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MITRA, an organisation representing NGOs, has written to the state CM demanding a CBI probe into the series of unsolved attacks on activists
Mumbai–based Movement against Intimidation Threat and Revenge against Activists (MITRA) has asked Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the series of attacks on activists as well as the recent murder of right to information (RTI) activist Satish Shetty.
Pune-based Satish Shetty on Wednesday was killed at Talegaon on the outskirts of Pune. He was known to have opposed land deals for the Mumbai-Pune Expressway Project and mega-projects involving nefarious land deals in the Pune area.
MITRA, on behalf of all activists and non-government organisations (NGOs), has demanded a CBI probe into Mr Shetty’s murder and into the role of the police, politicians and builders and others with vested interests, who they allege could be responsible for the killing. It has also requested a personal intervention by the chief minister to probe the unsolved attacks on activists in Mumbai.
According to police officials, Mr Shetty was attacked with a sword by unidentified people while he was out for his morning walk today. He later succumbed to his injuries, after being rushed to a hospital.
A few days back, Citispace founder Nayana Kathpalia was attacked at her residence in Churchgate, south Mumbai. Reportedly, two men fired a round at her residence in the early hours of Friday last week, but no one was injured.
Moneylife had earlier reported on a series of attacks on activists in the past, which are still unsolved.
The Planning Commission has advised 'sensible' use of funds by the road transport & highways ministry, a day after minister Kamal Nath rebuffed the panel
In a war of words, the Planning Commission on Wednesday has advised 'sensible' use of funds by the road transport & highways ministry, a day after minister Kamal Nath rebuffed the panel.
"If available resources are used sensibly, then we will get a significant improvement in what has been going on," Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Commission told PTI.
Mr Nath had reportedly said yesterday that the Commission should confine itself to planning rather than commenting on road projects.
Mr Ahluwalia said that the Commission was there to do the task assigned to it. "We are here exactly for what we have been meant to do," he said.
"I think if they listen to our advice they can," he said in reply to a query whether the ministry was going to achieve the ambitious target to construct 32,936km of roads in the remaining period of the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12), as announced by Mr Nath.
He, however, refused to comment on Mr Nath's remarks carried by a section of the media saying, "I am not aware that he (Mr Nath) has said anything about the Planning Commission. I don’t know where he said (it). He has not said that to me."
About the ministry's proposal for allocation of Rs10,000 crore to infrastructure finance company India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL), Mr Ahluwalia said that it was meant to finance projects under public-private partnership (PPP) mode and not to government entities like the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
Earlier, the Commission had turned down a proposal from the ministry asking IIFCL to provide Rs10,000 crore to the NHAI.
"The note of the ministry proposes allocation of Rs10,000 crore from IIFCL to NHAI. This contradicts the stated purpose of IIFCL which is to provide supplementary financing to PPP projects and not to government entities. This proposal is not acceptable," Mr Ahluwalia had written to the ministry.
About the road ministry's progress, Mr Ahluwalia said, "We are reviewing it regularly. We are hopeful that we will get much better performance on roads this year."
Earlier, not impressed by the ambitious plans announced by Mr Nath, the Commission had advised the ministry to fix a 'reasonable’ target for construction of roads this year.
It pointed out to the ministry that it would not be able to award road construction contracts for more than 3,794km in 2009-10 against a target of 12,652km.
The ministry, the communication said, should adopt a programme fully in line with prime minister Manmohan Singh's Independence Day statement in which he had said, "Initiate action to construct 20 km per day (7,500 km per year).”
Mr Nath had unveiled his ministry's work plans for award of projects to construct 32,936km of roads by 31 March 2012.
Terming it "unrealisable", the Commission had suggested that the target be reduced to 19,250km.
Mr Nath has made several announcements, including construction of 35,000km of highways in five years and award of several mega-projects, besides investment of Rs2 lakh crore in the sector over the next two years.
The Union government has allowed imports of duty-free sugar till 31st December due to rising prices of the commodity
The Indian government on Wednesday allowed import of refined sugar at zero duty up to 31st December in the wake of prices nearing Rs50 per kg in the retail market, reports PTI.
The Cabinet Committee on Prices (CCP) also decided to permit Uttar Pradesh (UP) mills to process imported raw sugar outside the state due to restrictions there.
Earlier, the government had allowed white sugar imports till 31st March this year.
Expecting states to play a more active role in containing rising food prices, prime minister Manmohan Singh will review the situation with various chief ministers later this month.
Food inflation is near 20%, while sugar is inching near Rs50 per kg in the retail market.
The prime minister would also review the implementation of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, for reining in food prices, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said.
The state government led by Mayawati is refusing to allow mills to process imported raw sugar in UP despite repeated requests from the Union government.