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Collectors removed for code violation

Raipur (PTI): The Chhattisgarh government on Wednesday removed Jashpur collector B.S. Anant and Bastar collector L.. Suryawanshi from their posts for allegedly violating the Election Commission’s model code of conduct. The state will go to polls on December 1.

“Following the directives of the Election Commission, chief secretary Suyogya Kumar Mishra directed Jashpur collector B.S. Anant and Bastar collector L.. Suryawanshi to immediately hand over charges to the next seniormost officers of their district and get relieved,” a senior official said.

Anant was removed for travelling with chief minister Ajit Jogi in a private helicopter requisitioned by the Congress last week for campaigning and for participating in an official programme for distributing spectacles with Jogi’s wife Dr Renu, state election office sources said.

In Suryawanshi’s case, allegations were levelled against him by both the Opposition BJP and the Nationalist Congress Party that school bags with Jogi’s photographs on them were given out in Bastar even after the commission banned its distribution, the sources said.

Last Friday, the commission asked both the collectors to submit their explanations by Monday and thereafter ordered their removal.

Fingerprints must for US visas

Chennai (PTI): Recording of fingerprints of all US visa applicants would be made mandatory from next year, a senior US consulate official said on Wednesday.

“It is proposed to have fingerprints of all US visa applicants taken on the spot at all visa processing offices of the US from October 26 next year,” Michael Thomas, chief consul, consulate general of the US, Chennai, said. Thomas was addressing a meeting organised by the Federation of Indian Export Organisations here.

Speaking on US visa regulations post-September 11, he said certain changes had been made in visa issuing procedures in the interests of national security.

Thomas said under these procedural changes, visa applicants need to provide specific details about the purpose of their visit, place of stay and financial support in the US.

The US consulate in Chennai is currently processing at least 180,000 visa applications a year and most of them are from Indian IT professionals, students and parents visiting their children settled in the US.

Thomas said while the consulate was keen to encourage genuine travellers to the US, it was equally concerned about its security.

Stores not to stock beer

Mumbai (PTI): The Maharashtra government has rescinded its decision to allow the sale of beer in departmental stores.

Chief minister Sushil Kumar Shinde announced this after a cabinet meeting.

“We reconsidered the decision following opposition from various quarters and will not issue licences for sale of beer in departmental stores,” he said. The state government had earlier decided to allow the sale of beer in departmental stores in an effort to mobilise resources.

Passengers looted

Lucknow (PTI): Armed dacoits looted cash and valuables from passengers of the Jammu Tawi-Patna Archana Express near Dildar Nagar in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday morning, police said. About 15 to 20 dacoits barged into an AC 3 tier bogie when the train left Mughalsarai and went on a looting spree.

Varsity clash

Hyderabad (PTI): Five persons were injured in a clash between two groups of students at Osmania university on Tuesday night. The trouble began when students owing allegiance to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad allegedly attacked a hostel on the campus.

Medical admission

New Delhi (PTI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday again refused to relax the September 30 deadline for completion of admissions into MBBS and BDS courses and rejected the pleas of government medical colleges in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra for more time.

Dacoit attack

Varanasi (PTI): Two persons were killed and four seriously injured when armed dacoits attacked the house of a chartered account in Sri Krishna Nagar colony on Wednesday, police said. They decamped with cash and ornaments worth Rs 10 lakh.

Lawyer on the run

Dharmapuri (PTI): A woman advocate was absconding after magistrates of Krishnagiri and Hosur lodged complaints against her for being allegedly involved in forgery cases, police said.

Tick

The Gir Lion Sanctuary, the only natural habitat of Asiatic lions in the world, has been attracting more tourists this year following the addition of 40 to 70 cubs. A census in May 2001 had put the lions’ population here between 322 and 332.

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