Kendriya Vidyalay: Parents left in lurch as KVs reduce seats


Parents left in lurch as KVs reduce seats

Move to Keep Optimal Student-Teacher Ratio

Karthika Gopalakrishnan | TNN

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Chennai: Parents seeking to admit their children in Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) will have to brace themselves for competition. The authorities have been forced to restrict their intake for each class thanks to a new ceiling fixed by the government due to a change in the admission guidelines this year.

“The intake has been fixed at 35 students for each section in the primary classes, 40 in the secondary sections and 45 in the senior secondary sections.

This is a common policy which has been decided upon by the board of governors for all 989 KVs in the country and three KVs abroad. We have not been given the exact reason for this but it may have something to do with the recommendations in the National Curriculum Framework, 2005, asking for an optimal student-teacher ratio to achieve better results,” said E Prabhakar, assistant commissioner, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Chennai region.
Officials said it was easier to get admission in Class I at a KV than lateral entry.

However, this proved more difficult than usual this year with schools given only 20 seats per section in Class I; they were given 35 last year. A total of 15 seats were reserved for admission under the special provisions quota on a first-comefirst-served basis. This applies to children of Members of Parliam e n t , central government employees who die in harness and recipients of gallantry awards such as the Param Vir Chakra.

According to a parent who had succeeded in getting admission for his child at a KV in the city, there were several deserving candidates on the waiting list. “I met a person hailing from Kerala who had fought in the Kargil war and was having difficulty getting admission for his child. Even when I kept calling the authorities, they said several category-I employees (transferable employees of the Central government), who are given first preference, remained on the waiting list because of the reduction in the number of seats,” he said.

E Prabhakar pointed out that when choosing seats among category-I employees, preference would be given to those who had had more transfers.

However, another parent contended that employees from local government offices such as the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) had shown a movement within city offices as a transfer. This gave them an unfair advantage over those who had gotten an actual transfer from one district to another, he added.

However, authorities said they were doing the best they could as there were only a limited number of seats available. “Since admissions go on till July 31, we have instructed parents to be in constant touch with the principal of the school concerned,” said Prabhakar.
karthika.gopalakrishnan@timesgroup.com

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Election 09: Jokers, cheats, imposters



Man climbs tree for a Congress ticket to contest

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By Kay Benedict in New Delhi

DRAMA in the amphitheatre of the Indian political scene is far from rare. Every few days, there are speeches, fights and claims of friendship to keep the avid election- watcher entertained.

The latest to jump onto the bandwagon of the theatre of the absurd is 50- year- old Prempal Singh.

On Saturday, a little after Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan completed the party’s daily briefing at the All- India Congress Committee ( AICC) headquarters, there was a flashback of a scene from 1970s blockbuster Sholay . A la Dharmendra — who played a character who threatened to jump off a tower if he was not allowed to marry his lady love — Singh was perched atop a 30- ft high tree, refusing to disembark unless he was given a ticket to contest from Hatharas in Uttar Pradesh.

The bare- chested ex- MLA was clad in a white dhoti and sported a Gandhi cap. From his green perch, he threw a bunch of his bio- data to the eagerly waiting throng of television and print journalists. According to Singh’s biodata, he was a legislator from Uttar Pradesh’s Jalesar during 1985- 1989.

He was keen to contest the Lok Sabha election from Hatharas constituency, which is reserved for Scheduled Castes.

His friend Mohammed Mansur Alam said his name had been earlier cleared for Hatharas but later, an outsider was allotted the ticket.

While the crowd below urged him to descend, he nonchalantly gave bytes to television crew, some of whom had also managed to climb up the tree along with their video cameras and equipment.

Those who had to enjoy the action from below seemed to be ruing their poor fitness level and their inability to give Singh company.

One national English channel went to the ludicrous extent of asking its bulky correspondent to climb the tree to do a “ phone- in” with the man on top! From the tree top, he raised slogans hailing Sonia Gandhi, Rahul, and Priyanka.

In his elements, Singh raised slogans against Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for calling the Congress “ a budhia ( old woman)” and challenged him to climb the tree to prove his youthfulness.

Once he came down, the police took him into custody.

But anyone who thought Singh was serious about threatening to jump off was clearly mistaken.

Mentioned in the bio- data under the header ‘ Notable Actions’ in his resume he proudly mentioned his earlier “ heroic deeds”. He has a) Climbed a tree in front of 10, Janpath and remained there for eight hours trying to persuade Sonia Gandhi to become prime minister in 2004. He hadn’t mentioned what brought him down on the occasion.

b) Jumped into the Lok Sabha from the visitors’ gallery to protest against Mayawati’s abusive language.

Andhra Pradesh

Netas girdle up for rigging

Koride Mahesh | TNN


Hyderabad: It happens only in India. A six-year-old boy cast a vote at a polling booth in Engine Bowli in the Old City in the 2004 assembly elections. Similarly, a burqa-clad ‘person’ voted 17 times at a polling booth at Yakutpura, each time wiping clean the indelible ink mark with a chemical solution.

Though the polling staff knew, they could do nothing. “A political party brought the boy to cast a vote, but agents of other parties did not object. So, we could not do anything,” an official, who was manning the polling booth then, told TOI.
This is a regular occurrence at around 200 polling booths in the city. Most of them are located in the Yakutpura, Charminar, Chandrayangutta, Karwan, Nampally and Malakpet assembly constituencies. Interestingly, there are some polling booths in the upmarket Jubilee Hills constituency too.

With the polling day nearing, some candidates in the city are preparing for ‘cycling’ (a person voting more than once) and ‘rigging’ in polling booths.

The candidates engage some people in each polling booth to cast as many votes as they can. This is possible by removing the voting ink put on their finger after casting their vote. The ink, made of silver nitrate by mixing some other chemicals, dyes and aromatic materials, is generally removed by using acetonebased chemicals and hair oil.

“Bogus voters who resort to such practices first dip their finger in hair oil or acetone based nail polish remover or the liquid supplied with whitener before getting into a polling booth. After the ink is applied in the polling booth, they come out and remove it following the same method,” an officer said.

K Sowmya of National Election Watch, an NGO, AP chapter, said, “It was observed that those who resort to such malpractices, remove the voting ink within a few seconds after it is applied.”
Another organisation ‘Ennikala Nigha Vedika’ (Election Watch AP) brought this problem to the notice of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) I V Subba Rao a few days ago.

“This time the polling officers have been asked to put the ink half on the nail and half on the skin so that erasing the ink mark is not easy,” M Veda Kumar, state convenor of Election Watch AP told TOI.

“Several mistakes in the voter’s list and EPICs, and missing images in the list help parties to bring bogus voters on the polling day,” a former corporator of the city said.

Rigging normally takes place between 7 am and 9 am, and between 3 pm and 5 pm, an official who worked as presiding officer in Hyderabad said. Interestingly, agents of rival political parties are also managed by the dominant political party in the area. “Either they manage polling agents of other parties at the booths or they threaten them. The agents keep quiet and the officials do not react unless there is objection from the agents,” a RO said. There are 212 such polling stations in 15 assembly constituencies in the city. Of them, nearly 190 are in the Old City alone.
VULNERABLE SPOTS
KARWAN
Booths include Subzimandi, Balappa Doddi, Mochivadi, Prasanthnagar, Pensionpura, Langer Houz, MD Lines, Moghalgunj and Risala Bazar.
CHARMINAR
Sultan Shahi, Bidi Bazar, Talab Meer Jumla, Gowlipura, Moghalpura, Meta Ki Khidki and Darulshifa.
CHANDRAYANGUTTA
Uppuguda, Talla Kunta, Jangamet and Riyasatgar.
SECUNDERABAD
Chinta Bavi, Manikeshwarinagr (polling booths 182 and 183), Tukaramgate and Addagutta.

OH Calcutta

Trees scarred in campaign flurry

Arpit Basu | TNN

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Kolkata: Political leaders are good at advocating environmental causes. But when the time comes to act, they are the first to destroy the environment. For, despite a Supreme Court ruling that bans hoardings on trees, parties have blatantly flouted that and pinned posters on several tree trunks across the city.

When a TOI team visited Harish Mukherjee Road on Tuesday, it found that most trees along its eastern pavement, from Harish Park to Muktadal, had hoardings pinned on their trunks. Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s house is just a few metres from the spot.

The team then headed for Pyari Mohan Ray Road and found that Trinamool activists had pinned large flex-boards on the trunks of at least 20 trees lining the pavement. Most boards carried photographs of Mamata Banerjee.

“Leaders should understand that in an age of global warming, trees are more essential than political campaigns. Such practices will severely affect trees and, in turn, make the human species extinct,” said Ravi Menon, a veteran green activist.

Though hoardings on Harish Mukherjee Road clearly stated that they were sponsored by the local ward committee, the local councillor was not aware that they were pinned on trees in violation of a Supreme Court order. “Did our men pin the hoardings on the trunks of trees? I have to check that out,” said local councillor Ratan Malakar.

Firhad Hakim, the local Trinamool councillor of Pyari Mohan Roy Road, looked a bit more active. “I know the Supreme Court verdict has been flouted. It was a mistake and we have to rectify it,” he said, claiming that he had already asked his partymen to remove all hoardings pinned on trees. These should be tied to lamp posts instead, Hakim had directed.

Joydeep Kundu, another green activist, was not happy with the councillor’s stand. “At a time when the Trinamool leader is raising questions on how safe the environment would be after the chemical hub, how can her party supporters flout a Supreme Court order and pin hoardings on trees?” he wondered.


RTI:Bangalore activist was murdered


Autopsy Exposes Cops’ False Story

TIMES NEWS NETWORK


Bangalore: In a twist to the tale of RTI activist Venkatesh’s death, the postmortem report has contradicted the police’s claim that he died in an accident.

The body of Venkatesh, 49, was found on Nagarabhavi Main Road on Monday night. The autopsy reveals it was murder. The deceased was instrumental in BDA’s recovery of encroached land worth over Rs 30 crore. Jnanabharati police, after inspecting the body and spot, had concluded the death was due to a road accident.

There were said to be cut injuries on the neck and the case was transferred to Kamakshipalya police station, with recommendation to register a case of accident. The postmortem report released on Thursday revealed Venkatesh was hit with a blunt weapon on the head before being assaulted on the neck with a sharp one.

HE HAD MANY ENEMIES
As an RTI activist, Venkatesh had developed enmity with many people. Police said he was building a house in Nagarabhavi, behind the house of a water supply businessman. The land that BDA recovered is said to have been encroached upon by this man’s brother.

Moreover, Venkatesh had quarrelled with his brothers and moved to his inlaws’ place, sources said. He exposed many misdeeds in the area, earning the wrath of the land mafia.

Additional commissioner of police (law and order) M R Pujar said the issue has not come to his notice. “I will look into it and if the post-mortem report says it is murder, we will register a fresh case and investigate.”

Green activist beaten up for taking photos

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

Pune: Senior environmentalist and writer Shyam Chainani of Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG) was allegedly beaten up at Koregaon Park while taking photographs for a heritage book on Pune and other Indian cities.

S i x t y – s i x – ye a r- o l d Chainani, a founder of BEAG, was a part of the Pune Municipal Corporation’s environmental conservation committee. He was in Pune to visit certain officials associated with heritage structures. He has written a book titled ‘Heritage & Environment – An Indian Diary’.

Narrating the incident, Chainani said, “I visited a few officers and environmentalists in Pune for this project. I was taking pictures in Koregaon Park for the book, when two security guards from a nearby bungalow walked towards me and tried to stop me from taking pictures.”

“I protested, saying that I was taking photographs at a public place. More persons joined in. They snatched my camera and took away the roll. Then, they threw my camera on the road. They did not stop at that. They even took out another camera which was kept in my car and tried to damage it,” he said.

Chainani could not file a police complaint. “I had to leave for Mumbai due to some urgent work so could not lodge a complaint. But, I will send a letter from Mumbai to the authorities concerned,” he said.

Senior Supreme Court advocate from Pune, N P Bhog, who is an associate of BEAG said, “Non-governmental organisations in Pune will take up the matter with the police commissioner soon.”

Chainani was taking the photographs for a book

RTI:PIO obliged to give information only within RTI purview


PIO obliged to give information

only within RTI purview, says GIC

Rahul Mangaonkar | TNN


Ahmedabad: It is the golden era of right to information.

Earlier, even simple demands of citizens for information and accountability in functioning of government functionaries would fall on deaf ears. Now, thanks to the Right to Information (RTI) Act, citizens have started demanding things beyond its purview and public authorities are still being responsive in order to redress grievances.

Earlier, a demand such as ‘remove unauthorised constructions and inform me about the details when it’s done’, made in this case by Saijpur Bogha’s Mah e s h ch a n d r a Waghela, would have simply been trashed by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).
However, since Waghela had made his application under RTI, not only was his demand entertained to the extent to explaining to him why it could not be done by the public information officer (PIO) of AMC, even its appellate authority ordered a site inspection and report.

Gujarat Information Commission though is not amused. It ruled that that Waghela’s demand for removal of unauthorised construction is not within the purview of definition of ‘information’ given under RTI. Waghela had made a demand which neither the PIO, nor the appellate authority, nor the GIC has the competence and jurisdiction to do under RTI.

While adding that there is no authority under any functionary in RTI to order for removal of any unauthorised construction or encroachment, GIC said that at best Waghela could seek a copy of the notice given for removal of unauthorised construction, copy of the proceedings, file notings on the matter.

GIC noted that AMC’s PIO should have simply informed Waghela that his demand does not fall under the purview of RTI. But with a view to enable public authority to take a proper and correct decision which could be legally sustained, the PIO had given some information.

It also noted that the appellate authority’s ordering the PIO to verify the site and submit a report was not necessary for the proceedings under RTI.

It was though clarified before GIC that it was done with a view to redress Waghela’s grievances and at the same time for the requirements under other laws and rules.

Indian techie in US shoots family, self


Indian techie in US shoots family, self

1 Apr 2009, 0330 hrs IST, TNN
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WASHINGTON/KOCHI: It is the heartland of every Indian techie’s gilded dreams. A bloodbath on Sunday evening has momentarily turned it into a

Devarajan with his family

Devarajan with his wife and children. (TOI Photo)

nightmare neighborhood. ( Watch )

A 42-year old Indian techie went on an apparent murder-suicide rampage in the heart of Silicon Valley on Sunday night, shooting dead his two school-going children and a family of three relatives visiting from India, before turning the gun on himself.

Police said a woman in her mid-30s who appears to have been his wife survived the rampage and stumbled outside the house in an upscale Santa Clara neighborhood with multiple gunshot wounds. She is in hospital and listed in a critical condition.

Details are sketchy pending investigation, but reports named the shooter as Devarajan Raghavan from Wynad region in the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border, and his victims as his wife Aabha (who survived), their two school going children Akhil (11) and Ahaana (4), his brother-in-law Ashokan, Appu his wife Suchitra, and their new-born child Neha.

Devarajan was said to be an engineer at the Silicon Valley tech major Yahoo and had worked with Microsoft before that in course of his 15 years in the United States. Ashokan had recently located to the US after working with Hewlett-Packard in Bangalore.

Police are investigating the motive behind the apparent suicide-murder, but one officer was quoted by a local television station as saying financial troubles did not seem to be the reason.

Police did not release the names of people in the incident or details pending notification of families. A news conference by Santa Clara police is expected at 3pm PST.

The shooting recalled a similar rampage by Los Angeles-resident Karthik Rajaram, a financial advisor of Indian-origin who killed his family of five before he turned the gun on himself last October, reportedly because of financial troubles.

Despite the economic downturn across the US and falling home price values there have been no reports of any large scale despair-killing in Silicon Valley, which is still regarded as the hub of innovation and enterprise in the United States. The one exception was an incident last fall when Jing Hua Wu, an engineer of Chinese-origin, shot dead three of his colleagues at chip-maker Si-port after he had been fired from his job. His victims included Si-port’s Indian-American CEO Sid Agrawal.

Rivermark, the neighborhood in the township of Santa Clara where the latest rampage took place, is a typically quiet, upscale locality where most people work in the technology field. Sun Microsystems and Intel are among the storied companies nearby are nearby and many Indian families live in the neighborhood.

“It’s such a quiet neighborhood. I don’t even hear anybody speaking in a loud voice,” the local San Jose Mercury News quoted Amit Sinha, a software engineer, as saying after Devarajan’s alleged killing spree. “And then there are 20 police with semi-automatic guns.”

In fact, crime is so low in Rivermark that local resident disbanded a citizens’ crime watch group because the only problem was children jumping over neighbors’ fences.

Devarajan had reportedly moved into the neighborhood only a week back, renting the new house. Some reports said the family had gathered there for a house warming. Devarajan’s children had just been enrolled in a nearby private school, which would suggest his financial situation may not have been dire.

Police told the local media they found two handguns in the house, and investigations were underway to determine if they were the weapons used in the rampage. A news release by the Santa Clara Police Department said as follows: On Sunday, March 29th, at 8:30 PM, Santa Clara Police and Fire Department personnel responded to the report of an injured person in front of a town home in the 4300 block of Headen Way. The arriving officers determined the injured person, and adult female, had been shot and that there were several additional victims inside the home.

Officers quickly evacuated the adult woman and an 11 month-old girl, who were rushed to a local hospital. The child has since passed away, but the woman is still alive in critical condition. She is being treated for multiple gunshot wounds.

Four additional shooting victims were pronounced dead at the scene. They include 2 children, an 11-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, and 2 adults, a 35 year-old male and 25 year-old-woman. The suspected gunman was also pronounced dead at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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