Mufti: Dissent has been criminalised by BJP govt


Mufti: Dissent has been criminalised by BJP govt

“Whoever speaks up, ED, CBI and NIA are used against them. The nation is not running according to the Constitution of India but according to the agenda of a particular party,” she said.

PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday lashed out at the BJP government, saying that “dissent has been criminalised” in the country.

She made the remark soon after her questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money-laundering probe. She was questioned for more than five and a half hours by the probe agency in its Srinagar office.

“Whoever speaks up, ED, CBI and NIA are used against them. The nation is not running according to the Constitution of India but according to the agenda of a particular party,” she said.

“One who speaks against you (BJP government) is either booked under charges of sedition or summoned by the investigative agencies”.

The government is hounding the dissenting voices by misusing these agencies. Dissent has been criminalized in this country that is being ruled by the ED, CBI and NIA, Mehbooba alleged.




Train movement stopped at 32 locations in Punjab, Haryana


Train movement stopped at 32 locations in Punjab, Haryana

The Bharat Bandh called by SKM is being supported by representatives of various farmer organisations, trade unions, student groups, lawyer associations, political parties and state governments.

Train services were disrupted at 32 locations in Punjab and Haryana on Friday in the wake of the Bharat Bandh called by farmers on the completion of four months of their protests against the three farm laws passed by the Centre.

The Railways cancelled four Shatabdi Express trains.

Northern Railways spokesperson Deepak Kumar said, “Agitating farmers are sitting at 32 locations across Punjab and Haryana spanning Delhi, Ambala and Firozepur division affecting rail movement.”

He said that 31 trains were detained due to farmers agitation. “Four Shatabdi Express trains have been cancelled.”

On Thursday, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) said that all shops, malls, markets and commercial establishments will remain shut on Friday in view of its ‘Bharat Bandh’ call.

According to the SKM, the 12-hour bandh will be observed between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. However, ambulances and other essential services will be allowed.

The Bharat Bandh called by SKM is being supported by representatives of various farmer organisations, trade unions, student groups, lawyer associations, political parties and state governments.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at the Delhi’s borders — Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur — since November 26 last year, demanding the repeal of farm laws and ensuring MSP of their produce.




YSRCP plans to turn Vizag into capital city


YSRCP plans to turn Vizag into capital city

While reviewing the Vishakapatnam Metro Rail Project, officials said a detailed project report was being prepared for Metro between the Vizag Steel Plant and Bhogapuram where the airport was located covering about 76.9 kilometer stretch with a total of 53 stations.

After Kolkata, Visakhapatnam is all set to to be the country’s second city to run trams after Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy proposed to introduce the environment-friendly public transport system along with the much-awaited Metro in the port city which is gearing up to be the executive capital of the state.

Addressing a meeting to discuss prioritised projects for Vishakapatnam the chief minister proposed to set up both Metro and trams in order to beautify the city along with the task of providing an efficient public transport system. YSRCP has recently won the Greater Vishakapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) and claimed that it was a mandate for developing the city as an executive capital.

While reviewing the Vishakapatnam Metro Rail Project, officials said a detailed project report was being prepared for Metro between the Vizag Steel Plant and Bhogapuram where the airport was located covering about 76.9 kilometer stretch with a total of 53 stations. Proposals were also being prepared for 60.2 kilometer long tram corridor and both would cover nearly 137 km. It has been estimated that the cost for construction of Metro would be Rs 14,000 crore and another Rs 6,000 crore will be required for the tram services.

He instructed officials to start construction work for the Bhogapuram Airport, Beach Corridor Project and improve water supply by diverting from Godavari in Polavaram to Visakhapatnam through pipelines immediately and then to focus on Metro projects. The existing Visakhapatnam- Bhimili Beach Road will be expanded.




Helpline no. for Kumbh Mela launched


Helpline no. for Kumbh Mela launched

The helpline number, 1902, will remain active round the clock. By dialling the number the devotees could obtain information about traffic, Covid-19, hotels, Kumbh Mela, ‘Shahi Snan,’ and could also register complaints about missing persons and get other details.

Uttarakhand Police launched a helpline number for Kumbh Mela in Haridwar on Tuesday. The helpline number, 1902, will remain active round the clock. By dialling the number the devotees could obtain information about traffic, Covid-19, hotels, Kumbh Mela, ‘Shahi Snan,’ and could also register complaints about missing persons and get other details.

Uttarakhand Police’s Inspector General (Kumbh Mela) Sanjay Gunjyal said, “The helpline will turn helpful for the devotees visiting Har idwar for attending Kumbh Mela.”

After conducting the first Shahi Snan of the Kumbh Mela successfully on 11 March, Uttarakhand Police is all prepared for the next Shahi Snan slated for 12 April.

On 11 March, Haridwar was packed with devotees and it is estimated that about 37 lakh pilgrims took holy dip in Ganga on that day




BJP-led U’khand govt doesn’t hold any event to celebrate its 4th anniversary


BJP-led U’khand govt doesn’t hold any event to celebrate its 4th anniversary

The new Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Tirath Singh Rawat, is more in news these days for his comments on women wearing “ripped jeans” and for comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Lord Ram and Lord Krishna.

Facing a challenging situation, the BJP-led Uttarakhand government decided not to host any function to celebrate the completion of four years of its regime.The recent sudden change in the leadership of the Uttarakhand government, with Tirath Rawat replacing Trivendra Singh Rawat as Chief Minister, derailed all plans of the celebrations for this occasion. The BJP government completed four years in office in the hill state on Thursday.The new Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Tirath Singh Rawat, is more in news these days for his comments on women wearing “ripped jeans” and for comparing Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Lord Ram and Lord Krishna.

When Trivendra Rawat was in power he had chalked out elaborate plans to celebrate the four year of the BJP government by hosting programmes in every state assembly constituency. After Tirath Rawat took charge a sudden and surprising development took place.Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Om Prakash issued a notification on 13 March, ordering cancellation of all the assembly constituency wise programmes to mark the four year completion of the BJP government in Uttarakhand. The withdrawal of programmes has provided opposition parties with a new issue and on Thursday the Aam Admi Party staged a protest march in Dehradun.Uttarakhand Congress president Pritam Singh says, “The public has lost their attachment with BJP due to their anti-people policies. There is anarchy and misery in the state. As a result, every Uttarakhand resident is ready to change the system.”

Seeking to beat the Congress, the BJP government had decided to make Gairsain the summer capital of the hill state. The projects of the central government like the all-weather road connecting the Char Dhams and Rishikesh-Karanprayag rail line project provided the BJP an edge over other political parties. But, suddenly there was a change in guard and now the BJP is struggling to provide clarification on the works done by Trivendra Rawat and actual reasons for his removal.

The people were expecting a big administrative change in the Uttarakhand government. By retaining old ministers and providing them old portfolios, Tirath Rawat has so far failed to provide any clarity on, “How is his governance different from Trivendra Singh Rawat government?” It is early to predict anything, but the new Uttarakhand CM does not seem to have started his leadership innings on a high note.




Covid spike: T’gana HC cautions govt


Covid spike: T’gana HC cautions govt

Governor seeks report on wastage of vaccine in state

Concerned over the rising number of Covid-19 cases Telangana High Court has directed the state government to restrict gatherings to just 100 people and follow ICMR guidelines strictly while governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan has sought a report from the state health department in residential schools and wastage of vaccine in the state.

The state has seen a huge spurt in cases particularly with many students and teachers of government run residential schools testing positive for the virus prompting calls from guardians to shut down schools.

The state was also asked to identify areas with high incidence of cases as containment ones. The bench headed by chief justice Hima Kohli directed the state government to perform 50,000 RT-PCR tests everyday. Petitioners cited past daily medical bulletins to prove that the government didn’t perform 50,000 tests despite the increase in Covid- 19 cases contrary to High Court’s order.

However the advocate general said health staff were involved in vaccination programme and mobile buses were being used at state borders, railway stations and bus stations to conduct tests.

According to a release from the Raj Bhavan the governor directed her officials to get report from the health department about the vaccine wastage after the state was called out for being leading the numbers among all states in this regard. She also asked for report bout the increase in the number of cases in schools and hostels and the measures taken to contain the spread. “I m concerned bout the high number of Covid- 19 positive cases in couple of residential schools. “I m worried bout the high rate of vaccine wastage in our Telangana state.




Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin hold virtual summit


Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin hold virtual summit

Both leaders noted that the close relations between India and Finland were based on shared values of democracy, rule of law, equality, freedom of speech, and respect for human rights.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland Sanna Marin held a Virtual Summit today and discussed the entire gamut of bilateral issues as well as other regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.

Both leaders noted that the close relations between India and Finland were based on shared values of democracy, rule of law, equality, freedom of speech, and respect for human rights. They reaffirmed their strong commitment to work for multilateralism, a rules-based international order, sustainable development and combating climate change.

The two leaders reviewed the ongoing bilateral engagements and expressed their desire to further expand and diversify the relationship across sectors such as trade and investment, innovation, education, emerging technologies including Artificial Intelligence, 5G/6G, and quantum computing.

Prime Minister Modi appreciated Finland’s leading role in clean and green technologies and noted the potential for Finnish companies to partner India’s drive towards sustainable development. In this context, he suggested enhanced cooperation in the areas like renewable and bio-energy, sustainability, edu-tech, pharma and digitization.

The leaders exchanged views on regional and global issues, including the India-EU partnership, cooperation in the Arctic region, WTO and UN reforms. Both sides noted the potential for India and Finland to cooperate in undertaking developmental activities in Africa.

Prime Minister Modi invited Finland to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

The two leaders also discussed the Covid-19 situation including their respective vaccination drives and emphasized the importance of global efforts for urgent and affordable access to vaccines across all nations.

The two leaders looked forward to their forthcoming meetings during the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting in Porto and the India-Nordic Summit.




Vyapam scam under scanner again


Vyapam scam under scanner again

It is being alleged that the 10 toppers of the said exam achieved almost identical marks, did the same mistakes, belong to the same area, studied in the same college and nine of them are of the same caste.

The Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board, known popularly by its Hindi acronym Vyapam, which had become infamous over the Vyapam scam, is under the scanner yet again.

This time, the allegations are of irregularities in the recruitment exam conducted by Vyapam for the posts of State Agriculture Extension Officer (AEO). It is being alleged that the 10 toppers of the said exam achieved almost identical marks, did the same mistakes, belong to the same area, studied in the same college and nine of them are of the same caste.

The issue rocked the state Assembly too and the Opposition Congress today staged a walk out of the house during the ongoing budget session of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly alleging irregularities and involvement of toplevel people in the AEO exam conducted by Vyapam.


 
Some students who had appeared in the said exam had lodged complaints with Vyapam alleging that the 10 toppers of the AEO recruitment exam had received the same marks. Some of the complainants also charged that few of the toppers had a poor academic background during their college days.

The role of Vyapam is also under suspicion again, as it had given the task of conducting the exam to a company that is already blacklisted.

The exam was conducted on 10 and 11 February by the NSEIT Company and results were announced on 17 February. According to the complainants, the Uttar Pradesh government had blacklisted this company in 2017 over irregularities in the recruitment exam of Police Sub-Inspectors in that state.

The complainant students had also met State Agriculture Minister Kamal Patel. The minister had assured them of looking into the issue.

The Vyapam authorities had initially claimed that it was a mere coincidence but after pressure grew, the Vyapam had constituted an inquiry into the matter.

Today, Senior Congress MLA Dr Govind Singh said during the zero hour that he has demanded a discussion through a calling attention motion on the issue. He alleged that his demand was deliberately not being accepted, as several top-level people were involved in the scam.

“Many top-level people are involved in the scam, which is why the government is deliberately avoiding a discussion in the Assembly,” Dr Singh told The Statesman.




RS members praise External Affairs Ministry for bringing back Indians in wake of pandemic


RS members praise External Affairs Ministry for bringing back Indians in wake of pandemic

“We are keen they don’t lose a year, and get back,” he said. Jaishankar said the Government would increase the air bubble arrangements with more countries to help Indians.

Members of the Rajya Sabha today praised the efforts of the ministry of external affairs in bringing back persons of Indian origin from abroad in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, but wanted Government help in getting them jobs.

The members were seeking clarifications on a statement given by external affairs minister S Jaishankar “regarding recent developments pertaining to the welfare abroad of Indians, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) in the Covid situation.”

The elders were unanimous that the ministry, its officials and the Indian Missions abroad had done excellent work in arranging for the return of the Indians back home during the serious Covid-19 situation.


 
But they said the Indians coming back had suddenly lost their jobs. Many of them wanted to stay back, while some wanted to go back to their jobs again. The loss of jobs had brought economic misery to them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had engaged with leaders of several countries for Indian returning to their jobs.

The Government had started skills mapping of the workers. He said some universities had allowed their students to come back. “We are keen they don’t lose a year, and get back,” he said. Jaishankar said the Government would increase the air bubble arrangements with more countries to help Indians.

He said the focus of efforts in the last few months had shifted to Indians going back to their usual places of work, study and domicile. To that end, the Government had concluded air transport bubbles, that are temporary reciprocal arrangements for commercial passenger services until the resumption of regular international flights.

Such arrangements have been concluded with 27 nations so far. The Air India group alone had operated more than 9500 flights, taking 10.9 lakh passengers abroad. The largest numbers, not surprisingly, have gone to the Gulf, he said.

He said the problem of the stranded Indians abroad was serious and the Prime Minister wanted the Vande Bharat Mission to bring them back.

“This was an all-of-the- Government effort, involving the ministries of external affairs, civil aviation, home affairs, health, defence and shipping, amongst others. A total of 45,82,043 people from 98 countries have returned to India under the aegis of the Vande Bharat Mission,” Jaishankar said.

The vast majority came through flights, though there were also some who came by ship and across land crossings. Kerala received the maximum returnees, followed by Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, he said.

“I should also add that we facilitated the return from India of more than 1.1 lakh foreign passport holders to 120 countries in the same period. Many of them were PIOs and NRIs,” the Minister said.

Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, Tiruchi Siva (DMK), Anand Sharma (Congress), Manoj Jha (RJD), Naresh Gujral (Akali Dal) and Praful Patel (NCP) sought clarifications.




Tirath Rawat Cabinet formation on card, some turncoats to lose post


Tirath Rawat Cabinet formation on card, some turncoats to lose post

Many senior BJP legislators had failed to get representation in the earlier government as five turncoats were accommodated. This time no such compulsion exists and some ministers with Congress background are unlikely to feature in the Tirath Rawat ministry.

People are anxiously looking at the Cabinet formation of the Tirath Singh Rawat government in Uttarakhand. Tirath replaced Trivendra Singh Rawat as chief minister on Wednesday. The challenge before the new chief minister is to maintain a regional and caste balance in his Cabinet.

In the earlier Trivendra Rawat government five leaders with Congress background were in the Cabinet. Congress leaders, like Satpal Maharaj, Yashpal Arya, Harak Singh Rawat, Rekha Arya and Subodh Uniyal ~ who had joined BJP ahead of the 2017 state Assembly election ~ occupied key positions in the earlier government. With change in guard the turncoats are passing through anxious moments.

It is estimated that the performance of the ministers will be reviewed and some are likely to be removed. Some new faces are likely to be inducted. The challenge is to maintain a balance between the Garhwal and Kumaon regions.




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