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UP gets working harder to get even more smarter

The Yogi government is giving shape to the State Smart city mission on the lines of the National Smart City mission to chalk out the development of seven municipal corporations under the state Smart City Mission. For this, only in the last two months of the current financial year will the exercise to get the ball rolling start. The state government has given directions to start work in all the seven cities of Ayodhya, Shahjahanpur, Mathura-Vrindavan, Gorakhpur, Meerut, Firozabad and Ghaziabad in the current financial year.

Principal Secretary Urban Development Manoj Kumar Singh has already released instructions to Divisional Commissioners and Municipal Commissioners of respective divisions. The concerned persons will have to submit a proposal for the Smart city project.

The smart cities will get Rs 50 crore in the initial phase. On the basis of this, the city development department had demanded Rs 350 crore for these seven cities in the supplementary budget itself.

Whatever amount will be spent on making these seven cities smart, the state government will do it on its own. Therefore, instructions have been given to the municipal officials of these seven cities to prepare for the work as per guidelines.

Priority work will be started first, so that the general public can benefit from it. According to sources, the municipal corporations of Ayodhya, Gorakhpur and Shahjahanpur have also sent proposals. The remaining municipal corporations are preparing the proposal, they have been asked to send it soon. Talking about smart city, the old areas of the city will be developed as heritage zones.

Free Wi-Fi facilities at major locations, electric buses to facilitate better transport, modern bus stops based on need in cities, round the clock water supply, mandatory sewer connections to all the houses in the city, densely populated Widening the streets of cities, keeping enough dustbins for garbage disposal, potting and plants for beautification along the main roads which will feature even residents living being able to enjoy the beautification of cities.

The development will be done in all cities by focusing on IT connectivity and digitization, e-governance, complete system of protection of women, children and old citizens, better system of health and education. At the same time, from multilevel parking to the safety of women, CCTV cameras etc. can be started on priority.

Meanwhile, Agra, Varanasi and Kanpur along with 17 other cities of the country will help the 20 worst performing cities in the implementation of ‘Smart City’ projects.

The 20 best performing cities of the mission will be combined with the 20 worst performing cities, thereby improving the ranking of such poorly performing cities. The central government is giving funds to make 10 cities of the state Lucknow, Prayagraj, Jhansi, Kanpur Nagar, Agra, Aligarh, Saharanpur, Bareilly, Moradabad and Varanasi as smart cities.

फीका पढ़ता शाह मुमताज़ की नगर आगरा में पर्यटन का रोमांच

Photo by Vijay Sadasivuni on Pexels.com

कोरोना के चलते,  लोगों को शायद ही आज कल कभी वाह ताज कहने का मौका मिलता है। शाहजहाँ और मुमताज के शहर में पर्यटन बड़ा झटका खाया है । शहर में पर्यटन के क्षेत्र में अपंग होने के साथ, बहुत कम लोग इस बात का अनुमान लगा सकते हैं कि कब पर्यटक यहाँ आना शुरू करेंगे । यह व्यापक रूप से माना जाता है कि शासन की नीति भविष्य का फैसला करेगी। जिन लोगों ने पहले से योजना बना रखी थी, उन्हें अपनी यात्रा की योजना रद्द करनी पड़ी। उन्होंने मई-जून के टिकट रद्द कर दिए हैं, लेकिन टूर एजेंट इस राशि को वापस नहीं कर पा रहे हैं। कुछ ने राशि वापस कर दी होगी, लेकिन अब ईएमआई का भुगतान करना मुश्किल हो रहा है।
ज्यादातर आगरा रिफंड एयरलाइन पैकेजों में देखा गया है। एयरलाइंस जो 15 मार्च तक हर रद्द बुकिंग की राशि वापस कर रही थी, अब ऐसा करने से खुद को रोक रही है। ग्राहकों को अब 31 दिसंबर तक किसी और तारीख में समायोजन करने के लिए कहा जा रहा है। ग्राहकों से कमीशन लेने वाले एजेंट अपनी जेब से इतनी बड़ी रकम वापस करने की स्थिति में नहीं हैं।
न केवल एयरलाइंस बल्कि शहर के पांच हजार से अधिक टैक्सी ऑपरेटरों को चार धाम यात्रा, अमरनाथ, शिमला, कुल्लू, मनाली, नैनीताल, लद्दाख आदि की बुकिंग रद्द करने के लिए संदेश मिल रहे हैं। 15 मई से 31 मई तक बुकिंग को अंतिम रूप से रद्द किया गया है। जिनकी बुकिंग 1 जून से 30 जून तक है, इन लोगों ने भी रद्द करने के लिए आवेदन करना शुरू कर दिया। इस अवधि के दौरान लगभग पचास प्रतिशत पैकेज रद्द कर दिए गए हैं।
हाल ही में, कुछ एजेंटों को जुलाई महीने के लिए पैकेज को रद्द करने के लिए कहा गया है। अब एक चिंता पैदा हो गई है कि अगर जुलाई के महीने में भी बुकिंग नहीं हुई, तो वे कैसे बचेंगे। ऑपरेटर अब कर राहत के लिए बुला रहे हैं, अन्यथा वे दावा करते हैं कि उनका अस्तित्व संकट में होगा।

गाँव में एक कोरोना का केस नही फिर भी देश का निर्मल गाँव कौरना,बन रहा हँसी का पात्र, तेज़ी से चर्चा में

उत्तर प्रदेश की राजधानी लखनऊ से लगभग 90 किलोमीटर की दूरी पर, गाँव – कौराना, कोरोनावायरस के प्रकोप के बाद से चर्चा का विषय बन गया है, खासकर सीतापुर जिले में।

संयोग से कौरना 84-कोसी परिक्रमा का पहला पड़ाव है। हर साल होली के त्योहार के एक पखवाड़े बाद, हजारों लोग इस परिक्रमा में शामिल होते हैं।  इस गांव की आबादी लगभग 9000 है।

लखनऊ-सीतापुर हाईवे पर गाँव खूंखार कोरोनावायरस के साथ नाम साझा करता है, लेकिन अलग-अलग तरह का है।

गाँव – कौरना – में पूर्व-ऐतिहासिक दिनों का अपना महत्व है और हिंदू धार्मिक स्कंद पुराण में भी इसका उल्लेख मिलता है, जो 18 धार्मिक ग्रंथों में सबसे बड़ा है।

गाँव का मूल नाम करंदव वन था जो कि स्थानीय लोगों द्वारा कौरना के लिए कटाई गई अवधि से अधिक था। गाँव का धार्मिक महत्व भी है।

स्थानीय लोगों का कहना है कि उत्तर प्रदेश के कई अन्य गाँवों के विपरीत, यहाँ का गांव समृद्ध है।

2008 में कौराना गाँव को स्वच्छता के लिए ‘निर्मल गाँव’ के लिए राष्ट्रपति पदक से सम्मानित किया गया । 1986 में गाँव ने उत्तर प्रदेश में 51 बायो गैस प्लांट लगाने के लिए एक लाख रुपये का पहला पुरस्कार जीता

गाँव में एक महिला ग्राम प्रधान (ग्राम प्रधान) और मुस्लिम भी शामिल हैं।

गाँव की समृद्धि का अंदाज़ा इस बात से लगाया जा सकता है कि इसमें दो सरकारी सहायता प्राप्त इंटर कॉलेज और एक डिग्री कॉलेज हैं।

इलाहाबाद उच्च न्यायालय के न्यायमूर्ति जेएस त्रिवेदी, लखनऊ उच्च न्यायालय के न्यायमूर्ति डीके त्रिवेदी, जिला न्यायाधीश जीके त्रिवेदी और पश्चिम बंगाल के पूर्व डीजीपी आरके त्रिवेदी कौराना गांव के हैं। उनमें से कोई भी जीवित नहीं है।

ग्राम प्रधान मंजूश्री त्रिवेदी ने मीडिया को बताया कि कौरना का सदियों पुराना इतिहास है, क्योंकि यह नैमिषारण्य के तीर्थ स्थल के करीब है। कोरोना से तुलना करना निराशाजनक है, उन्होंने कहा।

उन्होंने कहा कि पर्यटन विभाग द्वारा गाँव में द्वारकाधीश मंदिर का जीर्णोद्धार किया जा रहा है और आने वाले दिनों में एक तीर्थस्थल के रूप में विकसित होगा।

मीडिया रिपोर्टों के अनुसार –  एक अन्य निवासी ने कहा कि जब ग्रामीण, पुलिस या एक हेल्पलाइन पर कहते हैं, तो दूसरे छोर पर लोग जगह के नाम के कारण अजीब तरीके से प्रतिक्रिया करते हैं। मंजुश्री त्रिवेदी ने इस बात पर जोर दिया कि अब तक गाँव में, या जिले में भी कोरोनोवायरस संक्रमण का कोई मामला नहीं है।पश्चिम अफ्रीका में उत्पन्न हुए इबोला के प्रकोप के बाद अफ्रीकी अमेरिकियों ने अत्यधिक प्रतिक्रिया झेली और बाद में एक महामारी बन गई। ज़िका वायरस, जिसे युगांडा में एक जंगल के नाम पर रखा गया है, वह भी नस्लवाद की एक अलग बयार लाई । सबसे हालिया उदाहरण कोरोनावायरस का प्रकोप हो सकता है, जिसके बाद दुनिया भर में एशियाई लोगों को इसकी उत्पत्ति के कारण भेदभाव का सामना करना पड़ा।

कोरोना से जंग में आदर्श जेल ने उठा लिया है मास्क बनाने का बीड़ा

आदर्श कारागार एशिया की एकमात्र जेल है जहाँ रहकर कैदी जेल के बाहर रहकर व्यवसाय करने के साथ परिवार का भी संचालन करते है। दुनिया मे कोरोना वायरस से प्रदेश के जेलों में बंद कैदियों को बचाने के लिए महानिदेशक/ महानिरीक्षक कारागार आनंद कुमार ने मास्क बने जाने का निर्णय लिया। इसके तरह प्रदेश की कई जेलों में मास्क का निर्माण कराया जा रहा है।

मिली जानकारी के मुताबिक राजधानी की आदर्श कारागार ने मास्क निर्माण में रिकॉर्ड तोड़ उत्पादन किया है। इस कारागार में अब तक 35 हज़ार से अधिक मास्क बनाये जा चुके है। मास्क का उत्पादन लगातार चल रहा है। आदर्श कारागार के सुपरिटेंडेंट आरएन पांडेय से जब इस संबंध में मीडिया ने बातचीत की तो उन्होंने बताया कि कैदियों के द्वारा निर्मित मास्क की कीमत 5 रुपये रखी गयी है।

पांडेय का कहना है कि मास्क सस्ता होने की वजह से पुलिस प्रशिक्षण महाविद्यालय सीतापुर ने 6000 मास्क की डिमांड की थी उन्हें 2000 भेजे जा चुके है। इसी प्रकार पुलिस हेल्पलाइन 112 ने भी उनसे 2000 की डिमांड की थी उन्हें उपलब्ध करा दिए गए है। इस क्रम में निदेशक स्वास्थ, आरआई पुलिस लाइन समेत अन्य कई विभागों को अब तक 35 हज़ार 192 मास्क उपलब्ध कराए जा चुके है।

सुपरिटेंडेंट आदर्श कारागार पांडेय का कहना है कि मास्क की कीमत कम होने की वजह से डिमांड बहुत है।उत्पादन के हिसाब से विभागों को मास्क उपलब्ध कराए जा रहे है। इसका उत्पादन फिलहाल जारी है। मास्क निर्माण कार्य मे बड़ी संख्या में कैदी लगाये गए है। वह दिनरात मेहनत कर डिमांड को पूरा करने में जुटे हुए है।

प्रदेश की जेलों में मास्क निर्माण की जानकारी लेने के लिए जब महानिदेशक/ महानिरीक्षक आनंद कुमार से बात करने को कोशिश की गई तो उनला फ़ोन नही उठा। उधर अपर महानिरीक्षक कारागार प्रशासन वीके जैन ने बताया कि प्रदेश की जेलों में अब तक 1 लाख 12 हज़ार से अधिक मास्क का निर्माण किया जा चुका है। मास्क निर्माण का कार्य लगातार जारी है।

Kamal Overpowers Nath: In MP Mama gains as Scindia walks over to BJP

Source : Internet

In a battle for supremacy between Mama and Maharaj, Kamalnath got a taste of his own medicine when he was unceremoniously toppled by Jyotiraditya Scindia when he turned a turncoat and changed sides walking into BJP. Many political watchers were taken to a time 4 decades back when Nath, a close confidante of Sanjay Gandhi, a Doon boy joined the youth Congress in the 1970s. It was he and a motley crew that led a toppling operation of the Janata party say Op eds. Scindia in the current context had turned desparate after a loss in LS polls and other internal matters that bothered him. 

Around 15 months after taking office, the trigger of Kamalnath’s downfall was Jyotiraditya M. Scindia leaving the Congress on 11 March, taking with him 22 MLAs. In a 230-member assembly, Congress had won 114 seats, the BSP two and SP one. The BJP has 107 MLAs.

As things for Kamal Nath as CM reached a perpetual dead end leading to his resignation, in a presser he was clear that constantly there was an attempt to plot against him from the BJP. His government fell short of the majority mark. The Supreme Court had ordered the Congress-led state government to prove its majority in the assembly.

Speaker N.P. Prajapati accepted the resignation of rebel MLAs. Nath met governor Lalji Tandon and submitted his resignation.

In his resignation, Nath said: “In my 40-year-long public life, I have always done politics of purity and valued democratic norms, and given priority to it.”

As the ongoing political crisis snowballed, the Congress and the BJP took to resort politics in Madhya Pradesh. Both decided to move their legislators outside of the state and lodge them in luxury hotels.

BJP hurried its MLAs to a luxury hotel in Gurugram. Congress legislators went from Bhopal to Jaipur.

Bengaluru saw some action as some rebel legislators were unsucessfully pacified by a group of lawmakers.  

The BJP continued to face the charge of holding hostage at least eight Congress MLAs from Madhya Pradesh at a luxury hotel in Gurugram’s Manesar and Bengaluru. After the government toppled the rebels now plan to return.

In the runup to the vote for confidence in the Assembly, political parties namely the Congress and the BJP had continued to calculate their moves around the prevailing political crisis in Madhya Pradesh. Both parties returned to the drawing board to find their strategies for the coming days. Having been in power since Deember 2018,  the government led by Kamal Nath  plunged deep into crisis seeing a rebellion by a section of Congress MLAs . The BJP had officially pushed for a floor test, which had been given the green signal by the Governor of the state, Lalji Tandon.

Reportedly the Congress government had been surviving on a wafer-thin majority in the 228-member assembly. Even before the cracks appeared the Congress was placed at 114.

Scindia’s exit is being seen as a big jolt to the Congress given, he was a very close confidante of the Gandhi’s. Reports suggested Jyotiraditya Scindia felt he was sidelined in Congress despite his work to bring the party back in power after toppling the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government.

BJP had flown down its group of 107 MLAs to Gurugram. The MLAs were lodged at a luxury hotel in Gurugram.  Congress flew down its remaining 92 MLAs to Jaipur and lodged them at a luxury resort to stop any bids of poaching.

Journalist Barkha Dutt in one of her shows for the digital venture MoJo points out that for Jyotiraditya Scindia this is a gharwapsi of sorts returning to the BJPin the presence of the likes of JP Nadda, Amit Shah and Narendra Modi. She says that one will now have to wait and watch the next move of the younger turks like Sachin Pilot, Deepender Hooda and Milind Dero. As Sonia Gandhi mulls giving up the post of interim President, questions still remain whether she will let a non Gandhi to lead charge. As Leader of Opposition, Adhir Chaudhary lacks a national profile. Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tewari clearly are not a choice that fits the liking of the Gandhis as leader of Opposition says Barkha. Jyotiraditya was called an opportunist. He was not made head of the state of the Congress.

Next predictions are that Rajasthan could be the next in line, given the cold relations that Sachin Pilot shares with Ashok Gehlot. Especially the open criticism of dealing with the Pehlu Khan and Kota hospital deaths cases.  Meanwhile in Haryana, one needed a head like Deepender Hooda, but things went againsthim for his speaking up against abrogation of Article 370.

This is the second time in Madhya Pradesh after 53 years when a member of the Scindia family has tried to destabilize the Congress government. Before Jyotiraditya Scindia, in 1967 his grandmother late Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia had done the same with the government of the then Pandit Dwarka Prasad Mishra. The Jana Sangh was behind the scenes at that time, today the BJP is the ‘clone’ of the Jana Sangh, say experts.

There are many MLAs in BJP as well who are upset with the inclusion of Jyotiraditya Scindia. There are many MLAs in BJP who are upset with Jyotiraditya Scindia’s entry into BJP. Many BJP leaders, including Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomarfeelirked say reports.

Vasundhara Raje, Yashodhara Raje, Dhyanendra Singh and Maya Singh are active in the BJP from the palace. Jyotiraditya Scindia has not only become a member of the BJP but also directly become a member of the Rajya Sabha (formal elections are yet to happen).

Efforts to destabilize the Kamal Nath government had been going on for a whole year, but due to Kamal Nath’s vigilance, every BJP plan was being thwarted. Now Jyotiraditya Scindia’s rebellion has changed the situation.

Tomar, considered close and trusted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, was given the responsibility of BJP’s strategy in Madhya Pradesh a few days ago. Tomar has held the responsibility from Madhya Pradesh BJP President to the cabinet level minister in the state, is a strong leader of BJP in Madhya Pradesh. The pair of Shivraj and Tomar, popularly known as ‘Jai and Veeru’ in the state, won 165 seats in 2013 and won the BJP for the third time.

स्क्रॅप धातू से बनी कला अब बढ़ाएँगी शहर की शान

लखनऊ वर्तमान में एक सौंदर्यीकरण परियोजना से गुजर रहा है, जिससे पूरी तरह से सिटीस्केप बदलने की उम्मीद है. कई नई परियोजनाएं शहर लागू हो रही हैं, जिसमें चित्र, ओवरहेड तारों को हटाना और पुरानी सड़कों और पुलों का नवीनीकरण शामिल है.

अब, लखनऊ में प्रमुख चौराहों का चेहरा बदलने के लिए एक नई परियोजना तैयार की गई है. शहर में जल्द ही स्क्रैप की धातुओं से बनी नई मूर्तियां मिलने वाली हैं, जिन्हें लखनऊ के सौंदर्य  में चार चाँद लग जाएगा . ये लगभग 100 चौराहों पर लगाया जाएगा.

लखनऊ स्मार्ट सिटी परियोजना के तहत अनगिनत बदलावों के दौर से गुजर रहा है जिसमें कई सौंदर्यीकरण परियोजनाएं भी शामिल हैं। इन मूर्तियों का उद्देश्य लखनऊ में सुस्त चौराहों के साथ-साथ पुरानी धातु और स्क्रैप के टुकड़ों को रीसायकल और अपस्केल करना है. परियोजना यह भी सुनिश्चित करेगी कि ये सुशोभित हों. यह शहर में सड़कों और चौराहों पर एक महत्वपूर्ण बदलाव लाएगा.

वर्तमान में, अभी भी मूर्तियों पर काम किया जा रहा है और सभी चौराहों के नाम जो सुशोभित होने की उम्मीद है, अभी तक सामने नहीं आए हैं. ऐशबाग, कैसरबाग, सिकंदरबाग, पॉलिटेक्निक और कथौता सहित प्रमुख चौराहों पर इन मूर्तियों को स्थापित करने की उम्मीद है. ये विस्तृत मूर्तियां लखनऊवासियों के लिए एक स्वागत योग्य परिवर्तन होंगी, जो चौराहों पर ट्रैफिक लाइट या बुनियादी राउंडअबाउट के आदी हैं.

Nimmi: Raj Kapoor’s Doe eyed Barsaat discovery

As Nimmi quietly left this world at a Santa Cruz hospital in Mumbai; Uttar Pradesh, especially Taj City, Agra lost its daughter who brought the city name and fame and a place to cherish in the cinematic map of the world. At 87, Nimmi had been facing hard times with failing motor movement, leading her to take to the wheelchair.

Cremated on March 26, she had attained the epoch of stardom in the 50s and early 60s. Making her debut in ‘Barsaat’ winning the hearts of people, films like ‘Amar’, ‘Daag’, ‘Didar’, ‘Basant Bahar’, ‘Mere Mehboob’, ‘Kundan’ gave her much critical acclaim for her performances.

Having her roots in the Hindi heartland, Nimmi’s father hailed from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh and was born in Agra. Nimmi’s mother was associated with a studio. Raj Kapoor saw Nimmi for the first time in Mehboob Studio itself. Seeing her beauty, Raj Kapoor asked her to work in his film ‘Barsaat’. But for this, he sought approval from director Mehboob. Nimmi did not know anything about acting but her mentor became Raj Kapoor, who taught Nimmi the nuances of acting.

Her success was often attributed to the timely spotting of her talent by the Showman Raj Kapoor himself. Originally, Nawab Bano she changed her name to Nimmi.

She was best known for her roles in ‘Udan Khatola’, ‘Aan’, ‘Bhai-Bhai’, ‘Mere Mehboob’ and ‘Pooja Phool’. Married to S Ali Raja, who died in 2007, she had adopted her sister’s son.

An actress with mass appeal, Nimmi featured alongside big actors like Dilip Kumar to Raj Kapoor, Ashok Kumar, Dharmendra among others. Nimmi made a film with Dilip Sahab. Which was India’s first Technicolor film.

From ‘Jia Bekarar Hai’, ‘Humse Mile Tum’ and ‘Tirchhi Nazar Hai Patli Qamar Hai’ ‘Nimmi’ had all shades covered in songs. Born in Agra, she became a Bollywood star.

In the Black and White era, every big actor was desperate to act with her. Showman Raj Kapoor gave her the first break in ‘Barsaat’.

The popularity of Nimmi’s performance can be gauged from the fact that poets used to write poems on her beauty. Famous actor Prithviraj Kapoor praised her when famous poet Kaka Hathrasi once recited a poem on Nimmi at a poet conference in Mumbai.

At that time it was common knowledge in Mumbai that Nimmi was an actress who worked in films on her own terms. No director could get Nimmi to film bold scenes. Perhaps for this reason, she did not get an opportunity to work in more films in Bollywood. Nimmi did just 39 films in her film career. She was counted among the star actresses in the 50s and 60s.

COVID 19: The Contagion Connect

Contagion and popular literature along with media predicted COVID19 but humankind took the warning bells lightly

India wakes up to the global pandemic unleashed by the Novel Coronavirus or the COVID – 19. With millions of lives at stake as cities across the country are mulling a perpetual lockdown, cinema reportedly had long back predicted a fallout that could follow in times to come.

Gwyneth Paltrow starrer, 2011 film, Contagion had shown scenes that are eerily similar to what is happening now. The film has been climbing up the iTunes rental charts so as to process reality.

Hollywood has been a laboratory of fantastic directions based on science. An outbreak remains among a recurring theme in movies, much like the science fiction writers who write about a viral ctrain that makes good superhit churners. A longtime staple of science fiction. Be it “The Omega Man,” “World War Z” and “Pandemic.”

Early examples include the 1971 thriller “The Andromeda Strain”  adapted from a book by Michael Crichton. There was also 1995 film “12 Monkeys” and “Outbreak.””Contagion” correlates directly with the current danger. Directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Scott Z.  Contagion follows the path of a highly contagious virus from Hong Kong to Chicago to Minneapolis

The virus in Contagion spreads much like corona, the virus’s origin being a bat. Major pandemics in history have been noted to be Black Death, Spanish Flu, HIV/AIDS, cholera, the infamous Black Plague among others. The Japanese smallpox epidemic, the New World Smallpox Outbreak, London’s Great plague, Yellow Fever, Hong Kong Flu, Ebola, Swine Flu all have roiled the world.

Experts widely point out that larger cities, more exotic trade routes, and increased contact pushes pandemics further. COVID-19  has since 31 December 2019 and as of 20 March 2020 shown over 242 488 cases of COVID-19 globally, including 9 885 plus deaths. The deaths have been reported from 199 nations including Italy, China, Iran, Spain, France, United States, United Kingdom, South Korea, Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, Indonesia, Philippines, San Marino, Iraq, Canada, Sweden, Australia, Brazil among others.

Joy to the world, Corona has come, let earth receive her queen

The world talks about deaths and lives lost courtesy the Coronavirus. People live with the fear of infection and life being snuffed out of them, but one family in Hapur is celebrating life and how even in the darkest of times there is a glimmer of hope. A baby girl born to a girl in the UP district has been named Corona, as the world grapples with the deadly virus.

The parents of this child believe that while Corona is a fearsome viral entity, it should not be feared but it is time for good precautions, so as to ensure things are in order. The couple celebrating the moment treated near and dear ones with sweets. The child was born to this couple at the Gadh Road situated district hospital in Hapur. Naveen Sharma and Bhavya are proud parents to this bubbly young child. The father Naveen believes that more than fear, this is a name that has told the entire world why cleanliness is important.

On similar lines a child was born in Gorakhpur as well who was named Corona. The baby, born in Sohgaura village, has already become the talk of the town. The parents of this child had said that while the PM has called for Janata curfew, the name of the child has been decided to mark this unique development globally. The entire world currently is fighting hard to contain the spread of the COVID – 19 pandemic.  

As social distancing and quarantines become the order of the day, binge-watching movies, reading books and creating memes are a good timepass. A meme that is trending talks about Rapunzel from Disney’s Tangled quarantining herself for 18 years, away from a town named Corona.

On the Hollywood front there is much talk about the movie Contagion, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon and Kate Winslet that refers to a similar virus causing pandemic. Literature afficionados have been talking of a Dean Koontz 1981 novel named The Eyes of Darkness. All in all, one virus is trending in every sphere of life.

A Criminal's Nemesis: Making of a Bhaukaali encounter specialist

Muzaffarnagar is going through turbulent times. It is being dubbed as the crime capital of India. It is seeing criminals of the highest pedigree rule the roost running riot across section of society. Even the state government is finding it hard to nip the crime syndicates in the bud. As the police and administration are on the lookout for a supercop who would yield his gun to eliminate the rein of crime in the Hindi heartland, in comes Navniet Sekera, a man who is now reminiscent of a larger than life character like that portrayed in Nana Patekar’s Ab Tak Chhappan and Salman Khan’s Dabbang. This scene set about a decade and a half back, found kidnappers, organized crime mobsters, thieves and mafia shudder with the mere mention of encounter specialist Navniet Sekera. Cops in a highly planned and organized fashion cracked down on miscreants whom the people used to fear, with them taking the rule of the khaki seriously.

The story of the elimination of miscreants during that period of IPS Navniet Sekera, who emerged as a ‘Super Cop’, is being shown in the web series Bhaukaal on MX player. Navneet Sekera’s character in the film is named Naveen Sekera, some other characters have also been renamed. In this series, Seikera is played by actor Mohit Raina known for his role of ‘Lord Shiva’ in the famous serial ‘Devon Ke Dev Mahadev’. This series is based on the tenure of Navniet Seikera when he was posted as SSP in Muzaffarnagar, UP. All the shooting of this web series has been done in Lucknow and surrounding areas.

The name of IPS Navniet Sekera came into limelight after the encounter of hard core criminal Ramesh Kalia in Lucknow. After this, such an image of this IPS was created that the souls of criminals and goons are shaken as soon as they hear his name. Wherever his posting happens, the crime graph goes down.

In fact, in the Muzaffarnagar district of IPS Navniet Sekera, during his 15-month tenure, criminals with prizes and vicious criminals were killed. Extortion, kidnapping and murder were common. After the deployment of Navniet Sekera, the local gang was wiped out and Muzaffarnagar, identified as a crime district, turned into a quiet district. Seikera’s style of turning the police into wedding party to eliminate gangster Ramesh Kalia had grabbed major eyeballs. An encounter specialist team was formed specifically for Ramesh Kalia’s shootout and an intricately crafted operation which saw the criminal fall to a rain of bullets. The Operation went down into criminal history books as ‘Operation Kalia’.

This was the period when crooks were flourishing afresh after the shootout of Sriprakash Shukla in UP. By 2003, Mafiaraj was once again on the rise in UP. In the east, gangsters like Mukhtar Ansari and Brajesh Singh had setup their base, often considered close to Ajit Singh and Akhilesh Pratap Singh. In December 2004, Sekera was made SSP of Lucknow. Navniet was known as an encounter specialist. The situation was that during his deployment in Muzaffarnagar, known as the Crime Capital of UP where Sekera put to death a long list of criminals.

Sekera rose to prominence under the Samajwadi Party rule when the Mulayam Singh Yadav tenure was witnessing a law and order situation.Navniet held a meeting with his officials and issued directions that he needed a list of top 10 mafias in and around Lucknow and their criminal records and that too within 24 hours. An immediate raid on mafia and goons started in Lucknow. Many were put behind bars, many were killed. At the instance of the DGP, Muzaffarnagar’s fast-moving SSP Navneet Sekera was brought in.

Hailing from Etah in UP, Navniet Sekera son to an ordinary farmer, he did not get everything easy. A student who rose from the rural hinterlands, he was always intelligent in studies but at that time there were no good schools in the village.

A teacher of Navniet Sekera told his father that this boy can do well in studies because of an inquisitive bent of mind. Feeling good, the father started taking extra care of his son’s education. When he came to class 6, he first learnt English. At that time there was no college in Etah, there was only one college, Government Inter College, so he studied there and passed intermediate in Hindi medium.

After intermediate he reached a Delhi college for B.Sc admission. When he approached the form counter, the clerk sitting at the counter came out and poked fun at his rustic background, even paying Rs 5 for the fare for him to return.

From then on Seikera decided that he will be a self taught person and rise above the Hindi speaker tag. He started his own line of education, where he not only gained knowledge but took copious notes about varied subjects. When he did not have the money he would photocopy books to gain access to expensive book titles. Hard work paid off and he completed engineering from Roorkee. He cracked exams like IIT and GMAT in one go. Navniet achieved this success with his hard work and dedication, not on anyone else’s strength.

Then came the next turn. His father was fighting for his ancestral land. When his dad approached the cops, the man in uniform misbehaved. That triggered his interest in wearing the uniform and changing the system.

He started preparations and was already selected in IPS in one attempt. Navneet is a 1996 batch IPS officer of UP cadre. Navniet Sekera started the women’s helpline 1090 project for the first time in UP, which was later implemented across the state. He keeps sharing tips for the youth on Twitter. His inspiring sentences have shown success to thousands of youth.

Today Navniet Sekera motivates the youth to work hard and move forward. He has millions of followers on social media. He keeps sharing tips for the youth on Twitter. His inspiring sentences have shown success to thousands of youth. IPS Navniet Sekera has done more than 60 encounters so far.

Sekera, who did engineering from IIT Roorkee, brought great relief to the people of the district by a tight surveillance. On the encounter of Bittu Kail at Thanabhavan, the then DIG Chandrika Rai had given him the title of Shikari. Currently Navniet Seikera is IG UP Police.

In an interview he had said if there is courage in the mind, blessings of elders, no one can stop you. Whenever people comment about you, do not panic, just remember that in every game the spectators make noise, not the players.

Markets get painted in multiple hues, as Lucknow gears up for a colour riot

Once considered a great time to exchange pleasantries and spend quality time with one another. Known as a festival, when even the fiercest of enemies would do that unique jadoo ki jhappi, applying colour on the cheek, repeating that customary yet clichéd line – Bura Na Mano Holi Hai, now Holi in 2020 rides the commercial wave.

With packaging of the festival and its various aspects, in its new avatar, the bonhomie aside, Holi has seen a gradual shift from the healthy revelry bringing with it a commercial aspect where packaging rules in a once childhood merry making festive ritual.  

The festival, now sees greater stress on marketing of Holi goodies leading to new exciting models of sales appealing to the youth. Different brands now try to outdo the other trying to encash what is the buzzing trend of the hour with regards to the younger lot.

This even as the broader Corona scare has had a definite impact on the festive mood and the products that are on sale. Shopkeepers this time have tried staying away from Chinese products to avoid any confusion.

Lucknow’s IT Market is home to 40 shops catering to the Holi fanatic. From tiny miniature water guns to the big ones. Splashed in varied hues of colours and eye catching designs, both traditional and new – age sprinklers of varied shapes, sizes and forms entice the buyer by way of unique appearance that models itself on pop culture characters like Doeramon, Yogi Bear, Snoopy, characters from the DC Universe among others.

Out of the 40 shops that dot the IT Chuaraha colour market, the new entrant are cylinders filled with gulaal that resemble fire extinguishers and are priced high but prove effective to drench each other with sober colours. The special floral, pearl, organic Gulaal like past years meanwhile keeps the Holi buyer excited about the festival with that extra dash of fragrance.

Ravi, a seller confirms that this festival will be different because it will give one a combination of Diwali and Holi. Based on the pattern of Diwali, Gulaal bombs, anaar bombs filled with colours and special sticks with colour, light and a unique sound will give the new age sprinkler freak that much needed Holi high. The usual, Herbal and scented gulaal aside, ranging between Rs 200 to Rs 300, colours of good variety are selling.

In tune with the youth who is enjoying the cartoon and smartphone world – special tanks and PUBG guns between the range of Rs 600 to 850 and cars priced at 650 are attracting the young with deep pockets.

For those in for a colourful Diwali like feel – the cocktail colour combos, Mango bombs, special colour cigars, a colour chatai and the Rambo style colour dispensers releasing two colours in one shot gets the young shelling out that extra chip for the surreal Holi experience.

Mostly Indian goodies are in the market with a miniscule presence of Chinese goods. In aiming to give the Swadeshi goods of India, a much needed push, Indian Holi goodies rule supreme. With India’s Coronavirus scare for real, traders steer clear of anything from the land of the dragon.

Hats mostly exclusive derby hats, cowboy hats and hats for young girls with floral patterns are selling in the market. Rajasthani traditionally headgears are also selling in reasonable rates. The not so expensive caps keep the lower middle class in good stead ranging between Rs 100 and Rs 200. Both colourful and embroidered headgears made of cloth and plastic cost starting from Rs 150 each says another seller at a Lucknow market. Attractive design sarees and salwar suits and children’s wear shops are also buzzing with buyers. Despite malls, the old world charm of an open air market in old Lucknow still attracts many.

In a youth centric sales plan, one can’t help but miss characters like Addams Family, Spiderman, Captain America masks all from pop culture that are priced in a range of Rs 100 and Rs 200. Masks of PM Narendra Modi, Joker’s Joaquin phoenix act cost Rs 250 each.

While people want Indian goods, the Chinese goods on offer range from just Rs 100 to Rs 3000. Often burning a hole in the pocket, Chinese goods have been shirked in many places giving a fillip to the Indian make goods. Indian make Holi goodies do not have side effects and skin remains sans infections, says a Holi regular. 

While reports of chemical laced gulaal in the guise of herbal has surfaced, shopkeepers are heard confirming that Chinese and chemical sprinkled colours are off shelves this year. Herbal gulaal made of araroot continue to be the best bet. Gulaal prepared from lime, chalk, sand along with other hazardous components has been introduced in the market along with mica which reports call dangerous. 250 tonnes of abeer and gulaal is present in the Lucknow market alone say official sources. Gulal  is present in Lemon Green, Apple, Strawberry and Orange Flavor which gives the Lucknowite a different feeling.

Estimates say 80 to 120 rupees a kilo abeer is real and the remaining variety is fake hint some. Around a 100 tonne abeer and gulaal has come from Hathras and Mathura as per confirmed reports. Reportedly flowers, petals together help create very useful ecofriendly colours. In recent years, the Palash flowers have been very helpful in playing Holi much like Besan and Haldi colours. Thorns of the Gwarpatha also known as Aloevera adds to the herbal quotient. The green paste made out of it can then be used for Holi purposes. Furthermore, Parijat and tesu flowers add to the safe Holi experience.

Sprinklers start at Rs 50 – 60 which is the smallest size and then the full size is as steep as Rs 2500. People from all age groups are turning up to get their colours, sprinklers, masks and decorative goods. Carrying the Barbie tag water tanks cost a steep Rs 600. Special bag shaped sprinklers and other new models are fast selling as a range of Rs 100 to Rs 1000 keeps the buyer in good spirits says Abdul Kalam.

Gulaal cylinders are priced as steep as Rs 2000. It has a spray of gulaal which comes out in powdery or spray form. The basic sprays come in three different sizes – 1.5 litre, 1 litre and 2.5 ml ranging between Rs 50, Rs 150 and Rs 200.

In Munshipulia, sprinklers with Holi songs playing as you press the nozzle, charges Rs 450 each. Musical pipes, lightpipes and other attractions remain a crowdpuller for the first time. In Munshipulia, Chinese goods have this year taken a back seat. It is a good feeling that Indian sellers are being supported says one seller. The Gulaal Party Popper has a sudden gush of colours coming out says Ram Singh. The light pipes cost anything to the tune of 250 and the musical pipes are around Rs 300.

A seller, Akshay, though admits that at some parts its a 50:50 presence between Indian and Chinese. People are going in for the indigenous Indian make for the simple reason that it is homemade by local workers and it promises quality over too much shoo sha. Some sprinklers can range between Rs 25 to Rs 2000.

Photo by Yogendra Singh on Pexels.com

In Aminabad, sprinklers come in various shapes and sizes. A 10 colour set of herbal colours costs Rs 150. Chinese, Malinga hats, horse race hats, and caps with hair attached. PUBG sprinklers, Doraemon sprinklers, Balloon knot launchers, Cocktail anaars keep the buyer in good humour says, another seller Kamal Kant

Information coming in suggests that in the past two months Chinese goods could not be imported. With Chinese off shelves, playing Holi is turning into an expensive affair say some. Chinese sprinklers, masks, balloons and other colourful goodies are far from the reach of the average Holi reveller. Stocks this year reportedly have run relatively dry. Indian stuff is 15% to 25% more expensive.

Apart from Aminabad, Munshipulia, Bhootnath and IT College, the other markets that are doing brisk business are Yahiyaganj, and Raqabganj. These are markets in the Old city area where stuff is sold at wholesale rates in bulk. Moving to select markets like Aminabad, Chowk, Nishatganj, Kapurthala, Bhootnath, Alambagh, Patrakarpuram gets people an offer of choice.

With stocks down, the consequent impact has been seen in the prices where a 50% shooting up of prices has been recorded. What would usually cost Rs 30 is now costing 40 to 50 rupees.  Gift packs are priced at Rs 199 and Holi colours usually selling for Rs120 are now pegged at 150.

As Holi nears there are already predictions that there will be a sizable impact on sales. Meanwhile for the average foodie out there, the customary gujia bite too is taken care off. The sweetness of this festival is further enhanced by the delicious Gujia. Markets are also flooded with a variety of chips, papad and namkeen.  A sudden peak in prices at the Khova mandi too is being noticed.

All in all, this Holi choose your budget wisely and get your colour gear in place for that one shot of colours aplenty.

Slightly edited version was first published in The Lucknow Tribune, Lucknow’s only English weekly

Kajol’s Devi brings out deep rooted perversion that goes beyond age

As India continues to wait for that day when the rapists of Nirbhaya will be hanged till death, the repeated delays and twists and turns in the hanging fast begs us that question, what kind of a lala land are we turning into. A country where the criminal continues to breathe while an innocent girl is brutalized, tortured and left to die, often dying a painful death. A country where one worships a goddess, but the feminine form of the goddess, in real life is shamelessly scarred for life.

Kajol starrer Devi, a 13-minute short film made under the Large Short Films Banner pushes the boundary further to show us where we are reaching, as not even a young child is safe. Set inside a room, the film has women of all hues who have fallen prey. A housewife, a woman in burkha, a group of old Marathi ladies, a student preparing for her exam, a corporate worker and a rich young girl addicted to alcohol. Some burnt, molested, raped or some facing an acid attack.

The list of traumatic experiences continues. As such people away from the curious eyes of the public jostle for space in a small room where multiple victims spend time, a report suddenly starts bothering the people there as yet another person of the fairer sex has been violated. A fight breaks out on who would play the sacrificial lamb so that the victim can get a safe haven. It is the conversations that start that bring out the emotions around how age, dress sense, professional arena and relations aside, a man often veers away from the right track and scars a woman for life.

Bringing out how even a burqa clad woman is as susceptible to rape as a mini skirt wearing lass. It also says the most gruesome of rape modus operandis might exist, but the shame that it brings with it is far more deep and painful. The climax comes in the form of a little child who walks in with Kajol who typifies the deep rooted perversion that has seeped in. In India, every 22 minutes a woman is raped.

As per a Thomson Reuters report India is the most insecure interms of rapes. Indian courts have a backlog of more than 1 lakh rape cases. Each day close to 90 rapes are reported in India. The conviction rate in rape cases is just 32%. Crime rates in rape cases are higher in India where nearly 80% of women worship goddesses. Film stars women like Kajol, Neha Dhupia, Neena Kulkarni, Mukta Barve, Rama Joshi, Sandhya Mhatre, Shivani Raghuvanshi, Shruti Haasan, Yashaswini Dayama. It is produced by Ryan Stephen and Niranjan Iyengar and Directed by Priyanka Banerjee. It has been edited by Sanjeev Sachdeva.

Love in times of Hate: Unified in horror, Delhi shows unique cohesion

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Separated by a distance of 100 feet, Shabeena and Wakeel lived in Hussainabad area of Old Lucknow. Over a week after 32-year-old Mohammad Wakeel was killed in the Lucknow protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), his wife Shabeena went on a total recall mode speaking of the challenges the two braved for an inter-faith wedding.

Once Savita, a girl born to a Hindu family, the 27-year-old fell in love with Mohammed Wakeel. When the family stopped them from getting into holy matrimony, then she turned Shabeena.

As Shabeena, she not only became a devout Muslim she also donned the Chura with pride. Both respected each other, until one day fate did them apart. The eldest of five brothers and three sisters, Wakeel drove an auto-rickshaw for a living. He succumbed to a gunshot injury. To this day and for the rest of her life Shabeena has said she will never regret marrying Wakeel.

There are a multitude of stories of this nature where two communities have lived together in harmony and the list continues to grow. Amidst the hate filled rhetoric around the now controversial CAA – NRC – NPR issue, as Delhi burned there were stories aplenty of how both Muslims and Hindus maintained that cohesive bond in the face of the worst riots in the capital in decades that has claimed nearly 42 lives.

Photo by Abdullah Ghatasheh on Pexels.com

Hindus in Shiv Vihar came forward and saved the lives of a Saleem Kassar, 48 whose Muslim family was targeted by 500 rioters unleashing mayhem on the streets. Notably bidding Saleem adieu, the family saving them applied ’tilak’ on the forehead, vermilion and a bindi on the forehead  of Saleem’s better half.

Such was the ferocity of the attack on Shiv Vihar was that about 2000 families fled from the spot, leaving 400 houses burnt leaving behind unimaginable horror and a pall of gloom. Local versions have said over days that the police never came. The area continues to cope with the loss.

Another family that was saved in a similar fashion is of Ram Sewak in Shiv Vihar, who was rescued from the extremist mob by the members of a Muslim community assuring security by giving shelter. Similar scenes played out at Bhagirath Nagar where two Muslim youth stopped a mob from entering their locality and saved Hindu neighbours.

In Shahdara’s New Kardam Puri where violence was at its zenith, Muslim men rallied hard to protect a temple by sitting outside it. Hindus and Muslims of Yamuna Vihar meanwhile chose to defeat extremist forces by uniting against hatred that was a first in 34 years. Residents drew away outsiders who tried to create disturbance in the region. The locals took turns to guard the region.

Holy texts were set on fire in Ashok Nagar, where Hindus and Muslims gathered and picked up the scorched pieces. Gurduwaras also opened doors to those fleeing from the violence.

Photo by Riya Kumari on Pexels.com

Even a local Hanuman temple became a spot to shelter those fearful for their safety. Residents reassured each other of their safety, saying, “Tumhara hi mohalla hai, don’t worry.” In Ashok Nagar, Sikhs also patrolled the area to make sure that no further damage is caused to any faith.

Even a mixed-faith group of Hindu and Muslim residents of Brijpuri took out a peace march, raising slogans of amity.

As horror stories keep tumbling out, a group of Hindus and Muslims in Chand Bagh area of the city have displayed a spirit of unity. When their locality was burning, a group of local residents in Chand Bagh formed a human chain to protect Shri Durga Fakiri Mandir in the area.

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Home to 4500 Hindus and Muslims Gautampuri saw no violence, loss of property or to local businesses or residents. When mayhem brokeout in the area, people throughout the night held marches with slogans like Hum sab ek hain filling the air.

Delhi gradually crawls back to normalcy as Aman Committees work to douse illwill if any. From early morning scores of people especially local residents from Brijpuri, Ghonda, Vijay Park, Durgapuri, Yamuna Vihar, Jafrabad and other adjoining areas continue panning across streets asking locals to act as a family. The participants mostly are RWA office bearers, former people’s representatives, local leaders, senior citizens besides youths and women. The courage of these not so ordinary peace messengers is nothing short of extraordinary.