For The Gain of the Many and For the Welfare of the Many
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Mayawati will visit the hill state on Sunday.
The second phase of polling in 65 constituencies will take place on December 19.
The first phase of polling was held in three tribal constituencies of Kinnaur, Lahaul Spiti and Bharmour on November 14.
The counting of votes will take place on December 28.
The term of the State Assembly is due to expire on March 9, 2008. (ANI)
Shimla, Dec 13 (IANS) If Himachal Pradesh’s electoral logic is valid, the ruling Congress has plenty of reasons to worry.
Political workers and analysts say that Himachal’s most literate voters have always voted against the party that controls the government, invariably bringing the opposition party to power.
Both parties are downplaying the entry into the electoral politics of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
The BSP is contesting all 68 seats and has even declared a chief ministerial candidate, Vijay Singh Mankotia, a two time state tourism minister who was recently expelled from the Congress.
The BSP, already feeling proud of its performance in Uttar Pradesh, says it is going to break new ground.
‘The election results will surprise all, the BSP will win half of the seats,’ says Mankotia.
Political observers are not dismissing the BSP, saying in the event of a hung assembly, the party could prove to be a kingmaker.
People still remember the crucial support given to the BJP by one single legislator Ramesh Dhawala when both the parties tied in 1998. Dhawala, formerly from the Congress, won as an independent. He chose to support the BJP.
In the 2003 poll, the Congress secured 43 seats and the BJP 16. Nine seats went to others.
Sixty-five constituencies will vote Dec 19. In view of the threat of early snowfall the first phase of polling covering three tribal seats of Bharmaur, Lahaul & Spiti and Kinnaur took place Nov 14. The vote count will take place Dec 28.
According to Chief Electoral Officer Manisha Nanda, there are 4,477,254 voters for 65 seats. There will be 5,934 polling stations and 324 candidates are in the fray.
Business Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Saturday, Dec 15, 2007
Wheat, mustard, chana acreages trail due to dry weather
|Wheat planted in 206.32 lakh hectares against 234.48 lh last year|
New Delhi, Dec 14
Sowing of wheat, rapeseed-mustard and chana continues to lag behind this year on account of dry weather in large parts of northern and central India.
According to the Agriculture Ministry’s latest Crop Weather Watch Report, farmers had, as on Friday, planted 206.32 lakh hectares (lh) under wheat, against 234.48 lh during the same period last year. The normal total area under wheat is 261.97 lh, while touching a record 279.84 lh last year.
Cumulative acreage has declined in Uttar Pradesh (65.17 lh versus 77.98 lh), Madhya Pradesh (28.10 versus 35.10), Rajasthan (17.12 versus 19.10), Gujarat (8.18 versus 9.22), Maharashtra (7.37 versus 8.56), Bihar (10.57 versus 12.96) and Karnataka (2.06 versus 2.39).
Belated sugarcane crushing
The virtual absence of any rains since August has affected sowing in Mahdya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where wheat is largely rainfed. In Uttar Pradesh, the drop has been ascribed to the belated crushing by sugar mills. Sugarcane occupies about 25 lh in UP, of which roughly 15 lh is accounted for by the ratoon crop that is harvested and crushed during November-January.
While mills normally crush from early November, this time they commenced only from around November 25. That has restricted the scope for farmers to vacate their cane area for planting wheat in time. The area impacted on this count is reckoned at 7-8 lh, i.e. half the ratoon cane.
Shortage of DAP
To add to this, there are reports from the ground of a severe shortage of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), a crucial nutrient required at the time of sowing. While the Centre has claims to have arranged sufficient DAP imports, the lack of distribution infrastructure at the State-level (particularly in UP and Bihar) has led to a shortfall at the farmers’ end.
On the brighter side, wheat acreage has gone up in Punjab (33.48 versus 33.16) and West Bengal (2.75 versus 2.50), while being just marginally lower in Haryana (23.35 versus 23.40) and Uttarakhand(3.21 versus 3.23). Since Punjab and Haryana are high-yielding regions and protected through perennial irrigation networks, the Centre can draw some comfort from the reasonably good coverage in these States. Also, the Punjab and Haryana Governments have been more proactive in ensuring adequate DAP stocks for distribution to farmers.
The Centre’s hopes now mainly rest on more area coming under late sown wheat in eastern UP and Bihar, which could partially offset the declines in M.P., Rajasthan and western UP.
Mustard positive areas
But this optimism may not hold for rapeseed-mustard — the most important rabi oilseed. Progressive area reported is lower this time, at 57.25 lh, against last year’s corresponding 64.27 lh and 65.99 lh for the whole of 2006-07. Acreage has fallen in Rajasthan (23.36 lh against 28.83 lh), Haryana (5.50 lh against 5.97 lh), Gujarat (3.28 lh against 3.59 lh), West Bengal (4 lh against 4.35 lh), while rising in UP (7.78 lh against 7.70 lh) and M.P. (6.70 lh against 6.57 lh).
The total area sown so far under all rabi oilseeds is lower this year at 77.39 lh, over last year’s cumulative figure of 87.29 lh. Besides rapeseed-mustard, acreages have declined for sunflower (from 9.86 to 8.30 lh), groundnut (3.64 to 3.46 lh), safflower (3.36 to 2.82 lh) and linseed (4.60 to 4.21 lh).
In gram (chana), too, there has been a fall in coverage from 75.95 lh to 70.77 lh. This has been more so in M.P. (from 25.84 to 22.11 lh), UP (7.72 to 5.85 lh), Karnataka (7.65 to 6.76 lh) and Maharashtra (10.34 to 10.32 lh). But these have been partly made up through higher plantings in Rajasthan (from 11.19 to 12.68 lh) and Andhra Pradesh (6 to 6.07 lh).
The overall rabi pulses area has dipped from 121.46 lh to 113.49 lh, with these being 14.32 to 12.58 lh for lentil (masur), 7.22 to 5.95 lh for peas (matar) and 5.85 to 4.90 lh for kulthi (horsegram). However, extra area has come under urad (from 4.97 to 5.34 lh), moong (2.60 to 4.30 lh) and lathyrus (4.10 to 4.57 lh).
On the coarse cereals front, the area under jowar so far this year, at 44.51 lh, is below the 46.81 lh of the corresponding period of 2006, while going up for maize (from 6.96 to 7.77 lh) and barley (from 6.25 to 6.43 lh).
NEW DELHI: Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Retail on thursday said its nation-wide expansion plan has not been affected by problems in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, although operations in the two states have been put on hold.
“It (what happened in UP) has not affected our overall plans. We have opened more than 400 stores in last one year and retail expansion is going as per the plan across India,” Gunender Kapoor, Reliance Retail Foods Business President and Chief Executive, told PTI.
He, however, said following protests from small traders and government intervention in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, the company has stalled its operations in the two states.
Speaking to PTI earlier, Reliance Retail Lifestyle Division President and Chief Executive Bijou Kurien had said the company would wait till the Uttar Pradesh government’s next step based on the report of committee set up to study the impact of organised retail on local traders.
“However, wherever possible we are using the properties which were booked for Reliance Fresh for other format stores,” he added.
Asked about the original number of Reliance Fresh stores had planned in Uttar Pradesh and how the state government’s decision would impact the number, he said: “We are yet to check and arrive at the number of stores which would fall short of the target.”
After foraying into grocery, digital equipment, footwear, apparel and jewellery stores, Reliance recently entered the books and music segment with its ‘Timeout’ store in Bangalore. Reliance Timeout is the eighth format of the company, which plans to invest 25,000 crore in the next four years in 784 cities across India.
Online edition of India’s National Newspaper
Tuesday, Dec 11, 2007
New plane, chopper for Mayawati’s use
LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, currently campaigning for the Bahujan Samaj Party candidates in Himachal Pradesh, will soon have a brand new aircraft and a chopper at her disposal to be used for official purposes. The present set would be phased out as they were not considered conducive from the safety and security point of view.
Negotiations for buying an eight seater Jet Airways plane and a helicopter were finalised this week in Washington following a meeting between the company officials and three top officials of the Mayawati government. State Chief Secretary Prashant Kumar Mishra, Principal Secretary, Finance, Shekhar Agarwal and Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Shailesh Krishna represented the Uttar Pradesh government. The team returned to Lucknow on Friday.
Official sources said here on Saturday that negotiations centred around the price of the twin carriers. While the helicopter is priced at around Rs 35 crore, the airplane would cost the State exchequer Rs. 16 crore. The double engine helicopter has been made mandatory for carrying VIPs in the wake of several accidents involving helicopters equipped with a single engine, said an official of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat. The Jet aircraft will substantially reduce the travel time, particularly over long distances, and it would be for the first time that a Jet plane would figure in the fleet owned by the Uttar Pradesh government.
The chopper would be dismantled and airlifted to Singapore where it would be reassembled. Pilots would be flown in from Lucknow to Singapore where they will be imparted special training in flying the chopper. Only after the company’s instructors are convinced, would the pilots be allowed to bring the helicopter to Lucknow, the official said.
New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party is poised to retain power in Gujarat but with a reduced majority, losing some ground in Sunday’s second and final phase of the Assembly elections in the northern and central parts, which were the worst hit by the 2002 communal riots, according to exit polls by four TV channels.
With the winning party required to get 92 of the 182 seats, the NDTV exit poll projected that the BJP would win between 90 and 110. The BJP won 127 seats in 2002.
The Congress’ share was put at somewhere between 70 and 95. Others had three to five seats.
The CNN-IBN-CSDS exit poll gave the BJP 92 to 100 seats with the Congress notching somewhere between 77 and 85. Others were given three to seven seats.
The exit poll of Star News-Nielsen saw the BJP getting 103, losing about 24 seats, 18 of which from central and northern Gujarat. In the last elections in these regions, the party swept 73 of the 95 seats. The Congress might get 76 seats, a gain of 25.
Zee News and C-Voter projected the BJP getting 93 to 104 seats, followed by the Congress at 75 to 87 seats.
It gave a vote share of about 48 per cent to the BJP and 45 per cent to the Congress while the Star News exit poll predicted the BJP would get 46.5 per cent votes while for the Congress, it would be 43.5 per cent.
The Star News exit poll projected 55 and 39 seats for the BJP and the Congress respectively in Sunday’s phase of polls.
The CNN-IBN exit poll gave the Congress an edge in Central Gujarat and a near cake-walk for the BJP in North Gujarat. — PTI
Once again the people of Gujarat will prove that the projection of all the above channels are biased and are totally wrong..
Migrant children to get extra dose of polio vaccine
Bangalore case causes apprehension
Mapping of migrants in State begun
CHENNAI: The recent reporting of a polio case from Bangalore, with a two-year-old child of a migrant worker being affected, has revived Tamil Nadu’s apprehensions about migrant populations bringing back the polio virus into the State.
Determined to prevent this entry route for the polio virus, the State’s public health department has decided to target migrant workers for special attention and for an extra dose of oral polio vaccine for their children. The first round will be started immediately for the migrant populations of Kelamangalam village in Krishnagiri, one of the two districts bordering Karnataka.
As a precaution, the extra dose will also be administered in Bagalur, Thalli and Hosur in Krishnagiri and Hogenekkal (Dharmapuri).
With 80 per cent of the 676 polio cases reported in 2006 coming out of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, health department officials felt their apprehensions were justified, considering the large number of migrant workers from these two States.
Most of them come to Tamil Nadu to work in the construction industry, primarily in the large Information Technology parks coming up all over the state. Since the workers have to stay in the same place for at least two years, they bring their family along and the children are likely to spread the virus, transmitted largely through the faeco-oral route.
The State Government has started mapping the migrant populations in Tamil Nadu. Beginning in 2008, children of these groups will be given an extra dose of the vaccine after the two regular rounds in January and February. With monthly updates being planned to keep an accurate inflow and outflow of such groups of workers, officials hope they will be able to keep track of the children and include fresh migrants in the vaccination programme.
According to public health department sources, the child in Bangalore was a member of a migrant labourer from Faizabad, close to Agra, in Uttar Pradesh. The family had migrated to Karnataka in search of labour and were employed in a construction site. Health department officials explain this anomaly saying, the vaccine being used in Uttar Pradesh was the monovalent vaccine, guaranteeing protection against only one of the three strains.
606 IMA cadets commissioned as officers
Dehradun (PTI): Amid emotional scenes and chants of patriotic couplets, 606 bright young men on Monday stepped into the Indian Army as commissioned officers.
Uttar Pradesh led the tally among the states in terms of representation among the new lieutenants, with 116 of the recruits belonging to the state passing out from the Indian Military Academy (IMA).
And while UP’s neighbouring state Uttarakhand, despite its small size, was at second spot in the list with 69 officers, a larger state like Gujarat could boast of only two officers.
States from the North-east had a mixed bag, with Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim drawing a blank, while Manipur had eight officers, Assam five and Tripura one.
Haryana with 54 officers was at third position, followed by Maharashtra with 46 and Rajasthan with 36.
Twenty-eight of the officers belonged to the capital and while Kerala had a representation of 24.
Twenty of the officers belonged to militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir.
Of the 606 officers who passed out today from the IMA, five were from foreign countries — one each from Bhutan, Lesotho, Kazakhstan and two from Kyrgyzstan.
While 197 of the officers will be streamed into infantry, 105 are being absorbed into artillery and 76 into engineering.
Of the 1,470 cadets in the IMA, the largest number, 271, is again from UP, and the second-largest, 140, is again from Uttarakhand.
Winter chill grips north India, five die
New Delhi (PTI): Chilly conditions prevailed in many parts of northern India on Monday with areas in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh recording sub-zero temperatures and snowfall even as five deaths were reported in the region.
In Uttar Pradesh, three persons died of the cold wave in Jaunpur and Muzaffarnagar, while one death each was reported from Jammu and Hoshiarpur in Punjab. Himachal Pradesh capital Shimla witnessed the first snowfall of the season as temperatures plummeted to 0.7 degrees Celsius. Kalpa had a minimum temperature of minus 4.1 degrees. While Shimla recorded 2 cm of snowfall, Dundi and Solang Nallah in Kullu district recorded 14 cm and 10 cm of snowfall respectively. The tourist spot of Kufri on the outskirts of Shimla recorded about 4 cm snowfall.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the higher reaches of the state experienced snowfall while the minimum temperature at Drass in Kargil sector was minus seven degrees. The hill station of Mt. Abu was the coldest place in Rajasthan with the mercury dipping to three degrees even as the rest of the state got some respite from the intense cold due to the western disturbances over the northern and southern parts of the state.
The national capital remained foggy as the minimum temperature was recorded at 8.8 degrees. But flights took off as scheduled at the airport here. In Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, the minimum temperature rose by about a couple of notches in some parts.
|Sugar mills to get interest-free loan|
|BS Reporter / New Delhi December 11, 2007|
|Move to help them clear cane arrears|
|In a move that will bring relief to the beleagured sugar mills, the government today announced that it had notified a new scheme extending them financial assistance.|
|As part of the package, the sugar mills, which have been facing a crisis due to a production glut and low prices, will get interest-free loans to help them pay the dues of the farmers who supply them sugarcane.|
|The loans will be sanctioned for clearing the cane arrears of the 2006-07 sugar season and the cane price of 2007-08. The entire arrears for 2006-07 were estimated at Rs 2,800 crore (including Rs 1,200 crore in Uttar Pradesh alone), said SL Jain, director general, Indian Sugar Mills Association. “It is a very important decision and a first step in the direction that many countries like Thailand have taken. It will provide a new opening (to the mills)”, he added.|
|Mills would have to repay the loan in four years. The period includes a moratorium of two years. The government would give full interest subvention to all scheduled commercial banks, regional rural banks and co-operative banks for the total duration of the loan.|
|“The interest subvention will be limited to 12 per cent per annum, of which 5 per cent will be met out of general Budget provisions of the central government and the remaining 7 per cent from the Sugar Development Fund,” said a December 7 notification issued by the Department of Food and Public Distribution.|
|“It is a good move as it will add liquidity into the industry, but at the end of the day, it is a loan and not a grant. It is a stop-gap measure. The industry needs structural arrangement”, said Sanjay Tapriya, director (finance), Simbhaoli Sugar Mills.|
|Only those mills that have been functional during 2006-07 and 2007-08 sugar seasons will be eligible for the new loans. Non-performing assets are also covered under the scheme provided the state government gives a guarantee for new loans.|
|The loans will be sanctioned for clearance of arrears for cane price to be calculated on the basis of the statutory minimum price (SMP) fixed by the central government and not the usually-higher state-advised price.|
|Parsvnath to build footwear institute|
|Shruti Srivastava / New Delhi/ Lucknow December 15, 2007|
|Parsvnath Developers Ltd (PDL), one of the country’s leading real estate developers with projects spanning across key verticals of the real estate industry, is set to foray into building educational structures as well.|
|The company has recently signed a letter of intent (LoI) with the Ministry of Commerce for a project in Uttar Pradesh.|
|The project involves developing a Footwear Design and Development Institute at Rae Bareli in UP, which is also the constituency of Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi. This project will envisage an investment of over Rs 47.07 crore.|
|“This is our maiden project in building an educational institute. The project involves developing a footwear park with state-of-the-art facilities,” said Pradeep Jain, chairman, Parsvnath Developers Ltd, while talking to Business Standard.|
|Setting up the footwear design institute will facilitate specialised business and employment opportunities for aspirants from the region. The project will be completed in a year and be the first of its kind in the district.|
|Talking about the role that the developer may play once the construction is completed, Jain said that PDL would have no role at all after this.|
|“Our role is limited to building the infrastructure. Once we are done with it, we will pass it over to the authorities concerned,” he said.|
|The institute is expected to come up on the lines of the one at Noida, the leading institute in India for infrastructure development for the footwear industry and human resource development.|
|Talking about its present township in the Lucknow, Jain informed that the project is in progress and is expected to seek an investment of about Rs. 150-200 crores.|
|Parsvnath Developers have a total of 22 residential projects in line in Uttar Pradesh out of which six projects are successfully completed and handed over.|
|For the records, DPL has pan-India presence across 48 cities and 17 states of the country. It now has 191 million square feet (msf) of developable area including 6 SEZs with developable area of 56.96 msf.|
|The company has already commenced work on 76 msf and expects that construction work on remaining would start in the current fiscal. The number of on going projects stands at 111 across verticals.|
|Judiciary should not cross limits: SC|
|Monday, 10 December , 2007, 18:29|
New Delhi: Coming down heavily on judicial activism, the Supreme Court on Monday deprecated the tendency of courts to rule on issues like nursery admissions and autorickshaw overcharging and said judges should know their “limits” and not try to run the government.
In a judgement that did a lot of self-introspection, a two-member bench said “….we are repeatedly coming across cases where judges are unjustifiably trying to perform executive or legislative functions.
In our opinion, this is clearly unconstitutional. In the name of judicial activism, judges cannot cross their limits and try to takeover functions which belong to another organ of the state.
The apex court also looked inward when it held the directions given by it in the assembly proceedings in Uttar Pradesh in 1998 and Jharkhand in 2005 as “glaring examples of deviations from the clearly provided constitutional scheme of separation of powers.”
Justice A K Mathur and Justice Markandey Katju listed a number of local issues like unauthorised schools, criteria for free seats in schools, the size of speed-breakers on Delhi roads and enhancing of road fines dealt with by the Delhi High Court which, they said, were “matters pertaining exclusively to the executive or legislative domain.”
“If there is a law, judges can enforce it. But judges cannot create a law and seek to enforce it,” they observed.
The observations came in a 22-page verdict with the court setting aside a Punjab and Haryana High Court order directing creation of posts of tractor driver to accommodate two gardeners employed on daily wages at a golf club run by the Haryana Tourism Corporation and were asked to perform the duties of tractor drivers.
Some legal experts have hailed the order saying that the Supreme Court is right in “admonishing” itself while a few senior lawyers viewed it as reflection of “divided judiciary”, which is not healthy for the institution.
A Bench of Justice AK Mathur and Justice Markandey Katju in today’s order observed that the interim orders of larger Benches of the Supreme Court relating to assembly proceedings in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, are “two glaring examples of deviation from the clearly provided Constitutional scheme of separation of powers”.
Former Chief Justice of India AS Anand, commenting on the observations of the court, said judicial discipline warrants that the orders of the bench of “higher strength” are binding on smaller benches.
“Judicial discipline requires to be followed by all,” he noted.
But, former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan said the function of judiciary is to enforce rule of law and it can neither create law, nor can create power.
“The High Courts and Supreme Court, in many cases, have not understood the limitation of their power,” he said, adding, “it is good that some Judges realised the limitation of judicary”.
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While most constituencies will see a direct fight between the two main parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party is also contesting independently.
A total of 18.7 million people are eligible to vote. There are 599 candidates in the fray, including 31 women.
Rakhial in Ahmedabad is the constituency with the maximum number of contestants, 73, while Mahar is the only constituency where there is a direct fight between the two main parties.
The largest constituency in terms of size and voters is Sarkhej while the smallest one is Kalupur, both in Ahmedabad. A total of 20,544 electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be used in as many polling booths Sunday.
The counting of votes will take place on December 23.