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UP forest dept prepares seed balls for Bundelkhand, Vindhya regions

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Lucknow, July 11 (IANS) The Uttar Pradesh Forest Department, for the first time, has taken to sowing seed balls for the climatic and geographical conditions in Bundelkhand and Vindhya regions, forest officials said.

The technique has a high-generation probability if done scientifically, officials added.

The sowing of seed balls has already started in forest blocks identified in the Jhansi forest division.

Some seven to eight lakh seed balls will be sown in seven forest divisions of the Bundelkhand region during the monsoon.

A seed ball is a 30 gm ball of soil and compost carrying at least six seeds of locally grown trees within it. As many as 42 local species have been identified for preparation of seed balls.

Two foremost requirements for high germination of seed balls are, higher and longer retention of moisture in soil at places where the seed balls are sown and seed balls having enough nutrition to last them through the longer period of germination, officials said.

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Because Bundelkhand and Vindhya regions have hard soil and roots take time to penetrate deep, high nutrition in the balls will last the seed and the adventitious roots (small roots branching out) till the tap root (main root) develops.

While sowing, at least 85 per cent of the seed ball must be inside the soil to allow germination.

Similarly, while making the seed balls, it has to be ensured that it is dried fully; otherwise, the seed will germinate, even if it has the least amount of moisture in it or get fungus, before it is sown.

The least liquid content, water and ‘jeevamrut’, must be used in binding so that the seed balls dry up quickly.

To soak in the moisture from the mud and compost, rice husk is also used.

The department has trained people to make and sow the material, officials said.

In Vindhya region, surface run-off of water is high, because of which water retention in the soil is less and productivity of soil is also affected.

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Because the water run-off rate is higher and the temperature is high, the soil is hard in the region.

The problem of stray cattle may compound it further by grazing on the vegetation on the ground, leaving no mulch.

The seed balls that germinate need to be protected from stray cattle.

“We have seeds from three species, two each, in the ball. This will help us raise multiple species at the same place if we provide them care,” said additional principal chief conservator of forest, Bundelkhand, K.K. Singh.

–IANS

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Haryana STF nabs notorious criminal

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Gurugram, July 13 (IANS) Special Task Force (STF) of the Haryana Police has arrested Rakesh alias Kala Khairmpuria, a notorious criminal wanted for involvement in serious crimes across Haryana and Rajasthan, officials said on Saturday.

STF Chief Simardeep Singh said the accused operated under the alias Kala Khairmpuria and had been evading law enforcement agencies since he jumped parole in 2020.

“Throughout this period, he continued to orchestrate criminal activities initially from within India and after fleeing abroad from countries such as UAE, Armenia and Thailand,” Singh said.

Rakesh entered the crime world in 2014 and was involved in several serious offences like dacoity, robbery, murder, and illegal possession of firearms.

“Rakesh was first convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for a murder in 2015 in Bhadra, District Hanumangarh in Rajasthan. He was sentenced in 2018 and after serving the sentence till 2020, he was released on parole and he never returned,” Singh said.

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During this period, he evaded arrest and further expanded his criminal operations in Haryana and Rajasthan.

He committed another murder in Darauli in Fatehabad district of Haryana in 2021. Kala could not be arrested and was declared a proclaimed offender (PO) in 2023. The Haryana Police also announced Rs 1 lakh on his arrest.

“Utilising a fraudulently acquired passport, Rakesh fled the country in early 2023 and operated his criminal gang from abroad, forging alliances with local gangs and orchestrating violent acts. His affiliations extended to notorious criminal groups such as the Himanshu Bhau Gang and Neeraj Faridpuria Gang, contributing to a crime syndicate responsible for several high-profile crimes including targeted killings and extortion, the STF Chief added.

Notable incidents include the murder of a Sarpanch in Sonipat in December 2023, the firing incident on a famous sweet shop in Gohana in January this year, a murder at Murthal eatery and the shootout at a Burger King outlet in Rajouri Garden, Delhi last month.

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To nab him, the STF carried out a thorough investigation to locate him. During the course of the investigation, STF teams were able to establish and unearth a fake identity on which Kala had got his passport.

Once his identity was established, the teams tracked his travel details and mounted surveillance on the target. After strenuous efforts, he was zeroed in a foreign country.

The STF immediately coordinated with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and also got the relevant Interpol references and notices issued against Kala.

The MHA promptly took cognizance of the matter and coordinated with the various agencies both in India and abroad.

Meanwhile, the STF teams also got his passport, which he had obtained through fraudulent means, revoked. The required legal documents about establishing his identity and criminal record were shared with concerned law enforcement agencies through MHA.

This collaborative effort led to the deportation of Rakesh alias Kala and he was then apprehended by the STF teams.

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The STF Chief said that the arrest of Rakesh sends a resolute message regarding Haryana Police’s unwavering commitment to control crime and maintain law and order in the state.

–IANS

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Parents accuse DPS Dwarka of harassing students after row over outstanding fees

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Parents of at least 20 students of Delhi Public School (DPS) Dwarka have accused the institution of not allowing their children inside classrooms and publishing their wards’ names on its official website over their outstanding fee dues.

According to some parents, the action followed their refusal to pay the revised fee, which, they claim, was increased “without following Directorate of Education (DoE) norms”.

They said that the public display of their children’s names breached their ward’s Fundamental right to personal space and privacy.

“The school maligned the reputation of children calling them defaulters though the parents have paid the complete fee and that too in advance,” a parent said.

Parents accused the school of harassing their children by demanding “unapproved” revised fees. “We have submitted numerous complaints since 2021 but got no relief,” another said.

They also accused the school management of hiring bouncers in 2022 to stop children (who have outstanding fees) from entering the school.

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“They (school management) sent bouncers in school buses so that children cannot board the bus. Teenage girls felt so uncomfortable travelling with bouncers who are more of a threat than a safety,” a parent told IANS.

“The DoE has not taken any concrete action so far… and has continuously failed to get its order implemented. The DoE nominees are not even allowed to enter the school and they just remain mute spectators,” another parent said.

“We are left with no choice but to accept the school atrocities as the matter relates to our children’s future,” said the father of a student, whose name was published on the school’s website.

“We moved the court against the DoE and the school… and the court ordered that parents will have to pay 50 per cent of the revised fee and names which had been struck off from the rolls should be immediately restored immediately but the school has no respect for the court order either,” another parent said.

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“It seems that the Chairman and Vice Chairman (of the school) are so powerful that even no court or no department can touch them and they can do whatever they want,” he claimed.

–IANS

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Left calls 12-hour Tripura shutdown on Sunday to protest murder of CPI-M Zilla Parishad candidate

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Agartala, July 13 (IANS) Tripura’s opposition CPI-M-led Left Front called a 12-hour statewide shutdown on Sunday to protest against the murder of a CPI-M candidate for the South Tripura Zilla Parishad in the August 8 three-tier Gram Panchayats elections.

The Congress has expressed its support.

Tripura Left Front convener Narayan Kar alleged that Badal Shil was critically injured in a deadly attack by ruling BJP-backed assailants on Friday at Rajnagar in South Tripura district. The CPI-M leader, after preliminary treatment in the local hospital, was shifted to the government-run Govind Ballabh Pant Medical College and Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries on Saturday afternoon, Kar told the media on Saturday night.

More than a dozen Left party leaders and members were injured across the state in the BJP attacks after the panchayat election schedule was announced on July 10.

CPI-M Tripura state Secretary Jitendra Chaudhury said that the Left parties would not organise any picketing on Sunday in support of the state-wide shutdown and appealed to the people to spontaneously observe the dawn-to-dusk strike.

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Congress Working Committee member and former Minister Sudip Roy Barman said that his party would support the Left Front-sponsored shutdown on Sunday.

However, BJP spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee said that his party would strongly oppose the shutdown as it would disturb the normal situation of the state ahead of the panchayat elections.

Elections to the three-tier Gram Panchayats in Tripura will be held on August 8 and the votes will be counted on August 12. Amidst sporadic incidents of political violence, candidates of various political parties are submitting their nominations in 370 seats in 606 Gram Panchayats, 423 seats in 35 Panchayat Samitis, and 116 seats in eight Zilla Parishads.

–IANS

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Sajad Lone terms amendments as systematic disempowerment in J&K

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Srinagar, July 13 (IANS) J&K Peoples Conference President Sajad Lone on Saturday voiced strong opposition to the recently passed amendments, characterising them as part of a continued systematic disempowerment of the people of J&K.

“The amendments passed yesterday are part of a continued systematic disempowerment of people of J&K. Another move to disempower and humiliate the people of J&K,” he wrote in X.

He added that these amendments even violate the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act – 2019.

“Yet again a humble appeal. Please don’t strengthen the perception of being at war with your own people in J&K,” Lone said.

–IANS

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Assam flood situation continues to ease up, 8.40 lakh people affected

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Guwahati, July 13 (IANS) The overall flood situation in Assam further improved on Saturday while one more death was reported from Dhemaji district and 8.40 lakh people remain affected in 21 of the state’s 35 districts, Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) officials said.

According to ASDMA officials, as of Saturday, at least 91 people died due to the current flood in 23 districts and around 10 more people died due to landslides and other calamities after the monsoon rain started early last month.

The highest number of deaths (22) were reported in Cachar district.

The number of affected people has come down from over 24.20 lakh in 30 districts as of July 5, the ASDMA officials said.

Flood water also submerged over 29,386 hectares of crop area in 1,705 villages in 21 districts while over 5.03 lakh domestic animals have also been badly affected by the flood.

Of the 21 flood-affected districts, Dhubri, Cachar, Dhemaji, Darrang, Goalpara, Golaghat, Nagaon, Sivasagar, and South Salmara are the worst hit.

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The Brahmaputra is flowing above the danger level at Neamatighat, Tezpur, and Dhubri, while Burhidihing, Disang, and Kushiyara rivers are also flowing above the danger level in three areas.

Over 36,000 people including women are sheltered in the 221 relief camps set up by the district administrations, while 52 relief distribution centres are functioning in different districts.

The flood water also inundated the vast areas of Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR), where wild animals were also affected. The Forest and Wildlife Department workers have so far rescued 135 wild animals while more than 180 animals, including deer, rhinos, and hog deer, have drowned in flood waters.

–IANS

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