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Major News and Events of 03 February 2013

What Happened on 03 February 2013

Land takeover for Posco resumed in Odisha

Odisha on Sunday after an year again started the process of land acquisition for steelmaker Posco's $12 billion project in Jagatsinghpur district, since the process was halted due to villagers' opposition. Some of villagers claimed that police used force against women and children opposing the project at Gobindpur village about 120 km from Bhubaneshwar. The district administrative official stated that the process was started after the villagers offered their lands and 10 betel vines in the region were destroyed for the same and compensation paid. Superintendent of Police Satyabrata Bhoi specified that the land acquisition was done in a peaceful manner. Prashant Paikray, spokesman of the Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, who was leading the movement against the project, said police got into the village with force and beat up residents, including women and children.

Vodafone asks for allocation of spectrum

Vodafone India has sent a request to the government to immediately assign the spectrum that it won in November 2012 auction. It has alleged that the airwaves were being utilized by the operators whose licences were cancelled on the Supreme Court's orders. In its letter to the department of telecom (DoT), Vodafone India has specified that there was an undue delay in allocation of spectrum. The India unit of the British telecom giant Vodafone took part in the 1800 MHz auctions held in November 2012 and got spectrum in 14 service areas at an auction price of Rs.1,127.94 crore.According to the guidelines, the company paid Rs.372.22 crore under the deferred payment option route on Nov 22, 2012 for the spectrum it had secured. Now despite the payments made,it is yet to be allocated the spectrum. Vodafone stated that operators like Idea, Videocon, Uninor are on the same frequency band in circles like Assam, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Odisha allocated to it in the auctions. Vodafone India has asked the department of telecom that "in context of the pending allocation of spectrum and continued use of spectrum by other license operators, DoT may immediately clarify and confirm that the period of 20 years for which the right to use the spectrum has been acquired by the licensee through this auction will be reckoned from the date of actual allotment of the said spectrum".

President gives approval to ordinance to fight sexual crimes

President Pranab Mukherjee approved an ordinance that assigns stricter punishment for sexual crimes against women including death sentence in rare cases. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 which is based broadly on J.S. Verma's report was passed by the cabinet on Friday. But the ordinance has received a lot of flak from women rights activists as it is said to have done mockery of the Verma recommendations. The activists slammed the government for quietly passing the ordinance without any debate or discussion. They had on Saturday requested the president not to sign the ordinance, specifying it lacked many aspects to deal with sexual crimes against women. Now that the presidential has given his nod the ordinance will come into effect immediately. The parliament should pass it within six months.The government on Saturday had specified that the ordinance would be open to discussions when it is brought before parliament. Women's groups will organize a protest at New Delhi on Monday against the ordinance.

Blind Man's Car Rally had 100 participants

 More than 100 visually impaired navigators directed their partner drivers over a 65-km route in the seventh edition of the Blind Man's Car Rally at Mumbai. They had with them a route map in Braille. The participants directed step-by-step to their sighted partners behind the wheel during the time-speed-distance (TDS) car rally. The drivers strictly complied to the directions given by the blind navigators and took no initiative on their own. This rally organized by Round Table India in association with the National Association for the Blind (NAB), aims at raising funds for its projects under the national theme 'Freedom through Education'.

'Vishwaroopam' ban lifted in Tamil Nadu

After Kamal Haasan and Muslim organisations agreed on truce over the controversial film "Vishwaroopam", the ban on the release of the espionage thriller in Tamil Nadu was lifted on Sunday. The dates for the release will be announced soon. Kamal entered into a formal tripartite talks on Saturday with Muslim groups to end the ban and decided to edit seven scenes from his film. He also stated that he has withdrawn written petition and expected the same process to be followed from the government. The Rs.95 crore thriller "Vishwaroopam" was scheduled to be screened in Tamil and Telugu on Jan 25, but a day prior to the release the Tamil Nadu government imposed a two-week ban over fears of protests by Muslim groups. The film's Hindi version though opened to positive reviews on Feb 1 across the country.

Congress to use social media to reach out

Congress is now into the mood to use social media to understand the spot trends and dish out a response to that so that the people are not influenced by opposition. Most leaders of the ruling Congress, including newly-appointed party vice president Rahul Gandhi, are not too much in social media and criticism of the party and the government is not dealt with but all this is set to change. This change in attitude has come when the party saw the youth-driven flash mob protests demanding strong laws to control corruption and crimes against women, shaking both the party and the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. A sub group has been formed with Digvijaya Singh heading it.Rahul Gandhi has 117,685 followers on Twitter, but he has tweeted only 15 tweets so far and even his Twitter account is protected. Digvijaya Singh has more than 42,000 followers and has posted over 1,000 tweets. Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari's twitter account is protected as well. Milind Deora has over 1,145 tweets and more than 52,000 followers.

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