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29 people injured in LPG cylinder blast in Ludhiana's Giaspura

Ludhiana : A gas cylinder exploded in a labour colony in Giaspura area here on Thursday morning, injuring 29 persons, five of whom were stated to be critical.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Dharmpal and SDM (East) Amarjit Singh Bains told reporters that the cylinder explosion took place in a house belonging to a man identified as Ashok Kumar in Smart Colony.

The gas cylinder caught fire. As Ashok, his wife and some neighbours tried to put out the flames, the cylinder exploded causing injuries to those who had gathered around the spot.

A portion of the building also collapsed.

Sub-Divisional Magistrate Bains said the injured included Ashok, his wife and a few women and children.

He said the injured have been rushed to nearby hospitals.

Smart Colony is home to migrant labourers.

The name of the injured are Yaswant Singh, Shashi Singh, Gobind, Ramnaresh, Pooja Yadav,  Sunita, Ashok Yadav, Surinder, Raj, Kajal, Kamlesh, Bittu  Rajan, Uttam,  Amit, Rakesh Kumar,  Dharminder,  Anjun Devi,  Varinder,  Amarnath,  Shivam,  Mamta, Shiv Sharma, Aeganiya Yadav, Meena Devi, Parmod Parsad, Mahommad Ali, Pawan Kumar and Prince Kumar. 

Ahead of polls, Rahul Gandhi rejigs Madhya Pradesh Congress

New Delhi : Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday named senior leader Kamal Nath as the new chief of party’s Madhya Pradesh unit also appointing Jyotiraditya Scindia as the state campaign committee president.
Madhya Pradesh goes to polls at the end of this year and the organisational change was long due.

Gandhi has also named four working presidents for the state to look after four different zones and cover the state geographically. Gandhi has been appointing working presidents in larger states to ensure booth management, a weak spot for the Congress.

Kamal Nath’s appointment in MP means he will step down as AICC general secretary in charge of Haryana where a reshuffle would then become necessary.

In Madhya Pradesh, Nath, the seniormost Congress MP in Lok Sabha, is seen as the best bet to reinvigorate party cadres ahead of the crucial assembly election. The BJP has held power in MP for three terms consecutively and is again making a bid.
The Congress has long suffered infighting in the state with three poles of power--Nath, Scindia and former CM Digvijay Singh.

It’s only now that the Congress has managed to reconcile factional differences with Gandhi conveying to leaders that their wars would not help the Congress reclaim MP.
Nath had been interested in a Madhya Pradesh role for years and never quite got a handle in Haryana where the party organisation suffered because of the differences between state chief Ashok Tanwar and former CM Bhupinder Hooda.

All eyes are on Haryana where there are many claimants to the state chief’s post, including Hooda, Randeep Surjewala, Kumari Selja and Kuldeep Bishnoi.

My job is to ensure discipline, says Capt; Is he right?

Chandigarh : A day after counsel for the state police chief accused him of contempt by calling meeting of high ranking officials, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday remarked that it was his job to ensure discipline.

On Monday, the state DGP Siddharth Chattopadhyay counsel Anupam Gupta had told the High Court that the Chief Minister was in contempt of court for having called a disciplinary meeting of all high ranking officers with regards to the legal issue before the court.

Interacting with reporters after visiting the offices of the newly appointed minister, the Chief Minister remarked that anyone questioning the hierarchy was actually questioning the system.

He said he had not interfered in any way in the matter before the court, but, only given directions to his police officers in the interest of the state.

He said: “This is my instruction to the officers. My duty is to ensure discipline is maintained. Whether they go to high court or not is their business, but within service whether it’s like Para Military or Army there is a hierarchal system. You have to listen to the man at the top whosoever is head, is your boss, and that is how it should be. Anybody questioning that is breaking the system.’’

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40 stone crushers owe Rs 80 cr as fine; Is the mining mafia getting political protection?

Dharamsala : As many as 40 stone crushers in Kangra district owe Rs 80 crore to the state government as penalty for illegal mining.

Despite the fact that the stone crusher owners have lost the case in the Supreme Court, they have not paid the amount, nor submitted any schedule of repayment.
About 25 stone crushers are still being allowed to operate by the authorities.
Sources in the Mining Department said in the state, the stone crusher owners owe penalty worth Rs 150 crore.

In Kangra district, most of the erring stone crushers are in Nurpur area that borders Pathankot of Punjab.

Mining officer posted in Nurpur Naresh Kumar said notices had been issued to the erring stone crushers to deposit penalty. If they do not deposit the amount, their power connections are likely to be cut.

Sources here said most of the violating stone crushers are directly or indirectly owned by politically influential people or their families.

Recently, a stone crusher located in the Mand area on the Punjab-Himachal border was in news after an activist Puran Chand was beaten up by the owners of a stone crusher. It was only after the intervention of the CM that a case was registered against the owners. However, now the stone crusher has been bought by the family of a first-time MLA, who has deep interests in mining, and a few others affiliated with the ruling party.

The fact that politically influential people own stone crushers was also raised in the Assembly. BJP MLA from Nurpur Rakesh Pathania had raised it after he was targeted by some party MLAs over illegal mining.

Puran Chand, while talking, alleged that stone crushers were still illegally mining in the Beas riverbed. Despite the fact that pokelane machines were banned in riverbeds, illegal mining was still taking place and riverbed had been dug by 20 to 30 feet at places, he alleged.

The mining officer, Nurpur, said since the present BJP government took over, power connections of 25 stone crushers that were operating illegal were cut. The power connections of seven crushers had now been restored after they completed the papers.

The locals, however, alleged that the stone crushers whose power connections had been severed were still operating with the help of generators. Such stone crushers were working on a daily basis and distributing profits from illegal mining among the partners.

The department that is responsible for checking illegal mining is grossly ill-equipped. The Nurpur mining office from where the maximum cases of illegal mining are reported, has staff of just two members – a mining officer and a mining inspector. Both officials do not have any official vehicle to go in the field and are dependent on the police for action against violators.

The state government rules notified this month on April 6 have increased the penalty for illegal mining to Rs 5 lakh and the use of JCB from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000. However, till date no one has been penalised under the new rules.

Illegal mining

  • Many stone crushers still being allowed to operate
  • Issue raised in Assembly
  • Most of the violating stone crushers are directly or indirectly owned by politically influential people
  • A stone crusher located in Mand area on the Punjab-Himachal border was in news after an activist was beaten up by the owners of stone crusher

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Apna Ghar was built like jail: Ex-cop; Will the accused of Apna Ghar case be punished severely?

Kurukshetra : On the eve of the pronouncement of punishment to nine convicts in the infamous Apna Ghar case, police officers recall traumatic tales of about 100 inmates at Rohtak’s shelter home.

They said the guilty should get exemplary punishment.

MS Mann, who retired as the DGP (Home Guards), told  “During my visit to Apna Ghar in 2012, I found differently abled girls and women living in pathetic conditions. The shelter home was built like a jail, where the goings-on could not be known to the outside world,” said Mann, who headed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the police before the case was handed over to the CBI.

Mann said the SIT was constituted after the state authorities were not convinced with the investigation by then police officials of Rohtak district.

In May 2012, three inmates had escaped from Apna Ghar and reached New Delhi. As they shared details of sexual exploitation of inmates at the hands of shelter home caretaker Jaswanti Devi and others, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) raided the premises in Rohtak’s Shri Nagar locality. About 120 inmates were rescued.

“SIT member Dharna Yadav, then a newly recruited DSP, played the most important role in building confidence among abused children and women. It was only due to her and her subordinates — Laxmi, Satya and Vidyawati — the victims opened up to share their tales of sexual and mental abuse,” Mann said.

He added Yadav used to play with minors and differently abled victims to gain their confidence in building the case.

Yadav, currently posted as Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in Gurugram, said the threat of Jaswanti Devi was visible on the faces of the inmates.
“It was shocking to listen to the endless tales of brutality. Inmates were subjected to exploitation at a place where they were supposed to get protection,” she said.
“It was my first major professional assignment. As an inexperienced cop, I found it tough to accept such a brutal face of society. After the expose, the victims got overwhelming support from the child helpline, the police, the media and volunteers. But the major relief came from the judiciary. The guilty should get exemplary punishment,” she said.

Yadav recalled several of the victims were psychologically challenged and they were unable to narrate their ordeal. “We had to rope in sign language exerts and special educators to understand them,” she added.

QUOTES

During my visit to Apna Ghar in 2012, I found differently abled girls and women living in pathetic conditions. The shelter home was built like a jail, where the goings-on could not be known to the outside world

MS Mann

Former DGP (Home Guards)

Several of the victims were psychologically challenged and they were unable to narrate their ordeal. We had to rope in sign language exerts and special educators to understand them
Dharna Yadav
ACP, Gurugram

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