Bihar flood relief from Gujarat: ‘no’ in 2010, ‘yes’ in 2017

first_imgSeven years ago, he had returned a cheque for the same amount issued for the same cause by the the same government. But on Thursday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar not only accepted a cheque for ₹5 crore from the Gujarat government for flood victims, but also praised the State’s social initiative.Opposition RJD was quick to take a dig at Mr. Kumar’s “helplessness,” while the ruling NDA leaders said “much water has flown in the Ganga since 2010.”The cheque was handed over by Gujarat’s Revenue, Education and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama. Senior State BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi was present on the occasion.The Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand governments too have donated ₹5 crore each to the Bihar Chief Minister’s relief fund.Back in 2010, Gujarat government’s donation for flood victims was rejected by the Chief Minister, who also cancelled a dinner organised at his official residence 1, Anne Marg, for top BJP leaders who had arrived in Patna for a national executive committee meeting. The provocation was an advertisement in the local newspapers that had an image of the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi with his hand aloft. “This is not the way to give donation…we do not advertise donations given for a social cause,” Mr. Kumar said while refusing the cheque.Back in 2010: Nitish attacks Modi for advertisement on aid  | Take it easy: Nitish says on return of Gujarat’s Kosi flood aid | Return of money unfortunate: Gujarat“It was a different time… Nitish Kumar, politically, was not in a position to be seen with Narendra Modi in Bihar,” said a ruling party JD(U) leader. “But now it’s an altogether different atmosphere, different equations.”Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said much water had flown in the Ganga since then. “There is no point digging up the past.” He said several other BJP-ruled States like Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand too had donated then. “I’d request RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his son Tejaswi Yadav to ask his party legislators to offer donations for the flood victims.”The RJD’s national vice-president and spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari said the Narendra Modi government was systematically extracting revenge for the humiliation it faced in 2010. “Mr. Modi is not a man who easily forgets and forgives.”He pointed out that the JD(U) was not included during the recent reshuffle of the Union Cabinet.last_img read more

Muslim man killed by cow vigilantes: family

first_imgThe family of a Muslim man, whose dismembered body was found on the railway tracks near Govindgarh in Alwar district of Rajasthan on Friday, has claimed that he was thrashed and shot dead by a crowd of cow vigilantes when he was transporting four cows to his native village Ghatmika in Bharatpur.The police on Sunday registered a case of murder on the basis of the family’s complaint.Waylaid at FahariThe deceased, identified as Ummar Khan, 35, a dairy farmer in Ghatmika, and two of his acquaintances, Tahir Khan and Javed Khan, were taking the cows in a pick-up truck to the village after purchasing them in Alwar. They were allegedly waylaid at Fahari, where they were assaulted and shot at, leading to Ummar Khan’s death.The vigilantes allegedly threw Ummar Khan’s body on the railway track to cover up the murder and show it as an accident. Police retrieved the body, dismembered by a moving train, to Alwar on Saturday and kept it at the mortuary in the Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital. Aide missingMr. Tahir Khan, 42, who escaped from the spot, has reportedly been admitted to a private hospital at Ferozepur Jhirka in neighbouring Haryana, while Mr. Javed Khan, 28, is missing.Alwar (South) Circle Officer Anil Beniwal told The Hindu that a FIR under Section 302 (murder) against unknown persons was registered at Govindgarh police station on Sunday. Following a protest by Umar Khan’s relatives and Meo Muslims, the body has been sent for a post mortem to Jaipur.Umar Khan and his companions belong to the Meo Muslim community, which has a significant presence in the Mewat region spread over Rajasthan, Haryana and some parts of Uttar Pradesh. It was in Alwar that 55-year-old dairy owner Pehlu Khan from Haryana was lynched by a mob of cow vigilantes in April this year. The incident sparked a nation-wide outrage.District Congress minority cell president Jamshed Khan, who led the protest outside the hospital in Alwar, alleged that the policemen present at the scene of crime, did not stop the attackers. “There is a suspicion that the policemen might have joined cow vigilantes in the assault,” said Mr. Khan, who is also Sarpanch of Tulera village.On Friday, the police at Govindgarh registered a case under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 1995, when they found some cows, including one dead, in the abandoned pick-up truck near the village. The cows which were alive had their feet and mouths tied.While the Meo Panchayat in Alwar demanded a fair and impartial probe and arrest of the culprits, Mr. Beniwal said an investigation was underway to confirm the assault and firing on Umar Khan and his aides. “Nobody saw cow vigilantes assaulting him. We will wait for the autopsy report to confirm if the body had gunshot wounds,” he said.last_img read more

Arunachal invites ideas for people’s budget, promises prizes

first_imgGive ideas for preparing a people’s budget and win prizes, the Arunachal Pradesh government has announced.The frontier State’s Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein on Saturday launched www.arunachalbudget.in, an interactive website that presents infographics on the budget for the 2017-18 fiscal.Mr. Khadu said the website is a first of its kind in the region, created for commoners to surf and provide ideas to make a people-friendly budget. The best three ideas will earn rewards of ₹50,000, ₹30,000 and ₹20,000, officials said.“We want to give every inhabitant of the state to participate in shaping the annual budget for the next fiscal. We want them to be part of Team Arunachal to take the state forward,” he said.The budget session of the State’s 60-member Assembly is scheduled from March 9-16.The website follows a series of pre-budget consultative meetings that Mr. Mein, also the Finance Minsiter, and Finance Commissioner Ashish Kundra had held at various forums and levels.They decided that the government will consult all community-based organisations and other stakeholders before finalising the budget to be placed in the House.“The decision was taken primarily to draft a need-based budget that caters to specific requirements of different zones of the state spread from the plains on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border to 15,000 ft above sea level in the Eastern Himalayas,,” a finance department officer said, declining to be quoted.Mr. Khandu urged all, especially those with experience and knowledge, to submit their suggestions online through the portal and become contributors in shaping the roadmap for development of the State along with the government.last_img read more

When peace comes wrapped in chocolate

first_imgGuns once ruled Manipur’s Ukhrul town. Now, chocolates with unique local flavours are taking over.In February 1982, a year before Zeinorin Stephen Angkang was born, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) ambushed and killed 20 soldiers of the 21 Sikh Regiment on the road to Ukhrul, 84 km north-east of capital Imphal. A chain of violent reactions and counter-reactions ensured years of bitterness for the dominant Tangkhul community, which was caught in the crossfire.But a small wave of enterprise riding the success of Hill Wild, a range of chocolates filled with pumpkin seeds and exotic local nuts, is helping to erase those nightmares.“I learnt how to make chocolate from a chef friend,” Angkang, 25, told The Hindu. But a chocolate made in Ukhrul had to be exotic, so I thought of adding pumpkin seeds and local nuts.”In November last year, she and Leiyolan Vashum, 35, launched Hill Wild. It took them less than a fortnight to create a buzz. Their handmade chocolates in four varieties – pumpkin seeds, hodgsonia, fruit wine and chilli – were a hit with the delegates at the North East Development Summit in Imphal.“It is the kind of high quality product that Manipur needed for a change of image, from that of a militancy-mauled State to an investment destination,” Nongthombam Biren, Manipur’s Chief Minister had said.Connectivity-challengedAt 1,662 m above sea level, Ukhrul offers ideal conditions for a chocolatier. But it takes at least 15 days for a cocoa consignment (₹1,60,000 a tonne) to arrive from Pune.It is no less difficult to offload the finished products, currently sold in Manipur and Nagaland. “Connectivity is a big challenge, as unreliable courier services prevent us from taking online orders. There is also a scarcity of skilled people, resources, and ingredients,” Ms. Angkang says. Such obstacles notwithstanding, Hill Wild produces 3,000 packets of chocolates per month. It has added a unit to make artisanal sausages.Hill Wild, Angkang says, isn’t only about products. It has encouraged women to take up commercial cultivation of organic pumpkin and other ingredients for the chocolates, and fostered seed-funding, micro-loans, and incubation support.Apart from teaching chocolate-making and employing 13 women, Angkang and Vashum have set about 90 individuals from Ukhrul district on the path to entrepreneurship. They have also created 15 farmers’ groups, and are helping them get their farms certified as organic.Starting off as a two-person initiative, Hill Wild has become a community-based movement. Last year, it organised a mini-trade fair called #madeinukhrul, with the objective promoting sustainable enterprises in Ukhrul district.The duo has organised the 2nd edition of a mini trade fair, #madeinukhrul, on a larger scale. Themed ‘Sustainable Ukhrul 2030’, is scheduled for April 5-6 at an indoor stadium in Ukhrul.“Many here possess the skills to set up successful businesses that market products such as traditional herbal tea, black pottery, indigenous textiles with a fusion approach, fermented soybean, and rice. But people need to be pushed into entrepreneurship,” Angkang says.“The passion, commitment and courage of young Angkang made us sponsor the Ukhrul conclave. She has been an inspiration for many aspiring entrepreneurs, and we believe we are investing in the right direction,” says Ram Muivah, Secretary of the North Eastern Council.last_img read more

Woman beaten to death in Uttar Pradesh

first_imgA 75-year-old woman was beaten to death, allegedly by a fair price shop-owner, after she objected to being given less ration, police said on Saturday.The incident took place on Friday evening at Firazabad village. The police have registered a case against three people, including the shop’s owner Naseem, on a complaint by the woman’s son, Bhura, Circle Officer (CO) Md. Rizwan said. Nobody has been arrested yet, he said.Tension prevailed in the village following the incident and people refused to hand over the body to police for several hours.last_img

Donkey hall ticket won’t have any impact on credibility of recruiting agency, says J&K Minister

first_imgThe Jammu and Kashmir government on April 28 played down the reported issuance of an “admit card” (hall ticket) by the Services Selection Board to a “donkey”, saying it would have no impact on the credibility of the recruiting agency.A prankster reportedly got an admit card issued by the SSB in the name of “Kachur Khar” (brown donkey) to write the examination for recruitment of naib tehsildars, scheduled for April 29.“I don’t think it (reported issuance of an admit card to a donkey) is going to dent the image of the SSB. It is a technology-driven era and the cards are computer generated,” State Education Minister Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari told reporters in Jammu.Though the admit card was deleted by the board from its system soon after it went viral, social media users had a field day over the apparent lapse by the authorities. A photograph of the admit card is being widely circulated on Twitter and Facebook. The admit card has a donkey’s photograph on it.In 2015, the Board of Professional Entrance Examinations in the State had issued an admit card to a “cow” to write an examination.last_img read more

NPP wins Williamnagar Assembly seat in Meghalaya

first_imgThe National People’s Party (NPP), a regional entity that former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A Sangma had formed, won the adjourned election to the Williamnagar Assembly constituency in Meghalaya on Tuesday.The victory has taken the seat tally of NPP, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, to 20 in the State’s 60-member House with an effective strength of 59 after former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma of Congress gave up Ampati, one of the two seats he had won. The NPP-led alliance, including two legislators of BJP, now has 37 MLAs.The result declared around Tuesday noon showed NPP candidate Marcuise N. Marak won the Williamnagar seat by bagging 9,558 votes, which was 37.5% of the total votes cast.Of the constituency’s 32,345 voters, 78.8% had exercised their franchise.Independent candidate Sengbath R. Marak was second with 4,698 votes while former minister Deborah C Marak of Congress, who had won the seat in 2013, finished third with 4,517 votes.Krinilla R Mark, the widow of slain Nationalist Congress Party leader Jonathone N Sangma who was expected to gain sympathy votes, came fourth with 4,009 votes.Election in Williamnagar had to be adjourned after extremists killed Mr. Sangma by blowing up his vehicle during campaign a week ahead of the Assembly polls on February 27. He was the candidate of NCP, which later decided to field his widow.“The challenge of living up to the expectations of the people begins now,” Mr. Marak, who had won the State’s Rongrenggiri seat as an NCP candidate in 2008, said after the result was declared.Prior to the poll in Williamnagar, the NPP-led alliance had 36 MLAs in the Meghalaya assembly. Apart from NPP’s 20 now and BJP’s two, the constituents are United Democratic Party (six LMAs), People’s Democratic Front (four), Hill State People’s Democratic Party (two), NCP (one) and two independents.last_img read more

Woman IAS officer alleges sexual harassment

first_imgA Haryana cadre woman IAS officer on Sunday accused her senior officer — in the rank of additional chief secretary — of sexually harassing her. The officer wrote in a Facebook post that she had sent complaints regarding the incident to the office of the President of India.last_img

Speeding truck kills five students in Odisha; locals set vehicle on fire

first_imgFive school students were killed and five others were grievously injured when a truck mowed them down on National Highway-16 in Odisha’s Bhadrak district on Thursday. The identity of the students could not be ascertained immediately.The students were returning from Ranital High School after school hours and riding along the NH-16 when the truck hit them from behind, throwing them from far off from their bicycles. Five students died on the spot while injured were rushed to Bhadrak district headquarters hospital.Angry locals immediately set the truck on fire as the driver and helper managed to flee the spot. “Students were returning on their bicycles when the truck hit them 4.15 pm. The circumstances that led to the accident would be clear after a probe,” said Bhadrak Superintendent of Police B. Gangadhar.Conveying deep condolence to the bereaved families, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced an exgratia of Rs. 2 lakh each to the next of the kin of the deceased. The injured students will be given treatment free of cost.last_img read more

Pradhan launches sanitary pad-making initiative

first_imgThe Ujjwala Sanitary Napkins initiative by three oil marketing companies – IOCL, BPCL and HPCL – was launched by Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan here on Sunday. The three companies will set up 100 manufacturing units at the Common Service Centres (CSC) covering 93 Blocks across 30 districts of Odisha at an estimated cost of ₹2.94 crore.Mr. Pradhan said the mission, which forms part of the CSR initiative of OMCs in Odisha, is aimed to educate women on female hygiene and health, improve accessibility to low cost eco-friendly sanitary pads and boost rural employment and economy.At least 10 Ujjwala beneficiary women will get employment at each CSC. Each facility will have a capacity to produce 1,200-2,000 pads per day and will have a sterilisation room to ensure that the napkins are sterilised before they are packed for use by rural women.The CSCs are also being provided with raw material, enough to make 45,000-50,000 pads. These napkins will be priced at ₹40 per pack, each containing eight pads. The Ujjwala pads will be made of virgin wood pulp sheet, non-woven white sheet and a gel sheet which are all biodegradable in nature and will leave minimal carbon footprint.last_img read more

AAP plans to contest all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab

first_imgAam Aadmi Party convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said that the party will contest all the 13 parliamentary seats in Punjab in the polls due this year.“We will contest all the seats in Punjab in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The AAP will bring the Delhi model of good governance in Punjab,” he told reporters in Sangrur.Addressing a rally at Barnala, Mr. Kejriwal said that there have been attempts to break the party but it was strong and united.‘Dalits betrayed’Hitting out at the ruling Congress government in the State, Mr. Kejriwal said that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has betrayed the Dalits and backward classes besides farmers and the unemployed youth.“Not just the Congress party but the previous Parkash Singh Badal-led Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government also never cared and suppressed the rights of the Dalits, backward classes and poor people,” he alleged.Mr. Kejriwal also accused the Congress government of failing to keep its promises made during the Assembly elections in 2017. “Not even a single promise made by Capt. Amarinder has been fulfilled. Be it complete farm loan waiver or employment for the youth. Neither people are getting employment nor any one had got the smart phone as promised during the Assembly poll campaign.”last_img read more

BJP questions West Bengal circular on dining halls in Muslim-majority schools

first_img The Chief Minister on Friday clarified that the circular was not meant to divide students in any way. “The idea is to pool in funds from different departments so that the scheme ( mid-day meal) can be effectively implemented. It was not supposed to divide students in any way,” Ms. Banerjee said. She said that dining halls constructed with funds from the Minority Department will serve all students, irrespective of their religion or community.“It’s a technical matter, nothing more,” she said, adding that the plan for constructing dining halls was only for schools that did not have the facility and where students have to eat outside.After the Chief Minister’s response, the Department of Minority Affairs and Madrasah Education issued a press release issuing further clarification on the matter.“For schools with substantial SC/ST students, such critical gap funding is provided by the Backward Classes Welfare Department. However, the assets/facilities created from such pooled funds are open to all, i.e. used by all students/ beneficiaries irrespective of which community they belong to,” the press statement said.The statement also added that for implementing the mid-day meal scheme and to create the related infrastructure, the State Government “pools funds from the budgets of various education-related departments while also ensuring that the facilities so created are used by all students, without any discrimination whatsoever”. A circular issued by West Bengal’s Minority Affairs department on the construction of dining halls in state-run schools that have more than 70% Muslim students has triggered a political controversy in the State, with the Bharatiya Janata Party calling it “discrimination”.Trinamool Congress chairperson and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was quick to defend the circular, saying that it was not aimed at “dividing students in any way” but only to pool in funds from different departments to create infrastructure for running mid-day meal programme in schools.Controversy over the circular erupted with State BJP president Dilip Ghosh, tweeted the order and questioned the same. “Why this discrimination between the students on the basis of religion? Is there some other mala fide motive behind this segregation? Another conspiracy,” Mr. Ghosh said. The circular, dated June 25, called for names of schools which had more than 70% minority students for construction of dining halls for mid-day meals.1.1 The West Bengal Government has issued a circular whereby it has directed the school authorities where 70 % or more students are from the Muslim community to reserve a dining hall with seating arrangements for them. pic.twitter.com/cwYQWngDtW— Dilip Ghosh (@DilipGhoshBJP) June 27, 2019last_img read more

Amid apprehensions, Farooq, Mehbooba call all-party meet

first_imgNational Conference (NC) president Dr. Farooq Abdullah and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday initiated an all-party meeting over the ongoing security measures and apprehensions about abrogation of Article 35A, granting special rights to Kashmiris.“There is panic in Kashmir. One lakh soldiers are being called in. It’s not a joke. The government claims the situation is normal, the Amarnath Yatra is going on smoothly and tourists are coming, but, at the same time, more forces are deployed and mosques are under scrutiny. This is why we are calling the [all-party] meeting,” said Dr. Abdullah.The “Centre was saying one thing and doing another. We have to discuss it and be ready to face it,” Dr. Abdullah, three-time Chief Minister and Member of Parliament from Srinagar, said .Sources said Dr. Abdullah would return from Delhi this week and convene a meeting in Srinagar. The three MPs of his party were also seeking an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Earlier, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said she approached Dr. Abdullah for an aal-party meeting. “In the light of recent developments that have caused a sense of panic among people in J&K, the need of the hour is to come together and forge a united response. We the people of Kashmir need to stand up as one,” she said.The rival NC and the PDP’s moves follow a slew of security measures, including deployment of 10,000 additional personnel and directions to local police.Mosques under scannerIn a fresh order on Monday, the police sought details of mosques in the Kashmir Valley. All superintendents of police (SPs) were directed in the capital to start gathering details about mosques, their ideological affiliations, names of the local imams (priests) and the management heads.“The exercise is being carried out to update the data. It is part of normal policing,” said Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar, Haseeb Mughal.Mere rumours: Vijay KumarGovernor’ Satya Pal Malik’s Advisor on Home Affairs K. Vijay Kumar termed the security measures for any upcoming event “rumours”.“I have already clarified that it is a deliberate and calculated response to the security grid, which is available here. There was an addition or reduction of the security grid due to our focus on the Amarnath Yatra…There are so many things happening on the social media. So for us to react to everything it will give strength to these people,” he added.last_img read more

More rains batter Bihar, death toll reaches 25

first_imgChildren wade through a waterlogged road after heavy rain at Rajendra Nagar. An overcrowded boat ferries people in high current on the flooded Ganga at Digha Ghat in Patna. An overcrowded boat ferries people in high current on the flooded Ganga at Digha Ghat in Patna. Security personnel rescue NCC cadets stuck in a waterlogged camp after heavy rain at Rajendra Nagar. Security personnel rescue NCC cadets stuck in a waterlogged camp after heavy rain at Rajendra Nagar. A view of submerged tracks at Patna Junction. Fishermen catch fish in the flooded river Ganga in Patna. A rickshaw passes through a flooded road in Patna.  In addition, police in the adjoining district of Jehanabad confirmed the death of a three-year-old girl who was crushed to death when the wall of an old house, adjacent to a street where she was playing, caved in.On Sunday, 18 deaths were reported from across the state in mishaps attributed to the torrential rainfall.Unconfirmed reports, however, put the death toll at more than 30.The disaster management department said that the state government has urged the Indian Air Force to send a helicopter for air-dropping of food packets and other relief material in marooned areas.Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, whose own residence was affected by the deluge, was seen doing the rounds of the city clad in a T-shirt and shorts, and issuing instructions to officials.The district administration has ordered closure of all schools till October 1 as a preventive measure and warned of strict punishment to those who violated the direction and “put the lives of teachers and students at risk.”District Magistrate Kumar Ravi has said that sump houses were working round theclock to flush out water from inundated streets and pointed out that “a not too high” water level in the Ganga meant that there would be no problem of reverse flow.Motorcyclists were seen driving through knee-deep waters after covering the silencers of their two-wheelers with plastic bottles and pipes inserted to allow emission of fumes without water entering the exhaust pipes.At some places, people living in houses situated on either side of a street helped each other with items of daily use which were rolled down on unfurled ‘gamchas’ (a thin towel), corners of which were held by people standing atop boundary walls.Patna Nagar Nigam personnel, donning yellow raincoats, could be seen at various spots trying to unclog the manholes that have been choked by polythene and debris a common sight in the city which has witnessed unregulated construction which has contributed to the water-logging.Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had spoken to P K Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, on September 21 urging him to take steps to check the water level in the Ganges here which had then risen to alarming levels.More than a million cusecs of water were subsequently released through the Farakka barrage downstream.Social media has been abuzz with the heart-rending image of a rickshaw-puller who broke down upon being caught in chest-deep water, unable to pull out the vehicle on which he depended for a living.In the video, a couple apparently living on the upper story of an adjacent house can be heard asking the hapless man to rush to a safer spot, assuring him that they will keep a watch on his cycle rickshaw until the water subsided and he was able to take it back. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar inspects the rise in water level of the Ganga river,in Patna on Thursday, (This photo has been released by I & PRD,Bihar Govt). Fishermen catch fish in the flooded river Ganga in Patna. People wade through a waterlogged road after heavy rain at Rajendra Nagar in Patna. Patients leave NMCH in Patna after waterlogging in the hospital. Children wade through a waterlogged road after heavy rain at Rajendra Nagar. An overcrowded boat ferries people in high current on the flooded Ganga at Digha Ghat in Patna. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar inspects the rise in water level of the Ganga river,in Patna on Thursday, (This photo has been released by I & PRD,Bihar Govt). A rickshaw passes through a flooded road in Patna. Patients leave NMCH in Patna after waterlogging in the hospital. After being pounded by heavy rain over the weekend, most parts of the Bihar capital remained submerged even as the state-wide death toll mounted to 25.In Patna, there has been a let up in rainfall since morning though the sky is overcast and the IMD has predicted showers later in the day.According to the state disaster management department, six casualties have been reported from Gaya district where five persons were buried alive in a wall collapse while another person was drowned in a river which was in spate because of incessant rains. People wade through a waterlogged road after heavy rain at Rajendra Nagar in Patna. A view of submerged tracks at Patna Junction.last_img read more

When Mizoram shows way to reuse Durga idol

first_imgGoddess Durga has a fibreglass ‘avatar’ in Mizoram and it has much to do with slaying the demon of ecological degradation.There are very few temples in Mizoram, where 87% of the population is Christian. Of the 13 that are managed by the Central Gorkha Mandir Committee, five are in Aizawl.Until about a decade ago, the Durga Puja celebration in these temples was similar to that in adjoining Assam and Tripura — installing clay idols of the Goddess and members of her family and immersing them on Vijaya Dasami.But things changed in 2011. Cutting costs — the idols had to be brought from southern Assam’s Silchar about 190 km north — was a factor. But the bigger reason was to stop adding chemical colours and other pollutants to the hill river systems.“That year, we switched to the images of the Goddess and her entourage printed on flex. We used a dollop of earth as a symbolic idol for worshipping, used all biodegradable material to conduct the puja and immersed them in the streams and rivers as per the convenience of each temple administration,” Uday Kumar, the committee’s president told The Hindu.Five years later, the committee members realised that the non-biodegradable flex were also prone to tearing.“In 2016, we decided to change to a fibreglass idol. The bigger temple at Bawngkawn has a 5ft idol while the one at Om Mandir in Thuampui, our locality, is smaller,” said Pratap Chhetri, a local resident and State government employee.The locality has some 120 Gurkha families. About 20,000 of Mizoram’s 1.12 million people are Gurkhas, mostly descendants of soldiers the British had brought along 120 years ago.Mr. Kumar said each fibreglass Durga idol is stored in a consecrated place within the temple complex after the Puja and brought out for the next year’s celebration. “You can say we don’t throw our Mother Goddess away after we are through with worshipping her. She is always around us,” he said.last_img read more

Resurgent Federer advances to Montreal final

first_imgSEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games K-pop star Jung Joon-young convicted of gang rape, spycam crimes Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH MOST READ Read Next “I’m happy I’m playing as well as I am this year on the match courts. At the end that’s what matters because I spent hours and hours on the practice courts in the last year.”The 19-time Grand Slam winner Federer is seeking his 27th Masters 1000 title and his third Canadian Masters crown after wins in 2004 and 2006.Haase, who hit 17 winners, made a late charge and forced a second-set tiebreak before Federer stymied the challenge to win the match.Zverev, 20, will have a much tougher time against the skilled veteran Federer than he did in beating Shapovalov.‘Life-changing week’Zverev came into Montreal with four titles this season while Shapovalov had just three career match victories. Shapovalov leaves Montreal with seven career wins, including a shocking upset of 10-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal.“It is a completely life-changing week,” said Shapovalov, whose dream run this week also included a win over former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro.The fourth seeded Zverev broke Shapovalov at 4-4 in the first set then served for the set to silence the partisan crowd.Ultimately, Zverev played better in the key moments, finishing with two aces, winning 81 percent of his first-serve points and breaking the Canadian three times.Shapovalov finished with three aces, six double faults and won 64 percent of his first-serve points in the one-hour, 43-minute match. WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “It’s a big bonus right now and I hope I can play as free as I have so far in the finals tomorrow.”Second seeded Federer will clash on Sunday with German Alexander Zverev who ended the Cinderella run of 18-year old Canadian Denis Shapovalov with a 6-4, 7-5 win in the other semi-final.Federer is undergoing a resurgence this season after it appeared to many he might be slowing down as he transitions through his mid-30s.“Confidence can get you a long way, and if you’re feeling fine physically and you are ready to fight mentally you have a lot of things in the bag,” said Federer, who would earn the second seed at the upcoming US Open if he wins in Montreal.“And then the only thing that maybe is missing is practice, but sometimes practice is overrated. It’s all about the matches at some stage.ADVERTISEMENT #KicksStalker: Jordan’s ’98 Playoff sneakers set for return LATEST STORIES View comments UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension He raised his game to another level when it mattered most, beating Netherlands Robin Haase 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) in just 75 minutes.“I’m very excited to be back in the finals,” Federer said. “A bit surprising, to be quite honest, because I hadn’t practiced much.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutFederer has taken more time off this year than usual. He skipped the clay-court season from April to mid-June.“I came from vacation, did some fitness, saw how I was feeling and said, ‘You know what, I practiced so much the last year, let’s go play some matches.’ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates his 6-3, 7-6 victory over Robin Haase of Netherlands during day nine of the Rogers Cup presented by National Bank at Uniprix Stadium on August 12, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images/AFPSwiss superstar Roger Federer turned in a precision performance Saturday at the ATP Montreal tennis, using thundering serves and clever backhands to defeat unseeded Robin Haase for a spot in the final.The 36-year-old Federer blasted nine aces and lost just nine points on his serve as he extended his match win streak to 16 — his longest win streak in five years.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMClast_img read more