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Saran violence may polarise voters in remaining 16 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar



Patna, May 24 (IANS) The recent violence in Chapra area in Saran may polarise voters in the remaining 16 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar that will go to polls in the sixth and seventh phases.

The Maharajganj Lok Sabha seat will be directly affected by the violence as four Assembly seats of Saran District come under the constituency.

In such a situation, polarisation of votes will make matters unpredictable for all the political parties in the fray.

During the fifth phase of elections in Saran, the dispute between the BJP and RJD supporters started with a scuffle and turned into firing.

In the firing at the Bhikhari Thakur Chowk in Chapra, three RJD workers were hit, resulting in the death of one and grievous injuries to the other two.

The victims belong to the Yadav community and the two BJP supporters who fired the gunshots are from the Rajput caste.

Politics and blame game has already started over the reprehensible incident.

BJP and RJD leaders have blamed each other for the dispute that started at booths 318 and 319 of Saran on May 20.

The RJD’s Rohini Acharya has accused the BJP’s cadres of misbehaving with her and trying to kill her.

On the other hand, the BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy stated that the May 21 firing took place in self-defence.

From the statements of all political parties, it seems that an attempt is being made to keep the issue alive till the next two phases of elections.

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In the sixth phase of the election, the effect of this incident will be seen on the Maharajganj Lok Sabha seat that is adjacent to Saran as this constituency has been created by combining some areas of Siwan and Saran Districts.

There are six Assembly seats here which include four, namely Taraiya, Baniyapur, Ekma and Manjhi in Saran District and Goriyakothi and Maharajganj in Siwan.

With more than 4.50 lakh voters, Rajputs dominate this constituency, followed by Bhumihars at 4 lakh.

There are also around 2.5 lakh Brahmins and 2.5 lakh Yadav voters in the constituency.

In the Maharajganj Lok Sabha constituency, BJP’s outgoing MP Janardan Singh Sigriwal is pitted against Congress candidate Akash Singh.

Akash Singh is the son of Congress state President Akhilesh Prasad Singh. He belongs to the Bhumihar caste and Maharajganj has a good number of Bhumihars.

Here the Congress was hoping for the MY equation to be added to the Bhumihar votes, assuring it a victory.

However, after the Saran incident, if caste mobilisation takes place then the Congress candidate may suffer a loss, as Bhumihars come under the upper caste category and are considered the core voters of the BJP in Bihar.

The fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections has been completed and voting for 16 seats will be done in the remaining two phases.

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In the sixth phase on May 25, voting will be held on eight seats, which includes Valmiki Nagar, West Champaran, East Champaran, Sheohar, Vaishali, Gopalganj, Maharajganj and Siwan.

In the seventh phase also, voting will be held on eight seats that include, Nalanda, Patna Sahib, Pataliputra, Arrah, Buxar, Sasaram, Karakat and Jehanabad.

East Champaran, Sheohar, Vaishali, Maharajganj, Siwan, Ara, Buxar, and Karakat are some of the constituencies where the population of upper castes and MY voters is sizable.

If there is a polarisation of votes here after the Saran incident, then NDA and INDIA bloc candidates may suffer losses on these seats.

Purvi Champaran, Sheohar, Vaishali, Maharajganj, Arrah and Buxar are the constituencies where the NDA has given tickets to upper caste candidates.

The Grand Alliance has given tickets to upper caste candidates only in two places apart from Maharajganj and those are Buxar and Vaishali.

In Buxar, Sudhakar Singh, a Rajput candidate is contesting while bahubali Munna Shukla is contesting on the RJD ticket from Vaishali and he belongs to the Bhumihar caste.

This is a win-win situation for the NDA especially in Maharajganj, Vaishali and Buxar Lok Sabha constituencies as upper castes in the combination of Rajputs, Bhumihars and Brahmins are in a dominant position here.

Janardan Singh Sigriwal and Veena Singh are the outgoing MPs from Maharajganj and Vaishali and are contesting the election this time too.

If there was any anti-incumbency factor against them before the election, then after this incident, all grievances will be set aside and they will get the votes of their communities.

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“Political party leaders are making statements on the Saran incident. Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the BJP candidate from Saran gave a ‘self-defence’ statement. It could be a tactical ploy to polarise voters. Both upper caste and MY voters will consolidate after this incident.

“In constituencies like Arrah, Karakat and Jahanabad, the Grand Alliance is very strong. In Jahanabad, the RJD candidate Surendra Yadav lost the 2019 Lok Sabha election with a small margin of 1,700 votes to Chandeshwar Prasad Chandravansi and the Saran incident has consolidated his position. This incident has removed doubts from voters’ minds about which side they are on,” said Pranav K Choudhary, senior journalist in Patna.

Senior political analyst Ajay Kumar says that after such an incident, polarisation is bound to happen and political parties feel they can reap the benefit of this consolidation.

“We observed during the first five phases of the election that upper caste voters were committed to the BJP and similarly MY voters were in favour of the RJD and Grand Alliance candidates. There was no confusion. However, after the Saran violence, polarisation cannot be ruled out,” Kumar said.

“However, Lav-Kush (Kurmi-Kushwaha) voters are unpredictable this time due to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar changing his allegiance from one alliance to another,” he said.



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Atishi alleges 'foul play' in water leakage, urges CP to deploy cops to patrol major pipelines




New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Alleging foul play in the leakage of water pipelines, Delhi’s water minister Atishi on Sunday wrote a letter to the city’s Commissioner of Police (CP) Sanjay Arora, urging him to deploy police personnel to patrol and protect major pipelines in the national capital for the next 15 days.

In the letter, she said Delhi is reeling under a severe heat wave and a water crisis.

There is a huge shortage of water in many areas of Delhi. The supply of drinking water has become a major problem here. The situation is such that people have to wait on the roads for tankers in the scorching heat. Long queues of people can be seen to fill water when tankers arrive.

To overcome this shortage, emergency borewells have been done at many places and the help of tankers is also being taken. Dozens of areas in Delhi are currently facing water shortages. Water has almost run out in ‘Wazirabad Pond’, a major centre supplying drinking water in Delhi. Atishi herself gave information about this acute shortage of water in the national capital on Saturday.

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Sharing a copy of her letter addressed to the Police Commissioner, Atishi said that the Delhi Jal Board ground patrolling team reported a major leakage in South Delhi Rising Mains — the main water pipeline that carries water from Sonia Vihar WTP to South Delhi — since several large 375 mm bolts and one 12 inch bolt had been cut from the pipeline causing the leakage.

“The fact that several large bolts had been cut seems to indicate foul play and sabotage. Our maintenance team worked for 6 hours continuously and repaired the leakage, but this meant that we had to stop pumping water for 6 hours and 20 MGD of water was not pumped during this time. As a consequence a further 25 per cent of water shortage will be experienced in South Delhi,” she added.

The water minister said that deploying police personnel would be very important for putting a stop to miscreants or people with ulterior motives for tampering with water pipelines which have now become Delhi’s lifelines.

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She further said that due to the shortage of water being received in the Yamuna, water production has fallen by around 70 MGD and many parts of Delhi are experiencing water shortage.



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IIT-K, NSI Kanpur sign MoU to establish Centre of Excellence for biofuels




Kanpur, June 16 (IANS) The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-K) and National Sugar Institute (NSI), Kanpur, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for biofuels.

The signing of the MoU took place in the presence of Ashwini Srivastava, Joint Secretary (Sugar), Department of Food and Public Distribution, Union Government; Manindra Agrawal, Director, IIT Kanpur; and Seema Paroha, Director, National Sugar Institute, Kanpur.

Under this MoU, IIT Kanpur and NSI Kanpur will engage in joint projects to conduct cutting-edge research and develop and adopt state-of-the-art technology to enhance biofuel production in the country with improved efficiency and sustainability.

The biofuels are expected to play a key role in reducing dependency on fossil fuels and mitigating climate change as well.

The focus area of this collaborative research work will take up the study on enhancing the production of Ethanol, Methanol, Bio-CNG, Aviation Fuel, and Green Hydrogen, etc. from biomass, a renewable source of energy.

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Uttar Pradesh being an agriculture-based state and one of the top-ranked states in sugarcane production, will be an ideal place for biofuel research.

This partnership aims to leverage the expertise of both institutions to address the growing energy needs of India while promoting environmental conservation.

Manindra Agrawal, Director of IIT Kanpur, said, “NSI Kanpur has been working in this field for over 60 years, understanding the market dynamics and technological requirements well. Parallelly, IIT Kanpur possesses an understanding of fundamental science and technologies in chemical and other related domains. The aim is to combine the strengths of both institutions to create a state-of-the-art centre to help India take a leadership position in the area of biofuels.”

Aswani Srivastava, Joint Secretary (Sugar), Union government, said: “The National Bio-fuel Policy, 2018, allows the production of ethanol from various sugarcane-based feedstock as well as the use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol. Under the Ethanol Blended with Petrol (EBP) Programme, the government has fixed the target of 20 per cent blending of ethanol with petrol by 2025. To increase the production of ethanol in the country, the government has been promoting maize as a major feedstock for the production of ethanol. It is also focusing towards the ‘Waste to Wealth’ approach by promoting the usage of other by-products of sugarcane.”

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Seema Paroha, Director, NSI Kanpur, said, “This is a long-term MoU, and a dedicated building with a state-of-the-art laboratory, including all requisite equipment, pilot plants, and instruments, will be established for the CoE at the institute campus. This will initially be funded by the Ministry, and moving forward, industrial tie-ups will also be targeted.”

This MoU signifies a way forward in enhancing the production of advanced sustainable high-quality biofuels by developing innovative technologies, optimising existing processes, and establishing pilot projects to demonstrate biofuel technology viability.

This will ultimately contribute to safeguarding the energy supply, protecting the climate by minimising CO2 emissions, and reducing dependence on fossil fuels/import of crude oils.



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Telangana to revise property registration charges from Aug 1




Hyderabad, June 16 (IANS) New registration charges for agriculture and non-agriculture land and properties will come into force from August 1.

This followed the recent decision of the Telangana government to revise the market value of lands to boost its revenues.

This will be the first hike in land value and registration charges after the Congress came to power in December 2023.

The Stamp and Registration Department has initiated an action plan to study the current value and revise it to fix new registration charges accordingly.

The department will begin the groundwork in this regard on June 18 after a meeting with additional Collectors and Revenue Divisional Officers (RDOs).

The Stamp and Registration Department has issued guidelines for revising the market values in rural and urban areas

After an analysis in a phased manner, new registration charges will be decided on July 1. Subsequently, the final market value will be fixed after a few rounds of scrutiny.

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After a study by committees at the Mandal and district levels, new market value will come into effect from August 1.

The Stamp and Registration Department will also hold meetings with officials of Revenue, Municipal Administration, Panchayat Raj, and Survey departments.

After posting the revised values on the website on July 1, the department will call for suggestions and objections from people till July 20. The exercise to fix revised values will be completed by July 31 and revised rates will come into effect from August 1.

Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy had last month directed the department to take steps to revise the market value of lands.

It was noted during the meeting that the rates of land have increased dramatically across the state, but the income from the Stamp and Registration department has not risen accordingly.

The officials had told the Chief Minister that the main reason for this was the disparity between the market value and the actual sale price of land.

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The previous Bharat Rashtra Samithi government had increased the land value and registration charges in 2021, but the meeting was told that there is still a huge difference between the market value of land and the selling price in many places.

Though the market value of land has to be revised every year as per rules, this is not being followed.

The Chief Minister had directed the officials to take steps to revise the prices.

Revanth Reddy had asked the officials to ensure the revision of market values should be scientifically determined and the regulations of the Stamp and Registration Department should be strictly followed.

He suggested that the market prices of land should be revised in such a way that it promotes the real estate and construction sector along with boosting the revenue of the state.

However, the exercise could not be taken up due to the recent Lok Sabha elections.

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SBSP blames election defeat on its poll symbol, wants it changed




Lucknow, June 16 (IANS) Om Prakash Rajbhar, Uttar Pradesh Minister and President of Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) has now realised that his party lost the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections because of its poll symbol — a walking stick.

Rajbhar said, “Our election symbol was a walking stick at the third number on the EVM. The Mool Niwasi Samaj Party had the hockey stick as its poll symbol and was placed in the sixth position on the EVM. Our voters got confused between the walking stick and the hockey stick since they both look strikingly similar. This explains how the Mool Niwasi Samaj Party candidate, Lilawati Rajbhar, got more than 47,000 votes.”

Rajbhar’s son Arvind Rajbhar, who contested the seat as an NDA candidate, lost the polls.

Om Prakash Rajbhar said, “My party will now approach the Election Commission and urge them not to allot such similar-looking symbols to candidates since they create confusion in the minds of voters. I am talking to my party workers to know if they want a change in our symbol.”

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Uttar Pradesh Minister and BJP leader Anil Rajbhar, meanwhile, said that whatever votes Arvind Rajbhar had got in Ghosi were from the BJP.

“The SBSP did not get Rajbhar votes — neither in Ghosi nor in other constituencies. Om Prakash Rajbhar’s statement reflects his pessimism,” he added.



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Goa: Raid on illegal gambling; articles valued at Rs 33 lakh seized




Panaji, June 16 (IANS) Goa Police, on Sunday, arrested 11 persons for allegedly operating an illegal live playing cards game and attached gambling articles valued at Rs 33 lakh, officials said.

Superintendent of Police Rahul Gupta informed that a raid was conducted at Bambolim in North Goa and accused persons were caught red-handed.

“Total 11 accused persons including eight gambling customers, two dealers of the tables and one shift manager were caught red-handed for operating and playing illegal live playing cards game,” Gupta said.

Police have seized two tables of live card gambling, two sets of 52 playing cards, two live card shufflers, two card scanners, two cash chip floats containing different amounts of chips worth Rs 28,00,450 and other gambling articles, all valued at Rs 33 lakh.

Police are further investigating the case.



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