Showing posts with label National. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National. Show all posts

Indian Air Force struck a major terrorist camp across the LoC

11:37 AM
Surgical strike 2

Indian Air Force struck a major terrorist camp across the LoC and completely destroyed it. Twelve Mirage 2000 jets of the IAF are said to have crossed the LoC and destroyed a major terrorist camp, the ANI news agency reported today. According to sources 1000 Kgs Bombs have been dropped in 3 bases of  JEM in Pakistan destroying terrorist camps in the area.
Indian Air Force struck a major terrorist camp across the LoC

Indian Warplanes Cross Line of Control, Drop 1000 kg Bombs to Destroy Jaish Terror Camps in PoK: AIF Sources

Air Force Jets Cross LoC, Destroy Terrorist Camp With 1000 kg Laser-guided Bombs.

"Pakistani F16s were scrambled to retaliate against IAF Mirage 2000s that bombed terror targets across LoC but turned back due to size of Indian formation" a report says.

Meanwhile  high alert has been sounded in Gujarat, according to State DGP Shivanand Jha. "Three border districts have been put on alert, with the Indian Air Force on high alert at its air defense systems across western border with Pakistan."

Indian Air Force violated Line of Control, claims Pakistan. Pakistan's claim comes in the wake of tense relations between the two countries in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack.

"Indian Air Force violated Line of Control (LoC). Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled. Indian aircrafts gone back. Details to follow." - the Spokesperson for the Pakistan Armed Forces, Major General Asif Ghafoor, tweeted

We are bombing our own territory called PoK, no international laws broken: Subramanian Swamy

PM Narendra Modi Holds Security Meet Hours After IAF Mirage Jets Bomb JeM Camps In PoK. Top officials of the PM’s office and the security apparatus were present at the meeting.

Chandra Kumar Gurung conferred Jeevan Raksha Padak 2018

11:06 PM
SE Report

The President of India has approved the conferment of Jeevan Raksha Padak 2018 on 48 persons including Shri Chandra Kumar Gurung of Sikkim. Jeevan Raksha Padak series of awards are given to a person for meritorious act of human nature in saving the life of a person. The award is given in three categories, namely, Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak, Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak and Jeevan Raksha Padak. Persons of all walks of life are eligible for these awards. The award can also be conferred posthumously.
Chandra Kumar Gurung conferred Jeevan Raksha Padak 2018

Chandra Kumar Gurung of Kaluk village in West Sikkim saved a life of a road accident victim near Singtam on November 9, 2017.

He was awarded the certificate of Commendation by the Governor of Sikkim in January 26, 2018.

The decoration of the award (medal, certificate signed by the Union Home Minister and lump sum monetary allowance) is presented to the awardee in due course by the respective Union Ministries/­Organizations/State Government to which the awardee belongs.

The 48 awards include Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak to 08, Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak to 15 and Jeevan Raksha Padak to 25 persons. 08 awards are posthumous

"Death to Child Rapists” - Parliament Passes Bill

8:55 PM
Parliament on Monday passed a stringent legislation prescribing death penalty to those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 years and making the law against such sexual offences harsher. The Bill replaces the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated on April 21, following an outcry over the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir and the rape of another woman at Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.
Death to Child Rapists - Parliament Passes Bill

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on July 30, was approved by a voice vote in the Upper House.

While replying to a debate in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju assured the House that the concerns and issues raised by the members would be looked into by the government, even as he did not agree with the demand of several MPs to send the bill to a Select Committee for scrutiny.

Terming the bill as one of national importance, Rijiju said the law is aimed at providing safety to minor girls as he highlighted various aspects of the measure.

He said the government brought the bill, as in the last few months, several heart-rending incidents of rape of under- aged girls have taken place in the country.

Rijiju said four states had already brought a law in their respective assemblies for capital punishement those who commit rape gainst the girl child who are under the age of 12. The states are Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh.

"We have introduced certain changes in the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Court Procedure, Evidence Act and there are consequential effects on prevention of atrocities against children," the minister said.

The bill stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 12 years. Death sentence has been provided for rapists of girls under 12 years.

The minimum punishment in cases of rape of women has been increased from rigorous imprisonment of seven years to 10 years.

According to the bill, in case of rape of a girl under 16 years, the minimum punishment has been increased from 10 to 20 years, extendable to imprisonment for rest of life, which means jail term till the convict's "natural life".

Stringent punishment for rape of a girl under 12 years has been provided with the minimum jail term being 20 years which may go up to life in prison or death sentence. Gangrape of a girl under 12 years of age will invite punishment of jail term for the rest of life or death.

The measure also provides for speedy investigations and trial. The time limit for investigation of all cases of rape has been prescribed, which has to be mandatorily completed within two months.

The deadline for the completion of trial in all rape cases will be two months. A six-month time limit for the disposal of appeals in rape cases has also been prescribed, the bill says, adding that there will also be no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gangrape of a girl under 16 years.

Participating in the debate, several members made a case for sending the bill for scrutiny to Select Committee, saying there were several shortcomings in it.

Some members argued that the provision of death penalty could affect reporting of cases of sexual assault as in many cases the accused happened to be relatives or known persons.

There was also an opinion that the provision of death penalty could endanger the life of the victim.

Many members suggested that the government change the term 'woman' in the bill appropriately and make it gender- neutral as such crimes do happen with boys as well.

Sukhendu Sekhar Ray (TMC) wondered why there are different punishment according to the age of the vicitm. He also expressed concern over the large pendency of cases in courts in the country.

Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD) expressed concern that provision of death penalty may endanger victim's life, while Kahkashan Perween (JD-U) suggested that like in Bihar, there should be women police stations in all states.

Chhaya Verma (Cong) said punishment should be the same for those convicted for rape, irrespective of the gender of child victim.

Ravi Prakash Verma (SP) said the bill should be sent to a select commitee as it took care only of girls and not boys. Citing a survey, he added that the cases of sexual violence were more against boys. Rajeev Gowda (Congress) also aked the government refer it to a select committee.

Congress Leader Labels Gorkhas as “Separatists, Anti-Nationals, Traitors, anti-India

9:09 PM
SHAME: Congress Leader Pawan Khera Labels Gorkhas as “Separatists, Anti-Nationals, Traitors, anti-India” – GORKHAS DEMAND UNCONDITIONAL APOLOGY

In another instance of humiliation meted out to the Gorkhas, Pawan Khera senior Congress spokesperson and former Political Secretary to Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit clubbed Gorkhas with Khalistan Separatists and went on to label the Gorkhas as “separatist and anti-nationals.”

The offensive comment was made by Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera in NDTV debate program Left Right and Center.

Reacting to the BJP accusation of Congress joining hands with Popular Front of India, which has been deemed to be a militant and extremist organization, Congress leader Khera started to count the alliances that BJP had made, and counting his fingers claimed, “Bodo, Naga, Gorkha, pro-Khalistan elements, IPFT in Tripura – six states in which you have joined hands with separatists, anti-Nationals, traitors, anti-India.”

This slur on the Gorkha community was immediately condemned on Twitter, by @BiswadeepTamang who wrote, ” @Pawankhera how irresponsible of you to equate the entire #Gorkha community with Khalistanis and Naga rebels. You are totally ill informed by Jyoti Basu and his brigades on what #Gorkhas in India stands for. Educate yourself, before you speak rubbish. @Nidhi”

He also uploaded the following screenshot to inform the ill-informed Congress spokesperson.

” @Pawankhera Read what Congress and the former PM Rajiv Gandhi had then said on Gorkhaland. October 15, 1986 India Today https://bit.ly/2wumvqc”

Another Gorkha twitteratti Dinesh Sharma who tweets under the handle @OyeKeta wrote,

“Dear @INCIndia, please clarify what your official @PawanKhera means by calling #Gorkhaland #Bodoland #NagaIssue anti-national conspiracy. Your politics of #appeasement and #MongoloidPrejudices has pushed democratic movements in the #NorthEast to the brink of extremism #Apologize”

Taking strong exception to the lies spewed on national TV, one of the most followed Gorkha twitterattis @DipendraDipzo wrote a series of tweets, among which he asked Pawan Khera to apologize,

“Hello half-informed idiot @Pawankhera APOLOGIZE ASAP. Since when Demanding statehood within the UNION of INDIA became Anti India?? Hello, @INCIndia @RahulGandhi make this moron @pawankhera to APOLOGIZE ASAP. You are a traitor, not us. Idiot.”

The outrage felt by all Gorkhas on twitter, is gradually turning  into a gradual movement to ensure that no one throws Gorkha name to muck again, as this tweet by @VaniraKhati states,

“In a moment of absolute brain freeze @Pawankhera labels Gorkhas as anti nationals. He cannot get away by tampering with our reputation thus. #CongressMustApologizeToGorkhas”

Following the intesne pressure put forth by Gorkha twitterattis, @Pawankhera issued an apology, in which he clarified, “Highest regard for Gorkhas and their valour. The words were dedicated to the RSS/BJP for their double standards on electoral alliances.”

However, Gorkha twitterattis want Pawan Khera to issue an unconditional apology for slurring the name of our community. As this tweet by @GorkhaCheli explained,

“U drew parallel with anti nationals. Named us along with Separatists. Called us Traitors. FYI, there is dedicated regiment of Gorkhas protecting our nation at the borders and thats why you are able to raise your voice in Studios with comfort.”

Another leading Gorkha twitteratti @sudlimbu tweeted,

“On what ground this ill informed ignorant @Pawankhera labelled us separatists and antinationals? Is demanding a separate state under UNION OF INDIA antinational? We condemn his malicious statement maligning our repute and seek his Apology ASAP”

Another twitteratti @mamathaparoy1 added,

“These kind of lies are misleading, and makes ones blood boil. He doesn’t know what he’s saying. The right thing would be to apologise to the ever loyal Gorkha’s, who are sent, first in every war.”

The support for Gorkhas is coming from others as @MarkKumar3 writes,

“We support Gorkhas demand for their own state separate from West Bengal. This @Pawankhera won’t learn like this. Teach him some manners in Gorkha style”

Time for Pawan Khera to issue a proper apology.

http://thedarjeelingchronicle.com/shame-congress-leader-pawan-khera-labels-gorkahs-as-separatists-anti-nationals-traitors-anti-india-gorkhas-demand-unconditional-apology/

पहाडमा रोहिङ्या अनि गोर्खा जाती

9:52 PM

थुलुङ भाई

अहिले घरी सामाजिक संजालहरुमा कतिथ रुपले रोहिङ्या मुसलमान पहाडँ(कालेबुङ) भित्र पसेको भिडियो चर्चाको बिषय बनेको छ।

यदि साच्चै नै ती सबै ब्यक्तिहरु रोहिङ्या मुसलमानहरु हुन भने यो समग्र पहाडँ अनि गोर्खा जातीको निम्ति मात्रै नभएर देशको सुरक्षा ब्यवस्था माथी नै हमला हो।के भिडियोमा देखिएको ब्यक्तिहरु भारतीय  मुसलमान हुन अथवा पहाडँ घुम्न आएका साधारण पर्यटकहरु मात्र हुन?कहाँ छन् उनीहरु अहिले? के गर्दैछन्?

पुलिस प्रशासन अनि गोर्खाल्यान्ड क्षेत्रीय प्रशासनका अधिकारीहरुले झट्ट यो बिषय माथी ध्यानसंग छानबिन गरि सत्यता के हो जनता सामु ल्याउन नितान्त आवश्यक छ।कारण यस्ता घटनाहरुले पहाडँमा फेरि अशान्ति शृजना गर्न सक्छ भन्न सकिन्दैन। गोर्खाल्याण्ड क्षेत्रीय प्रशासनको प्रवेस द्वार सुकुना देखि केही मिनेट टाडो सालबाढीमा पनि बिगत दिनहरु भन्दा धेरै संख्यामा अवैध बंगलादेशीहरुको प्रवेस भएको कुरा प्रकाशमा आएको छ अनि उनिहरुले हेर्दाहेर्दै एउटा नयाँ गाउँ नै बनाएको लेखक स्वयं लाई अनुभव छ।तब प्रश्न उठँछ यहा,के यस्ता घटनाहरु प्रशासनको जानकारी बिना घटन सक्छ?के राज्यको खुफिया विभागलाई यस बारे जानकारी हुदैन? प्रश्न गम्भीर छ।अनि त्यो भन्दा गम्भीर कुरो यस्ता कुराहरु प्रकासमा आएपनी प्रशासन किन मौन? राज्य सरकार होस अथवा केन्द्र सरकार दुवैले यो बिसयमा चासो न राखेको झै देखिन्छ।

केन्द्र सरकारको एक रिपोर्ट अनुसार पश्चिम् बंगालमा मात्रै २ करोड अवैध बंगलादेशीहरु बसोबास गर्छन्।
आसाम राज्य पनि अवैध बंगलादेशीहरुको समस्याले ग्रसित छ भने उडिस्सा पनि अछुतो छैन।सन १९७९ सालमा अल आसाम स्टुडेन्ट युनियनले अवैध बंगलादेशीको मुद्दा सरकार सम्मुख उठाएका थिए।तर सरकारले गम्भीरता पुर्वक लिएन,फलस्वरूप वर्तमान समयमा आएर केन्द्र सरकारलाई हस्ताक्षेप गर्न कर लाग्यो अनि असली भारतीय मुसलमान अनि अवैध बंगलादेशी छुट्टाउने प्रक्रिया आसाममा चलिरहेको छ।यी तीन राज्य मध्ये अवैध बंगलादेशीहरुको निम्ति पश्चिम् बंगाल राज्यमा प्रवेस गर्न सबैभन्दा सजिलो रहेको पनि बिगतका कतिपय भाइरल भिडियोहरु अनि घटनाहरुले स्पष्ट बुझाएको छ।

अन्तमा कालेबुङ शहर भित्र रोहिङ्या प्रवेश गरेको कतिथ घटनालाई कुनै राजनीतिकरण नगरी गम्भीरता पुर्वक छानबिन गरि सत्य कुरा उजागर गर्न अहिलेको परिवेशमा आवश्यक छ।

जय हिन्द जय गोर्खा

Separate ministry or policy for mountainous state - IMI

6:35 AM
Separate policy push for mountain states

Vivek Chhetri (Telegraph)

Darjeeling: A civil society group seeking separate development policies for hill states renewed its demand on Friday at a meeting in Darjeeling attended by representatives from 12 hill states.

The Integrated Mountain Initiative (IMI), floated in 2011, draws members from different walks of life including bureaucracy, politics, academicians and students among others.
Separate ministry or policy for mountainous state

"We believe (government) policies do not really take into the account the realities in mountainous areas. The schemes are drawn up in Delhi and many of the schemes and policies are more suited for the plains," Fantry Mein Jaswal, secretary of the IMI, said after the meeting on Friday.

The IMI has representatives in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Bengal (Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts) and Assam (Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao).

"Probably, (we need a) separate ministry for mountainous states or at least separate policies for hilly states," said Jaswal.

Some changes appear to be taking shape after the IMI's efforts. The ministry of environment, forests and climate change has now created a separate mountain division.

But more needs to be done, IMI representatives stressed and added that most chief ministers of these states had warmed up to the idea. "We have been holding annual summits since 2012 and have been working on different fronts," said Jaswal.

"The project will continue till March 2019 and an Indian Himalayan Region level compendium will be complied to look into these issues," said Praful Rao, president of the Darjeeling Himalayan Initiative (DHI).

"We had the first meeting in Darjeeling. Such consultative work will be held in all hill states," Rao added.

Maha Rally in Delhi for new states including Gorkhaland

2:34 PM

Joint rally in Delhi for statehood

Debraj Deb| Mar 20, 2018 00:00 IST - Telegrapg

Agartala: A group of the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) leaders on Monday joined a Maha Rally in New Delhi organised by the National Federation of New States seeking new states.

Failing this, the federation has threatened to launch a united political front before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Twipraland is a proposed separate state for indigenous communities of Tripura.

The federation organised a collective session on statehood demands at Hansraj College in Delhi on Sunday.

The rally on Mondaystarted from Rajghat and ended at Parliament Street.

Youth IPFT leader Shuklacharan Noatia told reporters that they were protesting to raise statehood demands from across the country at the national level. "Twipraland is a political demand and so are all others. The protest was successful," he said.

No central government representative has met the delegates so far.

NFNS general secretary Pramod Bodo said the protest was the first agitation of its type done jointly by all statehood demand groups in the country.

"After Telangana, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand, no new states were created," NFNS president Srihari Aney said.

The NFNS comprises the leaders of statehood movements of Vidharba, Bodoland, Bundelkhand, Gorkhaland, Twipraland, Kukiland, Karbi State and Poorvanchal.

On why his party leaders joined the rally despite being in alliance with the BJP in Tripura, which summarily rejected demand for a separate state, IPFT chief N.C. Debbarma said, "It was a pre-scheduled movement. A team of our party joined the agitation."

The All Bodo Students' Union, one of the participants in the rally, warned that the new state demand issue would "impact" the BJP in the next year's Lok Sabha polls.

It complained that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh did not reply to their letters for an appointment to discuss the issue.

Absu president Promod Boro told The Telegraph on Monday that if the BJP-led government did not fulfil their separate state demands, the NFNS would form a political front before the Lok Sabha elections. "Today we request the government to take a policy decision on the issue soon or the government will face the consequences," he said, adidng that the joint movement would continue.

Jitu Rai is considered India’s biggest bet for Rio Olympic medal

9:07 PM
India’s top shooter at Rio 2016 Olympics is a man who is most un-Bindra like in temperament. If Abhinav Bindra is intense, wrapped in himself and his sport, Rai, born in Nepal and now with the Indian army, is his opposite. Shivani Naik profiles the earthy, chilled out, nonplussed Jitu Rai who is unfussy about his sport, and with an outlook to life that has left his sponsors astonished, and his family proud.

Dinner nights scare Jitu Rai. He can make eating in front of people sound like the silent moan of American ladies of the hoopskirt era who nibbled on only a few morsels quietly and measuredly, because the only priority in public dining in those Civil War times, was to look elegant. Jitu didn’t need to fit into tight corsets like those poor little rich women wretchedly weaned away from hogging. But formal sit-down army lunches and dinners always ended up in the soldier returning to the empty mess a few hours later to chomp on a second helping of his favourite chicken.
Jitu Rai, soldier of 11 Gorkha Rifles is considered India’s biggest bet for an Rio Olympic medal
Jitu Rai, soldier of 11 Gorkha Rifles is considered India’s biggest bet for an Rio Olympic medal
Yatin Bhatkar, operations head at OGQ, his funding and facilitating sponsors, remembers one such lunch arranged by the Commandant of Mhow’s Army Marksmanship Unit, Col Lalit Sharma. “Jitu told me people speak in posh English and eat so little at these dos. And you’re expected to be polite and listen to others when they talk. Everyone ends up eating much less,” Bhatkar recalls him explaining. Jitu would call him a few hours later to report gleefully how he had polished off a heaped plate of tandoor murg, in his second hearty lunch sitting alone.

It was also Jitu Rai’s second chomp at success at Mhow and as an international marksman – he was packed off to his unit in Lucknow when he stagnated as a pistol shooter a few years ago. Heading into Rio, the 28-year-old soldier of 11 Gorkha Rifles is considered India’s biggest bet for an Olympic medal, though Bhatkar jokes he will have to persuade the shy jawaan to bite into the medal in full public view. He first sensed growing assuredness in the young man earlier this summer, when Jitu had confidently strode towards the dessert counter of the breakfast table at a city hotel without hesitation. “Arre tum log itna sa khaata hai,” he would mock complain, as he attacked the pastries guffawing at Bhatkar who considers Jitu an Olympics-bound athlete like no other he’s ever seen before.

Accustomed to Indian sportspersons’ sighing about lack of support, Bhatkar believes his non-profit fuelling Olympic dreams, has run into an outlandish man who has to be coaxed and cajoled to ask for help. The first time OGQ approached him, Jitu had asked fellow shooters Gagan Narang and Vijay Kumar why exactly would someone support him. He had also wondered how some blokes wearing shorts and sneakers could help him transform from being a shooter who made World Cup finals to someone who began winning those finals. “He’s used to the armed forces etiquette and formality. The first thing he told us was he’d expected someone wearing coats to turn up to help him,”

Bhatkar recalls. Chalking out a training programme in a coffee shop – and not an airconditioned corporate office with stuffy suits – was too much for his imagination in late 2013. “Vijay had to convince him to accept help.”

Not much has changed for India’s most consistent world-class shooter with 7 World Cup medals and podiums at every single elite championship he’s participated in – CWG, Asian Games, World Championships. Jitu still believes it’s mandatory to inform his benefactors and army seniors as soon as he reaches a new international city. He will politely ask for permission to check into a hotel room if there’s an overnight stopover at Frankfurt, and still ask “Are you sure?”

He needed a sports watch, worth Rs 6000 to time himself between shots after he’d returned from medalling at Asian Games and CWG in 2014. “But how can I ask you for it? How will you know whether it is useful to me or not if the coach hasn’t told you I need it?” he would quiz his befuddled backers. Taking a liking to a slightly expensive cycle to unwind after a hard day’s training shoot, he would agonise about it for days and ultimately put his life’s savings into buying it himself. It would take the Mumbai office three weeks to convince him to send across the bill from Indore to reimburse. He would first sheepishly tell them that he’d fallen for a cycle that was ‘thoda mehenga.’ Then he would ask how could he submit a bill if it’s not shooting equipment. Then he argued that there were cheaper cycles worth Rs 8000 in the market, but he had really fallen for a slightly costlier one. “I had to explain to him that he’s an elite athlete of India,” Bhatkar recalls.

Last heard, he had finally accepted a laptop to analyse his scores on the SCATT systems after months of running away from the expensive purchase.
Returning from a World Cup triumph once, Jitu Rai would miss his flight from Delhi to report to Mhow, stuck in the capital’s traffic for 2.5 hours. He would blame himself for not factoring in the time in that smoky snarl and end up booking his own tickets – last minute bookings that would set him back by a lot. “When we got through to him, he said as an Indian Army man he ought to have estimated the precise time. Petrified of missing flights ever since, Jitu will reach airports at 5 am for a 9.30 flight. He said it was his mistake and remained adamant to not accept a reimbursement. Where do you find such people nowadays?” Bhatkar wonders.

This one was found in Sankhuwa Sabha district in Nepal, though at the moment his family stays in Itahari, a city located in the Koshi Zone (south-eastern Nepal). Jitu’s mother Lily Maya Rai recalls an uneventful childhood of her now-famous son – always an introvert, spoke very little and never liked visiting relative’s homes. “He was a very good boy. Everything that he did, he would make sure it is done well and is complete,” she says, adding there was never much time for games. “He used to go to school and get back home and start off with other work on the field – cutting grass.
“Living conditions were all good till his father was still alive. Everything was alright. But then…” she trails off.

Jitu Rai had also cracked the British Army (Originally, there were four British Gorkha regiments which were amalgamated to form The Royal Gurkha Rifles in 1994 ) when he learnt of openings in the Indian army. “His friends were keen on India, so he also gave it a try and got through,” she says. The boy had seen hardship in his life, and the British army would’ve paid him more and given him British citizenship. None really knows why the lad chose the Indian army, though it might have something to do with continuation of loyalty from his father who might’ve served in same regiment, though sketchy details are known.

Jitu’s brother Bhanu Ghale though, recalls a few sporting honours from school. “There was always work to be done in the field. But there were a few games; Jitu liked playing Kabbadi and high jump. He even won an award in school called ‘Birendra Sheel’, named after the then King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev,” he recalls. Four of his brothers (there’s also one sister) would leave the country to find work in Dubai, Qatar and Malaysia, though all have since returned. Independent, hardworking and confident he always was, but what surprised the family was how he was willing to spend a lot of money from his own pocket initially to fund his sporting dream. “Earlier we thought, he was just going to be like any ordinary person from Nepal who goes to India to work. However, later we found out that he was using his own money to build his shooting career and do something different. Then we started hearing of his gold medals,” he adds.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a Gorkha — known to be excellent marksmen — is primed to win India one of its shooting medals at Rio. “Gorkhas came to India as conquerors in 1790s,” says Madhu Gurung, who’s penning a tome on the history of the regiment illuminating everyday lives of these hardy, brave, martial people. Having captured Kumaon, and passing Garhwal kingdom onto Dehradun where they’d fight the Anglo-Nepalese Wars, the Gorkha realm once spanned from Sutlej to Sikkim. The Brits began recruiting them in 1815, and Gurung notes how over 4 lakh of them would fight in the World Wars. “Jitu would’ve come through more or less the same system of Dallawaalahs who go recruiting to various localities in Nepal,” she adds.
In its 100th anniversary of the first of Anglo-Nepalese wars at Khalanga — considered a mournful British victory because it was as devastating as a loss — Jitu Rai is poised to hit bullseye and reprise the great marksmen skills of Gorkhas. Major-General Rollo Gillespie, who led the attacking troops, is said to have been shot through the heart by a sharp Gorkha sniper, though the brave resistance had come with mere khukris and a few muskets.

The Indian Army waits for another Gorkha to shine on August 6 & 10 with bated breath —a hundred years on.
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It’s always a marathon siege – the 50m free pistol event. Most Indians will tune into the Deodoro ranges in Rio when Jitu fires 60 shots in this long drawn gun-athon; considered pistol’s classical contest in precision. But few will appreciate what it takes to win the short barrel, heavier pistol show.

Imagine a very small target like in rifle, but shot with one hand. Like college marks in humanities, these scores tend to be lower. Not the high 90 percentile to feel exhilarated, a 565 / 600 would do just fine. The wind and the sun and the universe can conspire to make life difficult, and unlike the rifle which is largely about taming the weapon and the equipment, free pistol is about steely skill.

Pistols don’t offer the same stability of rifles, and are severely subject to ballistics – the handling, the support, air temperature, air speeds and weapon temperature. Quite simply, they are difficult beasts to be spot on with. Gun accuracy, they say, is an art few comprehend. In this, the army has done its best to give their man the best possible contraption. He flew down to the Morini factory Switzerland last year, there was a miniscule change in Jitu’s grip which was customised at Francesco. It took into account the anatomical structure of his palm and the contours of his hand – the finger that would pull the electronic hyper-sensitive trigger, reacting to that snap-connect between brain to nerve to finger.

‘‘It is about the ability to repeat the same performance over and over again,’’ explains former international Ashok Pandit. ‘‘Everyone knows how to shoot inner 10s, but you need to be patient to keep repeating it,’’ he says. It’s not a marathon for nothing. Jaspal Rana, India’s first pistol king, talks of the event needing a steady personality. ‘‘You should be able to stay where you are. It takes humility to repeat the same thing,’’ he philosophises.

It isn’t just the noise of guns going off by the opponents standing alongside you that you are trying to cope with but occasionally, you are fighting the crowd as well. In 2014 Asian games, where he won the gold at 50m, Rai was also in contention in the 10 m event when he lost his rhythm, as the crowd started cheering after an opponent aced the maximum score of 10.9. Rai lost his rhythm, and didn’t have enough time to regroup as the 50-second time limit ran out. He had to forego that shot and ended up with the bronze medal.

Alexander Melentyev held the world record in free pistol for 34 years – 581 / 600 – broken only at Granada in 2014 by Jin Jong-oh, where Jitu won silver. Pandit recalls shooting 558 at SAF Games for gold and being deliriously happy. ‘‘Indian standards were miserable. Jitu’s changed free pistol in India,’’ he says, with his added temperament for finals. At the highest stage, at the loftiest meets – Jitu Rai has gotten the job done.
The 50’s where the drama of the opera is – Jitu Rai could well become the first Indian to pick two medals in a single Olympic if he can also go the distance in 10m air pistol – where his scores aren’t too shabby either.

Abhinav Bindra has spoilt Indian shooting fans by laying bare for them a thousand shades of torment, a dozen signs of discomfort and the acutest of agonies suffered in pursuit of that 2008 gold medal, through his epic tome A Shot at History penned by word-maestro Rohit Brijnath. The book, though, sets you up for spectacular disappointment when you attempt to run the slivers of the Jitu Rai story through the same fine sieve of intensity. Bindra’s single-minded pursuit of an encore at Rio meant he returned from a test event at the host city earlier this summer, a tad ‘‘bored’’ at the sight of Christ the Redeemer.

On his arrival in Rio, Jitu would go and strike a Titanic pose in front of the imposing Landowski sculpted masterpiece of Jesus with outstretched hands. Complete with a goofy grin.

That’s chalk and cheese and soapstone and reinforced concrete — all manners of genius in dazzling white that’ll be present at the Olympics in Brazil.
It’ll be silly to think Jitu Rai doesn’t feel pressure – though he’ll never go about deconstructing it, he’d rather watch Bollywood comic capers and make you look silly for worrying – it’s just that he masks it well, chatting and walking around easy just before he’s shooting.

Viren Rasquinha of OGQ deals with a dozen shooters and has stacks of papers that detail how many of them compulsively change stance, technique, equipment – a thousand different screws, absorbers and accessories. ‘‘Jitu won’t bother about old foreign coach or new barrel and such other things. He believes in his own technique and way of training. There’s very little experimentation, it’s steady,’’ he states.

Until 2012 nobody knew Jitu Rai, and till 2014 Jitu Rai didn’t know Olympics was a big deal. He wasn’t star struck receiving an award once from Kapil Dev, and nodded obliviously as three-time Olympic champion Ralf Schumann held fort in English on succeeding. His happiest memory of the Arjuna Award ceremony was that his mother was flown down to Delhi, and enjoyed wearing footwear for the first time in her life.

There’s stage fright common to both luminous shooting stars – fright of the yakking on stage variety, but unlike Bindra who aced it in the end, Jitu doesn’t mind bumbling through it. He was told he’d be required to speak at a recent send-off function. ‘‘Maine room pe practice kiya ye boloonga, wo boloonga. Gurpreet saab ko stage pe dekha aur darr gaya. Upar jaake kadak ho gaya, main sab bhool gaya. Thank You kehke waapis aa gaya,’’ he would later say.

Uncharacteristically last May, Yatin Bhatkar got a frantic call from Jitu. ‘‘Sir, main English course karu kya,’’ the shooter would blurt out. ‘‘Haan karo, lekin tension nai hai. Aapko English mein shooting nai karna hai,’’ he was reassured. In a few day’s time, the rustic storm in the Earl Grey teacup had blown over after Jitu Rai walked upto Bhatkar and told him, ‘‘Sushil Kumar bhaisaab bhi Hindi mein baat karte hai.’’

It’s why the plethora of advice coming his way – mostly in English – amuses him, though he nods politely. Untroubled, unworried he’s the un-Bindraest of them all. Whether this de-complication brings him golden succeeds or not remains to be seen. Coaches were once attempting to explain to him to shut his mind off scores of other shooters as they flashed on the three screens during finals, to avoid them from distracting him. ‘‘Lekin announcement bhi hota hai,’’ he would pipe up. It’s not like shutting his eyes would change the scores, he’d think. Best to just see and be done with it. A mental trainer knew that day, his expertise meant not a thing to Jitu Rai.

Via indianexpress

Plight of Indian Gorkhas - have to decide what they really want?

11:12 AM
The Indian Gorkhas have to decide now as to what they really want and where they want to go from here.

While India vies for a global position, various communities in the country are reasserting their roles and striving to get maximum mileage from the country’s global entry. Many of them have already devoured the political and development pie. Every community wants to be a player and a difference maker. The game is on. Meanwhile, more than 10 million Indian Gorkhas find themselves at the crossroads.

The Indian Gorkhas have to decide now as to what they really want and where they want to go from here. Should they go with the rest of India to compete at the regional, national and global levels? Should they reorient their community thinking, redesign their societal approaches and restructure their collective action? Should the younger generation ‘re-focus’ on education that will make them professionally competitive?
Plight of Indian Gorkhas - have to decide what they really want?
Can they afford to cling on to their Khukuris and be driven by emotions, while they have the capability to be an example of ‘knowledge generation’? They could use the same blood, sweat and tears to re-identify and re-position themselves as the gyan-vir (literally, knowledge brave) and acquire national leadership. They have done it in the past at an individual level and now they have to do it collectively as this path provides an entry into the club of a national entity.

All the flaws
The Indian Gorkhas are known for integrity, courage, resilience and perseverance. They have a rich culture, tradition and unwritten intellectual heritage. They have made immense contributions in almost all the fields of the nation-building process both in the pre- and post-independence period.

It is a historic folly on their part that nobody from them made an effort to deconstruct and reconstruct their history in independent India. Therefore, the historical narratives on them at the national level are biased or remain largely untold. Nobody wrote an exclusive history of the Gorkhas in India. —a shocking degree of intellectual-gap. This is where they failed. This is a major societal failure and a reflection of a self-centric political leadership.

The Indian Gorkhas have a distinct disadvantage in that they are scattered geographically all across the country. In terms of population, they are a minuscule lot. They are one of the least educated communities. Economically, they remain deeply downtrodden and have no national forum to champion their cause.

Their present political leaderships have been of sub-regional character with a myopic vision, which has failed them in every respect. They are ignorant to the core, marginalised by virtue of their background and acts, and highly self-centric. These leaders are seemingly full of emotions, hollow promises and dangerous instincts of self-survival. And, they do not count at the national level at all; they have merely become local lords.

As a result, the national image and power of the Indian Gorkhas have steadily eroded and been widely stigmatised. It has jeopardised the very future of the next generation. Some of them, like in Sikkim, have done irreparable damage by dangerously dividing the Gorkhas into different castes and religious entities. And the Bengal administration has only replicated this model in Darjeeling by creating ‘development boards’ based on caste and creed. This is the least expensive approach to kill the demand for a separate state. History will never forgive this retrogressive policy of these leaders.

Change in discourse
For a new future for the Indian Gorkhas, their steady entry into the policy and decision-making processes and institutions of the country is essential. Many of them have done it in the past in education, national security, sports, media, music, corporate institutions, literature and even politics. This is how a small district like Darjeeling produced 5-8 Olympic players, possibly a record in the country. However, as opposed to the trickle in the past, they have to join the India’s up-and-coming generation in hordes.

They should no longer overplay their weakest conventional excuse of “hepyo, chhutayo, atyachar garyo, apthyaro lagyo” (looked down upon, discriminated, persecuted, felt embarrassed). They cannot rise and fight with the spirit of someone vanquished. They cannot play outside the field and lament about discrimination to the referees of the game, the public. This amounts to using the weakest weapon against strong opponents.

Relatively successful Indian Gorkhas are emphatic: “If we are weak in knowledge and arguments, and shy away from competition, the story of discrimination becomes more about manko bagh (tiger within oneself) rather than banko bagh (tiger in the jungle).” India is a nation of innumerable communities, unparalleled geographies and diverse development stages along with a plethora of scattered democratic institutions. Thus, the Indian Gorkhas are left with only two choices: either to fall into the crevice or climb the mountain.

An example of poor choice is the discontinuation and refusal of ‘constitutionally provided’ Panchayati Raj institutions in Darjeeling since 1991 and the wilful acceptance of non-performing, capricious and cantankerous Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (1988-2007) and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (2012), which was provided through a ‘gazette notification’ by a very hesitant and cunning state of West Bengal.

Rights under Panchayat Raj are constitutionally given to the people everywhere in India. Here the Indian Gorkhas sacrificed the Constitution of India for a mere gazette notification with hugely deleterious implications. What can be more paralysing and unfortunate that this?

However, they made a rational choice when they nationally fought for the recognition of the Nepali language in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India in 1992. All India Nepali Bhasha Samity, Bharatiya Nepali Rastriya Parishad and many other institutions and individuals across India deserve kudos for this.

Playing the game
The scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and the other backward classes among the Indian Gorkhas have a distinct place and recognition in the constitution of India like others belonging to the same categories across the country. Yet, why do others succeed in becoming IAS/IFS officers in hordes and but the Indian Gorkhas hardly figure in the higher echelons of bureaucracy, governance and other national institutions? This is a tragedy that has been perennially repeated. Where is the discrimination? It is an open competition for all.

We see this so blatantly and remarkably when we sit in the Interview Board of the Union Public Service Commission to select government officers. The children from the hills are actually equally bright, quick, multi-cultural in thinking and have untapped competitive instincts. Yet they are nowhere in the competition. Who will tell the inspiring words of “timile garnu sakchhou” (You can do it!) to the young Gorkha children? Who will inject confidence and courage in them? Their confidence should be built better from the societal level.

The Indian Gorkhas have to rebuild modern institutions and revive the traditional ones that keep them united and vibrant. This is what we did while setting up and building a central university in Sikkim—an institution with a global perspective, national orientation and strong local ethos. The hope lies in the resurrection and active role of Gorkha youths to come together from across the nation and question their incompetent leaders. This requires a renegotiation within the pan-Indian Gorkha community, with a focus on the larger issues of aspirations of the youths and emerging national and global opportunities for them.


Via thestatesman

Anup Kumar Thapa Martyrd fighting Pakistani terrorist infilitrators in J&K

11:23 PM
24th July 2016 J&K Salutes the service and sacrifice of ‪ brave heart Naik Anup Kumar Thapa, 1/3 Gorkha Rifles, who lost his life in action fighting Pakistani terrorist infilitrators at LoC Kupwara, J&K yesterday.

Terrorists attempting to infiltrate (from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) were intercepted by alert troops in the intervening night of July 22-23 which led to exchange of fire and forced the infiltrators to flee. Nk Thapa sustained injuries in the gun battle and unfortunately later succumbed.

Army today paid homage to Naik Anup Kumar Thapa, who was killed in exchange of fire when troops foiled an infiltration bid by militants from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) in the frontier Kashmir district of Kupwara yesterday.

Defence Ministry spokesperson Colonel N N Joshi said Army paid rich tributes to the valour and martyrdom of Naik Thapa here.

Chinar Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Satish Dua paid tributes to Naik Anup Kumar Thapa at Badami Bagh Cantonment in Srinagar on Sunday.
Anup Kumar Thapa Martyrd fighting Pakistani terrorist
Anup Kumar Thapa Martyrd fighting Pakistani terrorist
“The brave soldier was part of his unit’s Specialist Operational Team that intercepted a group of militants, which was attempting to infiltrate from across the Line of Control (LoC),” he said.

Col Joshi said in the ensuing exchange of fire, Naik Thapa sustained a gunshot wound, but unmindful of his injuries, he continued to engage the militants till the time they fled back.

“Naik Thapa was given first aid at the encounter site itself and thereafter evacuated, but unfortunately, the brave heart succumbed to his injuries,” he said.

Son of a priest from Dehradun, Naik Anup was known by his comrades as an extremely dedicated soldier who would not hesitate from taking on one challenging assignment after another.

“The 41-year-old soldier joined the Army at the tender age of 19 and had a lot of experience in counter militant operations, having had a previous tenure in Rashtriya Rifles also,” he said.

We convey our respects and deepest condolences to Nk Thapa's family.


UNESCO World Heritage Status for Khangchendzonga/Kanchenjunga National park Sikkim

9:44 PM
Sikkim Gangtok 17th July 2016: Congratulations to The Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Culture, Govt of India and the Govt of Sikkim for successfully ushering in Khangchendzonga (Kanchenjunga) National park as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

World Heritage Sites fall under three categories: cultural, natural and mixed. These sites are a legacy from the past, what we live with today and what we pass on to future generations as irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration, as stated by UNESCO. Presently there are more than 1,031 World Heritage sites, of which 802 are cultural, 197 natural and 32 mixed. India has 32 sites: 25 cultural and seven natural.

India's two ministries, MoEFCC through its Wildlife Institute and the Ministry of Culture through its World Heritage advisory body proposed, that Khangchendzonga National Park be inscribed under the mixed category.
UNESCO World Heritage Status for Khangchendzonga National park Sikkim
UNESCO World Heritage Status for Khangchendzonga/Kanchenjunga  National park Sikkim

This category is meant for sites that are an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement living sustainably with ecosystems, with treasure of invaluable traditional knowledge and culture that highlights human interaction with the environment. Such heritage sites have the sort of intangible features that provide an encyclopedia of lessons for vulnerable communities under change of ecosystems. Such lessons are of immense value today when we are faced with the challenge of climate change.

Situated in the eastern Indian state of Sikkim, Khangchendzonga National Park exhibits one of the widest altitudinal ranges of any protected area worldwide and occupies a third of the state's area.

Mount Khangchendzonga and park around are endowed with deep cultural meanings and sacred significance. The multi-layered landscape of Khangchendzonga is sacred to both Buddhists and Lepchas as Mayel Lyang. The expanse represents a unique example of co-existence and exchange between different religious traditions and ethnicities, constituting the base for Sikkimese identity and unity.

The ensemble of sacred texts, the still-performed rituals, the oral history and traditional practices around Mount Khangchendzonga - third highest peak in the world - strengthen human bonds with nature. It conveys and manifests the cultural meanings projected onto natural resources and the indigenous and specific Buddhist cosmogony that developed in the Himalayan region.

The indigenous traditional knowledge of the properties of local plants and the local ecosystem, which is peculiar to local people, is on the verge of disappearing and represents a precious source of information on the healing properties of several endemic plants. The traditional and ritual management system of forests and the natural resources of the land pertaining to Buddhist monasteries express the active dimension of Buddhist cosmogonies and could contribute to the property's effective management.

The participation of Sikkim, which has already shown its extraordinary stewardship by totally converting itself into an organic farming state, in developing the proposal has provided a "bottom-up" approach to the process.

Two international bodies of experts evaluated India's proposal. The International Union for Conservation of Nature assessed the area's natural values and its outstanding universal values. The International Council on Monuments and Sites evaluated the cultural aspects of the nominated property, both visible and invisible.

Both bodies had found undeniable outstanding universal natural and cultural values and clear tangible and intangible authenticity and integrity of the 178,400 hectares of this Himalaya global biodiversity hot spot that has with a buffer zone of some 114,712 hectares.

KNP has now become the second largest World Heritage Site in India after the Western Ghats, which were inscribed in 2012.

Via TheDC

President Pranab Mukherjee's convoy meets with accident in Darjeeling, 5 injured

Darjeeling 15th July 2015 EOI : President Pranab Mukherjee and chief minister Mamata Banerjee had a near mishap today after one of the vehicles in their convoy plunged into a gorge in Gorabari near Sonada, about 22km from Darjeeling. The President, the chief minister and West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi were on their way to Bagdogra airport after a three-day stay in Darjeeling.

According to the district administration, the first escort vehicle (a Scorpio SUV) of the President’s convoy went out of control and plummeted nearly 150 feet down a gorge near the Mariam Grotto after breaking through the parapet. Five security personnel in the vehicle received injuries in various parts of their bodies. They were taken to the Kurseong sub-divisional hospital for first aid and then referred to the Siliguri sadar hospital.

“The first escort vehicle of the President’s convoy with five people met with an accident near Sonada this morning. The injured are presently admitted in a Siliguri hospital after being administered first aid in Kurseong hospital,” said Anurag Srivastava, the Darjeeling DM.
President Pranab Mukherjee's convoy meets with accident in Darjeeling, 5 injured
President Pranab Mukherjee's convoy meets with accident in Darjeeling, 5 injured
The five have been identified as Deep Shankar Rudra, SS CID; A.P. Singh, CSLO; SI Pijus of SSU; SI S.K. Biswas; and Gautam Sen, the driver. The CSLO is being taken to Delhi by the President’s team for further tests while the remaining four will be treated in Siliguri.

The President’s convoy of 20-25 cars had left Raj Bhawan at 10.30am amid thick fog and rain.

At the head of the convoy was the advance vehicle followed by a pilot and jammer car. Following the President’s vehicle were two escort cars and the one at the front met with the accident.

The chief minister was behind the second escort car and her vehicle was being trailed by the remainder of the convoy carrying ministers of state, central government officials and journalists from Delhi and Kolkata.

Dipesh Subba, a civic policeman who was on duty near the accident spot, said, “I was on duty here since eight in the morning. I was posted near a bend and could not see the accident but I heard a loud noise just 30 feet ahead. By that time the President’s car had already passed. I ran to where the sound had come from to find a Scorpio down in the gorge and the chief minister giving directions on a microphone,” he said.

It was Subba who first reached the victims with four policemen trailing him. “I told the police personnel to follow me and reached the spot first. I found five dazed and injured people sitting beside the vehicle which was hanging precariously on a small tree,” he said.

The chief minister personally oversaw the rescue operation conducted by the state and civic police including locals. And appreciating the effort made, she announced rewards for the rescue team. “Everyone has helped and with promptness. Thanks to my rescue team. I promise you the state government will reward you for your effort,” she said.

The President too did not continue the drive downhill until the rescue operation was completed. He stayed at the Kurseong tourist lodge and called the chief minister twice for updates. Banerjee did not go the Kurseong sub-divisional hospital but sent her chief security officer and Darjeeling police officials to enquire how the injured were faring. She started for Bagdogra airport only after being informed the five were out of danger. (EOIC)


Vivek Chhetri for Telegraph writes
Darjeeling, July 15: Pratap Subba, 29, was luck by 30 steps today.Subba, a journalist with a local daily in Darjeeling, was walking along the isolated stretch of the Hill Cart Road at Sonada, when he saw the President's convoy coming from the opposite direction.

"My colleague Sanjeev Mohra was with me. Four to five cars of the cavalcade passed by me and Sanjeev. Suddenly, I heard a loud thud. I thought a shooting boulder had landed on the highway. I looked back and found that a car had swerved off the road and disappeared," said Subba.

"I was standing just 30ft from where the car had gone down the slope. I would have been hit had I walked a bit slower. The thought made me shiver," he said.

"I was walking from my house at Gorabari to Sonada as vehicles were stopped because of the President's convoy. I thought of walking to Sonada about 1km away so that I could catch a taxi from the local stand."

Immediately after the incident, the chief minister's car stopped.

"She alighted from the car and told everyone to call local people. Someone handed over a mike to the chief minister and she started coordinating the rescue operation," said Subba.

He ran towards Gorabari, about 250 meters away, and returned with local people.

"Since the slope was very steep, civic police personnel and other law enforcement officials and the local people tied two ropes, which those in the convoy had with them, to the railway track (that runs parallel to the road) and started sliding down the slope," said the journalist.

Subba, too, was among those who went 200ft down a steep slope holding the rope.

However, even before the rope was tied to the tracks, Dipesh Subba, a civic police volunteer, had slid down and reached the car, along with four to five policemen.

Dipesh said: "The occupants of the car had managed to come out and were standing on the slope. One of them asked for my mobile phone but he could not get through with the call."

Dipesh was on duty about 100 meters away from the site of the accident but he did not see the car rolling down the hill because of the bend. The car was not visible from the road and later it emerged that it had got stuck on a tree.

With the ropes fixed, about 30 people reached the car. "Some people held on to the victims, while others pushed them from behind to reach the road. The one with injury to the hand couldn't walk properly," said Pratap.

The injured were rushed to Kurseong subdivisional hospital and the chief minister left only after all the injured had been sent to the hospital.

Subba said a similar accident had taken place in the area a few years back, killing five. "Although it was terrifying that I was so close to the site, I am happy that I could play a part in the rescue. The chief minister thanked the local people before leaving," he added.

All this happened just after the following  article was published in Darjeeling local media :-

Writes: Arbin Angla Subba
The road network in Darjeeling is improving, especially the highways and we'd give due credit to the authorities who are helping to make our road networks better. However, here is a warning learned from a near accident.

While driving to Siliguri earlier this week, it was raining slightly and I was on my way to Siliguri. near Sukna Army Cantt my vehicle suddenly lost control and slipped. I was driving slow enough, so I was surprised. Thank God, I got control of my vehicle, and I drove on.

Turned out, I was not the only one who had faced this ordeal. That day from near Garidhura to Sukna, I saw four accidents, and everyone had one thing to say, the roads become too slippery once it starts to rain.

So, I did a little research, and this is what I found, in 2005 BBC had reported that, "Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA) - one of the most popular road surfaces in the UK - can cause skidding on roads. Eleven English authorities in the BBC survey reported problems with 'early life skid resistance' - which means that in the first few months after the surface is laid road users need to drive as if they are in wet conditions, regardless of the weather.

The Highways Agency is so concerned it has commissioned a series of skid tests on the surface. The tests follow a series of accidents across the country where skid resistance has been called in to question... Paul Watters says: "There's concern that after it's laid, it's actually more slippery than perhaps the surface you're replacing. And that's a very big issue for drivers. So we need to really bottom this out because at the moment drivers, if they see a new surface, they assume it's perfectly good and far better than what was there. With Stone Mastic Asphalt, that isn't the case. The road in fact behaves like a wet road, even when it's dry." [Details: http://bbc.in/29L3QLD]
Following two nasty accidents in Western Australia, this is what their media reported, "After the section of road was resurfaced with Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA), numerous accidents have led to complaints about the surface being too slippery in wet weather. Two reviews were conducted in 2005 and 2007 on the suitability of SMA in certain locations. They concluded there were no systemic safety issues with the surface. This has not quelled the fears of some residents who use Samford Road to travel between Samford and Ferny Grove. A firefighter who attended the recent crashes believes the Ferny Hills side of the road over the Samford Range needs to be “torn up and replaced.”
“You only need to spit on it and it becomes as slippery,” they said." [Details: http://www.thewesterner.com.au/?p=2538]

Often India tends to borrow technology that is actually outdated and banned in the western countries, so it wouldn't be surprising if the Govt of India introduced these types of road surfaces without actually conducting any research.

Hence, we would like to WARN our readers, and request them, please DRIVE VERY SLOW as it rains if you are on a Mastic road... and more importantly please SHARE this article, as you could perhaps save someone's life by sharing the information it contains.


Darjeeling is ‘mini India’ - President Pranab Mukherjee

12:19 AM
Darjeeling 12th July 2016: For Pranab Mukherjee, the Indian President Darjeeling is not just merely a hill station. For the President who is presently in Darjeeling, the famous hill station—known for Tea, Tourism and Toy Train—is ‘mini India’.

Mukherjee was responding to the state reception hosted by the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Chowrasta—the famous promenade in the town-- this evening. “Darjeeling is not merely a hill station or a geographical entity, but it is a Mini India,” said the president.

“Despite so much diversity and a vast area, no corner of our country remains unrepresented in the Parliament,” he added.

Mukherjee asserted that the unity in diversity is the beauty of the Indian democracy. “When someone sees the entire stretch of the country with so many ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic groups , he gets mesmerized,” he added
 Darjeeling is ‘mini India’ - Pranab Mukherjee
State reception for president Pranab Mukherjee hosted by the West Bengal
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Chowrasta Darjeeling
Earlier in his speech, Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi described Pranab Mukherjee as one of the most experienced and knowledgeable Presidents of our country. He said that a number of administrative reforms could be attributed to him such as RTI, RTE and Food Security.

The Chief Minister said that the President recognizes the country in true sense. “His experience is a direction for the country. It was due to his vast experience and capability that all the political parties joined hands in electing him to the office of the President. He has immense love for West Bengal and also for Darjeeling hills,” the chief minister added.

NTT Report

Darjeeling Trade union threatens road blockades during President visit

11:49 AM
DARJEELING 7 Jul 2016 Intensifying the ongoing agitation of tea garden workers , the Darjeeling Terai Dooars Plantation Labour Union today threatened to call its road blockades and  ‘chakka jam’ during the visit of the President and the West Bengal chief minister to the hills, from July 12 to 15.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha affiliated trade union is spearheading a relay hunger strike from June 16 demanding clearance of workers' dues and the agitation today reached its 22nd day.

The Alchemist group run Dootriah, Kalej Valley and Peshok tea gardens stand to pay dues up to Rs10 crore towards workers' provident fund, gratuity, salary and wages and other fringe benefits, while Jogmaya Tea Company and Panighatta tea estate, which are owned by other entities, have an unpaid accumulative amount of Rs2.46 crore.

Today, Darjeeling MLA Amar Rai and Rohit Sharma, his counterpart from Kurseong, visited the venue of the relay hunger strike and spoke with the agitators. Tilak Chand Roka, a GJM central committee leader and legal advisor to the DTDPLU, threatened an intensified agitation to press for the workers' demand. “We will close all the tea gardens in the hills as part of our intensified agitation.
Darjeeling Trade union threatens road blockades during President visit

We will even go for road blockades and chakka jam during the visit of the President and chief minister to the hills,” he threatened from outside the district magistrate’s office where the agitation is being staged.

As per the tentative schedule, President Pranab Mukherjee is expected to fly to Darjeeling on July 12. The next day, he will attend the birth anniversary celebrations of renowned Nepali poet

Bhanu Bhakta Acharya. On July 14, Mukherjee is expected to address the annual general meeting of the Darjeeling Tea Association and he will fly back to Bagdogra the next day. Chief minister Mamata

Banerjee will receive President Mukherjee at Bagdogra airport on July 11 and accompany him to the hills.

“Our agitation has entered the 22nd day but we have yet to receive any positive proposals or assurances from the owners of the five tea gardens or the state government. The workers have lost their patience to tolerate any further,” said Roka.

The threat of an intensified agitation by the trade union is contrary to what GJM general secretary Roshan Giri recently said after a meeting with K.D. Singh, the Trinamool MP who owns the Alchemist group of tea gardens. Giri had said a positive outcome was in the offing.

The DTDPLU legal advisor said the apathy being shown by the owners, the management and the state government in addressing the issue would affect more than 3,000 workers of the five tea gardens. “They are frustrated and in dire condition as they have not receied their salary and wages. In fact, many of them are being forced remain on empty stomachs. This is why we want the state government to show a positive attitude,” Roka said.

The three gardens under the Alchemist group have 2,598 workers in total, while Jogmaya and Panighatta gardens have 188 and 1,000 workers, respectively.

(EOIC)

Jitu Rai's preparations on the Road to Rio 2016 - interview with Olympic Gold Quest

10:00 PM
OGQ spoke to the 2014 Commonwealth Games champion, Jitu Rai, about his preparations on the Road to Rio 2016
Q. You were the first Indian to win a quota for Rio Olympics. How did it feel when you won the quota at the world championships in 2014?
Jitu: I was feeling the pressure at the world championship as it was the first Olympic qualification event. I had planned how I would play the final and at the end I was very happy when I won the quota for India at the very first opportunity and with it a silver medal as well.
Q. Take us through your early days in Shooting. How did you come into shooting?
Jitu: In 2007 I joined the Gorkha regiment of the Indian Army. Actually I was not too interested in shooting. I had never even seen anyone shooting. Army coach GR Garbaraj Rai "ne danda laga ke karaya shooting". I am really grateful to him today. The first gun I used was a 9mm pistol. In 2009, I went to the Army Marksmanship Unit in Mhow where I was not selected in the army team and was sent back to my Lucknow unit. After that setback, I worked very hard day in day out to improve my skills in the 10m air pistol event. I started free pistol only in 2013 and I am very glad that I won a quota in free pistol in 2014.
Q. What is your plan in the lead up to the Rio Olympics. Have you changed anything in your training?
Jitu: No I haven’t changed anything since 2014 be it my approach to a match, technical training or physical fitness. I don’t think that I need to train abroad or under a foreign coach or do things differently. I analyse my game myself and plan out the training schedule. I really like to believe in myself and trust the way I train. I am happy with the way my training is going on at the moment. The Indian Army and OGQ have played a very important role in my training. At OGQ, whatever I ask for related to my training, I get only one answer ‘Jitu ho jayega’.
Q. How do you relax and unwind?
Jitu: My way of relaxing is a bit strange. Whenever I take rest I don’t feel relaxed, it is very tough for me when my coach tells me to take rest for a day or two. I am very relaxed and get good sleep only when I do my physical fitness properly.
Jitu Rai
Jitu Rai
Q. Tell us about your family and your native place in Nepal.
Jitu: I hail from a middle class family. My village is in the middle of a forest. I was born and bought up in that forest. My father used to do farming before he joined the army. My father passed away 9 years ago and after that I joined the Army. It was then I thought to myself that I must do something big for my family. My mother was not aware that I was in the Indian shooting team and was winning medals for India till the time she came to New Delhi when I got the prestigious Arjuna Award last year. I am really happy that I have made a career for myself in shooting.
Q. Who is your favorite athlete? favorite Bollywood actor/actress?
Jitu: My favorite player is a volleyball player from my village as he was the first sportsperson I knew and I love playing volleyball as well. My favorite shooter is London Olympic Silver medalist Vijay Kumar. He has guided me a lot in my journey till now. I don’t have one favorite actress because I like everyone (laughs) but my favorite actor is Aamir Khan.


Via Olympic Gold Quest

Seventh / 7th Pay Commission approved by the Union Cabinet, 24% Salaries, Pensions Hike

8:17 PM
29th June 2016 Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the recommendations made by the 7th pay commission. Overall increase in Salaries and allowances will rise by at least 23.5 per cent, which had been recommended by the 7th Pay Commission - the panel that decides on government salaries. Arrears will be paid within this year. The 7th Pay Commission report will be effective from January 1, and the Cabinet will decide if the arrears for the six months have to be paid in one go or in installments.

Under the new scheme, the maximum salary for a government servant will be about 2.5 lakhs a month, that's more than double the highest pay of Rs. 90,000  a month. Gratuity has been increased from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 25 lakh and House Building Advance was raised from Rs 7.5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accepted the recommendation to increase minimum pay from existing Rs 7,000 to Rs 18,000 per month which is more than double of the present Rs. 7,000.

Up to 15% hike in basic salaries of central government staff and similar big raises in allowances and pensions that will benefit some 10 million employees. For junior employees, the hike in basic pay will be 14.27%. This means a fresh IAS recruit will get a basic salary of Rs 56,000 a month against Rs 23,000 now, while a sepoy in the Indian Army will earn Rs 21,700 a month from Rs 8,460 at present. In addition, employees are paid dearness allowance and house rent among many other allowances.
7th Pay Commission approved by the Union Cabinet
7th Pay Commission approved by the Union Cabinet

In a nutshell
# House Building Advance (HBA) increased from Rs 7.5 lakh to Rs 25 lakh.
# Gratuity increased from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh.
# Rate of increment recommended and accepted at 3% per year.
# Separate pay matrices for civil, Defence and MNS.
# MoF to work out a customised group insurance scheme with low premium and high risk cover.

# Ex-gratia lump sum compensation for civil and defence forces personnel from 10-20 lakh to 25-45 lakh.
# Minimum pay of Rs 18,000 per month recommended against the existing Rs 7,000.
# Based on Minimum Pay, fitment factor of 2.57 approved for revising pay of all employees uniformly across all Level: Jaitley.
# The cost of implementing the recommendations of the 7th pay commission will cost Rs 1,02,100 crore to the exchequer: Jaitley.

Last year in November the pay panel had recommended 14.27 per cent hike in basic pay at junior levels, the lowest in 70 years.The 6th Pay Commission had recommended a 20 per cent hike which was doubled by the government while implementing it in 2008.

The government had in January set up the high-powered panel for the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission.

For the 7th Pay Commission effective from January 1 2016 Cabinet will decide if the arrears for the six months have to be paid in one go or in installments.

"Considering the tight fiscal position this year, the government may improve upon the Pay Commission recommendation for basic pay to 18 per cent or at best 20 per cent," a senior official said.

Here is your 10-point cheat-sheet to this big story:

  1. The move will benefit an estimated 10 million government employees including nearly 60 lakh pensioners, starting from January 1, 2016. Among the defence services, 14 lakh serving officers and 18 lakh retired members will be covered.
  2. Arrears will be paid within this year, said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
  3. The last major hike in 2008 saw an average raise of nearly 50 percent. The auto and retail sectors gained in the stock market after today's announcement.
  4. The increments - considerably smaller than past increases-  will cost the government about one lakh crores or 15 billion dollars every year.
  5. While this cost is a whopping 0.7 percent of India's GDP, the hike is the lowest in the last seven decades.
  6. The new allowances and hikes were cleared by the cabinet today and are based on the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission - a government committee which reviews the pay of government employees nearly every decade.
  7. Government workers also have been getting half-yearly and annual increments linked to prices. The new rules do away with 52 allowances and merge 36 others.
  8. Under the new scheme, the maximum salary for a government servant will be about 2.5 lakhs a month, that's more than double the top-rung pay of Rs. 90,000 a month.
  9. The least a government officer can now be paid is  Rs. 18,000 a month, more than double the current compensation of Rs. 7,000 offered to the most  junior employees.
  10. The government is counting on the higher salaries to result in more consumer spending which could trigger economic growth.However, some experts believe that the additional cash in the market could fuel inflation. To keep a check on price rise driven by greater liquidity in the market, the government plans to keep a close eye on the mark


Cabinet May Approve 7th Pay Commission this Wednesday

10:19 PM
27th June 2016 Cabinet May Approve 7th Pay Commission this Wednesday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday directed the Finance Ministry to implement the 7th Pay Commission recommendations, results of which could be termed as a huge bonanza for lakhs of government employees.

A Committee of Secretaries headed by Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha has submitted its report on the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission which may be accepted, a financial ministry official said. Based on the panel’s report, the Finance Ministry is preparing a Cabinet note and the issue may come up for approval by the Cabinet as early as June 29.

“Committee of Secretaries (CoS) has finalised its report on Pay Commission recommendations... We will soon (file) draft Cabinet note based on the report,” Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa said here on Monday.
Cabinet May Approve 7th Pay Commission this Wednesday
7th Pay Commission
The Budget document has stated that "the implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission due from January 1, 2016 is to be implemented during fiscal year 2016-17 as also the revised One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme for Defence services"

The Pay Commission had recommended 23.55 per cent overall hike in salaries, allowances and pension involving an additional burden of Rs 1.02 lakh crore or nearly 0.7 per cent of the GDP.

The panel recommended a 14.27 per cent increase in basic pay, the lowest in 70 years. The previous 6th Pay Commission had recommended a 20 per cent hike which the government doubled while implementing it in 2008.

The 23.55 per cent increase includes hike in allowances.

The entry level pay has been recommended to be raised to Rs 18,000 per month from current Rs 7,000 while the maximum pay, drawn by the Cabinet Secretary, has been fixed at Rs 2.5 lakh per month from current Rs 90,000.

Sources said the secretaries’ panel may have recommended higher pay increase, with minimum entry level pay at Rs 23,500 a month and maximum salary of Rs 3.25 lakh.
 
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