city news

Budget 2022-23 has growth revival as a priority, says Nirmala Sitharaman

               

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] (ANI): The high capital expenditure proposed in the Union Budget 2022-23 will have a multiplier effect on the economy and will help in sustained recovery, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday.

“The budget has growth revival as a priority along with messages for sustainability as a priority and on predictable tax regimen,” Sitharaman said while addressing a post-budget interaction with industry.
She said the government’s decision to increase spending on infrastructure will help create long-term assets and have a sustainable impact on the economic recovery.

“A sustained recovery is what we would want,” said the Finance Minister adding the Union Budget 2022-23 seeks to lay a foundation for India’s growth for the next 25 years.

In the 2022-23 Union Budget presented on Parliament on February 1, 2022, Sitharaman proposed to increase the outlay for capital expenditure by 35.4 per cent from Rs 5.54 lakh crore in the current year to Rs 7.50 lakh crore in 2022-23.

The Finance Minister said the extensive use of technology helped India manage the COVID pandemic more effectively than most other countries. (ANI)

IPL 2022: Raina, Steve Smith and Shakib among high-profile names to go unsold in auction

             

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India] (ANI): Suresh Raina, Steve Smith, and Shakib Al Hasan were among the high-profile names who went unsold in the Indian Premier League (IPL) mega auction on Saturday.

However, these three names will pop up again in the auction and they might find bidders in the accelerated part of the auction.
India all-rounder Deepak Hooda was sold to Lucknow Super Giants for Rs 5.75 crore while Harshal Patel was picked up by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for Rs 10.75 crore.

Nitish Rana was picked up by KKR for Rs 8 crore while West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder was bought by Lucknow Super Giants for Rs 8.75 crore. Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan remained unsold as no franchise showed interest in him.

India batter Manish Pandey was picked by Lucknow Super Giants for Rs 4.6 crore. Windies left-handed batter Shimron Hetmyer was bought by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 8.5 crore. India batter Robin Uthappa was acquired by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for Rs 2 crore.

England opening batter Jason Roy was acquired by Gujarat Titans for Rs 2 crore. Proteas player David Miller went unsold in the auction as there were no takers for him, however, he might be picked up in the accelerated auction which will take place later on.

India opening batter Devdutt Padikkal was sold to Rajasthan Royals for Rs 7.75 crore, while Suresh Raina and Steve Smith went unsold in the auction. West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo was picked up by Chennai Super Kings for Rs 4.4 crore.

Earlier in the auction, India opening batter Shikhar Dhawan was acquired by Punjab Kings for Rs 8.25 crore. Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was bought by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 5 crore. Australia Test captain Pat Cummins was taken by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for Rs 7.25 crore.

Proteas pacer Kagiso Rabada was acquired by Punjab Kings for Rs 9.25 crore. Kiwi pacer Trent Boult was sold to Rajasthan Royals for Rs 8 crore. Shreyas Iyer was picked up by KKR for Rs 12.25 crore. India pacer Mohammed Shami was picked up by Gujarat Titans for Rs 6.25 crore.

South Africa batter Faf du Plessis was picked up by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for Rs 7 crore. Lucknow Super Giants picked up Quinton de Kock for Rs 6.75 crore. Australia opening batter David Warner was picked up by Delhi Capitals for Rs 6.25 crore. (ANI)(image -Instagram)

Bengaluru among 10 Southern Indian cities exceeding WHO air quality guidelines: Report

              

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India] (ANI): The latest report by Greenpeace India, analyzing the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)’s data from ten major cities of Southern India revealed that average pollution levels in the cities far exceed the latest World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The analysis is a much-needed reminder that air pollution is a public health crisis that is not confined to cities only in Northern India.

Air pollution data from ten cities – Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Amaravati, Visakhapatnam, Kochi, Mangalore, Puducherry, Coimbatore, and Mysore – were selected and analyzed based on the availability of data, population, and monitoring station networks. It was found that despite pandemic-induced lockdowns and subsequent reduction in economic activities, the annual average values of PM2.5 and PM10 exceeded WHO revised standards by many folds.
Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Mangalore, and Amaravati saw annual PM2.5 levels exceed WHO guidelines of 5 ug/m3 by 6 to 7 times. While in Mysuru, Kochi, Chennai, and Pondicherry, PM2.5 levels exceeded the guidelines by 4 to 5 times.

In comparison, while annual PM10 levels in Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad exceeded the prescribed WHO guidelines of 15 ug/m3 by six to seven times, Bengaluru, Mangalore, Amaravati, Chennai, and Kochi recorded data that exceeded the limit by 3 to 4 times. Mysore, Coimbatore, and Pondicherry recorded PM10 data that exceeded the WHO guidelines for safe air by 2 to 3 times.

The primary contributors to worsening the air quality are fossil fuel-powered infrastructural development, industries, transport, waste burning, and construction activity. Chronic exposure to air pollution increases the likelihood of asthma, low birth weight, depression, schizophrenia, diabetes, stroke, lung cancer and can cause premature deaths.

Commenting on the analysis, Avinash Chanchal, Campaign Manager, Greenpeace India said, “The data shows that lockdown is not a solution to air pollution. Relatively lesser economic activity and vehicles are also putting us in a dangerous position. We have to prioritize the immediate shift to clean energy and clean transport to stop more damage. If we look at Bengaluru’s PM10 data, the annual average in most stations is exceeding not only WHO guidelines but NAAQS levels too.”

Chanchal also highlighted, “Making our urban transport networks accessible and sustainable can play a major role in combating India’s urban air pollution crisis. The majority of the population in these cities is already using public transport or sustainable ways of transportation. But the infrastructural focus is still on private vehicles. Efforts and lifestyle of the masses must be appreciated and encouraged as they are contributing to making our cities sustainable.”

Terming the citizenry using public transport as ‘Heroes’, Chanchal added, “The pollution control boards must realize that no level of air pollution is safe and even the long term exposure of lower level of concentrations of air pollution can severely impact human health. Thus, the CPCB must revise the current national ambient air quality standards for all pollutants based on WHO’s proposed interim target and gradually achieve the revised standards.”

Greenpeace India’s Power The Pedal campaign is working with low-wage women laborers in Bengaluru and Delhi with the aim of building cycling communities that will act as agents of change. Our first 500 bicycles are being delivered in the first phase.

Honamma, a 38-year-old garment factory laborer from the IT capital said that she feels proud she is part of the solution to her city’s pollution problems. “I am proud that since I am cycling I am not adding to the problem. But there are not enough facilities for cyclists. We don’t have enough cycle tracks and are constantly exposed to a lot of pollution from other vehicles. So if we have a separate lane then it will be better. There are parking facilities for motorists, we need such facilities for cyclists as well. If we want to change then we have to ensure such facilities are provided.” (ANI)

INS Ranvir blast: Mumbai Police registers accidental death report, investigation underway

               

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India](ANI): Mumbai’s Colaba Police Station registered an accidental death report (ADR) in the death of three naval personnel, who lost their lives in an explosion in an internal compartment onboard INS Ranvir on Tuesday at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, said police on Wednesday.

Further investigation into the matter is underway.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Indian Navy officials, in their statement, informed that “in an unfortunate incident today at Naval Dockyard Mumbai, 3 naval personnel lost their lives in an explosion in an internal compartment onboard INS Ranvir. Responding immediately, the ship’s crew brought the situation under control. There is no major material damage,” the officials said.

“INS Ranvir was on cross coast operational deployment from the Eastern Naval Command and was due to return to base port shortly,” Indian Navy officials further added.

A Board of inquiry has been ordered to investigate into the cause. (image – Navy)

Karnataka govt will go ahead with Mekedatu project, says CM Bommai

           

Bengaluru (Karnataka) (ANI): Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday said that the state government will go ahead with the Mekedatu project.

“When it comes to land and water-related issues, all political parties have worked together. Our government is committed to embracing the project, taking all political parties to confidence in the Mekedatu issue but for now, the COVID-19 epidemic third wave covered the state of Karnataka and especially Bengaluru. We need to take all necessary measures to curb COVID19,” said the Chief Minister.
He further said that the health of the people of Karnataka and Bengaluru is our primary duty.

“Thus commitment to perform this duty needs to be shown. The government wants the cooperation of all without violating the law governing the epidemic,” he added.

Bommai said that the government has decided to take all possible measures to control this epidemic in Karnataka and Bengaluru.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Karnataka High Court reprimanded the State government for not taking action in the matter of violation of COVID norms during Congress’ Mekedatu padayatra.

Karnataka leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah has said that the Congress would take out the Mekedatu padayatra on Thursday.

Siddaramaiah told ANI that the observations made by the court today were for the state government, not for the Congress party undertaking the padayatra.

The Congress in Karnataka on Sunday began its 11-day padayatra, despite the government’s COVID-19 restrictions, demanding implementation of the Mekedatu project across the Cauvery river.

Shivakumar and 63 other Congressmen were booked in Ramanagara for violating COVID-19 norms during the party’s Mekedatu padayatra.

With an aim to curb the spread of COVID-19 cases in the state, the Karnataka government has imposed a curfew on weekends and restricted public gatherings to fight the third wave of COVID-19, till January 19. It has also imposed a night curfew and has prohibited all rallies, dharnas, protests, among others.

The Mekedatu balancing reservoir-cum drinking water project, to be constructed across the Cauvery river basin, has been at the centre of controversy between the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Earlier too on July 12, 2021, Bommai had said that the Centre will have to give clearance to the project as per law and there is no reason the state government will stop the project. Image – The federal)

Odisha committed to empower Panchayati Raj system, says Naveen Patnaik

             

Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India](ANI): Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday said that the State Government is committed to empower the Panchayati Raj system so that benefits of development reach the poorest of the poor.

The office of the Chief Minister of Odisha on Monday said that as many as 210 assistant executive engineers today joined in the Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Department. This is the first batch of a new engineering cadre created in the Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Department.
Addressing the orientation programme for the newly recruited Assistant Executive Engineers of PR and DW Department, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that Rural Housing and Drinking Water supply are the two flagship programmes of the Odisha Government.

“State Government is committed to convert all Kucha houses to Pucca houses in a time bound manner. Similarly, a target has also been sent to provide pipe water to all rural households by 2024. Therefore, the Government is providing more manpower at Gram Panchayat level. The State Government’s emphasis has been on the expansion of rural infrastructure. Thus the creation of a new engineering cadre is indicative of our thrust on it,” the Chief Minister added.

He further said that the State Government is committed to empower the Panchayati Raj system, so that benefits of development reach the poorest of the poor. The Chief Minister advised the newly recruited engineers to put all their energy and knowledge to be a part of transformation that is now happening in Odisha.

He urged new employees to follow and imbibe 5-T Mantras of our Government in their daily assignment: 5 fold strategy such as Testing, tracking, treatment, COVID-19 vaccination and adherence to COVID-19 Appropriate Behaviour.

Highlighting the principles of State’s Governance, the Chief Minister said, “People are at the core of our Government and we need to serve them with dignity and professionalism.” (Image – Instagram)

Omicron: Karnataka reports 10 new cases on Sunday, tally touches 75+

               

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]: Karnataka reported 10 new cases of Omicron on Sunday, taking the tally to 76, said State health minister K Sudhakar.

He tweeted on Monday, “Ten new cases of Omicron have been confirmed in Karnataka on Jan 2nd taking the tally to 76: Bengaluru: 8 cases (of which 5 are international travellers) and Dharwad: 2 cases.”
Bengaluru reported eight cases of Omicron on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai asked the officials to be extra vigilant in the districts bordering Maharashtra.

Speaking to reporters, CM Bommai said, “I have directed officials to be extra vigilant in districts like Belagavi, Vijayapura bordering Maharashtra, where cases are witnessing a surge…People should follow guidelines and avoid creating a situation that may force the government to impose lockdown.”

Mumbai on high alert after inputs of possible terror attack by pro-Khalistan groups

                

New Delhi [India]: A high alert has been sounded in Mumbai after intelligence agencies received inputs regarding terror activities planned by pro-Khalistan groups.

A senior officer said that after Jaswinder Singh Multani, a member of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) who was allegedly linked to Ludhiana court blast, was detained and questioned in Germany, they have received inputs regarding planned terror activities in Mumbai and other big cities.
“We have received inputs that apart from SJF, other banned pro-Khalistan groups are in contact with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to execute terror activity in Mumbai, Delhi and other cities,” he said.

Sikhs For Justice is a designated terror group in India.

An alert has been issued to Mumbai Police and has been asked to remain vigilant and take note of any suspicious activity.

Mumbai Police have instructed all police stations to be on alert. Quick Reaction teams and bomb squads have been instructed to be on toes on New Year’s eve.

Mumbai Police have already prohibited New Year celebrations and gatherings in any closed or open space, including hotels and restaurants. (ANI)

Anyone found violating govt guidelines on COVID-19 will be booked, says Municipal Commissioner

             

Mumbai (Maharashtra): Ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner, in a fresh order on Thursday said that anyone found violating the state government’s guidelines on COVID-19 will be booked under Section 188 of IPC.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government will issue detailed guidelines on Friday to avoid crowds during Christmas and New Year celebrations as the State is once again reporting a steep hike in COVID-19 cases amid fresh concerns raised by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
While, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackrey held a meeting with the COVID-19 task force on Thursday at 10:00 pm via video conferencing, as per Chief Minister’s Secretariat.

The guidelines will cover the gathering allowed at wedding ceremonies in hotels and restaurants. (ANI)

Costly fuel pushed up cost of veggies & fruits

New Delhi [India]: Prices of vegetables and fruits in Delhi’s wholesale and retail markets have gone up as surging fuel prices continue to push up transportation costs, traders said on Monday.

In the national capital, petrol is selling at Rs 107.59 per litre on Monday, while diesel is priced at Rs 96.32 per litre.
A vegetable vendor in Delhi’s Ghazipur Mandi said that the price of onion stands between Rs 40-48 per kg, while tomatoes cost between Rs 40-50 per kg.

“Petrol, diesel prices have increased transportation costs, and so have the rains. There is reduced supply in the market,” he said.

“Vegetable prices have gone up due to increase in transportation costs and toll charges. We are paying between Rs 200-400 per ‘dhadi’ (5 kg). Rates of leafy vegetables, tomatoes, onions, potatoes have gone up,” another vendor from Okhla Mandi said.

Petrol and diesel prices witnessed a hike for the fifth consecutive day across the country on Sunday.

With a hike of Rs 0.35, the price of petrol in the national capital increased to Rs 107.59 per litre. The price of diesel also saw a hike of Rs 0.35 in Delhi reaching Rs 96.32 per litre.

The central government is in talks with several oil-exporting countries on the issue of supply and demand of oils but there is no possibility of immediate relief in prices. (ANI)

Asaduddin Owaisi slams Delhi CM for not building hospital in Okhla

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday slammed the Delhi government for not constructing any government hospital in the Okhla area.

New Delhi [India] : Citing a media report about the “non-existence” government-run hospital in the Okhla area, Owaisi in a series of tweets said, “AAP’s deshbhakti syllabus: no hospital for Okhla, but weekly Sundar Kand. When Kejriwal’s minions say that they’ve made schools and hospitals ‘regardless of religion’, show them this non-existent hospital in Okhla.” He further slammed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for “not condemning the call for Muslim genocide” at Jantar Mantar.
“Overwhelming majority of Delhi Muslims voted for AAP. Forget hospitals, CM did not even condemn calls for Muslim genocide at Jantar Mantar,” he added.
Earlier in August, Delhi Police arrested six people- Ashwani Upadhyay, Vinod Sharma, Deepak Singh, Vineet Bajpai, Preet Singh, Deepak Kumar in connection with inflammatory sloganeering near Jantar Mantar recently.
On August 11, advocate Ashwani Upadhyay was released on bail.

Chennai to get heavy showers from today

The last ten days of September are expected to provide good showers in Chennai and the districts surrounding it, including Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu, according to the IMD officials.

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, September 19 : The India Meteorological Department Regional office in Chennai has predicted intense showers in Chennai and adjoining districts like Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu in the next few days commencing from Sunday. The IMD has predicted thunderstorms with rain for the next 48 hours with maximum and minimum temperatures between 36 degrees Celsius and 26 degrees Celsius. The atmosphere, according to meteorologists, will be partly cloudy.

On Friday, Meenambakkam Weather station Areceived 8.6 mm and the meteorologists are of the opinion that this may be the beginning of rainfall in Chennai and other surrounding districts. The IMD has forecast rainfall with thunderstorms for the next few days and the intensity and frequency may increase after September 20.

While most of Tamil Nadu, according to meteorologists, will get light rains, Chennai and adjoining districts like Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu will receive heavy rains from Sunday with thunderstorms.

A few districts of South Tamil Nadu and delta districts are expected to receive rains with thunderstorms of varying intensity between September 19 and 21.

Heavy rains are predicted on September 22 in Northern Tamil Nadu in districts like Vellore, Ranipet, Tiruvallur and Tiruvannamalai.

The IMD officials said that weak westerlies allow the entry of easterlies leading to the convergence of winds and connective spells of rain.

Interestingly Tamil Nadu has been receiving rains in excess of the same period in the previous years. Nungambakkam recorded 503.4 mm of rain since June 1 while Meenambakkam recorded 436.99 mm. This, according to meteorologists, is 118.1 mm and 13.5 mm in excess respectively.

The last ten days of September are expected to provide good showers in Chennai and the districts surrounding it, including Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu, according to the IMD officials.

Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari to inaugurate Emergency Landing Facility at NH-925A in Rajasthan on Thursday

New Delhi [India], September 8: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari will inaugurate Emergency Landing Facility on Satta-Gandhav stretch of National Highway (NH) 925A in Rajasthan’s Barmer, on Thursday, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways informed on Wednesday.
This is the first time that the National Highway will be used for emergency landing of aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF). According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had developed a three kilometers section of the Satta-Gandhav stretch of NH-925A from Km. 41/430 to Km. 44/430 as an Emergency Landing Facility (ELF) for the Indian Air Force, which is part of the newly developed two-lane paved shoulder of Gagariya-Bakhasar and Satta-Gandhav Section having a total length of 196.97 kilometers and costing of Rs 765.52 crores under Bharatmala Pariyojana.
“This project will improve connectivity between villages of Barmer and Jalore districts located on the international borders. The stretch is located in the western border area will facilitate the vigilance of the Indian Army as well as strengthen the basic infrastructure of the country,” said the official statement.
Apart from this Emergency Landing Strip, 3 helipads (size 100 x 30 meters each) have been constructed in Kundanpura, Singhania and Bakhasar villages in this project according to the requirements of the Air Force/Indian Army, which will be the basis for strengthening the Indian Army and security network on the western international border of the country.
The ELF was constructed in a time span of 19 months. The work for this ELF was commenced in July 2019 and was completed in January 2021. The work was carried out by GHV India Pvt. Ltd under the supervision of IAF and NHAI.
“During the normal time, the ELF will be used for smooth flow of road traffic. But during the operations of ELF for Indian Air Force orders, the service road will be used for smooth flow of road traffic. It has been constructed in 3.5 Km length. This landing strip will be able to facilitate the landing of all types of aircraft of IAF,” said the ministry.
The development of roadways as key infrastructure has led to the construction of high-quality highways and expressways that could be utilised as runways along with some modifications and construction of limited additional infrastructure for the operation of various types of aircraft during emergencies.

NSA Doval to meet Russian counterpart Patrushev, discuss Afghanistan’s political, security, humanitarian situation

New Delhi [India], September 8: Amid a volatile situation in Afghanistan, Taliban takeover and the formation of a new “Islamic Emirate” government in the war-torn country, the National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval will meet his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev on Wednesday in New Delhi.
This comes after the Taliban announced its new caretaker government on Tuesday, consisting of hardliners, devoid of any women in the decision-making process. As per sources, Patrushev will also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
They will discuss the political, security and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, said sources.
The high-level India-Russia inter-governmental consultations on Afghanistan will be led by the two NSA’s that will include representatives of the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Defence and security agencies.
These consultations will reflect an entirely new situation in Afghanistan created by the withdrawal of US forces. Both countries share similar concerns on terrorism, especially to ensure that the Taliban adhere to their promises and assurances.
Both NSA’s will also review activities of terrorist groups including Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, threats from drugs, the role of regional countries and details of Indo-Russia cooperation to meet current and future threats and measures to assist Afghanistan, said the sources.
Earlier, Doval hosted the 11th Meeting of the BRICS High Representatives Responsible for National Security through video conferencing on August 31. His Russian counterpart was also present in the meeting.
India raised the issue of cross-border terrorism and activities of groups such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed at the meeting of BRICS representatives responsible for national security and said these groups “enjoy state support” and threaten peace and security.

Afghanistan crisis hits Ludhiana’s sewing machine industry

Ludhiana (Punjab) [India], September 8: The sewing machine industry in Ludhiana is fearing heavy losses due to the ongoing Afghanistan crisis and regime change.
While speaking to ANI on Wednesday, Jagjit Singh Sokhi, the president of Sewing Machines Industries, Ludhiana, expressed fears of impending losses due to the Afghanistan crisis. He said that every year, 1.5 lakh sewing machines, 5-6 lakhs spare parts were sent to Afghanistan and Rs. 150-200 crores were earned annually from the business. But now, the industry was set to lose out due to the change in regime.

“The Afghanistan crisis is a huge blow to us, especially after Covid. Afghanistan takes a lot of our machines, they are supplied in bulk to Afghanistan. We expect a 40 per cent downfall in our trade. This is done either through Pakistan, Dubai or directly to Afghanistan. The crisis in Afghanistan has further hit the industry,” Sokhi said.
He pointed out that the sewing machine industry started in Ludhiana in 1942.
“Machines produced here are famous for their quality. Besides being sold domestically, they are exported to the Middle East, several Islamic countries too because embroidery is really popular in these countries. There are 6000 units, both big and small in Ludhiana and the turnover is around Rs. 1200-1500 crores,” he said.
Samandeep Singh, another industrialist said, “Our family has been in this industry for the past 50 years. 70 per cent of our exports go to Afghanistan. But this power crisis has impacted our business. Exports have stopped for the past two months. Our existing orders, payments have stopped. Production has been reduced by 50 per cent. Future does not look good.”

“It is a labour-oriented job. We will have to stop our work. Labour will be unemployed. Government must think about this,” Samandeep said. 

WB Governor condemns bomb explosion incident outside MP Arjun Singh’s residence

West Bengal [India], September 8: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Wednesday condemned the bomb explosion incident which took place outside MP Arjun Singh’s residence in the wee hours of Wednesday.
He also said that the ‘wanton violence’ in West Bengal shows no sign of abating. Taking to Twitter, he said, “Wanton violence in WB shows no sign of abating. Bomb explosions as this morning outside residence of Member Parliament @ArjunsinghWB is worrisome on law and order.”
Dhankhar demanded prompt action from the West Bengal police over the bomb explosion incident.
“Expect prompt action @WBPolice. As regards his security the issue has been earlier been flagged @MamataOfficial,” his tweet read further.
Crude bombs were hurled outside the house of BJP MP Arjun Singh in Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district, despite security presence.
While speaking to ANI, a local resident said, “Three bombs were hurled outside Arjun Singh’s residence around 6.30 am on Wednesday. I don’t know who has done this. This has never happened earlier.”
MP Arjun Singh had earlier also alleged that he was attacked by Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers after the West Bengal polls which were conducted earlier this year.

Kolkata: 16 held in connection with bank fraud case

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], September 2: Detective Department of Kolkata Police on Thursday arrested 16 persons in connection with an alleged bank fraud case in the city.
Officials conducted raids across multiple locations and recovered fake sim cards, mobiles and laptops from them. The accused were operating from Kolkata, Jamtara, Giridih and Dhanbad. More details are awaited.

Allahabad HC seeks UP govt’s reply on state funding of religious institutions, madrasas

Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh) [India], September 2: The Allahabad High Court has sought details on state funding of madrasas and other religious institutions, from the Uttar Pradesh government.
The court asked the state government whether the policy to provide financial aid to madrasas and other religious institutions is consistent with the Indian Constitution’s secular scheme. The court also asked whether aided madrasas also admit girl students. The order was given by Justice Ajay Bhanot while hearing a writ petition filed by Madrasa Anjuman Islamia Faizul Uloom and another.
The court asked the Uttar Pradesh government to file the reply within a period of four weeks and fixed October 6 as the next date of hearing.
The court passed the directives on August 19.

Infiltration bid foiled, one terrorist killed along LoC in Poonch

Jammu, Aug 30: Indian Army early morning on Monday foiled an infiltration bid and neutralised one terrorist along the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Jammu based defence spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand here said that in the early hours, terrorist from across the Line of Control made an attempt to infiltrate in the Poonch Sector. “Alert Army troops detected the infiltration bid by effective use of the integrated surveillance grid,” he said.

On being challenged by the Army troops, there ensued a fierce firefight with the terrorists in which one terrorist was neutralised, the spokesman said. Later his body along with an AK-47 rifle recovered.

“The operation is still in progress in the area,” he added and said that the action by alert Army troops displays the resolve of the Indian Army to thwart any misadventure along the Line of Control.

Successive govts have worked to strengthen democratic institutions: LS Speaker

New Delhi, Aug 28: Democratic institutions including those who are working at the grass roots level should work collectively to make our democracy more vibrant and stronger, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said.

“Our democratic institutions have strengthened over the period of time and successive elected governments have played their role in this regard,” noted Birla while addressing office bearers and members of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh at the Assembly Hall of Council Secretariat.

On his visit to the newly-carved Union Territory (UT) for the ‘Outreach Programme for empowerment of Panchayati Raj Institutions of the Union Territory of Ladakh’, the Lok Sabha Speaker stated that people are at the centre of our Constitution.

“India has travelled a long journey on the path of development but unlike several countries, India has never witnessed instability in transfer of power from one elected government to the other,” observed Birla.

He noted that with collective efforts and commitment the country had successfully fought the Covid-19 pandemic even as many developed countries faced difficulties in preventing the spread of deadly virus.

Birla appealed to the local representatives to involve themselves in the development of villages. He hoped that in near future Ladakh will develop as a prominent tourist destination for national and international tourists and the UT will prosper without compromising its culture and identity.

Speaking on this occasion, Lieutenant Governor, Ladakh, RK Mathur said that with the active involvement of all stakeholders Ladakh is quickly moving forward on the path of development.

Earlier, Birla visited Pangong Tso Lake and interacted with the representatives of Panchayati Raj institutions there. He said that MPs from both ruling and opposition sides have visited Pangong Tso lake and nearby areas, and tourists from across the country are visiting the region.

Bommai lays foundation stone for setting up UHT milk packing unit in Haveri district

Bengaluru, Aug 28: Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai Saturday laid the foundation stone for setting up a one lakh litre capacity milk processing dairy and ultra heat treatment packing unit at Jangamankoppa village in Haveri assembly constituency.

The project will create jobs for unemployed youths from the district and provide better prices for the milk they produce, he said.

The project will give a boost to milk production in the district in coming years and costs about Rs 90 crore, Bommai said.

Daily milk production from the district is one lakh litres, Bommai said.

For now, Haveri district comes under the jurisdiction of Dharwad Milk Union and it has 22,000 milk producers in Haveri district. There are 45,000 milk producers registered under Dharwad Milk Union.

The daily milk production from Haveri district is one lakh litres. A Cabinet nod was given to the project this May.

Bommai also recalled former chief minister BS Yediyurappa’s role in starting the project in the district as promised by him to the people of the district

Apart from this, he laid foundation stone for the various development works of Haveri assembly constituency, amounting to Rs 127.63 crore.

India’s talent has influenced the world: President

Gorakhpur, Aug 28: President Ram Nath Kovind said that our scientists, doctors and teachers have continuously influenced the world with their intellect and dedication.

“They have instilled in all of us confidence that our students are capable of carrying forward our ancient tradition of knowledge, he said.

President inaugurated the Mahayogi Gorakhnath Vishwavidyalaya here on Saturday in presence of Governor Anandiben Patel and chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that India has a glorious history in higher education. From the world’s first university at Taxila to the universities of Nalanda, Udantapuri, Vikramshila and Vallabhi, the tradition had faded for some time. But, now now it has again gained its peak.

He expressed confidence that the Mahayogi Gorakhnath University would prepare such knowledgeable students who would contribute in building a self-reliant, strong and healthy India.

The President noted that this University would conduct employment generating courses keeping in view the need of the hour in addition to courses in Yoga, Ayurveda, medical education, higher education and technical education etc. While this university would encourage high-level research, it would also run vocational education and skill development courses for students.

The President said that the National Education Policy 2020 envisages that education should build character. Education should develop ethics, rationality, compassion and sensitivity in students as well as make them capable for employment. One of the objectives of the National Education Policy is to improve the curriculum and pedagogy of our institutions and also to create awareness among the students about their fundamental duties and constitutional values as well as their roles and responsibilities as citizens in the changing world.

The President noted that Maharana Pratap Education Council, established in 1932 with the goal of social upliftment through the spread of education, is running about 50 educational institutions in northern India, especially in eastern Uttar Pradesh. He was happy to note that in these institutions emphasis is being laid on the overall development of personality of the students apart from providing modern education.

The President said that the Gorakshpeeth has been playing major role in the socio-religious awakening of India for centuries. During India’s freedom movement, this Peeth had played an important role in the political awakening. Even at present, Shri Gorakshapeeth remains the center of public awareness, public service, education and medical service.

Average Jan-Dhan account deposit swells 2.7 times to Rs 3,398 in 7 years, indicates saving habit in rural India

New Delhi, Aug 28: Average deposit per Jan-Dhan account has increased 2.7 times in the last seven years of financial inclusion drive to Rs 3,398 indicating higher usage of the no-frills account and also saving habit among account-holders.
As per official data, average deposit per Jan-Dhan account in August 2015 was Rs 1,279. Growing steadily since then, it reached Rs 3,398 in August, 2021.
Presently, there are 43.04 crore Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) accounts out of which 36.86 crore (86%) are operative. While 55% of the Jan-Dhan account holders are women, 67% Jan Dhan accounts are in rural and semi-urban areas.
Only 8.2% PMJDY accounts are zero balance accounts.
The total deposit balances under PMJDY Accounts stand at Rs 1,46,230 crore, up 6.38 times since August, 2015.
The government has been working to ensure coverage of PMJDY account holders under micro insurance schemes which comprise of Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY).
While PMSBY is an accidental insurance scheme, the PMJJBY is a life insurance scheme. As the two schemes are government-backed, the annual premium is very low with Rs 12 for accidental insurance while Rs 330 for life insurance.
“Eligible PMJDY account holders will be sought to be covered under PMJJBY and PMSBY. Banks have already been communicated about the same,” an official statement from Finance Ministry said on Saturday.
Jan-Dhan bank account provides an avenue to the poor for bringing their savings into the formal financial system and an avenue to remit money to their families in villages besides taking them out of the clutches of the usurious money lenders.
PMJDY has brought the unbanked into the banking system, expanded the financial architecture of India and brought financial inclusion to almost every adult.
“Financial inclusion is a national priority of the Government as it is an enabler for inclusive growth,” noted the Finance Ministry.

Mah: Marathwada registers 220 Covid cases

Aurangabad, Aug 28: The Marathwada region of Maharashtra recorded 220 fresh Covid-19 cases and no deaths during the past 24 hours, health authorities informed on Saturday.

According to a report, of the eight districts, Beed was the worst-affected with 121 cases, followed by Osmanabad– 51, Latur–23 cases, Aurangabad– 22, Parbhani– two cases and single case in Nanded.

Jalna and Hingoli districts did not record any fresh infection, it said.

Meanwhile, during the past 24 hours, 4,654 fresh cases were recorded across Maharashtra, taking the total number of infections to 64,47,412.

The state also registered 170 fatalities during the same period, taking the death toll to 1,36,900.

Meanwhile, 3,301 patients recovered in the state, pushing the total number of recoveries to 62,55,451.

The recovery rate currently stands at 97.02 per cent while the fatality rate is 2.12 per cent.

Currently, there are 51,574 active cases across Maharashtra undergoing treatment at different COVID-19 centres and hospitals, the health authorities said.

Tetra Med Sciences starts its R&B operations to work on new molecule development

Hyderabad, Aug 27: Tetra Med Sciences Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of US-based Tetra Global, on Friday announced it has started its R and D center operations at Hyderabad.
The company is engaged in the new molecule development and building a portfolio of molecules required in the coming 5 to 10 years.
Tetra Med Sciences founded by Rama S Eyunni and Ms. Lathaa Subramanian with a vision to enhance access to affordable healthcare with new molecule development to help humanity to lead healthy lives.
Tetra Med Sciences started with a small team of 10 technical people with rich R and D experience and its initial focus will be on developing molecules with their intermediates for APIs and going off-patent now and in coming 5 -10 years; and after getting drug license – work on finished API doses also, the company said in a release here.
The company aims to work on API and other domains and plans to acquire their own production facility center at the earliest but for now has signed a 3rd party facility for immediate needs. The company is currently working on molecules for pharma and plans to roll out cost competent and non-infringing intermediates.
The team has expertise in the fields of drug discovery, medicinal chemistry besides aroma chemicals.
Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Sunita Eyunni, Director, Tetra Med Sciences, said, “Covid19 impacted global supply chains especially in the pharma sector given the huge dependence on API from China; molecule development and formulation of drugs became a huge challenge not just in India but globally as well.
Our new R and D Center at Hyderabad, the pharma hub of India is an important step in our commitment to the Government of India’s Atmanirbhar vision, Ms Sunita added.
Ms. Lathaa Subramanian, Founder, Tetra Med Sciences said “Recognizing the impact of API supply chain shortage and cost competency of the pharma sector and encouraged by Government support for women entrepreneurs; we decided to work in new molecules development starting with intermediates for API.

Taxmen unearth Rs 300 crore alleged black money from Rajkot-based builder

New Delhi, Aug 27: In a search and seizure operations covering 40 premises of a Rajkot-based builder, the Income Tax (I-T) Department has discovered that the company allegedly concealed income in excess of Rs 300 crore.
The taxmen have also found Rs 6.40 crore of unaccounted cash and jewellery worth Rs 1.70 crore from various premises.
As many as 25 lockers were found during the search operations and they have been put under prohibitory orders.
An official spokesperson of the I-T department said that substantial evidence of transactions outside the regular books of accounts, unaccounted cash expenses, cash advances received and interest paid in cash, has been found.
Evidence of on-money payments in real estate projects-flats, shops and land deals has also been found.
“Total unaccounted cash receipts in various projects of approximately Rs 350 crore have been unearthed along with corroborative evidence. Further, evidence related to land purchase of approximately Rs 154 crore has also been found, out of which, Rs 144 crore was purportedly paid in cash,” said the official statement.
In a separate operation on a group based in Visakhapatnam, the Tax department said it had found unaccounted cash of Rs 3 crore. In total, the searches have resulted in detecting incriminating evidence relating to undisclosed financial transactions of about Rs 40 crore.
The group entities under scanner are engaged in extraction of vegetable oils, mining of manganese ore, and manufacturing of ferro alloys.
Further investigations are on in both the cases.

No clarity about any entity forming govt in Kabul: India

New Delhi, Aug 27: India said on Friday that the situation on the ground in Afghanistan is very uncertain, and there is no clarity about any entity forming a government in Kabul.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, answering queries at a media briefing, said that the situation in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover on August 15 is very fluid.

“The situation on the ground is uncertain, as you all know. The prime concern is the security and safety of the people.”

Asked if India is prepared to recognise a Taliban regime in Afghanistan, he said: “Currently there is lack of clarity or no clarity about any entity forming a government in Kabul… So I think we are jumping the gun here regarding recognition.”

“We of course continue to monitor the situation very carefully; this is an evolving situation, and we are in touch with all stakeholders,” he added.

Ever since taking over Kabul, the Taliban have been holding talks with different politicians and groups across Afghanistan, as well as envoys of foreign countries, including Qatar and China. Though the Taliban announced a few days ago that they are close to announcing formation of a government there has been no movement so far.

According to reports, the Taliban are planning to set up a caretaker government that will include leaders from all ethnicities and tribal backgrounds in the country.

Referring to the statement issued on Thursday night, the spokesperson said that India has issued a statement strongly condemning the deadly suicide bombings outside Kabul airport.

“We are in touch with various countries and partners,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar have been holding conversations with partners on Afghanistan.

He said the conversations were also taking place at the Foreign Secretary level and at the level of senior officials.

“It is a matter of concern that this kind of security situation happened there. We will continue to be closely in touch with all our partners on this issue,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has discussed the Afghan situation in his telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while Jaishankar has held talks with his counterparts from Germany, the US, France and Britain, among other countries.

UP: Four killed, 31 injured in road accident

Etawah, Aug 27: At least four passengers including a woman and an infant were killed and 31 others were injured when a UP Roadways bus hit a stationary truck on Kanpur- Agra highway in Bakewar area near Bijauli village on early Friday morning.

ASP ( Rural) Omveer Singh said here that the accident occurred at around 0200 hours when an Agra depot government bus hit a stationary truck while going towards Kanpur.

After the accident, the bus driver escaped leaving his vehicle. The bus was carrying around 50 passengers.

Several of the passengers were reported to be in critical condition.

The deceased were identified as Ms Gitesh(22), Aditya(one), Nirpat(42) and Amar Mugdhul(62).

Puducherry reports 80 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours

Puducherry, Aug 27: The Union Territory of Puducherry reported 80 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours ending at 10 AM on Friday taking the tally of infection to 1,23,231.

No deaths were reported during the period and thus the death toll remained at 1809. 73 new cases were reported here on Thursday.

According to the status report of COVID-19 released by the health department, of the 2,991 swab tests taken on Thursday, 80 people tested positive for the virus. 48 new cases were reported in Puducherry region,14 in Karaikal, three in Yanam and 15 in Mahe regions. 79 persons were discharged in the last 24 hours, 36 of them were from Puducherry region, four from Karaikal, 5 from Yanam and 34 from Mahe regions.

Presently, 116 people are being treated in Puducherry region, 21 each in Karaikal and Mahe region and two in Yanam region. Another, 608 positive cases are under home isolation in all the four regions of the union territory.

So far, 123231 persons have been infected by the virus out of which 120,654 have been treated and discharged and 1,809 have died leaving 768 positive cases here.

The test positivity rate in the UT stood at 2.67 percent, case fatality rate 1.47 percent and recovery rate 97.91 percent.

As many as 795.826 people including health care workers, frontline workers and the general public have so far been vaccinated against COVID in the union territory.

Girls are leaving behind boys when they get opportunity: President

Lucknow, Aug 26: President Ram Nath Kovind said on Thursday that our aim of achieving excellence in the field of modern science and technology, by drawing inspiration from cultural and ethical values, will be accomplished only when all students and teachers work with full devotion.

He made special mention about the girls and claimed that they are the pride of the country.

Addressing the 9th convocation of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar University here on Thursday, the President also laid the foundation stone of Savitribai Phule Women’s Hostel.

Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were also present on the occasion.

The President said that today I feel proud to lay the foundation stone of Savitribai Phule Women’s Hostel.

He said that the revolutionary steps taken by Savitribai Phule 175 years ago for the education of the girls. It is relevant even today. Especially after studying about the status of women in the then society, it comes to know that today our daughters are increasing the pride of the society and the country all over the world.

Mr Kovind said that the performance of the country’s daughters in the Tokyo Olympics has instilled a sense of pride in the entire country.

“Our daughters are making their impressive presence in every field. When given equal opportunities, our girls surpass even the boys. The number of daughters is more than the sons among the promising medal winners in the convocation too. The number of daughters is also high among the winners, this change should be seen as a step towards a healthy society and an advanced state of the nation. This was the original dream of Baba Saheb which seems to be coming true,” he said.

During my visit to UP, I got a chance to know more about the special efforts being made in the field of education here. According to the new National Education Policy, the steps are being taken to strengthen the education system in UP too,” he said.

The President also praised the work taken by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the interest of the people of the state including education.

“In the field of education, the Yogi Adityanath government has awakened the people. It is too little to praise him. That is why I express my deep appreciation to the Governor Anandiben Patel, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his officers and employees.

No figure given on Indians stuck in Afghanistan, Oppn says after meet

New Delhi, Aug 26: As External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar briefed leaders on the Afghanistan situation, Opposition leaders said the government did not share any figures on how many Indians are stuck in Afghanistan, sources said.

Opposition Congress also questioned why Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not brief them, mentioning that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had done so twice after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

As the government said it is in “wait and watch” mode over Afghanistan, Opposition leaders asked questions about the evacuation efforts, and whether the government was going to hold talks with Taliban for evacuating Indians.

Even as all party leaders lauded the government efforts in evacuation, questions were raised about the future course of action.

“How is the government going to evacuate Indians if they do not know how many are stuck there,” an Opposition leader said on condition of anonymity.

According to sources, the Congress leaders also questioned why Rangina Kargar, an Afghan woman member of Parliament since 2010, was deported from New Delhi’s IGI Airport on 20th August, 2021. Government admitted that it was a mistake, sources said.

They also stressed on the concern about the rise in terrorism impacting the regional security situation and challenges emerging from the re-emergence of the Taliban and its terror links, and asked about the steps taken.

Opposition also questioned the future strategy of the government vis a vis Afghanistan.

“They did not make it clear whether they will or will not talk to the Taliban,” an Opposition leader told UNI.

Government was also questioned about the alleged “secret talks” held in Doha with Taliban leaders, which was also neither confirmed nor denied by the government.

Trinamool Congress leaders meanwhile handed over a list of 125 Bengalis stuck in Afghanistan, and expressed concern over the infrastructure created by India there valued in crores.

The National Conference questioned the fallout of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Opposition leaders also extended support to the government over the issue, and called for protecting India’s interest.

The briefing was held as Afghanistan was taken over by Taliban, with the extremist group entering capital Kabul on August 15. Concerns have been raised on the impact of the Taliban take over on India, and Afghanistan based terrorist groups entering India.

AJSU to hold meetings simultaneously across all panchayats: Sudesh

Ranchi, Aug 26: The AJSU party has decided to hold meetings simultaneously across all the panchayats of the state to strengthen the party at local level and also raise the issues concerning the people.
Chairing a meeting with eight district units and 102 block unit chiefs of the party on Thursday he
said that the party organisation should be expanded at the ground level.
He said that the party workers should should link themselves with common people in the villages.
Sudesh said that roots of the party should strengthen in every village as each area has its own identity and tradition and all should be taken together.
He said that inspired by the policies and ideologies of the party people are continuing to join in
as the party stands with the people even after elections.
Sudesh said that the party has decided to provide training to workers of all the 260 blocks and
urban units for which a team of trainers has been constituted.

Punjab Police registers FIR against famous Punjabi singer Gurdas Maan

Nakodar, Aug 26: To pressurise the cops to book renowned Punjabi singer and Dera Murad Shah chairman Gurdas Maan for his controversial statement, hundreds of Sikh activists headed by Satkar Committee on Thursday assembled in a Gurdwara here and later proceeded to Jalandhar to block vehicular traffic to raise the demand of registration of a case against the famous singer.

To maintain peace and communal harmony, the Nakodar Police registered a case under section 295A of IPC on the charges of hurting religious sentiments of Sikh community by Punjabi singer Gurdas Maan.
Confirming this to UNI here Thursday, SSP (Rural) Navden Singla told that FIR was registered in City Police Station Nakodar on the complaint of Satkar Committee member Paramjit Singh.
When contacted Nakodar SDM Poonam Singh said all required preventive steps are being taken to maintain communal harmony and peace in the Nakodar Sub Division.
Notably, Punjabi singer Gurdas Maan had landed in a controversy as members of the Satkar Committee had lodged a police complaint after his video had gone viral wherein he was heard saying that the chief of a Dera and Nakodar Sain Laddi Shah was from the descendants of third Sikh Guru Amar Dass. Gurdas Maan had offered an apology in this matter.
The committee members had demanded that a case be lodged against the singer or else they would lodge a demonstration on the issue across Punjab.

Himachal achieved 97 pc of COVID vaccination target: CM

Hamirpur/Mandi (HP), Aug 26: Himachal Pradesh has achieved about 97 per cent of its Covid vaccination target, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said here on Thursday.
He said the credit goes to the doctors and paramedical staff as well as the active cooperation provided by the people of the state.

While addressing a public meeting at Baldwara in Mandi district, he said that the state government ensured that no one in the state was deprived of medical treatment due to non-availability of beds and oxygen in hospitals.
There were only two oxygen plants in the state when this pandemic spread in the country, but today about 28 oxygen plants were coming up in the state, out of which 12 oxygen plants have been made functional.

The Chief Minister was speaking while inaugurating 12 developmental projects worth about Rs 140 crore in Sarkaghat Assembly Constituency of Mandi district. Of the projects, schemes worth about Rs 100 crore have been provided at Baldwara area of Sarkaghat segment.

The Chief Minister laid foundation stones of Rs 2.60 crore Single Circuit HT Line from 33/11KV Sub Station of 33/11 KV Sub Station Khudla, Rs 2.78 crore Ambla Galu Andhara Harwan road, Rs 55.25 crore source level augmentation of various LWSS/WSS schemes under Jal Shakti Division Sarkaghat and Rs 2.12 crore FIS/LIS Matyara in GP Narola in Tehsil Sarkaghat.
The Chief Minister announced up gradation of Government Middle School Kalkhar to Government High School, Community Health Centre Baldwara to 50 bedded Civil Hospital, starting of science classes in Government Degree College Baldwara, opening of Sub Tehsil at Dhalwan, up gradation of veterinary dispensary at Patrighat to Veterinary Hospital, construction of helipad at Bhambla.

He said that the state government was committed to providing corruption-free governance to the people of the state. Even a single allegation of corruption has been reported during about three and a half year’s tenure of the state government. There was no place for corruption during the tenure of the present State Government. He said that the people of the State have given their wholehearted support to the present State Government in all the elections viz. Lok Sabha, PRIs, ULBs and by-election of two Assembly constituencies with record margins.

He gave a clarion call to the people to support the BJP in the coming bye elections to the Mandi Lok Sabha seat where election would be held shortly.

Thakur detailed various developmental and welfare schemes launched by the State Government to ensure socio-economic upliftment of the people of the State. He said that 3.17 lakh families have been provided free gas connections to eligible families under Grihini Suvidha Yojna.

The Chief Minister was also honored by various social, cultural and political organizations on the occasion.

Jal Shakti Minister Mahender Singh Thakur thanked the Chief Minister on behalf of the people of Sarkaghat area for dedicating several developmental projects for the area.

MLA Sarkaghat Col. Inder Singh, while welcoming the Chief Minister to his home constituency thanked him for dedicating and laying foundation stones of developmental projects worth about Rs 140 crores. He said that Rs 145 crore has been sanctioned for roads and bridges during the last about three years in Sarkaghat constituency.

Mah: Thane reports 193 new cases

Thane, Aug 26: As many as 193 new COVID-19 cases and eight death cases were recorded in the last 24 hours in the district, the official said on Thursday.

With this, the total number of cases have spiked to 5,50,098 and fatalities have reached 11,264.

The mortality rate stood at 2.04 per cent, he added.

In neighbouring Palghar district, the COVID-19 case count has gone up to 1,34,341 while the death toll is 3,285, he said.

Nagaland records 49 new COVID positive cases

Kohima, Aug 26: The new cases of COVID-19 in Nagaland increased to 49 new cases, which increased the total number of corona virus-infected cases rose to 29, 718 and with one more death, the toll remained at 612.

According to a Nagaland Health Department bulletin today, among the 49 fresh COVID cases yesterday, the new cases were detected from seven districts of Nagaland with 24 cases in Dimapur, 11 cases in Mokokchung, nine in Kohima, two in Longleng, one in Mon, one in Wokha and one in Zunheboto, taking the total caseload to 29718. A total of 49 cases were detected out of 2,423 tested positive for COVID-19 in Nagaland on August 25, indicating a sample positivity rate of 2.02%.

On the recovery of COVID-19 patients in the State, A total of 62 new recoveries were reported throughout the state, 24 recoveries from Dimapur, 11 from Mokokchung, nine from Kohima, two from Longleng, one from Mon, one from Wokha and one from Zunheboto, which rose to the total recovery tally to 27,373, with a recovery rate of 92.05%.

Nagaland yesterday had 871 active patients, out of which, 65 are admitted in COVID hospitals and 653 are under home isolation. Out of total of 871 active cases, of them 692 active cases are asymptomatic, 143 are mild symptomatic, 13 are moderate on oxygen, nine are severe on oxygen, four are in ICU without ventilator and 10 patients are admitted in ICUs on ventilators, the bulletin said. With one more death reported from Peren, the death toll rose to 612, the bulletin informed.

SAD demands citizenship for Afghan evacuees

New Delhi, Aug 25: Akali Dal leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa has sought citizenship for evacuated members of Sikh and Hindu community from war-torn Afghanistan after the collapse of Afghan government.

In a letter to the Home Ministry on Tuesday, Mr Sirsa said, “Their religions and lives were under a constant threat in the regime of Taliban. As there is no scope for them to return to their own country, they and their children have to face many challenges to resettle in India until citizenship is granted to them.”

“I requested to make necessary amendments and provisions on the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA Law) so that Afghan Sikh and Hindu who have taken refuge in India in the year of 2020 and 2021 may also get benefited,” he said.

He also requested the government to amend the CAA and extend the cut -off date from 2014 to 2021, so the people coming from Afghanistan get benefitted and lead safer lives here.

“Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, in association with the Government of India, is making all the necessary arrangements to rehabilitate these Afghan Sikh and Hindu in India,” he added.

Taking a dig at the Akali Dal demand, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, those who are opposing the enactment of the CAA are today demanding that it’s cut off list date be extended from 2014 to 2021.

India has taken “a humanitarian step” by supporting minorities of Afghanistan and it would be great to help them by granting Indian citizenship, he said.

The Minister informed that around 77 Sikh have been evacuated from Afghanistan so far.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, which came into force from January 10, 2020, witnessed widespread protests across the country with Delhi emerging as a hub of resistance against the legislation.

Haryana: CM window proving to be very effective

Chandigarh, Aug 25: The CM Window launched by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar for speedy disposal of the grievances of the people in the state is proving to be very effective.
On one hand, instead of coming to Chandigarh, people are sending direct complaints to the Chief Minister from their respective districts, while regular monitoring is done at the headquarter level also. Even the complainant is informed via mobile about the status of his complaint.
According to OSD to the Chief Minister, Bhupeshwar Dayal, who is monitoring the CM window, one Dulichand, a resident of village Ghoshgarh, Farukhnagar, Ward No. 7 of Gurugram, had lodged a complaint that on September 26, 1996, his brother-in-law Deshraj died in a Haryana transport bus accident. Even after deducting NOC, his death certificate was not received for 25 years. He lodged a complaint at CM Window regarding the same.
Mr Dayal informed that the complaint number 29987 of the applicant was uploaded on the CM window on April 1, 2021, and taking immediate action, the civil hospital of Gurugram was informed in this regard. The hospital authorities and municipal officials searched the records for the year 1996 and issued the death certificate of the deceased Deshraj to the applicant on August 16, 2021. The complainant has withdrawn his complaint expressing satisfaction over the action of the hospital and the government.
According to Mr Dayal, there are many such instances, pending for a long time, which have been resolved through CM Window. Every month, the complaints received on the CM window are reviewed and the officers of the departments concerned are ordered to resolve them within the stipulated time frame. Strict action is taken against the officers who are negligent in duty.

Kolhapur reports over 100 COVID cases

Kolhapur, Aug 25: Kolhapur on Wednesday reported 159 new cases of COVID-19 while two people also lost their lives due to the virus, the authorities said in a health bulletin.
The fresh addition took the district tally to 203040 while the death toll soared to 5679.

As many as 215 people were cured and discharged during the day, taking the recovery count to 195769.
The district is currently having 1592 active cases.

CRPF jawan injured in grenade attack by militants in Srinagar

Srinagar, Aug 23: A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawan was injured in a grenade attack by militants in the summer capital, Srinagar.

Official sources said that militants lobbed a grenade at a CRPF camp located at Safa Kadal in downtown Srinagar on Monday evening. “A CRPF jawan was injured in the attack,” they said, adding the wounded was rushed to a hospital where his health condition is stated to be stable.

They said the militants managed to escape from the spot during to the chaos created due to the blast, adding additional security forces have been rushed to the area and a search operation has been launched to nab the attackers.

COVID: Aurangabad, Bajaj Group join hands to give free vaccines

Aurangabad (Maharashtra), Aug 23: Union Minister of State for Finance Dr Bhagwat Karad on Monday appealed to the citizens for duly adhering to the COVID norms.

The MoS was speaking after the Aurangabad administration and the Bajaj Group signed an MoU of providing free vaccines.

He said, “The Bajaj Group helped the government a lot during the Covid period. It is commendable that six lakh covid vaccines have been made available to the state free of cost. It is imperative that every citizen be vaccinated to avoid the risk of coronavirus.”

“The largest vaccination campaign in the world is being carried out in India. About 33 lakh citizens in the district are to be vaccinated,” he added.

MLA Prashant Bomb and Collector Sunil Chavan were present among other district officials.

Paytm and HDFC Bank announce strategic partnership for delivering financial solutions to end consumers and merchants across India

Kolkata, Aug 23: India’s leading digital ecosystem for consumers and merchants, Paytm, and India’s largest private sector bank, HDFC Bank, today announced that they have entered into a strategic partnership.

This brings together two market leaders who will drive innovative digital solutions for financial transformation in the country by combining their strengths in the banking, lending, and digital payments space.

The fusion of HDFC Bank’s network, products and credit appraisal capabilities and Patym’s technological platform will accelerate digital transformation in semi-urban and rural India while bringing more people into formal banking channels.

Paytm is India’s largest payments platform with 333 million users and 21 million merchants onboard.

With over 50 million card customers (both credit and debit cards) HDFC Bank is a strong player in the payments ecosystem with leadership in both credit card issuing and acquiring businesses. It has a footprint of over two million merchant acceptance points and 48 per cent business market share on merchant acquiring volume. It remains the number one credit card issuer in the country with a spend share of over 27 per cent.

Through this partnership, Paytm & HDFC Bank will build comprehensive solutions across Payment Gateway, POS Machines and Credit Products including Paytm Postpaid which is Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) solution, Eazy EMI and Flexi Pay, and more.

The first leg of the partnership will include Payment Gateway and POS Solutions for Indian merchant partners.

The partnership between Paytm and HDFC Bank will aim to empower the new businesses, which have recently ventured online, and enable them to scale up further.

Paytm and HDFC Bank are coming together for two broad POS offerings:

– HDFC Bank will drive merchant partnerships across India, to whom Paytm will offer its existing range of Android POS devices. Through the partnership, HDFC Bank’s salespersons will start selling Paytm’s payment solutions in the market. HDFC Bank will be the payment partner, while Paytm will be the distribution and software partner.

– Paytm and HDFC Bank will jointly launch a co-branded POS product in the retail segment, which Paytm will have the option to offer it to its own customer base.

Talking about the partnership, Bhavesh Gupta, CEO, Paytm Lending, said, “We are extremely delighted to partner with HDFC Bank, which has been one of the leaders in the retail lending space in our country for the last two decades. Together we aim to provide innovative digital lending & payment solutions for consumers and merchants alike. This partnership will further strengthen financial services ecosystem by bringing together our technology and digital solutions and HDFC Bank’s retail and credit prowess.”

Renu Satti, COO, Offline Payments, commenting on the partnership said, “Paytm’s reach in the offline & online merchant space and HDFC Bank’s retail influence, will aim for dynamic growth in the payments space. Paytm has a history of launching innovative products that have made way for the adoption of retail payments among various merchant partners. This partnership aims to bring innovative products focusing on affordability.”

Parag Rao, Group Head – Payments, Consumer Finance, Digital Banking & IT, HDFC Bank said, “As India’s largest issuing and acquiring bank, we have always endeavoured to personalise our offerings to customers-consumers, businesses and corporate houses. Through this partnership, we will also be jointly delivering enhanced SmartHub solutions to the market. We believe that this is the start of a great partnership and the cumulative strength of both HDFC Bank and Paytm will help us strengthen our respective leadership positions”.

HDFC Bank SmartHub solutions is an integrated platform offering merchants a one-stop solution shop for all their business needs-payments, banking, lending and segment-specific business solutions.

Financial aid for free textbooks approved: Haryana Minister

Chandigarh, Aug 23: Haryana Education Minister Kanwar Pal informed that under the component ‘Free Text Books/Workbooks’, an amount of Rs 250 per student from class I to V and Rs 400 per student from class VI to VIII has been approved.

This amount will soon be transferred to the accounts of the students through the DBT system. For this, the process of verification of the bank accounts of students has been completed.

Responding to a Calling Attention Motion brought during the ongoing Monsoon Session of Vidhan Sabha on Monday, the Education Minister said that in the meeting of the High Powered Purchase Committee (HPPC) chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar held on June 12, 2021, it was decided that the amount for books per student should be transferred in the respective accounts of the students from class I to VIII.

It is pertinent to mention here that for the year 2021-22, a total amount of Rs 46 crore has been approved by the Central Government in the meeting of the Project Approval Board under the component ‘Free Text Books’.

The Minister apprised the House that the e-books of all classes and all subjects have been uploaded in the public domain on the official website of SCERT, Haryana, Gurugram.

He informed that due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, classes I to V are conducted online and are also being telecast through EDUSAT and are available on various television channels.

He said that as far as the availability of books for classes VI to VIII is concerned, the department adopts NCERT textbooks, which are also published by NCERT and are easily available in the open market.

In addition, in view of the National Education Policy, 2020, the process of developing a new National Curriculum Framework has been initiated, after which the syllabus is expected to change from next year. From the next academic session, new textbooks will be printed according to the new syllabus.

Thunderstorm with lightning likely in Telangana in next 5 days: Met

Hyderabad, Aug 23: Thunderstorms accompanied with lightning are likely to occur at isolated places in few districts of Telangana during the next five days, Meteorological Centre said on Monday.

In a bulletin here, it said that Southwest Monsoon has been Normal in Telangana during the last 24 hours.

Heavy rainfall occurred at isolated places in Warangal-Rural and Warangal-Urban districts of Telangana during the same period.

Rain occurred at a few places in Telangana during the last 24 hours, the bulletin said.

Meanwhile, in a Special bulletin , Met said Yesterday’s trough from cyclonic circulation over north east Rajasthan to Telangana across west Madhya Pradesh & Vidharbha has become less marked.

Mainly low level South Westerlies prevail over the state, the bulletin added.

Happy to learn that Jipmer is one among 100 best medical colleges in the world: Ramadass

Puducherry, Aug 23: Former Lok Sabha member from Puducherry Prof M Ramadass on Monday said that it is heartening to learn that JIPMER has been chosen as one among 100 best medical colleges of the world.

In a statement here, Ramadass said CEO World Magazine has reported that based on Global Ranking criteria 100 best medical colleges of the world have been selected for the year 2021 among which six Indian medical colleges also find an honourable place.
JIPMER, securing 78.86 credit, occupies 59th position in the 100 best medical colleges of the world. AIIMS Delhi, Armed Forces Medical College Pune, CMC Vellore, Medical College Chennai and IMS BHU Varanasi are the other best colleges chosen from India. JIPMER occupies 4th position among the six colleges of India.
Undoubtedly, this unique feat of JIPMER is in recognition of the relentless pursuit of highest standards of quality in medical education and curative services rendered by the professors, doctors, officers and all employees of this 57-year-old institution of Puducherry. It has already carved out a niche in the medical education map of South Asia and this world image adds one more fine feather to its cap. This status makes the transition of JIPMER from a national to an International institution, Ramadass said.

It is a moment of joy, happiness and pride for every Puducherian that an institution from Puducherry attains a glorious global status among the comity of medical colleges of the world, Ramadass said and congratulated the director and entire team of Jipmer.

Kalyan Singh to be cremated today in Bulandshahr

Aligarh, Aug 23: Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh, who passed away on August 21, will be cremated at the Bansighat on the banks of holy Ganga river in Narora in Bulandshahr district on Monday.
The 89-year-old senior BJP leader and the architect of Ram Janambhoomi movement, died at the SGPGIMS due to sepsis and multi organ failure after 48 days of hospitalization.
Union Ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Smriti Irani and Chief Ministers Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Pushkar Singh Dhami will be present during the last rites, today. Senior BJP leader Uma Bharati along with UP Governor Anandiben Patel and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will also pay their last respects.
At 1000 hrs, the Kalyan Singh’s body would be taken to Atrauli PWD guest house where the family members and people of his Madhauli village will pay their last respect. Atrauli is around 26 Km from Aligarh and the body would be taken on a flower decked truck so that people on the way could have darshan of their departed leader.
All the VVIPs including Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and others are most likely to join the funeral at Atrauli.
From Atrauli, the funeral procession will head towards Narora at around 1300 hours and it will take around 2 hours to cover around 27 Km to reach the Bansi ghat. The cremation is slated to be held at around 1530 hours.
Around 20 priests would perform the last rites which will include bathing of the mortal remains with Ganga water. The pyre would be of 21 Kg of Chandan woods, said a priest, who would be performing the rituals.
Due to incessant rains in Narora, authorities have erected temporary structure for the VVIPs and others.
The state government had announced a three days state mourning and has declared Monday as a public holiday.
Yesterday, the mortal remains were taken to the UP assembly and state BJP office from the residence of Kalyan Singh before reaching Aligarh where it was kept at the Ahiliya Bai Holkar stadium for people to have darshan.

Kalyan Singh’s condition critical: Yogi rushes to see him at SGPGIMS

Lucknow, Aug 21: The health of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh who is undergoing treatment at Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS ) turned very critical on Saturday.

According to the doctors attending him his BP has gone out of control and his other body parameters are not functioning well either. He was also given dialysis on Saturday evening.

On receiving this information UP Cheif Minister Yogi Adityanath reached SGPGI to see the former CM. He inquired about his health from Director Dr RK Dhiman and other doctors.

State Medical Education Minister Suresh Khanna was also present along with CM Yogi. The Chief Minister also spoke to the family members of Kalyan Singh and wished the former CM a healthy and long life.

Yogi Adityanath had visited Kalyan Singh on Friday too.

SGPGI Director Dr R K Dhiman said that for the past several days, Mr Kalyan Singh’s health has remained critical. Doctors are keeping a close watch over his health.

The doctors said that the former CM is unable to take oxygen by himself. Due to this, their lungs and blood are not getting enough oxygen supply, leading to increased pressure on the lungs, heart, kidney, liver. It is also affecting the functioning of his brain, due to which on Tuesday night doctors started giving oxygen to the lungs by inserting a tube in his throat.

Kalyan Singh was admitted to SGPGIMS on July 4 last.

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu family members visits world heritage site ‘Hampi’

Hosepte (karnataka), Aug 21: Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu visited the world heritage web site of Hampi in Karnataka on Saturday.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and his family were garlanded by a temple elephant during their visit to Virupaksha Temple in Hampi The Vice President along with his family also fed the elephant with bananas.
He was accompanied by his relatives. He was taken across the web site by native officers, together with information of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Hampi is situated in Vijayanagara district. It was the capital of the Vijayanagar empire. The ruins of the Vijayanagar empire attracts vacationers from everywhere in the world. The centerpiece is the Vitthala temple, whose options embody musical pillars.
The Vice President has proven the superb pillars and the magic they’re able to.
Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu takes a close look at the famed musical pillars, in Hampi on August 21, 2021.
Meanwhile, Naidu is on a visit to Karnataka from August 16. The Vice President laid the foundation stone of the Innovation and Development Centre at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) in Bengaluru on Monday and also addressed the scientists and engineers of Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) on Friday.

NGO writes to PM, seeks permission to adopt Afghani students

Pune, Aug 21: Pune-based Sarhad, an NGO, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking permission and co-operation for adopting distressed Afghani students for their education.
The NGO has been striving for peace in India’s bordering states since last thirty years. “We, though on small scale, have worked for Afghani students for providing them higher education since 2008,” it said.
“The present situation occurred in Afghanistan worries us and hence we have decided to extend our helping hand to the students stranded in India and to the refugees with help of ‘Sri Guru Tegbahadur ji 400th Prakash Purab-2021’ committee established to celebrate Guru Tegbahadur’s martyrdom, who had sacrificed his life for the rehabilitation and safety of Kashmiri pundits,” it stated.
Sarhad wishes and have capacity to adopt 1,00 Afghani students and refugees to take care of their education and livelihood till the situation improves back their home, said Sanjay Nahar, founder president of Sarhad.

He continued, “We seek central government’s assistance in selection of such students and refugees
those can be provided with necessary help, Nahar said in his letter. Since, the Afghan issue has become explosive and internationally politically sensitive, without government’s permission and assistance in selection, the humanitarian work we want to undertake cannot materialise.”
“In fact the help from Indian NGO to the distressed Afghani students and refugees can set an example of India’s broader humanitarian perspective. Also this work will be a suiting tribute to Sri Guru Tegbahadur ji’s martyrdom to preserve humanity,” he remarked.
“We humbly request you to allow us to undertake this task of adoption of the Afghan students and refugees and appoint a representative for the selection process. We assure you that we will endeavour to preserve pride and dignity of our nation,” read the letter written to the Centre.

Delhi: Two sisters donate ‘half of their livers’ to save their brother, all three recuperating and leading a normal life

New Delhi, August 21: A 14-year-old underwent a dual lobe liver transplant. However, what makes it rare and the country’s first case is the involvement of sisters by giving half of their livers to save their brother’s life.
This unique surgery was carried out at Medanta Hospital, Gurugram. The family belongs from Budaun in Uttar Pradesh. Akshat, the patient was fighting for his life over a month ago and was terminally ill with a liver failure resulting in deep jaundice. He was in a pre-coma state.
The case was made even more complex since the patient was overweight, weighing around 92 kilograms. While two of his sisters were eligible donors, they were both much lighter.
Also, one of the sisters was put up in Italy when the operation had to take place.
Dr Arvinder Soin, Chairperson, Medanta Liver Transplant Institute and Chief Surgeon in the case told ANI, “The most challenging part of this surgery was the planning, because we knew that we have to fit two halves of two livers into one child. The technical aspect of this surgery was very challenging. And definitely, we were under the pressure that all three should do well.”
Dr Soin further added, “One of the risk factors leading to such failures is obesity that has a direct correlation with junk foods.”
Post-surgery, Akshat recuperated well and is leading a normal life like other children. His weight was down to 68 kilograms.
“After such donations, the liver of the donor grows back to the normal size within two to two and a half months and the half liver that goes in the patient also grows back. This is because the liver has an amazing capacity of regeneration,” said the chief surgeon of this operation.
For a successful transplant, it is essential that the newly transplanted liver weighs at least 0.8 to 1 per cent of the patient’s body weight. In this case, a single donor liver half weighed only 0.5 to 0.55 per cent of Akshat’s weight. Hence two liver halves were needed to make up the required liver volume.
Dr Neelam Mohan, Director, Pediatric Liver Diseases and Transplantation, Medanta Hospital said,
“While the patient’s sisters were eligible donors, the situation required both of them to donate portions of their livers. While the initial period of recovery in ICU was complex for the patient, eventually all the three siblings recovered well.”
Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairperson and Managing Director, Medanta Hospital, said, “This is a unique example showcasing the power of organ donation to save lives. It draws our attention to the fact that any healthy person can save a loved one’s life by donating half of their liver or a single kidney without suffering any harm.”
The hospital as well Akshat’s family are delighted and stated that on the eve of Raksha Bandhan, this case will add to the bonding between brother and sisters.

Punjab Police foils major drug smuggling bid, seizes 40 kg heroin worth Rs 200 cr from India-Pakistan border

Amritsar (Punjab) [India], August 21: In an intelligence-led operation based on specific inputs, the Amritsar Rural Police foiled a major drug smuggling bid by Pakistan-based smugglers on Saturday and recovered 39 packets of heroin, weighing 40.81 kg in the Panjgraian Border Outpost (BOP), worth approximately Rs 200 crores.
The operation was supported by the Border Security Force (BSF) and it was carried out in the border area under the control of the BSF. Dinkar Gupta, Director General of Police (DGP) of Punjab, said “Following an input, Nirmal Singh (Sonu Mayer), a notorious smuggler of Gharinda area, was attempting to smuggle heroin through the Indo-Pak Border.”
Gulneet Singh Khurana, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of Amritsar (Rural) immediately shared the pin-pointed inputs with the BSF. He added that in the meanwhile, a police team comprising of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) investigation Gurinderpal Singh and DSP Ajnala Vipan Kumar also reached the spot.
Dinkar said that the joint teams of Punjab Police and BSF successfully seized the huge heroin cache besides recovering 180 grams of opium and two plastic pipes, manufactured by Super Punjab Pump and made in Pakistan.
The police have also impounded a motorcycle and a sooty belonging to the smugglers from the smuggling side found stationed in the vicinity.
“The police have launched a massive manhunt to arrest Sonu, who is also wanted by the Tarn Taran Police in case of 1 kg heroin recovery in 2020,” said Khurana.
Investigations were on and all the accused persons were likely to be arrested soon, he added.
Sharing the modus operandi, Khurana said “The smugglers used Pakistan made plastic pipes to get the heroin across the border fence in the shape of neatly tied packets of heroin contraband”.
An FIR into the matter has been registered at Police Station Ramdas, Amritsar.

Prez, V-P, PM greet people on Onam

New Delhi, Aug 21: President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday extended their greetings to the people on the occasion of Onam.

“Onam greetings to all our fellow citizens! This festival is a celebration of the new harvest. It highlights the tireless work of farmers. It is an occasion to express gratitude to mother nature. I wish progress and prosperity for all fellow citizens,” the President wrote on Twitter.

Mr Naidu in his greetings said Onam marks the beginning of harvest season in various parts of our country. “My warm greetings on the auspicious occasion of Onam today…Onam also honours the memory of great King Mahabali of Kerala, who is celebrated for his nobility & generosity,” he posted.

The Prime Minister, in a message in Malayalam language, prayed for everyone’s good health and wellbeing. “Best wishes on the special occasion of Onam, a festival associated with positivity, vibrancy, brotherhood and harmony,” Mr Modi said in a tweet.

Onam, which falls in the month of Chingam — the first month according to the Malayalam Calendar, is an annual harvest festival celebrated in Kerala. On this day, the people, clad in new clothes decorate their houses with flower carpets and arrange Onam feast (Ona Sadya) to mark the occasion.

Police seize tent pitched outside slain HM militant’s house in Pulwama

Srinagar, Aug 21: Jammu and Kashmir police has seized a tent pitched outside the residence of a slain Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militant Musaib Ahmad Bhat who was killed in an encounter with security forces in Pulwama on Friday.
Musaib, a resident of Khrew Pampore, and Muzamil Ahmad Rather, resident of Chakoora Pulwama were killed in an encounter with security forces at Khrew Pampore in Pulwama on Friday. Musaib was a member of HM hit squad responsible for killing of civilians in south Kashmir, including a peon of a government school Javid Ahmad Malik at Lurgan in Tral.
A police spokesman said on Saturday that a tent was pitched outside the residence of Musaib at Khrew, where people had gathered in violation of COVID Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). He said the tent along with carpets were seized by the police.
A case FIR has been registered, he said adding those found in propagating false news shall be booked under the law.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, bodies of slain militants are not being handed over to their families. The bodies are being buried by police personnel in presence of some relatives of slain militants in north Kashmir or central Kashmir.

Desperate opposition getting personal, says Meghalaya CM

Shillong, Aug 20: A ‘desperate’ opposition Congress, which has been fishing in troubled waters in Meghalaya of late by openly revealing its desire to form an alternative ruling dispensation by getting in touch with coalition partners in the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government was slammed
by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, who said it was making “personal attacks”.
“The desperation level has gone to such a level where personal attacks have been made and words have been used which we don’t expect from senior people and people at that stature,” the Chief
Minister said in an obvious reference to his predecessor Mukul Sangma, who is now leader of opposition.
Sangma stated that in his political career he has never seen “so much of desperation from the opposition”.
He said it was sad to see the kind of extreme sense of desperation that is prevailing right now in the leadership in the Congress.
“I was in fact very amused about few days back some Congress legislators had called me and
almost apologising and saying that we are quite ashamed to see the kind of language being used
by the leadership,” Sangma added.
He also alleged that the opposition has been trying to topple the government for long and on several occasions the coalition partners supporting the National People’s Party led-Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) have been approached and every time the Congress have been told this government
will continue.
“It seems their focus is not about development of the people and issues of the people but their focus is more on toppling and how they want to come back to power,” Sangma said.
Admitting that there are challenges, he said in such complicated situation it requires everybody to work together.
He urged the opposition, the political leaders and the society as whole to rise above these kinds of political games.
“They are playing games they are not succeeding. You play the game or not it is up to you. But at some point in time one must also have the commitment towards the people and the issues that are ahead of us and face those and work together,” Sangma said while urging the opposition not to get
into petty political comments.
On the comment made by his former ministerial colleague and senior BJP legislator, Alexander
Laloo Hek that the state police had resorted to “Taliban tactics” in the killing of surrendered general secretary of the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), Cheristerfield
Thangkhiew, the Chief Minister said that his remarks were “coming in a very sorry way”.
“The statement made by Hek could be his reaction after he was removed from the cabinet and replaced by his party colleague Sanbor Shullai,” Sangma said, even as he urged his former
ministerial colleague Hek to act in a “professional” and “mature” manner.
“He (Hek) is an adviser to the Chief Minister and he should take the post seriously and advise in
a proper manner,” the Chief Minister said.

State moving towards ‘Jungle Raj’ under Hemant Rule: Deepak Prakash

Ranchi, Aug 20: State BJP president and Rajya Sabha MP Deepak Prakash on Friday claimed that law and order has collapsed in the state and Jharkhand is moving towards Jungle Raj.

Addressing a press conference at the state BJP headquarters here he said that incidents of murder, rape, women atrocities, killing of tribals and maoists related activities are increasing in the state where as development is at zero.

He said that the present government in its 19 month rule has not even constructed a kilometer of road, neither has been able to install even 19 electricity poles or transformers have been put up but

on the other hand loot of mineral wealth was rapidly happening in the state.

Therefore to make the state government wake up from its sleep the party will form human chain

at 267 spots in the state on Saturday and even urged the youth, farmers and women to be part of

the human chain.

Mr Prakash claimed that the state government wanted to destroy the social fabric of the state and claimed that politics of appeasement will not be tolerated as in the recruitment policy languages like Hindi, Sanskrit and English have been removed while Urdu has been kept.

He said that the business of liquor in the state has been given to a particular syndicate which will cause huge losses to the revenue of the state and claimed that after collecting necessary proof will approach IT and ED over the issue.

Defence Minister approves proposal to publish relevant details of planned procurements

New Delhi, Aug 20: In a bid to provide more transparency in capital acquisition process, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved a proposal mandating the Service Headquarters to publish the details on the website within a week of receipt of approvals.

However, the details shared will be subject to sensitivities keeping the security aspect in mind, a Defence Ministry release said on Friday.

It said the defence industry has regularly pitched for providing greater access to the details of procurements planned by the Ministry especially with regard to cost, quantity, offsets, trials and transfer of technology which are being envisaged at the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) stage.

The release said the Minister gave the approval to promote ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and provide more transparency in capital acquisition process, aligning with the aspirations of industry.

The relevant details should be published on the Service Headquarters/MoD website. This is an important step towards greater transparency and information symmetry and will provide an opportunity to the additional vendors, who did not respond to the Request for Information (RFI) but wish to express interest for receipt of the Request For Proposal (RFP

1127 facilities set up by Haryana govt to provide appropriate treatment to Covid patients: Dr Banwari Lal

Chandigarh, Aug 20: With the onset of COVID, Haryana Government has set up 1,127 facilities (DCH, DCHC,DCCC) to provide appropriate treatment to COVID patients, including 68 Dedicated COVID Hospitals, (DCH), 564 Dedicated COVID Health Centres (DCHC) and 495 Dedicated COVID Care Centres (DCCC).
This was shared by Cooperation Minister Dr Banwari Lal while answering the questions during the Monsoon Session of the Vidhan Sabha on Friday in the absence of Health Minister Anil Vij.
He said that there is sufficient availability of beds, oxygen, equipment etc in the State. He elaborated that the State presently has 61,096 Isolation Beds, 4,040 Isolation beds for Paediatric patients, 14,362 Oxygen supported beds, 3,286 Oxygen Isolation Beds for paediatric patients, 5,069 ICU Beds and 1535 ICU Paediatric Beds, 708 Neonatal ICU Beds, 827 Paediatric ICU Beds, 2,058 Ventilators and 426 Paediatric Ventilators.
Regarding financial assistance for families, the Minister said that an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 2 lakh has been given to Haryana State BPL Card Holders, who died due to COVID and a Special Ex-Gratia Grant of Rs 5 lakh has been given to family members of who dies due to COVID disease.
Besides this, Special Compassionate Financial Assistance of Rs 20 lakh was given to families of Covid warriors, who dies while on active COVID duty, especially related to management of COVID or maintenance of essential services.
Apart from this, under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, insurance Scheme for health workers fighting COVID-19 to the tune of Rs 50 lakh to healthcare providers, including community health workers, deployed for COVID duty.
A total of 26 healthcare personnel (9 doctors, 2 AYUSH doctors, 8 paramedical staff, 2 ASHA workers and 5 other staff) deployed for COVID duty have lost their lives, who were provided with life insurance.

Mamata pays homage to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary

Kolkata, Aug 20: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday paid heartfelt

homage to former Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary.

Taking to her social media page, Ms Banerjee said, “Heartfelt homage to former Prime

Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi on his birth anniversary.”

Born on this day in 1944, Rajiv Gandhi served as the sixth prime minister of India, from

1984 to 1989.

He took office after the 1984 assassination of his mother, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi,

to become the youngest Indian prime minister at the age of 40.

In 1991, the central government posthumously awarded Gandhi the Bharat Ratna, the

country’s highest civilian award. At the India Leadership Conclave in 2009, the Revolutionary

Leader of Modern India award was conferred posthumously on Gandhi.

He was assassinated by the LTTE during an election campaign in 1991

Pondy Police dept constitutes Minority cell

Puducherry, Aug 20: Puducherry Police Department has constituted a minority cell, to comply with the recommendation of the National Commission for Minorities that a Minority Cell in the state police headquarters, in all police stations and in all the districts has to be set up.
An order from the police department on Friday said, the minority cell comprises of six police personnel –three each from Police unit and Puducherry Armed police.
The Minority Cell will function under the direct supervision of SSP (headquarters) and will have its jurisdiction across the UT of Puducherry.

Tej Pratap threatens not to attend party activities if action is not taken against Jagadanand

Patna, Aug 19: Apparently losing cool after his close confidant Akash Yadav was removed

as president of students wing of RJD by state president of the party Jagadanand Singh on,

Wednesday Tej Pratap Yadav today threatened not to attend any party activity if action was not

taken against Mr Singh.

Mr Yadav told media persons here that Mr Singh was not so committed and dedicated to RJD

as he had been projecting himself so far.

The way Mr Singh removed Akash Yadav from the post of president of students wing of RJD,

was blatant violation of constitutional provision of the party, he added.

” As per article 33 of the party constitution, anyone should be served notice before removal

from party post but Mr Singh did not serve any notice to Aakash before removing him”, Mr Yadav

said that such action of Mr Singh could not be tolerated.

He should have consulted him before taking decision on the issue, Mr Yadav remarked.

Mr Yadav threatened not to attend any party activity if action was not taken against Mr Singh.

He also pointed out that RJD president Lalu Prasad would certainly know his views and demand through the media, which reflected his intensity of anger.

NK Singh succeeds former PM Manmohan Singh as IEG President

New Delhi, Aug 19: A member of core group of advisors and strategists during India’s economic reforms of 1991 and Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission NK Singh has succeeded former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh as President of the Institute of Economic Growth (IEG) Society, a premier applied economics research institution.

The IEG General body on August 16, 2021 elected NK Singh after the former PM desired to step down citing advanced age and indifferent health. He proposed the name of NK Singh as his successor.

Dr Singh had been at the helm of IEG as President since 1992.

“…..in the light of my advanced age and indifferent health I am having to withdraw from several active duties. I am afraid I will have to ask you to continue your journey with another leader. With this in mind, I would propose the name of my trusted and able friend Shri NK Singh, to lead IEG Society as its President,” said the former PM who led the UPA government for two consecutive terms.

“NK has had a long association with the Institute and this relation has been revived recently in the form of his induction to the Board of Trustees as a member. He is a proven leader with five decades of excellent work and superlative achievement in public policy design and

implementation,” he added.

Members of the IEG General Body expressed their deep appreciation of Dr Manmohan Singh’s contributions over all these years as a guiding force and paid rich tributes.

While honouring his wish to be relieved of the Presidency, members highlighted his role in shaping IEG’s strong research culture and standing as an institution of excellence in research and training.

NK Singh, enjoys strong and close ties with the Institute—as a student in the Delhi University and currently serving as a Life Trustee.

After completing his Bachelor’s in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, he did his Master’s in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics during which time he came in close contacts with the eminent faculties of the IEG.

Prior to becoming Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission, NK Singh presided as the Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Review Committee (FRBM).

A former IAS officer, Singh was also a member of Rajya Sabha (2008-2014).

IndiGo bags 3 awards at Future of Contact Center Summit and Awards 2021

Bengaluru, Aug 19: India’s leading carrier, IndiGo, has been honoured with three awards at Future of Contact Center Summit and Awards 2021.
According to a statement issued here on Thursday said the airline won the awards for Contact Centre Unique Innovations & Transformation and Customer Experience Excellence in Aviation. Priyaah Sundaraam, Associate Vice President – Customer Relations, IndiGo was announced as the winner of the Disruption Management Leader Award, for a swift response to disruptions in business continuity and thinking out of the box to handle situations.
IndiGo has always been committed for being a leader in the global competitive environment, offering a hassle-free customer experience. Over the last year, the airline introduced various technology integrations including, Voice bot, Chat bot-Dottie, and AI-enabled WhatsApp service, which could successfully cater to handling huge volumes of interactions. Despite increased interaction volumes, the average service level was maintained above 96% with satisfaction score of 4.7 on a 5-star rating scale.
Mr. William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We feel honoured to be recognised in three categories at the Future of Contact Center Summit and Awards 2021. This is a testimony of the fact that we believe every customer complaint is a golden opportunity to review process, product, and people. We are sensitive to our customers’ needs, and deftly implement learnings, to provide services in the most efficient manner. Innovation & digital transformation is core to us as they pave the path for progression. These awards are an acknowledgement of our team’s persistence and commitment to deliver an exemplary hassle-free service even during the most challenging times.”
Contact Center Summit and Awards 2021 recognized leaders on their journey towards a hyper-personalized contact center of the future.

4 held for dangling MBBS seats in Pak to Kashmiris , using money to fund militancy

Srinagar, Aug 18: The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday said it has arrested four separatist leaders for ‘selling’ MBBS seats in Pakistan to Kashmiri students and using the money to fund militancy.

An official spokesperson said the arrested persons have been identified as Mohammed Akbar Bhat alias Zafar Bhat, who is chairman of the salvation movement, Fatima Shah, Mohammed Abdullah Shah, and Shabzar Ahmed Sheikh. “Brother of Shah went to Pakistan in 90s and is working as a facilitator of Hurriyat,” he said.

The Counter Intelligence (Kashmir), a branch of CID Department of J&K Police, had registered a case in July 2020 after receiving information that several unscrupulous persons, including some Hurriyat Conference leaders, were in collusion with some educational consultancies selling MBBS and other professional course seats in different colleges and universities in Pakistan to Kashmiri students.

He said the investigation revealed that the money collected from the parents of the aspiring students was used to support and fund militancy and separatism in different ways. Accordingly, a case was registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The spokesperson said during further investigation it surfaced that many MBBS and other professional degree seats were given to those students, who were close family members or relative of killed militants. “It was also revealed that quota allotted to individual Hurriyat Conference leaders was sold to desperate parents, who wanted their children to get MBBS and other professional degrees,” he said.

He said on average, the cost of a seat was between Rs 10 to 12 lakh. However, he said in some cases, the price was brought down on the intervention of Hurriyat leaders. “An amount of Rs 4 crore per annum was being generated by selling seats,” he added.

Establish 11,000 SHGs by September 30 in J&K, CS to JKRLM

Srinagar, Aug 16: Union Territory (UT) Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta on Monday directed J&K Rural Livelihood Mission (JKRLM) to establish 11,000 Self Help Groups (SHGs) by September 30.

Dr Mehra chaired a meeting to review the progress achieved under the centrally sponsored scheme ‘UMEED’ in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, an official spokesman said.

Principal Secretary, Rural Development Department and Mission Director, J&K Rural Livelihood Mission along with concerned officers of the Department participated in the meeting.

The meeting was informed that J&KRLM has so far established 46,000 SHGs and linked them to financial institutions, besides releasing Rs 15.82 crore in favour of 3,955 SHGs. During the current financial year, two additional blocks have been brought under the fold of J&K Rural Livelihood Mission.

Asserting that self help groups have huge potential in Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Mehta directed the JKRLM to ensure establishment of additional 11,000 self help groups by 30th September, 2021 by ensuring social mobilisation of rural women, besides identifying various commercial activities suited for the rural economy to establish fruitful forward and backward linkages.

The Chief Secretary further directed the Mission to immediately establish permanent SHG haats at district and block headquarters for providing a ready market to various SHG products. The Mission was asked to draw a SHG-wise calendar for all districts and give wide publicity to weekly sales of diverse products in advance.

He also directed appointment of ‘Bank Sakhis’ in Panchayats having more than 50 SHG bank linkages to assist SHG members in availing various banking facilities.

Dr Mehta urged upon the Principal Secretary RDD to take up convergence between agriculture-based rural SHGs and various other schemes of agriculture, horticulture, fisheries, and animal and sheep husbandry departments; to evaluate their contribution in doubling the farmers’ income. It was also decided that interactions will be held with leaders of SHGs of all districts to obtain a feedback on the functioning of the scheme.

It was also informed that the Mission has trained 8,039 mahila kissan in agro-ecological practices, besides establishing all-women dairy FPO of 250 Self Help Groups (SHG) members in convergence with NABARD.

To enhance market opportunities and strengthen marketing linkages, the Mission has hired two marketing agencies for training and entrepreneurship development of rural SHG women with special focus on institutional innovation of SHG products for enhancing their competitiveness.

Puri local residents visit Sri Jagannath temple, offer prayers to the lords

Puri, Aug 16: Hundreds of local devotees belonging to 8 wards of Puri civic body on Monday

had darshan of the presiding deities of Sri Jagannath temple.

The local devotees visited the temple in three sessions from 6 AM to 7PM today.

The temple remained closed for devotees since April 24 last due to covid pandemic and opened

for locals after a gap of about four months.

After temple servitor families had their darshan of the deities for three days from August 12 to14,

the temple administration allowed devotees living within 32 wards of the Puri municipal area for

darshan in a phased manner for five days beginning from today till August 20.

The Administration has issued 1.5 lakh tokens to the local devoteest have darshan of the lords in

five days.

As per the standard operating procedure released by the administration everyday till August 20 the devotees of at least five to eight wards would be given tokens reflecting their allocated day and time

for darshan limiting the total attendance to five thousand per day.

Swachh sathis distributed tokens among the devotees of the selected wards.

They had to approach the entry gate of the barricade through eight kiosks where they had to present their tokens and Aadhar cards as proof of their residence and enter the temple in a queue.

Nine rows of devotees proceeded through the barricades in a queue observing social distance

norms.

Eight platoons of police forces are deployed to ensure implementation of SOP and the Covid guidelines.

Sources said the darshan went smoothly for the day. This was the first day for the local residents.

The temple will be opened for the general public from August 23 onwards for darshan.The devotees from outside of the Puri town have to produce RT-PCR test negative report obtained within 96 hours

or certificate of complete inoculation besides adhere to the SOP.

On Janmastami and other important festivals the temple will remain closed for devotees to avoid

huge gathering to curb spread of virus,

We will wait for appointment with PM before taking decision on caste census’ : Nitish

Patna, Aug 16: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said that he would wait for appointment with Prime Minister to discuss the issue of caste census before taking decision

on whether state government would conduct caste census on its own.

Mr Kumar, after ” Janata Ke Darbar Mein Mukhya Mantri ” programme organised at CM

secretariat premises, told media persons that he had written a letter to Prime Minister

Narendra Modi seeking his appointment to discuss on the issue of caste census.

The letter written by him was received in Prime Minister Office (PMO) on August 4 and

he had been communicated by PMO about receipt of the letter on August 13, indicating

that PM could give appointment for a discussion on the issue of caste census, he added.

” We will wait for appointment with PM for a discussion on the issue of caste census

before taking a decision whether state government would conduct caste census on its own “

Chief Minister said adding that he would discuss with leaders of all parties for taking a

unanimous decision at an appropriate moment on state government conducting caste census

using its own resources.

When PMO had informed him indicating that PM could give appointment for a discussion

on caste census, there was no reason for him to take a decision hurriedly, he added. After

all it was not an issue of one day affair that he would announce his decision on state

government conducting caste census using its own resources, he noted.

Mr Kumar said that caste census should be conducted at least once to know the exact figure

on caste wise population.

It would help the government in rolling out schemes for various sections of the society who

needed assistance, he added.

Chief Minister, to a query about apprehension that pressure could build up to increase the

reservation limit of 50 percent in government services if caste census was carried out, said

that caste census was essential which would give clear picture for a broader view on the issue.

Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) was conducted separately by the Centre in 2011

but it could not be worth of any use due to large scale errors and irregularities, he pointed out.

As it is, Chief Minister Mr Kumar had been demanding strongly caste for caste census since

long. The demand got momentum when Centre announced in parliament that there would not

be caste census and only enumeration of SCs and STs would be conducted as they were

being given reservation in Lok Sabha and state Assemblies.

A delegation of opposition parties led by leader of the opposition Tejaswi Prasad Yadav had

called on Chief Minister Mr Kumar recently and urged him to write a letter for second

appointment with PM for all party delegation from Bihar to request him for reconsideration of

the decision of the Centre of not conducting caste census.

Mr Kumar had written a letter to PM on August 3 seeking appointment for all party delegation

led by him for a discussion on caste census.

Goa reports 62 new cases of Covid 19, 5 deaths

Panaji, Aug 16: Goa reported 62 new cases of Covid 19 and five deaths during the last 24 hours.
According to a daily bulletin issued by the Directorate of Health Services (DHS), with the new cases, the number of total confirmed cases in the state increased to 1,72,568 while the number of total deaths remained at 3176.
There were 96 recoveries during the last 24 hours which took the number of total recoveries in the state to 1,68,519.
Recovery rate in the state stood at 97.65 per cent.
On Monday, 55 patients were sent for home isolation, seven were admitted to hospitals while four were discharged.
As many as 4225 new samples were tested on Monday taking the number of total samples tested so far to 11,32,949.
The number of active cases in the state stood at 873.

Sharad Pawar terms Centre’s OBC quota amendments as ‘pure fraud’

Mumbai, Aug 16: NCP supremo Sharad Pawar on Monday fired verbal salvoes at the Centre as he reacted to the latter’s amendments to the OBC reservation.

Addressing a press conference at the party office here, he said, ‘Two years ago, the central government stripped the state of its powers. Now, the parliament has amended the constitution to give states the right to make OBC lists. Therefore, many felt that the Center had taken an important step, but it was a pure fraud.’

He continued, ‘In 1992, a nine-judge bench passed a landmark judgment in the case of Indra Sawhney against the Government of India. It was decided that no more than 50 per cent reservation can be given.’

‘In the meantime, another amendment was made to increase it by 10 per cent. The state governments were told that they could make reservations and give reservations to OBCs. But in reality, it will not be of any use. Today, almost 90 per cent of the states in the country have more than 50 per cent reservation,’ he explained.

He further said, ‘In almost all the states, the limit has been exceeded by 50 per cent. There is no fact when its said that the states have been empowered. The central government has betrayed the OBC class.’

COVID: Sikkim reports 152 new cases

Gangtok, Aug 16: Sikkim reported 152 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of infections to 28706, State Health Department said.

Currently, the state houses 2195 active cases. Out of 28706 total cases 25871 have been discharged after recovering from the virus. The state death toll stands at 361. No fresh death was recorded in the past 24 hours, said Sonam Bhutia, Information, Education and Communication Officer, Health Department.
On Sunday, the state saw 129 cases and 1 death.

Won’t tolerate aggression will teach Pak a lesson if it indulges in misadventure vows Punjab CM

Amritsar, Aug 15: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, on the historic 75th Independence Day of the country, on Sunday vowed to protect the border state against the nefarious designs of Pakistan, even as he pledged to continue fighting with the farmers for the repeal of the Centre’s black Farm Laws.

Calling for extreme vigil against Pakistan, which continued to try to foment trouble even 75 years after independence, the Chief Minister asserted that while “we want Punjab, but will not tolerate any aggression or attack on our territory.” Addressing the people of Punjab after unfurling the national flag, the Chief Minister declared “we will teach them (Pakistan) the lesson of their lifetime if they try to be adventurous.”

Pointing to the use of drones by the neighbouring country to smuggle arms and drugs into the state, Captain Amarinder warned that Pakistan would not leave any opportunity to take advantage of any vulnerability in Punjab.

Stressing the need to ensure peace in the state to promote the development of industry and the progress of its people, the Chief Minister said his government would not tolerate any threat, including those from gangsters and terrorists. “We will deal with them squarely,” he pledged, adding that “Any threat to Punjab would be a danger to our entire nation.” He disclosed that since his government took over, 47 Pakistani terrorist modules and 347 modules of gangsters had been neutralized, including some key gangsters who had been deported from Armenia, UAE and other countries, with more awaiting deportation.

Later, interacting informally with some media-persons on the sidelines of the I-day function, the Chief Minister expressed concern about the continuing agitation of the farmers and said he had raised the issue recently during his meetings with the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister. He said he demanded the repeal of the Farm Laws, which were anti-farmer and against the spirit of the Constitution. He made it clear that he would continue to fight with the farmers for the revocation of these legislations, and would not let the sacrifices of those who had lost their lives in this struggle go in vain.

Captain Amarinder Singh said, “The fight against these Black Laws is not political. It does not matter who is in power where. We need to stand by what is right and to ensure that our rights under the Constitution are not crushed. Had some of the other political parties heeded my repeated implorations in June last year to unitedly articulate our deep concerns before the Centre, this situation might not have arisen.”

In his official address, the Chief Minister spoke about the legal efforts made by his government to get the sacrilege cases back from the CBI, to which the previous SAD-BJP government had handed over the 3 FIRs they had registered, along with another 3 in the Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan firing cases. Since taking over the cases from the CBI, chargesheets have been filed in four cases against 23 persons and 15 police personnel have been suspended while 10 persons have been arrested, he said, adding that 10 challans have been presented so far.

Referring to the gains made by his government in its fight against the deadly menace of drugs, pointing to the 47,510 cases registered under the NDPS Act and the 216 ‘big fish’ (caught with 5 kg or more of heroin) arrested so far. More than 7 lakh patients are undergoing treatment as part of the de-addiction programme, he added.

Pondy CM distributes awards at Independence Day function

Puducherry, Aug 15: Puducherry chief minister N Rangasamy presented the Union Home Minister’s Police medal for Excellence in Police Training to Muthu Sandrasegaran, Special grade Assistant Sub-Inspector of police and woman police constable Francis Jenifer at the Independence Day celebrations here on Sunday.
The chief minister also presented the Chief Minister’s police medal for very good service to Govindasamy Murugan, Sub-Inpsctor of Police (MTS), Pnakajakshan S I of Police (SIGMA), Harikrishnan Dhanalakshmi, Woman ASI of Police, Calaiselvy, and Woman Head Constable (Control room).
Mr Rangasamy also presented the Rajiv Gandhi Meritorious Police Medal to 20 police personnel on the occasion.
Sub-Inspectors of police Raghupathy (MTS), Bhoopathy(SIGMA) and Tamilarasan (Orleanpet police station) were selected for the President’s police medal for meritorious service this year which will be presented at the Republic Day function next year.

Action plan to be prepared to avoid floods in Kolhapur in future: minister

Kolhapur, Aug 14: District Guardian Minister Satej Patil on Saturday said that the local administration will prepare an action plan to avoid the repeat of floods in the district in future.

After a visit to flood affected areas of Karveer and Hatkanangale tehsils in the district, he said that the state government was trying to resolve difficulties of flood-affected people but at present the government’s first priority is to complete ‘panchanama’ of damages caused by recent floods and also to permanently rehabilitate the affected people, he informed.

Mr Patil said that the action plan would be prepared by taking into account various remidial measures such as fixing of flood line, widening of riverbeds, removal of encroachments alongside river bank and others to avoid repeat of severe floods in the district in future.

Use technology to improve power supply across J&K, Kansal to PDD

Srinagar, Aug 14: Reviewing progress of implementation of IT related projects in Power Development Department (PDD) Principal Secretary PDD Rohit Kansal impressed upon officers to use technology to improve power supply across Jammu and Kashmir.

An official spokesman said this evening that chaired a meeting here today to review the progress of several projects being carried out for strengthening IT and Communications Divisions of J&K PDD for the augmentation of power sector.

The meeting was attended by Managing Director Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL), Basharat Qayoom; Secretary (Technical) PDD, Bashir Ahmad Dar; Chief Engineer (Distribution) KPDCL, Ajaz Ahmad; Executive Engineer IT Division (PDD), Surjeel Ghani and other concerned.

The meeting in detail discussed various aspects and other issues related to implementation of Information Technology in PDD, status and progress achieved for various ongoing projects under RAPDRP-A, TPIEA-IT Verification, SCADA/DMS project, RT-DAS,IT-Phase-II, smart metering, customer care service and other measures undertaken for feeder management and billing.

The meeting also deliberated upon the issues pertaining to the projects like RAPDRP-A, Network & Security upgrade and AMC works of PDD.

The meeting was informed that network and security devices have been upgraded to meet CERT-In compliances at DC & DRC, besides on boarding of Cyber Swachta Kendra is complied with, replacement of battery banks at Data Center and SAN Storage at DC and DRC.

On the SCADA/DMS project for sub-station automation in Srinagar city, it was given out that installation of server hardware/UPS/VPS was completed and control center hardware was powered last month.

While discussing the smart metering in twin cities of Jammu and Srinagar, it was informed that consumer survey, supply and installation of IT Hardware at DC/DRC, besides RF design and server activity have been completed.

With respect to IT-Phase-II, the meeting was told that the project is envisaging complete migration of all billing SDOs to Oracle utilities platform and the work is in progress on up gradation of SAN Storage and migration of database and application software to new SAN storage.

While addressing the meeting, the Principal Secretary impressed upon the officers to make optimum use of technological interventions in the power sector to improve transmission, distribution and supply of power across the Union territory.

On the occasion, Kansal asked the PDD officers to expedite all ongoing projects and ensure their timely completion so that people would get benefited and directed them to accelerate all the ground works for installation of smart metering in the Union Territory.

While stressing for strengthening the IT cell of PDD, he asked officers to develop single integrated software that will provide information like losses, revenue collection and are also linked with transformers and feeders.

He also maintained that as numerous steps have been taken to improve and reform the power supply system in J&K and added that there is always a room for further improvement in the system.

He also exhorted the officers to develop consumer friendly information technology modules for generation and timely delivery of power bills to ensure target revenue realization

Kerala reports 19,451 new COVID cases, 19,104 recoveries

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 14: Covid-19 was newly detected in 19,451 persons in Kerala on Friday while 19,104 patients have recovered from the disease, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
In a press release here this evening, the CM said, “1,39,223 samples were tested during the last 24 hours and the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) is 13.97per cent. A total of 2,93,34,981 samples have been sent for testing till this day.”
Meanwhile, 105 recent deaths were confirmed today as due to Covid taking the death toll in the state to 18,499.
Weekly Infection Population Ratio (WIPR) is above 8 at 634 wards under 87 Local Self Governments (LSGs) where strict restrictions are being imposed.
In the last 24 hours, Covid was not detected in any person who recently came to Kerala from the UK. So far, 11 people who came from the UK were diagnosed with the genetically modified virus.

Directorate of Indian Systems of Medicine renamed as Directorate of AYUSH

Srinagar, Aug 14: The Administrative Council (AC) on Saturday approved the change of nomenclature of Directorate of Indian Systems of Medicine as Directorate of AYUSH.

An official spokesperson said that the AC made the name change during a meeting chaired Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha here on Saturday. “Correspondingly, renaming of various designations in the Directorate has also been approved,” he said.

He said the decision is aimed at raising public awareness on the traditional medical sciences based on Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy.

Further, the Government is also working towards establishment of AYUSH based ancillary industry in the Union territory and enhancement of herbal and medicinal plantations to optimally tap employment potential in Jammu and Kashmir.

14 Haryana cops to get Police Medals on Independence Day

Chandigarh, Aug 14: On the eve of Independence Day, 14 Haryana police officers and personnel have been selected to receive Police Medals for Gallantry (PMG), President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service (PPMDS) and Police Medals for Meritorious Service (PMMS).
Stating this here, a Haryana Police spokesperson informed that the medals were announced by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Saturday.
While two Haryana police officials will be conferred with Police Medal for Gallantry, one has been selected to be decorated with the prestigious President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service and 11 other cops are to be awarded with Police Medal for Meritorious Service.
Two police personnel who will be honoured with Police Medals for Gallantry include ASI Rakesh Kumar and Constable Pawan Kumar.
Besides, Dr C S Rao, ADGP, Director Haryana Police Academy Madhuban has been selected to be awarded with the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service.
Those who have been selected to be decorated with Police Medal for Meritorious Service include Dr Hanif Qureshi, IGP IRB Bhondsi, Raj Kumar ACP Panchkula, Ramjit Singh DSP State Crime Record Bureau Madhuban, Sanjeev Balhara DSP Traffic Gurugram, Chaman Lal Inspector 4th Battalion HAP Madhuban, Nirmala Devi Lady Inspector CID Panchkula, Manoj Kumar Sub-Inspector Police Headquarters Panchkula, Mewa Singh Sub-Inspector Police Headquarters Panchkula, Jasbir Singh Sub-Inspector GRP Ambala Cantt., Sukhpal Singh E/SI State Vigilance Bureau Panchkula and Gurnam Singh ASI 4th IRB Manesar.
Congratulating all the police officers and officials, Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) Manoj Yadava that it is a great honour for the entire Police force that 14 of its officers had been selected for this prestigious honour.
The recognition of their bravery, untiring and relentless efforts at national level would go a long way to further boost their morale as well as of others, he added.

AC directs preservation, protection of Migrant Property in Kashmir

Srinagar, Aug 14: The Administrative Council on Saturday issued instructions for preservation and protection of migrant’s immovable property and remove encroachments.
An official spokesman said this evening that with a view to provide relief to the Kashmiri migrants, the Administrative Council which met under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, on Saturday issued instructions for preservation and protection of migrant’s immovable property, and removal of encroachments.
To streamline the preservation and protection efforts, the Administrative Council also approved the proposal of Revenue Department to confer powers of Commissioners upon the Deputy Commissioners of Kashmir Division under the Agrarian Reforms Act.
Further, the Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation, and Reconstruction was directed to develop an online portal for facilitating migrants to apply for correction of records, demarcation and removal of encroachments, and alienation by way of fraud or distress. The disposal of such applicants has also been made time-bound under the Public Services Guarantee Act.

692 students graduated at the combined virtual Graduation Ceremony at ISB

Hyderabad, Aug 13: A graduation ceremony for 692 students of its Hyderabad (481) and Mohali (211) campuses was organized here on Friday by the Indian School of Business (ISB).
Students of PGP (class of 2021), FPM (Fellow Programme in Management) and founding class of EFPM (Executive Fellow Programme in Management) took part in the E-Graduation Ceremony.
Congratulating the graduates at the 20th graduation ceremony, Chief Guest Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran said, “I believe that the new India that emerges in the coming decade can be the global leader in R&D, science and technology, AI, advanced manufacturing and next generation products and services.
We have the right human capital. We have the scale. We just need to make the right investments. And for that, we need to start with the fundamentals”, underlined Chandrasekaran.
Earlier, addressing his first graduation ceremony as the Dean of the ISB, Professor Madan Pillutla said, “After completing two decades of meaningful and eventful years of national contribution, ISB is in for more promising and exciting times ahead.
Speaking on the occasion Harish Manwani, Chairperson ISB Executive Board while congratulating the students, said, “For a successful business, ‘values’ and ‘purpose’ are more important than ever, as are ‘people’ in these trying times. Organisations should become more agile and resilient to encounter any unprecedented challenge.” ISB will continue to equip its students to become future-ready and enable them to usher in futuristic and innovative growth models worth emulating by others, he added.
The graduation ceremony also celebrated the accomplishments of its students by announcing awards to students who excelled in academics and extracurricular activities and those who had demonstrated exemplary leadership skills throughout the year.
Siddhant Gupta from the Mohali campus and Tanya Sri Yerra from the Hyderabad campus received the gold medals for topping the class.
ISB Parmeshwar Godrej Award, which is given to honour the memory of the late Ms. Parmeshwar Godrej to an Exemplary Woman Student who has a strong commitment to social causes, was presented to Ridhi Vohra from Co2021.
Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Chairperson, Mohali Campus Advisory Board and members of the ISB Board, joined in the virtual event along with students, families, faculty, staff, alumni, and other dignitaries.

Kerala likely to reduce number of candidates in PS rank lists

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 13: Kerala Government is planning to reduce the number of candidates included in the rank lists of Public Service Commission to avoid unrealistic expectations of job aspirants.
This was told by Minister for Local Self Governments MV Govindan in the State Legislative Assembly on Friday.
The existing practice is to include in the rank list five times more candidates than the number of vacancies. The Government is yet to receive a report from KK Dineeshan Commission appointed by the Left Government in 2019 to study the issue, he added.
The Minister said this on behalf of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in his absence in the Assembly.

Goa CM expresses confidence of forming govt in 2022 as well

Panaji, Aug 13: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday expressed confidence that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be able to form government after 2022 assembly elections as well.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a programme in the city, he said,”BJP is strengthening organisation before elections. Party president has started touring different constituencies in the state. Yesterday he visited Sankhali and Quepem constituencies. I too have started visiting constituencies. Various projects are being inaugurated. As a party we are getting very good response. I am confident that we will come back to power post 2022 assembly elections.”
Assembly election in Goa are scheduled to be held yearly next year. The party has started preparing itself for the elections. Various leaders of the party, including BJP National President J P Nadda, had visited the state recently.
The BJP had been able to form government in 2017 even after getting merely 13 seats with the help of Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and indepdents.

GMR divests its entire 51 pc stake in Kakinada SEZ Limited

Hyderabad/New Delhi, Aug 13: GMR Infrastructure Limited (GIL) on Friday announced the receipt of total First Tranche Consideration towards the sale of equity owned by its wholly owned subsidiary GMR SEZ and Port Holdings Limited (GSPHL) of its entire 51 percent stake in Kakinada SEZ Limited (KSEZ) to Aurobindo Realty and Infrastructure Private Limited (ARIPL).
As part of the said transfer of stake of KSEZ and in terms of regulatory requirements, the 74 percent equity stake of Kakinada Gateway Port Limited (“KGPL”) held by KSEZ is also being transferred to Aurobindo Realty.
The total revised Consideration for the sale of equity stake as well as the sub-debt in KSEZ is Rs. 2,719 crore and in which Rs. 1692 crore (“First Tranche Consideration”) is received while the balance Rs. 1,027 crore would be received in next 2 to 3 years which is contingent upon certain agreed milestones, the GMR Group said in a release here.
The majority of the divestment proceeds are primarily used to reduce the indebtedness of the Group.
KSEZ is engaged in the business of implementation of a port based multi-product special economic zone project at Kakinada in East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh and KGPL has the Concession granted by the Government of Andhra Pradesh to set up a greenfield commercial port in Kona Village of East Godavari District.
GMR Group ,a leading global infrastructure conglomerate with unparalleled expertise in designing, building and operating Airports, is the largest private airport operator in Asia and fourth largest globally, with passenger capacity in excess of 178 million annually.
It operates the iconic Delhi Airport, which is the largest and fastest growing airport in India.
It also runs Hyderabad Airport, a pioneering greenfield airport known for several technological innovations.
The company is also operating the architecturally renowned Mactan Cebu International Airport in Cebu, Philippines, in partnership with Megawide.
The group is also developing three major greenfield airport projects across India and Greece, including Goa, Visakhapatnam and Crete, the release added.

Meghalaya records five COVID-19 related deaths, 429 fresh cases

Shillong, Aug 12: Five fatalities due to COVID-19 related complications increased the number of deaths due to the viral infection to 1,200 and 429 new cases of infection added up to 4,539 active cases, even as 381 more recoveries surged the number of recovered cases to 64,922 on Thursday in Meghalaya, which has so far registered 70,661 confirmed cases.
Four of the five fatalities recorded today were of those who were not vaccinated against COVID-19, Director of Health Services (MI), Dr. Aman War said, adding that four deaths due to the virulent infection occurred in East Khasi Hills district and one death was recorded in Ri-Bhoi district.
Out of the 429 fresh COVID-19 cases, the senior medical official said, 153 were detected in East Khasi Hills district, 80 in West Khasi Hills district, 71 in Ri-Bhoi district, 46 in West Garo Hills district,
43 in South West Khasi Hills district, 11 in West Jaintia Hills district, 10 in South Garo Hills district, five each in East Garo Hills district and North Garo Hills district, three in East Jaintia Hills district and two cases in the South West Garo Hills district.
The East Khasi Hills, which includes State capital Shillong is the most Covid-19 affected district with 1,903 active cases and 841 deaths, followed by West Khasi Hills district with 689 active cases and 39 deaths, West Garo Hills district with 551 active cases and 65 deaths, Ri-Bhoi district with 461 active cases and 67 deaths, West Jaintia Hills district with 418 active cases and 105 deaths and South West Khasi Hills district with 239 active cases and 12 deaths while the other districts had less than 100
active cases each as per the latest official count.
Of the 9,04,802 persons tested for COVID-19 in the State till Thursday, 8,34,141 were tested
negative for the virus.
While 31, 973 health care workers have received the first dose of the vaccine against Covid-19, 24,233 have been administered with the second dose, 96,901 front-line workers got the first shot and 53,651 took the second shot, 8,22,144 persons from among the general public have been inoculated with the first dose and 1,64,778 citizens have been fully vaccinated with the second dose across the State as on date, as per official information.

UP govt making all efforts to provide relief to people in flood-affected areas

Lucknow, Aug 12: Amid continuous downpour, the Uttar Pradesh government has expedited its relief and rescue operations on a war footing to prevent any loss of life and damage to property in flood-affected areas in the state.

The government has been making elaborate arrangements to provide relief to people affected by the floods. The work of transferring the people in flood affected areas to other places as well as of providing dry ration is being done at a rapid pace.

As many as 951 flood shelters in compliance with Covid-19 protocol have been set up for the people trapped in the flood affected areas of the state. In the flood relief camps, facilities like drinking water, toilets, clothes, utensils and bedding among others are being provided, officials here on Thursday claimed.

On the instructions of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, as many as 70050 lunch packets and over 9506 dry ration packets have been distributed by the government to the flood affected people in the span of the last 24 hours.

Due to heavy rains, as many as 1243 villages of over 23 districts of the state have been affected by the floods. At the same time, there is an increase in the water levels of rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Betwa, Sharda, Kuwano and Chambal above the danger level. Teams of NDRF, SDRF along with PAC have been deployed for relief and rescue work in these districts. The command of relief and rescue has been given to PAC in 39 districts, while SDRF has been deployed in 11 districts and NDRF in 9 districts.

The State Government has deployed as many as 1992 boats for rescue operations in the flood affected areas while 1228 flood posts have been set up in the State. As many as 564 medical teams have been constituted in the flood areas which are engaged in providing immediate medical treatment facilities to the people trapped in the flood-affected areas.

The Jal Shakti minister has been directed to review the flood situation and relief and rescue work with the officials of the local administration. An aerial survey of the flood-hit areas around the Chambal and Yamuna districts is being conducted.

Over 20768 dry ration kits have been distributed by the government so far, while 9506 people have been distributed dry ration kits in the last 24 hours. The state government has distributed 167213 lunch packets to the affected people till now. In the last 24 hours itself, 70050 lunch packets have been distributed.

Along with saving people, the state government is also working to save innocent animals. In the last 24 hours, 36 animal camps were set up whereas till now the government has set up over 504 animal relief camps in the state. In addition, a total of 277075 animals have been vaccinated against foot and mouth diseases.

Teams of NDRF and SDRF have evacuated 536 people from flood affected areas and have shifted them to relief camps. NDRF teams have been deployed in 9 districts of the state. As many as 10 teams of NDRF have been deployed in 9 districts of the state namely Etawah, Jalaun, Bahraich, Shravasti, Siddharth Nagar, Gorakhpur, Lucknow , Ballia and Varanasi. While 12 teams of SDRF have been deployed in Etawah, Jalaun, Bareilly, Bijnor, Lucknow, Balrampur, Prayagraj, Agra, Gorakhpur, Ayodhya, Ballia and Kushinagar.

Similarly, 17 PAC teams have been deployed in 14 districts of the state including Sitapur, Prayagraj, Bareilly, Agra, Azamgarh, Moradabad, Gorakhpur, Gonda, Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur, Ghaziabad, Etah and Meerut.

Air Force helicopters have been distributing relief material to the flood affected families. Due to the floods in Chambal and Yamuna river, the contact between Madhogarh tehsil of Jalaun and 5 villages of Kalpi was lost. Relief material was distributed to the families in these villages with the help of 2 Air Force helicopters.

Committees have been formed by the government at the village level for rescue and relief works in the flood affected villages. To maintain coordination with these village level committees and nodal officers, police personnel with one wireless set each have been deployed in each village.

Covid meeting: CM Bommai loses cool, shouts at DC, DHO

Mangaluru/Bengaluru, Aug 12: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday took to task the top local administrators over the shortage of gloves and masks for health officers.

“Don’t you have common sense? How can you ignore the employees’ health. They have not been provided with masks and other safety medical equipment. How will they work without these safety equipment amid the Covid pandemic? Enough funds have been provided. Buy the required safety equipment immediately,” he gave a piece of his mind to Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner KV Rajendra.

He also lambasted District Health Officer Dr Kishore Kumar on the same issue. “Why can’t you boldly ask the deputy commissioner about the requirements? Were you sleeping? Why didn’t you tell me about the shortage of masks? Actually, you do not have interest in working,” he said.

Bommai took a dig at the officers after Congress MLA and former health minister U T Khader raised the issue in a review meeting held regarding the controlling of pandemic in the district.

He said there is a need to control the rising cases in the district. He also directed the officials to shift 80 per cent of the people in home isolation to covid centres at the earliest.

Bommai directed the Deputy Commissioner to deploy more health officials and police on the borders in three shifts. “There will be no oxygen crisis in the coming days,” he added.

He also assured to take steps to provide vaccines to border taluks adjoining Kerala.

Ranjit Sagar Lake crash: Army presses ROV technology to trace missing pilots

Jammu, Aug 12: Army on Thursday pressed the Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV) technology into service to locate the two pilots, who went missing after their helicopter crashed on August 3 into deep waters of the Ranjit Sagar Lake in Basholi tehsil of Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir.
“As per reports some parts of wreckage of the crashed helicopter have been found but efforts are still on to locate the missing pilots,” defence sources said.
They said that remotely operated special equipment, ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle), had been pressed into service on Thursday to locate them.
Earlier, special divers of the army and the navy could not find anything even after diving 50 meters deep into the water due to mud and silt.
“We hope that the missing pilots will be found soon,” they said.
Remote Operated Vehicle is a modern underwater machine operated remotely and is especially used for exploration work in sea.
It helps in studying aquatic life and it is a more accessible process than diving and can be handled easily, sources added.
Army and other agencies engaged in the search operation had also used Sonar (Sound, Navigation and Ranging) technology to find the correct direction, position and distance of any object through sound waves under water.
On August 10, Army said that searches were in progress to trace the missing pilots and the helicopter that crashed in Ranjit Sagar Lake in Basholi area of Kathua district.
“International assistance is also being sought besides experts, specialised equipment and divers in this exercise,” they said.
The dam is 25 km long, 8 km wide and more than 500 feet deep.
An Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) that took flight from the Army’s Aviation Squadron at Mamun Cantonment in Pathankot, Punjab on August 3 crashed into the deep waters of the lake.
Ranjit Sagar (Reservoir) Dam shares boundaries with Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.
Earlier in January, one pilot had died after an Indian Army helicopter crashed in Kathua district’s Lakhanpur near the Jammu and Kashmir-Punjab border.
The HAL Dhruv helicopter crashed after developing a technical snag.

K’taka: Anand Singh relents after CM assures him of taking portfolio matter with senior leaders

Bengaluru, Aug 11: The disgruntled Tourism Minister Anand Singh at last has relented from taking any extreme step after Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai assured him of taking up the matter of changing his portfolio with senior leaders.
He also agreed to unfurl the tricolor on Independence Day celebrations on August 15 in Vijayanagara.
“It is true that he (Anand Singh) had requested for a good ministry, but I explained to him about the present situation. He came and met me the day before yesterday. I had informed our meeting to B S Yediyurappa. Also he had met Yediyurappa. I also told him that I will talk with our senior leaders about the issue. Keeping all this in view, he has agreed,” Bommai told reporters here.
Bommai said Singh had understood the circumstances under which he had expanded the cabinet and distributed the portfolios.
“In politics, everything does not happen as per the wishes of an individual, but I have told him the necessity of going together in the present circumstances. Therefore, with a large heart, he has agreed to go together and make decisions together,” he said.
Bommai also said he has directed Singh to unfurl the flag on Independence Day celebrations on August 15.
Standing beside Bommai, Singh refuted media reports of him tendering resignation and assured his support to Bommai’s government and work unitedly.
“It is true that I had requested for the change of portfolio. He (Bommai) has considered my request and said he would talk to the senior leaders about the issue. I will absolutely give all my support to him and move together,” Singh added.
Replying to a query on his plans of resigning, Singh reverted, “Did I tell anywhere that I will resign? I haven’t said anywhere, and there is no question of me resigning.”
Soon after reaching Bengaluru in a helicopter, Singh, along with his close aide and BJP ML Raju Gowda, met Yediyurappa at his residence and put his demands before him. He could only meet Bommai after 7 pm because of the chief minister’s busy schedule.
The two hours meeting was attended by R Ashok, Gowda and Singh, besides Bommai.
Earlier in Vijayanagara, Singh had left everything to the decision of Lord Krishna regarding his political career. He had hinted at resigning if his demands were not met.
“I want to tell one thing to the media. I started my political life from this very Venugopala Krishna temple. I do not know whether my political life will end or will restart from this very temple. We have to wait and watch. My political fate is in the hands of Lord Krishna,” he said.
He made these remarks after performing a “Maha Puja” at Sri Venugopalakrishna temple, which was built by his grandfather.
He had started his political life after conducting puja in 2008. Singh pins great importance to the divinity of the temple. Before resigning as Congress legislator, he had performed a similar Maha Puja in this temple.
Singh has been nursing disappointment over the portfolio allocated to him. Bommai has allocated a tourism portfolio, but he is reportedly demanding energy or public works ministries. Apart from this, he has yet visited the Vidhana Soudha and not occupied his chamber.
Earlier, Singh had refused to drop his demands and raised doubts about the senior leaders trusting him, though he trusted them and Lord Krishna. “I have faith in Lord Krishna, who protected Arjuna in the battlefield of Mahabharata. Likewise I have faith in our leadership, but whether they have faith in me? I am beginning to doubt,” he said.
Anand Singh’s political drama in Vijayanagara
Yesterday, Singh’s staff had taken down the name board at his legislator’s residence-cum-office at Vijayanagara city. This had created political ripples in the state.
A video depicting the same also had gone viral on Twitter. His staff also had informed the people of Singh’s unavailability to receive their pleas and grievances.
All these days, he had not even once visited the Vidhana Soudha and he is yet to occupy his chamber. Sources say Singh is demanding energy or public works portfolios. Energy ministry has been allocated to Sunil Kumar.
Earlier in Ballari, Singh had hinted that he would resign if his demand was not met. “I am a stubborn man. I will not bog down for any reason. I will even resign from my assembly membership if my demand is not met,” he had threatened.
These threats from Singh are not new. He had issued such threats during the JD(S)-Congress coalition government while demanding district status to Vijayanagara.
When the JDS-Congress coalition government refused to heed to his demand, Singh resigned as Congress legislator and paved the way for other rebel JD(S) and Congress MLAs to resign.
After their resignations, the rebel JD(S) and Congress legislators joined the BJP and toppled the coalition government led by HD Kumaraswamy and paved the way for BS Yediyurappa to win trust vote in the state assembly and form the government.
After assuming charge as a minister in the BJP government, Singh had allegedly pressured Yediyurappa threatening to resign as a minister and quit the party if the Vijayanagara district was not carved out of Ballari.
Apparently sensing the danger it could cause to the government, Yediyurappa’s government approved the new district on November 18, 2020, and finally announced Vijayanagara as the 31st district in its gazette notification.

Nine Hindu properties restored in Kashmir since abrogation of Art 370: Union Home Ministry

New Delhi, Aug 11: Hindus who migrated out of Kashmir and are returning post abrogation of Article 370 can approach District Magistrate for restoration of their ancestral property if it has been encroached and nine properties have been restored so far, Union Home Ministry said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha.

In a question to Rajya Sabha, Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai asked the government to tell whether it is taking steps to restore ancestral property of Hindus who had to run away from Kashmir in the wake of terrorist violence there.

Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai replied in affirmative, and said after abrogation of Article 370, a total of 520 migrants have returned to Kashmir for taking up the jobs under the Prime Minister’s Development Package-2015.

He added that nine properties have been restored to their rightful owners so far, as per the information provided by the government of Jammu & Kashmir.

Rai said under the J&K Migrant Immovable Property (Preservation, Protection & Restraint on Distress Sales) Act, 1997, District Magistrates (DMs) of Districts concerned in Jammu and Kashmir are the legal custodians of the immovable properties of Migrants, who take suo motu action on eviction proceedings in cases of encroachment.

“The migrants can also request DMs in such cases,” Rai said.

Amarinder meets PM, seeks repeal of farm laws

New Delhi, Aug 11: Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately initiate steps for the repeal of the controversial farm Laws, and amendment to the relevant law for including farmers in free legal aid category.

The Chief Minister, who called on the Prime Minister here late Wednesday evening and submitted two separate letters, called for immediate review and revocation of the three Farm Laws that had triggered widespread resentment among farmers of Punjab and other states, who had been protesting at the Delhi borders since November 26 last year.

Pointing to the prolonged agitation, which had cost the lives of more than 400 farmers and farm workers, Capt Amarinder said the stir had the potential of posing security threats for Punjab and the country with Pak-backed anti-India forces looking to exploit the farmers’ disgruntlement with the Government.

Urging the Prime Minister’s intervention for expeditious redressal of the farmers’ legitimate concerns by the Union Government to explore an enduring solution, the Chief Minister said the continued agitation was not only impacting economic activities in Punjab but also had the potential to affect the social fabric, especially when political parties and groups take strong positions.

Capt Amarinder noted that he had earlier too, sought the Prime Minister’s appointment for a meeting with an All-Party delegation from Punjab. He underlined the need to compensate farmers for the management of paddy straw at the rate of Rs 100 per quintal and also to address the fears of DAP shortage, which could aggravate the farmers’ problems and the crisis triggered by the Farm Laws.

Arunachal Governor takes additional charge of Mizoram

Itanagar, Aug 11: Arunachal Pradesh Governor Brig (Retd) BD Mishra was on Wednesday
sworn in as the Governor of Mizoram.
Mishra, who was administered the oath of office by Gauhati High Court Judge, Justice Michael Zothankhuma at the Durbar Hall of Raj Bhavan in Aizawl, Mizoram, will continue as Arunachal
Pradesh Governor with additional charge of Mizoram.
The Governor will discharge the functions of Mizoram Governor Hari Babu Kambhampati in
addition to his own duties, during the latter’s absence on leave, a Raj Bhavan communique said
here.
Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga, Deputy Chief Minister Tawnluia, Assembly Speaker
Lalrinliana Sailo, Council of ministers and leaders of political parties were present in the
swearing-in ceremony, the release said.
Among others, Mizoram Chief Secretary, Director General of Police (DGP) and other senior
officials were also present, it added.

Tourism minister Anand Singh creates political ripples in Karnataka again

Bengaluru, Aug 11: The taking down of the name board of Tourism Minister Anand Singh at his legislator’s residence-cum-office at Vijayanagara city has created political ripples in the state.

A video depicting the same has also gone viral on Twitter. Yet another video has also gone viral which depicts the deserted look of his office. The office staff has informed the people of the minister’s unavailability to receive their pleas and grievances.

Asked about the taking down of the name board, Singh said: “I do not want to comment on this. I have told the Chief Minister what I have to say.”

In all these past days, he has not even once visited the Vidhana Sabha and he is yet to occupy his chamber. Sources say Singh is demanding energy or public works portfolios. Energy ministry has been allocated to Sunil Kumar.

Amidst these developments, Singh is expected to visit Bengaluru later today.

Earlier in Ballari, Singh had hinted that he would resign if his demand was not met. “I am a stubborn man. I will not bog down for any reason. I will even resign from my assembly membership if my demand is not met,” he had threatened.

These threats from Singh are not new. He had issued such threats during the JDS-Congress coalition government while demanding district status to Vijayanagara.

When the JDS-Congress coalition government refused to heed to his demand, Singh resigned as Congress legislator and paved the way for other rebel JDS and Congress MLAs to resign.

After their resignations, the rebel JDS and Congress legislators joined the BJP and toppled the coalition government led by HD Kumaraswamy and paved the way for BS Yediyurappa to win trust vote in the state assembly and form the government.

After assuming charge as a minister in the BJP government, Singh had allegedly pressured Yediyurappa threatening to resign as a minister and quit the party if the Vijayanagara district was not carved out of Ballari.

Apparently sensing the danger it could cause to the government, Yediyurappa’s government approved the new district on November 18, 2020, and finally announced Vijayanagara as the 31st district in its gazette notification.

Back story

A day after Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai allocated portfolios to his cabinet colleagues, Singh had expressed his discontentment over the portfolio allocated to him.

Last August 7, Singh had threatened to take extreme decisions if his portfolio was not changed and had asked Bommai to reconsider his demand. He also said that it was because of his resignation as the legislator, the BJP came to power in the state.

“I will request the Chief Minister to consider my demand. Tell me, am I not capable of handling the portfolio I had asked for? Am I not competent? Didn’t I do anything to the party? Wasn’t there my contribution in bringing the BJP to power? Let them say, if I am not capable. I will obey whatever their decision is,” he had said.

Singh’s resignation had started a flurry of resignations by JDS and Congress legislators to topple the previous coalition government and brought BJP to power. Therefore, he must get a better portfolio, he said.

Reacting to the development, Bommai said all ministers cannot be assigned the portfolios they wished for.

Apart from Singh, N Nagaraj, popularly known as MTB, also has expressed his dissatisfaction with the portfolios distributed to them.

Nagaraj was expecting the housing portfolio as he had held the same in the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government before defecting to BJP.

Launching pads, terrorist training camps intact across border: DGP

Jammu, Aug 10: Asserting that police and security forces have strengthened the anti-infiltration grid both at the Line of Control and hinterland to foil all attempts, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police, Dilbag Singh on Tuesday said that launching pads are intact across the border where 250 to 300 terrorists are being trained and they are ready for infiltration.

“Launching pads across the border with the support of ISI and associated agencies are still active and around 250 to 300 terrorists are getting trained in the camps and attempts are being made to push them to this side,” the J&K Police Chief said while speaking to journalists during his visit to bordering Rajouri district to review the internal and border security arrangements.

The DGP also said that Pakistan had established Gazwat force to disturb the communal harmony in J&K and added that with the joint efforts of JKP and other forces the group has been completely destroyed.

Earlier at Jammu, the DGP also reviewed arrangements for the forthcoming Independence Day celebrations.

“In recent times “four terrorists who were killed in Bandipora had crossed over to this side through Machil and Gurez sectors while in Rajouri two terrorists were killed recently and there is information regarding the presence of two more terrorists. The efforts are on to track them down,” he added.

Mr Singh added that 57 youth crossed over to the other side of the LoC in 2017 and 2018 on valid documents and visa.

“They joined terror groups there. Among them, 17 infiltrated and were killed in various encounters. 13 are still active in Kashmir while 17 continue to remain on the other side,” he said.

He said that Pakistan is using drones for terror activities but J&K Police and other security forces have strengthened the counter security grid to meet this challenge effectively.

“Jammu and Kashmir Police and NIA during the last two days have raided 56 locations in the valley for their support of terror activities in J&K adding that terror funding and its support system is being thoroughly investigated,” said Mr Singh adding that Pakistan is continuously making attempts to lure misguided youth towards militancy and reactivate some ex-militants to revive its terror structure at various places in J&K and added that these evil attempts will be foiled.

Chairing the meeting earlier, Mr Singh stressed upon the officers to ensure high alertness in the border areas and hinterland, to check any infiltration attempt.

He appreciated JK Police personnel and security forces for neutralizing two terrorists in Thanamandi and added that our efforts would continue to track down the anti-peace elements.

He directed the officers to remain extra alert as terror outfits are continuously trying to use drones for terrorist activities.

The DGP stressed for fight against narco-terrorism as attempts are being made to involve our youth in the menace and directed for strengthening Naka points on Mugal road as also on national highway to keep check on transportation of drugs and peddlers.

During the meeting, the DGP directed the officers to be alert to thwart any evil designs of terrorists and their masters.

He directed the officers to enhance cooperation between different forces at different levels to strengthen the security of the border and highway grid.

“Whatever extra measures are required should be taken to counter the terror activities”,” he told officers.

Stressing to strengthen the border, highway and hinterland security grid, the DGP directed the officers to formulate the comprehensive security plans for desired results.

The arrangements regarding the Independence Day celebration were also thoroughly discussed.

The officers briefed the DGP regarding the security scenario and security measures put in place in their respective jurisdictions to ensure a peaceful and trouble-free environment for the people.

Nitish asks officials to place achievements of Health sector on Social Media

Patna, Aug 10: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said there has been vast improvement in health sector in the last 15 years and achievements of the government on this

front should be placed on social media to make aware people what was the condition before

the year 2005 and what was now following sustained efforts of the government to effect a

qualitative change.

Mr Kumar, while addressing a function organised to mark online launching and laying of

foundation stones of various projects of Health department here, said that treatment facilities

in government hospitals was dismal in Bihar before his government was voted to power in

the year 2005.

Following sustained efforts of the government, scenario had improved considerably in last

15 years, he added.

Chief Minister said that achievement of the government in health sector should be placed on

social media to make aware people what was the condition before 2005 and change in scenario following sustained efforts of the government in last 15 years.

A survey was carried out in the year 2006 which revealed the fact that on an average only 39

patients were visiting Primary Health Centre in a month which increased to 10,000 after

improvement in treatment facilities there, he added.

Mr Kumar said that his government had spent altogether Rs 10,000 Crores to provide assistance

to people during Corona pandemic which started leaving its effect in March last year.

State government had had paid Rs 4 lakhs to family members of those died due to Corona

infection, he added.

Even if a person of Bihar died outside state due to Corona infection, family members would be

paid Rs 4 lakhs as compensation, Mr Kumar added.

Hundreds of youth gather in Morhabadi over jobs, policemen & RAF deployed

Ranchi, Aug 10: Hundreds of youths represented different outfits and organisations gathered
at the Morhabadi grounds of the state capital on Tuesday over demands of jobs.
The agitators wanted to reach the Chief Minister’s house or the Raj Bhawan to highlight their
issues however they were stopped at the grounds by the policemen. To prevent their any further movement the entire Morhabadi ground was filled with police personnel.
The protesters who had gathered the grounds were protesting under the banner of 6th JPSC, successful candidates of JAP exams, panchayat sevaks etc. All of them were demanded that the
state government should announce the domicile policy, give jobs to five lakhs youth and also
provide unemployment allowance.
Since the Ranchi Police was in no mood to take any risk therefore as soon as the protesters
started gathering apart from the policemen, vehicles of fire brigade, riot control etc was positioned
at the venue.
Apart from that deployment of additional police personnel and RAF jawans was also made on
many important roads and spots of the capital.

BCCI invites applications for NCA head

Mumbai, Aug 10: The BCCI has advertised for the role of head of cricket at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore.
The position was till now held by former India captain Rahul Dravid, whose two-year term has come to an end.
According to Cricbuzz report, the position will again be for two years and the appointed individual will have to report to the BCCI secretary.
Dravid can apply again should he be interested in getting an extension.
The notification is a routine advertisement for the role but it adds to the noise around Dravid’s future and his potential elevation to the Indian team after good tour of Sri Lanka as head coach.
Notably, the current coach, Ravi Shastri, and his team of B Arun, R Sridhar and Vikram Rahour, end their term with the T20 World Cup later this year.
The head of cricket at the NCA is responsible for running “all cricket coaching” programs at the academy and for “preparation, development and performance” of all cricketers attending training there.
The job also involves the development of emerging and youth cricketers, both male and female, who are sent to the academy and is someone who works closely with the national and other cricket coaches in India.
The qualifications required for the job are an experience of representing India in at least 25 Tests and having coached for at least five years at international level or at India A, India Under-19, India women or IPL.
Candidates must be under 60 and the last date to apply is August 15.

HP: Oppn walks out over handling of unclaimed Covid victims’ bodies

Shimla, Aug 10: Members of the Opposition Congress walked out of the Assembly on Tuesday over the handling of bodies of Covid-19 victims that are still lying in various hospitals of the state.
Health Minister Dr Rajeev Sehjal while replying to a discussion under rule 62 brought by members of the assembly, said, “There are several unclaimed remains of Covid victims who died in the hospital while undergoing treatment and were cremated by the administration”.
Unsatisfied over the reply of the minister, Opposition members alleged the issues raised by them were not addressed which they had raised during the discussion and walked out of the assembly and did not turn up in the house.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur condemning the opposition walkout stated that in his absence from the house, opposition members should not walk out from the assembly and at least hear the entire speech of the minister who was replying to all issues and steps done by the government.

Dr Sahaja said that there were only two oxygen plants at IGMC and Mandi in the state which was extended to eight functional plants in the state. The IGMC oxygen plant running without any problem however a member pointed out serious flaws in the plant.
Minister said that samples of 40 Lakh people were taken for Covid testing since the first wave and as many as 2.59 lakh were tested positive.
During Congress rule, there were only 69 ventilators in the state Hospital but now when the BJP is in power, there are 800 ventilators out of which 500 were provided under the Prime Minister’s health care scheme, Mr Thakur said.
CM claimed that Himachal is also among the few states that have zero wastage of the Covid vaccine. As many as 17 members participated in the discussion which lasted for two days.

Goa CM joins Koo App

Panaji, Aug 10: Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has joined India’s leading micro-blogging and social networking platform – Koo.

Using the handle @DrPramodPSawant, Dr Sawant recently shared information on the ‘Know Your Schemes Service’ launched on the Goaonline.com platform with the citizens of Goa and said “The Know Your Schemes Service will bring accessibility of various government schemes through a single point source.”

Dr Pramod Sawant, 45, is an Ayurveda practitioner by profession and an MLA from Sanqulim Constituency in North Goa. His presence on Koo will allow him to communicate with the people of Goa in English, Hindi and Marathi.

Welcoming Dr Pramod Sawant on to Koo, Aprameya Radhakrishna, Founder and CEO, Koo, said, “Koo is happy to extend a warm welcome to the Hon’ble CM of Goa, Dr. Pramod Sawant. Dr. Sawant’s presence on the platform will help people not just in Goa, but also the millions of people who visit Goa every year, to stay updated on various topics.”

Sharing his views, Mayank Bidawatka, Co-founder, Koo, said, “We, at Koo, welcome Dr. Pramod Sawant to our platform and believe that our multilingual offering will give him tremendous reach, that will further benefit the entire Goan community.”

With the option to interact with multiple users in their mother tongue, Koo, in recent months has gained popularity in India and Nigeria. Political leaders, celebrities and creators of content are increasingly signing up on Koo to express their thoughts and updates with the public.

Marathwada registers 312 COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths

Aurangabad, Aug 10: Marathwada region of Maharashtra recorded 312 new Covid-19 cases and 5 fatalities during the past 24 hours, health authorities informed.

Details from all the district headquarters collected by UNI show that out of the eight districts of the region, Beed district was the worst-affected as it recorded 167 new cases and 3 deaths, followed by Latur which had 14 cases and single death, Aurangabad had 13 cases and single death, Osmanabad had 94 cases,Jalna had 14 new cases, Nanded recorded 9 cases, Hingoli had only single case and Parbhani nil.

Meanwhile, during the past 24 hours, 4,505 fresh cases of COVID-19 were recorded across the state, taking the total number of infections to 63,57,833.

The state also registered 68 more deaths, taking the death toll to 1,34,068.

Meanwhile, the highest 7,568 patients also recovered in the state, pushing the total number of recoveries to 61,51,956.

The state’s recovery rate currently stands at 96.77 per cent while the fatality rate is 2.1 per cent.

At present, there are 68,375 active cases across the state undergoing treatment at different COVID-19 centres and hospitals, added the health authorities.

Cyberabad police felicitates 14 Good Samaritans, who saved accident victims

Hyderabad, Aug 9: As many 14 Good Samaritans, who had come forward to save accident victims, were felicitated by Cyberabad Commissioner of Police VC Sajjanar, here on Monday.
The samaritans included six Doctors who served road accident victims free of cost, 5 SCSC traffic Volunteers, 32 Police personal, six members of RTAM cell, who all were felicitated for shifting road accident victims, by Sajjanar in the presence of Cyberabad Traffic DCP SM Vijay Kumar, In-charge Jeevandan Programme Dr. G. Swarnalatha and SCSC General Secretary Krishna Yedula and others at Cyberabad Commissionerate Office.
While appreciating the Good Samaritans on the occasion, Sajjanar said that they are the role model for everyone in the society and the Traffic Police Co-ordinators coordinated timely with the hospitals and saved road accident victims.
2000 traffic volunteers are working under the Cyberabad Police Commissionerate, in this 500 traffic volunteers are working actively and relentlessly who are Software professionals, he said
In Cyberabad , RTAM Cell (Road Traffic Accidents Monitoring Cell) will monitor and analyse all hit and run cases, he said with help of this cell, detected that in more than 200 cases, 50 percent are hit and run cases.
In November 2018, Cyberabad Police started Marojanma initiative with the coordination of Jeevandan Programme.
Many of the Police families came forward to donate the organs of their deceased family members, the CP added.

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