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1 lakh Ganesh idols get damaged


Hyderabad: Over one lakh of the three lakh Ganesh idols purchased by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), at the expense of the taxpayers money, have been damaged in transit from Rajendranagar.

The corporation has shortlisted six agencies to procure three lakh Ganesh idols and paid Rs 36 for each 8-inch idol, Rs 130 for each 1-foot idol, and Rs 322 for each 1.5-foot idol.

Around 2.6 lakh 8-inch idols, 30,000 one-foot idols, and 10,000 1.5-foot idols were procured by the GHCM. To compensate for the one lakh damaged idols, city mayor Gadwal R Vijaylakshmi stated that the civic body has procured four lakh idols and will distribute them instead of the previous announcement of distributing three lakh idols within the GHMC limits. However, when confirmed with the authorities, it was discovered that the civic body only purchased three lakh idols and did not call for tenders for one lakh as announced by the city mayor.

According to an official announcement, the corporation will begin distributing these idols on Saturday in all six zonal and 30 circle offices. Mayor Gadwal R. Vijaylakshmi even announced that the zonal commissioners had been given instructions to obtain another one lakh idols due to the corporation’s overwhelming response from citizens.

The corporation officials also stated that over a lakh idols were damaged during transportation and that private agencies would replace them in accordance with the agreement. Contrary to their own statement, corporation officials stated that procuring one lakh idols in a single day would be difficult. When asked about the misappropriation of taxpayer funds, officials stated that the corporation would either recover the funds or transfer them to the next Ganesh celebrations.

When asked if the same players would be invited for tenders next year, officials refused to comment. Meanwhile, when the city mayor’s statement of distributing 4 lakh idols to citizens was cross-checked, a senior GHMC official who requested anonymity stated that the corporation had only invited tenders for 3 lakh idols and that procuring one lakh idols was merely a political statement.


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Ganesh Chaturthi becoming themed festival in Vizag


VISHAKAPATNAM: Organisers of Ganesh festival have come up with different themes to create awareness on issues like plastic pollution during the festival period starting August 31.

Curiously, for the first time, the Ganesha idol at one place is placed in a jute bag. The ‘rat’ carries the bag in the scene at a pandal in Thatichetlapalem. Other themes include Covid-19 Vaccination, Save Trees, Helmet Use and Cyber Safety.

Peela Hariprasad, founder of Yuvasevam, said the festival is organised with different themes every year. This time, it is of ‘plastic versus environment protection’.

“The Ganesh idol is kept in a jute bag in our pandal. The message is to prefer cloth bags instead of plastic. Almost all the decorations are made of eco-friendly materials. We don’t focus on the size of the idol or the decorations, but on the theme,” Hariprasad told DC.

Polimera Durgarao made Ganesha idols out of paper in Madugula KJ Puram. All the villagers worship the lord in a paper idol.

In view of the Covid-19 pandemic since March 2020, there have been no public celebrations on Ganesh Chaturthi in the last two years.

This time, the organisers will hold the celebrations in a grand manner as there are no restrictions on the festivities.

GVMC chief medical officer K.S.L.G. Sastry said, “Vinayaka Chaturthi had not been celebrated in the last two years due to the Covid-19 protocols. Now the public health system is normalised. So, the doors are open to revive the festive spirit in the city as per the official guidelines.”

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Farmers’ suicides increase by 19 % in Andhra Pradesh: NCRB


Visakhapatnam: Farmer suicides in Andhra Pradesh increased by over 19 per cent in 2021 compared to the previous year, as per the latest National Crime Records Bureau Report.

The state stood in third place in farmer suicides in the country, the third time in a row, data provided by the NCRB showed. A total of 1,065 people working in the farm sector (farmers, tenant farmers and workers) ended their lives in Andhra Pradesh in 2021, while the number was only 889 in 2020 — an increase of 19 per cent.

The report noted that AP with 1,065 suicides, occupied the third place in farmer suicides in 2021 — behind Maharashtra with 4,064 farmer suicides and Karnataka 2,169.

Suicides in Andhra Pradesh increased by 14.5 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020.

A total of 8,067 people committed suicide in 2021 while the number was 7043 in 2020.

The latest NCRB data recorded only the profession of those who have committed suicide and makes no mention of the reasons for them ending their lives. Of the 1,065 farmer suicides in the state in 2021, 958 were of male and 107 female.

The data also showed that 359 suicides were by farmers who cultivated their own farmlands, 122 by those who cultivated lands on lease and 584 were agricultural labourers.

The AP government had launched the YSRCP Rythu Bharosa scheme in October 2019. The scheme provides Rs 13,500 each to the farmers per annum. Over 44.92 lakh landowning farmers and 1.58 lakh tenants benefit through the scheme. However, the scheme failed to minimize farmer desperation in the state.

Representatives of the Human Rights Forum (HRF) and the Rythu Swarajya Vedika (RSV) visited several parts of the state and observed that mounting debts, lack of market price for their agricultural produce and non-release of the benefits of government schemes to the tenant farmers were the major reasons for these suicides.

They advised the government to prepare a proper mechanism to end the farm crisis.

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Human trafficking cases dip in AP in 2021


Vijayawada: The number of human trafficking cases in Andhra Pradesh has come down to 168 in 2021 against 171 in 2020.

As per the data released by the National Crime Records Bureau, 308 out of the 338 victims trafficked were female. The police rescued 279 persons including 278 women and the main purpose of human trafficking was sexual exploitation or prostitution.

With regard to disposal of cases of human trafficking by the police and the court for 2021,  a total of 168 cases were booked. Of them, chargesheets were filed in 148 cases. In one case, the final report was filed. Police filed chargesheets in 99.3 per cent of the cases.

The accused in three cases were convicted while those in 29 cases were acquitted or discharged and 32 cases in trial stage were completed.

Out of a total number 757 persons arrested, 485 were chargesheeted while eight were convicted and 127 were acquitted or discharged.

The number of crime against women has gone up to 17,752 in 2021 against 17,089 in 2020 with the rate of total crime against women registered being at 67.2 per cent and the rate of filing chargesheets at 93.5 per cent in 2021.

The state registered 397 incidents of abetment to suicide of women booked under sections 305/306 of IPC and 108 cases of dowry deaths and two incidents of murder with rape or gang rape.

The IPC crimes registered against women included 13 incidents of miscarriage, two incidents of acid attack and five incidents of attempt to acid attack and 7,092 incidents of cruelty by husbands or his relatives. As many as 613 incidents of kidnapping of women were registered and nine cases pertained to kidnapping for ransom.

As many as 1,188 incidents of rape were registered and of them, 574 were women of 18 years and above and 614 incidents were of girls below 18 years. As for attempt to commit rape, 162 incidents were reported and 5,108 incidents of assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty recorded.

Nearly 2,370 incidents of insult to the modesty of women were reported and 466 incidents of protection of children from sexual offences act recorded. As many as 1,188 cases of child victims of rape below 18 years of age were reported; and in 1,183 cases, the offenders were known to the victim.

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CM to visit YSR Kadapa to take part in several programmes from Sept. 1 to 3


VIJAYAWADA: Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy will visit YSR Kadapa district to take part in several programmes from September 1 to 3.

On September 1, the CM will leave his residence at Tadepalli at 2 pm to arrive at Vijayawada International Airport and will reach Velpula village of Vemula mandal at 3.30 pm to inaugurate a village secretariat complex. He will start at 5.15 pm and arrive at Idupulapaya at 5.35 pm and stay put at YSR estate guesthouse for the night.

On September 2, The CM will leave the guesthouse at 8.50 am and will take part in special prayers to mark death anniversary of former chief minister and his father late Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy from 9 am to 9.40 am. Later, he will review the development programmes being taken up at Pulivendula Assembly segment and will continue a series of review meetings with the officials until evening and return to the YSR estate guesthouse to stay put for the night.

On September 3, the CM will leave Idupulapaya at 8.50 am and reach his residence in Tadepalli at 10.40 am.

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AP committed to extend financial aid for studies abroad: Minister


VIJAYAWADA: Minister for social welfare Merugu Nagarjuna stated that the state government was committed to extending financial assistance to all eligible students to pursue higher education abroad under Jagananna Videshi Vidya scheme.

Holding a review meeting with the officials on the implementation of the scheme here on Monday, the minister asserted that the scheme would benefit students from SC, ST, BC, minorities and also those from upper castes with low income. He said that as the online applications were being accepted for the scheme, the students should submit their applications by September 30.

The minister ruled out any ceiling on financial assistance to be provided to the students and also ruled out any restrictions on the number of students to be benefitted under the scheme in a year.

Maintaining that the applications were being accepted on the Jnana Bhumi web portal, the minister said that the list of universities which got 1 to 200 in QS World University Rankings was placed in the web portal and added that those who got seats in the universities from 1 to 100 ranks, to get total reimbursement even up to Rs 1 crore and those who got seats in the universities which got 101 to 200 ranks, they would get reimbursement put to Rs 50 lakh. He said that the students from families whose annual income was below Rs 8 lakh were eligible to get financial support under the scheme.

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Inter student ends life after college refuses to give him certificates


KARIMNAGAR: In a tragic incident on Monday, a student who completed the intermediate course and sought admission to an engineering college committed suicide after he failed to get back his Intermediate certificates from the college management.

The student was Jakkula Anjith, a resident of Karimnagar town, who studied his intermediate in Adibatla SR Sri Gayatri College in Hyderabad and completed it successfully.

As he could not pay the full fees to the college, the management refused to release his intermediate certificates required for admission into the engineering college.

On several occasions, Anjith and his parents requested the management to release the certificates and promised them that they would pay the total fees as soon as they arranged the money.

Even after completing the first phase of counselling for engineering seats, the management of the college, which behaved in a harsh manner, did not issue the certificates to Anjith.

After taking rounds of college for the past month, Anjith went into depression and then took the extreme step. He attempted suicide two days back and was taken to a private hospital, where he breathed his last on Monday.

BJP state chief and Karimnagar MP Bandi Sanjay spoke to Anjith’s father on the phone and expressed his condolences to the family.

He flayed the corporate and private educational institutions for harassing students in the name of fees and asked chief minister Chandrasekhar Rao why he kept quiet in such matters.

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Youth tries suicide at KCR meeting in Peddapalli


KARIMNAGAR: An unemployed youth tried to commit suicide by dousing kerosene on him during a public meeting of Chief Minister Chandrashekar Rao at Peddakalwala in Peddapalli district on Monday. The police immediately took him into custody without causing any disturbance to the meeting.

The youth was Perumandal Ramesh (40), a resident of Ellanthakunta mandal of Huzurabad constituency in Karimnagar district. He had completed his graduation and had been searching for a job for quite some time without success.

He got desperate after the recent loss of his father Mallaiah, who was an artist. His mother, suffering from paralysis, and her two children, then went into depression.

With a representation letter, Ramesh reached the venue of the public meeting in Peddapalli district to hand it over to the chief minister, seeking help from him. He also brought a kerosene bottle along with him to commit suicide.

When the police personnel did not allow him to go near the stage, he tried to commit suicide by opening the lid of the kerosene bottle. The police personnel there immediately nabbed Ramesh and his bag. He was taken out of the meeting venue without causing any disturbance there.

The police officials also grabbed the cell phones of those who tried to capture the incident.

It is learnt that Ramesh had brought his problems to the notice of the local public representatives in Huzurabad on a number of occasions, seeking help from them under CM relief fund, but there was no positive response from them.

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BJP will lose deposit in Munugode, TRS will sweep: Jagadish Reddy


HYDERABAD: Dismissing the prospects of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) victory in Munugode byelections, necessitated after Congress legislator Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy quit the party and joined the BJP, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) constituency in-charge and minister for energy G. Jagadish Reddy said, he expected the fight to be between the TRS and the Congress, and the saffron party might even lose its deposit.

Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, the minister dared anyone who felt the TRS would lose in the bypoll to come and visit the constituency and meet people to get a sense of the sentiment on the ground.

“The perception that there is a strong anti-incumbency against the TRS government led by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao is not true. The Munugode constituency has the largest set of beneficiaries of our welfare schemes and people love Chandrashekar Rao. From Rythu Bandhu to pensions for senior citizens to the physically challenged, from Shaadi Mubarak and Kalyana Lakshmi, the direct beneficiaries alone cover nearly three-fourths of the electorate,” Reddy said.

Saying it was not so much about election management as to educate voters on which government was responsible for which outcome, Jagadish Reddy said, “On the one hand, there is huge anger across Telangana against Narendra Modi and the BJP because of high prices of gas, diesel and petrol. On the other hand, people not only want to elect Chandrashekar Rao garu for a third term, but also want to empower him for a larger national role to save India.”

Claiming that the people in Munugode were not convinced about the rationale of Rajgopal Reddy’s resignation, he said, “If he had left the Congress to join the ruling TRS to bring in local development, people might have accepted. But to join one Opposition party from another has left an impression amongst voters that maybe the Congress campaign against its own MLA that he was leaving for getting business benefits and contacts from the BJP was true. In any case, he will come third. The TRS is at least 18 to 20 per cent ahead of Congress, which is in second place.”

Saying that issues of failed promises like job notifications, 2BHK, 3-acre land for Dalits, free education from KG-to-PG, unemployment allowance and waiver of farm loans were not on top of people’s minds, he said, “People are very grateful to Chandrashekar Rao’s leadership which turned around Telangana’s rural economy, with irrigations projects making our entire state green and productive. Rythu Bandhu and Rythu Bima have helped farmers and our model is being studied positively by farmers and policy makers from many states across India. Our 24/7 power supply is unmatched as an achievement. The Telangana model is what people across India are keen to have.”

Dismissing as “political conspiracy” the actions of Central agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Income Tax, he said, “Everyone in India knows that the BJP is misusing these agencies. If they will raid me, I will welcome them — I have nothing to hide. Entire Telangana is with Kavitha, who is being unfairly targeted only because the TRS is fighting against Modi’s misrule.”

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Sea swimming pools mooted for Vizag beach in view of drowning incidents


Visakhapatnam: In view of the frequent drowning incidents, with one of them occurring on Sunday afternoon, some experts have suggested that the local administration arrange sea swimming pools in select places along the beach so that visitors would not venture into the sea and not face the risk of drowning.

Sea swimming pools or crystal lagoons are popular in Australia, the US and South Africa, where they are built with the main purpose of preventing shark attacks.

Local people are expressing their concern over the negligence of the local government as many people, mostly tourists, are drowning in the sea. Locals are angry over the GVMC withdrawing the life guards from the beaches.

“Sea swimming pools are the best alternative available to save lives and the government should go for them immediately,’’ said CEO of Welfare Holidays, Vijay Mohan. He said APTDC should develop sea swimming pools as more and more people are visiting the Vizag beach of late.

Around  1.7 crore tourists arrived in Vizag in 2021 despite the Covid-19 second wave, which restricted movement in the summer, he said.

In response, collector Mallikarjuna said the administration will try exploring such options without violating the CRZ rules that prevent building of concrete structures on the beach.

Environmentalist Sohan Hatangadi said temporary and makeshift pools can be made. A floating wall with a net drawn down to the bottom of the sea would prevent people from rip current that drags the people deep into the sea, he said.

“Pools, watch towers and life guards can bring down the incidence of drowning in the sea,’’ Hatangadi told DC.

Sources in the APTDC said the idea had been floated in 2016 and a pilot project was planned at Mangamaripeta, Lawson’s Bay, Rushikonda and Sagarnagar. But the plan was abandoned later.

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