Saturday, July 12, 2008

The good life of Bihar trio!

Rate of Inflation reaches ~12%. We are struggling to meet the ends. But, they are happy......very happy....

Manoj Chaurasia
PATNA, July 9: They love to be referred to as the "social justice" heroes, but going by their birthday bashes they recently hosted, they can hardly be called so.
The trio ~ Mr Lalu Prasad, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, both Cabinet ministers holding key portfolios in the UPA government at the Centre, and Bihar chief minister Mr Nitish Kumar ~ seem to be engaged in a bewildering contest to outbid each other in matters of their “lifestyle”.
The Union chemical and fertiliser minister, Mr Paswan went a step ahead of his rival and Cabinet colleague Mr Lalu Prasad, when he celebrated his 61st birthday at a New York hotel on Sunday. A day earlier, he had inaugurated the conference of Dalit and Minority International Forum in New York. At the conference organised by American Federation of Muslim of Indian Origin, he was presented as the future Prime Minister of India, according to reports appearing in the local media.
"It's ironic how a man, who claims to be the leader of the dalit, is behaving today. He seeks votes in lieu of his sympathy for the dalit, yet celebrates his birthday in New York, miles away from his homeland," said the BSP legislature party leader in the Bihar Assembly Mr Ramchandra Singh Yadav.
He advised Mr Paswan to change himself before he launched scathing attacks on BSP chief Miss Mayawati over the dalit issue.
"It's shocking to know that he held a conference of the dalits and minority in New York. How many dalits and minority people participated in that seminar?" he asked. "It is surprising that Mr Paswan, who was born in a dalit family and follows dalit politics has lost his way and has attained a feudal character", Mr Yadav said and described him a "chameleon who has been changing his colour more often than not".
On 11 June, the railway minister Mr Prasad celebrated his 61st birthday in style in Patna by cutting a Garib Rath-shaped cake and accepting several baskets of mangoes and sweets from his followers. Last year, he had celebrated his birthday in New Delhi, much to the disappointment of local people. "Laluji says he does not know about his date of birth but he has never missed the day to celebrate (since he first celebrated it after becoming the chief minister of Bihar in 1990)," remarked a JD-U leader.
In contrast, the birthday of Mr Nitish Kumar, which was on 1 March, has so far gone totally unnoticed as he, does not like hungammas. However, the chief minister has been accused of wasting loads of money on huge billboards carrying his large-than-life photographs with brief mention of government schemes in all the cities. "Nitishji has launched publicity blitz through newspaper ads and hoardings at the expense of Central funds," the railway minister alleged.
Source: The Statesman, 10July, 2008

Saturday, July 5, 2008

RPG retail chain faces hawkers' wrath

Sat, Jul 5 02:11 AM

RPG Enterprises' Spencer's retail chain, which has opened 33 stores across West Bengal including 23 in Kolkata over the past 18 months, ran into its first opposition here with hawkers crying foul over the latest location, at Gariahat in south Kolkata.

The Hawker Sangram Committee, representing around 6,000 Gariahat hawkers, picketed the gates and vowed not to let the latest Spencer's open as they see it as a threat to their livelihood, on the same plane as Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Retail and the AV Birla Group's More, both of which had to abort plans for the state.

The Sangram Committee, formed in November 2006 when the Left Front government uprooted hawkers to make way for a flyover, said the earlier Spencer's locations were not as "threatening" to their livelihood as the Gariahat one.

RPG Enterprises vice-chairman Sanjiv Goenka, facing chants of "RPG go back", could not enter and had to make a quick exit as the police stood by.

Later, sounding dismissive about the unexpected protests, Goenka said, "I don't know who is behind this...We plan to open 20 stores this year."

Spencer's said in a statement that the demonstration was orchestrated by "misinformed parties" with "vested interests."

"All our stores in Kolkata have received tremendous support so far and we are grateful to all our stakeholders for that," it said.

"This is not a threat to traditional trade...the product range and assortment we offer to our consumers is totally different from what traditional trade offers," the company said. Over the past year, even as Spencer's has opened 1.5 lakh sqft of retail space in Kolkata, Reliance Retail has had to drop its ambitious plans for the state after violent protests by the Forward Bloc, a Left Front partner. More, which tried to enter on a low key, also had to shut down.

The 36,000sqft store was to have been Spencer's second large format in Kolkata after the one at South City Mall.

Shaktiman Ghosh, general secretary of the Hawker Sangram Committee, said, "We have no objection if Spencer's sells branded products. But selling unbranded products would drive 6,000 hawkers in the area jobless."


Friday, July 4, 2008

Minister’s car crushes villager to death

Statesman News Service
BANKURA, July 3: The official vehicle of state tribal welfare minister Ms Deblina Hembram was involved in a hit and run case near Barjora in Bankura district early this morning while she was on her way to Kolkata.
Police said the minister’s escort car was hit by a truck on Bankura-Durgapur Road and it rammed into Ms Hembram’s vehicle. The minister’s driver lost control and crushed to death one Biswanath Nandi (48), a resident of Radhurbaid village under Gangajalghanti, who was waiting beside the road along with his 14-year-old son.
Biswanath died on the spot while both the minister’s official vehicle and escort car escaped from the spot apprehending public outrage. The incident occurred around 8 a.m. today. The victim’s son, Kajol, said: “The car suddenly changed its route and hit my father. I was helpless as the minister’s car vanished in moments towards Durgapur barrage.” Ms Hembram, a member of the Legistative Assembly for Ranibandh, Bankura was on her was to Kolkata via Durgapur Expressway.
Mr Rabindranath Mukherjee, the assistant superintendent of police, Bankura later said: “The escort car was hit by a speeding truck and it rammed into the minister’s vehicle that lost control and hit the farmer who was standing beside the road. A case has been registered and the driver of the government vehicle is likely to surrender soon.” However, till reports last came in, the minister’s driver was yet to surrender to police.
The Statesman tried to contact Ms Hembram, both at her residence and on her cell phone several times. But, she was not available at her residence and her cell phone was found to be constantly switched off.
It may be recalled that in 2004, the official vehicle of Mr Subhas Chakraborty, state transport minister, had crushed to death a motorcyclist at ABL crossing in Durgapur. Mr Chakraborty later visited the family and also compensated its bereaved members.

Source: The Statesman, July 4, 2008