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Sanjay Raut's brother may become MHADA chairman

Mumbai: To pacify Sanjay Raut, leader of Shiv Sena who has daily been embarrassing the Maharashtra Vikas Aaghadi (MVA) government, the party is mulling to appoint his brother, Sunil Raut, as the Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (MHADA) chairman.

Raut was upset after his brother was dropped from the cabinet's expansion. He even skipped the cabinet expansion programme on December 30. Since then, he has regularly been making statements, putting a question mark on the continuance of the MVA government.


Raut has been a trusted lieutenant of Sena's founder Balasaheb Thackeray and played a major role in creating MVA. Therefore, he cannot be side-lined or dumped by the party's high-command.

Sena legislator Uday Samant was appointed MHADA chairman during the Fadnavis government. Now, Samant has been promoted to cabinet minister.

Sunil Raut, younger brother of Sanjay Raut, is a legislator from Vikhroli. If appointed MHADA chairman, he will get a chance to show his administrative and development skills.

As MHADA is the main agency of the government for creating new housing stock and redeveloping old buildings, he will get a chance to ensure housing for all.

The residents of MHADA flats play a key role in election, especially in the BMC election. The next BMC election is scheduled to be held in 2022, and Thackeray has some concrete plans to strengthen the party with the speedy implementation of development and redevelopment projects.


Delhi Transport Dept fire: Blaze doused; all documents have been gutted say officials

A fire broke out early on Monday morning at an office of Delhi Transport Department at Civil Lines in Delhi.

At least 26 fire tenders were rushed to the spot, and around 10.45 AM, the Delhi Fire Services (DFS) reported that the fire had been doused.

"The fire was reported in the server room at the office of Delhi Transport Department, near Civil Lines Metro Station,"DFS Cheif Atul Garg said.

No casualties have been reported as of now.

However, Sunil Chaudhary, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer told ANI that "all the documents related to Delhi Transport Department have been gutted in the fire".


Sunil Chaudhary, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Delhi: All the documents related to Delhi Transport Department have been gutted in the fire that broke today. Investigation has been initiated. …


Replying to @ANI
#UPDATE Fire doused, cooling process underway at Delhi Transport Department office at Civil Lines. #Delhi

10:15 PM - Jan 19, 2020
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An investigation has been initiated, he said.

From factories going up in flames to a minor blaze in the Prime Minister's residence, the city has seen a slew of fires in recent times.

On December 30, 2019, a minor fire broke out at 9, Lok Kalyan Marg inside the residential complex of the prime minister. His residence and office however were not affected by it, the Prime Minister's Office said.

Prior to that, there was the Anaj Mandi fire that left around 43 labourers dead. A total of 59 people were inside the factory operating from a residential area when the blaze broke out, police had said. The Delhi Police later registered a case against the factory owner.

In another incident in mid-December 2019, a fire broke out in West Delhi's Mundka area. In the same time period, a fire had broken out in a cloth godown in Kirari, killing at least nine people.

Earlier in February 2019, a massive fire had swept through a four-floor hotel in central Delhi's Karol Bagh, killing at least 17 guests, including a child and two people who jumped off the building in a desperate bid to save themselves. The blaze,in which 35 people were injured, started in the second floor of the Arpit Palace Hotel in the heart of the national capital around 3.30 am, trapping many guests who were deep in sleep.

(With inputs from agencies)

'Will inform Census Commissioner that we will not implement the NPR': AC Moideen in Kerala cabinet meeting

Thiruvananthapuram: Keeping its date with taking a strong position against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the Kerala cabinet which had a special meeting on Monday, decided to inform the Census Commissioner that the state will not implement the National Population Register (NPR) when census operations get rolling.

Speaking to the media here, State Local Administration Minister A.C. Moideen said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has already made this clear.


"This has been decided and it will inform to the Census Directorate that certain questions which will go for the preparations of the NPR will not be done here," said Moideen to the media, soon after the cabinet meeting.

After Punjab, Kerala became the second state in the country not to go forward with any action on the preparations for the NPR and with that, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), will also not happen.

The Vijayan cabinet decided to go with the decision of the Central Committee meeting of the CPI-M, which concluded on Sunday here. The meeting, while making it clear that the census operations can go ahead in the state, called upon people not to answer questions related to the NPR.

The state assembly last month passed a resolution against the CAA and on January 13, Kerala became the first state in the country to file a suit in the Supreme Court requesting it to declare the CAA as unconstitutional.


'Pariksha Pe Charcha 2020': PM Modi to interact with students, teachers and parents today

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Monday interact with students, teachers, and parents during his 'Pariksha Pe Charcha 2020' programme.

The third edition of Prime Minister's interaction programme with school students 'Pariksha Pe Charcha 2020' will be held at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi at 11 am.

During the programme, Prime Minister Modi will answer the questions and interact with selected students about how they can beat examination stress.


Around 2,000 students are participating from all over India in the programme."The HRD Ministry in partnership with MyGov launched a 'short essay' competition on five different themes for students of classes 9 to 12 for the programme, a government press release said.

Among all the students attending the event, 1,050 students have been selected through an essay competition."To make this programme more student-centric, first-time students will moderate the one-hour long program of Prime Minister.

This year, four Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) schools students will conduct the programme," it read. (ANI) "A lot of excitement and enthusiasm is being seen among the students, teachers and parents to not only participate in the unique event but also to receive valuable tips from the Prime Minister who is keen to ensure that the students take exams in a relaxed atmosphere and do not come under stress, to ensure better results in the long run," it added.

The first edition of Prime Minister's Interaction Programme with school and college students 'Pariksha Pe Charcha 1.0' was held at Talkatora Stadium on February 16, 2018.


Rajasthan govt calls special Assembly session to oppose CAA

After Punjab and Kerala, Rajasthan is all set to be the third state to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). A special session of Rajasthan Assembly has been called on January 24 and it is believed that a resolution to oppose CAA would be brought in.

The move comes after senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said that after Punjab the party is considering to bring a proposal to oppose CAA in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Parliamentary affairs minister Shanti Dhariwal informed, “The session is beginning on 24 January because a resolution to extend reservation to SC/ST in Lok Sabha and assemblies has to be ratified before January 25.”

He, however, added, “The government is likely to bring a resolution against the CAA in the session, especially as the Congress is against it.”

This would be the first session of the Assembly in the year 2020 and is expected to extend into Budget session and thus it would begin with the Governor’s address. Notification for the said session has been issued.


A difference of opinion is visible within the Congress on the issue of CAA. While Ahmed Patel has said that the party is deliberating on bringing a proposal to oppose CAA in Congress-ruled states, senior Congress leaders Kapil Sibbal and Salman Khurshid have gone on to say that states cannot refuse to implement CAA.

The BJP is all set to oppose the move in the house. BJP state president Satish Poonia who is also an MLA from Amer seat in Jaipur said, “We will oppose the move in the house. ”

In the 200 member Rajasthan Assembly, Congress has 107 (after 6 BSP MLAs joining Congress) while BJP has 72. There are 13 independents and three from Rashtriya Loktantrik Party while two each from Bhartiya Tribal party and CPIM and one from Rashtriya Lok Dal (that has an alliance with Congress).


Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala's father Shamsher Singh Surjewala passes away at 87

New Delhi: Shamsher Singh Surjewala, the former Haryana Congress chief, passed away on Monday following a brief illness, party leaders said.

Surjewala had served as a Minister in the Haryana government for four times and was also elected to the Rajya Sabha once. He is the father of Congress national media in-charge and national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.


Shamsher Singh won the from Narwana Assembly constituency in 1967, 1977, 1982 and 1991. He was also elected as an MLA from Kaithal assembly constituency in 2001.

He had also served as Opposition party leader in the Haryana Assembly. His funeral will take place on Monday afternoon in Narwana.


UK PM Boris Johnson seeks post-Brexit deals at Africa summit

London: Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets 16 African leaders at an investment summit Monday that will see Britain cast out a net for trading partners in its new life outside the EU.

The first UK-Africa Investment Summit in London comes less than two weeks before Britain formally ends its decades-long involvement in the European integration project.

It also follows a tour of sub-Saharan Africa former prime minister Theresa May made in 2018 -- the first by a UK leader in five years. The 16 leaders from 21 attending African countries include presidents Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Ghanaian leader Nana Akufo-Addo will also attend.

Johnson will tell the African leaders and big company executives that he wants to make Britain their "investment partner of choice," Downing Street said.


He is also expected to announce an end to Britain's support for thermal coal mining and coal power plants overseas.

"UK aid is tackling climate change and supporting women entrepreneurs," Britain's International Development Secretary Alok Sharma said in statement.

"Africa's economic potential is huge, with eight of the world's 15 fastest growing economies and a population set to double to over two billion by 2050," said Sharma.

"We have much to offer African nations." The British government's export agency reports providing 2 billion pounds (USD 2.6 billion) in financing for UK company exports to Africa in the past two years.

The agency says it now wants to "increase its risk appetite" in Egypt and the fast-growing economies in Nigeria and Rwanda.

The UK government said the London summit will see British and African firms announce commercial deals worth 6.5 billion pounds.

It did not spell out whether these were all firm commitments or included memorandums of understanding that do not always result in actual deals.

Britain will formally leave the European Union on January 31. Brussels and London will then have just 11 months to reach a new free trade agreement that can preserve frictionless trade between Europe's single market and one of its largest economies.

Johnson's government says it wants to diverge away from the EU economy in the future -- even at the expense of some of its producers facing trade tariffs and quotas as a result.

London believes that this would give Britain a better chance at reaching its own agreements with growing nations outside Europe.

UK finance minister Sajid Javid said in an interview with the Financial Times published on Saturday that "there will not be alignment" with the EU once the post-Brexit transition period shuts at the end of the year.


Jammu-Kashmir DSP Davinder Singh case to be investigated by NIA after receiving order from Home Ministry

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency will probe a case in which a senior Jammu and Kashmir police officer was arrested while ferrying three terrorists out of the valley, an official spokesman said on Saturday.

Davinder Singh, posted as the deputy superintendent of police, was arrested last weekend along with Naveed Babu, self-styled district commander of banned Hizbul Mujahideen, a new recruit Atif and an advocate Irfan Mir.


The four were caught with arms and ammunition while they were travelling in a car near Qazigund on the national highway in south Kashmir. After receiving orders from the Union Home Ministry, the NIA has re-registered this case and started the investigation, the spokesman said.


‘Spread the message of development’: PM Modi tells 38 ministers visiting J&K

New Delhi/Jammu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday told the group of union ministers visiting Jammu and Kashmir to spread the message of development among the people not only in the urban areas but also in the villages of the Valley, sources said.

As part of a massive outreach programme, 38 central ministers will visit 60 locations in Jammu and Kashmir starting from Saturday, Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam said after a review meeting in Jammu. At a meeting of the Council of Ministers in New Delhi, the prime minister asked the ministers to spread the message of development during their interaction with the locals, the sources said.

They were also asked to spread the message about the various central schemes which will benefit the people at grassroots level. He said the ministers should not restrict themselves to the urban areas but meet people in villages also to inform about the developmental work carried out by the central government in Jammu and Kashmir. The 38 Union ministers will visit different districts in both the divisions of the Union Territory starting from January 18 to January 24 and the home ministry is coordinating it.


There will be 51 visits to Jammu and eight to Srinagar. Union minister Smriti Irani will visit Katra and Panthal areas of Reasi district on January 19, while on the same day her cabinet colleague Piyush Goyal will be in Srinagar. Whereas Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy will be in Ganderbal on January 22 and Manigam on January 23, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will visit Sopore in Baramulla district on January 24.

V K Singh is scheduled to visit Tikri in Udhampur on January 20 while Kiren Rijiju will go to Suchetgarh in Jammu on January 21. Similarly, Union ministers R K Singh will visit Khellani in Doda district and Shripad Naik will hold a meeting at SKICC in Srinagar.

Besides them, Union ministers Anurag Thakur, Giriraj Singh, Pralhad Joshi, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Jitendra Singh are among other ministers who will visit different districts during the period. Meanwhile, J&K Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam held a meeting in Jammu with administrative secretaries, divisional and district administrations to review the preparations for the visit, an official spokesman said.


'Have nothing against Rahul Gandhi personally, but young India does not want 5th gen dynast': Ramachandra Guha

Kozhikode): Historian Ramachandra Guha on Friday said young India does not want a "fifth-generation dynast" and if Kerala repeats the disaster of re-electing Rahul Gandhi to Parliament in 2024 then they will merely hand over the advantage to "hard-working" and "self-made" Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Why did you (Malayalis) elect Rahul Gandhi to Parliament. I have nothing against Rahul Gandhi personally. He is a decent fellow, very well-mannered. But young India does not want a fifth-generation dynast," Guha said while speaking at Kerala Literature Festival in Kozhikode.

The historian warned people of Kerala not to re-elect the MP from Wayanad Rahul Gandhi during the 2024 national elections.


"If you Malayalis make the mistake of re-electing Rahul Gandhi in 2024 too, you are merely handing over an advantage to Narendra Modi because Narendra Modi's great advantage is that he is not Rahul Gandhi," he said.

In his address, Guha stressed that betrayal of idealism by Congress and hypocrisy of Left has paved the way to religious jingoism in India.

"I have only one complaint against Keralites. You have selected Rahul Gandhi as an MP. He is part of an old family dynasty. Betrayal of idealism by Congress and hypocrisy of Left has paved the way to religious jingoism in India," he said.

Taking a dig at the Waynad MP over his foreign trips, Guha praised PM Modi and said, "Narendra Modi is self-made. He has run a state for 15 years, he has administrative experience, he is incredibly hard-working and he never takes holidays in Europe. I say this with all seriousness," said Guha.