Month: December 2019

first_imgThe Congress on Friday demanded that President Pranab Mukherjee dismiss Goa Governor Mridula Sinha for committing “constitutional impropriety” and “dereliction of duty”.The opposition party latched on to Sinha’s admission in an interview that she consulted Finance Minister Arun Jaitley before inviting the BJP for government formation in the State.“We urge the President of India to exercise his powers under Article 156 (1) and immediately dismiss the Governor of Goa for abdicating her Constitutional responsibilities and oath of secrecy,” Congress leader Pratap Singh Bajwa said.He said the President of India has already dismissed the Arunachal Pradesh Governor for similar acts of impropriety, saying this will act as a deterrent to other governors to work within constitutional limits.Bajwa said the Supreme Court has reiterated that it is the duty of the Governor to “act judiciously” while exercising their powers under Article 164 at the time of appointing the Chief Minister.“However, the atrocious admission of Governor Sinha conclusively proves that her actions were politically motivated under the clear instructions of the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley,” he told reporters.Putting forth the Congress’ demands, the party’s Rajya Sabha MP said these revelations demonstrate that the act of the governor to consult the finance minister and not the President of India “is a serious matter of constitutional impropriety and an unpardonable dereliction of duty“.He asked that since the finance minister could not have advised the governor in government formation, “why should the Prime Minister not take action against the Finance Minister?.” “Or are we to assume that he was authorised by the dirty tricks department of the BJP?” he asked.The Congress leader cited an interview of Sinha where she made the “startling and audacious revelation”, and “shockingly accepted that she consulted Union Minister Arun Jaitley” to invite the BJP for government formation in the State.“This proves that BJP manufactured the Goa majority while the Governor acted in cahoots with the central leadership in Delhi,” he said.On Sinha’s claim that she heard that Congress could not elect their Legislature party leader nor get enough support, Bajwa asked “where did she hear it from? Did she hear it from anybody in the Congress party or was it ‘Akashwani’?” “How can she take such a decision without consulting the Honourable President of India or without studying its legal ramifications?” he asked.He said under the established convention in such a scenario, the Governor should have approached the President and submitted a report to him seeking guidance for the way forward.“Rather than consulting the President of India or the Attorney General of India, she consulted the Union Finance Minister who is a party in this case, hence indulging in massive Constitutional impropriety,” he alleged.The Congress party also alleged that the Constitution is left “bruised and battered, as yet again the BJP subverts the Governor for their own petty gains”.last_img read more

first_imgAhmedabad crime branch refused to arrest Hardik Patel and his supporters in a case filed last week for rioting and arson at a BJP municipal councillor’s residence in the city. On Monday, Hardik and his dozen odd supporters, who too are named in the case, approached the crime branch to surrender but they were turned away on the grounds that the investigation officer (IO) in the case was out of station. “Mr.Patel was required to present himself before us every Monday. So, Mr. Patel asked us to arrest him and others but as the IO (investigating officer) is out of station, we told him we will do it later,” assistant commissioner of police(ACP) B. C. Solanki said. On March 20, Ramol police station in Ahmedabad lodged a rioting and arson case against Mr. Patel and 59 other Patel quota agitators for creating a ruckus outside the house of BJP councillor, who lodged the case against the agitators. After the FIR was lodged, the local police station arrested 13 persons named in the FIR while the case was handed over to the special agency Crime Branch, which had earlier booked Hardik and others in sedition case.last_img read more

first_imgThe crisis within the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) government in Nagaland has further deepened with Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu sacking 10 of his parliamentary secretaries following a demand for his removal, an official said on July 9, 2017.The development comes as former Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang on July 8, 2017 wrote to Governor P.B. Acharya and staked claim to form a new government. He claimed he has the support of 33 NPF legislators and seven Independent legislators. In the wake of the demand for his removal, Mr. Liezietsu, who is also the NPF chief, terminated four NPF legislators and six Independent legislators, as parliamentary secretaries.The Nagaland government issued notifications terminating the appointment of Mr. Zeliang as Advisor (Finance) and Mr. Nuklotoshi as Advisor to Chief Minister.Apart from sacking the legislators, the NPF Disciplinary Action Committee which met on July 8, 2017 also suspended 10 legislators as primary and active members of the party.Those suspended include Home Minister Yanthungo Patton, Power Minister Kipili Sangtam, National Highway and Political Affairs Minister G. Kaito Aye, Forest and Environment Minister Imkong L. Imchen, besides, Shetoyi, Nuklutoshi, Deo Nukhu, Naiba Konyak, Benjongliba and Mr. Zeliang. Mr. Zeliang along with 41 legislators are camping at Borgos resort in Kaziranga National Park in Assam to discuss the transition of power. “All 41 of us are intact and we are waiting only for Governor Acharya to invite Zeliang to form the government,” Forest and Environment Minister Imkong L. Imchen told IANS.“We don’t care about (suspension from the party) it because those people who have signed the suspension order do not have the grassroots support,” Mr. Imchen said, while refusing to divulge further.Governor Acharya is in Maharashtra and he is expected to return to Nagaland in a few days.The fresh political instability has come at a time when Mr. Liezietsu is gearing up for the July 29 byelection from the Northern Angami-I assembly constituency. Mr. Liezietsu has however voiced confidence that the crisis within the NPF would be resolved at the earliest.Mr. Liezietsu was sworn in as Chief Minister on February 22, 2017 after Mr. Zeliang’s resignation following a violent protest by tribal groups who were opposed to his move to hold civic polls with 33% reservation for women.The Chief Minister said that he was deeply pained by the recent disturbing developments affecting the normal functioning of the government.“The current issue is within the NPF party and will be resolved at the earliest to bring about normalcy in the state. The mandate of the people will be respected and the present crisis will be resolved in the larger interest of the people of the state,” Mr. Liezietsu stated.Noting that the NPF-led government will complete its full term, the beleaguered Chief Minister appealed to the people of the state to remain calm.In his letter to the Governor, Mr. Zeliang said “The legislators also urged the present Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu, who is a non-legislator, to resign and pave way for me (Mr. Zeliang) to take over as the Chief Minister.”Claiming support of 34 (including himself) out of the 47 NPF legislators, he also told Mr. Acharya that seven Independent legislators have also affirmed their support in his favour.The legislators wanted him to continue as leader of NPF legislature party and also authorised him to stake claim to form a new NPF-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland government.In the truncated 59-member Assembly, the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland coalition government comprises 47 NPF legislators, four BJP and eight Independents. The NPF MLAs include the 10 suspended legislators.Interestingly, Mr. Zeliang has even warmed up to his once bitter rival Neiphiu Rio, a three-time Nagaland Chief Minister. Mr. Rio, the lone Lok Sabha member from Nagaland, was suspended a couple of years back for “anti-party activities”, particularly against Mr. Zeliang.last_img read more

first_imgThe Delhi High Court on Tuesday reserved its order on the transit anticipatory bail plea of Honeypreet Insan, the adopted daughter of jailed Dera Sacha Dauda chief Ram Rahim, saying the “easiest way out” for her would be to surrender.Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, after hearing arguments on behalf of Honeypreet and the police of Delhi and Haryana, said she would pass an order on it.The order is likely to be pronounced later on Tuesday.“The easiest way out for you would be to surrender,” the court observed.Honeypreet has been on the run since the conviction of Ram Rahim in two rape cases. She is facing a case of sedition for allegedly inciting violence in Haryana after the Dera chief’s conviction.Transit anticipatory bail plea is meant to seek protection against arrest during transit. In this case, Honeypreet is seeking bail for her transit from Delhi to Haryana to join the investigation in the sedition case.“A ploy to do ‘forum shopping’.”During the hearing, the Haryana police opposed the filing of her plea in the Delhi High Court, saying it was “a ploy to do ‘forum shopping’.”The Delhi Police also alleged that Honeypreet should have approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, rather moving the Delhi High Court.The police of Delhi and Haryana opposed her plea for anticipatory bail for three weeks on the ground that the court of competent jurisdiction would be in Haryana.Honeypreet’s lawyer contended that her life was in danger in Haryana and that is why she has moved Delhi High Court seeking protection from arrest till she moves a court in the neighbouring State. The lawyer said she would join the probe if she was protected.last_img read more

first_imgIqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, media advisor to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has clarified that India’s posture on the Rohingya refugees would not impact the friendly relations between the two neighbouring countries.“Our relations are based on mutual trust and cooperation at all levels, and so an external problem cannot disturb it,” Mr. Chowdhury said during an interaction with journalists here on Saturday. He conceded that there was an initial confusion about India’s position on issues of ‘persecution of Rohingyas’ in Myanmar and massive influx of refugees in Bangladesh. “Now we see India is calling for permanent resolution to conflicts in Myanmar and adopting a humanitarian approach by sending relief to refugees stranded in Bangladesh,” he said.Mr. Chowdhury said that 5.5 lakh Rohingyas had so far entered southeastern districts of Bangladesh since the latest cycle of violence erupted in Rakhine province of Myanmar. Over six lakh Rohingya refugees were already stranded in Bangladesh and that took the total number to 12 lakh, he said.The veteran journalist stated that the present crisis was different from what had happened in the past. “Earlier there was turmoil and tension, resulting in Rohingya exodus, but now they are being driven out in a planned manner – killing, burning villages and crops, terrorising people with rapes and torture,” he said.During interaction with newsmen he supported apprehension that external forces and terrorist cells could try to exploit sentiment of ‘stateless Rohingya’ to engage them in subversive activities.“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has time and again made it clear that Bangladesh was providing relief and shelter to the evacuees on humanitarian ground and any rebellious activities in the relief camps would be tolerated”, Mr. Chowdhury stated.last_img read more

first_imgWith the dispute over Mahanadi river water sharing between Odisha and Chhattisgarh reaching a flashpoint, experts and civil society groups have urged the two governments to discuss all the contentious issues for a meaningful solution.At the second Odisha river conference, which concluded on Monday, experts said competitive politics over the Mahanadi water sharing was only making the matter complicated.A group of civil society organisations, river and water experts and academics from across the country and the two States gathered here to build an Inter-State Cooperation Framework for the resolution of the Mahanadi river water dispute.Politics over conflicts“There have been a lot of politics and inter-State river water conflicts in the country. But in the process of fighting, let the rights of the river as an ecological entity not get snatched. While the dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh is rife, it is unfortunate that both the States are treating the Mahanadi as a commodity and not a natural resource,” said Ranjan Panda, the convenor of Water Initiatives Odisha.“No doubt Chhattisgarh has constructed many dams and barrages without the consent of Odisha and has obstructed a lot of water, but that does not mean we can conclude that Chhattisgarh has siphoned off water from Odisha’s share,” said Mr. Panda.“We need a comprehensive understanding and analysis of the impacts of all these structures and availability of water in the basin. Let the tribunal decide how to make such an analysis and instruct Chhattisgarh to stop these obstructions if they are illegal,” Mr. Panda said, urging the two States not to close the door on dialogue.Internationally renowned climate change expert Saroj Dash hoped good sense would prevail and the two States would climb down from their stand and make space for dialogue. “The premise for the discussion should be cooperation, not conflict,” Mr. Dash said.“We don’t need either Odisha-centric or Chhattisgarh-centric approach. People’s rights on the river should be the guiding principle for dialogue,” said Premananda Panda, an academic.Mahanadi, the sixth largest river in India, originates from Chhattisgarh and enters the Bay of Bengal travelling 851 km, of which 357 km lies in Chhattisgarh and 494 km in Odisha. Odisha has been grumbling that the Mahanadi is witnessing an 80% reduction of water flow in non-monsoon months while Chhattisgarh says it is only storing river water.last_img read more

first_imgAt least seven persons were killed in landslides at three places in the hill district of Tamenglong in Manipur in the wee hours on Wednesday, police said. The incidents took place between 2.30 am to 3.00 am at Tamenglong town, they said. Rescue operations are on with the help of the district administration and state police, a police officer said, adding poor accessibility of the area was causing hindrance to the operations. Unofficial reports said the victims were mostly children.last_img

first_imgFor centuries, physicists have made their living by illuminating the secrets of our universe, from gravity to electricity to black holes. But among the search for Higgs bosons and the endless unspooling of string theories, there remained a particularly glaring mystery: Why does a teakettle whistle? “Oh that,” they said, standing at their stoves in between bouts of programming supercomputers. “Vibrations. Or something.” Now, we are happy to report, human intellect has at last triumphed over the dark shadow of ignorance and solved the conundrum lurking within one of our lowest-tech kitchen appliances. After years ensconced in the ivory tower of the University of Cambridge in in the United Kingdom, a team of researchers has emerged with an accurate mathematical model of a teakettle’s whistle. It has not one but two phases, they tell us. The first begins as the steam is forced into a jet by the kettle’s narrow spout; as the rushing air is compressed and then escapes into your kitchen, it vibrates with the frequency of a welcoming whistle. But the water inside the kettle is still boiling, sending more and more steam through the spout at faster and faster speeds. When the flow speed passes a certain point, tiny whirlpools form in the steam and radiate sound waves that eventually overtake the original vibrations. The new model is so accurate that physicists can now predict the pitch of any kettle’s whistle. And having solved another mystery of our vast but perhaps ultimately knowable universe, they smile and sip their tea.See more ScienceShots.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)last_img read more

first_imgPHYSICSStudies of non-hydrodynamic processes in inertial confinement fusion implosions on OMEGA and the National Ignition FacilityHans Rinderknecht Fat is the key to emulsions like mayonnaise. So how do you make them low-fat but still creamy? Read more … CHEMISTRYCarbon nanofibers’ flammability and explosionJiaqi Zhang Drug abuse recovery requires a social network. But how you interact with the network matters. Read more … Life is stressful for plants. It turns out that extra-small proteins help them chill. Read more … SOCIAL SCIENCEThe “discovery” of the Pacific: International relationships within the Spanish oceanic continentDavid Manzano Cosano Ever wonder how biologists use RNA sequencing from cytoplasm to decode a cell’s stress response? Or how about how astronomers use heterodyne arrays with superconducting mixers to observe the birth of stars? Rather than reading a paper about it, why not watch a dance? A ballet and a modern dance on those very topics have made it into the finals of this year’s “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest.It was a tight race among this year’s 21 Ph.D. dance submissions. The previous winners of the contest scored each of them on their scientific and artistic merits, and these 12 finalists made the cut. Now it’s a dance-off between the sciences, including a tango based on robot collision avoidance, an acrobatic spectacle based on soil ecology, and, in one of the most meta Ph.D. dances ever, a hip-hop dance about the anthropology of hip-hop.A panel of esteemed scientists, artists, and educators are judging the finalists now to choose the winners.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The winners—and audience favorite—will be announced on 3 November.CHEMISTRYHigh pressure homogenisation for emulsions fat reductionSaioa Alvarez How can you build a motor so small that it runs inside a cell? Read more … In the scramble among European empires to colonize the Pacific Ocean, science played a key role. Read more … PHYSICSTime-critical cooperative path following of multiple multirotors UAVsVenanzio Cichella SOCIAL SCIENCEPerforming difference and diversity through embodiment and narrative: An ethnography of hip hop dancers in New York, Osaka, and PerthLucas Marie A heart attack not only scars your heart. It actually scars your genome. Read more … BIOLOGYEpigenetics of cardiac ischemia-reperfusion-injuryIna Kirmescenter_img SOCIAL SCIENCEPeer support groups for substance misuse: Understanding engagement with the groupAlina Sotskova Stars are being born throughout the galaxy, but observing them through their soupy clouds is tricky. Read more … Tornadoes may not be 100% bad after all, at least for tree reproduction. Read more … BIOLOGYAlterations to plant-soil feedbacks after severe tornado disturbanceUma Nagendra Carbon nanofibers don’t tend to explode. That is, until iron gets involved. Read more … Dancing close to other people is easy for humans, very hard for robots. Read more … PHYSICSHeterodyne arrays for terahertz astronomyJenna Kloosterman Get small atoms hot and crowded enough and you get fusion. But atoms behave strangely. Read more … CHEMISTRYPeptide in motionClaudia Poloni BIOLOGYUnravelling the biological role of novel, stress-induced peptides in Arabidopsis thalianaPatrizia Tavormina What is hip hop culture? How is it evolving in different contexts around the world? Read more …last_img read more

first_imgThe report advises NIH to follow an Institute of Medicine report this past June recommending changes to the design and leadership of the troubled National Children’s Study (NCS), a plan to track the health of 100,000 babies to adulthood. But the bill also says that $165 million allocated this year for the study could also be spent on “research related to the Study’s goals and mission” at NIH institutes.The fate of the NCS will likely be decided later this week at a meeting of the NIH director’s advisory committee, where a working group will recommend whether to launch the full study.To see all of our stories on the 2015 budget, click here.*Update, 11 December, 10:42 a.m.: The $25 million increase in the BRAIN Initiative has been added to this item. Although the massive 2015 spending agreement reached by Congress last night gives the National Institutes of Health (NIH) a flat budget, it contains modest increases for a few programs within the agency. An accompanying report also contains several directives that biomedical research advocates are eyeing warily.The $150 million increase, a mere 0.5% boost over the $29.9 billion it received last year, still leaves NIH below its budget level in 2012 before sequestration took a 5% bite, note biomedical research advocates. It falls short of the $606 million increase that a Senate spending subcommittee had approved and is less than the White House’s request of $211 million. “We appreciate any increase, but it’s not getting the job done. We’re going backwards,” says Jennifer Zeitzer, deputy director of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology’s Office of Public Affairs in Bethesda, Maryland.The bill singles out a few areas for larger increases. The National Institute on Aging gets a $28.6 million increase, or a 2.4% raise to $1.2 billion. “[A] significant portion” of the new money should go to Alzheimer’s disease depending on the quality of grant proposals, says a report accompanying the bill. Some institutes also received a boost as part of a $25 million increase for the Obama administration’s BRAIN Initiative, which receives a total of $65 million.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The bill also tags $12.6 million for a new pediatric research initiative that Congress created earlier this year by passing the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act. The program is supposed to be funded through a checkoff box on tax returns that funds political conventions. But apparently Congress decided to get it started by including money in NIH’s budget, says David Moore, senior director for government relations at the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington, D.C.Separately, the bill gives NIH $238 million for Ebola research and vaccine development as part of a government-wide $5.2 billion emergency bill for Ebola.One recent concern about NIH’s budget—that each year some money is skimmed off for other Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies—is remedied in the bill. It says that the $700 million that NIH is set to contribute to the “tap” this year will come back as $715 million for the agency. (After this accounting maneuver, NIH still receives only a total of $150 million more than last year, however.) Other HHS agencies that previously received part of their budgets from this tap will instead get direct appropriations, Moore notes.The report also directs NIH to pay more attention to the age at which new NIH investigators receive their first research grant, now 42 on average. NIH “is directed to develop a new approach with actionable steps to reduce” that age. The language echoes a controversial proposal from Representative Andy Harris (R–MD), a member of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, that would require NIH to lower the age of first R01 by 4 years within a decade, but lacks that specific target.Lawmakers also address a perennial concern: that the amount NIH spends on specific diseases doesn’t take into account the burden that disease creates or death rates. The report “urges NIH to ensure research dollars are invested in areas in which American lives may be improved.” It also tells NIH “to prioritize Federal funds for medical research over outreach and education,” apparently a reference to a grant for making a nutrition video game that Harris has criticized as less important than disease research.Biomedical advocates generally feel NIH should set research priorities based on the quality of research proposals, not disease burden or other criteria laid out by Congress. And although they worry about the aging of new investigators, they have reservations about Harris’s solutions. “What we’re seeing here is the committee expressing some concerns and setting some expectations,” Moore says. “It’s not certain what the next steps will be, but it’s something we will be watching very closely.”Other details:NIH’s complementary medicine institute will get a new name. Now called the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the bill replaces those last two words with “Integrative Health.” The report says this is because interventions such as dietary supplements and spinal manipulation therapy are now so widely used, they are no longer alternatives but instead are part of medical care.last_img read more

first_imgKulture Shop, is bringing together urban artists and turning their designs into home and lifestyle products. Related Itemslast_img

first_imgIndian American hotelier Nik Patel of Orlando, Florida, has been allegedly accused of engaging in a new multimillion-dollar loan fraud while he was on bonded release last year, according to the Orlando Sentinel.According to the Orlando Sentinel, federal prosecutors filed new documents on Saturday, March 3, while Patel sentencing hearing was scheduled for Tuesday morning in Chicago before U.S. District Judge Charles P. Kocoras.Read it at News India Times Related Itemslast_img

first_imgStatistics published by the Times of India Newspaper showed a significant decline in the number of immigration permits granted to Indians working in the Gulf region in 2018 – 19 percent or 295,000 permits compared to 374,000 in 2017, reports Alrai daily. Read it at Arab Times Related Itemslast_img

first_imgSometimes a story is so amazing that you want to give it three beginnings – if that were possible. Let’s try.*Subhankar Banerjee, armed with a camera, spent 14 months traveling 3,000 miles on foot and by snowmobile in the Arctic icebox, with temperatures below -40 degrees F. with wind chills of 60 mph. He ate moose, caribou and whale meat and nearly lost his toes to frost bite. He used up all his savings, including his 401Ks, to finance this trip. *Having never ever published even one photo, Subhankar Banerjee suddenly had a book contract for his images; President Jimmy Carter wrote the introduction to his book and famous names in conservation wrote the essays; and to top it all, the prestigious Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History mounted a solo exhibition of his work.*Can a book become a political football between Conservationists and the proponents of oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge? After Senator Barbara Boxer held up Subhankar Banerjee’s book on the Senate floor to rally opposition to oil exploration, the Smithsonian pedaled backwards on its commitment to the show, stirring up a national hullabaloo covered in every major media.There you have it – all the high drama of a simple Calcuttan’s life! And to think that all Banerjee had wanted to do was shoot images of polar bears in their natural habitat. The first venture of this unknown photographer into the Arctic National Wildlife certainly snowballed into something far bigger than the Arctic he was exploring.It also changed his life.Banerjee, 36, was born in Bahrampure near Calcutta. As a child, he did not shoot pictures with the mandatory Brownie camera – his passion was painting, inspired by a grand uncle who was a noted artist. He recalls, “I wanted to pursue painting seriously, but having grown up in a middle income family, you don’t really become a painter and make a living of that. So I pursued the path of science.” After receiving a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering he moved to the United States where he obtained master’s degrees in physics and computer science. While studying at New Mexico State University, Banerjee fell in love with the wide-open spaces of the Southwest.Always involved in the outdoors, Banerjee pursued his passion for backpacking, mountaineering, skiing and kayaking. He joined the Sierra Club, a large national conservation organization, even as he worked as a scientist, first at Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico and then at Boeing in Seattle. Around this time he started shooting pictures and as he recalls, “I picked up a large 35 mm camera – one camera, one lens – just point and shoot. But more than the photography, I fell in love with the outdoors. From that point on I was trying to figure out how I could combine art and outdoors in a career but it took me ten years from that point on to leave my scientific background.”His first quest to photograph polar bears in Churchill, Canada, was a disappointment: there were almost more photographers than bears! Looking for a really remote place, he started communicating with biologists in the Arctic Refuge in Alaska, and found that this was an incredibly remarkable place with a tremendous diversity of wildlife.Indeed, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is America’s Serengeti, comprising 19.8 million acres of land in the northeast corner of Alaska with one of the most intact ecosystems with 36 species each of animals and fish, and over 180 species of birds, which converge from six continents. The once endangered muskox also lives here and gives birth to its young on the coastal plain and 300,000 snow geese land here every autumn. It is home to indigenous people who depend on the land for survival.“I started researching how much of it has been actually documented and realized the only documentation that existed was of the summer months,” says Banerjee: “.So I felt this was an opportunity to go up there and document this place during all the seasons, including an extensive winter, which is very harsh up there.”Banerjee went there in March 2001, starting with his own savings for this very expensive project costing over a quarter of a million dollars. He recalls, “I dropped in every penny of my lifetime saving,s which was about $80,000, including my 401Ks.” He was able to raise about $60,000 through foundations and organizations and the book advance, but says he’s over $100,000 in debt.When he first landed in the bone-chilling remote Arctic, which can only be reached by small plane, he panicked. “I’m like, what am I doing here? It’s an extremely harsh place. I thought that I probably wouldn’t survive, forget about photography! But my guide Robert Thompson and his wife Jane started reassuring me that though things would get worse, I would survive. And I did. I started taking baby steps and over a period of time I learned how to live and work there.” As he traveled the brutal terrain with his Inupiat Indian guide, camping on the coastal plain and exploring the Arctic coast by raft and kayak, Banerjee saw the persistence of life in the harshest of climates, convincing him of the utter necessity of preserving this magnificent wilderness. Even as his images developed, so did his commitment to the land.“During the harsh winter months when the temperature drops to minus 40 F or lower, not only does life thrive here, but new life is born. Some of my most powerful photographs were taken during the winter months in the hrefuge.”These images speak for themselves: a tiny Buff-breasted Sandpiper defiantly dancing in the snow, finding water even at 40 degrees below zero; the tracks of a polar bear and her cubs shown in relief on the snow; moose foraging for food in a snow-covered world which has always given it sustenance; and yes, images of an Inupiat Eskimo cemetery with whalebone monuments, testimony to a way of life which may fast disappear.Not surprisingly, these dramatic images and Banerjee’s utter belief in his work started to open doors. He got a book contract from The Mountaineer Books for Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land (Seattle, 2003) which has 120 images by Banerjee besides eight essays on his experiences.Along the way, his commitment won him the support of noted conservationists like Jane Goodall and Robert Redford. Six of the most illustrious conservationists wrote essays for the book and President Jimmy Carter wrote the introduction. Recalls Banerjee: “It was remarkable. Everyone that I approached, they believed in my work and joined forces. It was really the story of a dream come true.” His project won the support of The Alaska Wilderness League, The National Audubon Society, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, National Geographic Adventure†and the Blue Earth Alliance. He was also awarded the prestigious Alaska Conservation Foundation Daniel Housberg Wilderness Image Award.The 48-image exhibition of Banerjee’s photographs, which was sponsored and designed by Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, can be seen till September 2, 2003, albeit in a more low-key way. Whether from political pressure or a reluctance to put on an advocacy show, the Smithsonian has distanced itself by moving the show to the basement rather than in the rotunda, and by abbreviating the descriptive captions on the images.Banerjee believes there was a change of heart for the Smithsonian as the political pressure built up. “After Senator Boxer held up the book, used it in a floor debate and urged her colleagues to go see the exhibit, it happened. There was pressure to cancel the show, but they saved the show and made all these changes to the show.”Indeed, there was a hue and cry and even a Senate hearing. Yet, in a strange way, the controversy has actually helped the cause of conservation by giving it a media spotlight. Says Banerjee, “As you’re aware, the story came out in every major publication so it has given a tremendous amount of visibility for the exhibit, for my work and for the Refuge that none of us would have imagined.”Although it is not clear now whether the Smithsonian will do a traveling show, Banerjee does have a commitment from the Museum of Natural History in New York to open the show in November. He says, “This is a museum that I wouldn’t want to miss out, it takes 3 or 4 years to schedule any show in that museum. And they have communicated that they want long, descriptive texts on science and ecology too.”Has documenting endangered ecosystems become a mission for Banerjee? “This is what I will be doing for the rest of my life hopefully.” Although he is committed to traveling to the Arctic Refuge, which he has grown to love, he plans next to examine India’s forgotten places. “I’d like to look at more complex issues of land management because India has some of the most bio-diverse places on our planet, second only to the African continent or South America, yet very little knowledge of that exists.” Did he have any regrets about leaving the financial security of his job? “Not at all. This is something I have been dreaming of for ten years. This is not even something I had to even had to think about. It was already decided that this is the path I am following.” Yes, life has changed for Banerjee. After all, who can remain the same after seeing the Red Northern light in the sky? He recalls of this celestial display, “It was so intense that people saw it all the way in Alabama, Georgia, and California. They thought it was a terrorist attack!”Such unspoiled beauty and the privilege of documenting it has given Banerjee a new perspective on life. “I was extremely lucky to be at the right place at the right time. It has made me very humble and appreciate the simple things in life.”Currently Banerjee is on a lecture tour, which will take him to Chicago, Berkeley, San Francisco and New York during the month of June. He will spend the year traveling and speaking, building awareness of conservation. No matter where he goes, one image stays with him, a rare viewing of a mother bear and her cubs. “I am mesmerized at the sight: for the next half hour the bear and her cubs play on the bank, running, nuzzling, sharing moments of affection, before returning to the den.That evening the blizzard picks up again, with strong winds blowing snow across the flat delta. The next day we find the den covered with snow with no visible tracks to tell us whether the bears have already left the den for the sea ice.”In spite of camping out in blizzard conditions for the next 29 days, Subhankar Banerjee never saw the bears again. He would like to ensure that the world continues to see them.   Related Itemslast_img read more

first_imgThe Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) signed an agreement worth $1 billion with the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) of India to facilitate the flow of foreign capital for infrastructure development in the country. ADIA, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, will become the first institutional investor in NIIF’s Master Fund and a shareholder in National Investment and Infrastructure Limited, the NIIF’s investment management company, the two companies announced on Oct. 16.“We are proud to have ADIA as our founding partner, and grateful for its support and contributions to date, and we now look forward to announcing further agreements with other investors,” Sujoy Bose, the chief executive officer of NIIF, said, adding that the agreement paves the way for creating significant economic impact through investment in commercially viable infrastructure development projects. The collaboration with ADIA aims to develop an investment structure that is attractive to international investors as well as aligned with NIIF’s objectives.Besides the Indian government and the AIDA, six other domestic institutional investors — HDFC Standard Life Insurance, HDFC Asset Management, Housing Development Finance Corp, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance and Axis Bank — will also join the NIIF Master Fund. NIIF is a collaborative investment platform sponsored by the Government of India for international and Indian investors. The stake of the government in NIIF is 49 per cent, an attempt to make it attractive to sovereign wealth funds, as well as multilateral and bilateral investors.While NIIF will target a corpus of Rs 40,000 crore, the government has promised to invest Rs 20,000 crore to the fund.Khadem Al Rumaithi, the executive director of Real Estate & Infrastructure Department at Adia, said: “As a long-standing investor in India and in infrastructure globally, Adia welcomes the opportunity to be the first to partner with NIIF in a platform that is sure to be of interest to other long-term institutional investors.”“In parallel, ADIA will also continue to consider and pursue investments into Indian infrastructure opportunities that fall outside the scope of the NIIF, including taking minority stakes in high-quality Indian companies alongside aligned and reputable partners,” he added.ADIA has been investing funds on behalf of the Government of Abu Dhabi, and has invested in equities, fixed income and real estate in India, to create long-term value. It manages a global investment portfolio diversified across over 20 asset classes and sub-categories, and has invested $350 million in the renewable energy companies, ReNew Power and Greenko, in India. Related ItemsAbu Dhabi Indian infrastructureAbu Dhabi Investment Authority IndiaADIA National Investment and Infrastructure FundADIA NIIFlast_img read more

first_imgIndian tech company Infosys has announced its acquisition of Fluido, a Salesforce adviser company in the Nordics in Europe, for $76 million (Rs 545 crore/  65 million euros).Finland-based Fluido, which is headquartered in Espoo, is a Salesforce consulting partner that offers cloud consulting, implementation, and training services.The acquisition, expected to close during the third quarter of fiscal 2019, subject to customary closing conditions, will strengthen “Infosys’ position as a leading Salesforce enterprise cloud services provider and enhances its ability to provide clients an unparalleled cloud-first transformation,” the company said in a statement.“This acquisition demonstrates Infosys’ commitment to the Salesforce ecosystem to address our client’s digital priorities. Fluido will be an important addition to the Infosys family, bringing a unique combination of market presence, deep salesforce expertise, agile delivery and training, that combined with our existing capabilities will help companies reimagine and transform their businesses,” Ravi Kumar, President and Deputy COO of Infosys, said in the statement.Today, we announced a definitive agreement to acquire Fluido, the leading #Salesforce advisor & #consulting partner in Nordics and a recognized leader in #CloudConsulting, implementation & training services. Welcome to the family, @FluidoTweets https://t.co/UPPFkvvAEk #InfyNews pic.twitter.com/OoqEe48xWD— Infosys (@Infosys) September 14, 2018Fluido has a strong presence in Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Slovakia. Its customers are represented across industries, such as manufacturing, energy, retail and telecommunications, to whom the firm delivers services that span from strategy consulting to implementation and training. “Over the past eight years Fluido customers have seen tremendous success as the scope of our Salesforce deliveries have grown. With Infosys we will now be able to provide truly global scalable services while maintaining the close relationship with our customers,” Fluido founder and CEO, Kai Mäkelä stated.  Infosys has been expanding its global footprint with an array of new projects, including opening of new innovation hubs, employing local workers, and training them individually to suit the company’s requirements in various countries.  Earlier this year, Infosys acquired U.S-based digital creative and consumer insight agency WongDoody for $75 million. It also established a new Digital Center of Excellence in Marseille, France, in June. The center will offer Infosys’ digital offerings to companies in France.Last month, the Bengaluru-based firm set up a new technology and innovation hub in Raleigh, North Carolina. The hub, inaugurated on Aug. 22, aims to help the firm work more closely with clients in the region to develop cross-functional solutions to business challenges in areas such as as machine learning, artificial intelligence, user experience and advanced digital technologies, including big data and cloud.   Related ItemsEuropeInfosyslast_img read more

first_imgAdam Purinton, accused for hate crime that took place in Kansas in February 2017 against two Indian men and first-degree murder of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, pleaded not guilty on Dec. 1.Purinton has been indicted on two hate crime charges in the federal court. He shot two Indians — Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani — at a bar in Olathe, resulting in the death of the 32-year-old engineer at GPS maker Garmin. He shouted “Get out of my country” and uttered racial slurs before shooting them. A white man, Ian Grillot, who tried to help the duo, was also shot.Purinton waived off his preliminary hearing and the not guilty plea was entered on his behalf, according to Kansas City Star. His next nearing is on May 8. Federal prosecutors have said that the two Indian men were targeted for their race or ethnicity.Purinton is also charged with first-degree murder of Kuchibhotla, and with two counts of attempted first-degree murder for wounding the other two people, in Johnson County District Court.The incident took place at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas, on Feb. 22. After the incident, Purinton fled to an Applebee’s restaurant after telling a bartender about the shooting. He was arrested 70 miles away from the spot.“He asked if he could stay with me and my husband, and he wouldn’t tell me what he did. I kept asking him, and he said that he would tell me if I agreed to let him stay with me,” the bartender said. “Well, I finally got him to tell me and he said, like, that he shot and killed two Iranian people in Olathe.”The incident sparked outrage and protests among the Indian American community. The community organized vigils in Olathe and throughout the country.“One thing that I really wanted to emphasize is, the main reason why I am here is that’s what my best friend, Srinivas, would have done,” Madasani said in February 2017 during a condolence meeting. “He would have been here for me, and that’s what I’m doing right now.” He said that his friend and he frequented that bar for two years.“What happened that night was a senseless crime and that took away my best friend,” Madasani said. Related Itemshate crimeKansasracismlast_img read more

first_imgSenior Congress leader in charge of Maharashtra Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday said that the party’s central leadership will not hold talks with Prakash Ambedkar-led Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA). He also clarified that the alliance with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) will be retained for the Assembly polls later this year. “Only the State leaders will decide on whether to ally with the VBA and how many seats should be given to it,” Mr. Kharge told reporters at the end of a two-day meeting to review the party’s performance in Mumbai and Konkan.The VBA was formed before Lok Sabha polls after an alliance between Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh of Mr. Ambedkar and AIMIM, led by Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi. The VBA contested all 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra in the recently conducted general elections and is seen responsible for breaking anti-BJP vote bank, resulting in defeat of Congress candidates in around nine seats. Maharashra Congress committee president Ashok Chavan too lost his Nanded seat and had blamed the VBA for dividing anti-BJP votes. Mr. Ambedkar has earlier said he would talk to the Congress central leadership on an alliance. However, after Mr. Kharge’s statement on Friday, the VBA leader will have to hold talks with the state leadership. After the review meeting, Mr. Kharge said, “We have formed a five-member committee. The committee will travel all districts in the state within one month. A report will then be presented to the state congress. Any office-bearer who has not worked in the party’s interests will be sacked.” Accepting that at several places, Congress allies did not work in the party candidate’s favour, Mr. Kharge said despite that the alliance will be retained. “We have prepared a primary list of seats which will be left for the allies,” he said. Meanwhile, Congress has demanded Airoli Assembly seat in Navi Mumbai which is at present held by NCP’s Sandip Naik.last_img read more

first_imgAs Madhya Pradesh continues to reel under frequent and unscheduled power cuts, officials of the state electricity company are holding bats responsible for the woes, claiming that the flying mammals are causing faults in the supply lines, especially in the state capital. They say bats hanging on the power supply lines sometimes cause short circuits, which ultimately lead to outages. This claim has triggered a fresh round of blame game between the Kamal Nath-led Congress government and the opposition, BJP. The saffron party said instead of giving these excuses, the power utility and the state government should work in a responsible manner, while the ruling Congress said there was no crisis as MP is a power surplus state. State Energy Minister Priyavrat Singh, however, contended that overloaded power transformers and not bats could be the main reason behind the problem. Talking to PTI, the minister said, “In a review meeting of Bhopal district (held on June 14), an official of the power company had said that bats are creating faults in the supply lines along the lake (Upper Lake)…But I don’t think this is a major reason. I pulled up the official, who had said so.”“I told the official to repair the supply lines by insulating them. This work had already been carried out. I asked the officials to consider installation of ultrasonic devices, after due environment clearances, in the areas where bats are creating problems,” he added.Mr. Singh said there were several others reasons that might be behind the faults in supply lines.“At some places, a squirrel may create a problem. But the main reason of fault is overloaded power transformers. Maintenance of power supply lines was neglected for years. I asked the officials to carry out proper maintenance of the distribution lines,” he said. Spokesperson of Madhya Pradesh Central Power Distribution Company Ltd, Manoj Dwivedi, said, “The faults in power supply lines in the vicinity of Upper Lake (in Bhopal) were reported due to bats. This largely happens due to short- circuits caused by bats hanging on the power supply lines.” The company carries out work of insulation in such cases, he said.“That area of Bhopal had bats earlier too, but power supply used to be uninterrupted. Instead of giving excuses, the power company as well as the government should work responsibly. Were the bats born only after the Congress came to power?” state BJP spokesman Rajnish Agrawal said. The Congress government had earlier said that poor quality of transformers purchased during the previous BJP dispensation was the reason behind the electricity issues. During the campaign for the Lok Sabha elections in April this year, Chief Minister Kamal Nath had alleged that there was a conspiracy behind the power cuts in the state. At that time, state Finance Minister Tarun Bhanot had also said that some officials of the power distribution company were working against the ruling Congress, resulting in power outages.“During the campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections, Nath, in order to hide his government’s failure, used to blame the BJP and certain officials for power cuts. But even after the polls, outages continued in every part of the state despite it being a power surplus state,” Mr. Agrawal said. He said that inept handling by the Congress government has created this crisis. However, the state Congress said that the BJP had run out of issues and was raising hue and cry over such “non-issues“.“Pre-monsoon maintenance is a routine process and it was happening during the BJP rule as well. The technical faults are being repaired. MP is a power surplus state and there is no crisis. Opposition is spreading lies,” state Congress spokesman Pankaj Chaturvedi said.“Due to factionalism within the BJP, the leaders of that party are trying to outdo each other and levelling false allegations,” he added.last_img read more