The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted searches at 40 locations in Uttar Pradesh and one each in Rajasthan and West Bengal in connection with the Rs 1,513-crore Gomti Riverfront Park “scam”—a flagship project of the previous Samajwadi Party government.
The searches started on Sunday night and were underway at some locations till late on Monday. The crackdown came after the CBI filed a fresh FIR in the case on July 2 naming 16 public servants and 173 firms and private entities as accused.
The development months ahead of the 2022 UP Assembly elections, where the Samajwadi Party, under Akhilesh Yadav, the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party, and the Congress, among others, will try to wrest the state from the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Sources in the CBI said the FIR was lodged following revelations that surfaced while probing the original FIR in the scam lodged in 2017 in which only eight engineers were named as accused.
The searches were carried out in Lucknow, Ghaziabad, Gautam Budh Nagar, Meerut, Bulandshahr, Aligarh, Gorakhpur, Agra, Etah and Moradabad. The CBI teams also searched a property each in Alwar district of Rajasthan and Kolkata.
The premises searched included properties of two chief engineers, four superintending engineers, an executive engineer, assistant engineers who were posted with the irrigation department between 2015 and 2017 and had been associated with execution of the project. Premises of private entities associated with the scam were also searched.
The July 2 FIR, on the basis of which searches were conducted, relates to the work related to the Gomti Riverfront Park that was executed between 2015 to March 2017 amounting to Rs 407 crore. It included repairing and painting of bridge, removal of sludge, construction of amphitheatre, installation of swings for children, landscaping and horticulture work from Nishatganj Bridge to Baikunth Dham, audio system, food plaza on Gomti Setu, Rubber Track and Jogging Track.
“Probe revealed that Notice Inviting Tenders for these jobs were not published in national newspapers as required and fake letters were allegedly sent to the information department instead,” the CBI stated in the FIR. The FIR cited investigations to state that tenders were awarded to the firms only on papers, while the proprietors of these firms have denied signing or submitting any document related to the project. It has also been revealed that committees constituted to allocate work related to the project floated fake tenders and awarded contracts to shell firms registered in the names of their relatives or family members.
The FIR also mentions a French firm, Aquatic Show, which was given a contract fraudulently. “Without due permission of the government, the accused engineers misused their official position and gave contract to the French firm on quotation basis, though the accused engineers, in the official records, had shown that tenders were floated which could not be corroborated,” the FIR stated.
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Bring mindfulness to the workplace
High-quality connections are shown to improve individual functioning, and positively affect group outcomes, such as psychological safety and trust.
The real payoffs emerge when an individual’s mindfulness is translated into mindful interactions and relationships, says a new study. Such interactions infused with intentionality, compassion and presence can bring about more harmonious and healthy organizations.
“An understanding of how individuals bring mindfulness with them to work, and how these practices may contribute to interaction and relationship quality, is especially relevant as work landscapes are ever-changing and interdependence is increasingly becoming the norm,” said Christopher S. Reina, PhD, an associate professor of management and entrepreneurship in the VCU School of Business.
In the study “Your Presence is Requested: Mindfulness Infusion in Workplace Interactions and Relationships,” which was published in Organization Science, Reina and management professors Glen E. Kreiner, PhD, of the University of Utah; Alexandra Rheinhardt, PhD, of the University of Connecticut; and Christine
A. Mihelcic of the University of Richmond explores how individuals bring mindfulness to work and how it infuses their workplace interactions. These practices may be formal, such as engaging in a mindful pause before beginning a meeting, or informal, such as listening to someone with a high level of attention.
The qualitative study draws on the experiences of actual leaders to explain how they bring mindfulness into the workplace. Primary data sources included interviews and on-site participant observation. The researchers conducted 30 formal interviews with managers, professionals and consultants who practice mindfulness in the workplace and more than 50 informal interviews with a wide variety of individuals who apply mindfulness principles at work.
“Interestingly, interviewees noted how other individuals around them had noticed the emotional effects of their mindful behaviours on interactions and relationships,” Reina said. “We found initial evidence that our interviewees› efforts toward bringing their mindfulness into the workplace were seen by their colleagues as having a positive effect.”
In addition to mindfulness arising within an interaction, the study also found that mindfulness practices could be used to set individuals up for success in future interactions, such as when preparing for a difficult or important conversation.
“Mindfulness reminds us that our thoughts and emotions are complex,” Reina said. “They are contextualized by prior events experienced within a social environment, and within this social environment, individuals must be aware of both their own and others› thoughts and emotions in order to navigate these complexities with skill and compassion.”
THE TURNING POINT IN THE CHEESE STORY
Most Indians have unquestioningly accepted that cheese, much like many other goodies, was brought to India by the Portuguese or Dutch as Hindus considered curdling milk as inauspicious.
Long ago, before the dawn of the selfie age, cameramen used to instruct the group being photographed to say ‘cheese’ to make the subject’s lips break into a forced happy smile. That was the closest contact that many Indians made with edible cheese. Even those who were anglicized and liked their sandwiches with slices of cheese were restricted to processed cheddar that came in small round tins. This was the stuff that was grated and spread over macaroni and baked vegetables (to melt in the oven).
However, there always has been a minuscule minority of cheese snobs who talked of other cheeses, more expensive and exotic. French blue cheese like gorgonzola (that had blue veins), Roquefort, Gruyere and harder cheeses like edam, gouda, parmesan, and the rest. They remembered nostalgically when they could enjoy to their heart’s content, different varieties of cheese, with crackers at breakfast or opt for the non-sweet dessert course of a cheese platter post-dinner.
It was not only the French cheeses but the Swiss cheeses with holes that had made themselves familiar to the audience of comic-reading kids. Wedges of Swiss cheese were encountered more often on the TV screens where Jerry the mouse would be seen scheming to steal cheese from the mouse trap set by his arch-nemesis Tom on the dining table. Of course, in classier fine dining restaurants, the ‘continental’ chefs took delight in showing off their skills with tabletop fondue cooking. Feta cheese made with a strictly prescribed mixture of ewe and goat milk is increasingly popular with health-conscious salad eaters. Non-dairy cheeses prepared with oil seeds have been created for the increasing tribe of vegans.
For the majority of Indians, cheese has meant paneer (aka cottage cheese often confused with cream cheese). It is only in recent years that Indians have also tasted cheesecakes and other varieties of cheese traditionally made in India in Himachal Pradesh or among the Parsi communities like (Kalari and ‘Topi wala’ cheese). Chenapod is a traditional baked cheesecake in Odisha that has for centuries been offered to Lord Jagannath at Puri.
It is very difficult to concede the claim that cheeses were unknown to Indians before the advent of Europeans. How on Earth can anyone explain a Bhutanese dish like Ema Datshi (molten cheese and chilis) hidden in the hard-to-reach heart of the Himalayas was terra incognita till the 1960s.
It remained forbidden to ordinary travellers and traders for decades after that. Obviously, the cheese made with Yak milk and highly pungent local chilis owes nothing to the much-hyped Columbian exchange. Another cheese that has traditionally been prepared and relished from Yak milk all the way from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh is called Churpi. It is a hard toffee-like substance that keeps the mouth moist and the jaws working. Even if one keeps Chenna out of this controversy other Indian cheeses like kalari from Himachal Pradesh can legitimately claim to be a child of this soil as perhaps can the Kashmiri Chaman. Other Indian cheeses like Bandel and Topi Wala Cheese are certainly adaptations and improvisations of the French or the Dutch Cheese theme.
Cheese is widely used in Mediterranean, Central Asian and Turkish cuisine. Milk was curdled in leather bags and the cheese so obtained was pressed to drain off moisture, matured, smoked and flavoured.
A turning point in the cheese story came in India when western fast food entered India and proliferated in all corners of the subcontinent with great speed. Mcdonalds’ was the first chain to insist on quality standards for the cheese supplied to them. They were large enough a buyer for the cheese makers in India to clean up their act and strive to become the chief vendor.
The same happened when Pizzas — Pizza Hut, Pizza King and Dominos — lured the younger generation of Indians with seductive extra-cheesy toppings and cheese-filled crusts around the rim. Mozzarella came on its own and Amul the legendary milk cooperative started producing it. Likewise when Italian pastas of different sizes shapes and flavours were included in the menus of speciality restaurants drizzling of hard Parmesan became another acquired taste.
In recent years, with growing affluence among the urban elite cheeses like wines, have become aspirational. They are symbols of an exclusive exotic delight to the masses – privileges of like, special status symbols. Many Indians, past middle age suddenly are drawn towards golf and cigars. A platter of cheese to be paired with wines or a cheese platter as an option for dessert is a clearly discernible emerging trend.
It is on this cheese platter that one finds the more expensive and the more exotic sharp smelling and sharp-tasting French blue cheeses. However, few Indians have the stomach to try the maggot-infested Casu martzu or the crawling cheese from the Italian island of Sardinia. Because the larvae in the cheese can launch themselves up up to 6 inches when disturbed, diners have to hold their hands above the cheese to prevent the maggots from leaping away!
The turn of the century witnessed the advent of the artisanal cheese makers, mostly in hill stations or in areas where Europeans have settled for generations like Kalimpong, Pondicherry, Ooty and Bhimtal. Some like Mansoor Khan, director of Bollywood hits like Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak took a break to pursue their passion. Khan moved to Coonoor in 2003, to start making Gouda, Colby, and other cheeses. In Pune, ABC Farms’ has been producing versions of Gorgonzola, Cheddar and mozzarella for over three decades now. They supply tonnes of cheese a month, to leading five-star hotels in Mumbai and Pune.
The Indian Cheese story continues to be written.
Pushpesh Pant is an Indian academic, food critic and historian.
Om Prakash Chautala moves Delhi HC challenging sentencing by trial court
Former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala has moved to the Delhi High Court challenging the order of a trial court which sent him to four years of imprisonment in a disproportionate assets (DA) case.
Advocate Harsh Sharma on Tuesday confirmed that the appeal has been moved to the High Court challenging a trial court order of conviction and order of sentence against Chautala. On 27 May, the Rouse Avenue Court of Delhi ordered four years of imprisonment to Chautala. The Court had also ordered to confiscate four properties of him and also imposed a fine of Rs 50 lakh.
While passing the order, CBI Judge Vikas Dhull had also ordered to send Chautala in the custody of Tihar Jail.
During the argument, Chautala physically appeared and remained present in the courtroom. Appearing for Chautala, Advocate Harsh Sharma cited medical grounds for less punishment and submitted that “I, (OP Chautala), have been infected with polio since birth and I am partially disabled.”
CBI’s Special Public Prosecutor Ajay Gupta had opposed the submissions of Chautala’s lawyer for a grant of concession on the grounds of ill-health and age.
CBI had urged the court that “maximum punishment shall be given as it would send a message to the society.” “The person, in this case, is a public figure and giving minimum punishment would send a wrong message. He is not having clean antecedents. It is the second case, in which he has been convicted,” CBI said.
Special Judge (PC Act) Vikas Dhull on 21 May, convicted Chautala and said the accused had failed to satisfactorily account for such dis-proportionality by proving his source of income or means by way of which, he acquired assets during this period.
“Hence, accused Om Prakash Chautala is convicted for the offence under Section 13(1)(e) read with 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Put up 26 May 2022 at 10.00 AM for arguments on the point of sentence,” said the court.
According to the CBI’s FIR, accused Chautala, while functioning as Chief Minister of Haryana during the period from 24 July 1999, to 5 March 2005, in collusion with his family members and others, accumulated assets, immovable and movable, disproportionate to his known lawful sources of income, in his name, in the names of his family members and others to the extent of Rs 1,467 crores.
The FIR further stated that the accused accumulated enormous wealth and invested the same throughout the country in the shape of thousands of acres of land, multi complexes, palatial residential houses, hotels, farmhouses, business agencies, petrol pumps and other investments apart from investments in foreign countries.
The FIR also stated that 43 immovable properties in all, apart from cash and jewellery were accumulated. Apart from 43 alleged properties listed in the FIR, additional properties were also suspected to be of the accused family.
An investigation with regard to additional properties was also conducted for ascertaining the link of the accused family with the said properties.
NEWLY INDUCTED PUNJAB MINISTERS: JOURAMAJRA GETS HEALTH, MAAN GETS TOURISM
Chetan Singh Jauramajra is the new Health Minister of Punjab after sacking Dr Vijay Singla out of cabinet due to the graft charges against him. All ministers got portfolios in Punjab Tuesday. The portfolios of some old ministers have also been changed. The total number of ministers including the Chief Minister, in the Punjab government, has now increased to 15. The new ministers include Aman Arora, who was elected MLA for the second time in Sunam, Dr Indervir Singh Nijjar, MLA from Amritsar South, MLA from Gurharsahai, Fauja Singh Sarri, MLA from Samana, Chetan Singh Jauramajra, and woman MLA from Kharad, Anmol Gagan Mann are included. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has congratulated all the new ministers who have joined the Punjab cabinet.
The AAP has reposed more confidence in the MLAs who won the elections for the first time. After Finance Minister Harpal Cheema and Education Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer, Aman Arora is the only minister who has won the election twice in a row. Whereas apart from CM Bhagwant Mann, 11 ministers have become MLAs for the first time.
WHO GOT WHICH DEPARTMENT
• Harpal Singh: Finance Planning, Program Implementation, Excise and Taxation
• Dr Baljit Kaur: Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities, Social Security, Women and Child Development
• Harbhajan Singh: Public Works, Power
• Lal Chand: Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Forests, Wildlife
• Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer: Governance Reforms, Printing and Stationery, Science Technology and Environment, Sports and Youth Services, Higher Education
• Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal: Rural Development, NRI Affairs, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare
• Laljit Bhullar: Transport, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairy Development
• Bram Shankar: Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management, Water Supply and Sanitation
• Harjot Singh Bains: Water Resources, Mines and Geology, Prisons, School
• Aman Arora: Department of Information and Public Relations, New and Renewable Energy Resources, Housing and Urban Development
• Dr Indervir Singh Nijjar: Local Bodies, Parliamentary Affairs, Conservation of Land and Water, Administrative Reforms
• Fauza Singh: Freedom Fighter, Defense Services Welfare, Food Processing, Horticulture
• Chetan Singh Jauramajra: Health and Family Welfare, Medical Education and Research, Elections
• Anmol Gagan Maan: Tourism and Culture Work, Investment Promotion, Labor
MANY ATTEMPTS MADE TO KILL MY SON: SIDHU MOOSEWALA’S FATHER
Sidhu Moosewala’s father Balkaur Singh revealed that 60 to 80 people were after his son’s life. Also, the government withdrew his security and publicised it.
Several attempts were made to attack Sidhu Moosewala during the Punjab assembly elections in April and the Aam Aadmi Party-led state “government too left no stone unturned” to curtail his security and “publicised” the withdrawal of his security, said Balkaur Singh, father of the Punjabi singer-politician.
“60 to 80 people were after him (Sidhu Moosewala) to kill him. Efforts were made at least eight more times during the elections to kill him. The government too left no stone unturned, withdrew his security and publicised it,” Balkaur Singh said on Monday. Moosewala, the 28-year-old singer, was gunned down near his village in Mansa on 29 May, a day after his security was scaled down by the newly formed Bhagwant Mann government.
“Gangsters are running a parallel government (in Punjab). Young men are dying. Vicky Middukhera’s revenge was taken, tomorrow someone will do it for Sidhu. But it is our houses being destroyed,” Singh said while speaking at the inauguration ceremony of a road in Mansa district’s Burj Dalwa village.
The murder of Moosewala saw several arrests. Gangster Lawrence Bishnoi, the mastermind in the case, is under police remand till 6 July. A special cell of the Delhi Police recently apprehended two most wanted criminals of the Lawrence Bishnoi-Goldy Brar Gang.
ADANI UNIVERSITY HOSTS GLOBAL EDUCATION FORUM
Adani University hosts Global Education Forum Focused on Educational Transformation and Global Sustainability in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. This was organised ahead of the academic year 2022-23 by the Global Education Forum – a platform to share ideas and initiatives.
It was themed on Educational Transformation and Global Sustainability. The forum brought together renowned national and international academicians and industry experts from diverse fields to deliberate on Education for Transformation and Transformation for Sustainability.
The forum was inaugurated by Dr Priti G. Adani, President, Adani University, with distinguished plenary speaker Padma Vibhushan, Dr. Anil Kakodkar, Dr Victoria GalanMuros, Chief Research and Analysis, UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in America and the Caribbean, Dr Arun Sharma (Vice-Chancellor, Adani University) and Prof. Dr M. Muruganant (Provost, Adani University) in the presence of other eminent speakers and panellists, people from academia, industry, and students.
In his opening remarks Padma Vibhushan, Dr Anil Kakodkar said, “The development of new technology depends upon new knowledge created. So, research & development is the main engine in the knowledge era. Knowledge in action, a knowledge that delivers.” He added, “When we think about the sustainable goal, it is the university who shall play an important role in the strengthening human values to eliminate exploitation which has to go concurrent with technological empowerment. We should try to provide quality higher education accessible to all and is key to eliminating disparity.”
During her presidential address, Dr Priti G. Adani (President, Adani University) said, “For India to become a manufacturing hub at the intersection of global supply chains — very much in line with Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make for the World’ – the most important requirement will be the ability to educate and scale up its human capital to a new breed of professionals. Professionals who are resilient, entrepreneurial, and ready to thrive in a volatile and uncertain world. We strongly believe that the most important task of nation building is the development of human capital, and the establishment of Adani University provides us with a unique opportunity to do so.”
As a part of the forum wo separate panel discussions were organised, Education for Transformation and Transformation for Sustainability, where eminent speakers from academia and industry shared their insights. These discussions brought out essential parameters which are required for this transformation from industry-based education modules to sustainability-oriented education modules, transformation within the system through skilling, reskilling of faculty, and the innovative education system. Human values were also discussed as part of a transformation journey as to how first we need to be sustainable from within ourselves.
It also highlighted why the seed of sustainability needs to be nurtured at the cognitive level from childhood development.
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