the day the fire broke out.
The family said in the complaint lodged on Saturday night that Vineet came to the city to appear in an examination at Stephen Court on that day and did not return.
Following this complaint, the number of missing persons relating to the fire rose to three.
“There is every possibility that some bodies are still there under the debris. But the condition of the bodies is very very bad. The bodies cannot be pulled out unless the entire debris is cleared,” said a senior police officer.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation workers working round the clock have to be very careful in clearing the debris and that was why it was taking so much time, a KMC official said.
“Nearly 75 per cent of the work of removing the rubble is finished and the rest will be done tonight. So there is a possibility that some bodies might be recovered tonight,” the KMC official said.
To clear the confusion regarding identification of bodies, a notice was put up at the State-run SSKM Hospital yesterday.
According to the notice, 29 bodies had been found of which 16 had been disposed off. Of the 13 remaining, DNA tests have been conducted on four and the same would be done on the remaining nine tomorrow.
Hospital superintendent D. Bhattacharya told PTI that DNA tests generally took time.

Manmohan responsible for price rise, says BJP

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has failed to control the spiralling prices of essential commodities and the United Progressive Alliance government is insecure and has misplaced priorities, according to Bharatiya Janata Party's national spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad

“Mr. Singh, who is regarded as a noted economist, has completely failed to control the rampant price rise of essential commodities. Why is it that there is always a price rise whenever there is a Congress-led government at the Centre?” said Mr. Prasad said here on Sunday.

“Prices of essential commodities remained under a tight leash when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government was in power for six years,” he claimed.

“The government is insecure and has misplaced priorities. It is more concerned instead with banal issues such as attacking actor Amitabh Bachchan for sharing the same podium with Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan,” he said.
Headley issue

Terming the Centre's stand on the Headley affair vapid and a “gross failure of diplomatic initiatives” on its part, Mr. Prasad said, “Headley has named four Pakistani officers as part of the 26/11 conspiracy. Why are only the Karachi and Lahore angles being looked at and the Pakistan Army establishment's direct role in the terrorist strike being ignored.”

“During the course of his two-day dialogue with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi smugly hailed a Pakistan-U.S. ‘partnership'.

So, does the U.S. now endorse Pakistan's sponsorship of terrorism in this ‘alliance',” he said.
Naxal challenge

On the Centre's armed operations to combat naxalism, he said he endorsed an armed offensive against naxals, but the nature of challenge must be well understood and the police action well coordinated.

“Naxals do not believe in capturing power by using constitutional means. They believe that power flows from the barrel of a gun,” he pointed out.

Fully satisfied with questioning of Narendra Modi, says SIT chief

Chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), R.K. Raghavan, said on Sunday that the SIT was “fully satisfied” with the questioning of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Talking to journalists, Mr. Raghavan, who himself was not present during Mr Modi's questioning, said if necessary Mr. Modi could be called again. “But that is only if some major gaps have remained in his answers for which he can be called again for further clarity,” he said, hinting that new issues are unlikely to be raised by the SIT with him.

The SIT chairman said the practice was the same for all witnesses and not special for Mr. Modi. He said he could decide on calling Mr. Modi again only after studying the details of the questioning.

He said the SIT would now examine the evidence, study the reports and submit it to the Supreme Court. He said he was hopeful that the SIT would be able to keep the April 30 deadline for submitting its report to the Supreme Court.

He declined to comment on filing of an FIR against Mr. Modi as demanded by many activists and voluntary organisations.

The SIT's job was to “present our findings to the Supreme Court and then await its directions,” he said.

Without naming anyone, Mr. Raghavan regretted that “some people” were targeting the SIT. “It is very hurting,” he said and claimed that the SIT was performing its assigned tasks “dutifully and honestly.” He apparently was hinting at the Citizens for Justice and Peace general secretary, Teesta Setalvad, and some other voluntary organisations, for expressing doubts about the SIT's style of functioning, particularly when Mr. Modi had not been questioned. Ms Setalvad had even filed a petition in the Supreme Court demanding reconstitution of the SIT.

APPSC row rocks Assembly

The alleged irregularities in the conduct of examinations and interviews by the Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) rocked the Assembly on Saturday.

Telugu Desam members stalled proceedings for close to two hours demanding removal of APPSC chairman Y. Venkatarami Reddy from his post and an inquiry into the ‘lapses' which denied opportunities to eligible aspirants hailing from SC & ST communities. As the TDP members insisted on a debate after Speaker N. Kiran Kumar Reddy disallowed their adjournment motion, the House was adjourned for 10 minutes.

When the House assembled, it was adjourned once again as the TDP members rushed to the well insisting on an assurance from the Treasury Benches that necessary action would be initiatedTDP members disrupted the proceedings which were resumed after 45 minutes prompting Chief Minister K. Rosaiah to intervene. He said the government was seriously examining the allegations relating to the APPSC's functioning.

Mr. Rosaiah, however, rejected immediate action claiming the government could not do so “just because the newspapers carried some reports”. Leader of the Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu demanded that recruitments be kept on hold pending completion of inquiry so that genuine aspirants were not denied their due.

Representatives of the TDP and two Left parties later called on Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan urging him to refer the matter to the President and seek an inquiry by the Supreme Court for ensuring fairness and transparency in the functioning of the commission. “This is an unfortunate situation where belief and confidence in the functioning of constitutional bodies has been eroded,” they said in their memorandum to the Governor.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

‘Sachin’s absence from T20 WC good for other teams’

Pakistan’s Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi has joined the list of advocates supporting Sachin Tendulkar’s inclusion in India’s Twenty20 World Cup squad, saying the champion batsman’s absence from the next month’s event is a blessing in disguise for other teams.

Tendulkar, who quit the format along with Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid in 2007, has been in red hot form in the Indian Premier League III and it forced former as well as present cricketers, including Afridi to ask the right—hander to change his decision and play in the upcoming T20 World Cup in the West Indies.

“The way he has blossomed in the last few years, he is only getting better and better as a batsman. If he is not playing for India in the Twenty20 World Cup, it is certainly a big advantage for other teams,” Afridi said.

“If Tendulkar had played in this World Cup, I am sure he would made big impact for India,” he added.

Notwithstanding the hue and cry, Tendulkar has recently ruled out the possibility of returning to Twenty20 International cricket.

However, Afridi feels with age Tendulkar is getting better day by day and could be a destructive force in T20 matches.

“With every match he seems to be growing as a batsman and getting better. He is playing like a teenager. There is no sign of age affecting his game at all,” the Pakistani all—rounder said.

“The biggest thing that he still enjoys playing the sport and he is hunger for runs has not died at all,” he said.

“I think even in T20 cricket you need to bat properly and at times even playing out 20 overs is a big challenge for a team. You need to play orthodox cricket,” Afridi noted.

NREGA workers may not get unemployment allowances

Thousands of NREGA workers, who have been waiting for the payment of their outstanding unemployment allowances guaranteed under the Act, may not get them as their entitlements cannot be established.

A high level government panel has found that the applications for demand of work submitted by NREGA workers under the Act were not “documented or dated”, and the dated receipts for such applications were not issued “in most cases“.

“As a result the eligibility of rural households for unemployment allowance, in these cases, was the absence of recorded date of demand, the entitlement to unemployment allowances could not be easily established,” Public Accounts Committee on the implementation of NREGA for the fiscal 2009-10 said in its report, recently tabled in Parliament.

As per Mahatma Gandhi NREGA, the State government is required to provide employment to a registered applicant within 15 days of demand, failing which unemployment allowance at “stipulated rates” is payable by the State governments from their fund, the Committee noted.

The Act stipulates that the rate of the allowance has to be fixed by state governments in consultation with State Councils. But, it should not be less than one-fourth of the wages for the first 30 days of unemployment and half of the wages beyond this.

“However, audit review has revealed that in 282 gram panchayats in 21 States, dated receipt of applications for demand for work were not given, and employment registers were not maintained in 329 gram panchayats in 19 States,” it said.

Maoists threaten to blow up Orissa CM’s house

An e-mail by suspected Maoists, received at the Orissa Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) here threatened to blow up the residence of Naveen Patnaik and other important establishments in the state, officials said on Sunday.

The mail suggests bullet injuries to top Maoist leaders Kishenji and Bikram.

“We will reply to each bullet those hit Kishanji and comrade Bikram,” said the e-mail received on Saturday purportedly sent by the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Peoples’ Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA), a Maoist outfit.

“As soon as you launch joint special operation or ‘Green Hunt’, we will start attacks at Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri simultaneously,” the e—mail has said.

Asking the chief minister not to rejoice over the deployment of central para—military force (CPMF) in the state, it said, “Your happiness over getting additional force is temporary“.

Describing the police personnel as a “helpless lot” in the administrative set up, the e—mail has threatened to target corrupt bureaucrats by the use of ultra—modern weapons available under cyber technology.

The state secretariat, office of the commissioner of police, police headquarters in Cuttack, armoury of 6th Battalion of OSAP (Orissa special armed police), Orissa Computer Application Centre (OCAC), Grid Corporation of Orissa (Gridco), Nalco and Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) are identified in its target.

Claiming PLGA had successfully hacked the state government portal on March 11, the e—mail said the rebel’s acts would be more devastating this time as they were aware of the loopholes in the government set—up.

A senior official of the home department said that they are probing the incident.

Agni-I test-fired successfully

In the third consecutive success in two days, nuclear-capable surface-to-surface Agni-I ballistic missile with a range of 700 km was successfully flight-tested from the Wheeler’s Island off the Orissa coast on Sunday.

The test carried out by Strategic Forces Command personnel met all the mission objectives and was one of the best-ever launches, according to officials of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The missile which was blasted off at 1.07 hrs from a mobile launcher was tracked by all the radars along the coast and two ships as it splashed down towards the pre-designated target in the Bay of Bengal with precision and accuracy after a 500-second flight. A specialised navigation and guidance system enabled the missile to close in on the target with a high degree of accuracy.

The 14-metre tall Agni-I is a single-stage, solid propelled weapon system. It has a one metre diameter and is capable of carrying a payload of 1,000 kg.

The Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and Director-General, DRDO, V.K. Saraswat, Director, Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), P.Venugopalan, Director, Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), Avinash Chander and other top DRDO scientists were present.

On Saturday, ship-launched Dhanush and surface-to-surface Prithvi-II were successfully test-fired in salvo mode from two locations off the Orissa coast. Both the missiles achieved their full range and conformed to the mission’s parameters.

Government schools to up standards

Parents’ meetings, weekly assessments, project work and on-time completion of the syllabus; all attributes that were hitherto confined to private schools, are finally making their way into government high schools from the ensuing academic year.

With the standards in government high schools hitting rock bottom, thanks to the callousness of the teachers and the officials of the school education department, the government had the novel idea of achieving “academic excellence” in the said schools.

Though doubts are being raised over the implementation of the new scheme as these schools are plagued by various problems, the commissioner and director of school education, Ms Poonam Malakondaiah, is confident that it will be implement in “letter and spirit” from this year.

Ms Malakondaiah, who has been working on drafting the academic calendar for government high schools, is currently in the process of conducting training classes for teachers for the effective execution of the programme.

“Education is basically a tripartite arrangement between students, parents and teachers. But unfortunately, parents are ignored in the government schools for obvious reasons — most parents are from the under-privileged sections of society and are uneducated. It’s a fact that teachers feel it belittling to talk to these parents. We want to remove this stigma,” she said.

Parents of students who perform well in studies and extra-curricular activities will be made to speak in the school assembly to motivate other parents.

The academic planner is being sent to nearly 25,000 high schools and upper primary schools, aimed at improving the overall performance of nearly 42 lakh students enrolled from Class VI to Class X. The planner talks about daily, weekly and monthly schedules apart from a continuos evaluation of students.

“Besides focus on academics, students should participate in extra-curricular activities for overall personality development. Activities on conservation of environment, safe agriculture practices and sports and games will be taken up in an organised manner. This will make them sensitive towards the environment as well,” Ms Malakondaiah said.

Temple awaits Big B’s promised Rs 1cr grant

Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan is learning the hard way that when it comes to money, spiritual authorities can be as hard-headed as temporal ones.

The actor promised Rs 1 crore to the Sri Brahmaramba Mallikarjunaswamy Temple in Srisailam three years ago, but has given only Rs 11 lakh. Temple authorities have been chasing him through letters to cough up the remaining amount, but the actor has not responded yet.

Amitabh Bachchan, accompanied by wife Jaya, son Abhishek, daughter-in-law Aishwarya and close pal and politician Mr Amar Singh visited the famed hill-top temple in Kurnool district on July 29, 2007.

They participated in the Rudrabhisekham at Jyothirlingam and Kumkumarchana performed at Sri Bhramarambika Devi temple.

After the rituals, Vedic scholars blessed the couples. The temple’s then executive officer, Mr Harijawahar Lal, accompanied them and presented them a memento. Before they left, he also sought a donation of Rs 1 crore for gold-plating of the temple’s Dhwaja Sthambam.

Mr Gopala Krishna, executive officer of the temple told this newspaper on Saturday that Amitabh Bachchan had promised to bear the cost of the Dhwaja Sthambam and immediately shelled out Rs 11 lakh, with the rest to follow.

Should the rest of the money not be forthcoming, Mr Krishna says the temple has another willing donor for the Dhwaja Sthambam which is in bad shape and needs 8.5 kg of gold plating.

Kingfisher bomb case solved: Police

The Kerala police has taken into custody an employee of a private cargo firm here for his alleged involvement in placing an explosive device on a Kingfisher flight to Thiruvananthapuram on March 21. The arrest is likely to be recorded later in the day.

The police has ruled out the involvement of any terrorist outfit and said that the incident was the result of personal enmity among employees of private firms.

"Right now, I will not be able to divulge the details but the case has been solved and the person who did this crime has admitted to it. The recording of the arrest and other things will take place shortly," a senior police official, who did not wish to be named, said here on Sunday.

The explosive device was found in the cargo section of the Kingfisher plane after it landed in Thiruvananthapuram from Bangalore last Sunday. The flight had 27 passengers and four crew members.

After the passengers and the crew deplaned, a routine security check of the aircraft led to the detection of the device wrapped in a school question paper and a Malayalam newspaper.

"He is not an employee of the Airports Authority of India. He works with a private firm involved in operations inside the airport," the official added.

The person in custody hails from the suburbs of the capital city.

Traffic cops enjoy a Sunday too

Come weekend and the city of Nawabs switches gear into lazy Sunday mode. Big brunches and siestas are expected, however, even traffic signals are switched off and traffic police can be seen idling on street corners. From having siestas of their own or chatting with colleagues as traffic around them goes haywire, anarchy rules the city traffic on Sundays with no lights and no cops to guide them.

Nathan Akshith, an engineer says, “On Sundays, it’s the same story across city traffic junctions. Crossroads where there are only supposed to be four directions for vehicular movement suddenly become a scene of chaos as six-seven new directions crop up. Even if the signals are working, motorists conveniently ignore them. And all the while, traffic cops lounge around lazily with not a care in the world.”

Aadesh Kothari, national head for a website is bemused. “It’s funny to watch cops take it easy and permit errant motorists to ride as they please. It’s literally a ‘free-for-all’ on weekends at traffic signals. Ironically when there’s a VIP convoy, cops snap to attention. What about us?”

The lax attitude makes negotiating through these junctions on the weekend a nightmare. “One Sunday as I rode my two-wheeler near the YMCA cross-roads, I saw a hapless pedestrian struggling to cross the road, thanks to traffic coming from all directions. The cops however, watched the drama ensconced in their cosy corner under the shade of a tree,” says Radhika P., an IT employee.

The traffic police too can’t help but admit that there is a lapse in manning vehicular movement on weekends and public holidays. P.V. Anand, ACP (traffic) admits, “I have noticed that cops don’t man the traffic as stringently as they should,” continuing with an assurance, “We are taking steps to ensure that they regulate traffic well even on holidays. We are also planning to install umbrellas at traffic kiosks to provide shade for cops to enable them to work better.”

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Focus on farming in T reports

In the run up to the scheduled tour of Srikrishna Committee members in Nizamabad, Karimnagar and Adilabad districts from March 31, leaders of political parties, mass organisations and groups are preparing to submit their views to the panel members.

Two members of the five- member Srikrishna Committee — Ms Ravinder Kaur and Abusaleh Shariff — will tour the district to elicit opinion from various sections of the population on the Telangana issue. Some organisations like Retired Employees Association, Nizamabad Chamber of Commerce and students organisations besides some public representatives have already sent their letters to the committee.

The main theme in the various submissions is expected to be the sorry state of agriculture in the district, which during Nizam rule itself, saw a golden age.

Even before the formation of Andhra Pradesh, the district boasts of Nizamsagar project which had 2.5 lakh acre ayacut.

However, leaders and organisations advocating Telangana state lament that due to negligence of the successive governments in the united state, the project saw its capacity gradually reduced and is now catering only to the needs of one lakh acres.

As a result, a large number of farmers have resorted to indiscriminate digging of borewells — according to estimates the number of borewells in the district is about 3 lakh — thus depending completely on ground waters and electricity. The recurring power shortage in the state led to uncertainty in farming causing huge losses to farmers and suicides.

Though Gutpa-Ali Sagar projects were built to stabilise Nizamsagar ayacut, lack of flow in Godavari due to building of projects upstream in Maharashtra, farmers got no relief.

The failure of agriculture has also triggered migration of rural populace to Gulf countries as well as other places in the country.

Political parties and organisations are in the process of preparing reports encompassing all these aspects of the problem to submit to the committee members.

62 MLAs suspended from House

For the first time in the budget session, Telugu Desam MLAs were suspended from AP Legislative Assembly over “tainted officials” issue, which rocked the House on Friday.

As many as 62 opposition MLAs were suspended as they had not agree to take up regular business and tabling of various Bills in the House during the evening session.

The Speaker, Mr N. Kirankumar Reddy, who adjourned the Assembly twice in the morning and once in the evening, suspended the members as they created furore in the House, causing disruption for almost three hours.

The Telugu Desam vehemently opposed the elevation of Mr Harshavardhan as an IAS officer even after he faced corruption charges and ACB raids in November, 2009. After the raids on his properties, Mr Harshavardan was suspended from the service.

However, the suspension was revoked and he was conferred IAS and posted in Small Savings Department recently. The Telugu Desam raised the issue during Question Hour alleging that the government had favoured the tainted official by clearing the way for him to get promotion as an IAS officer.

As soon as the TD MLA, Mr Revanth Reddy, began his speech levelling charges against Mr Harshavardan, the Congress chief whip, Mr Bhatti Vikramarka, and the whip, Mr Sailajanath, objected to his observations. They alleged that the Opposition was targeting only Dalit officials.

The Telugu Desam, which got the upper hand initially, was a taken aback with the usage of Dalit card by the Congress members.

Pandemonium prevailed for half-an-hour, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for 10 minutes.

After the House re-assembled, the TD MLA, Mr M. Narsimhulu, alleged that the Congress government had harassed Mr Harshavardan and the Chief Minister, Mr K. Rosaiah, himself allowed ACB raids against him. The Chief Minister took strong objection to the remarks of

Mr Narasimhulu and said the ACB need not take prior permission from him for conducting raids on senior officials.

Congress members demanded an apology from the Telugu Desam member since Mr Narsimhulu had made false allegations against the Chief Minister. The Speaker had also advised the Telugu Desam member to say sorry for dragging Mr Rosaiah’s name in the episode.

Spare an hour for the Earth

When the third rock from the sun switches off its lights between 8.30 and 9.30 Saturday night, you know something is on.

The hugely popular and symbolic campaign against climate change has corporations, public bodies and individuals, raring to jump on to the “green bandwagon” to pledge support for action against climate change.

Come March 27, lights will be dimmed in 56 cities across the country. In no mood to be left behind, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM) has written to no less than 250 welfare associations and corporations to go dark from 8.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. Public buildings such as the power-hungry Vidhana Soudha or Town Hall, large IT offices and parks — where power consumption is anyway low on Saturday evenings — and hotels have pledged to support the cause.

Last year, BESCOM recorded a drop of 80 MegaWatt peak load (against a daily average of 1,800 MW) on the occasion, a senior official said. BESCOM aims to save at least 0.8 million units on Saturday, compared to an average daily consumption of 33 million units.

This idea, born in Sydney in 2007, has since turned global. Mobilised and branded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), this year's Earth Hour has reputedly spread its wings wider with 120 countries signing up so far, compared to 88 last year. This promises to be the biggest mass event aimed at “speaking up against climate change”, WWF says. But, ask the detractors, “Why choose Saturday?” While corporates claim credit for pledging allegiance to the cause, one may wonder the sincerity of an attempt to “minimise resources” on a day when offices are shut.

A few companies, Infosys Technologies for one, have taken it beyond the token one hour by organising weeklong activities such as Earth Habba or green campaigns to build awareness. However, it must be noted that companies that provide round-the-week customer service, for clients at home and abroad, can hardly afford to join the initiative. A spokesperson of an IT major told The Hindu that it is only the R&D wing that will observe Earth Hour, while the BPO and client servicing sections cannot afford a break.

The 1,300 fans of the Facebook group Anti-Climate Change, a pittance compared to the fans that the WWF Earth Hour page has (2,18,880), maintain that this initiative is a sham. Critics point out that the carbon credits gained in the 60-minute token blackout barely makes up for the energy used to back this campaign, both online and offline.

Elaborate symbolism or not, Earth Hour has familiarised many with the critical issue of climate change.

At the end of the day, whether participants in this global campaign will return at 9.30 p.m. to their usual appetite for power or not will be an individual decision.
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