ED notice to Thampi, 3 Holiday Group firms

first_imgThe Enforcement Directorate has served show-cause notices on NRI C.C. Thampi of the Holiday Group and three of his companies for alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), involving transactions of ₹288 crore.According to the ED, the notices have been served on Mr. Thampi, Holiday City Centre Pvt. Ltd., Holiday Properties Pvt. Ltd. and Holiday Bekal Resorts Pvt. Ltd. The NRI entrepreneur had acquired agricultural land in the name of his company Holiday City Centre Pvt. Ltd allegedly in violation of the FEMA provisions.According to the agency, Mr. Thampi — as a person residing outside India — had advanced unsecured loans to his three companies, which were later on converted into equity in his name and in the name of his family members in these companies.Land around NCR“By using the said funds, he had acquired huge agricultural land mass in Haryana’s Palwal, the National Capital Region and Gautam Buddha Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, through these companies, which he could not have otherwise purchased as he resided outside India. The agricultural land purchased by Mr. Thampi through these companies has also been proposed for confiscation to the Central government’s account,” said an ED official.The Directorate had questioned Mr. Thampi in December last year, after he did not get any relief from the Kerala High Court on the look-out circular issued against him. The businessman runs educational institutions and has varied business interests in the United Arab Emirates and India.last_img read more

BJP picks Seema Savle as PCMC panel chief

first_imgPune: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) three-time corporator Seema Savle has been nominated as chief of the standing committee of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC).The BJP won a massive landslide in the PCMC, bagging 77 of the 128 seats. The party also broke the decade-long hold of Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) over the civic body.Ms. Savle, from the PCMC’s Indrayani Nagar area, is expected to win the election unopposed as no other candidate has filed a nomination. The elections are to be held on Friday. Ms. Savle, who was earlier with the Shiv Sena, joined the BJP just before the recent civic elections.Sarang Kamtekar, BJP’s general secretary, said, “during the NCP’s long reign over the PCMC, only upper class women made it to the powerful post of panel chief.”Ms. Savle won by a narrow margin in the 2007 civic polls from a reserved seat. However, in the 2012 PCMC election, she won by 1,000 votes from an open category seat.She also withstood the NCP wave in the 2012 PCMC polls, in which the party bagged 83 seats, defeating the Sena and the BJP.It is believed that former NCP heavyweight-turned-BJP MLA Laxman Jagtap chose Ms. Savle for the post of PCMC’s standing committee chief.There was disgruntlement within the BJP camp over new PCMC mayor Nitin Kalje’s candidature, as he is widely perceived to be Mr. Landge’s pick. The mayor’s post has been reserved for an OBC candidate for the first two-and-a-half years in the civic body this time.The NCP won only 36 seats in the PCMC, following the steady defections of their top leaders in the area, like Mr. Landge and Azam Pansare, who joined the BJP before the polls.last_img read more

I-T Department issues summons to Lalu’s daughter, husband

first_imgThe Income Tax Department has issued summons to Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad’s  daughter Misa Bharti and her husband, Shailesh Kumar, in connection with its probe into alleged Rs. 1,000 crore benami land deals and a tax evasion case.This follows the arrest of chartered acountant Rajesh Kumar Agrawal by the Enforcement Directorate on May 22. He is alleged to have aided in illegal transactions involving Mr. Prasad’s kin.Officials of the department said the department had asked Ms. Bharti, a Rajya Sabha member, and Mr. Kumar to appear before the investigating officer in New Delhi in June first week.On May 16, the department searched multiple premises of about two dozen entities connected to this case and seized documents and computer hardware.The officials said the summons issued to Ms. Bharti and Mr. Kumar were a part of the investigation and their statements would be recorded.The couple are alleged to have links with Ms Mishail Packers and Printers Private Limited, which is suspected to have entered into benami deals for purchase of a farm house in Delhi’s Bijwasan area.Certain other property deals were also under the scanner of the taxman, the officials said.The officials had said they will apply provisions of the newly enacted Benami Transactions Act, 1988, which became operational from November 1 last, in this case. The law provides for a maximum punishment of seven years in jail and a fine.The action under this new law will be over and above the legal proceedings under the Income Tax Act, 1961, which relates to charges of domestic tax evasion.The officials had said Mr. Prasad’s kin held some of the property under their scanner in a ‘benami’ way. (Benami property are those in which the real beneficiary is not the one in whose name the property has been purchased).Lalu blames BJPThe RJD chief, however, had sought to put up a brave face after the raids, saying he was “not scared at all” and will continue to fight against “fascist forces“.“BJP mein himmat nahi hai ki Lalu ki awaz ko daba sake… Lalu ki awaz dabayenge to desh bhar me karoron Lalu khare ho jayenge… Main gidarbhabhki se nahi darne wala hoon  [the BJP does not have the courage to stifle my voice… If it tries to silence one Lalu, crores of Lalu will come forward. I am not scared of empty threats],” he had said in a series of tweets after the searches.The BJP had also accused Mr. Prasad, sons Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap (both Bihar Ministers) and Ms. Bharti of being involved in corrupt land deals worth over Rs 1,000 crore, and asked the Central government to probe one such transaction in Delhi.Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had alleged that these transactions were a case of quid pro quo, suggesting that money was paid in return for favour, as they dated back to the period when Mr. Lalu Prasad was the Railway Minister, and dared Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to take action against the RJD chief.Mr. Lalu Prasad’s official residence was the address of the owners of the firms allegedly floated by his family members, Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad had said.last_img read more

Horse crashes into car in Jaipur

first_imgA tonga-pulling horse went berserk on Sunday, apparently due to the blistering heat, and crashed into a car through the windscreen, in the Civil Lines area here, injuring itself and the car driver. Passers-by and policemen had a difficult time getting the animal out of the car.The incident took place in the afternoon when the temperature in the Pink City was hovering around 43 degree Celsius. Police said the horse was tied to the roadside by the tonga owner with a packet of fodder.According to eyewitness accounts, the furious horse broke its harness and jumped onto the car coming in the opposite direction, as people ran to safety. The animal mounted the car’s bonnet and crashed into the wind shield. It remained stuck for about 10 minutes before the people dragged it out and rescued the car driver. Policemen and Forest Department officials joined in the rescue effort.Driver injuredCar driver Pankaj Joshi suffered injuries on his arms and was discharged after being administered first aid. The horse is recuperating and veterinarians said its injuries were not very serious.Mr. Joshi, who owns an event management firm, said he had just started his car near the Jaipur Club in the Civil Lines area when he heard a loud sound of breaking glass. “The next moment, I found myself stuck inside the car with a horse next to me,” he said.last_img read more

Calcutta HC stays West Bengal Govt curbs on Durga idol immersion

first_imgThe Calcutta High Court on Thursday issued a stay on the West Bengal government notification imposing curbs on Durga idol immersion on account of Muharram after 10 p.m. on September 30 (Vijay Dashami Day) and October 1.Hearing three public interest litigation petitions, a Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rakesh Tiwari and Justice Harish Tandon said that immersion would be allowed on all days as per almanac till 12 o’clock in the night.The court asked the police administration to chart out separate route for processions for Durga idol immersion and Muharram. The matter, however, has not been disposed by the court.During arguments in the Court Justice Tiwari wanted to know from counsel representing the State to come up with instances in the past where disturbances had erupted because of Durga Puja immersion and Muharram on the same day.“If there is nothing in the past and you say I have apprehension or dream that some problem may occur. This will not do,” Justice Tiwari observed.last_img read more

Bombay HC refuses to stay framing of charges against Tarun Tejpal

first_imgThe Bombay High Court in Goa on Tuesday refused to stay the process of framing of charges against former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal at a lower court in Mapusa in north Goa. The court also directed that the trial could begin only after its consent.The court direction followed the hearing of a petition submitted by Mr. Tejpal, challenging the framing of charges by the additional North Goa District and Sessions court against him.Mr. Tejpal has been accused of raping a former female junior colleague during a Tehelka fest in Goa in November, 2013.Mr. Tejpal’s counsel Aman Lekhi, while challenging the September 7 framing of charges process, said the accusation of rape was false and the prosecution had delayed handing over the evidence to him by three years. The prosecution lawyer, Saresh Lotlikar, in response, argued that only a proper trial could establish the veracity of the charges levelled against the accused.Justice Prithviraj Chavan directed that examination of witnesses at the lower court could only begin after it’s consent.Tejpal faces charges under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 342 (wrongful confinement), and 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code, which were endorsed by the court. Section 354 (b) (criminal assault with intent to disrobe) was added later. He has been accused of sexually assaulting a junior female colleague in an elevator of a five star hotel in north Goa for two consecutive days during a festival event in November 2013.Tejpal was subsequently arrested and is out on bail.The next hearing at the trial court is scheduled for September 28. The High Court will continue hearing Tejpal’s petition on November 1.last_img read more

‘Kodnani’s guilt not proven beyond doubt’

first_imgA Special Investigation Team had told the trial court in the Naroda Patiya case that a day after the Godhra incident, 11 witnesses saw Maya Kodnani inciting mobs in the Naroda area, her Assembly constituency in north Ahmedabad.The witnesses told the court that they saw her handing out swords to rioters, exhorting them to attack Muslims, and at one point firing a pistol.However, after a protracted battle in the High Court during which several judges recused themselves from hearing her appeal, the Division Bench observed in its verdict that the witness statements were inconsistent and had failed to prove Dr. Kodnani’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.The court also noted that her name as a key accused in the high profile case came up only after the Supreme Court-appointed SIT took over the probe in crucial cases, including Naroda Patiya.“Maya Kodnani’s delayed nailing in the case cannot be accepted,” the court observed, citing contradictions in the statements given by the witnesses before the SIT and earlier before the Gujarat police.Out of 32 persons convicted by the trial court, the HC upheld the conviction of 13 persons, acquitting 18, including Dr. Kodnani, while one convict died during appeal pending in the court. The court also convicted three others, who were among the 29 persons acquitted by the trial court. Their sentence would be announced on May 9. They are Umesh Bharwad, P.J. Rajput and local lawyer Rakumar Chaumal.The HC also reduced the quantum of sentence of all convicts to 21 years in jail.last_img read more

Akalis take exception to helmets for Sikh women

first_imgWith the Chandigarh administration making helmet mandatory for all women driving two-wheelers or riding pillion, the Shiromani Akali Dal has taken exception to the decision, saying that the step was not in consonance with Sikh religion and culture.To deliberate on the decision, a meeting of all women Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) members has been convened on July 12 at the SGPC head office in Amritsar, said Bibi Jagir Kaur, president of the Istri Akali Dal, in a statement here.“The decision is not in consonance with Sikh religion and culture, and hence we have decided to discuss the issue in its entirety,” she said. Ms. Kaur added that women intellectuals have also been invited to participate in the meeting and give their views on the matter.“Depending on the views expressed at the meeting, we would plan our next line of action, which could include a protest, if required,” she added.The Chandigarh administration had on Friday last issued a notification making use of helmet mandatory for all women, including Sikhs, while driving two-wheelers or riding pillion. The notification exempts Sikh women wearing a turban from wearing a helmet.last_img read more

No stones replaced at Konark Sun Temple: ASI

first_imgThe ASI on Monday clarified that not a single stone carving has been replaced at the Sun Temple in Konark and denied allegations of replacement of artistic stone works at the world heritage monument. The clarification comes two days after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, taking cognisance of media reports, wrote to the Central government urging it to direct the ASI to probe the allegation. The ASI is the custodian of the 13th Century shrine. “Not a single piece of stone has been removed from any portion of the surviving structural remains of the Sun Temple, Konark,” ASI’s Superintending Archaeologist Arun Malik said in a statement here. “Also, no replacement of stone has been done there for conservation or repair of any other purpose in last more than a decade’s time,” he said. With effective implementation of advanced techniques of scientific preservation, the rate of erosion of surface stones of the temple has been considerably controlled, the official said. Creation of a green belt to protect the temple stones from saline breeze and sand blasting from the nearby Bay of Bengal has further contributed to the retarded rate of deterioration of stones, he said in the statement.last_img read more

Swiss Government to Offset ERC Funding Block

first_imgResearchers in Switzerland breathed a sigh of relief this week after their government stepped in to replace lost funding opportunities from the European Union. This will ease the effects of a referendum held in Switzerland on 9 February, in which voters agreed to curb mass immigration. The vote indirectly led Switzerland to lose its privileged status as an associated country to Horizon 2020, the European Union’s new research funding program, and to the higher education program Erasmus+, which both run from 2014 through 2020.As of 26 February and until further notice, Switzerland is now considered a so-called third country in Horizon 2020. This means that its researchers can still apply for E.U. funding as part of a group with partners from E.U. member states, but individual scientists from Swiss institutions are barred from applying for coveted basic research grants from the European Research Council (ERC), as well as for Marie Curie scholarships. This was bad news for Swiss candidates, who were very successful under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme, which ran from 2007 to 2013. According to ERC, €585 million went to 321 ERC grantees in Switzerland in that period.Switzerland’s government has now offered a partial remedy: The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) will offer ERC-like grants so that Swiss applications don’t go to waste. “The scientific community is especially grateful for this timely decision, less than 6 weeks after the Swiss vote,” says Martine Rahier, president of swissuniversities, a group that will merge the country’s three existing rectors’ conferences this year.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)But this measure is not enough to solve the whole problem, Rahier adds. “In the mid-term, a full membership in the Horizon 2020 and ERC programs remains crucial—the only way—to guarantee the high standard of Swiss research and innovation potential,” she says.SNSF’s emergency plan will broadly follow the same rules, evaluation criteria, and funding calendar as ERC’s. “The calls for this temporary scheme will be open to scientists who work in Switzerland or who are now negotiating positions at institutions in Switzerland,” the foundation wrote in a statement on 10 March. Starting Grants applicants (who have between 2 and 7 years’ experience after their Ph.D.) can submit their proposal between 15 and 25 March, while the deadline for Consolidator Grants proposals (7 to 12 years’ postdoctoral experience) is 20 May.“Based on earlier experience with the ERC Grants we expect to receive about 200 to 250 proposals” in total, SNSF spokesman Alan Knaus tells ScienceInsider in an e-mail. “How many of them will be funded by the SNSF depends on their quality—the success rate of the ERC Grants in previous years was between 20 and 25 percent,” he adds. SNSF will ensure that its evaluation panels include members who have experience with ERC evaluation procedures, Knaus says.The overall budget of the temporary fund is not settled yet, pending discussions with Switzerland’s government and parliamentary approval in the fall. Knaus says that it will not affect the foundation’s other funding programs, as the budget for this back-up plan will “presumably” come from money that the government would have paid to the E.U. budget anyway in order to become an associated country in Horizon 2020. (Switzerland paid about €1.6 billion to become associated with the Seventh Framework Programme.)last_img read more

UK artist’s creation takes Udaipurites to the moon and back

first_imgOn Tuesday, the Museum of the Moon landed in Udaipur where it was showcased at the City Palace’s Moti Chowk. It will stay in the sky till Wednesday night, the promoters said. The art work created by artist Luke Jerram is being promoted by British Council, an international organization working for cultural relations and educational opportunities.Read it at Times Of India Related Itemslast_img

Mauritius pitches itself as African gateway to Indian investors

first_imgPositioning itself as a gateway to Africa, Mauritius today invited Indian investors and businesses to utilise the island country to explore the African market. Mauritius is member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. “Investors and businessmen from india can use Mauritius as a platform to reach the big African markets,” Mauritius Vice-president Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory said here at the closing ceremony of the CIIs Partnership Summit.Read it at India Today Related Itemslast_img read more

Nigeria records increase in export to India

first_imgThe Deputy High Commissioner of India and Head of Chancery in Nigeria, Shri Subash Chand, has said his country witnessed more imports from Nigeria in 2016 and 2017.Chand stated this at the opening of a three-day exhibition of Indian products, tagged ‘Source India’ and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, and the Trade Promotion Council of India, in Lagos.Read it at Punchng Related Itemslast_img read more

India’s Rare Tea Picked Under a Full Moon

first_imgSet 2,200m high on the steep slopes of the Indian Himalayas and surrounded by the ice-capped peaks of Khangchendzonga, the world’s third-highest mountain, the hills surrounding Darjeeling are – quite literally – breath-taking. Wild elephants and tigers roam the valley ridges and Buddhist monasteries cling to the slopes, but it’s Darjeeling’s vast blanket of emerald-green tea plantations that has led its cash crop to be called the ‘Champagne of teas’ and propelled it to international fame.Read it at BBC Related Itemslast_img read more

The Chapati Chronicles

first_imgWe took them for granted and now we’ve lost them.Fess up – you miss them too!  The glorious chapatis that always appeared on your plate, warm, fluffy and just as crisp as you liked them. Unseen hands would knead the dough, let it rest; roll out the little balls and then allow them to sit on the hot tawa, getting freckled golden brown, puffing up in their own heat. Magical discs, golden balloons, just the right texture, the right size to enfold and embrace vegetables and keema, and to polish off the last dregs of curry from the plate. In India, a hot chapati was your God given right!Even a humble pavement dweller in crowded Bombay could look forward to this small joy. Setting up a makeshift stove in a secluded corner, without even a rolling pin or board, the women squat on the ground, nonchalantly slapping the dough from hand to hand until a perfect disc evolves. It rises like a full moon on the open fire. Even if there is no vegetable, a hot chapati, eaten with a killer green chili or a piece of onion, is pleasure enough.In the United States, new Indian immigrants, like wide-eyed kids in a candy store, were first enamored of the wonderful, very, very white Wonder bread. But soon they hankered for their own earthy, flavorful chapatis. Only, who was to make them? There were no cooks or helpful mothers-in-law or even Chotu, the kitchen boy, to roll out the chapatis. The horrific truth finally dawned: they were on their own in this chapati-less land.Even women who had been full-time housewives in India hardly had the time to knead and roll in this new life of 9 to 5 workdays and being all things to all people. Often Middle Eastern pitas or Greek breads had to substitute. Then came the Indian grocery revolution where ready-made chapatis began appearing on the shelves. Salvation was at last at hand. The world, however, is divided into two groups of people: those who must have their homemade chapatis and those who will make do with impostors, having long abandoned those feverish attempts that turned into lop-sided maps of India. Now we have the chapati chefs – a ragtag army of rollers and slappers who can put those warm, tantalizing breads on your table once again.Every neighborhood with a dense Indian population seems to have women who will come to your home and cook, or prepare the foods you need at their own home. Queens, New York, is especially a paradise for getting home-cooked food since so many new immigrants are proficient at cooking and are looking for a side income. Word of mouth tells of Indian cleaning ladies who will whip up rotis or dhokla for you on weekends. There are others who only do the cooking in your home, typically at $10 per hour. Across Long Island and New Jersey, Indian women will cook the food you don’t have time for at a going rate of $13-15.Usha Rastogi of Forest Hills, N.Y., is one housewife who relies upon this help for her chapatis. When she was younger, she says, she made the chapatis, but now prefers to do the cooking and outsource the cumbersome job of roti-making to the Chapati Brigade. Phone a day ahead with your order. Next day you pick up your homemade chapatis and still have your immaculate kitchen. Rastogi orders them from Karuna Patel, a Gujarati woman, who, she says, makes the thinnest, softest rotis imaginable. Rastogi even sends them all the way to Charleston, N.C., to her son and his family.Karuna Patel is something of a roti whiz and has been rolling chapatis for the neighborhood for some time. Her reputation has spread by word of mouth and she does not deliver. She will visit homes in Manhattan to cook authentic Gujarati vegetarian food. Her stack of rotis cost $25 for a hundred, each the size of a snack plate. Her chapatis are made without oil, so a hundred is manageable volume, really!Many of the women in the cooking business lack language or educational background to find work in the mainstream and turn to their culinary skills to supplement the family income. The demand for ethnic food, both from Indians as well as the mainstream, ensures a steady market for their work.About a decade ago, the local grapevine related the tale of a woman in Jackson Heights who made great cocktail samosas. This was before Indian grocery stores were carrying them, and so just by word of mouth, many hungry souls would stop at her home to pick up the treats. A real entrepreneur, she kept two refrigerators packed with packets of samosas. Often she would be at the kitchen table, late in the evening, conjuring up the bite sized samosas. Then her samosas began appearing in grocery stores and the home business evaporated. New York has two amazing success stories built a roti at a time. Both businesses are in Queens, where women have taken fate into their own hands by turning their kitchen into a thriving business. The earliest enterprise was Delicious Foods, started by Satvinder Chahal, an immigrant woman, from her kitchen in 1993. A housewife, she cooked chapatis at home and sold them to Indian grocery stores in plain wrappers. Her daughter Parminder Chahal recalls: “The stores had never had chapatis and we started on a small scale. In those days there was a store called Royal Groceries in Jackson Heights. When we delivered them to the store that first day, we had not even reached back home, when we had a call on our pager: the chapatis were sold out and they needed more!”They established Delicious Foods in 1997 with an army of roti-literate women. Chahal purchased a dough-making machine in 2001, but the chapatis, parathas and other foods are still all made by hand. The manufacturing facilities are open 24 hours a day. Says Chahal: “We are the oldest one and have a very busy schedule. Each day of the week is devoted to a different region and deliveries are made to different areas.”Delicious Food is a non-descript place tucked away on 108th Street in Flushing, Queens, in New York that churns out on an average 15,000 rotis every day. The store sells wholesale to retailers as far as Boston and Baltimore, but also wholesale quantities to individuals. Plans for a retail outlet are on the drawing board, perhaps six months down the road.“Hand-made rotis remain soft and fresh for a longer time than those prepared by machines.”The store celebrates womanpower. Parminder Chahal, who lost her mother, now runs the store with her factory manager, Saira Rahman Kalyal, a soft-spoken woman in her mid-40s and an immigrant from Lahore, Pakistan, who also stays with Chahal. “I am considered an aunt in the house,” says Kalyal, who started under Parminder’s mother with Delicious after she first came to the United States more than a decade ago.During a recent visit, a happy group of women at the “factory,” as they referred to their place of work, spoke with a visiting reporter. The “boss,” Chahal, they said, even gifted them gold jewelry sets during Diwali. Many of the 17 employees have been working there for more than five years. The women say that each of them easily churns out 1,000 rotis every night. They start in the evening, working through the night and leave in the morning to catch sleep during the day. Storeowners from as far as Connecticut to Washington, DC, dropped in to pick up their orders throughout the day. Under Chahal, Delicious Food has evolved it into a lucrative business. Her top selling items are 20 type of parathas, rotis, Punjabi snacks like mathi and sweets like pinni, which uses rich ingredients like pistachios and cashews, and for which Chahal says they receive the most compliments. She says: “Everyone appreciates our Punjabi pinnis. They are used for marriage parties. It’s appreciated so much by the students from the colleges. They say it reminds them of their parents back in India!”  Sushma Thukral of Asian Foods has a similar success story. She too started out making chapatis from her home kitchen. She says, “When my children were small, I couldn’t work outside the home.” She struck her first success when she persuaded a local Indian grocery store to stock her freshly-prepared rotis. Her maiden “order” of 4 packets sold quickly enough to encourage the storeowner to increase his shelf space for Thukral’s rotis. She’s never looked back.After she was told by the health department that she couldn’t cook from the home, she got her license, took the necessary classes and then opened up her store, Asian Foods, in Flushing. She employs eight women who whip up 3,000 rotis daily. Orders pour in from grocery stores, party organizers and occasionally, from bored housewives or lonely bachelors.Today her bustling store sells to both retailers and individuals, who can stop by and pick up the quantities they want. And it’s not limited to just rotis – small, medium sized and big – but also snacks like pani puri, samosas and parathas with every kind of filling from methi to mooli to gobi. If consumers want to come and pick up rotis as they come off the tawa, the store can accommodate them, packing them in foil.Asian Foods also caters vegetarian food: 2 vegetables, daal, rice, chapatis and raita at $5 a head. Thukral hasn’t mechanized her business beyond using a dough-mixer machine to mix over 400 pounds of wheat flour every day. “Hand-made rotis remain soft and fresh for a longer time than those prepared by machines,” she explains.   Every neighborhood with a dense Indian population seems to have women who will come to your home and cook, or prepare the foods you need at their own home.Huge tawas cook 15 rotis at a time. The store starts very early in the morning and everything from cooking to packing is done on the premises. While she would not shares financial figures, Thukral said her business is quite profitable. “Business is good, with God’s grace. I am happy at where I am,” she says.Today, her prematurely-born son is a strong, 10-year old sensitive boy. “The other day, he asked me if I could afford to buy for him a Nintendo video game. Of course, I could. Thanks to him, I developed this business, this far,” says Thukral proudly with a glint of tear in her eyes.Even professional women who love to cook are getting into the food game. Gita Ahuja is a busy travel agent who lives in Great Neck, N.Y.. She says of her friend Jaya Thadani, “She loves to cook – I hate to cook!” So it was a perfect alliance. After a hard day at the computer, Ahuja saunters across the street, tells her neighbor Thadani what she’d like to eat that day for dinner.She then heads off to the gym. An hour later she picks up the homemade meal with all her family’s favorites from her neighbor and sits down at home to a hot meal with her family! Says Ahuja, “It’s worked out so well – that’s how I get time to go to the health club. Otherwise at the end of my working day I’m like, oh god, I’ve to start cooking! Everyone’s waiting on my head. Now Jaya makes whatever I want, and it’s literally like back in India where you have bais coming in to cook. That’s the concept!”  There are so many interpretations of the chapati. The Gujarati rotis are smaller and softer while the Punjabi rotis are larger and richer. The Sindhi rotis have an oil base and after being cooked on the tawa, are folded into quarters and smooshed with oil. Some rotis are given their final grilling on an open fire, others in a hot oven. Whatever the method, these breads are what complete the meal and give it soul. Thadani specializes in vegetable and chicken biryani, chicken tikka and many Sindhi specialties like curry chaval, saibhaji and sail dabalroti. She has acquired clients through word of mouth and recently did the entire lunch, including seera puri, for a kirtan get-together. She can even accommodate special dietary needs and actually made seera puri with Splenda for those who can’t eat sugar.“I like to cook, I like to try different things,” says Thadani, who works in a bank. “I learnt a lot of my cooking after my marriage for my husband is very fond of good food.” However, Thadani is one expert cook who won’t do chapatis. Although she can make good ones, she doesn’t take orders on them, because they are just too time-consuming. Still, she can whip up big platters of biryani, tikka and other specialties at competitive rates and homemade taste. One attraction is that she doesn’t use the commercial paneer in her dishes, but makes it at home from scratch, and many of the Sindhi dishes she makes are not available commercially in stores.The success stories are endless. In America if you can roll a chapati or cook a dosa, you have a job. Earlier two brothers Mahadev and Shankar went from home to home cooking up everything from green peas puris to jalebis.Everyone who had a party in Long Island knew they were the ones to call when food had to be produced on hundreds of plates. The two men graduated to more elite catering services and even a restaurant. They no longer come to your home to cook any more, but still cater meals from their professional kitchen. Usha Rastogi of Forest Hills, N.Y., is one housewife who relies upon this help for her chapatis. When she was younger, she says, she made the chapatis, but now prefers to do the cooking and outsource the cumbersome job of roti-making to the Chapati Brigade.Across major Indian metropolitan centers, enterprising women are taking catering orders from the house and delivering home-made taste – just not in your home and not by you!There are so many interpretations of the chapati. The Gujarati rotis are smaller and softer while the Punjabi rotis larger and richer. The Sindhi rotis have an oil base and after being cooked on the tawa, are folded into quarters and smooshed with oil.Some rotis are given their final grilling on an open fire, others in a hot oven. Whatever the method, these breads are what complete the meal and give it soul. The full range of these options is now available. These helping hands now help you produce authentic home food, including the much-desired breads, from small oil-less Gujarati rotis to the thicker, richer Punjabi rotis. A taste of home, thousands of miles away from home.To eat an authentic chapati is to be ensconced in a hammock of memories, a comfort zone. Vanita Sakhrani of Rego Park, Queens, has the best of both worlds for if the chapatis can’t come to her – she goes to them! She shuttles between homes in New York and Poona, spending several months in each city.Jaya Thadani can whip up big platters of biryani, tikka and other specialties at competitive rates and homemade taste.  Jaya Thadani can whip up big platters of biryani, tikka and other specialties at competitive rates and homemade taste.With her busy lifestyle she doesn’t get time to make chapatis in New York and usually orders them from one a local woman. When she’s home in Poona, she gets them hot and fluffy on the table. As she finishes eating one, the family cook, as if reading her mind, is at her side with another steaming hot and fresh chapati off the griddle. Her roti-karma must be very good! Related Itemslast_img read more

Samsung to Export India-Made Smartphones to Europe, Middle East and Africa

first_imgKorean technology firm Samsung will soon start exporting India-made smartphones to Europe, Middle East and Africa. The company will pace up its production capacity to 12 million devices per month from the 5 million that it currently produces, the Times of India reported.“We are going to boost our engagement in India further, and are making fresh investments of around Rs 5,000 crore to double the installed capacity. This should be completed by the end of this year,” the publication quoted a company source as saying.Undeterred by the competition in the field, Samsung is all set for the new spurt of growth in India. The company’s plans are also in line with the “Make in India” initiative of the Indian government.“Apart from displaying our seriousness when it comes to the Indian market, the move also highlights the capability of the factories here in producing high-quality products that meet global benchmarks,” the report quoted the source as saying.The company is now preparing for the next onslaught — using India as one of the top global bases to service key markets in countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle-East. In India, Samsung devices, ranging from entry-level feature phones to the high-end smart phones, are produced at its factories in Noida.The firm now expects assistance from the Indian government in terms of incentives for exports so as to make manufacturing in India competitive, as compared to global hotspots like China, Korea and Vietnam.Samsung is also set to launch India-focused smartphones across price points over the year, IANS reported. “You can expect multiple devices being launched over the year across price segments that we operate in. These smartphones will be available across online and offline channels from time to time,” said Asim Warsi, Senior Vice President, Mobile Business, Samsung India.“We invest $14 billion in R&D globally and have five global R&D centers based in India. There are two manufacturing operations as well through which we are always trying to keep ourselves ahead of the curve in R&D towards ‘Make for India’,” added Warsi.India is the second-biggest smartphone market in the world, after China.According to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the Indian smartphone market witnessed a healthy 14 percent annual growth with a total shipment of 124 million units in 2017. Samsung has a market share of 24.7 per cent in the smartphone section and a market share of 20.5 per cent in the feature phone section. Related ItemsManufacturingSamsungSmartphoneslast_img read more

Student stabs teacher over holiday homework

first_imgA 45-year-old teacher of a private school in Haryana’s Sonipat was stabbed inside the classroom on Monday for allegedly scolding a student over not completing his holiday homework.She has been referred to Rohtak’s Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences for treatment.Schools in Haryana opened on Monday after over a month-long summer vacation. Mukesh Kumari, an English teacher at a senior secondary school in Bhigan village here, was inquiring about holiday homework from some Class XI students when one of them allegedly stabbed her thrice with a sharp-edged weapon.The teacher was initially taken to a civil hospital and then referred to Khanpur medical college. From there she was sent to Rohtak.School principal Neeraj Tyagi said the accused student had taken admission a week before the vacation began. He was caught and handed over to the police.Superintendent of Police, Sonipat, Pratiksha Godara told The Hindu that a call was made to the Police Control Room regarding the incident but no formal complaint was received as yet. “We are waiting for a formal complaint to register a case. A case would be registered based on the PCR call if no complaint is received,” said Ms. Godara.Recounting her horror to media persons at the Sonipat civil hospital, Ms. Kumari said that around two dozen students had not done their homework and she had made them stand inside the class. “I was going to every student and asking them the reason for not completing their homework. I walked up to this particular student and he took out a sharp-edged weapon from his bag and stabbed me,” said the teacher.She said the accused student would “often not complete his homework and not even assign any reason for it”. He stayed aloof and did not interact much with his classmates, she added.last_img read more

Madhya Pradesh’s Bunder diamond mine, 12 other mineral blocks to be auctioned in September

first_imgThe government will auction 13 mineral blocks, including Bunder diamond mine in Madhya Pradesh, next month. The Bunder diamond mine in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh has reserves of around 34.20 million carats of diamond, according to the mines ministry.Two gold blocks, Chakariya mine at Singrauli and Imaliya gold block at Katni in Madhya Pradesh, are also among the 13 mines to be up for auction, it said.The government also plans to auction mines of limestone, base metal, bauxite and graphite, it said. According to the latest data, the government has so far auctioned 68 mineral blocks which are likely to accrue an estimated revenue of ₹1.99 lakh crore to State governments over a period of 50 years. Industry body FICCI had earlier in April called for expediting auctions of mineral blocks with known or explored reserves, highlighting that the average of such sales has nosedived to around 15 mines per year after the amendment in the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act.last_img read more

‘Compensate us, don’t treat us as criminals’

first_imgOn a hazy Monday morning, Jitender, 42, is doing the rounds of his five-acre field at Sonipat’s Barona village off the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway, bordering the national capital. He hopes his crop, the ‘Pusa 1121’ variety of basmati rice, would be ready for harvest in the next couple of days.Farmers in and around his village mostly grew basmati rice and harvested the crop manually, he said. “The grain of basmati is damaged during mechanised harvesting and fetches a lower price. We therefore harvest using labour, though it costs a little extra,” said Mr. Jitender. Farmers, he said, make up for it by selling parali (the upper part of paddy cut during harvest). He claimed that incidents of paddy stubble burning in and around his village have virtually stopped over the past two years because of the growing demand for parali as fodder. The parali usually fetches a farmer ₹2,000-₹3,000 per acre. “The stubble is mixed in the field while preparing the land for the next crop,” said Mr. Jitender.The region comprising Jhajjar, Sonipat, Panipat, and Jind districts, mostly growing basmati varieties, account for only 20-30% of stubble burning incidents; the majority of fires are reported from Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Karnal and Yamuna Nagar districts — better known as the “rice bowl” of Haryana. The farmers in this region prefer high-yielding ‘PR’ variety because of easy availability of water and the harvesting is done through combine harvesters. The removal of stalk and straw left in the field is a labour-intensive process. Watch | Stubble burning: M.S. Swaminathan’s solution Stubble burning: M.S. Swaminathan’s solutionVolume 90%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard ShortcutsPlay/PauseSPACEIncrease Volume↑Decrease Volume↓Seek Forward→Seek Backward←Captions On/OffcFullscreen/Exit FullscreenfMute/UnmutemSeek %0-9Live00:0001:3701:37  center_img Combine harvestingMalkeet Singh of Landi village in Kurukshetra said small farmers could not afford to incur three-four times the usual cost to prepare the field for the next crop after combine harvesting and preferred to set the stalk and the straw on fire. “Instead of treating the farmers as criminals and registering a case for burning crop residue, the government should compensate us. The inputs cost of farming has increased several fold over the years, but the price for paddy has reduced to half. The farmer is well aware of the consequences, but it is cost-effective for him to burn [the stubble],” said Mr. Malkeet.Rajinder Singh, president, Haryana Gyan Vigyan Samiti, Karnal, who is working with farmers of around a dozen villages in his area to combat stubble burning, said the government must link cutting of paddy stalk and clearing of fields after combine harvesting with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to deal with the problem effectively.“It will be a win-win situation for all. The labourers would get work under the MGNREGS and the stubble burning would stop,” he said.Hans Raj of Firozpur Bangar village in Sonipat said the farmers were an easy target to blame for air pollution, but industries and vehicles were responsible for the prevailing situation in Delhi-NCR and the National Capital Region.“Farmers burning the crop residue is mostly in Punjab and Lahore in Pakistan. There are very few instances in Haryana,” he said, adding that parali was, in fact, in short supply in his village.Local parali trader Gopi said the paddy residue is in huge demand in dairies and cowsheds and is also used for packaging purposes. He said he bought the parali from around a dozen villages in Kharkhoda area of Sonipat and not a single instance of crop burning was reported there this year. “Why would the farmer burn when he can make good money out of it,” he asked.“With the farmers failing to fetch adequate price for their produce, ₹3,000 per acre for parali is a welcome money for them,” said Shamsher Singh, from the neighbouring Saidpur village.last_img read more