first_imgzoom Finnish engineering company Wärtsilä has signed a contract with LaNaval shipyard in Sestao, Spain for the design and supply of the LNG power and propulsion installation for a new RoRo passenger ferry. Wärtsilä will also provide inclusive project support services to the yard, including integration engineering and on-site consulting, as well as commissioning of the combined systems.The ship is being built for Spanish owner Baleària, an operator serving the Balearic Islands, and the contract signed with the shipbuilder includes an option for a second vessel.Upon entering regular service in 2019, this eco-efficient ‘smartship’ will be the first gas-propelled RoRo passenger ferry operating in the Mediterranean Sea, and among the largest ferries in Europe, according to Wärtsilä.Featuring a length of 232 metres, the vessel will have a capacity for 331 vehicles and 1700 passengers.The full Wärtsilä scope of supply for this contract includes four 8-cylinder Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel main engines, four 9-cylinder Wärtsilä 20DF dual-fuel auxiliary engines, the Wärtsilä LNGPac fuel storage and management system, two twin/single out gearboxes, two Wärtsilä Controllable Pitch Propellers (CPP) with the Wärtsilä ProTouch bridge control system, two Wärtsilä transverse thrusters, plus comprehensive engineering, project management, and on-site yard support services.The Wärtsilä equipment is scheduled to be delivered to the yard in mid-2017.last_img read more

first_imgzoom Norwegian transportation company The Fjords DA has confirmed that is building a sister ship to the diesel-electric plug-in hybrid Vision of the Fjords, launched in 2016.However, unlike its predecessor, this 42-meter-long carbon fibre vessel will be all electric and completely emission free, according to the company. Named Future of the Fjords, the new vessel is scheduled to be launched in April 2018.Currently under construction at specialist shipbuilder Brødrene Aa, the ship, which will cost NOK 144 million (USD 17 million), retains Vision of the Fjords’ design and environmentally friendly build, with a hull that minimises wake and reduces shoreline impact erosion.The new DNV GL-classed ‘light craft’ will be propelled by two 300kW electric motors, enabling cruising speeds of 16 knots. Work to develop the charging infrastructure to enable its planned 700 trips a year is currently in the early stages. Alongside the changes to the propulsion system, Future of the Fjords will boast an upgraded IT systems.In total, The Fjords operates seven tourist ships in the Western Norwegian fjords. With the backing of Fjord1 and Flåm AS, the shipowner has embarked on a fleet renewal programme to provide vessels with minimal environmental impact.last_img read more

first_imgzoom Port developer and operator Abu Dhabi Ports officially inaugurated the new Delma Port, set to play an active role in promoting economic and social growth in the Al Dhafra region, on June 6.Located on the eastern side of Delma Island, the new port will better serve the community as an upgraded multipurpose port capable of handling cargo, passenger ferries and fishing vessels. In addition, it will help support the growth of the tourism sector in Dalma, the Islands and the surrounding areas.“The development of Delma Port comes in line with the Abu Dhabi Plan, which calls for an effective transportation system to serve the community and economy, with an emphasis on the development of sustainable sea transport,” Faris Khalaf Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Chief of the General Authority for the Security of Ports, Borders and Free Zones, and Board Member of Abu Dhabi Ports, said.With a budget of over AED 170 million (USD 46.2 million), the new Delma Port covers a total area of 280,725 m2, with 58,500 m2 of pavement for easy transport. As one of the biggest ports in Al Dhafra region, it features an accessible breakwater with platform to integrate the operation of ferry terminal and CICPA facilities.“The Delma Port project is one that promises to be a foundation stone in the development of the Al Dhafra region through its focus on meeting the highest quality standards. In addition, the deep foresight and strategic thinking that has gone into the planning of this project is evidence of Abu Dhabi Ports’ commitment to the success of Delma Port in accordance with the objectives of our government,” Al Mazrouei added.Abu Dhabi Ports said it works closely with its strategic partners, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport, Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA), Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and several other government entities, to execute its plan.last_img read more

first_imgzoomIllustration; Image Courtesy: Forte Maritime A surge in armed attacks against ships around West Africa is pushing up global levels of piracy and armed robbery at sea, International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) warned.During the first quarter of 2018 the number of incidents increased to 66, up from 43 for the same period in 2017, and 37 in the first quarter of 2016.Worldwide in the first three months of 2018, 100 crew were taken hostage and 14 kidnapped from their vessels. A total of 39 vessels were boarded, 11 fired upon and four vessels hijacked, IMB said in a report, adding that it received a further 12 reports of attempted attacks.The Gulf of Guinea accounts for 29 incidents in the first quarter of 2018, more than forty percent of the global total. Of the 114 seafarers captured worldwide, all but one were in this region.All four vessels hijackings were in the Gulf of Guinea, where no hijackings were reported in 2017. Two product tankers were hijacked from Cotonou anchorage in mid-January and early February, prompting the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre to issue a warning to ships. Towards the end of March, two fishing vessels were hijacked 30 nautical miles off Nigeria and 27 nautical miles off Ghana.“The hijacking of product tankers from anchorages in the Gulf of Guinea is a cause of concern. In these cases, the intent of the perpetrators is to steal the oil cargo and kidnap crew. The prompt detection and response to any unauthorised movements of an anchored vessel could help in the effective response to such attacks,” an IMB spokesperson said.Nigeria alone recorded 22 incidents. Of the 11 vessels fired upon worldwide, eight were off Nigeria, including a 300,000 dwt VLCC tanker more than 40 nautical miles off Brass.“Attacks in the Gulf of Guinea are against all vessels. Crews have been taken hostage and kidnapped from fishing and refrigerated cargo vessels as well as product tankers. In some cases, the attacks have been avoided by the early detection of an approaching skiff, evasive action taken by the vessel and the effective use of citadels.”One incident was reported off Somalia, where a product tanker was fired upon and chased by two skiffs around 160 nautical miles off Hobyo. At the end of March, a 160,000 dwt tanker reported being fired upon in the Gulf of Aden, while transiting within the Maritime Security Transit Corridor.Indonesia recorded nine low level attacks against anchored vessels. Five bulk carriers reported actual or attempted attacks at Muara Berau anchorage in Samarinda, while waiting to load coal cargoes.last_img read more

first_imgzoomImage Courtesy: ONE Liner giants Ocean Network Express (ONE), Hapag-Lloyd and Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) have expanded their partnership in the Asia-South America trade lane with a new service.The service will connect Asia with the east coast of South America, calling major ports in Korea, China, Singapore, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and South Africa.It is scheduled to start in the second week of December, launching from Pusan.“The new product offers market leading transit times, reliable on-time service between Asia and the east coast of South America and enhanced inbound coverage for Santa Catarina state,” ONE said announcing the service.Since launching in April this year, ONE has been pretty busy in fine-tuning its services and has not shied away from cooperation with liner counterparts.Specifically, the latest cooperation is being announced just one month after ONE joined forces with Hapag-Lloyd on provision of feeder services. The cooperation covers specific Intra-Europe and Intra-Asia feeder trade lanes.Back in September, the two liners, together with Yang Ming, teamed up with CMA CGM, COSCO, OOCL to enhance their Mediterranean-US East Coast service.Under the agreement, the parties said they would improve their AL6 (Atlantic 6) service, by combining their assets into one larger loop with a deployment of six 8,000-TEU vessels.last_img read more

first_imgzoomIllustration; Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Energia Naturalis (ENNA), a Croatian energy, infrastructure and logistics company, has acquired an additional stake in compatriot port operator Luka Ploce. After submitting a takeover bid earlier this year, ENNA has now purchased a total of 43,947 shares or a 10.39 percent stake in Luka Ploce, according to a stock exchange filing issued by the company.As informed, ENNA paid HRK 412 (USD 61.8 million) per each share.As a result, ENNA has increased its Luka Ploce stake to 36.11 percent.In the port of Ploce, ENNA and its partner VTTI are developing a petroleum products terminal, the Adriatic Tank Terminal (ATT). The first stage of the construction of the facility was completed in 2016, adding 50,000 cbm capacity for clean petroleum products. The second phase of the project will deliver over 200,000 cbm of petroleum storage as well as up to 60,000 cbm of LPG storage.In July, Luka Ploce released its financial report for the first half of 2019, reporting a surge in its net income to HRK 10.9 million from HRK 1.1 million seen in the corresponding period a year earlier. For the remainder of the year, the port expects a negative impact on its results caused by the production halt of Bosnia’s financially-troubled aluminium producer Aluminij Mostar.Luka Ploce has seven terminals, including those for bulk, general and container cargo.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

first_imgzoomIllustration; Source: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) has received approvals for crosstie-less design for very large crude carriers (VLCC).The shipbuilder applied for the patents from 8 countries for a new type of cargo hold structure without crosstie (horizontal stiffeners) which has been applied to the VLCC since 2010.Starting with patent registration in Japan in 2015, it was approved in the United States, Greece, UK, Norway, France and China in 2016.DSME revealed that the final approval needed was received from the Korean Intellectual Property Office in July 2019.The shipbuilder has been developing the crosstie-less concept since 2009, and has applied this design concept to VLCCs since 2011 for the first time in the world, according to DSME.The crosstie-less concept is to secure the required strength for design loads including sloshing by enhancing the existing vertical structural members.DSME said it had delivered 47 of the total of 71 VLCCs without crosstie so far, whith another 24 VLCCs without crosstie currently being built.last_img read more

first_imgMotorists driving through the lush farmland and picturesque shoreline of the Minas Basin will have a smoother trip after the completion of a road-paving tender announced by the province. Transportation and Public Works advertised a tender recently for repaving on the Glooscap Trail (Route 215) from Noel, west for 9.4 kilometres to Moose Brook. “This section of the Glooscap Trail provides memorable scenery and a varied history,” said Ron Russell, Minister of Transportation and Public Works. “Both residents and visitors will benefit from this project.” The Department of Transportation and Public Works’ highways division manages more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in Nova Scotia. It maintains 4,100 bridges and operates seven provincial ferries. Staff provide services from district offices in Bridgewater, Bedford, Truro and Sydney.last_img read more

first_imgThe province of Nova Scotia ended the 2004-05 fiscal year with a $165-million surplus and a lower net direct debt, according to annual financial statements released today, Sept. 28, in Halifax. The 2004-05 public accounts, which detail the financial results of the year ended March 31, 2005, show that revenues exceeded expenses by $165.3 million, $127 million higher than the year before. Nova Scotia’s net direct debt — the difference between the province’s financial liabilities and financial assets — dropped for the first time in many years. As of March 31, net direct debt was $12.3 billion, $19.4 million lower than the previous year. “The government of Nova Scotia has been working to slow the growth of Nova Scotia’s debt in recent years, and it’s gratifying to see our net direct debt drop earlier than expected,” said Finance Minister Peter Christie. “We still have a long way to go, but it’s an important milestone.” This is the fourth year in a row that the province has brought in a balanced budget and recorded a surplus in its year-end financial statements. Consolidated fund revenues were $283 million higher than budgeted in 2004-05. This was largely due to increased revenues from federal transfers, provincial corporate income tax, and offshore forfeiture payments. This gave government the opportunity to make a number of strategic investments in economic development, health, and other areas. Net program expenses of the consolidated fund exceeded budget by $115 million in 2004-05. Government also designated $60 million for much-needed capital infrastructure improvements in 2005-06 and 2006-07. In 2005-06, the province paid off $830 million in unmatured debt with funds from the federal offshore offset agreement. The $830 million will be recognized for accounting purposes in 2005-06 and beyond. Provincial surpluses in the last five years have been factored into net direct debt. Net direct debt is scheduled to drop again in 2007-08 under the province’s legislated debt reduction plan. Nova Scotia’s economy performed well overall in 2004-05, with 1.3 per cent real economic growth and unemployment dropping to 8.8 per cent in 2004 from 9.1 per cent in 2003. Bond rating agencies have responded to Nova Scotia’s positive indicators by upgrading the province’s credit rating and outlook in 2004 and 2005. As part of ongoing efforts to make financial documents more understandable, government revised the content and layout of the Public Accounts 2004-05 Volume I document. The content changes are consistent with the recommendations of the public sector accounting board. “One of our goals this year is to improve our financial documents to help Nova Scotians understand the province’s financial picture,” Mr. Christie said. “It’s part of our commitment to transparency and accountability.” The March 31, 2005 financial statements are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Nova Scotia’s auditor general has signed off on the statements by providing an unqualified auditor’s report that is reproduced in the publication.last_img read more

first_img YARMOUTH COUNTY: Grey Bridge Grey Bridge on Grey Road, East Kemptville will be closed indefinitely for structural repairs. Local Area Office: 902-667-2972 Fax: 902-667-8294 -30- Local Area Office: 902-565-6841 Fax: 902-563-2517 Local Area Office: 902-527-5448 Fax: 902-527-5371 PICTOU COUNTY: Young Road Access to and from Highway 104 on Young Road in Pine Tree will be closed until further notice for the Highway 104 twinning project. The road remains open to local residents but has no exit. Local Area Office: 902-893-6194 Fax: 902-893-8175 Local Area Office: 902-533-2771 Fax: 902-533-4352 Local Area Office: 902-295-2700 Fax: 902-295-2617 Local Area Office: 902-543-4671 Fax: 902-543-5596 INVERNESS COUNTY: Doyle’s Bridge Doyle’s Bridge on the East Margaree Road will be closed until further notice. Detour on East Margaree Crossroad. Local Area Office: 902-755-7152 Fax: 902-755-7184 Local Area Office: 902-563-2518 Fax: 902-563-2517 Local Area Office: 902-625-4388 Fax: 902-625-4393 Local Area Office: 902-542-6344 Fax: 902-542-6342 Local Area Office: 902-798-6889 Fax: 902-798-2927 CAPE BRETON REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Trunk 4 Sections of Trunk 4, from west of Ski Ben Eion for six kilometres west toward Big Pond, will have lane closures to allow for road upgrades until Friday, Jan. 2. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset. INVERNESS COUNTY: Grand Etang Bridge The Grand Etang Bridge will occasionally be reduced to one lane for bridge replacement until Friday, Jan. 30. A detour is available on a temporary bridge marked with signs and lighting. Traffic control people will be on site. center_img COLCHESTER COUNTY: Porteau’s Bridge: Porteau’s Bridge, about six kilometres south from Trunk 6 on Route 246 will be reduced to one lane for replacing rails until Tuesday, Dec. 23. Traffic control people will be on site. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. GUYSBOROUGH COUNTY: Route 344 Route 344 at Middle Melford will have ongoing lane closures for the construction of a detour bridge and approaches at Melford Bridge until Jan. 31. The speed limit has been reduced to 60 km/h at the site and drivers can expect delays, gravel on the road, and rough sections. Work takes place from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and some weekends. CAPE BRETON REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Grand Lake Road Grand Lake Road will have alternating lane closures until Tuesday, Dec. 30 to install traffic signals at the entrance of Central Supplies and the Petro Canada station. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. HANTS and KINGS COUNTY: Highway 101 Work is continuing on twinning of Highway 101 between Falmouth, Hants County and Avonport, Kings County until Friday, Dec. 26. Traffic is temporarily reduced to one lane at various locations for westbound traffic due to construction on exiting travel lanes and the removal of old pavement markings. A detour route is available on Trunk 1 at Falmouth, Hantsport and Avonport. KINGS COUNTY: Glebe Bridge Glebe Bridge on Route 201 will have a 2.7-metre height restriction and a 15-tonne weight restriction until further notice. Local Area Office: 902-742-2415 Fax: 902-742-0649 Local Area Office: 902-538-3877 Fax: 902-538-8288 KINGS COUNTY: Hillaton Road Hillaton Road will be closed for bridge repairs until spring. A detour route is available from Route 221 to Route 358 to Saxon Street. INVERNESS COUNTY: Murrays Hill Bridge Murrays Hill Bridge, which crossed the Mabou River near Rankinville Road, is closed because of damage sustained during flooding. The bridge will reopen next summer. LUNENBURG COUNTY: Trunk 3, Gold River Bridge A one-lane bridge is open on Trunk 3 between Mahone Bay and Chester while the new Gold River Bridge is being built. Work is expected to continue until August. Traffic lights are in place. Local Area Office: 902-679-4308 Fax: 902-679-6124 CUMBERLAND COUNTY: Thompson Road Thompson Road, between Crowley Road and Pugwash River Road, will be closed for culvert replacement until further notice. Local Area Office: 902-625-4200 Fax: 902-625-1946 KINGS COUNTY: Hantsport Kates Bridge on Tannery Road in Hantsport is closed for repairs until further notice. A detour is available on Avon Street. CONTINUING WORK HANTS COUNTY: Highway 101 and Bog Road Overpass Highway 101, westbound lane, near Exit 8 (toward the Annapolis Valley) will be reduced to one lane for striping the new bog Road overpass until Wednesday, Dec. 24. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.last_img read more

first_imgNova Scotians are invited to nominate individuals or groups for the 2015 Human Rights Awards. The awards are presented annually by the Human Rights Commission in collaboration with Partners for Human Rights, a coalition of organizations dedicated to creating a more respectful and inclusive community through human rights promotion. “These awards are a wonderful opportunity for us to recognize people who are advancing human rights in our communities,” said Diana Whalen, Minister responsible for the Human Rights Commission. “This important work carried out by people of all ages across the province is making Nova Scotia a better place to live for all of us.” Recipients are chosen in three categories: youth, individual and organization. The individual award was renamed the Dr. Burnley Allan “Rocky” Jones Award in honour of the late community leader.Nominations should include people or groups that support projects which advance human rights. With a low number of nominees in the youth category last year, those working with young people who demonstrate a commitment to human rights are asked to consider submitting a nomination. Young people are involved in a number of ways to protect human rights, including school programs and peer support networks. Past winners include students from Yarmouth Consolidated Memorial High School, Scott Jones of New Glasgow, Sgt. Craig Smith of Halifax, and the Nova Scotia Mass Choir. The deadline for nominations is Nov. 2. Winners will be announced at a ceremony Dec. 10 in Halifax. For more information and to download the nomination form, visit .last_img read more

first_imgImprovements to the Employment Support and Income Assistance Program will help those Nova Scotians who need it most get support to become more independent and help youth as they become adults. Some youth on income assistance are now able to access supports and services from both that program and Children, Youth and Family Services. Youth, who are at risk and willing, can receive help in many ways, including therapeutic services and educational and financial support. The allowable asset levels have doubled for people receiving assistance from $1,000 to $2,000 for individuals and from $2,000 to $4,000 for families. “Doubling the asset levels will help clients be more independent and included in their communities,” said Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard. Changes to the asset levels will allow people to apply for income assistance without having to exhaust all their savings. It will make it easier for people in the program to save more money and have greater flexibility in how they choose to spend their money. Government is changing programs to better support vulnerable Nova Scotians and create a more sustainable social support system. Immediate improvements are also being made when possible.last_img read more

first_imgPremier Stephen McNeil will promote economic and investment opportunities in Nova Scotia during meetings in Calgary from Wednesday, Oct. 24 to Friday, Oct. 26. The premier’s agenda includes meetings with WestJet, companies in the energy sector and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. “We are pleased to see WestJet’s success with its new direct routes from Halifax to Paris and London,” said Premier McNeil.“Adding air connections opens up opportunities for economic benefits for our province through tourism, business travel, students and immigration.” Premier McNeil will also participate in a celebration marking WestJet’s 15 years of investment in Nova Scotia.last_img read more

first_imgGovernment introduced two legislative amendments today, April 3, that deal with Emera Inc. One change will remove the existing provision that restricts non-Canadians from owning more than 25 per cent of voting shares of Emera Inc. The other change will reinforce the commitment from Emera and Nova Scotia Power to maintain their head offices and principal executive officers in Nova Scotia. “This government is committed to creating the conditions to support economic growth,” said Business Minister, Geoff MacLellan. “Nova Scotia-based businesses are competing with the world and we need to make sure the playing field is level to help them thrive here and around the globe.” Emera is the only one of more than 100 North American, investor-owned utilities and power producers with restrictions on foreign ownership. The restrictions were included in the legislation that established Emera in 1998. Emera made the request to government to amend the foreign ownership restriction as it limits its ability to grow. With that lifted, the company will have more funding flexibility, access to capital and greater opportunity for continued growth. The legislation maintains the rule that no outside entity can hold or control more than 15 per cent of the company’s voting shares. There are about 500 people who now work for Emera in Nova Scotia. In 2018, Emera spent about $311 million with more than 5,600 vendors from across the province. The amendments will be made to the Nova Scotia Power Privatization Act and the Nova Scotia Power Reorganization Act. The changes will have no impact on Nova Scotia Power ratepayers.last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: A major fire broke out at Oly Pub in Park Street on Monday afternoon. Three fire tenders were sent to douse the flames, but only one tender was used.In another incident, late on Sunday night, a massive fire broke out at the Ranihati fish market in Howrah. Four firemen were reportedly injured due to a LPG cylinder blast, which occurred during the firefighting operation. According to sources, on Monday, around 5 pm, a fire broke out at the kitchen of the Oly Pub. Some staff of the restaurant saw the smoke in the kitchen and alerted others. Immediately all the customers were evacuated from the restaurant and staff members swung into action to control the fire. Meanwhile, fire brigade and Park Street police station were informed. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaThree fire tenders were sent to Oly Pub but only one tender was operational as the intensity of fire was not much high. Rest two fire tenders were kept in reserve. Sources informed that the fire occurred due to leakage in the LPG cylinder. None was hurt in the incident. On the other hand, around 1:30 am on Sunday night, a massive fire broke out at the Ranihati fish market near Sankrail. Within a few minutes, the whole area got covered in thick black smoke. Soon, some local residents informed the police and fire brigade. Local residents got panic-stricken as the fire started spreading fast. Three fire tenders were sent to douse the flames. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersDuring the firefighting operation, a LPG cylinder exploded leaving four firefighters seriously injured. They have been admitted to the Howrah District Hospital. The fire was controlled after almost three hours. Till then at least 20 shops were reduced to ashes. It is suspected that the fire had occurred due to a short circuit. It will also be checked whether the market authority had all the necessary permissions, including fire license. A probe is on to ascertain the damage and exact cause of fire.last_img read more

first_imgAlthough BJP is in the saddle of power at the Centre with a massive majority, three worrying issues are currently being discussed incessantly across the country – the economy, conduct of the media, and EVMs. The tactical silence of BJP on all these issues so far, is, however, bothering even their staunch supporters. The country is waiting to see if Modi would come out with new magic tricks again as is his wont. Modi and BJP used a magic wand of promises in 2014 to mesmerise the entire country and come to power. It was used again in the form of nationalism when their actions in demonetisation etc., caused immense harm to the country. Their hypnotic powers were extensively used to subdue RBI and every other institution. Of late, they have also succeeded in making the Election Commission act like a robot, obeying their commands. So much is their power of magic that people have defied logic. While a bad state of economy implies the end of an incumbent President in the US and elsewhere, the same hasn’t happened in India. Much disillusioned, more people have joined others to vote Modi to power again. Also Read – A staunch allyHowever, now it is time for Modi and Nirmala Sitharaman to take stock of the reality of our country’s economy and use all their magical skills to change things, since it is all authentic. GDP growth has slowed the most in the last five years. Considering the favourable conditions of lower oil prices since they came to power in 2014, 5.8 per cent growth in the last quarter of 2018-19 is far lower in real terms compared to the actual 7.3 per cent in the same period of UPA-II, in 2014. In fact, it has been the slowest in the last 20 quarters. Fearing a negative impact, the unemployment figures were kept hidden for long. Now, the public has come to know that it is around 6 per cent, a distressing high of 45 years. Demonetisation and drying of credit to medium and small enterprises as well as the unorganised sector have immensely contributed to the shrinking of jobs, along with a dip in the self-employment economy. FDI has come down. USA has ejected India from GSP, causing an annual loss of $5.6 billion dollars of exports, adding further to the woes of unemployment. Now, RBI has also come out with the long list of defaulters cheating the country to the tune of over Rs 70,000 crore in the recent past. Further, the average agricultural growth rate of 2.51 per cent from 2014 to 2017 represents a significant dip compared to the average 3.17 per cent growth in the previous decade from 2004 to 2014. In spite of having a good rainfall average in the last five years, farmers’ distress continues, indicating that the fault lies more in the form of market processes. The price support mechanisms for farmers’ produce are thus an area of concern. Do they really have any tricks to change things? Even if they do not, who is bothered? The media only sings of their positives, in unison. Also Read – Cuban pathosLike the judiciary, the independent media is also a pillar of democracy. But, with her/his professional pride being hurt, every conscientious journalist must be sulking at her/his present fate; since it is the publisher who calls the shots. It is rightly said, the freedom of the press is restricted to the pleasure of the publisher. And his pleasure is, in turn, shaped by the government in power. With his hypnotic spell, Modi has made their task much easier. They don’t have to work; don’t have to penetrate and get information; don’t have to expose and analyse. Overwhelmed by powerful scents, their power to scent information is put at rest. They are served information on a platter. Now, it is a blatant ‘His Master’s Voice’. Independent news from them has become a rarity. As a result, their TRPs are going down each day. And, people are browsing social media more often, increasing their TRP, even when the credibility of such news is questionable. In the past, court-poets of kings sang praises of the ruler even if he was a demon; not a word was ever spoken against him. Subsequent generations believed their eulogies to be true, even though untruths were written out of fear or to derive financial benefits. The present media appears to be no different. News, unpalatable to the government, is not reported or is underplayed, as it happened when Pragya eulogised Godse; when the municipal election results of Karnataka and Telangana were not favouring BJP and when ballot papers were used in place of EVMs. Such a result, following a thumping victory in the Lok Sabha elections, was not a surprise to this media for making news. They are so prejudiced in favour of the ruling party that SP and JD(S) have boycotted them. Congress has stopped interacting with them for a month’s period; may even make it permanent. With all this, eyebrows of people are being raised, and questions are cropping up in social media about the results of Lok Sabha elections as to whether EVMs have played their role in BJP’s victory. There have been constant questions on the functioning of EVMs – for their hacking, tampering, pre-fixing through programming. Videos are in circulation showing truckloads of EVMs at certain places which were not properly accounted for. The High Court Bench of Gwalior is seized with the matter of 20 lakh missing EVMs from the source, the details of which were obtained under RTI subsequent to the orders of Bombay High Court. Based on the details obtained from the EC website, Quint magazine has brought out revealing information that in over 370 constituencies that went to polls in the first four phases of the elections, the total votes shown were more than the votes polled; there is a discrepancy of a whopping 58 lakh votes. When they tried to ascertain more details, the information was suddenly removed from the website. Social media is also agog with allegations of pre-fixing of EVMs with a considerable number of votes in favour of BJP. The information being spread is that these EVMs function normally otherwise; but when the final tally is counted, the pre-fixed number would add to it. Such is the software programme that was used. People are reporting that when an entire mohalla had voted against BJP, it was found that all their votes went in favour of BJP in the final counting. Against this backdrop, EC not agreeing with opposition parties to implement the 5 per cent formula of SC for VVPAT use, in letter and spirit, in the counting process, raises further doubts. The demand of opposition parties was to go for the VVPAT counting first before the actual counting takes place so that in case of discrepancies, appropriate remedial action would be taken immediately. Incidents are too many to ignore. People are puzzled; even vocal supporters of BJP are flabbergasted. Initial hush-hush has changed to consternation to anger and to protests. Their voice is rising every day, and the protests are spreading to different places. Justice Kolbe Patil, an ex-judge of High Court, has also begun an agitation. So are some more ex-judges and professors. It looks like, it is turning out to be a nation-wide agitation. National media has the responsibility to unearth the facts to clear people’s doubts. They should have conducted their own journalistic investigations into this pressing issue. But, their silence is very intriguing. In the absence of any such efforts from them, and any authentic rebuttals from the concerned quarters, people tend to believe the stories being circulated on social media. One only wishes that it is all not true, since, if they are true, it is a great fraud on the electorate. It amounts to the criminal offences of cheating, fraud and theft, in addition to the offences under the Representation of People’s Act. The charges being serious, a convincing rebuttal would have served well. But, till now there are no firm denials either by the Election Commission or by BJP and the government. On the contrary, the open protest of one of the members of EC, Ashok Lavasa, for not recording his dissent, compounds doubts further. The government is already grappling with the exposed reality of our economy. But, more importantly, they should convincingly quell doubts in public minds about their alleged magical tricks with EVMs. Otherwise, the protests could snowball into a national movement. If at all it happens, the magic spell of Modi and Shah on domestic media may work for suppressing the news only within the country; but it cannot choke the voice of international media that would sully our image beyond repair. (Dr N Dilip Kumar is a retired IPS officer and a former member of Public Grievances Commission, Delhi. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi: The maximum personal income tax rate in the country should move towards 25 per cent to increase disposable income, thereby boosting demand in the economy, the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) said Wednesday.The industry body, in a statement, said liquidity infusion, job creation and low cost export finance would be crucial at this juncture to revitalise the economy and accelerate it to a higher growth trajectory. The maximum personal income tax rate presently stands at 30 per cent. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documentsThe government must expedite liquidity infusion through gradual reduction in CRR from the current level of 4 per cent to 2 per cent and in SLR from 19 per cent to 15 per cent, PHDCCI President Talwar said. Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) is the portion of the deposits which banks are required to park with the RBI, whereas SLR or Statutory Liquidity Ratio is the portion of funds which banks are required to park in treasury bills and other instruments. Also Read – World suffering ‘synchronized slowdown’, says new IMF chiefWe appreciate the recent cut in repo rate by 25 bps and expect that the repo rate would be reduced by 125 bps gradually from the current level of 5.75 per cent to 4.5 per cent in the coming quarters, Talwar said. The transmission of policy rate cut by the banking sector in terms of reduced lending rates would be crucial to boost liquidity and induce demand in the country, he added. Besides, he said, creation of jobs in the economy would require structural reforms in the labour laws. The low hanging fruit at this juncture is to promote labour intensive manufacturing by enacting law for fixed term employment in all sectors and making the labour laws simpler by converting 44 labour laws into 4 labour codes, Talwar said. In a separate statement, Assocham Deputy Secretary General Col Saurabh Sanyal said labour and land reforms would go a long way in attracting new investment not only from within the country but also overseas. “Given a huge political capital at his command, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be able to bring in these reforms with a wide political support as also goodwill from other key stakeholders. “Such reforms would send a very positive message across the world about India unleashing an investor-friendly regime, making the country the best bet among the emerging markets,” Sanyal said.last_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi: The government Friday reduced interest rate on small savings schemes, including NSC and PPF, by 0.1 per cent for the July-September quarter. The move is aimed at matching the softening of interest rates in the banking sector since the RBI cut its benchmark policy rate thrice during the year. Barring interest on savings deposits, which has been retained at 4 per cent annually, rate on all other schemes has been slashed by 0.1 per cent. “On the basis of the decision of the government, interest rates for small savings schemes are to be notified on a quarterly basis,” the Finance Ministry said while notifying the rates for the second quarter of financial year 2019-20. Public Provident Fund (PPF) and National Savings Certificate (NSC) will fetch annual interest rate of 7.9 per cent from the existing rate of 8 per cent, while Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP) will yield 7.6 per cent with maturity of 113 months.last_img read more

first_imgAgra: Twenty-nine people were killed and 18 injured after a Lucknow-Delhi state-run bus skidded off the Yamuna Expressway and fell into a large drain in Uttar Pradesh in the early hours of Monday, officials said. The accident occurred around 4:30 am in Etmadpur, around 200 km from the national capital, they said.The operation to pull out the mangled remains of the bus from the bottom of the 20-foot-high bridge took several hours, with two excavators and a crane being deployed for the salvage exercise. Also Read – IAF Day: Tributes paid to soldiers killed in line of duty in JammuThe injured have been admitted to different hospitals, including a private health facility, in the district, the officials said. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has formed a committee to probe the reasons behind the accident and directed it to submit a report, Additional Chief Secretary Information, Awanish Awasthi, said. “As per the district magistrate (of Agra) 29 persons have died. The bus fell into a ‘nallah’ (drain),” he said. The Uttar Pradesh Roadways will pay ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased, the officials said. Also Read – Shashi Tharoor writes to PM Modi: Don’t let your ‘mann ki baat’ become ‘maun ki baat'”One sleeper coach passenger bus travelling from Lucknow to Delhi met with an accident on Yamuna Expressway (sic),” the Uttar Pradesh Police said on Twitter. The Janrath bus of the Uttar Pradesh Roadways’ Awadh Depot was going from Lucknow to the national capital’s Anand Vihar ISBT, the officials said. The 165-km six-lane expressway connects Noida with Agra in Uttar Pradesh. The chief minister expressed his condolences and has directed the Agra district magistrate and senior superintendent of police to ensure the injured get proper medical treatment, the officials said.last_img read more