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Functioning of Bihar VCs comes under the scanner

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Surendra Pratap Singh, the Vice Chancellor (VC) of the Darbhanga, Bihar based Lalit Narayan Mithila University (LNMU) was on Tuesday awarded the best V-C of the state by Governor Phagu Chauhan.

However, the VC of the Patna based Maulana Mazharul Haque Arabic and Persian University (MMHAPU), Prof Mohammad Quddus, has started a row by stating that universities in Bihar have become a grazing ground for loot by the VCs even as he levelled charges of financial irregularities against Singh when he was the acting VC of MMHAPU.

Quddus has written a letter to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar alleging that Singh, who was handling the matter of MMHAPU for some time, has committed financial irregularities during his tenure.

Significantly, Bihar Education minister Vijay Chaudhary did not attend the award ceremony at the Governor house while stating the allegations against Singh levelled by Quddus need to be investigated as Singh has faced similar allegations in the past which had led to inquiry being done against him. None of the officials from the education department attended the event. The Daily Guardian’s SMS and calls to Singh seeking his response on the matter, did not elicit any response.

In his letter to the CM, dated 20 November, Quddus stated that on the last date of his tenure as an acting VC (19 August) Singh, despite being aware that Quddu’s appointment has been notified, entered into an agreement with a Patna based outsourcing agency though two letters, carrying the same docket number, for engaging 45 and 80 housekeeping staff at an inflated rate. The agency later submitted a bill of Rs 18.68 lakh for the payment of 80 workers when in fact only 45 workers were employed by the university.

Quddus has further shared another instance to highlight ‘ulterior motive’ of Singh while asking the CM to investigate his role. According to the letter by Quddus, irregularities were committed while purchasing answer sheets during Singh’s tenure.

“Singh had ordered the Lucknow based supplier and printer, BK Printers for supply of 1.60 lakh answer sheets while the Registrar of the University ordered for the supply of 40000 answer sheets. The answer sheets, which were purchased by the university for Rs 7 per page before Singh took over, were bought at the rate of Rs 16 per answer sheet, an increase which was done without any rhyme or reason”, the letter reads. Singh, sources said, gave the order of the printing of 1.60 lakh copies at the cost of Rs 28 lakh.

Quddus stated that he was being coerced and intimidated by an individual who claims to be connected with the Bihar Governor’s office. In the letter, the VC has pointed out that the person, named Atul Srivastava, who claims himself to be an employee of the Raj Bhawan, has been applying pressure on him to release the payment for 80 housekeeping employees. Quddus has shared the two mobile numbers of the individual and the board exchange landline number of Raj Bhawan from where Srivastava has been calling him to threaten him.

This is not the first time the VCs of Bihar have come under lens. Last week, the Special Vigilance Unit (SVU) raided the Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh based private residence of Magadh University vice-chancellor Dr Rajendra Prasad and recovered Rs 90 lakh, foreign currency worth Rs7.5 lakh and jewellery worth Rs15 lakh. Simultaneous raid was conducted at his university office in Bodh Gaya. Prasad also owned movable properties of at least Rs2 crore and immovable properties worth Rs1 crore.

This recent incident is a part of multiple such instances that have come to light in Bihar thereby showing the higher education system in the state in poor light, something that has even been accepted by Bihar ministers. Post the raid on Magadh university VC, Bihar education minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary had told the media that such things were earning a band name for Bihar even as he questioned the selection process of the VC.

In the recent past, the VCs of Purnia university and BhimRao Ambedkar university, Muzaffarpur have come under vigilance scanner. Also, the VCs of Patliputra university, Tilka Manjhi university, Bhagalpur, B N Mandal university and Nalanda Open university had to resign before the completion of their term. The VC of Veer Kunwar Singh University had to be sent on forced leave following an inquiry into alleged irregularities. In August 2013, the Supreme Court had quashed all the appointments of nine VCs and two Pro VCs that were done by Devanand Konwar the then Bihar Governor. Konwar was later moved out of the state to Tripura.

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Stadiums in every district will have a Divyang Sports Corner, says Haryana CM

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Manohar Lal Khatter

On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced to set up a Divyang Sports Corner in stadiums in every district in a bid to help Divyangjans (differently-abled) to realise their dreams.

In the Tokyo Paralympics, the Divanyang (Persons with Physical disability) sports persons of Haryana performed beyond everyone’s expectations and brought laurels to the state as well as the country. They succeeded in bagging several medals showcasing their talents which is a matter of pride for all of us. In wake of this, the state government had honoured them in a program held in Panchkula after they returned home. Now, the state government has come up with a new initiative for their welfare as well in their respect. Manohar Lal, Haryana Chief Minister, has announced plans to set up a Divyang Sports Corner in the stadiums in every district. Along with this, he also announced plans to construct a new building of Government Blind School, Panipat and to provide Braille printers to blind officers. A Divyang Care Home would be constructed in Ambala on 5 acres of land at a cost of Rs. 31.71 crore. In this home, adequate arrangement for clothes, food and proper care for 100 Persons with Disabilities would be ensured.

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Haryana’s food adulteration menace: 19% samples found to be of poor quality during festive season

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Despite the strict laws and provision of imprisonment along with penalty, during festival season a lot of shopkeepers and sweet shop owners in Haryana don’t hesitate to produce and sell eatables and beverages of lower and substandard quality for their greed. It is evident from the data made available by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and out of the total samples taken for lab testing , more than 19 percent were found of substandard and lower quality in Haryana which is a matter of serious concerns requiring the department to take stern action against the defaulter. The list of samples of eatables included milk made products like sweets, cheez, butter milk and many more and following the lab report, the samples which stand as unfit are most likely to cause health hazards.

As many as 1130 samples of food and drinking products were taken by the official across the state and out of these, the lab reports a total of 831 samples has been prepared. It is pertinent to mention that as many as 159 samples i.e. 19 percent, were not found up to the standards and failed to meet expectations. The report of 299 samples is yet to come. The whole scenario clearly indicates the Food and Safety Administration wing is required to come up with a foolproof strategy to tighten the noose around those defaulters, mocking at rules and putting the lives of people in danger

Regarding this, Rajiv Ratan , An IAS and Commissioner , FDA said that the department is leaving no stone unturned to take action against the defaulters and besides, the officials continue to make field visits to in order to have an eye on such elements involved in producing and selling unfit stuff of food and other items.

The data also revealed that maximum failed samples were reported in Gurugram, Jhajjar and Bhiwani. Gurugran emerges on the top position with 25 failed samples followed by Bhiwani and Jhajjar with 15 and14 unfit samples. In continuation to this, Hisar and Sonipat are also among the districts with maximum unfit samples of food.

Aiding by the Food Safety Act, 2006 , any person found breaching norms , producing or selling substandard food and beverages is subject to stern as a penalty of Rs 10 lakh can be imposed on him or given sentence of six months or both simultaneously. Besides, the police is authorised to arrest such elements directly under section 272 and 272 of IPC.

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TMC HITS OUT AT CONGRESS IN MOUTHPIECE JAGO BANGLA’S EDITORIAL

Arup Kali

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Once again, the Trinamool Congress attacked the Congress through the editorial of its mouthpiece Jago Bangla on Friday.

An article stated that the Congress has gone into a “deep freezer” and Opposition parties are now looking up to the West Bengal Chief Minister to fill the vacuum.

It is to be noted here that political analysts agree with TMC that the Congress is soon fading as it has failed to win over the BJP in the past decade. In recent times, the Congress could only defeat the BJP in Chhattisgarh. The performance of Congress in Lok Sabha is also not satisfactory.

TMC, in its editorial, also gave an explanation as to why the Congress has gone into “deep freeze”. “… Alternative alliances are urgently needed to defeat the BJP, a communal, undemocratic, anti-people, anti-labour, anti-peasant force,” the article stated.

The remark resonates with Mamata’s recent statement following her meeting with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar: “What is UPA, there is no UPA.”

“The country currently needs an alternative front and opposition parties have given that responsibility to Mamata Banerjee. They are looking up to her to fill the vacuum. She is presently the most popular opposition face in the country,” the editorial said.

The editorial piece also raised the question that why there is no criticism even though the top leadership of the Congress is mocked. “… the heat in Congress has subsided.”

It also referred to veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s statement wherein he said the Congress was unlikely to return to power in the Lok Sabha this time.

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PK MEETS MAMATA ON HER RETURN FROM MUMBAI, SPARKS TALK OF OPPOSITION ALLIANCE

Arup Kali

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee returned from Mumbai on Friday and met political strategist Prashant Kishor at the state secretariat Nabanna. All India Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee was also present in the meeting.

According to sources, Trinamool’s strategy to form organisations outside Bengal was discussed during the meeting.

The meeting assumes significance mainly after Mamata’s meeting with NCP leader Sharad Pawar in Mumbai on Wednesday. After meeting Pawar, Mamata had said: “There is no more UPA here.”

While the distance between Trinamool and Congress is visible in Delhi politics, after meeting Mamata, Pawar conveyed the message that whichever party opposes the BJP is under one umbrella.

Meanwhile, Trinamool has formed a new unit in Meghalaya after 12 Congress MLAs joined the party under the leadership of Mukul Sangma. Sources said Trinamool’s tactics in the Northeast were also discussed in the meeting.

A tweet from Kishor has sparked speculation about an opposition coalition. He wrote on Twitter: “Congress consultation is needed for strong opposition unity. But there is no heavenly right to be the leader of the Congress. Especially when the Congress has lost 90 percent of its elections in the last ten years.”

The tweet created a new debate in national politics. Congress MP Pradeep Bhattacharya said: “We don’t care what anyone says. For 137 years, the Congress has been at the centre of Indian politics.”

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Controversy brews as Moosewala joins Punjab Congress

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On Friday, the controversial Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala joined the Punjab Congress ahead of the legislative assembly elections. Moosewala— amongst the popular faces who have been vocal about their support to the farmers’ agitation— was inducted into the party by Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi and the party’s state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Nevertheless, Moosewala has often stirred controversies as he’s been alleged as a face who often glorifies separatism, gun culture and violence in his songs. Interestingly, the controversial singer also faces charges of promoting gun culture and violence.

Meanwhile, with Moosewala joining the Channi’s bandwagon, BJP has hit out at Punjab Congress, accusing it of promoting gun culture and separatism.

In response to this, Navjot Singh Sidhu said, “This matter is subjudice, so why do you talk? It is not appropriate to comment on this.”

“The branches on which mangoes hang and grow, is often hit by stones,” said Navjot Sidhu while remarking upon the fact that accused is not guilty until proved so in the court of law.

On Moosewala’s joining, CM Channi said, “Today is a very revolutionary day in the politics of Punjab. Raising from a simple family, Moosewala has become a big artist. With his dedication and hard work, he has won the hearts of Punjabis sitting across the world. In the coming times, along with the youth, we will bring revolution in Punjab.”

“I am not coming to this field for prestige or accolades. The only motive is that there are some people associated with me, who have expectations from me. Therefore it is very important to be a part of the system to change or improve things accordingly,” Sidhu Moosewala said.

Moosewala added further that the his reason for joining the Congress is that the people who are in Punjab Congress are common people raised from ordinary families.

“A hard worker can raise his voice in Congress,” the new joinee said.

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BENGAL BJP INVITES PM TO COME TO STATE AHEAD OF MAMATA’S BUSINESS MEET

Majumdar met PM Modi forthe first time since he became state president. He said: ‘I talked to the Prime Minister about the post-poll violence in the state. The Prime Minister knows everything.’

Arup Kali

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The World Bengal Business Summit will be held in Kolkata in April. After the conference was cancelled for the past two years because of coronavirus, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has taken initiative to make the business community Bengali-oriented. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi may be present at the start of the conference, Mamata said.

After the November 24 meeting between the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, Mamata said: “The Prime Minister has accepted the invitation.”

On Friday afternoon, BJP MPs from Bengal, led by party state president and Balurghat MP Sukanta Majumder, went to meet PM Modi to invite him to visit Kolkata in January. According to BJP sources, Modi agreed but did not confirm the date and venue.

This is Majumdar’s first meeting with Modi since he became state president. He said: “ I talked to the Prime Minister about the post-poll violence in the state. The prime minister knows everything.” He added: “I have informed him how the BJP workers are being attacked. At the same time, I have requested the court to expedite the CBI’s probe into the violence.

Although he has invited the Prime Minister to visit Kolkata in January, Majumdar was not in favour of bringing Modi to Bengal before the World Business Summit in April.

“The Amrit Mahatsov festival of independence is being celebrated in the country,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the capital city of Kolkata to attend the Netaji Jayanti celebrations on January 23 this year. Mamata was also present. Nevertheless, controversy erupted over the use of ‘Jai Sriram’ slogan at the official function before the Assembly elections. Therefore, there is confusion in the BJP camp over whether Modi will return to Kolkata in January 2022. Meanwhile, the BJP leaders of Bengal feel that the possibility of Modi’s visit in January is slim ahead of the Assembly elections in other states, including Uttar Pradesh.

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