India’s only Army Air Defence College in Gopalpur-Tazeen Qureshy

Into the Heart of India’s only and most advanced Army Air Defence (AAD) College in Gopalpur (Brahmapur), Odisha

Written by Tazeen Qureshy and Edited by Shruti Singhal

It’s a sunny weekday afternoon, and the road leading to the famous Gopalpur sea beach in Odisha is bustling with activity. Shopkeepers are wrapping up last-minute sales to break for lunch while some of the others are making way to their homes.

Amid the hustle, a bus takes a left diversion, and all the activities cease into oblivion. After another right turn come two entry points, which are paths leading to a different world altogether.

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‘Trespassers will also be trained,’ the signboard reads. You read that right! Trained, not prosecuted.

The signboard is a metaphor for the rigorous training and discipline inside India’s only and most advanced Army Air Defence (AAD) College.

One of the youngest corps of Army, the Army Air Defence Corps bifurcated from the Regiment of Artillery 25 years ago. Spread over 2,700 acres, the institution boasts of modern facilities, equipment and weapons.

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The AAD College has around 3,000 recruits. It is a popular training hub for all the AD warriors from Air Force, Navy, CRPF and CISF personnel. Around 100 are recruited from the Officers Academy. The College also receives foreign officers from 20 Asian and African countries including Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Mozambique and Rwanda.

The training period is divided into physical and advanced training modules. While the former can take up to 19 weeks, weapon training takes at least 45 weeks.

“When we get trainees, the first task is to improve their endurance, strength and confidence. We undertake physical training activities like vertical rope, horizontal rope, toe touch beam, shuttle race and other body exercises. At the end of each day’s training, the trainees are made to play any game for five minutes as a recreation,” says an instructor posted at Gopalpur Military Station.

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Weapon training is more sophisticated. From Russian-made 9mm Carbine guns to the latest 5.56 mm Light Machine guns, the Air Defence (AD) Warriors are provided in-depth training. The AAD also has radar control weapons including ZU 23mm guns and L 70 guns, to combat aerial threats.

As the sun sets, the dark skies suddenly roar with thunders and erupt into beams of light, striking a target, barely visible to the naked eye. The logo of the AAD has the Sanskrit wordsRelated image ‘Akashe Shatrun Jehi’, which means “no enemy can dare venture into our skies”.

“The ultimate test of any personnel is defeating enemies. So, we focus a lot on firing. The ZU 23mm has a firing range of 2.5 km, while the L 70 gun has a range of 3.5 km,” says Major General PS Bhatia, Deputy Commandant, AAD College.

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Both day and night firing is possible with the weapon system. With these state of art facilities already in place, the AAD is now up for further modernisation. “Day and night firing are completely different. In day-time firing, the target is in front, while at night, the radar controls most firing. The Indian army is equipped to use both,” says Major General Bhatia. “Air-borne threats have changed over the years. We are transforming the technology at AAD. MRSAM

(Medium Range Surface to Air Missile) have been inducted in defence forces through a joint venture with Israel. Our teams will be sent to Israel, and a new facility will be built at this Army AD College in Gopalpur,” says Lieutenant General A P Singh, Commandant, AAD

Image result for Army Air Defence College in OdishaWhile the military station is generally out-of-bounds, it was recently open to media interaction, to display its strength.

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“Most people are not aware of this AAD College and its training. We want people to know they are safe, with us around. Apart from what we do (combat training), we are directly engaged in service when there are natural calamities like cyclones or civil unrest. All we want to say is that the AD warriors are ready, should there be any requirement,” concludes Major General PS Bhatia.

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Central Industrial Security Force personnel have started training at Army Air Defence College and Centre in Gopalpur (Brahmapur)

(Written by Tazeen Qureshy and Edited by Shruti Singhal)

Watch how Army Air Defence College is moving towards modernisation

May 8, 2018


PM announces 12 historic decisions to boost MSMEs

PM Narendra Modi announces 12 historic decisions to boost MSMEs

Now MSMEs will get loans up to ₹1 crore in 59-minute 

PM Shri Narendra Modi on 02 November, 2018 announced 59-minute loan sanctions, relaxation in labour laws, easier compliance with environmental rules and changes in company laws for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to give a boost to the nation’s second-biggest employing sector.

Shri Modi said the GST-registered MSMEs would be sanctioned a loan of up to ₹1 crore in just 59 minutes through a new portal. They would also get 2% subvention or rebate on incremental new loans of up to ₹1 crore. Interest subvention on pre  and post shipment credit for exports by MSMEs had been increased from 3% to 5%.

To rid the sector of Inspector Raj, the PM announced that inspections of factories in the sector would be sanctioned only through a computerised random allotment and inspectors would have to upload reports on the portal within 48 hours. “No inspector can now go anywhere. He will be asked why he went to a factory,” he said.

Easing compliance with environmental rules, the MSMEs would need single air and water clearance and just one consent to establish a factory.

The MSMEs would have to file just one annual return on eight labour laws and 10 central rules, he said, adding that an ordinance had been promulgated to simplify levy of penalties for minor offences under the Companies Act.

PM Shri Modi termed the 12 new measures “historic” that will make Diwali brighter for the sector and its millions of entrepreneurs and employees.

Public sector companies, which were mandated to source 20% of their annual procurement from MSMEs, would now source at least a quarter of their requirement (25%) from the sector. Three % of sourcing by PSUs would have to be done from the MSMEs run by women. Also, all central public sector enterprises should take membership of the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) to facilitate online procurement of common use goods and services by various government departments and organisations.

Shri Modi announced ₹6,000 crore for the creation of 20 hubs and 100 tool rooms for technology upgradation. Clusters for MSMEs in pharma sector would be created to boost production in the sector, he said.

All companies with a turnover of more than ₹500 crore would have to now come on Trade Receivables e-Discounting System (TReDS) platform so that there was no cash flow problem for the MSMEs.

Talking of India jumping 23 places on the World Bank’s latest ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking, PM Shri Modi said in four years the NDA government at the Centre had achieved what many did not believe and what no other nation had done — leaping from 142 rank in 2014 to 77th position.

-02 November, 2018 / Microstat / New Delhi

Naidu-Rahul talks may fortify anti-BJP alliance

Naidu-Rahul talks may fortify anti-BJP alliance

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu’s decision to meet Congress president Rahul Gandhi (Naidu-Rahul talks) in New Delhi on Thursday was taken at a meeting of Ministers available in Amaravati and senior party leaders over lunch on Wednesday.

One Minister was stated to be sceptical about going with the Congress but Mr. Naidu had overruled him. It would be the first time Mr. Naidu is holding a direct dialogue with Mr. Gandhi, though they greeted each other at the swearing-in of H.D. Kumaraswamy as Karnataka Chief Minister in Bengaluru on May 23.

This is Mr. Naidu’s second visit to Delhi in a week with a heavy political agenda. He is scheduled to meet NCP president Sharad Pawar, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah. The meeting with Mr. Gandhi may take place at Mr. Pawar’s residence. Giving a big push to his efforts to form a broad non-BJP front, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav telephoned him on Tuesday night to extend his support to his efforts.

In the meeting with Mr. Gandhi, he is expected to discuss ways of bringing together all non-BJP parties on a single platform ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Image result for Naidu-Rahul talksThis is Mr. Naidu’s second visit to Delhi in a week with a heavy political agenda. He is scheduled to meet NCP president Sharad Pawar, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah. The meeting with Mr. Gandhi may take place at Mr. Pawar’s residence.

Giving a big push to his efforts to form a broad non-BJP front, former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav telephoned him on Tuesday night to extend his support to his efforts.

He is believed to have told Mr. Naidu that it was the right time to fight the BJP and the “autocratic style” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi “that has resulted in the collapse of all institutions.”

On Saturday, Mr. Naidu met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, BSP leader Mayawati, CPI General Secretary S. Sudhakar Reddy and Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav, besides Mr. Abdullah.


‘Ease of doing business’, India leaps 23 points to 77

India leaps 23 points to 77th on World Bank’s  “Ease of doing Business”

India improved its ranking on the World Bank’s ‘Ease of doing business’ report for the second straight year, jumping 23 places to the 77th position on the back of reforms related to insolvency, taxation and other areas.

India was ranked 100th in the World Bank’s Doing Business report last year. The ranking comes as a shot in the arm for the Modi Government at the Centre ahead of the general elections next year.

Image result for 'Ease of doing business'In its annual “Doing Business” 2019 report, World Bank said India improved its rank on six out of the 10 parameters relating to starting and doing business in a country.

These parameters include ease of starting a business, construction permits, getting electricity, getting credit, paying taxes, trade across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

‘Ease of doing business’

India was ranked at the 142nd position among 190 nations when the Modi government came to power in 2014. It rose to the 100th spot in the last ranking from 131st rank in the previous year.New Zealand tops the list of 190 countries in ease of doing business, followed by Singapore, Denmark, and Hong Kong.

The United States is placed eight and China has been ranked 46th. Neighboring Pakistan is placed at 136. World Bank put India among the top 10 economies to make the most improvements.

Observing that the two economies with the largest populations, China and India, demonstrated impressive reform agendas, the World Bank said the India also focused on streamlining business processes.

India, it said, made starting a business easier by integrating multiple application forms into a general incorporation form. “India also replaced the value-added tax with the GST for which the registration process is faster,” it said. Also, “India made paying taxes easier by replacing many indirect taxes with a single indirect tax, the GST, for the entire country.

India also made paying taxes less costly by reducing the corporate income tax rate and the employees’ provident funds scheme rate paid by the employer,” the World Bank said.

Stating that a well-designed insolvency framework is a vital determinant of debt recovery, it said the establishment of debt recovery tribunals in India “reduced non-performing loans by 28 per cent and lowered interest rates on larger loans, suggesting that faster processing of debt recovery cases cut the cost of credit.”

Further, India reduced the time and cost of export and import through various initiatives, including the implementation of electronic sealing of containers, the upgrading of port infrastructure and allowing electronic submission of supporting documents with digital signatures, it said.

World Bank said India has further streamlined the process of obtaining a building permit and made it faster and less expensive to obtain a construction permit. It also improved building quality control by introducing decennial liability and insurance.

A Commerce and Industry Ministry statement in New Delhi said, “India’s leap of 23 ranks in the ease of doing business ranking is significant considering that last year India has improved its ranking by 30 places, a rare feat for any large country of the size of India.”

-PTI | 01 November 2018 | Washington | New Delhi

BJP leader and his brother killed in Kishtwar (J&K)

BJP leader and his brother killed in Kishtwar (J&K), curfew imposed 

The Army on Friday staged a flag march in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar town where curfew was imposed after a senior BJP leader and his brother  were killed by suspected terrorists Thursday night, officials said.

District Magistrate Kishtwar Angrez Singh Rana said the situation was tense but under control. “The Army staged a flag march in Kishtwar town in order to maintain law and order,” District Magistrate Kishtwar Angrez Singh Rana told PTI.

Mr. Rana said the curfew, which was imposed in the town late night Thursday, was strictly in place and additional security personnel were deployed in sensitive areas of the town. There were no reports of any untoward incidents, Mr. Rana said.

SSP Kishtwar Rajinder Gupta said a hunt was launched to track down those involved in the case. Following the killing of BJP state secretary Anil Parihar, 52, and his brother, Ajeet Parihar, 55, by terrorists, people had staged angry protests in the communally-sensitive town and manhandled senior police officials.

The district magistrate had requested the Army in the town and its adjoining areas to control the internal security situation that arose due to the killings.

The district magistrate had requested the Army in Kishtwar and its adjoining areas to control the internal security situation that arose due to the killings. File picture used for representation purpose only.He took the decision as he apprehended that violence might erupt and result in law and order problem, endangering the life and property of citizens of Kishtwar town.

Kishtwar district had witnessed communal clashes in the past. Terrorists had attempted to create communal tension in the region by targeting Hindu community, especially in higher reaches. In 2001, the terrorists killed 17 Hindu nomads.

The killings of Parihar brothers drew severe condemnation from all quarters. The senior BJP leader and his brother were killed when were returning home after closing their stationary shop located outside old DC office complex, officials said.

As two were walking towards their home in Parihar mohalla through a dark lane in Tapal Mohalla, they were fired upon from a close range by suspected militants around 8.40 pm, they said. The assailants were apparently waiting for the brothers to return home, they said.

The people rushed to the spot after hearing gunshots and rushed them to the district hospital in Kishtwar where they were declared brought dead, they added.

As the news spread locals rushed to hospital and the brothers’ house, where they held protests against the alleged failure of the administration and the police.

Angry people manhandled policemen, including the SSP, after arguing with them. They also clashed with the police and forced them to leave the hospital.

The angry mob raised anti-Pakistan slogans demanding arrest of those involved in the killings. The protestors later also took to streets and held a protest near the Kishtwar Police Station.

Anil Parihar was active in politics for over 25 years and had unsuccessfully contested the 2008 Assembly elections on a Jammu and Kashmir National Panther Party (JKNPP) ticket. Ajeet Parihar was an employee of the State Forest Corporation (SFC).


Indian oil PSUs place orders for Iranian crude

Indian oil PSUs place orders for Iranian crude in defiance of U.S. sanctions

Two Indian oil PSUs have placed orders for Iranian oil to be delivered in November, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday. The move comes in apparent defiance of U.S. sanctions targeting Iran’s crude oil exports that come into effect on November 4.

The Indian government has repeatedly requested Washington for a waiver of these sanctions for India, but has not received an affirmative response so far. “Two days ago, two of our companies have placed orders with Iran for oil for the month of November,” Mr. Pradhan said at the inaugural conference of the Energy Forum.

Image result for Indian oil PSUsThe question is, has the waiver been granted or not. We don’t know if the waiver has happened or not, but the Indian companies have gone ahead and booked the order,  he said.

The two companies in question are Indian Oil Corporation and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals, with a total order quantity of 1.25 million tonnes of crude, according to an official in the Petroleum Ministry. The U.S. embassy did not respond to requests for a response to the Minister’s statement.

On November 4, a second round of U.S. sanctions against Iran will target the oil industry, and impose penalties on oil companies, refineries, insurers and transport companies dealing with Iran.

According to an executive order (EO 13846) issued by President Donald Trump, all American and non-American entities were given a six-month “wind-down” period from May 2018, in which to “zero out” all transactions with designated Iranian oil companies and port operators.

Although countries like Turkey, Russia, and China have indicated they will go ahead with their oil trade with Iran, the European Union will probably accede in a large measure, given the exposure of their companies to the U.S. banking system.

India had thus far not publicly articulated its stand on the issue, but with the advance orders placed for November, has made it clear that India will not “zero out” its oil intake from Iran. While private companies like Reliance and Nayara Energy (Essar) have had to drastically reduce their purchases, public sector companies, who are more immune to U.S. strictures, and already have alternate banking arrangements and a “rupee-rial” mechanism, are staying the course for now.

Mr. Pradhan also said he had spoken to Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister two days ago regarding the higher oil prices and how prices should not be set with the interest of producing countries but also by keeping consuming countries’ interests in mind.

“The way certain major economies are handling their domestic currency, all the major currencies of the world are affected by this. These are the two factors affecting oil prices. The Indian government is working on this and I am confident gradually things will be normalised,” the Minister said.

He also categorically stated that the government’s directive to oil companies to absorb a ₹1 per litre hit to the price of petrol and diesel was not a reversal of the deregulation of oil prices.

However, he added that state-run oil companies must look beyond their profits to easing people’s burden. “The basic point is that they are all government companies,” Mr. Pradhan said. “Profitability is their motto, but public interest is also their responsibility.”


Sabarimala: Rights, ecology, righteousness – Sandhya Jain

Sabarimala: Rights, ecology, righteousness

By- Sandhya Jain

Concerted attempts by mischievous non-believers to defile the Sabarimala precincts and undermine its hallowed traditions highlight the urgent necessity to recover Hindu temples from Government control and uphold dharmaas understood and practised by believers. With each passing day, it is becoming obvious that the majority decision of the Supreme Court, while it has to be respected, does not do justice to the faithful. Justice can be done only by recognising the Ayyappa Swami panth as a religious denomination, or Section thereof, under Article 26 of the Constitution. The shrine can then manage its affairs in peace.

Sabarimala: Rights, ecology, righteousnessThe State-run Travancore Devaswom Board has denied the Mala Araya tribe its traditional rights at Sabarimala, which were always respected by the Pandalam royals and Thazhamon Thantri family. These include the right to light the Makaravilakku (perform arti at a temple in Ponnambalamedu, not open to the public); bathe the deity with forest honey (abhishekam); and enjoy puja rights at sub-shrines, like the Karimala temple along the way.

Sabarimala’s major customs, including 41-day vrat and restriction (not ban) on women in a specific age group, derive from tribal culture and traditions. The Akhila Thiruvithamkoor Mala Araya Mahasabha plans to approach the apex court to protect its age-old customs under the Forest Rights Act. The community, which claims to have established the shrine before it came under the control of the Pandalam royal family, also plans to file a review petition against the verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the hill shrine after the State Government refused to do so.

The Communist regime’s eagerness to facilitate entry of women from the hitherto barred age group, even as review petitions are pending before the Supreme Court, was intended to humiliate the faithful. As genuine devotees gathered for the pilgrimage when the shrine opened on October 17, they encountered unseemly attempts by ineligible persons to gatecrash the temple. Mercifully, the temple closed without violation five days later.

In a major provocation on October 19, a team lead by a tearful inspector-general S Sreejith escorted Rehana Fatima (of Kiss of Love campaign fame), and Kavitha Jakkal, a reporter from Mojo TV, Hyderabad, to the shrine gates. They were forced to return after being recognised by devotees, despite wearing bulletproof jackets and helmets given by the police (a possible violation of the Police Act). Later, Mary Sweety also returned midway after being challenged by vigilant bhaktas.

Related imageRealising that the State Government may have bitten off more than it can chew, Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran urged activists not to make the holy precincts a place to prove their strength and lambasted the police for escorting the women without verifying their credentials. Sabarimala is a huge revenue earner and the State could lose crores if Tantri Kandararu Rajeevaru, backed by Pandalam palace, closes the sanctum for purification if the temple is defiled. Just five decades ago, barely 5,000 pilgrims managed the arduous 61-km trek to the temple; now four crore come in the winter season alone as new roads have shortened the route.

An ideal solution would be to close the shrine for a decade and allow passions to cool down. Simultaneously, the degraded ecology of the Western Ghats could recover, especially after the recent floods, the worst Kerala has faced in decades. The 777 sq km Periyar Tiger Reserve, where the shrine is located, hosts 20 tigers, elephants, and other wildlife. Even after the floods receded, there were torrential rains in Sabarimala, and no one has taken stock of how the wildlife fared.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority is concerned that the rising numbers of devotees disturb the area’s fragile ecology. Virtually nothing has been done to implement the Sabarimala Master Plan of 2007. A review by the Kerala Government and Devaswom Board on October 9, 2018, found evidence of deforestation and major deviations from the plan. At Nilakkal base camp, trees were cut to make parking areas, while driver shelters, dormitories and hotels have been built, disregarding master plan specifications.

At the next stop along the sacred Pamba, several buildings have been constructed within 50-metre radius of the river, including a Government hospital. The green zone in front of the hospital has become a parking lot. The bio-toilets are inadequate; sewage treatment plant dysfunctional, and untreated faecal waste is being dumped into the river. The tree cover at Sannidhanam is less than 20 per cent, as opposed to 50 per cent recommended in the master plan.

A study by two expert teams has warned of landslips and tremors at the holy hillock due to extensive concrete flooring at the Sannidhanam, but the Devaswom Board is continuing construction works at Pamba and Sabarimala. While ordinary devotees merely desire clean and hygienic lodgings, a holy dip in a clean river, the Government and Board invariably start preparations at the eleventh hour and fail to serve the pilgrims.

Shops are auctioned at high rates at Pamba, Sannidhanam and along the route, and pilgrims are fleeced by traders even though many voluntary and religious bodies are willing to provide free food and beverages to devotees. Experts say pilgrims do not need multi-storey complexes, they need temporary shelters with proper sanitation and drinking water, which do not disturb the ecology of the sacred grove. The State Government is responsible for preserving wildlife and protecting rivers from environmental degradation under Article 48A of the Constitution. Under the Water Act 1974 (Section 24, 25), polluting river water is a punishable offence. But Pamba is being contaminated under the aegis of Government agencies, with impunity.

In 2005, thanks to the intervention of influential persons such as TKA Nair, principal secretary to the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Environment and Forests transferred 12.65 hectares of reserve land for Sabarimala’s Rs 1,000-crore development plan, which was approved by the Supreme Court. Environmentalists lament that the Devaswom Board has made Sabarimala a concrete jungle and commercial township. Less than 12 per cent of shrine land is used for public purposes; the rest comprises hotels, shops and guesthouses. The shrine stands in the low altitude evergreen stretch which is the Western Ghats’ biodiversity hotspot. Yet over 20 per cent of forest cover has disappeared in the past two decades. The Supreme Court should scrutinise this ecological desecration rather than Ayyappa Swami’s rites of pilgrimage.

 (The writer is Senior Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library; the views expressed are personal)

Source Link-–rights–ecology–righteousness.html

RSS demands law to construct Ram temple at Ayodhya

RSS demands law to construct Ram temple at Ayodhya

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Wednesday said the Central government should now acquire the land and start building Ram temple to restore the nation’s pride. “Ram temple is the issue of nation’s pride and prestige. Former President of India Rajendra Prasad had personally visited Somanath Temple which was rebuilt by Sardar Patel. The government should acquire the land to build the temple and even enact a law,” said RSS joint general secretary Manmohan Vaidya. He was addressing a press conference on the first day of the RSS all-India working committee meeting at Keshav Srushti, near Mumbai.

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Mosque not required for Muslim prayers

“This issue is not about Hindu-Muslim or temple and mosque. When Babar conquered Ayodhya, he had plenty of land and could have built a masjid anywhere. But he demolished the temple, which has been proven in the study by archeaologists. Courts too have said that mosque is not required for Muslim prayers. Islamic scholars have said that prayers in mosque which has been conquered is of no use,” said Mr. Vaidya.

The working committee meeting of the RSS is organised twice every year, first in March and second before Diwali. A total of 350 RSS working committee members will be participating in the meeting.

Mr. Vaidya said that the meeting apart from discussing pressing national issues, will also hold talks on organisation’s work in the recent past as well as its strategy for the future.

55,000 shakhas

“At present, we have a total of 55,000 shakhas running across the country at more than 31,000 places. Out of these 82% are running in rural areas while rest in urban parts. We have formed 56,000 mandals whereby each mandal connects 10 to 12 villages,” he said.

Replying to a question about the criticism of Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s on RSS, Mr Vaidya said, “Congress is making such allegation since many years. Let them allege. RSS is growing despite all the criticism.”

Among the issues highlighted include RSS work on protection of Indian (desi) breed cows. It has formed over 1,500 cow shelters across the country. “The nuclear family structure is also a cause of concern and this meeting will discuss various measures that needs to be taken on this issue,” he said.


New CBI chief once transferred for inflammatory speech in Brahmapur

New CBI chief once transferred for inflammatory speech in Brahmapur 

The Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s Odisha unit has questioned Nageswara Rao’s appointment as New CBI chief, alleging that his “anti-minority bias” is no secret, citing a controversial speech he made 20 years ago as a young officer. Nageswara Rao was the vice chairman of Brahmapur  Development Authority.

Nageswara Rao was at Brahmapur Development Authority as the vice chairman

A 1986 batch officer of the Odisha cadre, Rao had reportedly made “communal comments and questioned the Constitution’s bias” in a public speech in Brahmapur in 1998, which led to public outrage, inquiries by revenue divisional commissioner (RDC) and deputy inspector general of police (DIG), and he was eventually posted out of Brahmapur in 1999.

CPI(M) Odisha state committee secretary Ali Kishor Patnaik alleged that Rao had “accused Islamists, Christians and Marxists as the main threat to human rights” in a speech at an event to mark the International Human Rights Day on December 10, 1998. He had made the same charge in a PIL back field in the Orissa High Court back then, he told ET over the phone.

Patnaik, who hails from Brahmapur and was the party secretary for Ganjam district then. The event led to Rao’s eventual transfer out of Brahmapur  Development Authority where he was the vice chairman, said Patnaik who labelled the interim CBI director as “an ideological friend of BJP”.

His petition accused Rao of giving “inflammatory and communal speeches” that would fuel communal tension. “He (Rao) also did not hesitate to interpret the Constitution in his own way and accused the framers of the Constitution as ‘pro-minorities’,” it said.

According to his petition, which he shared with ET, the text of Rao’s controversial speech was published by the regional paper Anupam Bharat on December 13, 1998. The outrage that followed and Rao’s own refusal to retract the statements were also documented in the local press. “After his eventual transfer, although he was back in Brahmapur later, I didn’t pursue the case,” Patnaik said.

The CPI(M)’s protest had been followed with the party’s then general secretary the late Harkishan Singh Surjeet writing to the President about the matter, according to Patnaik.

-ET BureauOctober 26, 2018

ISRO to send human in space by 2022

‘ISRO to send human in space by 2022, Chandrayan 2 to be completed in 2019’

The ISRO will send human for the first time in space by 2022 while its ambitious project Chandrayan 2 will be completed in 2019 with. Landing of an indigenous spacecraft, the space agency’s chairman Kailasavadivoo Sivan said here Thursday.

Sivan, who is here to attend the convocation ceremony of DDU Gorakhpur University Friday, told reporters, “We have set a deadline of sending human to space by the end of 2021 or beginning of 2022”.

The Chandrayan 2 will be sent on the moon by January or February next year. Chandrayan 2 is designed to make soft landing on the moon and carry out extensive experiments on its surface. Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)  will undertake three to six missions in the next six months, he said.

The ISRO is serving the nation in various fields including communication, navigation, space science etc and every single person of India is somehow linked with its services, he said.

ISRO to send human in space by 2022, Chandrayan 2 to be completed in 2019: Sivan“Under Digital India Mission launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ISRO is all set to provide high data connectivity of 100 GBPS in rural and remote areas by placing four communication satellites in to space, of which one is already placed this year, while the rest three will be placed in November, December and early next year,” he said.

He said more than 75 per cent of the population of country lives in remote areas and it is advisable to space technology to provide services in various speeds.

The ISRO chairman said although it was not possible for India’s premier space agency to recruit all potential engineers passing out from Indian universities yet it was working on capacity building programmes to tab their potential through incubation and research centers. “The ISRO is all set to give young engineers opportunity to serve the nation by opening six incubation centers, research centers and research chair in north, south, east, central and west India,” he said.

While one incubation center is already opened in Agartala, rest will operationalise in Jalandhar, Bhubneshwar, Indore, Nagpur and Kochi. Similarly, research centers would come up in Guwahati, Jaipur, Krukshetra, Kanyakumari, Patna and Varanasi, he said.

-PTI | 26 October 2018 | Gorakhpur (UP)