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    Speaker Birla promises to keep MPs informed about Bills

    NEW DELHI, AUG 1 (IANS) Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Thursday promised that he will en- sure that all members were informed about Bills a day before they were intro- duced in the House.

    “Since I have been chosen to be the Speaker, it is my responsibility to see that I run the House with the consensus of all MPs,” Birla said.

    “As you have re- quested, I will see to it per- sonally that before a Bill is listed, all MPs are informed about it a day in advance so that they prepare for it. I will … personally look into it.”

    Birla’s assurance came as the opposition contin- ued to target the govern- ment for pushing Bills in the Lok Sabha for passage at the last moment without consulting other parties.

    Parliamentary Affairs

    Minister Pralhad Joshi de- nied the charge.

    Soon after the House met, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, TMC’s Saugata Roy and DMK’s Kanimozhi accused the government of bringing Bills in a hurry, without prior notice, leaving no time for preparation for debate.

    The matter was raised as the Dam Safety Bill, listed for legislative business on Wednesday, was missing from Thursday’s list.

    Chowdhury said: “The opposition does not flee from its responsibility. But the way Bills are being pushed by the government is not right. All matters are

    decided in BAC (Business Advisory Committee).”

    TMC’s Roy said as the Dam Safety Bill had been suddenly replaced with a new Bill, the opposition had no time for prepara- tion. Kanimozhi said this had become the government’s everyday practice.

    Gaurav Gogoi of Con- gress hit out at the gov- ernment for rushing through Bills ignoring dis- cussion on the flood situ- ation in many parts of the country.

    Parliamentary Affairs Minister Joshi said the is- sues were discussed at the BAC meeting.

    “The Dam Safety Bill was removed from the list of business on the demand of (Adhir Ranjan) Chowdhury.”

    It is then that Speaker Birla intervened and made the promise to the House.

    Odisha receives 17.7% deficit

    rainfall in June- July

    BHUBANESWAR, AUG 1 (IANS) Odisha has received 17.7 per cent defi- cit rainfall in the months of June and July, said an offi- cial of Special Relief Com- missioner (SRC) on Thurs- day. The state received 457.7 mm rainfall against the average of 556.4 mm in the two months.

    In July, Odisha re- ceived nine per cent less rainfall with Malkangiri and Bhadrak districts recording the highest and lowest rain- fall of 633.8 mm and 178.9 mm respectively. The 17 districts that received defi- cit rainfall are Jharsuguda, Nayagarh, Dhenkanal, Nuapada, Jajpur, Kandhamal, Balangir, Boudh, Sambalpur, Kendrapara, Balasore, Gajapati, Keonjhar, Bhadrak, Angul, Mayurbhanj and Deogarh

    Gandhians plan revival of Shanti Sena in his 150th birth year

    NEW DELHI, AUG 1 (IANS) Shanti Sena, a peace brigade conceptualised by Mahatma Gandhi and taken forward by Vinoba Bhave, is likely to be revived by a group of Gandhian organisations.

    The Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, the Gandhi Peace Mission and the All In- dia Harijan Sevak Sangh along with other organisations, here on Thursday, an- nounced the plan, which included desig- nating August 23 -- the day when Vinoba Bhave launched it in 1957 -- as Shanti SenaDiwas.

    The idea of brigade, Gandhi's answer to the problem of violence and disharmony, was to be taken up on February 8, 1948 at Wardha. But Gandhi was assassinated just few days before on 30 January 1948.

    The initiative to remember Gandhi's efforts in his 150th birth year, also involves a two-day conference, starting on August 23, at Manjeswaram, a border town be- tween Karnataka and Kerala, where Vinoba Bhave launched the Shanti Sena.

    The idea behind the revival of Shanti Sena is to make the youth pledge against

    "hatred, killing, and violence" and to pledge allegiance to Gandhian principles of non- violence, peace and sacrifice.

    On the relevance of the revival plan, Gandhi Smriti Director Dipankar Sri Gyan has said the structural violence many Indi- ans are complaining against is not the guid- ing force behind the initiative, it has been planned as a peace movement.

    According to the representatives of these Gandhian organisations, a trained bri- gade of youth will form part of the Shanti Sena. Training centres would be set up at seven places, including Delhi, Madurai, Ahmedabad, Gandhigram, Sodepur and Manjeswaram, to train the youth in "non- violent conflict management, non-killing ini- tiatives, non-violent communication strate- gies" among others. The training will seek to correct the "moral and spiritual value" depletion in India's youth with a focus on social justice and harmony, N. Radhakrishnan, Chairman of the Gandhi Peace Mission, told . It will also focus on inculcating positive attitudes on water con- servation and hygiene and sanitation.

    Andhra shuts down Anna canteens AMARAVATI, AUG 1

    (IANS) Anna Canteens, which provide meals at Rs 5 to the poor and the middle class, were shut down across Andhra Pradesh from Thursday. Daily wage labourers, beggars, other poor folks who thronged the canteens every day found the canteens locked.

    With the outsourcing agency stopping supply- ing of food following the state government's orders, all 204 canteens downed their shutters.

    YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government, how- ever, has assured that this shutdown is temporary and that it would re-launch the scheme with certain modi- fications.

    Working since July-

    August last year, the can- teens were proving a boon to the poor as they were getting breakfast, lunch and dinner at Rs 5 each.

    Alleging corruption in the scheme launched by the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government, the new dispensation has decided to streamline the canteens.

    Akshaya Patra, which cooks and supply food for the canteens, supplied the last meal on Wednesday night.

    As the government has not announced alternate arrangements, the canteens were shut.

    TDP General Secretary Nara Lokesh took to Twit- ter to slam the Jagan Mohan Reddy government

    for shutting down the can- teens.

    Lokesh, who is the son of TDP chief and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, tweeted that the govern- ment shut down the can- teens due to political ven- detta.

    "Mr Chief Minister hunger doesn't know poli- tics. Should the poor go hungry for your political vendetta," he asked.

    Meanwhile, there is still no clarity as to how long it will take for the au- thorities to re-open the canteens with new name and colour.

    YSRCP leaders alleged that TDP used the scheme launched on the eve of elections to further its po-

    litical interests by painting the canteens yellow (colour of TDP''s flag).

    As the canteens were named after TDP founder and former Chief minister N. T. Rama Rao, YSRCP government plans to re- name them. NTR, as the late leader was popularly known, was also affection- ately called aAnna'' (elder brother).

    The canteens may now be named ''Rajanna'' as Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy's father and late Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was fondly called.

    Municipal Administra- tion Minister Botsa Satyanarayana has already allayed apprehensions of winding up the scheme.

    Flowers offered at temples to turn into incense sticks

    Goan women delicate, decent, others are 'fast': Former CM

    PANAJI, AUG 1 (IANS): Goan women and girls are decent and deli- cate while others are "fast" and can work till late night, former Chief Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Churchill Alemao told the state As- sembly on Thursday.

    He was speaking dur- ing a discussion on the amendment to Goa Facto- ries (Amendment) Bill which enables women to work in factories during the night shift.

    Urging Deputy Chief Minister and Labour Min- ister Chandrakant Kavlekar to rethink the amendment, Alemao said that women who work in casinos (at night) know karate, but women from Goa are decent.

    "This bill should be passed after discussing it at a meeting with women in Goa. Then you will know what the reality is. Goan women are delicate, girls are delicate, but the rest are fast. It is works for them," Alemao told the state As-

    sembly. "In this House an MLA asked, 'don't women work in casinos?' I think he has not been to casinos. Women do work in casinos, but they are not from Goa. They are from outside. They know karate and all that. Our women are de- cent," Alemao said, evok- ing laughter among some MLAs.

    Former CM and Con- gress MLA Pratap Singh

    Rane also demanded that the bill be sent to the Assembly's select commit- tee for discussion.

    "In the interest of de- cency, it is not right to al- low ladies of the state to work in night. In the inter- est of their safety, the bill should be sent to the se- lect committee," Rane said.

    The amendment bill was, however, passed fol- lowing the debate.

    VARANASI, AUG 1 (IANS) : Huge quantities of flowers that are offered at the Kashi Vishwanath temple and other temples in Varanasi will no longer be thrown into the Ganga River.

    These flowers will be turned into incense sticks by the women’s self-help groups and marketed glo- bally by ITC.

    The photograph of Kashi Vishwanath temple will be printed on the in- cense packets.

    The projects is likely to be launched this month by Chief Minister Yogi

    Adityanath. According to the

    sources, over 12 tonne of flowers are offered at the Kashi Vishwanath temple every day. This quantity increases to 40 tonne ev- ery da