Tirupati temple awash with Rs 50 crore demonetised cash offerings


Tirupati temple awash with Rs 50 crore demonetised cash offerings

Though replete with old cash, Tirupati, one of the richest temples in the world, could not make use of it as scrapped notes have stopped being a legal tender for four years already.

The world famous Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh is awash with Rs 50 crore demonetised cash offerings, which it continued to receive from the devotees, but could not utilise.

“Though the Central government had demonetised Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes on November 8, 2016, devotees continued to offer demonetised notes,” said a TTD official.

As a result, the temple in southern Andhra Pradesh received 1.8 lakh notes of Rs 1,000, amounting to Rs 18 crore, and 6.34 lakh notes of Rs 500, amounting to Rs 31.7 crore. All the offered demonetised notes amounted to a total of around Rs 50 crore.

Though replete with old cash, Tirupati, one of the richest temples in the world, could not make use of it as scrapped notes have stopped being a legal tender for four years already.

Unable to monetise the huge amount of delegitimised cash, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Chairman, Y.V. Subba Reddy, has requested Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to enable the temple to deposit the old money with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) or any other commercial one to monetise that amount.

“Once monetised, TTD will use it to fund several spiritual and welfare activities,” the official said.

Regarding the old notes, TTD had already written to the Union Finance Ministry and the RBI in 2017 but did not receive a favourable response.

“As this issue is linked to the faith and sentiments of the devotees, Reddy requested Sitharaman for a favourable outcome, enabling the temple to deposit the money with the RBI or any other bank,” the official said.

Reddy has asked the Finance Minister for favourable instructions in that direction.

The TTD chairman said that the temple could not stop the devotees from offering old notes as it is linked with their faith and religious sentiments.

TTD is a conglomeration of 12 temples and their sub-shrines. It employs 14,000 people. Spread over 16.2 acres, the main Tirumala temple is dedicated to Lord Sri Venkateswara, also known as Srinivasa, Balaji and Venkatachalapati.




‘Hawala’ racket busted in Hyderabad, Rs 3.75 cr cash seized


‘Hawala’ racket busted in Hyderabad, Rs 3.75 cr cash seized

Police suspect the amount is part of a hawala transaction.

Hyderabad police on Tuesday busted an alleged ‘hawala’ racket with the arrest of four persons and seized Rs 3.75 crore cash from them.

Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said two cars were also seized from the accused.

Acting on a tip off, the Commissioner’s Task Force (West) made the arrests. The arrested were identified as Eshwar Dileep Solanki (29), Harish Ram Bhai Patel (35), Ajith Singh (34) and Rathod Kanak Singh Natuba (42), all from Gujarat and residing in Banjara Hills in Hyderabad.

On credible information that four persons were moving in two cars with huge cash, police intercepted two cars on Road No 12, Banjara Hills. The four occupants were carrying Rs 3.75 crore cash without any valid documents.

Their interrogation revealed that they are working for P.Vijay & Company, Mumbai and its owner Kamlesh Shah, a native of Ahmedabad, has a branch office at Hyderabad.

Solanki and Patel came to Hyderabad on Monday in a Mahindra Scorpio to collect the cash from Dinesh and Giri working at the branch office in Banjara Hills. They collected the cash on Tuesday and all the four were proceeding in two cars to Solapur.

Police suspect the amount is part of a hawala transaction.

The Police Commissioner said the seized amount will be handed over to the Income Tax Department for further necessary action. The persons who are in possession of money will be examined by the Income Tax department.




Monsoon Session begins in LS with obituary references to 15 members


Monsoon Session begins in LS with obituary references to 15 members

The Lok Sabha observed a 2-minute silence to honour the parliamentarians, following which the Speaker adjourned the house for an hour.

The Monsoon Session began on Monday with the Lok Sabha holding its first session with obituary references to 15 parliamentarians who passed away this year.

Soon after the lower House assembled for the day, Speaker Om Birla read out the obituary references in memory of the departed lawmakers that included former President Pranab Mukherjee, who passed away here on August 31 after undergoing treatment for nearly three weeks.

The House, which began at 9 a.m., also remembered sitting MP H. Vasanthakumar, eminent vocalist Pandit Jasraj; Gurdas Singh Badal (Member, 5th Lok Sabha); Nepal Singh (MP, 16th Lok Sabha); Ajit Jogi (MP, 12th and 14th Lok Sabhas); P. Namgyal (7th, 8th, 11th); and Paras Nath Yadav (MP, 12th and 14th).

Besides, Madhav Rao Patil (12 Lok Sabha member); Haribhau Madhav Jawale (14th and 15th); Saroj Dubey (10th); Lalji Tandon (15th); Kamal Rani (11 and 12th); Chetan Chauhan (10 and 12th); and Surendra Prakash Goel (14th) were also remembered by all parliamentarians.

The Lok Sabha observed a 2-minute silence to honour the parliamentarians, following which the Speaker adjourned the house for an hour.

There will be 36 Parliamentary sittings — 18 each for both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha — in the Monsoon Session which will continue till October 1.




Parliament to take several major decisions in Monsoon Session: PM


Parliament to take several major decisions in Monsoon Session: PM

He also said that Indian government is trying to get vaccines from all across the world from wherever it can be managed.

Ahead of the beginning of Monsoon Session on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that major decisions will be taken during Parliament proceedings with discussions on various subjects in both the houses.

The Prime Minister expressed his firm belief that all lawmakers will do a value edition during discussion.

The Monsoon Session will continue till October 1.

Mentioning that the period of the Budget session of Parliament was curtailed in March due to Covid-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister said this Monsoon Session is being organised in a specific environment with all necessary health precautions to contain the spread of the disease which so far has infected 47,54,357 people across the country.

“No relaxations until the Covid-19 vaccine comes,” Modi said. Speaking to the media before the Lok Sabha started, the Prime Minister congratulated all lawmakers for participating in the Monsoon Session amid Covid crisis and advised them to take precautions until the vaccine comes.

He also said that Indian government is trying to get vaccines from all across the world from wherever it can be managed.

The Prime Minister also lauded the efforts of the Army on the border, saying “the whole country is behind them”, as the country continues to be on a stand-off with China.

“In the Monsoon Session, all MPs will give a message through Parliament that they are with the brave soldiers of our forces.”

Of the two Houses, the Lok Sabha will hold its first day proceedings on Monday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. while the Rajya Sabha will sit from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.




Maharashtra crosses 1m-mark with staggering 24,886 new cases


Maharashtra crosses 1m-mark with staggering 24,886 new cases

Restricted in the sub-50 range for the past 32 days, with 44 fatalities, Mumbai’s death toll increased to 8,067 while the number of corona cases shot up by another high of 2,191 to 165,306.

Maharashtra crossed the 1 million-case mark by adding a staggering 24,886 new Covid-19 cases — the highest till date — besides recording the second highest single-day death toll of 442, health officials said here on Friday.

With this spurt of 24,886 cases — zooming past the previous peak of 23,816 cases (September 9) — the state’s Covid-19 tally reached 10,15,681, spiralling up to rub shoulders with Russia, the world’s fourth worst-hit country having 10,51,874 total cases and 18,365 deaths, as per the Worldometer dashboard.

The state also reported 442 more fatalities, the second highest after the peak of 495 deaths reported on September 10, pushing up the state’s death toll to 28,724.

There was one death roughly every 3 minutes and a whopping 1,036 new cases added every hour to the state tally.

The state’s recovery rate dropped from 70.72 per cent to 70.04 per cent, while the current mortality rate stood at 2.83 per cent on Friday.

On a positive note, 14,308 fully recovered patients returned home on Friday, taking the total number of discharges to 715,023, much higher than the 271,566 active cases currently present in the state.

Of the 442 deaths, Pune reported 59 fatalities, followed by 50 in Nagpur, 44 in Mumbai, 30 in Sangli, 29 in Satara, 26 in Thane, 19 in Ahmednagar, 15 in Kolhapur, 11 in Dhule, 10 in Aurangabad, 9 in Raigad, 8 each in Solapur and Amravati, 7 each in Nashik, Jalgaon, Sindhudurg, Parbhani and Beed, 6 each in Jalna and Yavatmal, 5 each in Palghar and Latur, 3 each in Ratnagiri and Osmanabad, 2 each in Nanded and Akola, and 1 each in Nandurbar, Hingoli, Buldhana and Bhandara.

The day witnessed a sharp spike in fatalities from Nagpur, Sangli, Satara, Ahmednagar, Kolhapur and Dhule, even as five districts in the state reported zero deaths.

Restricted in the sub-50 range for the past 32 days, with 44 fatalities, Mumbai’s death toll increased to 8,067 while the number of corona cases shot up by another high of 2,191 to 165,306.

Of the total 8 circles, the Mumbai circle (MMR comprising Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and Raigad) remained on the edge as deaths spiralled and cases piled up, with the fatalities shooting up by 84 to 13,790 and with another spike of 5,840 new infectees, the total cases shot up to 387,639.

Pune district’s Covid cases touched 223,710 till date with the fatalities increasing from 4,634 a day earlier to 4,693 now.

Thane district on the third spot has witnessed 152,934 cases while the death toll increased to 4,118.

With a high of 86 more fatalities, Pune circle’s (comprising Pune, Solapur and Satara districts) death toll increased to 6,170 while the case tally zoomed up by 6,786 to 272,089.

Nashik circle recorded 2,812 fatalities and 129,360 cases, followed by Kolhapur circle’s 1,788 deaths and 62,331 cases, and Nagpur circle’s 1,381 deaths and 60,754 cases.

Aurangabad circle had 1,072 fatalities and 39,997 cases, Latur circle recorded 1,031 fatalities and 37,519 cases, followed by Akola division with 583 deaths and 24,971 cases.

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home quarantine increased from 16,30,701 to 16,47,742 now, while the number of those in institutional quarantine went up from 38,220 to 38,487 on Friday.




Lt. Governor Sinha revamps system following complaints of officers not responding to grievances


Lt. Governor Sinha revamps system following complaints of officers not responding to grievances

Terming it as a step towards gaining the Peoples’ trust, the Lt Governor remarked that an effective grievance redressal mechanism is the lifeblood of any good governance system and is the top priority for the Government of Jammu and Kashmir.

Following large scale reports of officers not responding to grievances of the common public in Jammu and Kashmir, Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha on Friday revamped the system by launching the Integrated Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (JK-IGRAMS).

The system is being launched on pilot basis in Jammu, Srinagar and Reasi districts.

Sinha has been receiving complaints that the online complaints on government’s grievance cell were not being attended by the concerned officers and at times they totally failed to respond to such complaints as a result of which there was disillusionment among the aggrieved people.

Sinha announced the new system in a press conference in Srinagar. In a significant step towards making the existing grievance redress mechanism more robust and efficient, Sinha said the revamped system shall decentralize the handling and redressal of public grievances by making District Collectors / Deputy Commissioners as the primary level of receiving, disposing and monitoring grievances. As such, the existing portal has now been integrated downwards to the district level by mapping another nearly 1500 public offices in 20 districts of the Union Territory (UT).

From existing 250 to proposed 1500 offices, which is the widest possible coverage that has been conceived and enabled in the online management of public grievances in J&K making it the first online grievance management system in the country that is linked with central government (at the top) and districts and even further downwards to the tehsils and blocks (at the bottom). Besides, the administrative secretaries of various departments figuring in the middle of the flow-chain are also linked to the mechanism.

Sinha said that the government is committed to undertake all radical reforms to put in place people-centric good governance structure that has an institutionalized grievance redressal mechanism, which he observed as the most important component of a well governed responsive administration and an indicator of efficiency and effectiveness of administrative processes.

Terming it as a step towards gaining the Peoples’ trust, the Lt Governor remarked that an effective grievance redressal mechanism is the lifeblood of any good governance system and is the top priority for the Government of Jammu and Kashmir.

Secretary, Public Grievances, Simrandeep Singh underscored that the new system will involve setting up dedicated Grievance handling teams in each of the 20 districts of J&K to handle seamless flow of grievances up and down the chain.




Loyalists, Team Rahul score big in Congress rejig


Loyalists, Team Rahul score big in Congress rejig

The reconstituted CWC will have 22 leaders, while there will be 26 permanent invitees and 10 special invitees.

Congress’ interim chief Sonia Gandhi on Friday set up a special committee to assist her in operational and organisational matters, reshuffled the Congress Working Committee and and appointed General Secretaries and state in-charges with loyalists dominating the restructuring which bore a visible stamp of Rahul Gandhi.

In the special committee which will function till the leadership election is held at the next party session, only Mukul Wasnik, among the signatories to the letter calling for party reforms, has found place but he has been divested of his charge of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, while retaining Madhya Pradesh.

The other members of the committee are A.K. Antony, Ahmed Patel, K.C. Venugopal, Ambika Soni, and Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, one of the signatories, has been dropped as General Secretary.

Congress’s chief spokesperson, Surjewala, considered close to Rahul Gandhi, has been given charge of Karnataka, apart from being made part of the special committee. Jitin Prasada, who was also a signatory, has been given place in the CWC as a permanent invitee and made in-charge of West Bengal, which goes to polls next year.

Rahul Gandhi loyalists who have been made General Secretaries include Tariq Anwar, Jitendra Singh, who has been made in-charge of Assam, and Ajay Maken who retains Rajasthan.

Venugopal remains General Secretary, Organisation but hands over charge of Karnataka to Surjewala.

Anwar, also considered close to Rahul Gandhi, has been made in-charge of Kerala, another poll-bound state, while Devender Yadav has been appointed Uttarakhand in-charge, Manickam Tagore in-charge of Telangana, while Rajiv Satav and P.L. Punia have retained their post as in-charges of Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, respectively.

Rajeev Shukla, who is considered close to Priyanka Gandhi, has been made in-charge of Himachal Pradesh.

In a major snub to Manish Tewari, who was also a signatory, former Union Minister Pawan Bansal has been made in-charge of headquarters replacing Motilal Vora who has crossed 90 years of age.

Another old hand, Karnataka leader H.K. Patil has been made in-charge of Maharashtra in place of Mallikarjun Kharge who may be the next Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

Rajni Patil has been shifted to Himachal Pradesh to Jammu and Kashmir as in-charge.

While former Union Minister Salman Khurshid has been given place in the CWC, Vivek Bansal, who is close to him, has been appointed in-charge of Haryana where party leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda was a signatory to the letter.

Other in-charges are Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for Uttar Pradesh, Oomen Chandy for Andhra Pradesh, Harish Rawat for Punjab, R.P.N. Singh for Jharkhand, Shaktisinh Gohil for Delhi and Bihar, and Dinesh Gundu Rao for Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Goa.

The reconstituted CWC will have 22 leaders, while there will be 26 permanent invitees and 10 special invitees.

The Central Election Authority will be now headed by Madhusudan Mistry, who replaces Wasnik, while Arvinder Singh Lovely, who was one of the signatories, has also found place in it.




‘India-China relations have once again come to crossroads’: Chinese foreign minister


‘India-China relations have once again come to crossroads’: Chinese foreign minister

Wang Yi told S Jaishankar that the imperative is to immediately stop provocations such as firing a Wang Yi and other dangerous actions that violate the commitments made by the two sides.

 

After the foreign ministers of India and China met at the sidelines of the SCO summit in Moscow, the Chinese government on Friday told that their foreign minister Wang Yi told S Jaishankar that the imperative is to immediately stop provocations such as firing a Wang Yi and other dangerous actions that violate the commitments made by the two sides.

According to the Chinese authorities, Wang said at the meeting that the India-China relations have once again come to a crossroads.

“As two large developing countries emerging rapidly, what China and India need right now is cooperation, not confrontation; and mutual trust, not suspicion. Whenever the situation gets difficult, it is all the more important to ensure the stability of the overall relationship and preserve mutual trust,” said the China statement, reported Indian Express.

According to Beijing, Wang noted that it was normal for India and China to have differences as two neighbouring major countries.

But it was important to put the differences in a proper context.

The Indian and Chinese foreign ministers, S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi after two-and-half hours of bilateral talks agreed to disengage and de-escalate the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The duo also came to a five-point agreement.

As per a joint statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs Friday, both ministers had a “frank and constructive” discussion on the developments in the India-China border areas, as well as the relations between the two countries.

S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India met Wang Yi, State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China yesterday in Moscow on the side-lines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting.

According to the statement, the two ministers agreed that both sides should take guidance from the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries on developing India-China relations, and ensure differences do not become disputes.

“The two foreign ministers agreed the current situation was not in the interest of either side. “They agreed therefore that the border troops of both sides should continue their dialogue, quickly disengage, maintain proper distance and ease tensions,” the MEA statement said.

The two ministers also agreed both sides should abide by all existing agreements and protocol on China-India boundary affairs, maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas and avoid any action that could escalate matters, the statement said.

“The two sides also agreed to continue to have dialogue and communication through the Special Representative mechanism on the India-China boundary question. They also agreed in this context that the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China border affairs (WMCC), should also continue its meetings,” the statement read.

The Ministers agreed that as the situation eases, the two sides should expedite work to conclude new Confidence Building Measures to maintain and enhance peace and tranquillity in the border areas, it added.

 

 




Coronavirus cases spike in Uttarakhand


Coronavirus cases spike in Uttarakhand

In a grim development underlining the gravity of the situation in the state due to the Covid pandemic, the wife of an Officer on Special Duty to Uttarakhand Chief Minister lost her life due to the coronavirus infection (Covid-19).

 

With rapid increase in coronavirus cases and high death rate in Uttarakhand, the Trivendra Singh Rawat government faces a more challenging situation now.

In a grim development underlining the gravity of the situation in the state due to the Covid pandemic, the wife of an Officer on Special Duty to Uttarakhand Chief Minister lost her life due to the coronavirus infection (Covid-19).

Varsha Bhatt, wife of Urbadutt Bhatt, died of Covid in a private hospital in Dehradun late on Wednesday night.

Uttarakhand registered the highest Covid-19 positive cases on Wednesday, when 1,061 persons were tested positive for coronavirus.

This is the highest number of cases recorded in a single day in the hill state. With this there are a total of 8,500 active cases in the hill state.

Out of 27,211 positive cases found so far, 18,262 patients have recovered. With 372 deaths, the pandemic continues to create panic among the public.

Dehradun with 6,116 cases remains the number one hotspot of Covid-19 in Uttarakhand, followed by Haridwar (5832 cases), Udham Singh Nagar (4948) and Nainital (3577). Among the hill districts, Tehri has recorded 1611 cases.

Currently, there are 262 containment zones in Uttarakhand.

Even the controversial Khanpur MLA Kunwar Pranab Champion was tested positive and he is presently in isolation at his residence in Dehradun.

Though Uttarakhand has a high recovery rate (67.11%) but in September the situation has turned alarming.

 

 




Telugu TV actress Sravani commits suicide, family blames boyfriend


Telugu TV actress Sravani commits suicide, family blames boyfriend

Hyderabad:  The TV actress has committed suicide by hanging her self at her residence in Madhura Nagar, on Tuesday night.

According to the report the actress was found hanging from the ceiling in the bathroom at her residence. After which the family member rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead

The police investigation is still on. However her family alleged that harassment by her boyfriend Devraj Reddy had forced her to do so.  They have lodged a complaint against Devraj in SR Nagar police station. They also said that Devraj has been harassing Sravani for a while now.

Sravani has been active in the Telugu TV industry from the past 8 years. was seen in popular Telugu serials Manasu Mamatha and Mounaragam as well. Her untimely demise has taken the cast and crew of the shows by surprise.




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