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LIVE! Bagree Market fire: Mayor says authorities didn’t install safety measures

15:14  Bagree Market fire: Mayor says authorities didn’t install safety measures:  

The massive fire at Bagree Market near Burrabazar area – the city’s commercial hub- could have been averted had building owners installed adequate fire safety measures, Mayor Sovon Chatterjee said.


However, some traders said the multi-storey market had fire alarm systems on every floor.

Despite warnings, the market authorities did not install adequate fire safety equipment in the building, the mayor, who also holds the Fire Services portfolio, told reporters.

“I visited the building on several occasions and held meetings with  market authorities, asking them to take steps to ensure the safety of the building. Last month, too, a meeting was held in this regard. A water tank on top of the market did not have proper pipelines to take care of eventualities,” he said.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has formed a committee to review the status of commercial buildings across the city.

“Based on reports filed by the KMC, we haul up building owners. The review is carried out every year,” Chatterjee explained.

The fire department had in the past recommended steps to authorities, but no such measures were taken, he claimed.

“The market authorities kept insisting that we extend the deadline for installing fire fighting equipment. The tragedy could have been averted if they took action on time,” he maintained.

Asked if he would take action against defaulters, the mayor replied in the affirmative.



14:42  ‘Construction of Ram temple will begin before 2019 elections’:  

Former Bharatiya Janata Party MP and Ram Janambhoomi Nyas president Ram Vilas Vedanti on Sunday claimed that the construction of Ram temple will begin before the 2019 general elections.

“BJP has resolved to build the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. The construction of Ram Mandir will begin before the election of 2019 takes place,” Vedanti said.

As per reports, BJP president Amit Shah while addressing a rally in Hyderabad in July, apparently said that the Ram temple would be built before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The party later, however, denied of Shah having said so.

On June 25, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said that the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya would be done “when Lord Ram will shower his blessings on Ayodhya”.



14:14  United Left Alliance sweeps JNUSU elections:  United Left Alliance sweeps JNU election; N Sai Balaji elected as pPresident, Sarika Chaudhary as vice president, Aejaz Ahmed Rather as general secretary and Amutha Jayadeep as joint secretary.

There was high drama on Saturday as counting was suspended for close to 14 hours after the ABVP staged protests claiming it was not informed about the start of the counting process.

The counting, which was suspended at 4 am, resumed at 6.30 pm after two teachers from the Grievance Redressal Cell were appointed as observers for the exercise, officials said.

The voter turnout in the keenly contested JNUSU election on Friday was 67.8 per cent, believed to be the highest in six years. Over 5,000 students cast their votes.


13:54  Same group behind killings of Dabholkar, Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh; members linked to Sanatan Sanstha: Police:  

The same group of right-wing activists is behind the killings of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, MM Kalburgi and journalist Gauri Lankesh, a senior police official said quoting investigation reports.

However, the probe agencies have not been able to establish the groups link with the killing of rationalist and communist leader Govind Pansare, he said.

During the investigation, it came to light that a gang of like-minded people was involved in the killings of Dabholkar, Lankesh and Kalburgi. Almost all members of this gang have links with the Sanatan Sanstha and its offshoot Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, the official said Saturday.

Dabholkar, Kalburgi and Lankesh were assassinated by members of this gang because they were raising their voice against the Hindu religion, he claimed.

The probe so far indicates that those arrested in connection with the seizure of huge cache of explosives from Nallasopara in Palghar district have direct links with the killings of Dabholkar, Kalburgi and Lankesh, he said.

Meanwhile, efforts are on to nab those behind Pansares killing, the official said.

While Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune in August 2013, Pansare was shot at on February 16, 2015 in Kolhapur and succumbed to his injuries on February 20.

Lankesh was killed at her house in Bengaluru in September last year while Kalburgi was shot dead at the entrance of his house in Karnatakas Dharwad district on August 30, 2015.


13:19  ‘Not his Bua’: Mayawati attacks Bhim Army chief, sets alliance terms for Cong, SP:  

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Sunday targeted Bhim Army president Chandrashekar Azad ‘Ravan’, who was released from Saharanpur jail on Friday. 

In a clear indication to Chandrashekhar, Mayawati said: For the past few days, a man who was recently released from jail is trying to call me Bua. I can never have a relation with these sort of people.”

Chandrashekar was booked under the National Security Act by the UP government and spent 15months in jail for his alleged role in the violence that broke out in Shabbirpur village in May 2017. 

The BSP supremo added that she is not averse to joining a grand alliance against the BJP, but will agree only if her party is allocated a respectable share of seats in states where it is currently a minor player. 

“We are not against having an alliance in the upcoming polls. But it will happen only if we are given a respectable number of seats. Otherwise, we will go alone,” Mayawati said.

BJP governments in states and in the Centre are trying to hide their failures by diversionary tactics. They have not fulfilled their election promises. They are trying to use Atal ji’s death for political gains, she was quoted as saying. 

13:12  BJP central leaders to take stock of situation in Goa, Cong keeps a watch:  

Central observers of the BJP are expected to arrive in Goa Sunday to take stock of the political situation, even as the opposition Congress says it is watching the developments and will explore the possibility of forming government in the state. 

The coastal state, currently ruled by the BJP-led government, is witnessing hectic political activity as Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who has been ailing since sometime, has been admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

BJP’s central observers B L Santhosh and Ram Lal are likely to arrive in Goa Sunday afternoon to take stock of the political situation and initiate a discussion with party leaders and alliance partners for a possible merger.

The Parrikar-led government is ruling the state with the support of the Goa Forward Party, the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and Independents.

“The central observers will meet BJP legislators and office-bearers followed by a meeting with the GFP, MGP and Independents,” a senior BJP leader said.

The BJP currently has 14 legislators in the 40-member assembly while the GFP, the MGP and Independents have three each.

The Congress has 16 MLAs while the Nationalist Congress Party has one legislator.

Meanwhile, the Congress said it was watching the developments and may explore the possibility of forming government in Goa but “not by compromising the state’s interest”.


12:29  JUST IN: Jammu-Kashmir Panchayat polls will be held in 9 phases. Date of polls will be Nov 17, Nov 20, Nov 24, Nov 27, Nov 29, Dec 1, Dec 4, Dec 8 & Dec 11. Counting will take place on the day of polling. Votes will be cast using ballot paper. 


12:22  Don’t send cheques, give justice: Rewari gang-rape victim’s mother:  

The mother of the victim of alleged gang rape case of Rewari has claimed that she was offered Rs 2 lakh compensation cheque from the government. 

However, she has refused to accept it and demanded justice for her daughter.

The cheque given to the victim’s family is claimed to have been signed by “chief judicial magistrate-cum-secretary district legal services authority Narnaul.”

“A cheque of Rs 2 lakh has been given to the father of a girl who was gang-raped. This has been offered to us while no accused has been arrested yet. Few people from the government came to us and gave this cheque to my husband. She (the victim) is already in depression and now they are giving her money. Instead of doing justice, they have given us cheque. We were hopeful that we will get justice. We want justice, not your cheque. I am giving this back,” the victim’s mother said.

She further alleged that the doctors in the hospital are “not allowing” her to meet her daughter.

A 19-year-old woman was abducted and gang-raped after being drugged on Wednesday in Haryana’s Narnaul area.

In the FIR registered at Kanina, police have identified three accused, Pankaj, Manish and Nishu, whose pictures they released late on Saturday.


11:52  Left leading on all central panel posts in JNU:  

The United Left is leading in all four central panel posts in the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union polls, counting for which is underway.


According to the election committee, after counting 3,281 out of 5185 votes, N Sai Balaji, presidential candidate of the Left is leading with 1,350 votes. Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad candidate Lalit Pandey was at the second position with 605 votes followed by Thallapalli Praveen from Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association.

In the other central panel posts of vice-president, general secretary and joint secretary, the United Left is ahead of its rivals. 

There was high drama on Saturday as counting was suspended for close to 14 hours after the ABVP staged protests claiming it was not informed about the start of the counting process.

The counting, which was suspended at 4 am, resumed at 6.30 pm after two teachers from the Grievance Redressal Cell were appointed as observers for the exercise, officials said.



11:23  Tech Mahindra fires officer who harassed gay man:  

In the perhaps the first case dealing with workplace homophobia and discrimination since the Supreme Court de-criminalised consensual sex with same-sex partners by reading down Section 377, an employee accused of discrimination against a gay man was fired by the company. 

Tech Mahindra announced on their Twitter account: @gauravpramanik, arising out of an investigation carried out in the matter, the concerned employee has been separated from the employment of the company with immediate effect. At Tech Mahindra, we believe in diversity & inclusion & condemn discrimination of any kind in the workplace.

In a letter, Gaurav Pramanik had alleged that his diversity officer Richa Gautam called him effeminate and alleged that it affected his work. The incident took place in 2015.

He alleged she asked an officer who was weeping if he was gay, and exhibited Islamophobia calling Muslims a global pain.

He told a news organisation that he left the organisation for the constant humiliation he faced for his sexuality.

IT company Tech Mahindra had said Tuesday it would conduct a thorough probe after a former employee, just days after the Supreme Court decriminalising homosexuality, alleged harassment and discrimination by his then team manager in 2015.

Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra said the company is investigating the matter and “will ascertain the facts and see that the outcome is fair and just”.

He assured that the group celebrates diversity at workplace and “fairness and dignity” of an individual are enshrined in core value of the company.


11:15  Don’t come to govt with a begging bowl: Javadekar to schools:  
Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar has advised the schools to ask for financial assistance from their alumni instead of approaching the government for help.

While speaking at an event organised in Pune by the Jnana Prabhodini School, the HRD Minister said that there are some schools which keep on approaching the government with a ‘begging bowl seeking help’ rather than asking their alumni for it.

Praising the contribution made by the alumni of the Jnana Prabodhini School for the maintenance and development of the institution, the HRD Minister said that the school had set a good example for other institutes as well.

Aise school bhi chalte hain. Nahi to har baar sarkar ke paas katora lekar jaenge aur baat karenge ki hamein madad chahiye. Arey madad to aapke ghar mein padi hai. Aapke jo purv chatra hain unki bhi zimmedari banti hai (Scholls can be run this way too. Otherwise there are some schools who approach the government every time with a begging bowl and seek help. Help is at your doorstep. Your alumni have a responsibility to help),” he said.

He further said, “Worldwide, who runs educational institutes? Alumni. Those who once studied there became successful later give it back to them. It has been a trend in Jnana Prabodhini. I was told that alumni here do as much as they can for the school.”

Javadekar also asked alumni to get associated with their schools or colleges in an endeavour to contribute for its betterment.

“It is the responsibility of former students to get associated with their schools or colleges and contribute for its betterment. It is also important for a school or college to develop that kind of attitude in its students, which will be helpful for future,” he added.  — ANI


10:13  Prashant Kishor likely to join JD-U today:  
Election strategist Prashant Kishor is likely to be inducted in the Janata Dal-United by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today, a report by NDTV said.

Meanwhile, Kishor, who joined Twitter in February this year, tweeted for the first time today, hinting his entry into electoral politics.

‘Excited to start my new journey from Bihar!’ he tweeted.

Replying to queries about possibility of Kishor joining his party today, JD-U leader K C Tyagi told ANI, “Let us wait for the official announcement. He has expressed his willingness, we will welcome him in the party.”


09:34  I’m a minister, not affected by fuel prices: Athawale:  When asked if the hike in the fuel prices affected him, Union Minister Ramdas Athawale confessed that he is unfazed by the hike, as he is a minister.

Referring to the allowances he gets, Athawale, who was in Jaipur said, “I am not suffering from rising fuel prices as I am a minister. I may suffer if I lose my ministerial post.”

Acknowledging that people are suffering due to the hike in fuel prices, the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment further said, “It’s understandable that people are suffering from rising fuel prices and it’s the duty of the government to reduce them.”

Athawale, who heads the Republican Party of India, assured that the Centre is working on the matter.

“The price of fuel can be reduced if the states cut the tax on it. The Centre is seriously working on the issue,” he said.

The central government has been facing flak from various quarters over a continuous hike in fuel prices.  — ANI


08:59  Massive fire at Kolkata’s Bagree Market, no casualty so far:  A massive fire broke out in a multi-storey building early on Sunday in the central part of Kolkata’s congested Bagree Market on Canning street, a senior official of the fire department said. 

No casualty has been reported so far, he said. 35 tenders have been pressed into service to douse the fire. 

“As the area is very congested, we are finding it difficult to work. We are using hydraulic ladder and gas cutters to cut through the grills of the gates and small windows to enter the building,” the senior official said.

The fire broke out on the ground floor of the building and spread to other floors, he said.

“Even after five hours, we are finding it difficult to contain the fire,” he added.

Traffic restrictions have been imposed in the area due to the fire.  — PTI

Source: Rediff