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- Action will be taken against vendors charging high sand prices: Bihar govt The department also maintained that no royalty would be charged on the earth dug up for private use by people on a chunk of landAbhay Singh | TNN | May 24, 2018, 16:00 IST
PATNA: The mines and geology department (MGD) on Wednesday maintained that the official rate of ‘yellow sand’ sold anywhere in the state is in the range of Rs3,200-4,100 per CFTand action would be taken against the vendors found charging more than that from consumers.
The department also maintained that no royalty would be charged on the earth dug up for private use by people on a chunk of land. However, the royalty would continue to be charged on earth dug up for commercial use. The department maintained that the mineral prospecting work done in parts of the state has indicated that coal blocs were available in Bhagalpur district, besides platinum in Gaya, magnetite (iron ore) in Jamui and potash in Aurangabad districts.
MGD minister Vinod Kumar Singh and department’s principal secretary Atul Prasad, along with other senior officials, on Wednesday, gave an update on the achievements and activities of the department after the government took drastic steps last year to check illegal sand mining in 29 districts.
The steps had led to scarcity of sand for most parts of the year and the sand price had increased to Rs9,000 per CFT. It put a brake on construction activities, resulting in general unemployment of labourers in the construction and mining sectors.
“The official rate of yellow sand is in the range of Rs3,200-Rs 4,100 per CFT and the department will take action against those vendors found charging more,” Prasad said.
He, however, said the sand price in UP is more, which results in its smuggling from the bordering districts of Bihar and scarcity in those areas. Prasad said the department is conducting a general survey of the actual situation to take the required follow-up action.
Singh said the crackdown on illegal mining of yellow sand had yielded increased revenue to the department. The revenue returns during the 2017-18 fiscal has been Rs1,002.83 crore against the target of Rs1,350 crore. The revenue in 2016-17 was Rs994.10 crore and the target for 2018-19 has been fixed at Rs1,600 crore.
The minister said the new sand mining and marketing system would stabilize, adding that hard wired GPS devices fixed to the vehicles would help in high-tech monitoring and surveillance of sand transportation.
Prasad said the pre-monsoon and post-monsoon satellite mapping of the basin of the yellow sand-yielding rivers would be done every year to ascertain the quantum of sand deposited during the monsoon season.
Since the vehicle transporting sand from the pit is issued the receipt of the quantity carried, the method gives an idea of the total sand mining done and also of the volume of the state’s sand reserve that would remain unsold, Prasad said.
- Over 1.05 lakh saplings to be planted in July: Govt Faryal Rumi| TNN | May 25, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: The state environment and forest department will plant over 1.05 lakh saplings in Patna district from July 20 to 31.
“Under the urban plantation scheme, around 19,000 saplings will be planted in eastern Patna, 16,000 in western Patna, 23,500 in Masuarhi, 37,000 in Barh and 7,100 in Danapur,” Bihar Forestry Development Corporation Limited’s (BFDCL) managing director S S Chaudhary said on Thursday.
The department has identified places for the plantation drive on three parameters — level of pollution, vehicular movement and availability of space. Chaudhary claimed, “Saplings will be planted on both sides of the road as well as on the median strip from Saguna Mor to Danapur, Beerchand Patel Marg, Circular Road, Bailey Road, Chitkohra Mor, Patna-Digha Road, Phulwarisharif, Gola Road and Bihta Road, among others.”
Localities on the plantation map are Shastri Nagar, Rajbanshi Nagar, Pataliputra Colony, Rajiv Nagar Colony, Gardanibagh, Ashiana Nagar, Sri Krishnapuri, Kankerbagh, Rajendra Nagar, Ashok Nagar and MIG Colony.
Patna divisional forest officer Sunil Kumar Sinha told this newspaper that saplings of timber, ornamental plants, ‘peepal’, ‘neem’, ‘gular’, pakar, ‘khair’, gulmohar and banyan would be planted on both sides of the road and on the banks of the Ganga.
According to a global air pollution database recently released by the World Health Organisation, Patna was ranked the fifth most polluted city in the world. Forest department officials claimed that special emphasis was being given on planting saplings and growing more and more trees in urban areas in order to curb pollution.
The forest department will also encourage school students and collegians to plant saplings.
- Arsenic, fluoride-free wards by March ’19, says minister Abhay Singh| TNN | Updated: May 25, 2018, 12:33 IST State PHED minister Vinod Narayan Jha
PATNA: The public health and engineering department (PHED) has said all the 5,635 wards of the 896 panchayats, where drinking water has been found to be affected by arsenic or fluoride poisoning, will be freed from the contaminations by March 31 next year.
State PHED minister Vinod Narayan Jha said the department has initiated the process like preparation of detailed project reports, inviting tenders and selection of agencies to execute the schemes for the purpose. The process has been completed in most cases and the work orders are being issued to start the work.
He said the PHED has been asked to provide arsenic, fluoride and iron-free drinking water in these panchayats. The project is part of the government’s ‘Seven Resolves’ programme.
Although there are 20,737 wards of 1,513 panchayats in the districts of Purnia and Kosi divisions, where drinking water has iron content beyond the permissible limits, the scheme to provide iron-free water in these wards will be implemented in a phased manner and completed in the next three years, the minister said.
PHED secretary Vinay Kumar said the number of identified panchayat wards, where drinking water is affected by arsenic poisoning, is 2,556 spread over 315 panchayats. They are located in the districts which lie on both sides of the Ganga from Buxar in the west to Kahalgaon in the east, he said.
Kumar also said that the drinking water used in 3,079 wards of 581 panchayats is affected by fluoride toxicity. They are in the southern hilly terrain of the state starting from the Kaimur hills in old Shahabad district and extending to the hilly areas of Jamalpur and Kahalgaon in Bihar and Sahebganj in Jharkhand.
Referring to the features of the schemes designed to provide arsenic, fluoride and iron-free drinking water, Kumar said the capacity of the equipment being installed for the purpose is 30 years, and the executing agencies would be tasked with their maintenance for five years.
“A new policy is being formulated to ensure the maintenance of equipment beyond five years,” Kumar said, adding the cost of the scheme for every panchayat would be in the range of Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 2 crore.
- Nitish releases booklet on public grievance redressal system PTI | Updated: May 24, 2018, 20:01 IST
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar (File Photo)
PATNA: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has released a booklet chronicling the success of the public grievance redressal system in a remote district of the state, an official release said in Patna.
Titled '100 saphal lok shikayat nivaran', the booklet was prepared by the district office for public grievance redressal, West Champaran and released on Wednesday, it said.
The Bihar Right to Public Grievance Redressal has come into force in 2015 and its efficacy in solving problems faced by the common people has been elucidated in the booklet, the release said.
Kumar, who reached Bettiah - the district headquarters - yesterday paid a visit to an outpost of Sashastra Seema Bal's 44th battalion and interacted with local elected representatives.
- Outages due to surge in power demand
TNN | Updated: May 25, 2018, 12:20 IST Representative image
PATNA: Frequent power cuts and trippings are due to the surge in demand for electricity in the sultry weather, say officials.
South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited sources said the energy demand of Patna increased to more than 600MW this summer, while the availability is around 500MW. Last year, the demand in the peak summer season was in the range of 450-500MW.
Sometimes power supply is restored in 10-15 minutes, but generally it takes more than an hour, said Shweta Jaitly, a homemaker who lives off Boring Road.
Shreya Pandey, a resident of Boring Canal Road, said she had stopped using her airconditioner despite humid weather for the fear that frequent power cuts might damage it. Whenever I ask the lineman, he says too many people are using airconditioners as a result of which the supply network gets overburdened, she said.
Patna Electric Supply Undertaking (Pesu)s general manager Dilip Kumar explained the feeder lines start tripping when the demand of power is more than the availability. We are receiving complaints about overloading, voltage fluctuations and frequent power cuts on a daily basis, he said. To resolve these issues, Kumar said, the Pesu has planned to increase the number of substations in Patna. The work is under progress. Once there are more substations, we will be in a position to meet the increased demand of power, he said and added the number of transformers would also be increased in different localities.
Residents, however, demanded immediate end to power cuts. Power cuts in night are most troublesome. It becomes almost impossible to sleep in this weather without coolers, said Vijay Kumar, a resident of Boring Road.
- Dobhi checkpost: CCTV cameras found non-functional TNN | May 26, 2018, 01:00 IST
GAYA: Monitoring and other surveillance system installed at the Dobhi integrated checkpost including CCTV cameras and weighbridge were found non-functional during a joint inspection by Gaya district magistrate (DM) Abhishek Singh and SSP Rajiv Mishra on Friday morning.
Altogether, nine officials deputed at the integrated checkpost were also found absent from duty during the inspection. “The absentee officials would be put under suspension,” he said.
Officials did not rule out sabotage of the CCTV and weighbridge to facilitate illegal activity by checkpost employees and middlemen. Sources said that overloaded trucks are allowed to pass through and there is no mechanism in place to check the weight. Besides causing huge revenue loss, overloading inflicts heavy damage to road conditions.
The DM added that an inquiry will be done to ascertain the cause of non-functioning of the surveillance system and action will be taken if evidence of sabotage surfaces during the inquiry. He also said that there was complete lack of coordination between the officials of different departments deputed at the checkpost. “Employees of transport department, mining, forest, state excise etc. are deputed there, but there is lack of coordination among them,” he added.
“Extortion from transporters is also rampant and efforts will be made to put an end to it. Henceforth one magistrate and a police officer will be deputed at the checkpost to monitor and establish coordination between different departments,” said the DM.
“There will be nearly 300% increase in revenue if things are set right. Our priority, however is to get the CCTV and weighbridge functional,” said Singh.
- ECR launches monthlong cleanliness drive TNN | May 26, 2018, 01:00 IST
PATNA: The East Central Railway (ECR) launched a monthlong cleanliness drive at all the major stations under its jurisdiction on Friday. The drive was launched following a recent directive from the Railway Board.
ECR chief public relations officer (CPRO) Rajesh Kumar said the railways would keep station premises and coaches of all long distance passenger trains neat and clean during the period. “A team of railway officials will monitor cleanliness drive in each division of the ECR. More dustbins will be made available at the major stations. Posters and banners will be put up at all the major stations to create awareness among passengers regarding cleanliness,” the CPRO added.
He said railways has decided to launch mechanised cleaning system to keep platforms and station premises clean round the clock. “Washing pits located at different places in each division will ensure that coaches of mail and express trains are properly cleaned before their departure from respective stations. Railways has already introduced on board housekeeping facilities in long distance trains,” Kumar said.
Blood donation: The ECR organised a blood donation camp in association with Red Cross Society at its headquarters in Hajipur on Thursday. Several railway officials, including ECR additional general manager Anup Kumar, donated their blood. ECR GM L C Trivedi said blood donation was a noble cause to save precious lives of people.
Extended run for train: Railways has extended the run of Raghunathpur-Buxar MEMU special train (03219/03220) till November 30 this year. The train leaves Raghunathpur at 12.40pm and reaches Buxar at 2.05pm. On its return journey, the train leaves Buxar at 3.15pm and reaches Raghunathpur at 4.10pm.
- Govt identifies 84 erring e-waste collection units TNN | May 26, 2018, 01:00 IST
PATNA: The Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) has identified 84 e-waste collection centres which are not complying with the E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016 notified by the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate.
“There are more than 140 authorised e-waste collection centres in the state. At least 84 of them are not complying with the rules,” a BSPCB official said.
The BSPCB officials held a meeting with the heads of various collection centres and manufacturers of electrical products on Friday to inform them about proper e-waste management techniques.
As per the E-waste Management Rules, 2016, the manufacturers of electrical products are required to set up collection centres and ensure that waste is recycled and disposed of in an environment-friendly manner. These collection centres and recyclers are registered with the state pollution control board. A deposit-refund system (DRS) has also been initiated where an upfront deposit is charged from the consumer at the time of purchase of the product and the deposit is refunded when the product is safely returned to the producer.
- BIT-P discontinues Bachelor of Architecture course, again Faryal Rumi| TNN | May 26, 2018, 02:00 IST
PATNA: The Birla Institute of Technology-Patna (BIT-P) discontinued Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) course for the second consecutive year after it failed to get the affiliation from the Council of Architecture (CoA).
CoA is a statutory body of the government of India under the Architect Act, 1974 that grants licence for practice to architecture students after they complete their course.
A student of the 2013-18 batch said she had applied for training at few architectural firms, but feared that her application would be rejected.
“Because of BIT-P’s fault, we are in trouble. I cannot start my own firm as it will not be legal without CoA licence,” a student said on condition of anonymity.
The BArch course was started at BIT-P in 2012 and the first batch passed out in 2017. The affiliation of CoA expired in 2015 and emergency affiliation was given to the institute till 2016. As the institute was not able to fulfil the criteria for the recognition of the course, the CoA derecognized it in 2016. Later, students stage protests against the institute administration.
Another BArch student said, “We had called off our stir after receiving written assurance from vice-chancellor M K Mishra that all our problems would be sorted out. However, nothing has happened so far.”
BArch head Anamika Nandan told this newspaper the BIT-P authorities were in talks with the officials of CoA to provide licence to students, who completed their course. “A UGC team will soon inspect the institute,” she said.
- ‘Amphitheatre at Gandhi Maidan to be ready before Dussehra’ PATNA: The proposed open theatre at Gandhi Maidan is likely to become operational from the first week of October.
Patna divisional commissioner Anand Kishor, who held a meeting on Friday with officials of Patna Municipal Corporation and representatives of Spanish firm Eptisa Servicios de Ingenieria SL, the management consultant for the Smart City project, said the screen for the open theatre would be installed by September 30 prior to Dussehra celebrations. The Spanish agency has been given one-month time to complete the bidding process for roping in the agency which will install the screen.
It is better to bring investment in the state to generate employment and development and improve law and order in the state.Mithilesh Kumar
Apart from Bollywood and religious movies, documentaries on various government schemes would also be screened at the open theatre. The show timings will be from 7pm to 10pm and the entry will be free.
“We have decided to use a movable screen for the theatre so that it can be removed at night after the show. No permanent structure is required to be built for the purpose. An inflatable movie screen with an attached projection screen (commonly used for outdoor movies) will be installed,” Kishor said, adding two high quality projectors and sound equipment would also be installed.
- Rs 25 lakh looted from toll plaza staff in Gaya, 2 held
PATNA: Four motorcycle-borne criminals looted Rs 25 lakh from three toll plaza employees in front of the Amas branch of Punjab National Bank (PNB) along the GT Road in Gayadistrict on Friday. Police, however, gave a hot chase to the criminals and arrested two of them. The police also recovered Rs 10.43 lakh of the looted money.
SHO (in charge) of Amas police station Lal Bahadur Yadav said raids were on to arrest two more criminals involved in the crime.
“The arrested criminals have been identified as Shubham Kumar and Pinku Kumar, both in their early 20s. The two are residents of Atri and Wazirganj in Gaya district, respectively. A country-made pistol, an empty cartridge and a motorcycle have been recovered from the possession of the arrested persons,” Gaya SSP Rajeev Mishra said.
The SSP added the incident occurred when the toll plaza employees were about to enter the PNB branch at Amas. “Police reached the spot soon after getting information and gave a hot chase to the criminals. In panic, they took a wrong road and reached Pathra village where the locals challenged them. Two of them were later arrested by police with the help of the villagers,” the SSP said.
- Checking of women drivers under CCTV coverage only: Traffic SP
PATNA: Traffic police personnelwould check the vehicles being driven by women only under CCTV camera surveillance, Patna traffic SP P N Mishra said on Saturday.
In case of male drivers, if CCTVcamera is not in the vicinity, police officers would record the checking procedures on their cellphones as proof for future. The CCTV footage would be saved for a week, he said.
Male police personnel have been ordered not to touch women drivers no matter what her crime is. Vehicles with women passengers should be checked by women police personnel only. All traffic rules apply to both men and women, he said.
Traffic police personnel have also been asked not to get into skirmishes with drivers regarding fine or punishment. A case would be registered against those found driving a vehicle without licence, Mishra said.
Traffic police personnel have been directed to maintain a list of seizures, take signature of the driver in the presence of independent witnesses at the time. As a proof, police personnel would click a picture of the documents if they found any problem with them.
All police officials would be in proper uniform with their name tags attached. They have advised not to stop a vehicle by standing in front or going close to it from their safety point of view. “The directives have been issued with exhaustive traffic system in Patna in mind. Those from other districts who drive in Patna change the traffic scenario on the city roads. The directives are meant to ensure not only their safety but that of the police personnel as well while checking vehicles,” the traffic SP said.
The directives were issued after transport department officials allegedly misbehaved with a girl near R-Block on May 22. According to police officials, the girl was asked to stop her scooty near R-Block for driving without a helmet. They also alleged that the girl had misbehaved with the officials. While the girl alleged that a transport department driver had clicked her picture and grabbed her hand when she objected.
Tractors on Gandhi setu: The Patna traffic administration has decided to allow tractors and medium-weight vehicles on Mahatma Gandhi Setu from 11am to 4pm to ease the burden on the bridge caused due to the movement of all such vehicles during night hours. “We have decided to allow medium-weight vehicles from both sides of the bridge to break the traffic flow,” traffic SP Mishra said.
- Cops arrest man for demanding Rs 10 lakh as ransom from contractor
PATNA: Police arrested one Santosh Yadav (45), a resident of Deedarganj, late on Friday night on charges of seeking Rs 10 lakh ransom from a contractor, Kanahiya Lal Singh (44).
SHO of Deedarganj police station Laxman Prasad said Kanahiya, who supplies sand to a multinational firm engaged in Ganga driveway project, had lodged an FIR with police, alleging that he had received an extortion call on May 22 and asked to pay Rs 10 lakh. “The arrested person is being interrogated,” the SHO said, adding the cellphone used in making the extortion call has been seized.
Youth shot dead: One Gautam Anand (22), who had sustained multiple gunshot injuries when criminals attacked him at Hullupur under Beur police station area on Friday, died at Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH).
SHO of Beur police station Ranjan Kumar said before breathing his last, Gautam had accused his associate Golu Sonar of firing bullets at him. “Three empty cartridges and a motorcycle were seized from the spot. The owner of the bike is Vicky Rai, one of Gautam’s friends,” the SHO said, adding Gautam, who had been lodged in jail in connection with a liquor smuggling case, was granted bail on May 15.
- Teams formed to evict encroachers PATNA: District magistrate (DM) Kumar Ravi on Sunday constituted four teams to remove encroachments near the shops and garages on Bypass Road and directed the officials to take action under Section 133 of the Motor Vehicles Act against the trucks and tractors parked on the road.
“The team comprises officials from Patna Municipal Corporation, SDO Patna City, traffic police personnel and other police officials. A ‘Halla Bol’ vehicle will also be part of the team to remove illegally parked trucks carrying building materials or cattle from the roads. SDO Patna City and SDO Sadar will conduct anti-encroachment drive continuously,” the DM said after inspecting the ongoing anti-encroachment drive on the Bypass and movement of vehicles on Gandhi Setu, J P Setu and Danapur-Digha road.
With the ban on heavy vehicles on Mahatma Gandhi Setu, the problem of traffic jam on the bridge has been resolved to a large extent and the district administration is likely to allow trucks on the JP Setu from 10pm to 5am. “For this, we will have to raise the level of low hanging electrical wire and trim down some trees,” Ravi said.
He also directed the officials concerned to install speed limit signage on Digha road. He also directed SDO Sadar to remove encroachments from the 90-feet Kankarbagh Mor and asked SDO Patna City to ensure the removal of encroachments from Pahadi Mor to Zero Mile.
- 7k get electricity through camps PATNA: State energy department is holding camps in villages across Bihar to ensure 100% household electrification before the December deadline this year under PM’s Saubhagya Yojana.
Officials said around 7,000 households have been provided electricity connections in the state through camps since March. “A survey is conducted using Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 data to identify new and the existing consumers who need restoration of their connections. Those households that are not covered in SECC data will also be provided electricity connections under Saubhagya Yojana,” said superintending engineer (electric supply circle, Patna) Dilip Kumar.
“After a weeklong survey, three-day camps are set up in the villages to complete requisite documentation on-the-spot to expedite electricity connections free of cost. Our junior electrical engineers (JEEs) visit the households to monitor and supervise the work progress. The data of new consumers is uploaded to Saubhagya portal within 24 hours of the consumer registration,” he said.
Kumar said transformers, meters and wires are also provided under the scheme and the entire process is done within two days. The first bill is generated after a cycle of 45 days. “We have engaged a company to collect first bill directly from the consumer’s house,” Kumar said. He said the connections are free for below poverty line (BPL) families. For above poverty line (APL) family in rural areas, a token money of Rs500 is charged.
“Seven camps have been held since March and we have served first bills to around 3,000 of the 7,000 new consumers,” he added.