Shotgun faces quit call from party
Known as one of the top critics of PM Narendra Modi in the BJP, dissident MP and yesteryear’s movie star Shatrughna Sinha remains a political enigma. He continues to pick holes in the BJP-led central government’s flagship policies and its claims of success. Sinha, who is the BJP MP from Patna Saheb and a former Union minister, also continues meeting Opposition leaders such as jailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his son Tejashwi Yadav. BJP leaders now consider him a liability for the party. In fact, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi of BJP recently asked Sinha to quit the party “if he does not like it”. But Sinha remains ‘khamos’ (quiet) on the advice.
Crackdown on polluting brick kilns
Many brick kilns dotting the banks of the Ganga in Patna districts are found throwing environment protection norms to the wind. Despite several reminders from the Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB) and the district administration, they have done little to curb emission of smoke and other pollutants. After a review of the situation recently, Patna divisional commissioner Robert L Chongthu ordered that 17 erring brick kilns at Maner, Danapur, Patna Sadar, Phulwarisharif and Fatuha blocks be sealed and FIRs be lodged against them. He also gave a ten-day ultimatum to 61 other brick kilns in the district to fulfil all environmental standards or else face a similar crackdown.
Teachers fined for spiking student figures
Hundreds of school headmasters across Bihar have been found inflating attendance figures of students apparently as a ploy to siphon off mid-day meal (MDM) funds. Attendance figures sent by the schools to the district education officers (DEO) failed to match with actual presence of students at the schools during surprise inspections on several occasions. Senior education department officials, upset with the continuing irregularities, have ordered that the erring headmasters must pay fines. In fact, the provision of imposing fines on the headmasters for such irregularities has been in place since 2013. Officials said D4.21 crore has been so far collected and that efforts are on to collect a further D8.68 crore.
Azad as a reporter
Cricketer-turned-politician and MP Kirti Azad likes to be in front of the camera, but in different roles. The three-term MP from Darbhanga, who played cricket for India before joining politics, is known to mince no words while speaking about both sports and politics. During a recent interview by a TV journalist in Darbhanga, Azad briefly assumed a TV reporter’s role. Holding the mike close to his lips, he said before the camera: “This is Kirti Azad, reporting from Darbhanga”. He was suspended from BJP in 2015 for targeting Union finance minister Arun Jaitley. Azad, 60, has little chance of getting a BJP ticket for the upcoming LS polls since he has been critical of the PM and his government.