April 15, 2014

Gas war will hurt Russia too: Czech Ambassador

Filed under: Uncategorized — Journalised @ 4:26 AM

Expressing hope that Russia will act maturely on the energy supply issue to Europe, Czech Ambassador to India Miloslav Stasek said the use of energy sanctions as a tool to settle political scores with Europe will hurt Russia too.

“If you are a big supplier, you need buyers. I don’t think it will be beneficial for them, because they need the income coming from the sale of gas,” Mr Stasek said commenting on Russian attempts to stall gas supplies to Central European countries.

He said the Czech Republic currently gets 78 per cent of its total gas supplies from Russia through a pipeline that runs through Ukraine and any attempts to use it to settle scores with Europe for its non-recognition of Crimea as part of Russia will deprive it of the funds from selling its vast energy resources.

He highlighted that Russia is also a big investor in its energy and power sector in the Czech Republic and it is not in Russia interest to hurt gas supplies to his country.

Calling the ‘occupation’ of Crimea by Russia as a development “that keeps us busy,” the Ambassador said his country’s position is the same as the EU’s. “We are on the same lines as the EU. We are calling for the territorial unity of Ukraine,” Mr Stasek said.

He said the way Russia went about occupying Crimea by holding a referendum, which was called into question both by the EU and the United States, brings home memories of the German occupation of Czech province of Bohemia when Germany used the same analogy, of a majority of German speakers in the province, to justify its occupation in 1938.

There has been a major energy policy shift in many European countries since Russia’s ‘occupation’ of Crimea, as there are fears among many of these states that Russia will use its energy resources to starve its industry to gain an upper hand in the region.

However, Mr Stasek said his country had started the process of diversifying its energy needs much before the Crimean crisis began. Not only that the country is also trying to diversify its energy technology, Mr Stasek highlighted that together with France, Czech Republic is now the biggest exporter of energy to Europe and wants to further increase its nuclear energy capacity to become self-sustainable in the long run.


Originally published here


India as important as China economically: Czech Amb

Filed under: Uncategorized — Journalised @ 4:16 AM
New Delhi, Apr 14 (UNI) Even after the slowdown of its economy, India remains as important a destination for Czech business as China, Czech Republic’s Ambassador to India Miloslav Stasek has stressed, adding that his country has ‘prioritised’ India much before the crisis.
   Speaking to UNI after the recently concluded India-Central Europe Business Forum (ICEBF) in which Czech Republic was the focus country, the Ambassador said Czech companies are increasingly looking towards India to spread their wings.
   The recession in many Western economies as well in Czech Republic itself has encouraged its companies to look for opportunities out of Europe as well as invest in R&D. “If we are not competitive, we will be lost,” he added.
   “Asia is huge and lots of opportunities exist and companies from other regions are also here, so the Indian market is very competitive,” the Ambassador said.
   He said the recently-concluded ICEBF, organised by FICCI in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs, provided a unique platform to Central European countries to interact with Indian business leaders. He expressed his country’s readiness to host a similar event and make it a perennial affair as it provides a platform for future cooperation with India.
   India-Czech bilateral trade currently stands close to two billion dollars per year. The Ambassador said that since there is lot of liquidity in Indian companies, they are looking at the Czech Republic as an investment destination. The Indian government currently provides subsidy to the tune of two per cent to Indian companies who invest in the Czech Republic, which means that anything that Indian companies invest in the Czech Republic, they are reimbursed two per cent of that amount by the Indian government.
   Apart from exporting traditional goods such as spices, textiles and rubber, several Indian pharma and IT companies have set up shop in the Central European country, that split from Slovakia in 1993, as it provides them a gateway to Europe.
   Mr Stasek stressed that there are ample areas in which Indian companies can invest in his country including areas such as automotives, heavy industry, engineering technology as well as glass.
   “Automotive industry is the engine of our growth and we export as well as import automotive part,” he said, adding that a lot of Indian companies are already exporting automotive parts to the Czech Republic.
   Terming China a relatively “difficult market” compared to India due to “language barriers”, he said the former Czechoslovakia is already an established name here because of its involvement in India’s economy in the 1970’s. “Even the auto wallahs know about Czechoslovakia,” the envoy remarked in a lighter vein.
   Mr Stasek expressed hope that any government that comes to power after the general election will prioritise the economy. “For any government in India the priority would be to provide employment and good environment to attract investment,” he said.
   When his attention was drawn to the absence of direct air links between the two countries at a time when the bilateral relations are flourishing, he said his government is exploring ways to get the national carrier Air-India to provide a direct service to Prague.  “We are in negotiations to bring Air-India to the CzechRepublic. We already have a civil aviation agreement with India. We will be pleased to have an Indian carrier cater on the India-Czech Republic route,” Mr Stasek said.
   He expressed hope that the void will be soon be filled.
Originally published here

February 3, 2014

Rahul throws his weight behind protesters, says justice would be done in Nido’s case

Filed under: Uncategorized — Journalised @ 9:13 AM

New Delhi, Feb 3 (UNI) In rare show of solidarity with protesters at Jantar Mantar protesting the beating and subsequent death of Arunachal student Nido Taniam, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi today assured that justice will be done in the case.

“I should not be standing here, I should be there, sitting with you,” Mr Gandhi said pointing to those sitting in the crowd who had gathered there to protest Nido’s death.

“You can expect very quick action. We are going to move forward with it,” Mr Gandhi assured them.

“The only thing I am interested in is dignity for all Indians,” he said to cheers from the gathering, adding, “What happened (to Nido) is absolutely unacceptable.

Appealing for respect for all Indians including people from the North East, Mr Gandhi said, “There is only one India that matters to me, and that India is where every Indian has respect and justice. We will ensure that people of North East get respect and justice.”

The protesters put forward their 16 demands to Mr Gandhi which includes a magisterial inquiry into the death of Nido Taniam at the level of Deputy Commissioner.

They are also demanding that the inquiry be completed within two weeks and the case be transferred to the CBI or a SIT be instituted for the purpose.

Earlier in the day various members of the North-Eastern community spoke against the angst in the community after Nido’s killing. Founder of Manipur Guns Survivor Association, Binalakshmi Nepram said that their fight is till the and the community will not rest until justice is done.

“Our research has shown that of all the crimes against North-Eastern people, over 50 per cent are against women,” Ms Nepram said during her speech at the protests. She informed the the Delhi High Court has taken suo moto cognizance of the issue and has asked the Delhi police to submit a report in three days.

“This time it’s going to be different. We will protest everyday. This is not a one-day show,” she said.

Various protesters gathered at the protest said that discrimination against them is rife and demanded for enacting of a strict anti-racial law. “We want anti-racial law which can be executed not only on paper,” said Dutu Tabyo, a documentary film-maker from Arunachal Pradesh who joined the protests at Jantar Mantar.

“Everytime something like this happens, the case gets vanished in months, the perpetrators go scot free, like in the case of Dana Sangma. But this time we mean business, we want written assurance from the government,” Mr Tabyo said.

Another participant and speaker Wanghring Rangang Anal, an advisor to the Delhi Police on North-eastern affairs said that the Police in the cityt needs to be sensitised about the cultural preferences of people from the North East and the Police personnels needs to be taught about the culture by conducting regular meeting.

Mr Anal condemned the Delhi Police’s claim that the incident was just another scuffle, adding that there people from the North East are targeted on everyday basis.

“They should be booked and punished. This has been happening everyday,” said Mr Anal.


A shorter version of this story can be found here.

November 16, 2013

Karnad traces evolution of Indian cinema

Filed under: Arts,Cinema,Theatre — Journalised @ 12:22 PM
Tags: , , , , , , ,

New Delhi, Nov 16 (UNI) It is often said that its a challenge keep bored public servants from napping in lectures; not so for Girish Karnad who enthralled the audience with his panoramic knowledge of Indian cinema and its evolution over the years and its subsequent role in creating the Indian identity at the 26th Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial IFFCO lecture entitled ‘Indian Cinema and the Creation of A Nation’.
Speaking to a packed audience at the ACUI auditorium, the master-par-excellence of Indian theatre and cinema delved deep into the history of Indian cinema.
Emphasising that music has always been an integral part of Indian cinema, he said that when sound technology became available, while the western cinema incorporated dialogues, the Indian film-makers incorporated music into their films.
The creator of the famous play Tughlaq said that although the political class of India has consistently refused to recognise Indian cinema’s role in creating a national identity as well as in national integration, the film-makers have more or less stayed away from political themes themselves.
”None of the Congress leaders were fans of the arts, I don’t know how Nehru felt about Indian cinema but Gandhi had a very low opinion of Indian cinema,” Dr Karnad said.
However, he said that cinema in India still remains an urban affair as it caters mainly to middle-class aspirations. ”Cities of today are different from cities of 20’s and the 30’s. There were no slums back then in cities. It was around the World War II when the black money came and then the slums sprung up in films too. The films of those times reflected the preoccupations of the urban class of that time, like independence movement, social reforms, etc. and these are depicted in films of those times such as Achoot Kanya,’ Dr Karnad said.
Indian cinema grew into two different ‘schools’ in the 50’s – one that depicted the harsh social reality, as propounded by Satyajit Ray’s cinema and the other, the escapist fair of carefree narratives and indulgence in glamour with exuberant music and dances.
Dr Karnad said the reason why Hindi cinema achieved national and now international recognition was because it catered to the aspirations of youth from all over India and unlike regional-language films weee not confined itself to regional themes. He highlighted the fact the the evolution path of south Indian cinema is totally different from Hindi film industry.
”South Indian cinema always had a political connection starting from Annadurai, to MGR to NTR and now you have Karunanidhi, who started as script writer and of course Jayalalithaa,” he said, adding the south Indian cinema never shied away from political themes.
He opined India still has as abysmally law number of cinemas compared to that in the west with only 13,005 at its height, compared to 4,500 in tiny United Kingdom with much less population.
During the occasion, Dr Karnad also felicitated two distinguished personalities with awards. E Chandrasekharan Nair was felicitated with the Sahakarita Ratna Award while Khemabhai Hirabhai Patel was given the Sahakarita Bandhu Award by IFFCO.

Originally published here

November 13, 2013

SC order to demolish Campa Cola building case very harsh: Mah CM

Filed under: Uncategorized — Journalised @ 12:27 PM

New Delhi, Nov 13 (UNI) Noting that the controversial Campa Cola building’s litigation has been going on for the past 13 years, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today said the Supreme Court’s decision to order its demolition was ‘very, very harsh.’
Briefing the media after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in regard to developmental projects undertaken in his state, Mr Chavan, however, added that with the apex court giving a temporary breather to residents of the entangled building in Mumbai, his government is exploring legal options to deal with the issue.
Admitting that there were many buildings in Mumbai which do not have the necessary certificate of occupancy (OC) because they are in violation of building rules, he said there was little the state or civic authorities can do as there are no laws in place to deal with such situations. ”There are no provisions to take things further,” he added.
”Of course, there are questions. Why was the building allowed to go on? Did the occupants know the building was illegal? There are lingering questions,” Mr Chavan said.
He admitted the residents of the building had approached the state government asking it to bring an ordinance to save the building. However, the government wanted that it be demolished and rebuilt.
Asked why so many buildings court controversy in the city, the Chief Minister said a distinction needs to be made between illegal and unsafe buildings, alluding to the Mumbra building collapse in April this year.
The Chief Minister said that he sympathised with the occupants of the Campa Cola building and therefore his government has already passed the Maharashtra Housing Regulation and Development Bill so that such a situation does not arise again.


Originally published here

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