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Latest RE News - Bihar

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  • Re : Latest RE News - Bihar

    16 villages in Bhagalpur to adopt smart agricultural practices

    Kumar Rajesh | TNN | Oct 23, 2018, 01:00 IST

    BHAGALPUR: In order to tackle the ill-effects of climatic changes, Bhagalpur district agriculture department has decided to initiate ‘smart agricultural practices’ as pilot project in 16 villages of the district. Eight of the villages are in Sultanganj block while remaining eight are in Kahalgaon block.

    Christened as ‘Climate Smart Village Project’ (CSVP), the agriculture practices will be adopted on the basis of analysis of ‘climate risk profile’ (CRP) of the area in order to save the crops and other agriculture produce from adverse climatic variations and its ill-effects on not only the agricultural yield but also on socio-economic condition of the region.

    Agriculture department sources said agriculture scientists and experts would monitor the CSVP, which will take into consideration weather conditions and forecast, environmental pollution, tolerant (drought and waterlogged soil) variety of crop besides soil and water conservation, rise in temperature and other factors before embarking on cultivation, so that the vagaries of nature have minimal effect.

    The sources said nearly 100 farmers from each of the selected village would be imparted training in how to adopt ‘smart agricultural practices’.

    Weather scientist at Bihar Agriculture University, Dr Birendra Kumar said variation in temperature and climatic changes affect agriculture production. “One degree of variation in climatic temperature can result in changing the agriculture pattern and fall in yields. We have to adjust to the farming pattern accordingly to optimize the yield and reduce the cost with the help of scientific knowledge,” he said.

    District agriculture officer (DAO) Sanjay Kumar said capacity building programme for 100 farmers from each of the selected 16 villages will be undertaken initially with the help of agriculture scientists and experts. “It is likely that we will be able to start agricultural practices in accordance with the CSVP in this Rabi season (October-March), the DAO said.

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      Self-drive cab service from next month

      Faryal Rumi | TNN | Oct 23, 2018, 02:00 IST
      PATNA: The state transport department is to launch self-drive cab service through a private firm in Bihar from mid-November. The service will be launched under sub-section (1) of Section 75 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

      State transport secretary Sanjay Kumar Agarwal said the decision was taken at a meeting to allow the rent-a-cab (self-drive cab) facility in Bihar. “A private company has approached us with the proposal as it is already operating such service in other metro cities. It will be the first licence to be issued in the state under the scheme. Anyone having a valid driving licence for four-wheelers can hire and drive a cab,” Agarwal told this newspaper on Monday.

      Once the firm gets the licence from the state transport authority, booking of cabs will be done through online as well as offline mode.

      “The tourists and residents can hire a cab to move around the city, to other districts and states on their own as per the pre-agreement between the renter and the private company. The cost of booking a cab as well as the other terms and conditions will be decided by the operator,” Agarwal said.

      The online booking of cabs will be done through the private firm’s official website. For offline booking, the residents have to visit the firm’s office in Patna. People would get a chance to choose vehicles as per their preference. The cabs will be equipped with the global position system.

      “Rent-a-cab service will prove beneficial for those who plan a trip with their families and friends or hire vehicles for some functions and ceremonies,” said Agarwal, adding it is expected to be operational from mid-November.

      Raman Kumar, a resident of Boring Canal Road, said the self-drive cab service would be a boon for people who get bored with their old cars and want to ride other models. “Especially for long drive to Rajgir, Nalanda, Bodh Gaya and other tourist places, I don’t want to use my car. For long journey, the service will be beneficial,” he said.

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        Escalator inaugurated at Patna Junction

        Kumod Verma | TNN | Updated: Oct 23, 2018, 06:27 IST

        The new escalator at Patna Junction on platform no.1 on Monday.

        PATNA: Minister of state for railways Manoj Sinha on Monday inaugurated a pair of escalators on platform number 1 of the Patna Junction. The facility has been installed utilizing an estimated outlay of Rs 2 crore.

        Sinha also laid the foundation for extension of the platform length on both down and up lines at Barhiya station under Danapur division of the East Central Railway to accommodate 24 coaches of mail and express trains at a cost of Rs 1.17 crore. He also laid the foundation stone for carrying out platform surfacing work and provision of sheds and lights at each halt between Patna and Jhajha stations of the division. This project is likely to entail an expenditure of about Rs 4.50 crore. Besides, he laid the foundation for constructing foot overbridges (FOB) at Barh and Hathidah stations at a cost of Rs 4.68 crore.

        The minister laid the foundation for construction of two FOBs — one each at Bansipur and Mankatha stations — at a cost of Rs 3.64 crore. In Nawada, Sinha inaugurated railway electrification (RE) work on the Kiul-Gaya section. He also flagged off a new MEMU train which will run daily between Kiul and Gaya. According to ECR’s chief public relations officer Rajesh Kumar, the total length of the Kiul-Gaya section is about 129km. The railways completed the electrification work in two years.

        Union minister Giriraj Singh, MP Bina Devi, MLA Nitin Naveen, ECR GM L C Trivedi, Danapur DRM Ranjan Prakash Thakur and several others were present on the occasion.

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          Lalu Prasad Yadav set to lose prime ‘benami’ properties

          The attached properties were purchased by close aides of Lalu Prasad when he was the Railway minister in the UPA government allegedly using shell companies.Pradeep Thakur | TNN | October 23, 2018, 16:00 IST

          NEW DELHI: Former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad's family members may soon lose possession of their farm houses in Delhi and other properties in posh localities of the national Capital and in Patna as the adjudicating authority under Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act recently confirmed Income Tax’s provisional attachments of 17 properties worth over Rs 128 crore.

          The attached properties were purchased by close aides of Lalu Prasad when he was the Railway minister in the UPA government allegedly using shell companies. The beneficial ownership of these companies and properties were later transferred to his family members, including his wife Rabri Devi, son and former Bihar deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, daughters Chanda, Misha and Ragini and son-in-law Shailesh Kumar.

          With the confirmation of the provisional attachments, the Income Tax department can take possession of these properties and may allow the occupants to stay on rent till the trial of the cases are completed, a source said.

          “The market value of these properties, which include a high end under construction mall in Patna, a palatial residence in New Friends Colony, Delhi and a two-and-a-half acre farm near Delhi airport is Rs 127.75 crore,” a senior I-T official said. These properties were attached by the I-T department in September last year and four cases were registered under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act.

          Four shell companies, floated by close associates of Lalu Prasad, owned these properties. “Initial funds required for purchase of properties were routed through shell entities and subsequently the shares were transferred in the name of family members of Lalu Prasad at highly understated value,” the official said.

          If convicted in the Benami Act, an accused can get jail term for up to 7 years and shall be liable to a fine which is 25% of the “fair market value” of the property. A convicted politician is also debarred from contesting elections for six years, in addition to the prison term he or she serves.

          The New Friend’s Colony property is worth Rs 40 crore and was purchased in 2007 in the name of AB Exports when Lalu Prasad Yadav was the still the Railway minister. Its declared book value was just Rs 5 crore. The directors of the shell company, as claimed by I-T, transferred all the rights and shareholding of the company to Tejashwi Yadav in 2010-11 for a mere consideration of Rs 4 lakh.

          Similarly, a farmhouse in Palam Vihar in Delhi was purchased in the name of Mishail Packers worth Rs 40 crore. Its declared book value was Rs 1.41 crore and was later transferred to Lalu’s daughter Misha and son-in-law Shailesh Kumar.

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            You will be fined for littering open spaces

            TNN | Oct 25, 2018, 08:39 IST

            Picture for representational purpose only.

            PATNA: Proprietors of commercial establishments will have to pay penalty up to Rs 5,000 if found responsible for littering public spaces.

            According to sources, the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to implement this penalty system within a week. The civic body has also decided to collect garbage from the main roads, commercial establishments and shops by auto-trippers in three shifts in the night. The door-to- door garbage collection from households will be done in daytime.

            It may be mentioned the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, empowers civic bodies to impose fine on people and organizations for littering public spaces and open premises.

            The sources said commercial establishments such as shopping centres, hotels, restaurants and other business organizations would have to pay penalties ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000, depending upon the quantity of waste. Households, vendors and shopkeepers will have to pay Rs 100, 200 and 500 respectively for littering.

            The sector in-charge of the localities will also collect the contact details of the households handing over and not handing over their waste to garbage collectors.

            The PMC has also released a helpline number 1800 3456 644 at which people can register complaints if garbage collectors are not visiting their areas.

            Preferring anonymity, a PMC official said business organizations and shops would not be permitted to dump waste during daytime. Garbage collectors will visit them after the sundown.

            Beur resident Ankita Kumari hailed the PMC move. “Shopkeepers dump their waste on roads or in open spaces, which creates unhygienic conditions,” she said and hoped the penalty system would deter individuals and organizations from spreading filth in the city.

            Bihar State Pollution Control Board’s PRO Virendra Kumar said households and business organizations should be encouraged to hand over their waste to garbage collectors. “We hope the penalty system works,” he said.


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              Government: All households electrified in Bihar, announcement soon

              Piyush Tripathi
              The energy department on Thursday claimed that it has provided meter-based electricity connection to all households in the state. “A formal announcement in this regard will be made within a week,” said a senior energy department official.

              | TNN | Updated: Oct 26, 2018, 10:53 IST

              Representative Image

              PATNA: The energy department on Thursday claimed that it has provided meter-based electricity connection to all households in the state. “A formal announcement in this regard will be made within a week,” said a senior energy department official.

              Altogether 32.49 lakh households in rural areas were targeted to be electrified under the Centre’s Saubhagya scheme, believed by many a replication of Bihargovernment’s Mukhya Mantri Vidyut Sambandh Yojna, commonly known as Har Ghar Bijli scheme.

              The official website of Saubhgya scheme showed 100% household electrification on Thursday evening. It showed all 1,39,63,909 households in rural as well as urban areas in the state have been electrified. Of these households, 32,49,828 were covered under Saubhagya scheme.

              Other states which have achieved 100% household electrification target as per the website are Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab.

              “We have provided electricity connections to 32.49 lakh households in the state. The focus is now on mop-up exercise in some districts. Officials of these districts have been asked to notify the state government if any household is left uncovered. The mop-up exercise will be completed in a week, following which the state government may formally announce the 100% household electricity connection in the state on November 1,” the energy department official added.

              The Centre’s Saubhagya scheme was launched by PM Narendra Modi on September 25 last year. The scheme is aimed at providing electricity connections to over 4 crore families in rural and urban areas in the country by March 31, 2019.

              Energy department principal secretary-cum-chief managing director of Bihar State Power Holding Company Limited (BSPHCL) Pratyaya Amrit told TOI, “We are striving to complete 100% household electrification in the state by October 31, which will be a fresh milestone for energy department and Bihar government.”

              The Har Ghar Bijli scheme was launched by CM Nitish Kumar on November 15, 2016. The state government allocated Rs 1,896 crore for providing electricity to around 25 lakh above poverty line (APL) households under the scheme.

              In subsequent execution of the scheme, the state government achieved the first milestone of taking electricity to all villages on December 27, 2017 and to all hamlets on April 30 this year.

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                Patna’s air quality ‘very poor’

                Even though Diwali is nearly a fortnight away, air quality in city slipped to “very poor” category on Thursday following rise in concentration of harmful pollutants in the atmosphere with the gradual plunge in temperature.
                TNN | Oct 26, 2018, 08:44 IST

                Girls cover their faces with scarves in Patna on Thursday

                PATNA: Even though Diwali is nearly a fortnight away, air quality in city slipped to “very poor” category on Thursday following rise in concentration of harmful pollutants in the atmosphere with the gradual plunge in temperature.

                The air quality index (AQI) of Patna released by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on Thursday was measured at 309, putting it in “very poor” category. Patna was competing with Kanpur, Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad and Delhi, where AQIs were measured at 380, 353, 352, 332, and 331, respectively. Apart from Patna, the AQI of Muzaffarpur dropped to 292 on Thursday, while there was no record available for Gaya.

                On Wednesday, the AQIs of Patna, Muzaffarpur and Gaya were 273, 243 and 153, respectively. The air quality value ranged from 0-50 is categorized as ‘good’, between 51-100 as satisfactory, between 101-200 as moderate, between 201-300 as poor and between 301-400 as very poor. Air quality value above 400 is considered as “severe”.

                According to experts, air quality in Patna and some other towns in the state may plunge further in the coming days. “Senior citizens and children are more prone to breathing discomfort, cough and eye rashes after prolonged exposure on the busiest roads in the cities with higher pollution levels,” they said.

                Ankita, senior programme officer (air pollution), Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED), said, “With the drop in temperature, the moisture levels decrease leading to trapping of pollutants at ground level. Therefore, the pollutants from different sources, such as vehicular emission and dust particles, reside in the environment for longer hours leading to worsening air quality.”

                Ankita said the toxic air menace could be addressed only with long-term measures. “Dust particles and vehicular emission, the major sources of air pollution, have increased drastically in Patna in the recent years due to rapid urbanization. The government should urgently enforce air pollution control plans before the situation goes out of hand,” she said.

                Vinita Kumari, a resident of Jagdeopath, said, “As pollution level is very high in Patna, I use face masks. The government should urgently initiate measures to curb air pollution.”

                Bailey Road resident Irfan Alam said the government should take strict action against polluting vehicles and industrial units.


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                  Patna administration removes encroachments after HC wrath

                  Debashish Karmakar | TNN | Oct 27, 2018, 08:18 IST

                  Picture for representational purpose only.

                  PATNA: Within 24 hours of facing Patna high court’s wrath, the district administration on Friday removed encroachments from a road at East Indira Nagar in Kankerbagh. Officials of the district administration had failed to make the road encroachment-free for the last several years.

                  While hearing a writ petition filed by one Umesh Kishore Sharan on Thursday, a division bench of Patna high court comprising Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Madhuresh Prasad had rapped the district administration for failing to remove encroachments from the road. The encroachments included concrete dwellings with tin roofs and a cattle shed. Two decimals of government land were encroached upon by one Harendra Paswan and some others.

                  On January 10 this year, the then Phulwarisharif circle officer (CO) had ordered removal of encroachments. However, the order was not implemented.

                  Later, those encroaching upon the road wrote to SC/ST commission on September 17, seeking ten-day time to vacate the land. On the commission’s request, the district magistrate gave ten-day time to illegal dwellers to relocate. However, they failed to vacate the land even after 10 days.

                  On October 12, the Patna high court summoned the CO and asked him to remain present before court on October 25 to explain behind administration’s failure to remove encroachments from the road.

                  However, CO Kumar Kundan Lal failed to appear before the bench on Thursday due to his appearance before Supreme Court. Incharge circle inspector (CI) appeared before the bench on behalf of the CO. The bench reprimanded the CI and posted the matter for hearing on Friday in presence of the CO.

                  Top officials of district administration were immediately informed from the office of government advocate about the high court’s tough stand. The CO, before coming to high court on Friday morning, ensured removal of all encroachments from the road.

                  The CO produced photographs of demolishment before the court. To this, the court asked him to remove even debris from the road immediately.


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                    Pollution board issues advisory for ‘green’ Diwali

                    Faryal Rumi | TNN | Updated: Oct 28, 2018, 08:10 IST

                    (Representative image)

                    PATNA: Amid worsening air quality ahead of Diwali, the Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) on Saturday issued an advisory to the district administrations, other officials concerned and educational institutes to go for green and healthy Diwali.

                    The advisory was issued in pursuance of a recent order of the Supreme Court for restricting the time window for bursting firecrackers.

                    The district administrations have been asked to curb the sale of multi and serial crackers like ‘chatai’ bombs and ensure that the crackers were burst between 8pm and 10pm. “Crackers should not be sold through online medium, while shops without licence will not be operated in the state,” the advisory states.

                    The pollution board has asked private and government schools to launch a drive to create awareness among children to celebrate Diwali in an eco-friendly way. In a letter to the district education officers, CBSE, Kendriya VidyalayaSangathan, Navodaya Vidyalaya and ICSE school principals, the BSPCB has asked them to inform children about the harmful and hazardous effects of bursting firecrackers.

                    BSPCB chairman Ahok Ghosh said the pollution board could not make residents aware about the deteriorating condition of the environment in such a short time span and, therefore, thought it wise to sensitize the young minds.

                    “Crackers that create 125 decibels of noise at a distance of four metres from the bursting point are prohibited. Bursting crackers is strictly banned in a radius of 100m of hospitals, courts, religious places, educational institutes and residential areas,” Ghosh said and added the advisory contained such points.

                    The advisory has also highlighted the harmful effects of cracker bursting on human brains, eyes, ear-drums, skin and respiratoty system. It has asked schools to make students take a pledge to celebrate Diwali in a healthy and environment-friendly manner.

                    Ghosh appealed to the residents to buy crackers of only certified Indian brands. “Chinese crackers produce more sound and emit injurious smoke. To make crackers more colourful, the Chinese cracker makers use harmful chemicals,” he said.

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                      Air quality in city remains ‘poor’

                      TNN | Oct 29, 2018, 02:00 IST

                      PATNA: It’s not the vehicle emission but dust which contributes the most to the air pollution in the state capital, followed by Muzaffarpur and Gaya in the state.

                      According to experts, the dust emanating from damaged roads and ongoing construction works are the biggest contributor (38%) to the total PM 2.5 levels (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometre), followed by vehicle pollution (20%) and household emissions (12%) in Patna.

                      The air quality index (AQI) released by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on Sunday shows air pollution levels 1.5 to 2 times more than the normal in the last week of this month. The AQI of Patna was 309, 314, 282 and 283 on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively. It was 269 and 155 at Muzaffarpur and Gaya respectively on October 27.

                      the air value in the range of 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 as satisfactory, 101-200 as moderate and 201-300 as poor. It is considered very poor between 301 and 400 and considered severe above 400.

                      Ankita, senior programme officer (air pollution) at the Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED), said, “The PM2.5 constitutes dust, very small particles of metals and smoke from vehicles. The biggest contributor to PM2.5 levels is dust particles emanating from bad road conditions and construction materials spread on roads.”

                      She said there is lack of clear action plan in Bihar about air pollution control. It is good that people are now aware about pollution-related health problems, but still there is a lot to be done from the state government’s side.

                      “People with breathing problems are advised to wear masks while moving on roads. It is also necessary to protect eyes from dust by wearing sunglasses,” physician Dr Diwakar Tejaswi said.

                      Earlier, the district administration imposed fine on people leaving construction materials on roads. The residents said the state government should urgently repair roads and take strict action against people for dumping construction materials on roads.

                      Shefali Kumari of Phulwarisharif said, “Dust emanating from roads are really hazardous for commuters in our area. The roundabout near Phulwari police station is known among the locals as powder roundabout because the road always remains damaged and there is dust all around caused by vehicles passing through the area.

                      “The dust level at ‘Powder Roundabout’ is dangerous for people’s health. Why the road construction department does not pay attention here,” Shefali said.

                      Priyanka Singh from Beur locality said, “Air pollution should become an election issue as it is alarming in Patna.”

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