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February 28, 2012

POLITICAL IMPOTENCY

Heights of political napunsakta

Finally they've managed it. It takes more than a few wild horses to shake my belief in the Indian story. I am a hardcore patriot. So much that I have bet without fail on the Indian cricket team (even when we are touring South Africa for tests), I have given up lucrative job offers abroad, I have argued with returned-home-NRIs about how they can stop cribbing and start working.

But all it has taken is a numb political leadership, unconcious PM and a lost Home Minister to make me take a long hard look at my passport and think about getting another one from some other country. A country where they still have balls.

The final 2 nails in the coffin of ASR's nationalism were put in during the recent days.

The first one is how our Government has conveniently let the separatists take the agenda, lead and their asses in the Kashmir mess. It defies logic and sense to see how could they not pre-empt this situation. On top of that, why are they shy to shove bullets down the throats of obvious traitors. In any country, the law is clear on traitors - shoot em, bury em, forget em. Now if these assholes still believe that they will get some more Muslim votes by not doing this, they are doing the nation great harm. Also they must remember that the country is still called HINDUstan, and the votes of those mentioned in caps matter as well - if it indeed is about votes.

The second nail was put in when we let the recent Bihar flooding take place DESPITE knowing well in advance about it. All we had to do was send in some soldiers with some engineers and repair the damn structure. We didn't. To top it all, we all know very clearly that those fuckin Bahadurs depend on us for pretty much everything. They cannot simply have the balls to do what they did. And in the end, we have 3.5 million displaced poor in Bihar to worry about.

It is an exercise in boiling one's blood to see Shivraj Patil giving statements when his confidence level is indeed so low that , when it ever rises from the depths, it will bring along some dinosaur fossils or maybe some crude oil.

To listen to the fact that Nepalis did not allow our engineers to carry out the necessary repairs is even more disheartening. Nepalis! They depend on us for pretty much everything. All we had to do was send in some troops, and that would've been the end of it.

But anyway.........

February 27, 2012

Can technology replace the book reading?

Technology has revolutionised all of our activities and books being no exception, today youth read PDFs on the Internet but is it possible to find the solace, people would get by reading books in a quiet corner of a library or a window seat of a passenger bus? I guess, not!

There was a time, men and women found solace in books. Be it a rainy day, a bad day or even just an idle day, crawling between those lines took us away from our world. It didn’t matter if our problems were as small as misplacing a set of keys or burning our morning toast or big problems like failing things and sunken ships, there was that one book that would take us in and introduce us to fictional problems, a world that promised closure in the end, people who had motives for doing what they did and events that happened for a reason.

They let you be the master of a situation, gave you the higher understanding, the chance to make up your mind and harmlessly delivered the ending. For that brief period you are lost among those pages, you don’t have a mounting debt, the baggage of being yourself, it didn’t matter how smart you were or what your race, colour, or religion is. Nothing but the pressing problems of those men and women whose lives have been laid out for us mattered.


We visited libraries and bookstores to borrow and purchase companions that could fit in our bags and travel with us. We carried great men and women who shared their wisdom with us. They spoke for us. They laid their hearts and lives out for our pleasure. They made up characters and told stories for our entertainment.

It is being said that with the arrival of computers and the Internet, books are being replaced. People no longer physically go to the libraries or a bookstore. Can browsing and clicking ever really give you the feeling that standing in a quiet corner of a bookstore and staring at an entire shelf of book and bursting with the greed to buy them all will give? Will scrolling down ever be the same as turning the page and feeling the roughness of the paper or hearing the turning the page make music that could only be compared to the sound that a wave makes against the sand? Highlighting text could never live up to marking your favourite lines in a book and coming back to it years later wondering how you felt at that moment marking those lines or how different you were when you did it.

It is such a melancholy that the children go through these pleasures lesser and lesser every day. As Lyon Phelps once wrote, there is nothing like living breathing men and women for friends but books make the best of certain men accessible to you whenever you want. Reading should not become a dying culture. It shouldn’t be a phase that the human kind went through that technology ended. It should be a flourishing habit that can give mind a place to learn, understand, live, love, laugh, cry and if needed, to find solace.

February 24, 2012

The Cult and His Mission

The Cult and His Mission

Steve will be missed to people like me, that never meet him in person but that were fortunate enough to use the products he envisioned. My condolences to his family and friends.


Jobs was born in San Francisco on February 24, 1955. He was adopted shortly after his birth and reared near Mountain View, California by a couple named Clara and Paul Jobs. His adoptive father — a term that Jobs openly objected to — was a machinist for a laser company and his mother worked as an accountant.


The lead mind behind the most successful company on the planet never graduated from college, in fact, he didn't even get close. After graduating from high school in Cupertino, California — a town now synonymous with 1 Infinite Loop, Apple's headquarters — Jobs enrolled in Reed College in 1972. Jobs stayed at Reed (a liberal arts university in Portland, Oregon) for only one semester, dropping out quickly due to the financial burden the private school's steep tuition placed on his parents.


In his famous dialogue in 2005 to Stanford University, Jobs said of his time at Reed: "It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5 cent deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the seven miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple."

In the days after Steve Jobs' death, friends and colleagues have, in customary fashion, been sharing their fondest memories of the Apple co-founder. He's been hailed as "a genius" and "the greatest CEO of his generation" by pundits and tech journalists. But a great man's reputation can withstand a full accounting. And, truth be told, Jobs could be terrible to people, and his impact on the world was not uniformly positive.


His accomplishments were far-reaching and impossible to easily summarize. But here's one way of looking at the scope of his achievement: It's the dream of any entrepreneur to effect change in one industry. Jobs transformed half a dozen of them forever, from personal computers to phones to animation to music to publishing to video games. He was a polymath, a skilled motivator, a decisive judge, a farsighted tastemaker, an excellent showman, and a gifted strategist.
One thing he wasn't, though, was perfect. Indeed there were things Jobs did while at Apple that was deeply disturbing. Rude, dismissive, hostile, spiteful: Apple employees—the ones not bound by confidentiality agreements—have had a different story to tell over the years about Jobs and the bullying, manipulation and fear that followed him around Apple. Jobs contributed to global problems, too. Apple's success has been built literally on the backs of Chinese workers, many of them children and all of them enduring long shifts and the specter of brutal penalties for mistakes. And, for all his talk of enabling individual expression, Jobs imposed paranoid rules that centralized control of who could say what on his devices and in his company.



It's particularly important to take stock of Jobs' flaws right now. His successor, Tim Cook, has the opportunity to set a new course for the company, and to establish his own style of leadership. And, thanks to Apple's success, students of Jobs' approach to leadership have never been so numerous in Silicon Valley. He was worshipped and emulated plenty when he was alive; in death, Jobs will be even more of an icon.


The internet allowed people around the world to express themselves more freely and more easily. With the App Store, Apple reversed that progress. The iPhone and iPad constitute the most popular platform for handheld computerizing in America, key venues for media and software. But to put anything on the devices, you need Apple's permission. And the company wields its power aggressively.


Reported the “ Daily Mail” at China With the complex at peak production, operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week to meet the global demand for Apple phones and computers, a typical day begins with the Chinese national anthem being played over loudspeakers, with the words: 'Arise, arise, arise, millions of hearts with one mind.'
As part of this Orwellian control, the public address system constantly relays propaganda, such as how many products have been made; how a new basketball court has been built for the workers; and why workers should 'value efficiency every minute, every second'.


With other company slogans painted on workshop walls - including exhortations to 'achieve goals unless the sun no longer rises' and to 'gather all of the elite and Foxconn will get stronger and stronger' - the employees work up to 15-hour shifts.
Down narrow, prison-like corridors, they sleep in cramped rooms in triple-decked bunk beds to save space, with simple bamboo mats for mattresses.


Despite summer temperatures hitting 35 degrees, with 90 per cent humidity, there is no air-conditioning. Workers say some dormitories house more than 40 people and are infested with ants and cockroaches, with the noise and stench making it difficult to sleep.


A company can be judged by how it treats its lowliest workers. It sets an example for the rest of the company or in Apple's case, the world.


Jobs did not lead a balanced life. He was professionally relentless. He worked long hours, and remained CEO of Apple through his illness until six weeks before he died. The result was amazing products the world appreciates. But that doesn't mean Jobs' workaholic regimen is one to emulate.


The way I see it, Steve Jobs will be remembered for having created the world’s biggest corporate cult, a cult so blinding in its hold that its devotees no longer cared if others were making more technologically advanced products at a lower price. As far as they were concerned, if it was not an Apple, it would never be perfect.


This is not to say that Apple devotees were mindless zombies. Okay maybe they are but you could not blame them, just like you could not blame a moth for flying into the flame. Jobs was that awesome.


Like those who claimed to speak to Gods, Jobs delivered Zennish koans and inspirational commandments. Like cult leaders, Jobs abhorred technological and organizational glasnost, used a fearsome legal team to pursue anyone who was perceived as a threat, even a nineteen year old blogger and was intolerant of criticism to the point of being petulant—he removed all books of John Wiley and Sons from Apple’s retail store because they had published a book about him that he did not approve of.



But unlike other prophets who merely promised great joys in the great beyond , Steve Jobs actually delivered in this life. Year after year, Apple came out with stunning technological products that shook up the industry with unfailing predictability.



How did the man do it? It’s impossible deconstructing the methods of a genius (if it was possible, I would be one) but one thing is obvious—for Jobs, technology was never really a list of technical specifications or about making a set of “See I do better than yours” benchmarks. It was about getting into the very head of the customer, to understand what exactly makes us “love” something.


Humans are drawn viscerally to good-looking people, who are also simple to understand and interact with us in a pleasant manner. Jobs was successful in engineering each of these things into Apple products—-they were always invariably drop-dead gorgeous, had very simple, intuitive”Why didn’t I think of that before” interfaces and provided an user experience like nothing else in the market. And once he had done so, competitors would bang their heads against the door as much as they wanted and scream in impotent rage “But our products have better tech specifications and cost less”—but to no avail.


Better luck convincing the Pope to become an atheist.


Creating this kind of a global religious reverence to something that is sold in the marketplace is unprecedented in the history of the world. It’s all the more remarkable when you realized that the basic idea of all this from the mind of one man, who blazed through the twilight zone of technology, art, design and marketing, in a way none has before.


Steve Jobs created many beautiful objects. He made digital devices more elegant and easier to use. He made a lot of money for Apple Inc. after people wrote it off for dead. He will undoubtedly serve as a role model for generations of entrepreneurs and business leaders. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing depends on how honestly his life is appraised.


And perhaps, no one ever will.


SIDDHARTHA SHANKAR MISHRA,
NEAR PROFESSORS’ COLONY,
AT/PO - BUDHARAJA
BHIMA BHOI ROAD
ODISHA, SAMBALPUR

Kapil Sibal on free speech

I get Kapil Sibal.

I really do.

When he says that he is not against political dissent per se but merely acting, in the benefit of the nation, to wipe out online speech that promotes communal disharmony and religious unrest, I totally understand where he is coming from.


I know that Google says that of the 358 requests to remove content, 255 dealt with the criticism of the government.

But where Google and perhaps many of the wise commentators are missing the bus is that the government (which in Mr. Sibal’s mind and I guess ours too is the Congress party) is actually a religion. It is built on the dogma that some people with a certain juxtaposition of letters in their last name are divinely ordained to rule. It has its pantheon of above-laws-meant-for-mortals Gods whose achievements, while being sung about in hymns, are almost never perceived in the real world and who need to be continuously propitiated with sacrifice and utter “respect my authority” reverence. Once we accept this basic premise, what Mr. Sibal says makes perfect sense, that being that his religious sentiments and those of the believers of his religion (or more precisely, those who subscribe to his “community standards”) are being hurt by the not-so-complimentary depictions of their idols that have flooded the interweb.

Which is why they have to be removed, sometimes even before they have seen the light of the day since Gods are sent into wrath not just by impure actions by also by impure intentions.

Those trying to find an inconsistency between what he is claiming to do (remove comunal hate speech) and what he is doing (censoring political criticism) need to lay off.

Mr. Sibal, after all, is a fine lawyer. He knows what he is doing. If not from a technological perspective (since most of us know the semantic pre-screening he is asking for is technically infeasible) but definitely from the legal one.

Because in India, our rights to free speech are curtailed by what the Constitution calls “reasonable restrictions” on its practice. These include restrictions on speech that is defamatory in nature, or against decency and morality, or that which compromises friendly relations with foreign states or the sovereignty and integrity of India. Section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code severely restricts any speech that could be construed to outrage religious beliefs. In this paragraph, two phrases should have come out and struck you like Pawarian slaps—-”against decency and morality” and “outrage religious beliefs”. Virtually anything and everything that vexes the authorities can be put into these two baskets—a non-flattering photoshop of a prominent political figure may definitely be claimed to be against decency or as an attack on figures held in Godly reverence.

But wait, wait. What’s wrong in these legal restrictions? What if people get offended by expressions of dissent or sarcasm or opposition and do something naughty? Like if I draw an offensive cartoon and some people get so angry that they catch hold of some other man on the street, put a tyre around him and set him on fire. Does the government not have a responsibility to pre-empt that violence?

Hmm.

The problem of course here is the basic assumption that adults can use a “He made me do it” argument to justify illegal acts. The girl showed cleavage and so I mauled her. His book offended me and so I trashed all stores selling it. The Devil spoke in my head and so I slaughtered the family in sleep.

In a mature democracy one would hope that people realize that 1) criminal acts are criminal acts and should be punished as such and that speech or artistic expressions should not be used as justifications for such acts, 2) criminals will do whatever they have done and can always find a rationale later on. Unless speech is that which concerns the operational plans for a criminal activity (e.g. planning a terrorist attack on the Net) or that which is plainly libelous (making a serious specific accusation against someone without evidence) it is not the expression that need to be the object of a severe yank, but those that supposedly are goaded to act unlawfully on its basis that need to be yanked up by their necks.

Something, (actually Google’s “255 number”) tells me that what has got Mr. Sibal’s blood pressure all high is none of the above.

Again the important thing here is not the famous lawyer, who to be honest, is one of the better politicians we have in this country. (Yes I know that’s not saying much).

What’s worthy of attention thing is the law that gives principals like Mr. Sibal the power to impose the insecurities of a privileged few on the nation.

Why does a law, so weak in protecting dissent, exist so many years after independence?

Here is where things get uncomfortable.

That is because we love what Sibal is doing. Yes. You heard me right.

Growing up in a culture where respect is everything, we want everyone to kneel down their heads. To our Gods.

The only thing we disagree, as a country on, is who our Gods are.

So those who are blowing salivary froth over the digital air-waves at Sibal’s attempts to stifle anti-Gandhi family vitriol, will be equally rabid, but on the opposite side, if the needle-head of irreverence are turned towards Modi-”ji”, Baba Ramdev or The Fast Gandhi-ian Who Loves Administering Lashings With Belts .

Those who say that Arundhati Roy should be legally prosecuted are as passionate in respecting Swamy’s right to say what he feels.

Genteel liberals who cry scented tears on the removal of books from syllabi have no compunction in ganging up to stifle the voice of someone who does not share their “Free Kashmir” political philosophy. And even those who claim to see “both sides” suddenly discover the joys of censorship when it comes to sex or violence in movies because “Hey my son’s morals need to be protected” and it is somehow the government’s duty to do so.

One may argue that this is basic human nature—we think that everyone is obliged to share our view of good and bad and if they don’t, a dry rag need be stuffed down their mouths. At the very least, if they dissent they should do it in ways we deem acceptable.

Which is why a mature democracy needs strong laws, like the US First Amendment, that covers not just the content but also the context in which speech is being made (which is why comic expressions are given an enormous leeway), so that the decision whether speech is licit or not is left, to the least amount possible, to human agency and to slippery subjective slopes like “hurtful to religious sentiment” and “immoral”.

And nothing expresses this better than the court ruling given in “Hustler vs Falwell” (link) which, I believe, explains perfectly why First Amendment-like laws are imperative in a democracy.

“At the heart of the First Amendment is the recognition of the fundamental importance of the free flow of ideas and opinions on matters of public interest and concern. The freedom to speak one’s mind is not only an aspect of individual liberty – and thus a good unto itself – but also is essential to the common quest for truth and the vitality of society as a whole. We have therefore been particularly vigilant to ensure that individual expressions of ideas remain free from governmentally imposed sanctions.” The First Amendment envisions that the sort of robust political debate that takes place in a democracy will occasionally yield speech critical of public figures who are “intimately involved in the resolution of important public questions or, by reason of their fame, shape events in areas of concern to society at large”.

But we will not have such strong laws.

Because no one in politics, from the white caps to the saffron gowns to the red bandannas to the green scarves, want it.

And to be honest, deep down inside, neither do we.

February 21, 2012

Democracy Hurts

Very often one gets to hear the comparisons between India and China, and also in the same breath the fact that despite a fabulous head start and better ingredients, India is getting its ass kicked all over the place by the damn Chinese. When people make these comparisons people tend to overlook a very obvious fact - democracy.

And the average Ramprakash would ask: "Mr. Rana, how in heavens does democracy work as a factor here?". The question is a deceptive one. Partly because it was asked by the average Ramprakash, but also because it is counter intuitive to most (reason explained later). Its not easy, but here is my best shot at it.

If you take up a large number of people, you can probably break down the population into relative bands of intelligence. The largest number would be of least intelligence and the smallest number would be the smartest lot. Remember your class at school? There were 3-4 people out of 40 in the fray for being the topper, the rest were average and below average. And then there are those who don't even make it to the school. A big number amongst these may have the potential, but they never get the education, and remain not very bright.

Thus it can be seen that the majority of the population is not very smart. And majority means the rule of the major opinion, not the smarter opinion. This, coupled with the shrewd politicians we have, bent upon making election winning policies, usually puts things in reverse gear.

China, on the other hand, lacks the kind of democracy that we have. Their leaders shrewdly make their way up the ranks and finally become the president, PM etc. The leaders have always worked at numerous councils and committees before they make it to the big league, and thus carry some sort problem solving expertise.

The citizens have very restricted rights to go on a strike, expression of free will, destruction of public property, peeing on the roads stealing taxes etc. The corruption is still there, but not at each and every micro level.

They also lack the NGOs which stall productivity in the name of pollution control, pushing up prices and hurting our global competencies. Also, morons are shot in China, in India they become parliamentarians.

Essentially its a trade off between the two situations. Would I rather have the freedom to make mistakes, or would I rather get boxed about by the government, which will also make sure I don't make seemingly stupid choices?

I'd rather do the former.

The Kashmir Problem

The Kashmir problem has been dogging us for a while now. What is more nagging is the issue of militancy. Heavens knows that the Pakistanis cannot get this land through war (else they would have done that already), and thus it is upto us to do the integration of the regions with the rest of the nation.

The problem is a tough one because the law accords a special status t the region. Also it is not permissible to a non-Kashmiri person to go there and buy some land. These 2 provisions have together created a state commercial machinery that is useless and also discourage investments from outside of the region. Such a beauty being laid to waste by some unscrupulous idiots.

The solution to the above problem is simple. Take away the special status without compromising the security needs, and then allow others to come in and purchase property. Given the potential to do farming, very soon the place would be swarming with the sardars and jats, who would take care of the local law and order themselves. At the higher levels, the reliances of the world would come in and put up shop. As soon as that happens, they would venture out to see what business can they profit through bribery and deceit, and thus would hire the 'naughty' people from the valley and give them other tasks, thus taking away talent from the recruiters across the border (who have no competition at the moment when it comes to hiring). Maybe if they feel their business is threatened, they will find a way to bribe Musharraf and bring peace to the place.

Where's that Nobel?

February 11, 2012

RTI INITIATIVE IN ODISHA BAGS NATIONAL E-GOVERNANCE AWARD

RTI INITIATIVE IN ODISHA BAGS NATIONAL E-GOVERNANCE AWARD 11/02/2012

ODISHA NEWS:


The State Government’s initiative on e-Governance has brought laurels for the state with the RTI Central Monitoring Mechanism implemented by Information and Public Relations Department, Govt. of Odisha securing the medal in 'Best Government Portal' category in the National Awards on e-Governance for 2011-12 instituted by the Union Government.

The RTI Central Monitoring Mechanism (RTI CMM) of the State Government has been declared the winner of silver award in the “Best Government Portal” category of National Award on e-Governance 2011-12. Sri Nikunja K. Sundaray, IAS Principal Secretary to Govt. of Information & Public Relations Department received the award from Governor of Odisha, His Excellency Muralidhar Chandrakant Bhandare along with Director and team members at the valedictory ceremony of two-day 15th National Conference on e-Governance at KIIT University, BBSR.


The selection for the award has gone through a 3-round of screening process including field visit and presentation before jury members at New Delhi. The award is given by the Union Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in association with Department of Information Technology, Government of India every year to recognize and promote excellence in implementation of e-governance initiatives.
Attending the valedictory function if 15th e-Governance conference at KIIT, his Excellency, GoO, Sri M. C Bhandare said, “e-governance would help in improving the quality of governance in the state”.


Notably, the State witnessed a series of changes in 2009 in view of implementation of Right to Information Act, 2005 when RTI Central Monitoring Mechanism (RTI-CMM) was launched. Since its implementation, the system has connected more than 4652 offices into this single network of RTI CMM. There has been a dedicated cell at the department for smooth operation and monitoring of the mechanism in the entire state. The system has been developed and being implemented by Content Service Provider (CSP) to RTI Portal, Luminous Infoways.

SIDDHARTHA SHANKAR MISHRA,
BUREAU CHIEF, THESE DAYS,
ODISHA

February 08, 2012

30 DIED AFTER CONSUMING SPURIOUS LIQUOR IN ODISHA

30 DIED AFTER CONSUMING SPURIOUS LIQUOR IN ODISHA 8/02/2012
ODISHA
NEWS:


Over 30 people killed in Odisha by consuming spurious liquor in Cuttack district and Khurda district. This tragic incidence happened in Monday evening in Barang-Mahidharpada area under the Cuttack district.


While 22 people died at the SCB Medical College Hospital in Cuttack, one succumbed at the Capital hospital in Bhubaneswar. So far eight persons have been arrested in this connection.

Deaths have taken place in several villages spread over Mahidharpada and Balianta areas of Cuttack and adjoining Khurda districts respectively. At least 50 people are now undergoing treatment at the S C B Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack.


The victims, mostly workers of a nearby brick kiln, complained of chest and eye pain after consuming liquor and all of them were taken to the hospital in critical condition. The victims and the critically affected persons had consumed the killer brew from the liquor shop owned by one Baidhar Bhoi. Baidhar ran the liquor shop at his own house at Tukuklipada under Kurang panchayat under Barang block. It was Baidhar who was first killed by the spurious liquor.


Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik orders judicial probe by retired HC judge into Mahidharapada liquor deaths. CM promises exemplary punishment for those involved in the tragedy.

SIDDHARTHA SHANKAR MISHRA,
BUREAU CHIEF, THESE DAYS,
ODISHA

ODISHA WILL BE HOSTING 15TH NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON E-GOVERNANCE

ODISHA WILL BE HOSTING 15TH NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON E-GOVERNANCE 8/02/2012
ODISHA NEWS:



Odisha Government is all set to host the two-day 15 thNational Conference on e-Governance which will commence from tomorrow in the KIIT University campus.

This is the second time that the Information Technology Department Odisha is hosting a national conference in e-governance.

The conference aims to explore how government departments can work cohesively to increase use of public information in all aspects of governance,” State Information Technology secretary P K Jena said in a press conference on Tuesday.

The Conference aims at providing platform for effective interaction of policy makers, practitioners and industry leaders to deliberate and identify priorities and recommend strategy for good governance through use of IT, Jena added.

Around 15,000 delegates are expected to participate in the conference.

Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Prime minister’s office, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension V Narayanasamy was also scheduled to address the gathering. Besides, department secretaries from 20 states and a number of IT majors are likely to participate in the event, having a theme “Towards Effective Electronic Service Delivery.”

The conference is jointly organized by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Greivances and Department of IT, Govt. of India with Department of IT Govt. Of Odisha.

SIDDHARTHA SHANKAR MISHRA,
BUREAU CHIEF, THESE DAYS,
ODISHA

February 06, 2012

ODISHA MIGHT DEPLOY UAV OR DRONE TO MONITOR OPERATIONS AGAINST NAXALS

ODISHA MIGHT DEPLOY UAV OR DRONE TO MONITOR OPERATIONS AGAINST NAXALS 6/02/2012
ODISHA NEWS:

Odisha Government likely to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drone to monitor operations against Naxal. Sources say Home Department of Odisha government asks Tata Advanced Systems to send proposal in this regard. Sources said the state Government likely to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles on commercial basis.

Earlier on November, 2011, Tata Advanced Systems officials presented the benefits of deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles. Recently Andhra Pradesh Government decides to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) against Naxal.

It should be noted that UAV was used on an experimental basis in Andhra Pradesh and neighboring Chhattisgarh and the results were positive enough for the drone to be introduced in anti-Maoist operations.

The UAV helps capture images even in dense forest areas and relays them in real-time to the base for security forces to be speedily mobilized.

SIDDHARTHA SHANKAR MISHRA,
BUREAU CHIEF, THESE DAYS,
ODISHA

A MINOR GIRL RAPED IN ODISHA

A MINOR GIRL RAPED IN ODISHA 6/02/2012
ODISHA NEWS:


A fifteen year old girl was allegedly raped by a 33 year old married man on Friday night in village Sungada under Badachana police station in Jajpur district.

According to Prasanta Majhi the police officer of the police station , Aisiuddin Khan of village Sunagada committed rape on the daughter of Afsar Ali Khan while the victim girl was defecating in the village ground on Friday night.


On Sunday the victim girl's father filed an FIR against the accused and alleged that his minor daughter was raped by Aisiuddin Khan . The victim girl was medically examined by the doctors in the government hospital at Jajpur on Sunday. Police rushed to the village and arrested the rapist. The rapist was booked under section-376 of Indian Penal Code.

SIDDHARTHA SHANKAR MISHRA,
BUREAU CHIEF, THESE DAYS,
ODISHA

February 03, 2012

CANDIDATES MET STATE ELECTION COMMISSION AGAINST IRRESPONSIBLE COPS

CANDIDATES MET STATE ELECTION COMMISSION AGAINST IRRESPONSIBLE COPS 3/02/2012
ODISHA NEWS:



Complains have been lodged once again before the State Election commissioner concerning the unbiased role played by the cops in the state. This shows a continuous distrust of people on state police which threatens the fair means of the upcoming Panchayat poll. Commissioner Ajit Tripathy has told that local Collectors and Superitendent of Police along with DG Police have been instructed to look into the matter.


In one incident Brajabandhu Pradha, Sarapanch Candidate of Podamari GP of Mahanga Block has filed an application against IIC, Mahanga PS. He sated before the commission that the concern IIC is a puppet in the hands of a particular Minister who belongs to the area. Police have also filed false case against him as his winning chances are visible. Being an independent candidate he urged before the commission to intervene into the issue and demanding strong action against Suryakanta Ray, IIC, Mahanga P.S.


Similar complain has also been lodged against the same IIC by Nirmal Rout, a PS member Candidate of Paikarapur GP. He has stated that IIC Ray he has coerced and harassed him for contesting against the candidate of his sponsorship. He has requested Commission to take care of some sensitive booths of his GP due to possibility of vote rigging.


In another incident a standing Sarapanch Damayanti Pradhan of Sonepur GP, Kandhamal has lodged complain against the in-charge of Daringibadi PS. As per her words the police had taken away her innocent husband in a false allegation of link with the Maoists. Police having connections with her opponent for the upcoming poll is harassing her and her family as well.

SIDDHARTHA SHANKAR MISHRA,
BUREAU CHIEF, THESE DAYS,
ODISHA

UNITED STATES INTERESTED TO INVEST IN THE PORT SECTOR OF ODISHA

UNITED STATES INTERESTED TO INVEST IN THE PORT SECTOR OF ODISHA 3/02/2012
ODISHA NEWS:



United States of America (USA) keen to invest in the port sector of India especially in the state of Odisha and West Bengal. To attract the attention of Indian investors , US Consulate General going to organize a two days conference in Kolkata. The Port and Marine conclave to start at Kolkata in February 17-18. Seven big companies of US attend that conference.


In a event organized by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) Odisha chapter principal commercial officer of the commercial services of US Richard Craig said that, “ US have many advance technology for different types of port. We are now interested to provide it to Indian investor for smooth running of their port.”

As part of strengthening bi-lateral relationship US seek to invest in the education sector of Odisha also. Mr. Craig said that, “ There is huge opportunity to increase co-operation between two state in the education sector.” Mining companies of US also ready to invest in Odisha.


In another event organized by the U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad in association with the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) organized a Study USA and Visa talk at Indian Institute of Technology Bhubaneswar on February 2, 2012.The talk was organized to help students understand the process for choosing a U.S. university and the procedures of applying for a visa.

“At the visa office, we look for a clear purpose from the student about wanting to study in the United States. Clarity in purpose is a strong indication of the student’s intentions to study in the U.S. Students also should do their own research and not go to consultants for guidance,” Elvin John, Vice Consul, U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad said.

“USIEF is committed to helping Indian students find accredited U.S. universities that are the best fit for their academic and professional needs. We welcome Indian students to obtain genuine and relevant advice from us through these fairs, which have gained tremendous popularity over the years,” said Renuka Raja Rao, Country Coordinator, Educational Advising Services, USIEF.

As per official data there has been an 18 per cent increase in the student visa applications to the U.S. across Mission India during the last fiscal years. For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2011 the number of student visa applications across Mission India were 46,982 as against 39,958 reported for the fiscal ended September 30, 2010.

Speaking on the occasion, Renuka Raja Rao said, “There are around 1,05,000 students from India currently pursuing various courses in United States. For the convenience of students the USIEF has a toll-free hotline (1800-103-1231) and students can call from Monday to Friday between 2 and 5 p.m. if they have any doubts regarding studying in the U.S.”

SIDDHARTHA SHANKAR MISHRA,
BUREAU CHIEF, THESE DAYS,
ODISHA

NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR WOMEN STARTED PROBING INTO THE MOST SENSATIONAL PIPLI GANG RAPE

NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR WOMEN STARTED PROBING INTO THE MOST SENSATIONAL PIPLI GANG RAPE 3/02/2012
ODISHA NEWS:



A three-member team of the National Commission for Women (NCW) headed by its member secretary Anita Agnihotri begins probe into Pipili gangrape case. On Thursday the delegation held talks with doctors, police and family members of the Pipili gang-rape victim.


The NCW team met the victim's family at SCB Medical College hospital here where the 19-year-old girl is undergoing treatment in coma stage. The team also met State DGP Manmohan Praharaj, Crime Branch ADG Abhay and other investigating officers at the police headquarters here. The team also met the doctors at the SCB and at Bhubaneswar where the victim had undergone treatment in two separate phases. The team is also scheduled to visit the girl's native village in Pipili under Puri district on Friday.


Speaking to media persons after visiting the hospital, Agnihotri expressed satisfaction over the management of treatment now being provided to the victim. "It was shocking to see the condition of the victim. But the quality of treatment now being provided here is the best available in the State," she said.


Sources also said that the investigating police officers also apprised the team about the progress made till now in the case after the Crime Branch took up investigation on January 10. Sources also pointed out that the NCW team would submit a report to the Commission which, in turn, would send its recommendations to the State Government within 10 days.


In Bhubaneswar, Agnihotri visited the Capital Hospital where the gang rape victim was first admitted for treatment and held detailed discussion on the kind of treatment provided and the condition of the victim during admission.

SIDDHARTHA SHANKAR MISHRA,
BUREAU CHIEF, THESE DAYS,
ODISHA

February 01, 2012

THE KEY WITTNESSES DENY ANY LINK WITH SUBHASHREE PANDA


THE KEY WITTNESSES DENY ANY LINK WITH SUBHASHREE PANDA 1/02/2012

ODISHA NEWS:

Cuttack Crime Branch DSP Rabindra Kumar Suar and OSAP 7th Battalion Assistant Commandant Manas Kumar Dash today deposed before the Gunupur Fast Track ADJ Court today as summoned by the court for examination in connection with a 2003 Gudari police station case against Subhashree Panda alias Seema.

During examination, the OSAP Commandant told the court that there was certainly an exchange of fire between the cops and Maoists present in the camp on the day, but I couldn't see anybody during the dark as it was only 4.00 to 4.30 am when the cops raided the ultras camp in Gudari forest area in 2003.

Though the court was summoned four police personnel's to appear in the court today, the second day of hearing the witnesses, only two were deposed.

Earlier on Monday, the Gunupur Fast Track Additional District & Session Judge B.P.C Pattnaik started hearing the witnesses in connection with a 2003 Gudari Police station case in Rayagada district against Subhashree Panda, the wife of top Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda.

Four of twelve witnesses to whom summons were issued deposed before the court on Monday. The ADJ started the hearing with recording the statement of independent witnesses, Krushna Chandra Kadukaka and Bali Tukuruka of Kuntinguda village under Gudari police, Constable Manoj Kumar Patra and OSAP 3rd Battalion Subedar Ajay Kumar Murmu today, told the defense lawyer Bramhananda Pattnaik to the media.

Both the independent witnesses were stated before the court during examination that they don't know who is Subhashree Panda, Pattnaik told. Describing the 2003 case a fabricated one, Subhashree's lawyer said the way in which two of three independent key witnesses on Monday denied the allegations, makes me believe that she would be acquitted in the case.

"We don't know who is Subhashree Panda, Milli Panda and Seema, her whereabouts and the case. Even, we have never seen her in our village". Said Krushna Chandra Kadukaka and Bali Tukuruka of Kuntinguda village while talking to the media persons outside the court.

It is important to mention here that six accused, Sandhya Sabar, Sabita Kumari Sabar, Nagesh Sabar, Dikisa Bekrebeda, Mathura Kimbaka and Lunchenka Beuska in the same 2003 Gudari police station case were acquitted in the year 2007 due to lack of evidence against them. The Gunupur police today produced Subhashree in court amid tight security as directed by the court yesterday, but the Additional Public Prosecutor M.K.Sahu prayed before the court today to grant more time to file the counter and accordingly the hearing was deferred to December 8, said Subhashree's lawyer D.Bramhananda Pattnaik to the media.

Of the total 18 witnesses summoned, only six including two independent key witnesses deposed for examination during the two day hearing, Pattanaik said. February 17th has been fixed for the next hearing of witnesses and fresh summons would be served to the absentees, he added.

SIDDHARTHA SHANKAR MISHRA,
BUREAU CHIEF, THESE DAYS,
ODISHA

ODISHA GOVERNMENT SUBMITS REPORTS ON HUMAN SAFARI TO THE CENTRE

ODISHA GOVERNMENT SUBMITS REPORTS ON HUMAN SAFARI TO THE CENTRE 1/02/2012
ODISHA NEWS:


The Odisha government on Tuesday submits report to Centre on human safari issue. This was informed by SC and ST development secretary Santosh Sarangi told reporters here.

He said that, "we have sent an interim report to the tribal affairs ministry which sought our views on media report which highlighted a specific tribal group". Besides informing the Centre about state tourism department's awareness campaign among the tour operators, Sarangi said that a full-fledged report will be submitted soon following field visit by a senior officer.
The state government had sent a senior woman IAS officer to Malkangiri district to study the present scenario in the field level.


The tourism department has, meanwhile, held meetings with tour operators and travel agencies asking them to delete any objectionable material from their websites and brochure. The tour operators have responded positively to our request, said tourism and culture secretary Ashok Kumar Tripathy.


Meanwhile, taking suo motu cognizance of media reports, the state police has registered a case against a tour operator for selling objectionable tourism products.

SIDDHARTHA SHANKAR MISHRA,
BUREAU CHIEF, THESE DAYS,
ODISHA

NATIONAL CHILDREN FILM FESTIVAL 2012 WILL BE HELD IN ODISHA IN APRIL


NATIONAL CHILDREN FILM FESTIVAL 2012 WILL BE HELD IN ODISHA IN APRIL 1/01/2012
ODISHA NEWS:

Children's Film Society India (CFSI) going to organize Bhubaneswar Childrens Film Festival by April end 2012. This was announced by Children Film Society chief Nandita Dash at Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. She said this after her meeting with chief secretary BK Patnaik at state secretariat.

Talking to reporters here after a meeting with Chief Secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik on Tuesday, CFSI chairperson Nandita Das said that it has been decided to constitute an organising committee for holding the festival.Das said the dates and festival venue would be finalised as per the decision of the organising committee, the first meeting of which is scheduled to be held on February 25.

She said over 250 entries for Bhubaneswar Childrens Film Festival by April end. "We want to hold the children film festival in Odisha during the summer vacation. The state government has assured us to provide all assistance for the festival," National Children Film Society chairperson Nandita Das told reporters here after meeting state Chief Secretary B K Patnaik. Besides in the state capital, there was a plan to organise the film festival in different district headquarters of the state so that rural children could enjoy films from across the globe, she said.

SIDDHARTHA SHANKAR MISHRA,
BUREAU CHIEF, THESE DAYS,
ODISHA