energy Nigerians want to own their oil Thousands of workers in Nigeria protested in mid-May the proposed deregulation of the oil sector. The government in February said it would deregulate the downstream oil sector, which deals with refining of crude oil for domestic consumption. It is managed by the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. The government had also

Jammu: Mature wheat crop on at least 139 kanals was damaged in fire caused due to an alleged short-circuit in power transmission wires in the border area of Badyal Brahmna, around 4 km from RS Pura, this evening.

Three incidents of devastating fire in different villages of RS Pura and Vijaypur have already damaged mature wheat crop on nearly 233 kanals this week.

land compensation Tikait arrested Bhartiya Kisan Union leader Mahendra Singh Tikait was arrested in Ghaziabad on August 18. He was on his way to lend support to a farmers

Social activists Medha Patkar and Bhai Vaidya have submitted a letter to Divisional Commissioner Nitin Kareer demanding a CBI inquiry into the land acquired for the Lavasa resort township, 60 kms from

Contrary to the preliminary estimates which indicated that the crops worth Rs 100 crore were damaged in the district due to the recent rains, the official estimates are only showing a loss of around R

The State government has decided to give Rs.7,500 as compensation for loss of each hectare of paddy crop, Local Administration Minister M.K. Stalin informed the Assembly on Wednesday.

The Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy announced a series of incentives to fishermen including waiving off loans of Rs 40.72 crore availed by them from Fishermen Finance Corporation.

Prior to announcing the Rs 60,000-crore farm loan waiver package, the finance ministry had toyed with the idea of setting up an Agriculture Credit Guarantee Corporation with a corpus of around Rs 5,000 crore to deal with bad loans. The entity would have insured lenders against borrower defaults with banks making less provisioning for such loans and continuing to offer farm loans. However, the plan was dropped after the amount of the waiver and relief package rose to a massive Rs 60,000 crore. "We then thought of giving direct subsidies to farmers as there will be no leakage in this scheme and the benefits will go directly to farmers,' said a government official. Cooperative banks account for Rs 37,000 crore or about 61 per cent of the Rs 60,000-crore package announced in the Budget. Regional rural banks and scheduled commercial banks account for Rs 12,000 crore and Rs 11,000 crore, respectively. The details of the farm package are likely to be finalised by March 25. As the government will implement this package over a period of three financial years, it may make a provision of up to Rs 25,000 crore in 2008-09. Part of the financial assistance due for restructuring of cooperatives according to the recommendations of the Vaidyanathan Committee is also likely to be part of the package, officials say. Cooperatives and banks may also have to share a little burden in case of default loan accounts, which have been written off for prudential accounting norms.

Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot has challenged Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje's allegation of the Centre discriminating against the State. The Central allocation to Rajasthan during the past four years had been more than at any time in the past, he said. "The State never had it so good,' Mr. Gehlot said reacting to reports that the Centre had rejected Ms. Raje's appeal to include frost and other cold weather conditions for compensation under the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF). "In fact, her approaching Home Minister Shivraj Patil with the demand was meaningless as the Finance Commission sets the norms for CRF,' he added. Local newspapers here had reported the Centre rejecting a demand from Ms. Raje for changes in the CRF norms with a suggestion that the State could place the matter before the 13th Finance Commission. The Chief Minister had made the demand in a letter written to Mr. Patil saying that farmers in 22 districts of the State had suffered a total loss of Rs.1,000 crore due to frost and extreme weather conditions. The treasury benches had also passed a resolution in the Assembly on the issue. "It is not due to dearth of money that relief is not reaching the affected farmers. The available funds are not utilised properly,' Mr. Gehlot said. Comparing the funds made available by the National Democratic Alliance government to the previous government headed by him , Mr. Gehlot said against a Central allocation of Rs.3,000 crore under rural development during the first four years, this government got Rs.9,000 crores under the same head so far. As for the CRF norms, Mr. Gehlot said there were clear-cut guidelines regarding the use of CRF and NCCF and there was no scope for any confusion.

People in Kapurdi hamlet, some 30 km from Rajasthan's Barmer town, are unusually suspicious of strangers. They stop and question every outsider driving through the area. What is making them so wary

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