Constables follow orders of their seniors. But, besides doing what they are told to do, constables in the Assam Police have begun giving ideas to top officers for better policing.They have, in the process, drawn the attention of the officers to niggles in the department and what needs to be done to boost the morale of men and women at the bottom of the ranks.An “ideas exchange” interaction between the officers and the constabulary was organised on Friday at the 4th Assam Police Battalion in Guwahati. It was a first-of-its-kind initiative where the officers listened to the constables, speaking only to tell them what could be done with their ideas. “This interaction, followed by a community feast, was for letting the constables share their experience since they know the ground realities better and deal with people more than the officers. The idea was to try to incorporate new ideas towards better, people-friendly policing,” Kuladhar Saikia, Assam’s Director-General of Police told The Hindu on Saturday.The officers of the Inspector-General of Police rank and above, noted suggestions such as turning up at social or religious functions to congratulate or wish the people, and attending the funeral of a villager. The constables also suggested putting the “right man in the right place”. Khargeswar Deka, a constable from western Assam’s Dhubri said the force had post-graduates working as drivers and reporting to police station officers who were academically inferior. “We can make better use of qualifications and certain skills of our colleagues with a bit of honing,” he said. Badrul Haque Laskar from southern Assam’s Hailakandi said the constables get deflated by the lack of promotions. “The department has not conducted exams for constables to become assistant sub-inspectors since 2004,” he said. “We are working on skill development. Eight of our 29 Battalions have been chosen for developing classrooms with computers where all police personnel will be given a refresher course including on public relations every three years,” said A.K. Sinha Casshyap, Special DGP (Training and Armed Police). But some constables underlined the deficiencies of the battalions. Hemanta Narzary from north-eastern Assam’s Likabali said the battalions should have a school for children of the department’s staff. “Each battalion has more than a thousand families and a school would keep us off certain worries while on duty,” he said.“We hope to interact more with the backbone of our 80,000-strong force. Their points have been well taken,” Mr. Saikia said.
The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board has sought an explanation from the Dehu Gram Panchayat for the thousands of dead fish found floating on the Indrayani River last week. “We have sent a notice to the Dehu Gram Panchayat on Wednesday, directing them to submit their response about the dead fish incident within the next 48 hours,” said Dilip Khedkar, regional officer, MPCB.Mr. Khedkar further said that the MPCB would take action if the villagers failed to furnish an explanation for the incident in which around 4,000 fish, a majority of them being the Mahseer, were found dead.“The cause of this unfortunate incident was the release of untreated sewage, which resulted in the depletion of the oxygen levels in the river. We believe 2-2.5 million litres of untreated sewage were been released into the river per day by the village,” he said.The fish were spotted floating on the Indrayani River in Dehu, 30km from the city on Sunday last week, sparking panic among residents in the area.The dead fish included the mrigal carp or white carp fish, rated as ‘vulnerable’ as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), and a large number of Mahseer fish, which holds significant spiritual value among the local people.“We have sent the collected water and fish samples for analysis and expect the results in a few days,” said Mr. Upendra Kulkarni, sub- regional officer, MPCB.According to Dr. Sachin Punekar, founder president of the environmental NGO Biospheres, the sub-standard rate of dissolved oxygen and eutrophication were likely to have caused the death of the fish.“The continuous inflow of untreated sewage from the Dehu village has resulted in depletion of dissolved oxygen. Foul play by individuals cannot be overlooked as well,” he opined.According to the MPCB officials, a sewage treatment plant (STP) with the capacity of 3 MLD (million litres per day) is expected to be constructed by the end of June.The construction of this STP will help treat the sewage and can also be used for irrigation and agricultural needs, said authorities. According to Dr. Punekar, the MPCB must take immediate action as the deteriorating quality of the river water could prove to be fatal during the upcoming ‘wari’(the annual pilgrimage to the shrine of Lord Vithoba in Pandharpur made by ‘warkaris’ carrying palanquins bearing footprints of the two saints).Meanwhile, the Zilla Parishad has banned the usage of water from the Indrayani.The Mahseer fish, known as the dev matha by the villagers, is said to travel along with the ‘Wari’ all the way until Pandharpur.This is not the first time that the toxic river has claimed animal or marine lives. Last month, 19 sheep allegedly died in Chikhli after drinking the waters of the Indrayani.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is examining cases of alleged land grab against Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur district to determine whether money laundering investigations can be initiated in the matter.“We are looking into details to decide if a probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act can be conducted,” said a senior ED official, on condition of anonymity. “The agency is empowered to take up all the FIRs registered under scheduled offences as listed in the Act,” the official added. The U.P. police have registered more than a dozen cases allegedly involving the then circle official and Mr. Khan, following complaints lodged by 26 villagers. His name is also on the State’s anti-land mafia website launched in June, 2017, to help identify and initiate action against land grabbers. The State government has set up a nine-member Special Investigation Team to probe the charges. The complainants have also met Governor Ram Naik seeking action against the alleged land grabbers. Part of the land in question was acquired to establish a university, of which Mr. Khan is the Chancellor. Refuting the allegations of land grabbing, the SP MP has claimed that he is being targeted because he defeated the BJP candidate in the Lok Sabha elections. The Samajwadi Party, which has constituted a 21-member internal committee to look into the issue, has alleged that Mr. Khan is being harassed and that false cases have been registered against him.
The Gujarat government on August 9 opened 26 of the 30 gates at the Sardar Sarovar Narmada dam for the first time after they were installed in 2017 to maintain the water level of 131.18 m allowed by the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) in the reservoir.The total height of the dam is 139 m but the NCA has allowed Gujarat to fill the dam at 131.18 m.The gates were opened after a huge inflow of water from Madhya Pradesh owing to extremely heavy rainfall in the Narmada catchment areas in the State.Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, his deputy Nitin Patel and top officials, including Chief Secretary J.N. Singh, K. Kailashbathan and Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam MD Rajiv Kumar Gupta, visited the dam site after the gates were opened by the authorities.“With heavy inflows in #SardarSarovarDam, we started River Bed Power House (1200 MW) after a gap of two years!” Dr. Gupta tweeted on Thursday.Meanwhile, with the release of water from the dam, the administration has alerted three districts downstream — Narmada, Bharuch and Vadodara — about potential flooding in low-lying villages there.The government has also closed several bridges for traffic movement as the Narmada is flowing at danger level.Gujarat continues to receive medium to heavy rainfall as part of south western monsoon in the country. On Thursday, parts of Central Gujarat received extremely heavy downpour, leading to floods in Chhota Udepur district, as all major rivers are overflowing in the region.According to a State government release, 168 talukas received rain in the last 24 hours and as a result, 14 dams and reservoirs had overflowed, while the total monsoon rainfall in the State stood at 66.41% in the current season.To deal with floods, the State has deployed 18 teams of NDRF and 11 teams of SDRF at different locations.
Around 36% of over 100 tribal children examined at a health camp in Jawhar area of Maharashtra’s Palghar district have been found to be severely malnourished, an official said on Tuesday. According to Vivek Pandit, the former MLA who heads a State committee on tribal welfare, said a total of 124 children were examined at the health camp conducted on Monday in the tribal-dominated Jawhar taluka.“Of these 124 children, 45 were diagnosed with severe malnourishment,” he told reporters here.“These children are undergoing treatment at a rehabilitation centre set up in the area,” he said, adding that pregnant women and lactating mothers from Jawhar and Mokhada talukas would also be provided assistance at the facility.Mr. Pandit also said that around 26 tribal women from the area have been enrolled for a free nursing course at the rehabilitation centre. This will help them in getting jobs at hospitals and other health care facilities, he added.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has proposed to collaborate with the Odisha government for increasing the resilience of urban population vulnerable to disasters in five towns in the wake of the massive devastation wrought by cyclone ‘Fani’ in May last.The UNDP intends to achieve enhanced risk sensitive planning facilitated through disaster risk assessments, besides facilitating better preparedness plans and capacity-building of local government and communities.After ‘Fani’ hit Odisha on May 3 killing 64 people and affecting about 16.5 million people in and over 18388 villages in 14 of the 30 districts, the UNDP has been closely working with the State government to support its recovery efforts.The five towns where the UNDP is likely to participate in planning are Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Berhampur and Paradip.According to the UNDP, due to its geographic location and socio-economic condition, Odisha is highly prone to disasters. Its location on the east coast of India makes it one of the six most cyclone-prone areas in the world and highly vulnerable in terms of cyclone landfall.Cyclones thate have hit the State in the last two decades are the 1999 super cyclone, Phailin 2013, Hudhud 2014 , Titli 2018 and Fani 2019. This year, three out of the five municipal corporations – Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Berhampur – had faced the wrath of ‘Fani’. Moreover, Odisha is one of the most flood-prone States, having a flood-prone area of 3.34 million hectares. Out of a total geographical area of 15,571 lakh hectares, 1.40 lakh hectares are prone to floods.The UNDP has proposed to conduct safety audit of some critical public facilities, especially schools and hospitals, involve itself in sectoral plans for key sectors such as water, infrastructure, environment, housing and sewage treatment and preparation of Hazard Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (HRVA) at city level through an interactive and participatory process.Since communities are the primary responders during disasters, approximately 250 volunteers in the five towns will be trained on survival techniques like search and rescue, first-aid and crowd management. As many as 100 engineers, architects, construction artisans and contractors will be skilled to respond to disasters and support mitigation activities.
Days after the Supreme Court allowed the construction of a temple on the site where the Babri Masjid once stood, Ayodhya has managed to stay calm. Quietly the Saryu flows alongside. But the crowds keep coming, under the watchful gaze of 4,000 paramilitary personnel and U.P. police who have been carefully deployed in the State. On platform No. 1, devotees are pouring out of a train. They have come for a glimpse of the site that they believe is the birthplace of Ram. To reach the site, you have to take a battery-powered e-rickshaw for the last mile. This ensures that no heavy vehicles venture too close, unless they have special passes issued by the local administration. It prevents large congregations gathering here. Barely a kilometre away, at Karsevakpuram, stands a model of the future temple. Behind this is the Nyas workshop where over two lakh bricks (shila) inscribed with the words ‘Shri Ram’ in various languages have been collected over three decades. People throng to take photographs. To beautify the Saryu riverside, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has some tall plans, such as creating an island with a 151 metre high Ram statue that will be placed on a 50 metre high pedestal under a 20 metre wide umbrella. There will also be an amphitheatre and several ghats.The floors of the famous Valmiki Ramayan Bhawan are stacked with bundles of notebooks that have ‘Ram’ written in them in various languages. There is an air of quiet anticipation. “I am extremely happy,” says Rukmani, a schoolteacher. “This will bring development to the temple town.” (Text and images by V.V. Krishnan)