Companies & Sectors
SIMs of unused mobile numbers to be deactivated by March

According to the information provided by telecom companies, around 20 crore SIMs have been inactive for over a certain period and the total balance on that account is Rs128.9 crore

New Delhi: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday said it expects to finalise the recommendations for deactivating services of inactive mobile phone connections by March, reports PTI.


“In normal course, it (recommendations) should take one-and-a-half-month more from now,” TRAI secretary Rajeev Agrawal said.


Last month, TRAI had initiated a debate on the issue of operators arbitrarily disconnecting services of customers on grounds of “non-usage of numbers” or “inactive SIM connections”.


“Deactivation of a SIM without prior intimation and on arbitrary grounds deprives the subscriber of his mobile number which might have been an identity for him for a long time,” TRAI had said in its consultation paper titled “Deactivation of SIMs due to Non-usage”.


Consumers suffer from a potential loss of activity in both personal and professional set-ups causing an adverse impact on livelihood, it had added.


According to the information provided by telecom companies to the regulator, around 20 crore SIMs have been inactive for over a certain period of time and the total balance on that account is Rs128.9 crore.


Telecom operators in their meetings with TRAI have said that they have to deactivate SIMs to efficiently manage the number series (mobile phone numbers) allocated to them by the Department of Telecom (DoT).


The last date for submitting written comments on the issues raised in the consultation paper was 21 December 2012, while that for receiving counter comments was 28 December 2012.


Maha Kumbh begins, lakhs throng confluence of Ganga and Yamuna

Devotees from across the country had started pouring in Allahabad since last evening and the influx continues despite cold weather

Allahabad: The Maha Kumbh began Monday morning with lakhs of devotees as well as ascetics and religious leaders of various orders converging on the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical river Saraswati here for a holy dip on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, reports PTI.


The inaugural day of the two-month-long congregation, often described as the “greatest show on earth”, was marked by the first “Shahi Snan” of 13 ‘akharas’ wherein Naga Sadhus—a martial order of ascetics who move about either naked or scantily clad with matted hair and ash smeared bodies—marched to Sangam in processions with their leaders perched atop ornately decorated elephants, horses and chariots and musical bands in attendance in a unique blend of austerity and opulence.


The first to move out were Mahanirvani and Atal Akharas, followed by Niranjani and Anand and then Joona, Awahan and Agni.


They are to be followed by Nirvani Ani, Digambar Ani and Nirmohi and Naya Udasin, Bara Udasin and Nirmal akharas in the same order fixed during the British period following a violent clash among ascetics of different akharas at a kumbh congregation.


The akharas have been allotted fixed time, ranging from 30 minutes to about an hour depending upon the size of their respective procession, for bathing with routes for going to and returning from Sangam so separated as to ward off possibility of members of rival akharas coming in contact with each other.


Devotees from across the country had started pouring in since last evening and the influx continues despite cold weather and elaborate security arrangements on account of which bathers are being made to park their vehicles several kilometres away from the holy confluence and reach the Sangam on foot.


Vehicular traffic has been banned on most of the roads in the city from yesterday till tomorrow to facilitate movement of people.


The “Shahi Snan”, which is a star attraction of the event, began at around 6am as curious, awestruck onlookers gathered on both sides of the over-a-kilometre-long road of metallic chequered plates on which the processions of ‘akharas’ proceeded towards the Sangam.


The crowds were separated from the procession with the help of barriers.


Security personnel kept a steady, though anxious, watch on the movement of the “Naga sadhus” along the route, from watch towers and by monitoring CCTVs as their processions have sparked off violent clashes in the past.


The Mela, held every 12 years, will go on for next two months and will conclude on Maha Shivaratri on 10th March.


The administration is expecting a nearly 10% rise in pilgrims attending the mass Hindu pilgrimage this year compared to the previous Maha Kumbh held here in 2001.


Exceptionally large crowds are also expected on Mauni Amavasya (10th February, 3 crore) and Basant Panchmi (15th February, 1.9 crore).


Besides, spiritual leaders like the Dalai Lama, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Baba Ramdev and Asaram Bapu, have also planned their visits.


The huge turnout of people, visits of high-profile gurus in addition to the presence of naga sanyasis have increased the pressure on police and administration for smooth functioning of the Kumbh Mela.


A lurking fear of terrorist strike has further heightened the challenges in recent years.


“More than 7,000 personnel of central paramilitary forces, including companies of the Rapid Action Force and the National Disaster Response Force, have been pressed into service,” IGP (Allahabad) Alok Sharma, designated as the nodal officer for security arrangements during the Maha Kumbh, had said.


President rejects mercy plea of death row convict

President's secretariat rejected mercy plea of Saibanna Ningappa Natikar who had murdered his wife and daughter. This is the second mercy petition that Mr Mukherjee has rejected after assuming office

New Delhi: Indian president Pranab Mukherjee has rejected the mercy plea of death row convict Saibanna Ningappa Natikar who had murdered his wife and daughter, reports PTI.


This is the second mercy petition that Mr Mukherjee has rejected after assuming office.


The president had in November last year rejected the mercy petition of Mumbai terror attack convict Ajmal Kasab, who was then hanged in Yerwada jail in Pune, Maharashtra.


According to a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement, the president’s secretariat rejected Natikar’s mercy plea on 4th January. Natikar is presently lodged in central prison at Belgaum in Karnataka. The Supreme Court had upheld Natikar's death sentence in 2005.


Saibanna was a life convict for the murder of his first wife. While on parole in September 1994, suspecting the fidelity of his second wife, he killed her and his daughter, and attempted to commit suicide.

Mr Mukherjee has returned nine petitions including that of Mohammed Afzal Guru to the home ministry for further consideration.


Guru has been given death sentence for attacking Parliament in 2001 in which nine persons were killed and 16 were injured.


Article 72 of the Constitution empowers the president to pardon, grant reprieve or suspend, remit, commute sentence of a person convicted for any offence.


The home ministry acts as a nodal agency for the President Secretariat for deciding on mercy petitions.


The president had in November last year commuted death sentence of convict Atbir to life imprisonment.


Atbir was sentenced to death by a sessions court here in 2004 for the murder of his step-mother, step sister and step-brother over a property dispute in 1996. The decision was upheld by the high court and Supreme Court in August 2010.


The president has disposed of the petition on November 15 commuting the death sentence given to him to life imprisonment.


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