Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mumbai: CID probe ordered in Faiz Usmani's death

Mumbai: Faiz Usmani, the brother of Ahmedabad blast suspect Afzal Usmani, died after being questioned by the Mumbai Crime Branch late Saturday night. The provisional post mortem report says that he died of a heart attack. A CID probe has been ordered into the death, after Usmani's family members alleged he died of police torture.
"I want justice. Strict action should be taken and the guilty should be punished," said Faiz' wife, Zubeida Usmani.
Angry family members crowded outside Sion Hospital, protesting the death of Faiz. It is reported that he fell ill during the questioning and was admitted to the hospital. He allegedly died of brain haemorrhage later in the night.
Faiz Usmani's son said, "We found out that he was vomiting, so the police admitted him to the hospital and left. They didn't tell us anything about what happened."
Faiz' family say that he was healthy when he left the house and are questioning the way the police treated him.
"I don't know what kind of questioning the police conducted that my husband fell so ill. When he left the house he was completely healthy and had no health problems," said Zubeida.
While Usmani's family claims he was in perfect health when the police picked him up for questioning, initial medical reports show he was suffering from hypertension and high blood pressure. The Mumbai police insists he was not tortured.
Nisar Tamboli, Mumbai Police Spokesperson, said, "There was no case of torture. Let me make it clear - Faiz was not detained by us. He came to the police station on his own, started feeling giddy and suffocated, reported it to the policemen around who took him to the hospital."
A state CID probe has been ordered into the death. Faiz was questioned as part of a citywide combing operation by Mumbai police after Wednesday's serial blasts.
Sources in the investigating team indicate that their probe will not be affected by Faiz Usmani's death. But, as a plethora of investigative agencies come under severe pressure to come up with answers in the Mumbai serial blasts case, this death has only complicated matters by throwing up more questions.

Climate change a major challenge to India''s agriculture, says PM

New Delhi, July 16 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Saturday said that climate change has emerged as a major challenge to India''s agriculture.

Addressing the 83rd foundation day of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) here, Dr. Singh said: "The immediate problems that our farmers face relate to intra-seasonal variability of rainfall, extreme events and unseasonal rains. These aberrations cause heavy losses to our crops every year. There is therefore an urgent necessity for us to speed up our efforts to evolve climate-resilient crop varieties, cropping patterns and management practices."

He further said he is happy that the ICAR is implementing a major scheme, the National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture and has set up the state-of-the-art National Institute on Abiotic Stress Management.

"The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture, which is one of the eight Missions under our National Action Plan on Climate Change also seeks to devise appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies for ensuring food security, enhancing livelihood opportunities and contributing to economic stability at the national level," a PIB release quoted Dr. Singh, as saying.

Emphasizing that our government, in the last seven years has taken several new initiatives in the agricultural sector, Dr. Singh said: " Many of these initiatives have shown encouraging results. But we need to build upon this achievement in the Twelfth Five-Year Plan."

"The Twelfth Plan must ensure further progress in areas of achievement and also remove the deficiencies in areas where our achievements have fallen short of expectations or objective potential of our economy," he added.

Urging scientists, technologists, and extension experts to share their experiences and personal assessments of these new initiatives, Dr. Singh said: " I urged them to share their experiences with the Planning Commission and the Ministry of Agriculture so that the Twelfth Five-Year Plan can tackle the many new challenges that have emerged in the last few years." (ANI)

PM calls for second green revolution to achieve self-sufficiency in food

New Delhi, July 16 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Saturday emphasised that the country needs a second green revolution to further accelerate agricultural growth and achieve self-sufficiency in food.

Addressing the 83rd foundation day of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) here, Dr. Singh said: "We clearly need a second green revolution that is more broad-based, more inclusive and more sustainable; we need to produce more without depleting our natural resources any further, and we look towards our agricultural scientists for ushering this green revolution."

"We all look back proudly to our green revolution, which helped us overcome food shortages and banish the specter of starvation, or living from ship to mouth. But, today we find that the regions of the country which witnessed the green revolution are suffering from problems of environmental degradation," a PIB release quoted Dr. Singh, as saying.

"In many other regions of the country, particularly in eastern India, yields continue to be much lower than what is attainable. More generally, it should concern us that productivity in Indian agriculture has plateaued over the years," he added.

Emphasising that India currently spends about 0.6 per cent of its agricultural GDP on agricultural research and development, Dr. Singh said: "This needs to be enhanced at least 2 to 3 times by 2020, since a substantial portion of our agricultural growth would come through the application of new technologies and new knowledge to production processes."

"But spending more on research is not enough unless this improves the quality of human resources in all areas of agriculture," he added.

The Prime Minister further said the total demand for foodgrains of the country is projected to touch 281 MT by 2020-21.

"The inclusive strategies of development that we are pursuing should further increase the incomes of the poorer sections of our society. This will further increase demand for foodgrains but also fruits, vegetables and animal products. The total demand for foodgrains is projected to touch 280 million tonnes by the year 2020-21," he said

"Meeting this demand will necessitate a growth rate of nearly 2 per cent per annum in foodgrain production," he added. (ANI)