Protesters blocked trains and road traffic in many areas in Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and other places and staged demonstrations. However, no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere
New Delhi: A bandh called by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Left parties and United Progressive Alliance (UPA)'s outside supporter Samajwadi Party (SP) to protest diesel price hike and foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail on Thursday evoked mixed response with life being disrupted in some states and their top leaders courting arrest, reports PTI.
Protesters blocked trains and road traffic in many areas in Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and other places and staged demonstrations. However, no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere.
While in Delhi most of the markets remained closed and traffic was disrupted at some places, the bandh evoked little response in the country's commercial hub Mumbai owing to Ganesh festivities across Maharashtra. Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) have kept away from the day-long bandh due to the festival.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Left leaders Prakash Karat and AB Bardhan courted arrest in the capital after holding a joint demonstration at Jantar Mantar. The leaders of SP, four Left parties, JD(S), TDP and BJD marched to Parliament Street Police Station along with supporters and courted arrest.
Besides Yadav, Karat (CPI-M) and Bardhan (CPI), other prominent leaders who courted arrested included Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Chandrababu Naidu (TDP) and HD Deve Gowda (JD-S). BJPs leader M Venkaiah Naidu and Shahnawaz Hussain were taken into preventive custody in Hyderabad.
At Jantar Mantar, Yechury and Bardhan shared the dais with BJP's Nitin Gadkari and Murli Manohar Joshi.
Normal life was disrupted in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh but evoked partial response in other states.
Shops in some areas in Delhi like Bhogal, Laxmi Nagar, Defence Colony and South Extension were open in the morning hours but big markets like Khan Market, Connaught Place, Greater Kailash, Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk and Kashmere Gate were shut.
Auto rickshaws plied in the city and buses of state-run Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) were on the roads in large numbers. At New Delhi railway station, auto drivers staged a protests and refused to carry passengers.
However, most of the private schools in the capital remained closed.
IMG has recommended de-allocation of two coal blocks - Bhaskarpara, allotted to Grasim Industries and Electrotherm and Dahegaon Markardhokra IV, given jointly to IST Steel & Power, Gujarat Ambuja Cement and Lafarge India
New Delhi: Continuing scrutiny of coal blocks which failed to meet development timelines, the Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) on Thursday recommended de-allocation of two more mines, raising to 13 the number of blocks against which such recommendation has been made, reports PTI.
One of the companies whose block was recommended for de-allocation has the son of former Corporate Affairs Minister Prem Chand Gupta as one of its directors.
"The IMG recommended de-allocation of two coal blocks - Bhaskarpara, allotted to Grasim Industries and Electrotherm and Dahegaon Markardhokra IV, given jointly to IST Steel & Power, Gujarat Ambuja Cement and Lafarge India," an official source told PTI.
Gaurav Gupta, son of Prem Chand Gupta, is a director in IST Steel and Power which owns the majority 53% stake in the Dahegaon Markardhokra block.
Dahegaon-Makardhokra IV block was given to IST Steel and Power, along with cement companiess Gujarat Ambuja and Lafarge India, in June 2009. The block has a total of 48.84 million tonnes (MT) of extractable reserves.
The other block Bhaskarpara was allotted to Electrotherm (India) Ltd and Grasim Industries jointly on 21 November 2008 for a sponge iron project. It has extractable reserves of 18.67 MT.
Both the blocks are in Chhattisgarh and find mention in the latest CAG report, which says undue benefits to the tune of Rs1.86 lakh crore might accrue to private firms on account of allocation of 57 mines to them without bidding.
The IMG, which has concluded the scrutiny of 29 blocks allotted to private companies is likely to begin review of 29 more allotted to government companies from October 9, an official source said.
Apart from recommending de-allocation of 13 blocks, the panel has so far recommended deduction of bank guarantee in cases of 14 mines.
A total of 58 mines were given show cause notices for failure to develop blocks within stipulated timeline.
The government had formed the IMG in July to review the progress of coal blocks allocated to companies for captive use. It commended the exercise of review of blocks on 6th September.
The total number of mines that have been approved for de-allocation by the government as per the recommendation of the IMG is seven while bank guarantee of seven others have been deducted.
IST Steel & Power had earlier said that it failed to understand why a show-cause notice has been issued to it for delay in developing the Chhattisgarh coal block that is progressing on schedule.
"We don't know why a show-cause notice was given to us when the block is ready to start production from August 2014.
Our end-use plant (sponge iron) has also started production," IST Steel & Power's Director SC Jain had told reporters after the review of the block by the IMG on 8th September.
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