Archive for February, 2010

Maoists blew up two railway tr…

Maoists blew up two railway tracks on the second day of the 72-hour shutdown call given by them on Sunday across the four states of Jhark…

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Naxal-hit states see push for joining Army

Maoists blew up two railway tracks on the second day of the 72-hour shutdown call given by them on Sunday across the four states of Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar and West Bengal.

A railway track has been blown up in Bhalulata in Sundargarh on the Orissa-Jharkhand border. The explosive was planted under a compartment of a goods train and the blast resulted in its derailment.

Another explosive that was planted on the Up-line tracks was detected and defused by the bomb squad early on Monday morning.

At least eight pairs of express and mail trains, and a large number of freight trains have been cancelled following the accident.

Maoists also blew up a meter of the track in the Kiul-Jamalpur-Bhagalpur section in Bihar, thereby targeting the Howrah-Delhi route for the second consecutive day.

Earlier on Sunday, a railway official was killed and a railway track was blown up near Narganjo in Bihar.

Two other railway tracks on the Delhi-Howrah route were also damaged on Sunday affecting train services between Howrah and Delhi.

There were also reports of a railway supervisor being killed on the Jharkhand-Orissa border.

West Bengal has been put on a state of high alert after Maoists killed a CPM leader near Veerbhum on Sunday.

Several trains were cancelled and a few trains including the Ranchi Rajdhani Express were diverted on Sunday to avoid untoward incidents.

All four states are on high alert ahead of the shutdown and extra vigilance is being maintained by police stations in the Naxal-affected districts.

Additional forces of Special Auxiliary Police, Bihar Military Police and central para-military forces have also been deployed.

The shutdown has been called to protest against joint police operations in the four states.

Source http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Maoists-blow-up-railway-tracks-on-2nd-day-of-shutdown/577066/

Obama invites Bihari to entrepreneur summit

At the Entrepreneurship Summit called by US president Barack Obama, India will be represented by a man from a state which is hardly known for

“That is the fun part of it,” quipped Irfan Alam, chairman of SammaaN Foundation which works for socio-economic uplift of rickshaw-pullers and their families. Irfan, like 79 others across the globe, has got an invitation from Obama to attend the summit in Washington DC in April this year.

US envoy to India Timothy J Roemer is to visit Irfan’s office at Patna on Friday to have a first-hand feel of his organization’s activities. SammaaN has been active in states like Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Jharkhand. “The Madhya Pradesh government has made a special task force to implement our special rickshaw project in the state,” said Irfan, a graduate from Bihar’s Begusarai district and MBA from the prestigious IIM-Ahmedabad.

Irfan’s enterprise is not hardcore business. “There are around 10 million rickshaw-pullers across the country. Most of them are illiterate and poor. Over 90% of them are farm workers who migrate to cities for want of employment at home. They hire rickshaws for which they pay owners Rs 30 to Rs 40 per day and end up with a pittance for themselves,” he said.

Irfan, who is in his thirties, got banks to finance rickshaw-pullers. “We designed rickshaws which can shelve newspapers, mineral water bottles and other such small items for sale if the passenger needs them,” he said. These rickshaws also carry advertisements and the pullers get 50% of the ad revenue, the remainder going to SammaaN.

Thus apart from the fare, the rickshaw-puller also earns from the ads and the sales. They end up as owners of the rickshaw after re-paying the bank loan in instalments.

Irfan started off with 100 such rickshaws in 2007. Today, over three lakh rickshaw-pullers from across the country are registered with SammaaN. While 10,000 and odd are pedalling the special rickshaws, the process is underway to benefit others.

Irfan’s organization also provides books to rickshaw-pullers’ children and imparts training in occupational skills to their wives.

“Ambanis and Birlas have visited Bihar, but it is Bihari entrepreneurs on whom Bihar has to bank upon for enterprise in the state,” Irfan said.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Obama-invites-Bihari-to-entrepreneur-summit/articleshow/5550408.cms

Bihar’s litti-chokha on Obama’s plate soon

BEGUSARAI: Bihar’s famous snack litti-chokha will soon find place on the plate of US President Barack Obama.

A day after his meeting with US ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer in Patna, Irfan Alam, who has been invited to the Entrepreneurship Summit called by Obama, told TOI that he would carry a tin of freshly-baked litti with dry chokha, besides a model of his rickshaw, to hand over to the President at the White House this April.

Irfan, chairman of the SammaaN Foundation that works for the upliftment of rickshaw-pullers and their families, said: “I have already conveyed my decision to the US envoy when he asked me what I would like to present the US President during my US visit. I’d like to carry a large tin of littis so that others may also get the taste of this Bihari delicacy,” he added.

The enterprise of Irfan, an IIM-A graduate, is not hardcore business. “There are around 10 million rickshaw-pullers in the country. Most of them are illiterate and poor. Over 90% of them are farm workers who migrate to cities for want of employment at home. They hire rickshaws for which they pay owners Rs 30 to Rs 40 per day and end up with a pittance for themselves,” he said.

Irfan, who in in his early thirties, got banks to finance rickshaw-pullers. “We designed rickshaws, which can shelve newspapers, mineral water bottles and other such small items for sale if the passenger needs them,” he said. These rickshaws also carry ads and the pullers get 50% of the ad revenue, the remainder going to SammaaN. Apart from the fare, the rickshaw-puller earns from the ads and the sales and up as owners of the rickshaw after repaying the bank loan in installments.

Irfan, who has gifted a model of his rickshaw to Roemer, started off with 100 such cycles in 2007. Today, over three lakh rickshaw-pullers from across the country are registered with SammaaN. While 10,000-odd are pedalling the special rickshaws, the process is underway to benefit others. The organization also provides books to rickshaw-pullers’ children and imparts training in occupational skills to their wives.

“Ambanis and Birlas have visited Bihar, but it is Bihari entrepreneurs on whom Bihar has to bank upon for enterprise in the state,” Irfan said.
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Bihars-litti-chokha-on-Obamas-plate-soon/articleshow/5550406.cms