‘Heavy Fine Is Must To Discipline Errant Drivers’

Nitish, 41, is a technology professional in Delhi-NCR, says Indian roads are full of negligent, rash drivers who put lives of other law-abiding road users at risk. Heavy penalities are a must to keep them in check

I live in Indirapuram and travel to Noida for work every day. On an average I commute about 50 kms each day. I have to navigate through a sea of vehicles on the road and be on high-alert while driving. But no matter how careful you are, you cannot rule out chances of an accident. There are many negligent, rash drivers on the road who put the life of several law abiding drivers at risk. The amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act will hopefully keep such irresponsible people in check.  

The heavy penalties will act as a deterrent for the errant drivers, who do not respect other drivers or pedestrians. With these penalties, people will start taking traffic rules seriously. Earlier, the rich car owners would often be let off after shelling out ₹500. But now if the fine for an offence is ₹10, 000, then people would be careful. Penalising the parents of minors is also a welcome step. 

Under the new Act, the government has agreed to regulate the activities of taxi aggregators like Uber and Ola. Cab services have become as important for city-based population as is the telecommunication network. So if the telecom sector can have regulating bodies like Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the transport sector needs a regulatory body too. Cases of exorbitant surge-pricing, extra charge on rebooking after cancellation, random cancellation by drivers etc., and many such exploitative practices need to be kept in check by the government. 

The Centre can now formulate a broad guiding policy, while each state will have to figure out the nitty-gritties and the specific requirements and make the resultant policies on their own. The cab fare passenger safety would be directly under the government’s supervision. 

With the passing of this new Act, I hope that the roads become safer. Cases of road rage, rash driving are likely to go down. People will learn to drive more responsibly.


5-Judge SC Bench To Hear Pleas On Art 370

A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court will commence from October 1 onwards the hearing on a number of petitions challenging abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

The constitution bench will be headed by Justice N V Ramana and comprise of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi is already hearing a batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of the provisions under Article 370 which conferred special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The matter is slated for hearing on September 30.

Last month, the central government had abrogated the Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution of India and the Parliament had passed the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganization) Act, 2019, bifurcating the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir with legislature and Ladakh without one.

Following this, a batch of petitions was filed in the top court challenging the move. (ANI)


3 Terrorists Killed, Hostage Saved In J&K

Security forces on Saturday shot dead three terrorists who were holding hostage a civilian inside a house in Batote town of Ramban district in Jammu. The hostage was rescued safely.

One Army personnel was killed in the joint operation conducted by Army, Jammu and Kashmir police and CRPF officials in the Jammu-Srinagar Highway town.

Two Army personnel and one official from the Jammu and Kashmir police also sustained injuries in the encounter with the terrorists, which had been going on since the morning.

“Three terrorists have been killed. The hostage has been rescued. Two police officials sustained bullet injuries and an Army personnel died. Operation is over now. They are the same terrorists who were seen in the morning,” Jammu Inspector General of Police (IG) Mukesh Singh told ANI.

Three terrorists entered a house in Batote in the morning while attempting to flee the security forces after engaging in a gunfight with them.

The encounter started after two of three terrorists tried to stop a civilian vehicle at Batote on the National Highway (NH) 244 but the owner did not stop the vehicle and informed the Army Quick Reaction Team (QRT).

The Public Relations Officer (PRO), Defence, Jammu said: “The QRT reacted promptly, established contact with the two individuals and an exchange of fire took place.”

Joint parties of Police, Army, and CRPF cordoned the area and exchange of fire ensued during which terrorists took shelter in a house.

“We got the information that terrorists have held a civilian hostage. We attempted to persuade terrorists to surrender. They refused to surrender even though they initially said they would. Their motive was to delay. SSP Ramban gave them a final warning to surrender and later we took action. It was a neat and clean action. Three terrorists have been eliminated and the hostage has been rescued,” Deputy Inspector General, CRPF PC Jha said.

Earlier, Army had the information of “possibly” five terrorists inside the house where they had taken a local resident hostage.

“One Mr Vijay (also known as Vijay Tailor) is a hostage in the house where the terrorists are holed up. The complex has an electronics shop in the front and house towards the rear. Vijay is the owner. Possibly five terrorists inside the house. They have so far refused to surrender. Exchange of firing is going on,” Army said in a statement earlier.

Two AK rifles and one pistol were recovered from the possession of terrorists. (ANI)


Afghans Cast Vote Despite Taliban Threat

Amid the threat of Taliban, millions of Afghans including several prominent leaders came out to vote in the country’s third presidential election on Saturday, despite skepticism about transparency and Taliban threat.

The incumbent President Ashraf Ghani who is seeking re-election was quoted as saying, “I thank all Afghans for their commitment to democracy and to a prosperous and sovereign Afghanistan. Participation in the elections indicates a commitment to the Constitution of Afghanistan. Elections determine the continuation of the democratic system in Afghanistan.”

The Afghanistan President made the remarks after casting his vote in Amani High School in Kabul.

Paying tributes to Afghan National Security and Defence Forces, the President said, “Afghan security forces are our pride and they have shown their commitment to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.” He also thanked women for their participation in the elections.

“Our plan for peace is ready, at the moment we are awaiting the verdict of the nation,” said Ghani.

Several other leaders including Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and Ghani’s Second Vice President Danish called on people to vote in large numbers.

Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) chief Zuhra Bayan Shinwari was quoted as saying that this was a “historic day for day for Afghanistan and our people.”

Several thousand Afghani Forces have been deployed across the country to provide security. The tight security is to counter possible threats by militants who have vowed to disrupt the poll process.

Earlier in the day, a blast had hit a polling centre in southern Khandahar city.

Almost 9.6 million people had registered to vote in the election, according to Independent Election Commission.

The road to the polls has been anything but certain, as a series of talks between the United States and the Taliban in the Qatari capital, Doha, threatened to derail the entire process, reported Al Jazeera.

The constant questioning of the polls continued until US President Donald Trump sent out a series of angry tweets declaring the talks dead after a Taliban-claimed bombing that resulted in deaths of at least 14 Afghan civilians and a US soldier.

Those tweets came just 20 days before the Afghan election.

The New York Times reported that preliminary results of the elections are not expected to be announced until October 17 and final results until November 7.

Afghanistan’s last presidential election, in 2014, was so stained by corruption, squabbling and fraud complaints that then-Secretary of State John Kerry stepped in to mediate a strained political marriage between the two top candidates, Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah — the leading candidates in this vote, as well.

Last October, parliamentary elections descended into chaos amid shouting matches and cries of ballot-stuffing and political payoffs. (ANI)


Modi At UNGA: India For Peace, Not War

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that India has given the world “budh and not yudh (war)” and his government’s work in the past five years in areas such as sanitation, health and banking has given an inspiring message to the world.

Without naming Pakistan, PM Modi referred to India facing terrorism and said it’s cautioning the world against the menace reflects both “seriousness and anger” and the entire humanity needs to get united on the issue.

In his much-awaited address to the United Nations General Assembly, Modi spoke of the need to give new direction and new power to multilateralism and the UN.

Modi, who received applause during his speech, said India has made the biggest sacrifices in United Nations peacekeeping and being divided on terror undermines principles on which the United Nations was created.

“We belong to a country which has given the world Lord Budha and not war, given a message of peace and hence our voice to alert the world against terrorism has seriousness and anger. A world divided on terror damages the basis on which the UN was created. And hence I consider it essential for the world to be united against terrorism,” he said.

The Prime Minister spoke of how a developing country like India was seeking to transform the lives of its people, saying that its efforts will benefit the entire humanity.

Modi said he was re-elected with greater mandate in the world’s biggest election in the world’s biggest democracy.

“When a developing country successfully completes the world’s biggest sanitation programme and 11 crore toilets are built in five years, all the systems attached with it give an inspiring message to the world,” Modi said.

“When a developing country successfully runs the world’s biggest health insurance scheme and provides the facility of free treatment of Rs 5 lakh to 50 crore people, then the caring systems created to give a new direction to the world.

“When a developing country runs the biggest financial inclusion programme and opens 37 crore accounts of the poorest, it creates confidence among the poor throughout the world,” he said.

Referring to the slogan against the use of single-use plastic on a wall of the UN, the prime minister said the country has started a big campaign against single-use plastic.

“We belong to a country which has given the world Lord Budha and not war, given a message of peace and hence our voice to alert the world against terrorism has seriousness and anger. The world divided on terror damages the basis on which the UN was created. And hence I consider it essential for the world to be united against terrorism,” he said

Modi said India was an old and rich civilisation which has living traditions and which reflects the dreams of the world.

“Our traditions, our culture sees jeev me Shiv (Lord Shiva in every human being),” he said.

He asserted that India believes in public welfare through public participation and that’s why India’s inspiration was “sabka saath, sabka vikas and sabka vishwas (taking everyone along, development of all and trust of everyone),” adding that the slogan was not limited to the boundaries of India.

“The hard work is not pity, or showmanship, it is inspired by sense of duty,” he said.

Modi said the efforts are being made with focus on 130 citizens of India but the dreams they reflect are of entire humanity, all societies.

“The efforts are ours but the results are for all, for the entire world,” he said.

He said India has over the past five years strengthened the feeling of global bonding and this was also the aim of United Nations.

Modi said India has very less per capita emissions but was in the forefront of steps to tackle global warming.

The Prime Minister said when India will celebrate 75th year of its independence, two crore houses will be built for the poor.

Modi said when Swami Vivekananda addressed the World Parliament of Religions he stressed on harmony and peace and not dissension. (ANI)


Dr Kafeel Cleared Of Kids' Death Charge

Dr Kafeel Khan, who was suspended from Gorakhpur’s BRD Medical College two years ago, has been cleared of charges of medical negligence, corruption and not performing his duty in the 2017 Gorakhpur children death case.

More than 60 children admitted at the hospital had lost their lives due to oxygen shortage in 2017.

The departmental enquiry report was handed over to Dr Kafeel by the medical college administration on Thursday.

“The allegations against the accused are insufficient… Therefore it is submitted that the accused officer is not guilty,” the report stated.

Khan, who was then posted with paediatrics department, was suspended from service on August 22, 2017, following the deaths of about 60 infants in the hospital due to lack of oxygen, after oxygen suppliers cut off supply due to non-payment of dues by the hospital.

He was later booked and arrested on charges of negligent in his duties resulting in a shortage of medical oxygen, culpable homicide, criminal breach of trust and not performing his duty in 2017. The doctor spent nine months in jail. He later secured bail from a court but continues to be suspended from the medical college.

An FIR was registered against Khan under charges of attempt to commit culpable homicide, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy. The additional charges of corruption and private practice have already been dropped during the investigation for lack of evidence.

Khan had claimed that he was made a scapegoat in BRD Medical College oxygen tragedy and demanded a CBI investigation. (ANI)


NRC Fears Drive Crowds To Bengal Offices

Even after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement clarifying that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will not be implemented in the state, people on Friday were seen standing anxiously in long queues inside the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) headquarters to collect important documents.

Hailing from South 24 Parganas district, Nazra Begum has been paying visits to the office for the past four days to get her daughter’s birth certificate.

Speaking to ANI, she said, “I am coming here regularly since last Monday to get my daughter’s birth certificate. I am really tensed because of all the talk around NRC. I have never visited a KMC office in my life but I am here to arrange all the important documents so that in future, no one from my family is left out.”

Farhat Zabina, a resident of Central Kolkata’s Rippon Street, was waiting in a queue to get her father’s death certificate.

“I am here for my father’s death certificate. I have been waiting since early morning. With all the rumours surrounding NRC, it is better to get all the proper documents,” Zabina said.

One of the KMC officials, Sahab Deb, said that it was becoming a big challenge to handle the increasing number of people inside the office.

“It is routine work but with the kind of crowd we are witnessing these days, it is becoming quite difficult for us to cope up with the work,” Deb said.

However, another official, SS Mukherjee, asserted that the large queues were not unusual and refused to connect them with the ongoing talks surrounding NRC.

“It is routine work, it’s not related to NRC. From January to December, we see such queues,” Mukherjee said. (ANI)