Lt Governor Mathur stresses for value addition of seabuckthorn


Lt Governor Mathur stresses for value addition of seabuckthorn

The meeting deliberated upon the ways and means to develop a sustainable development strategy.

Lieutenant Governor of UT of Ladakh, RK Mathur on Wednesday stressed the need to form a regulatory framework to standardize the procedure for management of seabuckthorn that being a wild plant has become a booster of economy of the cold desert region.

Mathur convened a meeting of top officers to discuss means and measures for development and value addition of seabuckthorn industry in Ladakh.

The meeting deliberated upon the ways and means to develop a sustainable development strategy.

Asserting that seabuckthorn is a potential large GDP contributor as well as a means of employment generation, Mathur stressed the need to form a regulatory framework to standardize the procedure for the management of the plant.

“Latest and reliable statistics need to be acquired through scientific means to figure out the present availability and growth potential of Ladakh’s seabuckthorn” stated Mathur, instructing the departments to gather present land area under plantation, present harvesting data and potential new areas, etc.

Further, he instructed the departments to set an ambitious target to increase the seabuckthorn harvest to 2000 metric tons against the present harvest quantity of 600 metric tons. He instructed the departments to procure world-class machinery for harvesting, processing and packaging to achieve international standards while also investing in expert scientific assistance.
The horticulture department was directed to utilize around one hectare of land to initiate a model sea buckthorn plantation and to set up a testing lab for Seabuckthorn Research & Development.

Mathur directed the Forest Department to impart training to the local youths on the standard process of plantation, harvesting, drying and storage of the product and stated that the efforts should be to maximize employment generation in the complete value chain viz plantation, harvesting, processing products and their marketing.




AP SEC launches new app for lodging complaints over Panchayat elections


AP SEC launches new app for lodging complaints over Panchayat elections

The ruling YSRCP has been opposing the app e-Watch even before it was launched and the state government has raised safety issues

Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner (SEC) N Ramesh Kumar today launched a special app for the voters to report grievances even as the state government moved High Court against the move citing malafide intentions.

The ruling YSRCP has been opposing the app e- Watch even before it was launched and the state government has raised safety issues, pointing out that the SEC could have used available government app such as Nigha or C-Vigil of Election Commission of India. However, the SEC has brushed aside these concerns. According to the commission the app and its dashboard development was completely in house.It was very user friendly and anybody from anywhere can lodge complaints for the upcoming Panchayat vote. Available both on the web and mobile phone it would ensure free and fair election since once a complaint gets lodged no one can tinker with it.

The state government filed a lunch petition in the High Court against the app launched by SEC but court is yet to hear the matter. YSRCP also wrote to the SEC raising their objections against the app and accused it of taking biased decisions to misguide the people. It said the SEC was resorting to clandestine means by developing an election surveillance app without following proper regulations.

It questioned the use of private servers and pointed out any data breach would lead to grave violation of citizen rights. Meanwhile YSRCP spokesperson Ambati Rambabu alleged the app was developed in TDP office. In the past the ruling party has accused Ramesh Kumar of being biased towards TDP as he was appointed by the previous regime.

President to visit Karnataka, Andhra: President Ram Nath Kovind will visit Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh from 4 to 7 February, according to an official communique issued on Wednesday.




Home Minister Amit Shah postpones visit to West Bengal; JP Nadda likely to replace


Home Minister Amit Shah postpones visit to West Bengal; JP Nadda likely to replace

Amit scheduled to address important rallies across the state, including the much-talked-about one at Matua bastion Thakurnagar about the implementation of CAA.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has postponed his visit to West Bengal amid farmers’ protest at Delhi’s borders and also due to the IED blast that occurred in the capital on Friday.

Shah was set to arrive in Kolkata on Friday night on a two-day visit beginning on Saturday to take stock of the BJP’s preparedness ahead of the assembly elections in West Bengal.

He was also scheduled to address important rallies across the state, including the much-talked-about one at Matua bastion Thakurnagar about the implementation of CAA.


 
Meanwhile, the actual reason for the deferment of his trip was not known. But it comes as farmers have intensified their protests against three farm laws amid incidents of clashes with “locals” at some places and also after a low-scale blast happened neat tje Israeli embassy in New Delhi.

Shah’s tour was planned in the backdrop of growing rebellion in the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) with several ministers and MLAs openly speaking out against the party and the functioning of the state government.

Speculations were rife that former minister Rajib Banerjee, who resigned as cabinet minister and TMC MLA on Friday expelled TMC MLA Baishali Dalmiya and Uttarpara MLA Prabir Ghoshal might join the saffron party on Sunday at the presence of Shah.

According to Zee 24 Ghanta, the defection drive is likely to go ahead as planned with the BJP trying to substitute Shah with another heavyweight party leader.

Reportedly the hindutva party’s national president JP Nadda could visit Kolkata in place of his party’s defacto number two. Shah, meanwhile, could set his foot on Bengal on February 9.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi might also take a two-day tour of the poll-bound state for campaigning on February 7 and 8.

With IANS inputs




Dr Reddy’s plans to launch Sputnik V in India in March


Dr Reddy’s plans to launch Sputnik V in India in March

Revenues for the quarter ending December were Rs 4,930 crore which was up 12 percent year on year and one percent over the second quarter.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd hopes to launch Russian Covid vaccine Sputnik V in India in March after obtaining Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA).

The pharma major expects the Phase 3 trials to be completed next month.

“About 70 per cent of the trials have already been completed. We hope to roll out the product in March,” said Deepak Sapra, Chief Executive Office, API & Pharmaceutical Services, Dr Reddy’s.

He said the Phase 3 trials will be completed in February after which data will be compiled and submitted to the Drug Controller General of India for EUA.

Addressing a virtual press conference to announce third quarter results of the company, he said the company was also gearing up for the production of Sputnik. Initially it will be a combination of import and local manufacturing.

He also revealed that the company is in talks with a couple of local manufacturers. It has already signed agreements for 125 million patient doses of Sputnik V in India.

The pricing of vaccine has not been decided yet. The company plans to cater to both government and private demand.

It was on January 15 that Dr. Reddy’s announced that it has received approval from the Drugs Control General of India (DCGI) to conduct Phase 3 clinical trials.

The trials are to be conducted on 1,500 subjects as part of the randomised, double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled study in India.

In September 2020, Dr Reddy’s partnered with Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to conduct the clinical trials of the Sputnik V vaccine and for its distribution rights in India.

Sputnik V developed by the Gamaleya National Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology was registered by the Ministry of Health of Russia and became the world’s first registered vaccine against Covid-19 based on the established human adenoviral vector platform.

The vaccine’s efficacy is confirmed at 91.4 per cent, based on data analysis of the final control point of clinical trials in Russia.

Currently Sputnik V is being administered as part of emergency use in 12 countries.

Meanwhile, Dr Reddy’s posted consolidated net profit of Rs 20 crore during third quarter against a loss of Rs 569.7 crore in the year-ago period.

Revenues for the quarter ending December were Rs 4,930 crore which was up 12 percent year on year and one percent over the second quarter.

“We continued with our growth momentum while maintaining EBITDA margins. The profits were impacted due to trigger based impairment charge taken on a few acquired products including gNuvaring. We are progressing well on the Phase 3 clinical trials for Sputnik V vaccine in India. We continue to focus on enhancing our product offerings to our patients to serve them better,” said Dr Reddy’s Co-chairman & MD, G.V. Prasad.




Bengal BJP divided on ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogan issue at Netaji event; RSS unhappy as well


Bengal BJP divided on ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogan issue at Netaji event; RSS unhappy as well

A section of BJP and RSS is not happy with how things unfolded at the event dedicated to Netaji – one of the biggest Bengali icons and a staunch secularist.

Even though BJP has left no opportunity to attack Mamata Banerjee on the issue of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogan hurled at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary event, the party leadership has reportedly not taken the incident well.

After the cultural event, dedicated to Netaji on January 23 at Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial, the West Bengal Chief Minister was scheduled to deliver a speech alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

However, inapposite and repeated slogans of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ coming from the crowd saw her getting visibly irritated. “I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Cultural Ministry for conducting this programme in Kolkata. But to humiliate an invitee in such a manner is not appropriate,” Banerjee said.

“I think a government programme such as this should have some dignity. This is not a political programme. As a protest, I refuse to speak anything else,” she added before coming down from the podium.

Soon after a political war kicked off with BJP targetting Banerjee for her “intolerant” behaviour to an “apolitical and religious” slogan.

However, a report carried by Bengali daily Sangbad Pratidin suggests that sections of saffron party leadership and RSS are not happy with how things unfolded.

Sangh has let their disappointment known by saying that politically it was not right to shout ‘Jai Shree Ram’ at an event dedicated to Netaji – one of the biggest Bengali icons and a staunch secularist.

A separate report by Hindustan Times has quoted RSS Bengal unit general secretary Jishnu Basu as saying that those who raised the slogan did not “show respect to Ram”.

“The Sangh is unhappy with what happened. Those who raised the slogan neither showed respect to Netaji nor showed respect to Ram. The event was held to pay homage to Netaji. Those who shouted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ must be identified…the party (Bharatiya Janata Party) must find out who were involved and whether this was an act of sabotage of some sort,” the RSS functionary said.

Some Bengal BJP leaders have also echoed the same, even though prominent saffron faces in the state such as Kailash Vijayvargiya and Sayantan Basu have continued saying that they didn’t find any fault at what happened in Victoria Memorial.

Vijayvargiya, BJP’s chief convener in West Bengal, even said said that Banerjee had “insulted Netaji to appease 30% voters in West Bengal”.

He said, “There is a decorum of a Prime Minister’s event. There is decorum of an event on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. To set a political agenda there is unfortunate. It was also an insult to Netaji.”

“In Bengal, the slogan of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ is used to welcome someone. When the Prime Minister came, the slogan was raise. When the Cultural Minister came, it was raised. When Mamata Banerjee came, then also the slogan of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ was raised.

“What’s there in that slogan for her to feel insulted! It is unfortunate that she is setting a political agenda like this. She has done it deliberately to appease 30% voters in the state. We’ve always said that the TMC governement belongs to only 30%. The rest 70% has always been deprived here,” said BJP’s national general secretary.

However, the Trinamool Congress supremo found CPIM and Congress in her support in hitting the Prime Minister and BJP for destroying the sanctity of the event on Netaji.

West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury attacked BJP and those who shouted the ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogans, saying that it was an insult to the elected Chief Minister of West Bengal.

“I can be an opposition leader to her politics but what happened at the Victoria Memorial was not required. It feels bad to see the Chief Minister being insulted like that. She was humiliated intentionally,” Chowdhury, the chief opposition leader in the Lok Sabha, said.

On the other hand, CPIM leader Mohammad Selim said, “Our political views might be different. But to hurl such inappropriate slogans at the Chief Minister in a government programme is reprehensible and ugly. It shows who had filled the seats of the programme hosted by the central government.”




AIADMK puts up show of strength at Jaya’s memorial


AIADMK puts up show of strength at Jaya’s memorial

Jayalalithaa’s memorial, modelled on a phoenix, with two lion statues at the entrance, was built at about Rs 80 crore and is situated near the memorial of her political mentor, former chief minister and AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran aka MGR.

Ahead of V K Sasikala’s release from Bengaluru Jail and subsequent rejuvenation of AMMK cadres, as a show of strength by the current official leadership, chief minister Edappdy K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam today unveiled the memorial of late AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa on the Marina Beach. Later, both leaders paid their respects at the memorial.

All MPs, MLAs and party functionaries attended the event. The unveiling of the memorial coincided with the release of Jayalalithaa’s closest aide V K Sasikala from Bengaluru prison after serving a four-year jail term following her conviction in the disproportionate assets case in February 2017. Recuperating from coronavrus infection at Bengaluru medical college hospital, Sasikala is expected to be in Chennai next week. Jayalalithaa’s memorial, modelled on a phoenix, with two lion statues at the entrance, was built at about Rs 80 crore and is situated near the memorial of her political mentor, former chief minister and AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran aka MGR. Built over more than 50,000 sqft area, the memorial houses a state-of-the-art museum and a knowledge park. While the museum would have a chronicle of the events in Jayalalithaa’s life through audio-visual presentations, photographs and virtual reality, the knowledge park would have digital shows on her achievements and speeches. A life-size statue of Jayalalithaa was also installed at the memorial, besides an artificial waterfall at the entrance for the visitors.

AIADMK cadres thronged Marina Beach to witness the unveiling event, making it show of strength ahead of Sasikala’s release from jail. All roads leading to Chennai were choked with traffic since morning, as AIADMK cadres, carrying party flags from all parts of the state, started arriving for the function.

Meanwhile, in Bengaluru AMMK cadres and supporters of Sasikala and her nephew TTV Dinakaran assembled in front of Victoria Hospital where their leader is undergoing treatment for Covid-19. They greeted her after she completed the jail formalities. Dinakaran said: “Chinamma is coming back and we will form Amma’s government in Tamil Nadu.”

BJP is trying hard to bring together the warring AIADMK factions to fight against DMK in the upcoming Assembly elections, but the current leadership of AIADMK is against Sasikala’s entry into the party again. Meanwhile, an office bearer of the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu was terminated from the party on Wednesday for erecting a banner of VK Sasikala.

The banner features Sasikala along with prominent faces, including former CMs Jayalalithaa, MGR and CN Annadurai besides CM Edappadi K Palaniswamy and deputy CM O Panneerselvam, along with a picture of the terminated functionary.




Negative Covid-19 report made mandatory for Kumbh devotees


Negative Covid-19 report made mandatory for Kumbh devotees

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Kumbh and under it only visitors with a negative Covid- 19 test report, done 72 hours prior to the date of visit, will be allowed to enter the Kumbh Mela area.

Devotees will have to produce a Covid-19 negative test report to participate in the upcoming Kumbh Mela at Haridwar.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Kumbh and under it only visitors with a negative Covid- 19 test report, done 72 hours prior to the date of visit, will be allowed to enter the Kumbh Mela area.

The Kumbh Mela will start from coming February and will conclude in April. It is expected that about 10 lakh people will attend the Mela on a regular day and about 50 lakh people will attend the Mela on auspicious days.

The registration of devotees will be done and they will have to produce a medical certificate, obtained from their native place’s Community Health Centre, District Hospital and Medical College. Only the vaccinated healthcare and other frontline workers will be deputed for Kumbh Mela duties. The Ministry has also instructed the Uttarakhand government to keep away “Covid high risk” staff — older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions — from frontline work demanding direct contact with the public.

With a big crowd expected in Kumbh, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has asked the Uttarakhand government to create a megasize temporary hospital, with a bed capacity of 2,000. The state government has been asked to take the help of the DRDO for setting up such facilities. While ensuring the use of masks, providing alcohol- based sanitizers for guests, maintaining social distancing, and setting up hand washing stations among other Covid safety protocols, this Kumbh will be hosted under the Covid guidelines and special norms.

Even for events like exhibitions, fairs, prayer meetings, etc. within the Kumbh Mela site, there are strict guidelines. The likely dates for Kumbh are from 27 February to 30 April 2021. On six auspicious days — Magh Purnima (27 February), Mahashivratri (11 March), Somvati Amavasya (12 April), Baisakhi (14 April), Ram Navmi (21 April) and Chaitra Purnima (27 April) — big crowds are expected to visit the Har Ki Pauri Ghat at Haridwar for taking holy bath.




VK Sasikala emerges most sought after in TN politics


VK Sasikala emerges most sought after in TN politics

The ousted AIADMK leader is expected to be released on 27 January from Bangaluru Parappan Agrahara prison after having served four years imprisonment for amassing wealth disproportionate to her income.

V K Sasikala, closest aid of late chief minister and AIADMK stalwart J Jayalalithaa, has been suddenly elevated to a position of most sought after person in Tamil Nadu politics.

The ousted AIADMK leader is expected to be released on 27 January from Bangaluru Parappan Agrahara prison after having served four years imprisonment for amassing wealth disproportionate to her income.

Though she has been lately admitted to Bangaluru Victoria Hospital after having tested tested positive for Covid-19 , her release is imminent.

Sasikala, who still wields a good amount of influence among the Thevar community, which dominates in the AIADMK, was almost written off by political pandits, as chief minister Edappdy K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam almost have full control over the party with comfortable administration in the state for the past four years after Jayalalithaa’s death and is expecting to retain power with the help of BJP and other small allies.

However, superstar Rajinikant’s sudden decision to withdraw from entering poll politics with his new party has made the BJP central leadership to think of a new route to make inroads into the state with Sasikala’s help and the pressure is mounting on AIADMK leadership to accept Sasikal again into the party.

Though BJP is part of AIADMK alliance in the state, the party had a plan B in which they were trying to cobble a non-Dravidian alliance with Rajinikanth’s help. Frustrated over the new developments on Rajinikanth’s decision to not enter politics just before the Assembly election, pushed the BJP to opt for Plan C in which they wanted to have good say in the alliance with Sasikala’s help, though she could not compete for any constitutional post for some more time due to her conviction in DA case.

BJP’s plan C kick started on the 51st anniversary celebration of Tuglak magazine in Chennai. Tuglakeditor and RSS ideologue S Gurumurthi during the function inderictly asked the AIADMK to join hands even with Sasikal to defeat DMK in the upcoming Assembly election.

While AIADMK leadership is adamant on not to accept Sasikala, now the state leadership again came out with support to Sasikala.

BJP state president L Ganesan came out with a statement on Friday urging media not to sensationalise her health condition. “Everyone knows the friendship and loyalty between Jayalalalithaa and Sasikala are incomparable,” the BJP leader said. “If anyone betrayed the AIADMK and its twoleaves symbol, it would amount to an indirect betrayal of Jayalalithaa,” Ganesan said. “Sasikala would be aware of it too. I wonder how people can assume she will do that (betrayal). So, let’s not be in a hurry to comment about her. Let us believe that good things will happen,” he added.




Two found frozen to death on snow-bound Srinagar highway


Two found frozen to death on snow-bound Srinagar highway

The driver and another occupant of the vehicle are believed to have died in the vehicle that was caught in snow on Saturday.

Two persons were on Sunday found frozen to death in a vehicle that was stranded since Saturday near Banihal on the Jammu-Srinagar highway due to heavy snowfall.

The driver and another occupant of the vehicle are believed to have died in the vehicle that was caught in snow on Saturday.

The two, belonging to Kralpora in Kupwara of north Kashmir, have been identified as Majid Gulzar Mir and Shabir Ahmad Mir.

Reports said that they died while waiting for stranded vehicular traffic to clear on the highway.

Another report said they might have died due to suffocation caused by the heater of the vehicle which they had turned on to escape the extreme cold.

The highway continued to remain shut for traffic today due to accumulation of snow on both sides of Jawahar Tunnel and stones falling from the hills at Magarkote. Only the stranded vehicles will be allowed to proceed to their destination if the road reopened on Monday, said traffic police.




TMC urges centre to declassify all files, book on Netaji, Azad Hind Fauj


TMC urges centre to declassify all files, book on Netaji, Azad Hind Fauj

Netaji, like many Bengali icons, has been a major talking point ahead of the polls with both BJP and TMC trying to emerge as the better servant of his cause.

Amid the tug of war between parties to appropriate one Bengali icon after another to achieve political gain, Trinamool Congress on Wednesday asked the BJP-led Centre for de- classification of “Netaji files”.

TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Ray said that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), defence ministry and several intelligence wings of the government still hold many files that haven’t been brought to public.

“Yesterday, I sent a letter to the Prime Minister which PMO has accepted. I forwarded a copy to honourable Defence Minister Rajnath Singh as well. I had sent a similar letter four years ago as well. But nothing was done,” Ray said at a press conference in Kolkata.

Apart from asking for declassification of all the files related to the freedom fighter, he also urged the Defence Ministry to make public the book ‘A History of Indian National Army 1942-45’ which was published by its ‘History Division’.

“The book, which contains unknown facts and information about the Azad Hind Fauj during their revolution from 1942 to 1945, has never seen the light of day,” the Parliamentarian said.

Ray even alleged that like the UPA government, Narendra Modi-led NDA has also refused to publish the books, despite a single bench of Delhi High Court asking the Centre to do that following an RTI to know its contents.

However, after taking charge, the Modi government had declassified around 200 files in connection with Netaji and his mysterious disappearance. TMC, back then as well, had asked the Centre to bring out all the files and not just few.

Meanwhile, the Centre on Tuesday renamed the Howrah-Kalka Mail as Netaji Express. It also declared that his birth anniversary on January 23 would be celebrated every year as ‘Parikram Diwas’.

The central government earlier this month had formed a high-level committee to commemorate Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 125th birth anniversary.

The 85-member committee, which will be led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also include Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, was formed to overlook the year-long celebration for Bose, from January 23, 2021 to the same day in 2022.

On the other hand, the West Bengal government has formed a separate committee to plan Netaji’s 125th birth anniversary celebrations.

The committee – led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee – boasts a similar demography as its central counterpart. However, there are not many eminent personalities from outside Bengal.

As West Bengal heads towards a much-talked-about Assembly Election, the political parties are busy appeasing the cultural and social icons of the state.

Netaji, being one of the most prominent figures of Bengal since pre-independence, has been a major talking point ahead of the election with both BJP and TMC trying to emerge as the better servant of his cause.




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