Shutdown over Maoist attack affects normal life in Chhattisgarh

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Raipur, Apr 8 (ANI): Normal life in Chhattisgarh was affected on Thursday by a dawn to dusk shutdown called by the Congress Party in protest against the killing of 76 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel by the Maoists.

A complete shutdown was observed in urban areas, while there was hardly any effect in semi-urban and rural areas of the state.

Educational institutions, offices, banks were closed and public transport was off the roads.

The shutdown was by and large peaceful and there were no reports of untoward incidents.

Interacting with media, Chhattisgarh state Congress president Dhanendra Sahu said the strike was called to protest the flawed policies of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

He blamed the Raman Singh-led State Government for Tuesday's deadliest Maoist attack. (ANI)

Coming soon, a regulator for water and sanitation|National[New Delhi{New Delhi, Apr.8 (ANI): After successes in sectors like telecom, petroleum, electricity, the Union Government is now planning to appoint a Regulator for water and sanitation sector also.

This was disclosed by a senior official of the Ministry of Urban Development at a day-long seminar on "Water for Indian Cities" organised by Observer Research Foundation, a prominent New Delhi headquartered public policy think tank.

Giving a presentation on "Urban Water Supply Policies and Regulations", Mr. A.K. Mehta, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, voiced the Government's change in perception about the water supply policies.

"It (providing water) is no more the largesse of the Government. It is the right of the people to have sufficient quality water supply," Mr. Mehta said, addressing experts and officials from Delhi, Mumbai and Calcutta.

Explaining the Central Government's efforts to ensure better and quality water supply, Mr. Mehta said the Government has taken many steps to improve the performance of service providers like ranking, bench-marking etc.

Saying that water security is a major concern for the Government, he added that "now, we are in the process of appointing a Regulator for the water and sanitation sector."

Mehta said the Government is keen on encouraging public private partnerships with incentives for community participation.

Noting that there is only one small project in Kolkata where a private party funds 65 per cent of capital (Rs. 17 crore), that too in fully institutional area, Mr. Mehta said there is a lack of bankable projects. Making it clear that the Government would not fund recurring costs, he asked the service providers to rationalize cost recovery.

Painting an alarming picture of the state of rivers in India, Dr. D.D. Basu of Central Pollution Control Board impressed upon the need for ensuring minimum inflow in the rivers to maintain aquatic eco system. He regretted that rivers like Yamuna and Ganga have turned into sewers at many stretches.

He said installing new sewerage treatment plants and finding a new agricultural thinking to decrease usage of chemicals should be given top priority.

R.K. Garg, Member-Secretary of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) said a new Water Master Plan 2021 is being prepared by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). (ANI)

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