No celebration after 12.30 on New Year eve: Kamrup (M) administration


The Kamrup (Metro) district administration has acted as a party-pooper for the revellers, issuing a directive to wrap up celebrations by 12.30 on New Year eve.

Kamrup (Metro) Deputy Commissioner M Angamuthu today said in a press conference here that as per the advisory all programmes must be completed by 12.30 am on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1.

To avoid untoward incidents like public brawls, harassment of women and accidents due to drunk driving during the New Year’s celebrations in the city, the district administration has imposed this restriction on intervening night programmes of December 31 and January 1, he said.

The District administration stated that no bar will be allowed to keep open beyond 12 am and use of fireworks and crackers has been strictly prohibited.   Besides, the authorities have asked smokers to abstain from taking the puff of their favourite cigarette brand in public places and in certain prohibited areas.

An advisory issued to all pubs and restaurants mentioned that vulgarity of any kind on the New Year eve will not be tolerated. It added that use of any kind of narcotic substances is strictly prohibited. It has asked the nightclub owners and party organizers to make precautionary arrangements for emergency fire-fighting.

It further stated that no musical function would be allowed to organize without prior permission from the competent authority.

“All programme will be performed within socially acceptable ethical and cultural values,” the order said.

The city police and traffic department will also carry out extensive patrolling during New Year’s night.

The DC further said that six teams have been formed with executive magistrate, police officials, Food and Civil Supply department official, Excise department officials to carry out strict vigilance, patrolling and enforcement activities in their respective jurisdiction on December 31 night.

Guwahati alone has over 303 wine shops, 128 bars, 13 clubs, seven beer bars, four beer shops, 16 liquor bottling plants, 20 bonded warehouses and 10 country liquor plants.

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BSNL offers a slew of facilities


In sync with the Centre’s proposed cashless regime, the BSNL today came out with a slew of facilities.

Talking to newsmen in the city today, BSNL’s Assam  telecom circle chief general manager MK Seth said: “We’re going to make ‘Har Ghar Internet’ a reality by providing Broadband connection to all households in Assam at the rate Rs 249 a month under government initiative. In order to push up the cashless Assam in its remote areas, we’ve contacted various public and private enterprises and tea gardens in the State for cashless payment of their salaries and wages. All BSNL CSCs have been provisioned with EDC (card swiping machine) terminals. All existing landline customers can now get Broadband at Rs 9 a month. Now customers can pay their outstanding bills and online recharges by cashless payment mode – credit/debit cards, net banking and cash cards.”

Speaking at the press meet, SBI DGM Kaushik Sinha said: “Over 1,800 ATMs in the State are running in good condition. The performance of the ATMS in Assam has been rated high in the entire country. BSNL connectivity helps a lot in banking. SBI joined hands with BSNL to introduce ‘Mobicash’ mobile wallet which has more beneficial features.”

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Around 950 mn Indians still not on Internet: Study


Though mobile data plans in India are among the cheapest in the world and average retail price of smartphones is steadily declining, yet nearly 950 million Indians do not have an Internet connection, according to a joint study done by Assocham-Deloitte.

“Internet penetration is increasing in India, the access to affordable broadband, smart devices and monthly data packages is required to spread digital literacy to make their ends meet,” said the study.

The study titled ‘Strategic national measures to combat cybercrime’ said: “Existing government infrastructure assets should be further leveraged for provision of digital services at remote locations.

“Digital literacy needs to be increased by providing institutional training in schools, colleges and universities; accelerating partnerships with global technology leaders and using the workforce trained under Skill India to impart training.”

It said an integrated approach between Digital India and Skill India needs to be constructed to design programmes and impart training.

Saying that the government should increase awareness regarding the value add of technology to increase technology adoption, the study added that the benefits of technology — increase in the standard of living of the weaker sections of society and enhancing financial inclusion should be communicated to citizens.

“Private sector players should be incentivised to develop infrastructure, provide services and promote digital literacy as part of the Digital India programme.

“Start-ups should be involved to create and customise apps to local needs to increase adoption of digital technology,” added the joint study.

It said the top barriers to adoption of technologies in the economically weaker sections of society as well as in micro small and medium enterprises (MSME) include cost and affordability.

“Most telecom operators so far have not invested significantly in development of high speed access networks in rural areas. Similarly, MSMEs also have low awareness of government and stakeholder schemes that could lead to numerous benefits,” the study said.

It said a key hindrance to adoption of technology is the low rate of digital literacy in India.

“Several initiatives undertaken by the government and other organisations are expected to improve the digital literacy rate in the coming years which will in turn result in an increase in adoption of technology and digital services.”

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Google app to help find toilets near you


Taking a step towards making India cleaner, Minister of Urban Development (MoUD) M. Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday launched a Google Map toilet locator to help people find access to clean public restrooms. The app, designed by Google, will make information available through a mobile application about thousands of public toilets throughout two locations now — Delhi NCR and Madhya Pradesh.

Naidu at the launch said that 504 cities and towns, which also include four million-plus cities, have achieved the status of being free of open defecation, and a total of 739 cities and towns have committed themselves to achieve the status by March next year.

He said that Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Sikkim have declared all cities and towns Open Defecation Free (ODF), while Kerala is set to become ODF by March 2018. The app will have listings covering Delhi NCR, including Ghaziabad, Gurugram, Noida and Faridabad, and Bhopal and Indore in Madhya Pradesh. Toilets can be located not just through the app, but on the desktop as well.

Google, the technology and software giant, which built the app working in tandem with the Urban Development Ministry, will work closely with the ministry to keep adding to the maps the data location regarding address and opening hours of over 4,000 communal and public restrooms.

“When you search for ‘public toilet’ on Google Maps in an area where the service is available, you’ll see a list of restrooms near you, including the respective address and opening hours,” Sanket Gupta, Product Manager, Google Maps, said in a statement. “For instance, if you’re travelling on the National Highway 8 in Gurugram, locating a public toilet can be challenging and most often the only option is going to nearby restaurants and cafes. Having this information handy can make things much easier,” he added. This service will be accessible to users both in English and Hindi language.

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Message of Pink reached a lot of hearts: Big B


Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who won the Stardust Viewers’ Choice Best Actor Male Award for his performance in “Pink”, feels glad that the film’s message — on the situation of the nation’s women — touched hearts.

“This film was really important for all of us, for the society and our nation. It had a really important subject. I’ve always said it, that our daughters must get respect, place and position in our society. And whatever we have tried to say through this film, I think it has reached a lot of people’s hearts,” Amitabh said here.

The Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury directorial is a courtroom drama featuring Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari, Angad Bedi, Andrea Tariang and Piyush Mishra in key roles. The film was appreciated by both the audience and the critics for being a youth-centric story with a strong socially relevant message about the choices young women of today make and about respecting those. It stressed on how when women say no, it must mean no.

“‘No Means No’. This argument challenged the nation, it gave us a new dialogue and I am really happy that people appreciated it, especially the women of our country.

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Elopement cases rising in Tripura, crime against women decreasing

women-trafficking20161213145402_lElopement cases is increasing in bordering Tripura with 14 per cent rise this year compared to 2014, while crime against women is declining in the state, an official said here on Tuesday. “In all 106 cases of elopement were registered in first eleven months of this year (January to November) in Tripura against 93 cases registered in the corresponding period of 2014 – an increase of 14 per cent,” police spokesman Uttam Kumar Bhowmik said. He said that mostly young boys and girls eloped and married themselves when their parents disallowed their love affairs. “However, sometimes married woman also fled away with married or unmarried man secretly, forcing their parents or relatives to register case with the police,” he added.

The police official said that after the state government has taken multi-pronged strategies to curb crime against women, the offence relating to women reasonably reduced. According to Bhowmik, the rape of women reduced by 16 per cent in first eleven months this year (January to November) compared to same period of 2014 (225 cases in 2014 and 189 cases in 2016) while dowry related deaths came down by 57.14 per cent (35 in 2014 and 15 in 2016).

Molestation of women declined by 53.78 in this period (437 in 2014 and 202 in 2016) and torture and harassment of married women in-laws house was dropped by 38.35 per cent (665 in 2014 and 410 in 2016). The official said that the issue of safety, protection and welfare of women in Tripura continues to be one of the top most priority areas of state government.

“Community policing world over has proved to be a powerful instrument in enforcing the process of law. As part of the community policing the Tripura police has undertaken ‘Prayaas’ programme few years back to forge a strong police-public-partnership aiming to improve the delivery of law enforcement services to the community,” he added. Besides ‘Prayaas’ programme, many initiatives were undertaken to check crime against women in Tripura. These include, setting up of seven all women police station across the state, toll free women help line 1091, women help desk in all the 76 police stations in the state, close monitoring of investigation and following up of trial in crime against women, enhancing representation of women in police force. “The multi-pronged steps appeared to have contributed to reduction of crimes against women in the state,” said Bhowmik, an IPS officer. The Tripura police department has been consistently engaging the civil society through the community policing programme ‘Prayaas’ to sensitise all the stakeholders on the issue of women’s safety.

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Harsh Vardhan to visit Arunachal


Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan is also set to visit Arunachal Pradesh in the middle of January for three days.  This was assured by the minister to Arunachal Pradesh State Council for Science and Technology chairman Bamang Mangha who, on Wednesday, met the latter at his office in New Delhi, a press release said here today. Responding to a request for strengthening of sciences and technology, the minister said that the Central government is sincere to attend all the schemes and grievances of the state of Arunachal Pradesh, which would uplift the socio-economic conditions of the people through science and technology interventions. Expressing his desire to visit Arunachal Pradesh, Dr Harsh Vardhan also assured to announce number of schemes during his visit to the state.  To this, the minister further directed the secretaries of various divisions of the ministry to have a meeting with Mangha and his accompanying team, which includes, technical advisor to chief minister K C Dimole, Science and Technology joint director Dr Debajit Mahanta and State Remote Sensing Application Centre deputy director Tana Tage on Thursday to work out tangible projects for his official announcement. The Union minister during his conversation with chairman Mangha also pointed out that Arunachal Pradesh is endowed with vast natural resources, rich biodiversity etc providing vast scopes for S&T interventions in the state.  However, he added that due to financial resource constraints at the state level many important need based projects, schemes could be not taken up for implementation. The meeting was facilitated by the MoS for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, the release added.

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Give daughters respect, dignity: Big B


Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who has a daughter Shweta Nanda, says daughters are the “best gift” and they should be given respect and dignity. “Daughters are the best gift… My daughter the most beautiful in the whole world… Every daughter is… Love her, give her respect, dignity,” Amitabh posted on Twitter on Monday. The 74-year-old, who won the Best Actor honour at the 23rd Star Screen Awards 2016 on Sunday for his role in “Pink”, even dedicated his award to his daughter. “I dedicate this award to Shweta, the most beautiful daughter in the world,” Amitabh wrote on his blog. “Pink”, a courtroom drama, has been directed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury. The film deals with crime against women and also stars Taapsee Pannu, Andrea Tariang and Kirti Kulhari in lead roles.

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Simsang Festival in Shillong from Dec 14


The East Garo Hills District Administration in collaboration with Arts & Culture and Tourism Departments will be organizing a three-day Simsang Festival, 2016 at Rongrenggre Govt. Higher Secondary School Playground, Williamnagar and Tasek Lake, Songsak from December 14 to 16. The highlights of the festival include Simsang carnival, singing and dancing competitions, beach volleyball, flower and fashion shows, Simsang man-hunt, beauty contest, cross-country cycle race, marathon, baby show, slow food competition, indigenous games, kids’ fancy dress competition, song kristan competition and inter-school Wangala competition. The festival will conclude with a rock concert in the evening on December 16.

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Hornbill Festival starts in Nagaland


The Hornbill Festival, the Festival of all Festivals in Nagaland, got off to a grand start on Thursday as tourists, including foreigners, descended here.

The 10-day festival, which also coincides with the Statehood Day of Nagaland, is an annual tourism promotional event to showcase Nagaland’s rich cultural heritage in all its ethnicity, diversity and grandeur, Parliamentary Secretary in-charge of Tourism C. Apok Jamir said. It is the coming together of all the elements that make up the total Nagaland. The Hornbill Festival is a collaborative celebration of all Naga tribes at one venue.

The festival is a tribute to the great “Hornbill”, which is the most admired and revered bird for the Nagas for its qualities of alertness and grandeur. The majestic bird is closely identified with the social and cultural life of the Nagas as reflected in tribal folklore, dances and songs, Jamir said. The awe and admiration for the bird is symbolically displayed on almost all tribal traditional headgears worn during the festivals and is indicative of the unity of the Nagas.

The festival is a cultural extravaganza to revive, protect and preserve the richness and uniqueness of the Naga heritage, while for the visitors to this event it is a means to comprehensively understand the Naga people, their land and culture. Jamir said over the years the event has become a unique platform for the tourists to witness the cultural diversity not only of the Nagas but also the seven other sister states of the northeastern region. It was former Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio’s brainchild to promote tourism by bringing all the Naga tribes on one platform, espousing the spirit of unity in diversity. Nagaland Governor P.B. Acharya, who inaugurated the festival, thanked the pioneers of the state who had sacrificed for the people of Nagaland during the early years of statehood. Nagaland attained statehood with the enactment of the State of Nagaland Act in 1962 by Parliament.

The interim body was dissolved on November 30, 1963 and the state of Nagaland was formally inaugurated on December 1, 1963. Kohima was declared the state capital.

“Nagaland is a land of festivals and as such we have to promote our rich culture and tradition through festivals to boost tourism in the state,” Acharya said.

He said Nagas treat other people with respect and a sense of forgiveness and asked both the domestic and international tourists to make use of the best facilities and go home with sweet memories. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who was the guest of honour, said the Hornbill Festival would lead to closer understanding within the people of Nagaland where every tribe can showcase its unique culture and tradition. He also mentioned about the cordial relationship between Assam and Nagaland during the Ahom Kingdom.

Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang, who is also the Chief Host, greeted the people of the state on the occasion of the 53rd Statehood Day. “Naga people are determined to preserve the rich culture and tradition,” Zeliang said.

“Nagaland being considered as geographically isolated from the mainland would soon be a thing of the past with the coming up of ‘Act East Policy’ and Hornbill Festival being recognised internationally,” the Chief Minister added.

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