President & Group Managing Director: Dr.Shelly Ahmed | Editor in Chief & CEO: M H Ahssan
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Tripura. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Tripura. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, April 27, 2013

TERROR HAVEN: THE NASTY AND THE NORTHEAST

By M H Ahssan / Shillong

Manir Khan's 'operational area' was Assam. The sub-inspector with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence had executed two 'assignments' in the state. But he was third time unlucky, as Indian sleuths nabbed him from west Tripura in July 2010. 

Khan told interrogators that his duty was to ferry back “quality information” for better “tactical appreciation” of cross-national issues to his masters in Pakistan. In his initial visits, Khan had carried out “feasibility recces” of the Tripura corridor connecting Bangladesh-Tripura and Assam, says an interrogation report. 

Monday, April 07, 2014

World’s Largest Democratic Excercise As Voting Begins In Assam, Tripura - Technical Snag In EVMs Hamper Voting

INNLIVE | Election Bureau

People queued up at polling booths in Assam's five constituencies as balloting began in the first phase of the Lok Sabha election Monday. The state recorded 12 percent voting in the first two hours, officials said here. 

The polling started at 7 am in most of the polling stations, barring a few polling booths under Kaliabor and Tezpur Lok Sabha constituencies where the process was delayed due to some technical snags in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). People were seen queuing up at most of the 8,588 polling booths since early hours in the morning. 

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

SUMMER VISIT, AT INDIA’S UNKNOWN 'LAKE PALACE'

By M H Ahssan / Agartala

A blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture, Neermahal gets to see over three lakh people every year. Somen Sengupta visits Tripura’s now endangered lake palace to tell us more about it.

In India there are only two lake palaces which, by their size, shape and history, can make your jaw drop in awe. The first one is the well-known lake palace of Udaipur, which has now been converted into a luxury hotel. While many people would easily tell you about the Rajasthan lake palace, the one which remains lost in our collective consciousness is Tripura’s Neermahal. Thankfully, I saw this palace for the first time in a poster of Tripura tourism at Calcutta Airport. Captivated by its majestic presence over a huge water body, I got excited to explore this place.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

FROG WEDDING TO APPEASE 'RAIN GOD' IN NORTHEAST INDIA

By CJ Sandeep Hazarika in Itanagar

In a ritual to appease the rain god, villagers in Tripura and Assam married off frogs hoping that it would end their sufferings arising out of a protracted dry spell in India’s northeastern region. Frog weddings are traditionally performed in northeastern India during drought-like situations before the onset of monsoon. “It is believed that the rain god is pleased when a frog wedding is performed. Since there has been no rain for the past couple of months, we have conducted a frog wedding to appease ‘Barun Devata’ (rain god),” said Sandhya Chakraborty, a resident of Fatikroy village, 115 km north of here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Focus: 'Mizoram Tiger Reserve' Sensitive To Camera Traps

For a primer on the complexities of wildlife conservation in India's North East, head to Dampa Tiger Reserve.

Along the length of Mizoram’s border with Bangladesh lies the Dampa tiger reserve, sprawled across 1,000 sq km. This tropical forest stretching over hills and valleys has few – if any – tigers and leopards. But there are large numbers of smaller mammals – martens, civets, clouded leopards, binturungs, golden cats, marbled cats, leopard cats, and vulnerable species like the Malayan Sun bear.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal 100 Times Richer Than Manik Sarkar - The Tripura's Poorest Chief Minister In India

By Arvind Kumar | Delhi

Barely a few minutes after Arvind Kejriwal has taken over the mantle of the Chief Minister of Delhi, he may soon find himself enlisted among the former Chief Ministers of Delhi whose worth run in crores. An interesting fact about the Kejriwal couple is that they combined own assets worth Rs. 2.10 crores.

As per information furnished by the AAP chief to the Election Commission, Arvind Kejriwal had declared Rs. 2 crore worth of moveable and immovable assets, including those of his wife, according to an affidavit filed by him. Kejriwal filed his nomination papers from the New Delhi assembly constituency for the Dec 4 elections.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

How they fool us, the outraged

As long as we engender a society that allow law enforcers to get away with their own crimes, law breakers will only be emboldened. We must make Police Complaints Authorities around the country meaningful.


Outrage is a good thing, when it is against injustice. It shows that society does have a line it does not want crossed. It also puts pressure on the system to respond. Here's the problem with it though, it tends to ignore what is already unclear. No new clarity emerges from either the outrage or the response. Media coverage of outrage does not help with clarity either, unless the media is looking deeper.

So it will be with the entire rape debate in India. In fact even before public fury over the Delhi gang-rape has quietened, as it inevitably will, media has already started breaking more rape stories from around the country. More accountability will be demanded, as will the death penalty.

Yet, if there is one government authority that is laughing all the way to the bank, it's India's police. Here is why.

The Delhi HC has reportedly asked the local police to show it the chargesheet before initiating proceedings in the gang-rape. Why would a High Court do that? Chalk it up to experience. For years the accused in rape cases have not been sincerely prosecuted, and people have been let go with lesser charges or sentencing than was to fit the crime. The Delhi Police has a particularly soiled reputation already, and responding to this week's outrage as it were, the High Court stepped up the ante.

If a High Court in the capital territory of the nation does not trust the police's due process, what does that tell you? Let me come back to this question in a different way.

Each day in India, in buses, trains and crowed public places, women are groped, fondled, teased and made the subject of lewd remarks. Eve teasing is so common, women have simply resigned themselves to it. Women just try to avoid being in situations where they will be groped. They do not hope for much else. They do not bother going to the police. Such is the reputation our police have in handing their cases.

The police need to first accept complaints from women. Instead, as is widespread in India, they dilute complaints, humiliate the victims, and eject them from the stations. Their starting point is a judgement of the victim. And much of the problem lies here. When it comes to women, most policemen are part of the original problem. Sexual harassment of any kind - the most violent kind or a lesser kind - is about the power that one sex wants to show it can wield over the other. Usually it's men over women.

Still, the outrage in the nation is missing what the police and the governments are hoping will not come up.

Police Complaints Authorities
In 2006, the Supreme Court ordered the state governments to create one PCA per district in every state and a PCA at the state level headed by a retired judge. Human Rights groups called it landmark order. The apex court of the nation wanted PCAs to look into complaints citizens had against police misconduct or abuse of power. It could be everything from custodial torture or death or rape to not accepting FIRs to falsifying evidence.

The SC had wanted policemen to be penalised for not doing their job. It also wanted to reduce government-interference in police transfers. It wanted PCAs to act against errant officers after hearings and investigations.

Imagine this: The Supreme Court of this nation believes, that unless there was an authority to check the police, India's police would not serve its taxpayers. It would continue to operate to 'control' and 'keep order', for its political masters at state and centre, the way the British had setup the system.

Just from the woman's point of view, here is how PCAs with teeth, had they come into force, would have made an impact in bringing down rape and crimes of lesser nature. Women today would be able to file complaints against police officials with the PCA when they do not act in fairness with them at a police station. They would able to walk into police stations with dignity after a crime to get protection, not further abuse.

If errant officers were penalised quickly, police would not themselves not behave with the kind of impunity they do now.
Yet, the majority of India's states have ignored the SC's order. Only six states setup so-called "PCAs" and mostly toothless ones, and with shady appointments that violated the principle of independence the SC wanted. Delhi set up its public grievance commission as its PCA, precisely what the SC did not order. India Together reported on all this in August 2012, as a review on whether states had complied with the SC's order. In the few states with PCAs, police officers ignore hearings and go about their business as usual. State governments themselves do not follow their own PCA verdicts to act against abusive officials. Television media have mostly let this story go.

Have you even once heard of action against police official for not investigating a complaint by a woman? Are the police who mangle charge sheets, FIRs,and file false charges every prosecuted? 

In the meantime, thousands of men freely roam around the country to grope and molest women at will in public places. It takes a lot of force and pressure to get a complaint registered, even with witnesses. It is no one's case that PCAs will fix all our problems. There is much else in our society's attitude to women itself that needs attention.

But if police do not act on the most basic violations, it is a free ride for men. It sends a message of what the real social rules in the country are, not the ones on the books. The culprits feel that it is a natural order for them to be able to do what they want and get away with it. And if PCAs with teeth kept a watch on the police, it would send out the opposite message that as a society we will uphold the dignity of our women.

I do not buy the death penalty argument. From outrage to revenge is a short hop. You can sentence as many losers as you can to the gallows. More will appear, especially from amongst those who have little to lose, with a very low sense of self-worth and self-esteem.

As long as we engender a society that allow law enforcers to get away with their own crimes, law breakers will only be emboldened. This is why corruption is such a problem in this country. Like our other authorities, our police system does not have an integrity of its own to justify doing the right thing, or to remedy a wrong done to restore public faith. The PCAs will not fix all the problems but they would have sent a message to outraged women that someone would listen to them and dispense justice. That is one course-correction our society needs.

The Delhi gang-rape case is also chance for the media to get its act right. For all the coverage that rape cases get (read: ratings), very little coverage if any has been given to how state governments everywhere from Delhi to Tamilnadu have said 'we don't care' to the Supreme Court.

It is easy to drive up fury. The illumination really needed is on what the governments and police do not want you to know, and therefore not demanded. The demand for death penalties in fact is a lovely distraction for our babus and cops. 

Complaints? Who's listening? 
Six years ago the Supreme Court issued a detailed order listing the steps needed to insulate police work from politics, and to make it more accountable. But the progress since then has been slow. 



Last November, the Bangalore city police booked a case against three citizens, charging them for assaulting a traffic police officer. The main accused was Amulya Somashekhar, a volunteer of the civil society movement India Against Corruption (IAC). Amulya, her mother and friend were charged. Amulya, in turn, said that the officer had assaulted her for refusing to pay a bribe.

The local IAC volunteers asked for an independent inquiry, only to realise that there was no independent body which accepts complaints against the police. The police, instead, were preparing to conduct their own internal inquiry into the matter.

It was in 2006 that Supreme Court ordered that every state and district should have an independent authority to handle citizens' complaints against the police. This body, named Police Complaints Authority (PCA), is to be headed by a retired judge and can hold hearings on allegations of police misconduct and atrocities. Its final order would be binding on state governments. Karnataka still does not have a functioning PCA; although the government has - under pressure to comply with the SC order - appointed a head of the Authority, it does'nt have any staff or office yet!

Other than setting up PCAs, the SC ordered six key measures for police reform, in its 2006 judgment in Prakash Singh Vs Union of India. The reforms include establishing minimum tenure for senior officers and a procedure for appointing DGPs, setting up a body to make policy decisions on policing, and another to decide on promotions etc., so that political interference decreases in routine police work. Since police is a State subject in the Constitution, the states were supposed to bring these reforms.

Around the same time as the SC order, the central government-appointed Soli Sorabjee Committee prescribed a Model Police Act for states to follow. This committee was among the many that successive governments had set up since 1977 to recommend police reforms. Most states were following the archaic Police Act of 1861. The new state Police Acts were to have provisions for PCAs as well.

Only a few states have Police Acts now; those that have PCAs are even fewer. Six years after the SC order, only six states have PCAs - these are Assam, Haryana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Goa and Kerala. Of this, only Kerala has district-level PCAs, in addition to a state-level PCA. Meanwhile, cases of illegal detention and custodial torture by police continue to be reported across the country.

Five Union Territories - Pondicherry, Chandigarh, Delhi, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli - also have PCAs. Of these, Chandigarh's has been the only well-functioning PCA. Pondicherry's PCA has been defunct since its Chairman's retirement in June 2011. Delhi does not have a separate PCA; instead its existing Public Grievance Commission (PGC) - an independent body that accepts complaints on all government agencies - was given additional responsibility as a PCA. A single PCA has been set up for both Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

Existing PCAs ineffective
State governments have done much to tweak the composition and powers of PCAs. The court order had clearly prescribed how PCA members should be selected, and how investigations should be carried out in response to complaints.

Each PCA is to be headed by a retired High Court/Supreme Court judge, selected by the state government from a panel suggested by the serving HC/SC Chief Justice. Other members should be similarly selected from among members recommended by the State Human Rights Commission, State Public Service Commission, or Lokayukta. Appointments should never be done directly by the state government.

But so far, all state governments have made only direct appointments, which are perceived as political appointments. The directions on the composition of the PCA have been blatantly ignored, like in the case of Haryana, where the PCA has only a single member, the Chairman, who is a retired IAS officer.

PCAs are supposed to have only one retired IAS and IPS member each, and no serving officers are allowed. But Kerala state PCA has two serving officers - Principal Secretary and Additional DGP - as members. Its district PCAs have the Collector and district SP as members. Having serving officers, especially from the police, defeats the purpose of an independent, approachable public authority. It also violates the court's order that all members should work full-time for PCAs.

In the case of Kerala and Haryana, the violation of the court order is written to the state laws itself. Their state Police Acts prescribe the current composition. Tripura Police Act has followed the SC order in principle, but violated it in practice. Tripura has two retired police officers in its PCA, as opposed to one such officer allowed as per the Act. Goa is yet to its Police Act; the PCA in that state was set up based on a Government Order.

The SC order also prescribed that at least one member in the PCAs should be a woman. But only four PCAs - Uttarakhand, Pondicherry, Tripura and Chandigarh - have women members. This is as per the NGO CHRI (Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative), which was an intervener in the Prakash Singh case, and has been following up on the SC order implementation.

Another problem that makes PCAs ineffective, is the investigation process. Only Assam has its own independent investigators, as mandated by the court order. All other PCAs forward complaints to the police department, asking it to investigate its own officers. Most complaints  are on illegal detention, refusal to file FIRs, custodial torture, filing of false cases, and extortion. The CHRI report says that many complainants reported being threatened by police, on filing the complaints.

In most cases, the police report would say that the officer is not guilty, and PCA would dismiss the case. Retd Justice T A Wilson, Chairman of seven district PCAs in Kerala, says that 95-97% of cases get dismissed based on police reports. "It is only in remaining cases that any hearing happens."

"Police Acts/GOs have no provisions for independent investigators. So PCAs cannot demand these from the government," says Devika Prasad, Senior Programme Officer for police reforms at CHRI.

PCAs also have no power to take action against police officials who do not cooperate. Often police officers do not attend hearings, and cases may lag for years.

Hardly any police officers punished so far
The number of complaints to PCAs is high, but action against officers is rare. In many cases where PCAs ordered punitive action, the order was ignored by the government. PCAs can order either a departmental inquiry or filing of FIR against officers, and government is bound to follow this. Governments ignore the order using a provision in State Acts/GOs that allow them to 'disagree' with PCA orders. The Acts say that "recommendations are binding unless the state disagrees with the order."

Devika Prasad says that this loophole is often used. "Even if government disagrees with an order, a departmental inquiry should be held before closing the case. But cases are closed or neglected. There have been hardly any cases in which action was taken," she says.

Chandigarh PCA, one of the more active authorities, had recommended suspension of many officers. According to Chandigarh administration's official website, the PCA received 237 complaints from September 2010 (when it started) till June 2012. It disposed of 204 of these, recommending disciplinary action in 50 cases, against 90 policemen.

But no action was taken against these officers, and a PIL came up for hearing in the Punjab and Haryana High Court this June, saying that the PCA should be given more teeth. At the hearing, Chandigarh Administration clearly responded that PCA was already exceeding its jurisdiction by ordering suspensions and transfers. It said that PCA was only a recommending body, and that government could disagree with its recommendations.

Lack of government support also prompts PCAs to pass weak orders. It took Haryana PCA one-and-half years to pass its first order for punitive action. Most PCAs also choose to recommend departmental inquiry, rather than filing of FIR. Since departmental inquiries are easier to ignore, most have been lagging for years.

There is no clear data on what action was taken on PCA orders; most often PCAs themselves are not kept in the loop. Only Goa PCA has been proactively asking police to submit action-taken reports.

Justice Wilson says that he has recommended action in 10-15 cases since May 2010 (for all seven districts combined), but was not informed of action taken. "I only heard some rumours;  the concerned officials have not informed me. The problem is that government does not want to take action," he says. Even then, these district PCAs continue to get cases, some of them as much as 30-40 new cases per month.

The CHRI report quotes some complainants as saying that the PCAs'Â weak orders were not worth the risk of complaining against the police, and that such orders would work against them if they went to court later.

No funds, no rules
Many PCAs do not have well-equipped offices, staff or funds. Police Acts and GOs do not mention anything about funding of PCAs, and sometimes no allocation is made. For instance, Kerala's district PCAs still function from the offices of each Collector, who also gives them discretionary funds. There is no state government funding, and the Chairmen are not given vehicle allowance to travel across districts.

Also, the rules for daily functioning of PCAs have not been made, making it difficult for the public to understand or question them. The format for filing complaints, communication on hearings etc., are randomly prescribed. When a case is dismissed, the reason for dismissal is not clearly mentioned in the orders. PCAs themselves are supposed to make the rules and get them approved by government. Only Uttarakhand PCA has sent draft rules to state government so far. PCA sent the draft in 2008, but the government returned them without approval in 2011.

States like Assam and Haryana have laws that make it difficult to file compaints - in these states complainants have to file a sworn statement against the accused, along with a fee. If the complaint is judged frivolous, the complainant can be punished with a fee or penalty.

Other states stuck
According to CHRI, five states - Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Tamilnadu and Uttar Pradesh - have ignored the SC order completely. Others have drafted Police Acts, or passed notifications on PCAs, but will have PCAs with similar problems as the existing ones.

Gujarat PCA, for example, is to have serving police and government officers in state PCA; its district PCAs will have district SPs as Chairmen. Himachal Pradesh's Lokayukta will act as its state PCA.
The Supreme Court had set up a committee earlier to monitor implementation of its order. This committee, headed by retired SC Justice K T Thomas, submitted its final report in 2010. The report blamed states for their unwillingness to set up PCAs. The SC then sent notices to some states asking for explanation. Prasad says that there have been no hearings of late.

Existing PCAs too are facing more hurdles, while some are becoming more proactive. The Goa government now plans to dissolve its PCA through its new Police Bill. The Bill, yet to be passed, says that Lokayukta will act as the PCA. On the other hand, Assam and Tripura PCAs recently published their performance reports. The Tripura authority has outreach programmes now to create awareness. The Haryana PCA has a website and accepts complaints online.
The autonomy and routine functioning of these bodies, as envisaged in the Supreme Court order, remains a distant dream. 


Monday, December 22, 2014

Genocide of Hindus in India’s Backyard - The Missing Hindus In South Asia And A Conspiracy Of Silence

Civil society, media and the government of India have all remained mute spectators while this human tragedy has been unfolding right in their backyard.

Indian media has done a commendable job in covering international events, be it Arab Spring, Tahrir Square, Gaza conflicts to beatification of saints at Vatican. The only blind spot has been the plight, or rather the genocide, of Hindus worldwide, including our neighboring countries like Pakistan or Bangladesh. This is quite inexplicable given that other events in these nations that have been generously covered.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Why Bangalore Is Losing Its Shine For IT Companies?

By M H AHSSAN | INNLIVE

India’s homegrown Silicon Valley is facing stiff competition from unexpected quarters as the country’s hottest IT destination.

Undoubtedly, Bangalore is still the number one IT/ITeS outsourcing location in the world, as noted by an Economic Times article quoting a 2014 survey of the top 100 IT locations. It’s not difficult to see why — the city not only boasts the highest number of startups, but also has an ecosystem that supports the startup culture. It has a large pool of tech talent, mentors, and venture capitalists, as well as accelerators and incubators.

Friday, January 30, 2015

GIRL CHILD BURYING STILL EXISTS IN INDIA: A Father In Tripura Buried 10-Year-Old Daughter Alive Because He Always Wanted A Son And Hated Having 'Girl Child'

An Indian father has been arrested for attempted murder after trying to bury his ten-year old daughter alive.

Locals in Putia village, in Tripura, northeast India, alerted police that Abul Hussein was trying to bury his daughter in the backyard of his home.

When police arrived at his home he had had tied his daughter's hands with rope and taped her mouth before burying her up to her chest.

Police said that Hussein disliked girls and tried to kill his ten-year-old daughter Rukshena while his wife was away from their home.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Small States A 'Political Stunt' Without Decentralisation

By Shankkar Aiyar (Guest Writer)

India seems to produce a political paradox almost every week. Indians were told that overall poverty levels fell from 37 per cent in 2004-05 to 21.9 per cent in 2011-12. This did not trigger any review of the idea to give 67 per cent of the population subsidised grains. The chasm between statistics and political arithmetic persists.

Hidden in the reams of data on poverty reduction is an interesting fact. United Andhra Pradesh is among those states which brought down poverty the most. Since 2004, when K Chandrashekar Rao of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti was promised Telangana, poverty in united Andhra Pradesh dropped from 29.6 per cent to 9.2 per cent in 2011-12. And the absolute number of those below poverty line has come down from 235 lakh to 78 lakh. World over, poverty reduction is an accepted indicator of growth and governance.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CADBURY TO PAY 30K TO MAN FOUND 'PIN IN CHOCHOLATE'

INN News Desk

A consumer court in Tripura has ordered Cadbury India Ltd to pay a compensation of Rs.30,000 to a complainant who found an iron pin inside a chocolate bar made by the company, an official said.

“A man purchased a Cadbury chocolate on Dec 16, 2011, for his three-year-old daughter and found an iron pin inside the bar when the girl tried to eat it. Subsequently, he filed a complaint before a consumer forum,” a food department official told here.

“After conducting a hearing, the west Tripura district consumer disputes redressal forum last week ordered Cadbury India Ltd to pay a compensation of Rs.30,000 to the complainant within a month.” The forum, which in its judgment said the chocolate was hazardous, also asked the chocolate company to pay Rs.1,000 to the complainant towards the cost of litigation.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Andhra Pradesh Tops In 'Crimes Against Women'

At a time when Andhra Pradesh, and Hyderabad in particular, is drawing hundreds of women software professionals from all over the country, the state has earned the dubious distinction for crimes against the fair sex.

The latest statistics of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for 2012 reveals a telling tale of increasing crimes against women in the state, much more than any other part of the country. Of the 1,85,312 crimes against women in the entire country in 20012, 24,738 cases, or 13.3 percent, were reported from Andhra Pradesh. 

Even more disturbing is the statistics pertaining to Hyderabad and its outskirts. A comparison of crimes against women in 35 cities across the country shows that Hyderabad stands second, next only to Delhi. While 4,331 cases (17.5 per cent) were registered in Delhi, Hyderabad came second with 1,931 cases (7.8 per cent). Vijayawada topped in the number of eve-teasing cases by accounting for 11.3 per cent of the total cases in the country. 

“If the police is strict in dealing with the offenders, things would not have come to such a pass. One of the reasons why there are more crimes against women is that law enforcers do not deal with the offenders firmly,” says G Sucharitha, joint director, gender programming, Centre for World Solidarity. 

Interestingly, Andhra Pradesh, which has 7.2 per cent of the country’s population, has reported 13.3 per cent of cases of crimes against women while Uttar Pradesh, which has 16.6 per cent of the country’s population, reported 11.3 per cent or 20,993 cases. According to NCRB figures, crimes against women in general in the country have been increasing every year. In 2009, there were 1,40,601 cases, in 2010 1,54,333 cases, in 2011 1,55,553 cases and in 2012 there were 1,64,765 cases. 

Another disturbing trend is that the rate of crime has increased against women. While the overall, rate of crimes against women increased marginally from 14.7 per cent in 2011 to 16.3 per cent in 2012, for Andhra Pradesh in particular, it has been bad. 


The crime rate against women increased by 30.3 in Andhra Pradesh, which is almost that of Tripura at 30.7 per cent which is at the top. “Women in Andhra Pradesh feel unsafe because the government is also not sincere in ensuring their protection,” said women’s rights activist Noorjehan Siddiqui. 

What is also alarming is the number of torture cases in the state. Of the 75,930 cases registered in the country under section 498A IPC (dowry harassment), as many as 11,335 cases (14.9%) are from Andhra Pradesh. Only Tripura is slightly ahead with 15.7 per cent. 

“There are two reasons why such cases are more in AP. There is an insatiable desire for dowry here. Even people who go abroad demand dowry,” an IG in the CID said. 

That is not all. AP with 3,316 cases has the most number of sexual harassment cases in the country. This is 30.3 per cent of the total number of cases. Even in cases pertaining to the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, in Andhra Pradesh, the most number of cases have been registered. In all, 1005 cases were registered, which is 83.8 per cent of cases registered in the entire country.


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Rural Tourism: It’s A Niche That India Can Offer

By M H Ahssan

Rural India has much to offer to the world. Rich in traditions of arts, crafts and culture, rural India can emerge as important tourist spots. Those in the developed world who have a craze for knowledge about traditional ways of life, arts and crafts will be attracted to visit rural India if the concept of rural tourism is marketed well.

It is not that the concept is not workable. In absence of any promotional activity for rural tourism, thousands of foreign tourists visit rural areas in Rajasthan, Gujarat and south India every year. This itself is the proof of viability of the concept of rural tourism.

The government, of late, has realised what the rural India can offer to the world. The Tenth Plan has identified tourism as one of the major sources for generating employment and promoting sustainable livelihoods. The Union ministry of tourism in collaboration with UNDP has launched the Endogenous Tourism Project linked to the existing rural tourism scheme of the government. The UNDP has committed $ 2.5 million for the project. UNDP will help in areas of capacity building, involvement of NGOs, local communities and artisans, forge strong community-private and public sector partnerships. The the government has decided to develop necessary infrastructure for facilitating rural tourism.

So far the government has identified 31 villages across the country as tourist spots. These are - Pochampalli in Nalgonda district and Srikalahasti in Chittor district in Andhra Pradesh, Durgapur in Golaghat district and Sualkuchi in Kamrup district in Assam, Nepura in Nalanda district in Bihar, Chitrakote and Nagarnar in Bastar district in Chhattisgarh, Hodka in Kachchh district in Gujarat, Jyotisar in Kurukshetra district in Haryana, Naggar in Kullu district in Himachal Pradesh, Banavasi in Uttar Kannada district in Karnataka, Aranmulla in Pathanamthitta district and Kumbalanghi in Kochi district in Kerala, Chaugan in Mandla district and Pranpur in Ashok Nagar district in Madhya Pradesh, Sulibhanjan-Khultabad in Aurangabad district in Maharashtra, Pipili and Raghurajpur in Puri district in Orissa, Rajasansi in Amritsar district in Punjab, Neemrana in Alwar district, Samode in Jaipur district and Haldighati in Rajsamand district in Rajasthan, Lachen in North District in Sikkim, Karaikudi in Sivaganga district and Kazhugumalai in Thoothukudi district in Tamil Nadu, Kamlasagar in West Tripura district in Tripura, Bhaguwala in Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh, Jageshwar in Almora district and Mana in Chamoli district in Uttaranchal, Ballabhpur Danga in Birbhum district and Mukutmanipur in Bankura district in West Bengal.

This does not mean that India has only 31 potential tourist spots in rural areas. There are many more. These spots have been selected on pilot basis keeping in view available infrastructure. There are many other spots of potential tourist interest where adequate infrastructure needs to be developed.

Some state have by their own initiatives have begun promoting rural tourism. For instance the forest department of the Uttaranchal government has set up ‘Centre for Ecotourism and Sustainable Livelihoods’. This centre aims at capacity building of local communities and promotion of rural tourism.

The pilot project on endogenous tourism is rightly conceived with the involvement of central and state governments and all stakeholders. Concerned district administration and the local NGOs are partners. The central government has pledged assistance to the states amounting to Rs 0.5 million for developing a site for rural tourism.

The project conceives to establish common facility centres for craft persons and village ‘Kala Kendras’ (arts & craft centres) to showcase the arts and crafts, history and culture, nature and heritage of the identified sites. The project will facilitate construction of ‘Vishram Sthals’ (rest houses for tourists). These ‘Vishram Sthals’ will be made using locally available materials and traditional skills and knowledge of building and construction. With a view to provide services of global standards, local communities will be trained in different aspects of hospitability, lodging and cuisine.

Tourism is one of the major earner of foreign exchange for the country. Rural tourism will definitely add more to what we earn in foreign exchange. Rural tourism will hasten the process of development and give a chance to the village folks to interact with the outside world. It will also boost employment opportunities in rural areas and the products of rural artisan will find a ready market.

India resides in village and for the world to know the real spirit of India, it is essential to have a peep into the rural areas. The government had earlier conceived of a Buddhist Tourism Circuit comprising of places of pilgrim interest. This project is in progress. Rural India has a lot to offer to the world!

Pochampally - a hub of rural tourism: Pochampally, a village in Andhra Pradesh is today renowned worldwide for its beautiful weaves. The world knows this quaint town for its spectacular Ikkats. Spread over a charming part of the Deccan plateau, Pochampally is the largest centre for Ikkat. Tucked amid the beautiful hills, this is a result of the Bhoodan movement by Acharya Vinoba Bhave(1951) wherein land was donated by the erstwhile zamindars towards community welfare. Hence the name 'Bhoodan Pochampally', which is in fact the first village to be created by this movement. The place has been declared a Model Village due to its cleanliness and civic amenities.

‘Rural Tourism Will Succeed With Local Community Participation’
Jose Dominic, chairman, CGH Earth Group of Hotels speaks to HNN about his expansion plans and the concept of rural tourism.

CGH Earth has properties in Kerala and is now venturing into Karnataka too. Which other states are you looking at?
Jose Dominic: We are planning a 16-room heritage hotel in Karaikudi in Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu. This will be our foray into Tamil Nadu. We have taken a Chettiyar palace in a village, which will be converted into a heritage property celebrating the Chettiyar culture, their cuisine and architecture. CGH Earth believes in rural tourism, which is more authentic, more experiential and less touristic. When I say less touristic, I mean, nothing is made for the tourist. Whatever is perceived to be a tourist’s demand or need, be it architecture, food or lifestyle, is negated from the rural tourism concept. It is totally self-sufficient with the rural resources, its ideas and its character. We are also looking at Thanjavur and Madurai for expansion in Tamil Nadu.

What are your expansion strategies and investment plans?
Our strategy is to have about 12 properties in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala in the next 2-3 years. Most of them will be small properties with about 16-20 rooms. The investment towards our Karaikudi property would be about Rs 3.5 crore. For the upcoming projects, the scale could be different. A property could also cost about Rs 10-15 crore. We are in discussions with private equity funds and if it materialises, the scale will go up.

What about Andhra Pradesh?
I am yet to study the Andhra Pradesh market. If we go for a property in the state, it would definitely be near the coastline.

CGH Earth has been following the rural tourism path. What makes this segment unique?
The concept of rural tourism is not about escaping but that of fulfillment. Rural tourism has to be in small numbers because rural infrastructure cannot handle large numbers, which will end up in ruining the character of the place. The main factor for the success of rural tourism is the complete involvement of the local community. Until and unless there is total participation by the rural community along with their strong acceptance, the concept cannot survive. The entire concept has to reflect the local ethos and this is the unique bit of rural tourism.

What could be the estimated size of rural tourism in the country?
If one takes the pure leisure component leaving the MICE, VFR or business travel, then I feel, the rural tourism comprises about 60% of travellers.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

AP Tops in Crimes Against Women

By M H Ahssan

At a time when Andhra Pradesh, and Hyderabad in particular, is drawing hundreds of women software professionals from all over the country, the state has earned the dubious distinction for crimes against the fair sex.


The latest statistics of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for 2007 reveals a telling tale of increasing crimes against women in the state, much more than any other part of the country. Of the 1,85,312 crimes against women in the entire country in 2007, 24,738 cases, or 13.3 percent, were reported from Andhra Pradesh.

Even more disturbing is the statistics pertaining to Hyderabad and its outskirts. A comparison of crimes against women in 35 cities across the country shows that Hyderabad stands second, next only to Delhi. While 4,331 cases (17.5 per cent) were registered in Delhi, Hyderabad came second with 1,931 cases (7.8 per cent). Vijayawada topped in the number of eve-teasing cases by accounting for 11.3 per cent of the total cases in the country.

“If the police is strict in dealing with the offenders, things would not have come to such a pass. One of the reasons why there are more crimes against women is that law enforcers do not deal with the offenders firmly,” says G Sucharitha, joint director, gender programming, Centre for World Solidarity.

Interestingly, Andhra Pradesh, which has 7.2 per cent of the country’s population, has reported 13.3 per cent of cases of crimes against women while Uttar Pradesh, which has 16.6 per cent of the country’s population, reported 11.3 per cent or 20,993 cases. According to NCRB figures, crimes against women in general in the country have been increasing every year. In 2003, there were 1,40,601 cases, in 2004 1,54,333 cases, in 2005 1,55,553 cases and in 2006 there were 1,64,765 cases.

Another disturbing trend is that the rate of crime has increased against women. While the overall, rate of crimes against women increased marginally from 14.7 per cent in 2006 to 16.3 per cent in 2007, for Andhra Pradesh in particular, it has been bad.

The crime rate against women increased by 30.3 in Andhra Pradesh, which is almost that of Tripura at 30.7 per cent which is at the top. “Women in Andhra Pradesh feel unsafe because the government is also not sincere in ensuring their protection,” said women’s rights activist Noorjehan Siddiqui.

What is also alarming is the number of torture cases in the state. Of the 75,930 cases registered in the country under section 498A IPC (dowry harassment), as many as 11,335 cases (14.9%) are from Andhra Pradesh. Only Tripura is slightly ahead with 15.7 per cent.

“There are two reasons why such cases are more in AP. There is an insatiable desire for dowry here. Even people who go abroad demand dowry,” an IG in the CID said.

That is not all. AP with 3,316 cases has the most number of sexual harassment cases in the country. This is 30.3 per cent of the total number of cases. Even in cases pertaining to the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, in Andhra Pradesh, the most number of cases have been registered. In all, 1005 cases were registered, which is 83.8 per cent of cases registered in the entire country.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

'PUBLIC FUNDS AND PONZY GAMES' OF SARADHA SCAM

By M H Ahssan & Richa Rai / Kolkata

‘Son of holy mother Sarada’, Sudipta Sen gives his interrogators a tough time as he spouts ideology about helping the poor.

Police detectives had a tough time interrogating Saradha Group chairman Sudipta Sen, who proved to be a hard nut to crack. In the face of sustained grilling, the scamster kept spouting his ideologies throughout on Friday.

Sen was interrogated by a number of detectives of Bidhannagar police led by deputy commissioner Arnab Ghosh. The grilling started at 10.30 am on Friday and continued till late at night in separate sessions.

Sen and his associates Debjani Mukherjee and Arvind Singh Chauhan, who were arrested along with him in Jammu and Kashmir, were quizzed by several police officers separately in three different rooms of the New Town police station.

Monday, May 01, 2017

RERA Myths Busted: No Big Relief For Stuck Home Buyers, House Prices Won't Rise

The dust has finally settled on RERA or the Real Estate Regulation & Development Act. From Monday (1 May 2017) it comes into force across India, and the day will be remembered as a special day for home buyers who have been committing the largest chunk of their life savings to an industry which has been free for all.

A press release from the Housing Ministry stated how this day marks the end of a 9-year-long wait; and for the first time 76,000 companies engaged in building and construction activities across the country will become accountable for quality and delivery. Union Minister for Housing Venkaiah Naidu in his tweets called it the beginning of a new era making buyer the king, while the developers benefit from the confidence of a King in the regulated environment.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Will Indian Politicians Ever Stop Using Champion Athletes For Personal Glory?

By M H AHSSAN | INNLIVE

Fights over Sakshi Malik, PV Sindhu and Dipa Karmakar highlight the disturbing mentality of our political class.

It is said that history only remembers the winners. History may well be kind to victors, but there is one section of society which uses them like trending topics on Twitter or Google, shamelessly riding their popularity to draw attention to themselves.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Opinion: Why 'Goods And Services Tax' (GST) Is Harmful To India?

By M H AHSSAN | INNLIVE

The Goods and Services Tax will destroy governance and end incentives for states to attract businesses, harming the country in the long run.

It finally happened. Late on Wednesday, the Rajya Sabha approved a bill that will change the way India collects taxes.

The Goods and Services tax, which aims to get rid of the current patchwork of indirect taxes and to improve tax compliances, has been in the headlines for some time now.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Average Deposit In Accounts Under 'Jan Dhan Yojana' Scheme Doubled In 21 Months

By NEWS KING | INNLIVE

The number of accounts opened under the Prime Minister's financial inclusion programme quadrupled between September 2014 and May 2016.

The average deposit per account under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana – a financial inclusion programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2014 – increased 118%, from Rs 795 in September 2014 to Rs 1,735 in May 2016, according to IndiaSpend's analysis of government data.