Yavatmal: The spate of farmers’ deaths, after spraying toxic pesticides on the genetically modified cotton crop, began towards the end of July this year in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra, however, it took almost two months for the government, the media, and political parties to notice the gravity of the situation.Hundreds of farmers got admitted to various hospitals in the district since July-end, but it was only when the death toll reached double digits in September that the administration swung into action and the media began reporting the issue after the Vasantrao Naik Shetkari Swawalamban Mission (the Maharashtra government’s Taskforce to reduce farm distress) started circulating press notes to journalists based in Nagpur.The first politician to visit the district was BJP MP from Bhandara-Gondia constituency Nana Patole, who interacted with the ailing farmers admitted to the Government Medical College.Ignored by allAs English newspapers began carrying the reports of the farmers’ deaths prominently, the state government sent its minister of state for agriculture Sadabhau Khot to the district.Mr. Khot was followed by Shiv Sena leader and state transport minister Diwakar Raote, and senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radha Krishna Vikhe Patil.The main opposition parties the Congress and the NCP are still to organise any visible protest and even the Shiv Sena, which has lately been more of an opposition in the state than a coalition partner of the ruling BJP, has remained a mute spectator to the death of the farmers.When this reporter posed some questions to Mr. Vikhe Patil on the Congress party’s “lack of interest and action” even after so many deaths, the leader of opposition had no convincing answers and tried to divert the question by blaming the Shiv Sena and Mr. Patole’s “dual stand”.Until 2014 Assembly elections, Congress had dominated the district’s politics with three senior leaders — Shivajirao Moghe, Manikrao Thakere, and Vasant Purke — holding the posts of cabinet ministers and top party positions during the Congress-NCP’s 15-year rule in the state.However, all these leaders are currently missing. “We don’t have a district chief. We will launch a protest in a couple of days once he is appointed,” was Mr. Purke’s response on the Congress’s silence.Yavatmal has been the centre of farm crisis and is also infamous as “farmers’ suicide capital”, but the only organisation vocal about the issue was the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti. However, many say that after Kishore Tiwari’s appointment as the head of the VNSSM, the ground level protests of his groups are negligible.The only political person, who is raising the issue with some fervour, is the disgruntled Congressman Devanand Pawar.A politician from a backward Banjara community who once contested Assembly elections on a Congress ticket, Mr. Pawar formed his own Shetkari Nyaya Hakka Andolan Samiti (Committee to fight for the just rights of farmers) after he was sidelined in the Congress by senior leaders.When asked about the reason for cold political response to this issue, Mr. Pawar said, “The political leaders and party workers in Yavatmal had only been accompanying the leaders to the hospitals. They are not going there to visit the ailing farmers. A strong political protest would have definitely helped the farmers’ cause but even the Congress is struggling with its own problems which is why I had to fight under a different banner. The affected farmers and their families are still to receive the help announced by the government. Had it not been for the media, the deaths would have gone unnoticed.”When Mr. Pawar and some farmers confronted the Agriculture Minister Pandurang Phundkar in Monoli village last week, the BJP leader and Yavatmal’s guardian minister Madan Yerwar asked the agriculture minister to “ignore it”.When asked about Shiv Sena’s lack of response to the issue, the district president Santosh Dhawle informed that they acted “as per the program” and were “busy” providing medical help to the farmers.“The government took a long time to accept the crisis. The opposition parties are invisible. Our district has really been unlucky,” rued Ramdas Wadai, a contract farmer from Sakhra village of the district.
Post a comment 18 Photos Share your voice Tags The upgraded Boston Dynamics Handle robot can stack robots quickly in a warehouse setting. Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET Boston Dynamics builds robots that can run, dance and even do parkour. Now the company has perfected its Handle robot so it can stack heavy boxes as if they were blocks in an extreme version of Tetris. The original Handle robot was created in 2017 as a research robot. It stands 6.5 feet (2 meters) tall, travels at 9 mph (14.5 kph) and jumps 4 feet (1.2 meters) vertically. Sci-Tech Now playing: Watch this: 1:51 Meet Boston Dynamics’ weird and wonderful robot family Robots 0 More robots Handle’s onboard vision system tracks marked pallets, and finds individual boxes for grasping and stacking. As Handle puts a box onto a pallet, it uses force control to stack the boxes up against each other. The boxes seen in a video posted on Thursday weigh about 11 pounds (5 kilograms). But Handle is designed to lift heavier boxes up to 33 pounds (15 kilograms). This upgraded Handle can also work with pallets that are 48 inches (1.2 meters) deep and 68 inches (1.7 meters) tall. Boston Dynamics Handle robot is a box-stacking beast This new version of the Handle robot has been upgraded as a mobile manipulation robot designed for warehouse tasks and manual labor. The robot can quickly stack multiple heavy boxes on a pallet, as well as unload them, according to Boston Dynamics. Smart, agile MIT robot plays a mean game of Jenga This robot wants to teach you Buddhist chants Hotel fires half its robot staff for sucking at their jobs
A fireball lighting up the east coast of the US. AMS; video screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET Late Tuesday into early Wednesday was a big night for combustible cosmic collisions, as multiple meteors flamed out over some of the biggest cities in the United States and Europe. We might have the Lyrid meteor shower to thank for this show. The northern hemisphere’s annual spring shooting star bonanza officially became active Tuesday night and is known for producing fireballs. One fireball was spotted in skies from Berlin to Amsterdam to Copenhagen just before midnight local time. Later, as midnight approached on the east coast of the US, another meteor was seen burning up as it crashed into our atmosphere. That fireball was spotted at 10:57 p.m. EDT and could be viewed all the way from New England to the Carolinas. The American Meteor Society received dozens of reports of the European fireball, which is estimated to have flamed out high over Germany, and hundreds of reports of the eastern US meteor that was over Delaware at its brightest moment of disintegration. Fireballs are actually a very common occurrence that might happen thousands of times every day, but the vast majority aren’t very bright, or they’re masked by daylight or happen over the ocean and other unpopulated areas and go unseen by human eyes. For two exceptionally bright fireballs to burn up over major population centers in the same night is more rare. Most fireballs are actually much higher in the sky than they might appear, generally well above 30 miles, which is why the same fireball was seen from a dozen different US states Tuesday evening. There could be more to come this week. The Lyrid meteor shower is currently building toward its peak, Sunday night, when 10 to 20 shooting stars per hour may be visible, though some may be washed out by a nearly full moon. Sometimes there can be an outburst of hyperactive meteor activity producing hundreds of visible trails per hour during a shower like the Lyrids. Though no outburst is predicted for this year, there’s always a chance, and this early fireball activity is reason to be optimistic. Post a comment Sci-Tech Tags 14 Photos 2018 Perseid meteor shower sizzles across the sky 0 Space Share your voice
The best SUVs for off-roading Driving Detroit: Pushing the fuel economy envelope More about 2020 Ram 1500 Tradesman 4×2 Quad Cab 6’4″ Box More From Roadshow News • 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has tech, torque and towing capability in spades 5 2019 Chevy Malibu review: Swing and a miss Share your voice 22 Photos Now playing: Watch this: 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous Trucks SUVs Comments Preview • 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel first drive: More capability for an already solid fullsize truck 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything better 8:39 Tags Enlarge ImageTruck and SUV owners want automakers to step it up with regards to efficiency. Chevrolet The auto industry as a whole has seen impressive gains in fuel economy in the past two decades, especially in the crossover SUV segment. Pickup trucks and larger SUVs, however, still suffer from pretty ho-hum fuel economy figures. It appears owners have started to take notice as a new Consumer Reports study revealed truck and SUV owners are interested in better fuel economy.Compared to the 42% of owners of all other vehicle types, the study revealed 73% of people driving a large SUV and pickup truck are interested in purchasing a vehicle with better fuel economy. The results follow an EPA report that noted large SUVs and pickups have fallen behind other segments with regards to fuel efficiency.Overall, fuel efficiency is still a high priority for American car buyers. Of the numerous categories, the majority of respondents (37%) said fuel economy is the area in most need of improvement for their next vehicle. The answer topped maintenance costs, purchase price and infotainment by at least 11 percentage points. Digging deeper into the fuel efficiency woes truck and SUV owners feel, they were nearly twice as likely to select fuel efficiency as the trait most desired for their next vehicle compared to owners of other vehicle types.Although the sample size was rather small at 1,078 US adults, 88% agreed fuel economy should continue to rise for all vehicle types. Further, 80% said fuel economy should increase to 40 mpg and the figure is a “worthwhile goal.” This is in contrast to current doings at the federal level. The Trump administration is finalizing weakened fuel economy and emissions regulations, though a handful of automakers have revolted and joined a pact with California that features a compromise standard.On the negative side of things, only 34% of Americans felt automakers truly cared about lowering fuel costs for buyers. The rest disagreed or were unsure.
MMP Mobi Wallet Payment Systems, a subsidiary of Tata Teleservices, announced a tie up today with Manappuram Finance Ltd., one of India’s leading gold loan NBFCs, for providing a convenient and secure alternative physical and online repayment option to its customers.The tie up will provide greater payment convenience to Manappuram’s customers by enabling access to mRUPEE outlets and also to 2 lakh+ Tata Docomo outlets in the country over a period.”We see a great synergy in our association with Manappuram Finance and feel that with our collaborative services we can offer convenient and reliable payment options to customers. In a short span of time mRUPEE has garnered a huge trust with a growing customer base and created a strong customer value proposition,” said Mr. N. Srinath, Managing Director, Tata Teleservices Limited.In addition, Manappuram will also integrate mRUPEE’s eWallet service which enables repayments and transfer of funds via mobile phones onto its own online repayment platform.With this, borrowers can make online repayments directly to their accounts through their pre-funded mRUPEE eWallet, even without having access to a bank account or credit card. In fact, this is the first instance in India of an NBFC integrating the eWallet repayment concept into its own system.Speaking about the tie-up, Mr V.P. Nandakumar, MD & CEO of Manappuram Finance Ltd. said, “As gold loans move up the value chain from a distress to a lifestyle product, the convenience factor will become more critical.mRUPEE is a fitting choice for us for its large distribution channel, secured network and high customer value. At Manappuram, we have always pitched our gold loans as something which makes life easy. This latest service is part of our continuing quest to exceed our customers’ expectations.”Manappuram Finance Ltd. was the winner of the KMA NASSCOM “IT Innovations Award” 2014. The award recognises companies that have made innovation a part of their organisational DNA, and used the innovation engine to reinvent their processes, marketing and product development strategies.
Indian school children take part in a ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ cleaning campaign in Hyderabad on February 12, 2018.NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images [Representational Image]After the stipulation of minimum monthly wages, the private school fees are likely to witness a sheer hike in Bengaluru after the directive from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).Even though the Associated Management of Private School in Karnataka (KAMS) has opposed the hike implemented by the government and has asked to withdraw its directive, many of the private schools are forced to increase their annual fees as to lower their burden over the increased salary payments.According to the new payment structure issued by the education department, the minimum wages for the teaching and non-teaching staff to be paid by the management are as follows:Teaching staffPrimary school teacher – Rs 25,800 per monthHigh school teacher – Rs 33,450 per monthNon-teaching staffFirst division clerk – Rs 27,650 per monthSecond division clerk – Rs 21,400 per monthD group employees – Rs 17,000 per monthIf the school management fails to adhere to the given set of instructions and does not pay the revised salary to its employee’s strict actions will be taken against the school.Though the school employees are happy about the revised salary package, the school authorities are planning on to make some of their extra-curricular activities optional as all the parents may not be able to bear the upgraded fees due to the hike in fees.According to the new directive, the school has to transfer the salary directly into their employee’s bank accounts. The rules are equally applicable for all unaided private schools, including the institutions following ICSE and CBSE syllabus.The department has also asked schools to put up flex boards of the reminders (with the measurement 6*10) with details of their updated fee structure outside the school. The schools will have to take a photograph of the same in an A4 format and submit it to the Cluster Resource Centre.