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Maharashtra floods: Nearly 5 lakh rescued from 584 villagers, evacuated to temporary 596 shelters

Pune: At least 48 people have lost their lives while three persons are still missing across the flood-battered Pune division, Divisional Commissioner's office said on Tuesday.

As per official data, 4,74,226 people were rescued from 584 villagers and evacuated to temporary 596 shelters in Pune, Sangli, Kolhapur, Satara and Solapur districts.

It said 46 villages of Pune division were completely cut off due to floods and 105 units (1079 Jawans) of different agencies along with 164 boats are deployed in Kolhapur and Sangli.

"De-induction of some of the teams have started. Most are now involved in distributing relief material and medicines. 2.5 tons of ration delivered to villages of Rajapur and Rajapur Wadi. Medical camp doctors along with medical supplies sent to villages," Defence PRO said.

In order to provide medical relief to flood victims, 302 medical teams were active in Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur. "313 ATM's have been made functional with cash available which were affected by flood while 334 are still under maintenance," the statement read.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams continuing with the rescue and relief operations in Shirol and Kolhapur. Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department has predicted light to moderate rainfall with a cloudy in the five districts of the division.


It will be better for me to die than prove my religion: Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday said that she would rather die than prove her religion and challenged BJP to compare the religious activities undertaken by the TMC government to that by the previous regimes in the state.

She asserted that more number of Durga pujas are being held in the state under TMC rule than under previous governments. Inaugurating a museum on the 15th century Bengali mystic and saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the TMC supremo said she is a Hindu but has respect for other faiths and religions too. Without naming the BJP, Banerjee said "It would be better for me to die rather than prove my religion before entering a Hindu temple. You(BJP) are no one that I have to prove my religion before you".

Her veiled attack on BJP took place on the day her party, the TMC staged a day-long dharna here in protest against the Centre's decision to serve IT notices to Durga puja committees. "I know more Sanskrit scriptures than those who criticise me and question my religious identity. I am a Hindu and I respect all faiths. I don't believe in dividing people on the basis of religion. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu too had said the same thing," she said.

The BJP has time and again accused her of appeasing the Muslim community of the state to secure the minority votes. Referring to BJP's allegations that Durga Puja is being curtailed in the state by the Trinamool Congress government, she said the saffron party should first look into the work it has done since it came to power at the Centre. "More Durga Pujas are being held in the state under the TMC rule than during the previous regimes. Before lecturing us they (BJP) should look into the work they have done after coming to power," Banerjee said.

"I challenge them (BJP) to compare the number of religious work that our eight-year-old government has done and that by the previous regimes. We believe in humanity and religion means humanity. It teaches us to love and respect every human being. Religion does not teach us to divide the people," she said. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu preached love and peace and was assaulted. "So was social reformer Raja Rammohan Roy. But they were undeterred," she added.


Restrictions in Kashmir imposed to avoid loss of human lives, will be relaxed in phased manner: Government

New Delhi: Asserting that restrictions in the Kashmir Valley were put in place to avoid loss of human lives, the foremost priority, a top government official on Tuesday said these impositions on people's movement and communications are being eased out in a phased manner.

The official also asserted that these restrictions will only be removed after an assessment by local authorities and added that political leaders like former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who were arrested as a "preventive measure", will also be released by the J&K administration only after assessing the ground situation.

"If the trade-off is between inconvenience and loss of life, if the trade-off is between peddling fake news leading to loss of life and people's inconvenience, what should we choose? However, the administration is mindful of the difficulties being faced by people and trying to minimise the inconvenience. Any such decision (removal of restrictions) will be taken only after an assessment by the local administration," the official said.

A Home Ministry spokesperson said as per the J&K administration, restrictions imposed on people's movement and communication links in the Kashmir Valley are being eased out in a phased manner and the normal situation in the Jammu division has been restored after assessment by relevant local authorities. In Srinagar, Principal Secretary in the J&K, Rohit Kansal, told a press conference that the administration was hopeful of further relaxation in the security clampdown after the dress rehearsal for the August 15 Independence Day celebrations conclude in various districts.

Kansal said prohibitory conditions were relaxed in various parts of Kashmir and the Jammu region was "almost entirely" free of restrictions. "Restrictions, however, do continue in parts of Kashmir," he said. Kansal said the curbs would be relaxed in parts of the Valley in a phased manner based on the assessment of local authorities. The security clampdown was imposed last week after the Union government revoked J&K's special status given under Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated the state into two Union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

The top government official said in New Delhi that this was not the first time restrictions were imposed in the Valley and a similar situation had existed in 2016, following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani after which the separatist amalgam Hurriyat Conference called 'hartals' for weeks. "This time the state administration has taken pre-emptive steps to minimise the violence and loss of lives. This is an extra-ordinary situation," the official explained.

Steps have been taken so that there is minimum inconvenience to people, that include ease of travel to hospitals, opening of markets and distribution of food at doorsteps, the official asserted. "The whole effort is to bring normalcy as early as possible. However, any law and order decision should be best left to the local administration," the official said.


Assam NRC: SC orders list of exclusion be published only online on August 31

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that the list of those excluded from the final Assam NRC be published only online on August 31.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R F Nariman said that like Aadhaar data, an appropriate regime be enacted for securing the Assam NRC data.

The apex court also said that the ongoing NRC exercise cannot be ordered to be reopened on the basis of certain legal challenges raised before it.

The top court had earlier said that the final Assam NRC would be published on or by August 31.


Delhi: Fire breaks out at Gandhi Nagar market, 10 fire tenders at spot

New Delhi: A major fire broke out at Gandhi Nagar market on Tuesday morning. More than ten fire tenders have reached the spot and are making efforts to douse the flame.

No loss of life or injuries has been reported so far. More details in this regard are awaited. Gandhi Nagar market situated in Shahdara area of New Delhi is one of Asia's largest textile market. It is believed that the market has a footfall of around 10,000 to 20,000 people every day.


Reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir does not violate any border, international LoC: Indian envoy to US

Washington [US]: India's decision to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir and to scrap Article 370 is an internal matter as it does not violate any border or international line of control, said India Ambassador to US Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Monday.

In an interview with Fox News, Shringla said, "It is important to distinguish between truth and distortion and what you have heard is a great deal of the latter." "India has reorganised the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories with legislative assembly and council. It does not in any way impinge the border of Jammu and Kashmir and international line of control and is, therefore, an internal matter of the country" the Indian envoy said.

Shringla said that India has taken the decision to do away with provisional Article 370 because it was "hankering" with the growth in the erstwhile state. "We have taken this decision because we have found that over 70 years the development in the state has been hankered by the so-called special status that the state enjoyed. It is a temporary provision under the constitution and now the intention is to ensure the good governance and socio-economic justice reaches the state," he said.

Last week, New Delhi had revoked Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and enacted the law that bifurcates the state into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir with Assembly and Ladakh without it. When asked about present restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, Shringla said: "These measures were temporary and preventive in nature we know the possibilities of the cross border of infiltration and terrorism and we know there would be incitement of violence. We have taken preventive steps." Talking about US President Donald Trump's offer to mediate in the Kashmir issue, Shringla said India has rejected Trump offer as Kashmir is a bilateral issue and New Delhi and Islamabad must solve it jointly.


48 dead, 12 people missing in flood-hit Karanataka

Bengaluru: Floods in Karnataka have claimed the lives of 48 people while 12 others are missing, official data said on Tuesday.

The maximum number of deaths have occurred in Belagavi district where 13 people have been killed while four others are missing. A total of 4,08,322 people have been rescued from the district and evacuated to safer places, the data showed.

As many as 1,224 relief camps are currently operational in the state with 3,93,956 people taking shelter in them. The floods have also resulted in heavy loss of livestock with 767 animals reported dead.

According to the Meteorological Centre here, heavy rain is likely to occur in all districts of Coastal Karnataka and in Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, Kodagu and Shivamogga districts of South Interior Karnataka.

As per the India Meteorological Department, rainfall activity over Kerala, Karnataka, Konkan and Goa is likely to decrease significantly from August 15 onwards.


Coastal Jaguar fire: One crew member dies, search continues for 1 missing in Visakhapatnam

Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh): One person died while 27 out of a total 29 crew members were rescued after a fire broke out on Coast Jaguar, an offshore support vessel at Single Point Mooring (SPM), a terminal where crude oil is handled at the Visakhapatnam port here on Monday, according to official sources.

Efforts are on to locate one missing crew member of the vessel. The body of a crew member was found floating on the water while 27 crewmen were rescued by Coast Guard. According to a spokesperson of the Indian Coast Guard, there was reportedly a loud explosion onboard Coastal Jaguar at 11.30 am on Monday which was followed by thick smoke emanating from the vessel. The crew members had to abandon their vessel and jump into the water to save themselves.

Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Rani Rashmoni, which was patrolling the area, was rushed to the spot to rescue the distressed crew members in coordination with the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) boats. The exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. Seven firefighter ships that were pressed to control the fire are still trying to put out the blaze.

"ICGS Samudra Paheredar, ICG Helicopter and ICGS C-432 were pressed into service to augment the rescue efforts," said Ranjan, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) of Indian Coast Guard. According to the Indian Coast Guard, the crew member of the Coastal Jaguar had to abandon their vessel and jump into the water to save themselves.

The Coastal Jaguar was reportedly hired by HPCL. There has been a statement put out by HPCL related to the incident. Of the crewmen rescued 15 suffered burn injuries, while five were discharged after treatment, 10 have been admitted with 50 per cent to 60 per cent burns and one person with 90 per cent burns is said to be critical. All the injured are being treated at MyCure Hospital.


Rains claim 23 lives in Kerala in two days, 22,000 shifted to 315 relief camps across the state

Thiruvananthapuram: Incessant rain in Kerala have claimed 23 lives in the past two days. Over 22,000 people have been shifted to some 315 relief camps across the state, officials said.

Till late on Thursday the toll was eight, but a fresh count took the numbers to 23 on Friday. The worst affected districts include Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad, Kasargode and Idukki and the deaths have also been reported from these areas.

There has been 260 mm of rain in Wayanad -- the parliamentary constituency of former Congress President Rahul Gandhi. A huge landslide has marooned around 2,000 people in Meppadi in the district.

A temple, mosque and estate workers quarters have collapsed in the area. It's from this area that four bodies have been recovered from under the debris.

With the area still cut off, Gandhi has urged for help from the Centre. Authorities are trying their best to get the Air Force to begin rescue operations.

All schools, colleges and other educational institutions were shut in all the 14 districts on Friday keeping in mind the devastating rain and flood that had hit the state in a century last year.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought the Indian Army's help in relief and rescue operations. A dozen teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are already at the job.

The situation worsened as the pace of the rising level of water is causing serious concern in parts of Pathanamthitta and Thrissur with most of the rivers there in spate.

Around 500 of those marooned in Meppadi have been moved to relief camps, a medical professional of the state government who is giving the required medical attention told the media that even though there are no serious ailments, all of them are in a state of mental shock.

We have assured all people, that they do not have to worry , as the state government will take care of their needs," State Education Minister C. Raveendranath said.

The railways have cancelled 12 trains and many had to be diverted. Road traffic has also been thrown out of gear with many stretches vanishing under water.

The Cochin airport has been closed till Sunday leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.


Maharashtra floods: 12 rescue teams of Indian Navy deployed in Sangli

Sangli: Amid flood-like situation in Maharashtra, 12 rescue teams of Indian Navy were deployed today in Sangli district in addition to the teams already present in Kolhapur.

The rescue teams left for Sangli last night by road after airlift was aborted due to unfavorable weather conditions in Kolhapur and Sangli districts. Police escorts were also provided green corridor till Sangli.

As many as 27 people have died due to floods in five districts of Pune division while more than two lakh people have been evacuated to safer places from three districts of Kolhapur, Sangli, and Satara.

"27 people died due to floods in 5 district of Pune division in Maharashtra. More than 2 lakh people have been evacuated to safe places till now from 3 districts including Kolhapur, Sangli, and Satara," said Deepak Mhaisekar, Divisional Commissioner, Pune Division.