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Latehar (Jharkhand), Dec 27 : Time was when truck drivers from the north, given the abundant production of tomatoes in Jharkhand, would purchase these at rock-bottom prices and sell them for a huge profit back home. It led to a situation where farmers would in disgust throw tomatoes on the roads as they were not getting even the price of cultivation. All that has changed in the last four-five years as truck drivers from neighbouring states saw an opportunity and got into the act to ensure farmers turn in a tidy profit.

All this in the Maoist backyard of Latehar.

“Five to six years ago, we were considering tomato-growing farming as doom for us. But the perception has now changed. The credit for this miracle goes to the truck drivers of the neighbouring states,” Mohammad Danish, a resident of Balumath in Latehar district, told IANS.

Echoing this, Kisun Kumar, another farmer, said: “Four years ago, truck drivers from north India, instead of going back with empty trucks, would purchase tomatoes from us very low cost. They got good prices in their home states. They started doing brisk business in the sale and purchase of tomatoes.”

“There was a time when we preferred to throw tomatoes on the road instead of taking them back to our homes. We were not able get even basic costs. Now we sell our tomatoes at a reasonable cost,” Arjun Oraon, another farmer said.

The farmers would previously sell their tomatoes at 50 paise per kg. Now, they get up to Rs 8 to Rs 12 per kg. Also, the packaging of the tomatoes is done by the local youth and has helped in creating jobs for them.

The labourers involved in packaging are paid Rs 10 per crate for packaging and loading the tomatoes. One labourer, on an average, loads 100 crates of tomatoes in a truck. In this way, a labourer earns up to Rs 1,000 per day. It is estimated that each labourer earns between Rs 1.50 lakh and Rs 2. 50 lakh in every tomato season.

“Now, 40 trucks are dedicated for transporting tomatoes to other states and bordering areas of Bangladesh and Nepal. Now, the situation is such that we are not able to meet the demand,” said Mohammad Shamsher, a truck driver who transports tomatoes to areas bordering Bangladesh.

The lives of local farmers have changed after the tomato business picked up. They now have the money to buy products that aid and enrich their lives.

(Nityanand Shukla can be contacted at [email protected])

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Entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia: Pahlaj Nihalani

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

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Pahlaj Nihalani

Mumbai, Jan 22 :Govinda, “Rangeela Raja”, Pahlaj Nihalani-backed comeback vehicle for Govinda, did not open well. Nihalani says it is because his film did not get the theatres required as the entertainment industry is run by a “glamorous mafia”.

“I am being targeted for my blunt views on the workings of censor board, and because of me, my leading man Govinda is being targeted. If you ask me, Govinda and I have the maximum number of enemies in the film industry,” Nihalani said.

Lamenting the lack of theatres for “Rangeela Raja”, Nihalani says he was refused a release in places like Bihar and Jharkhand.

“These are traditional strongholds of Govinda. And not a single theatre in Patna or Ranchi agreed to play ‘Rangeela Raja’. Why? Because my film is bad? Are only quality films released in theatres? And who decides that my film is substandard? A handful of critics for whom I did not have a press show, so they are upset with me and they are taking it out on my film,” he said.

Dropping another bomb, Nihalani says he suspects the hands of some big guns in sabotaging “Rangeela Raja”.

“I know who they are. I know the people who want to finish off Govinda and me. The entertainment industry is run by a glamorous mafia. They all sit, eat, sleep and make movies together. Solo producers like me with no corporate backing are being pushed out of the film industry in the name of corporotization,” he said.

But Nihalani says he isn’t going away anywhere.

“I belong to this industry as much as those who are currently monopolising the A-list stars. I will make another film with Govinda and prove he too is an A-list star.”

Nihalani says he has always believed in introducing new talent and will continue to do so.

“I introduced Govinda and Chunky Pandey. In ‘Rangeela Raja’ I’ve introduced Mishika Chourasia. I am confident she has a very bright future. Unless the industry will punish her for being Pahlaj Nihalani’s protege.”

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BenQ launches 4K home cinema projectors in India

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w2700 cinematic color with true 4k kv

New Delhi, Jan 22 : Taiwanese electronics company BenQ on Tuesday launched two new 4K home cinema projectors — “W2700” and “W5700” — with CinematicColor technology, projector-optimised HDR-PRO support and individual factory colour calibration in India.

The new projectors, “W2700” and “W5700”, priced at Rs 2.49 lakh and Rs 2.99 lakh respectively, are the world’s first 4K home cinema projectors, the company said.

“With this new range of 4K projectors, we are extremely optimistic that these will turn any room into a world-class home theatre with video enhancing technologies,” said Rajeev Singh, Managing Director, BenQ India.

Fuelled by DCI-P3 colour space, “W2700” delivers the highest level of image accuracy while the “W5700” projector provides a 1.6X big zoom along with 2D H/V lens shift that is ideal for audio visual (AV) rooms.

The HDR-PRO supported projectors also incorporate auto colour and tone mapping techniques to offer improved brightness and contrast range along with ideal image optimization for vivid video quality.

Designed with a compact profile, the light weight projectors facilitate tailored AV personalization with versatile short throw, big zoom and lens shift for a wide range of home cinema possibilities, the company said.

The projectors would begin shipping in the first quarter of 2019.

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Mamata’s opposition rally not enough to elevate her as face of opposition – News Analysis

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Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata, Jan 22 : Even as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee went all out to bring leaders of 23 opposition parties on one stage and launched a stinging attack against the Narendra Modi regime at her ‘United India Rally’, political analysts said it might not be enough to catapult her as the prime face of anti-BJP politics as her party lacks a national presence.

Terming Banerjee “a national leader in her own merit”, political analyst Udayan Bandyopadhyay said the January 19 mega rally might have added more significance to Banerjee’s continuous tirade against the BJP government. But it is too early to predict whether she can emerge as the face of the opposition, with her party’s geographical limitation also being a hindrance.

“At the moment the rally might have added significance to her efforts. But her Trinamool Congress does not have any presence outside West Bengal so practically the party can’t have a lot of impact on national politics. But it is true that the more Lok Sabha seats Trinamool gets, the easier it would become for them to bargain in the post-election scenario,” Bandyopadhyay told IANS.

“She was rail minister under two governments and also a long term MP. She is a national leader in her own merit. But it is too early to say that she would be the face of the opposition. The alliance would need more time to materialise,” he noted.

The analyst claimed most of the opposition leaders attended Banerjee’s rally to fulfil their personal agenda and said Banerjee has to give these personal agendas suitable political articulation to lead them.

“Most of the leaders have come together to protect their self-interests. They want to save their parties from getting marginalised. Leaders like (former prime minister H.D.) Deve Gowda and (Karnataka chief minister H.D.) Kumaraswami of the JD(S) came here so that their government in Karnataka can be saved,” he said.

“If she can give a political articulation to these self-interests, it can be of a different significance but the parties have not reached that point yet. That would be a post-election phenomenon,” said Bandopadhyay, a professor of Political Science in Bangabasi College.

Another political analyst, Anil Kumar Jana, claimed that Banerjee’s effort to lead an anti-BJP front may fail as most leaders have come to the alliance to put pressure on the BJP and might go the other way if they are helped out by the ruling regime.

“Except Mamata Banerjee and the DMK in Tamil Nadu, most of the other leaders are busy bargaining with the BJP to solve their own crisis. The alliance for them is a pressure tactics on the BJP. They are more interested in bargaining with the BJP than forming an opposition front. So the picture of the opposition alliance is still not clear,” Jana told IANS.

“It cannot be said that Mamata successfully projected herself as the face of opposition. The absence of (BSP Chief) Mayawati, who is another prime ministerial aspirant, is also significant in this regard,” he said.

“It is very much possible that the likes of Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party and H.D. Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal-Secular, might backtrack on their anti-BJP stand and even form an alliance with them if the BJP negotiates with them. Banerjee’s anti-BJP rally and her efforts will lose its significance at that point,” Jana said.

However, Banerjee’s party leadership was convinced that she is now the face of the anti-BJP opposition.

“This rally in terms of attendance, duration and number of leaders is a record. She not only provided a common platform to the anti-BJP forces, but her efforts were also roundly appreciated by the leaders present on the dais.

“It’s a big achievement. Not only our party, the entire country now holds her as the prime anti-BJP face,” Trinamool Secretary General and state minister Partha Chatterjee told IANS.

The Bengal BJP leadership, on the other hand, said the people would reject Banerjee.

“She brought all corrupt leaders on one stage. Her party is the pinnacle of corruption in Bengal. It is a meeting of the corrupt, who are talking about destabilising a stable and honest government led by Modi ji. People will not like it. They will reject her,” BJP National Secretary Rahul Sinha said.

State CPI-M legislator Sujan Chakraborty claimed Banerjee’s “utopian dream” of becoming the Prime Minister would remain a dream as she has failed to convince the people about her credibility as an anti-BJP face due to her party’s “constant but secret understanding” with the saffron outfit.

(Milinda Ghosh Roy can be contacted at [email protected]))

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