Today Picture



U’khand: Rescuers face uphill task due to heavy slush, debris


. The rescue team is working on different plans to establish contact with the trapped workers. Using drones for surveying the tunnel and inserting cameras using drilling machines, are some of the options.

As hours tick by inexorably, search and rescue teams face a challenging situation in clearing slush and debris from the Tapavon tunnel, where 30- 35 workers are trapped, in Chamoli. The search operation is going on relentlessly and the target is to clear the debris and to reach 180 mts inside the tunnel.

According to the rescue team, so far about 150 mts has been cleared and efforts are underway to remove debris from the next 30 mts. Water is gushing out of the tunnel and slippery condition is making operation arduous. The rescue team is working on different plans to establish contact with the trapped workers. Using drones for surveying the tunnel and inserting cameras using drilling machines, are some of the options.

A team of ITBP is distributing ration packets in disaster affected villages. The local administration has established a temporary helipad at Lata village for relief operation. Ration kits are moved by chopper to Lata and from there the ITBP team walks to the affected villages to distribute it. Ration was distributed at Jugaju and Juwagwar villages, which are around 7 kms from Lata.

Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat visited the disaster affected Reni village and interacted with the villagers and assured them all possible help. He instructed the district collector Chamoli that there should be no shortage of essential items in the 13 villages cut off from connectivity after the 7 February flash flood.

A dozen workers of the power project were rescued from the Tapovan tunnel on Sunday. After rescue, the workers were admitted at the ITBP Hospital in Joshimath. All the rescued workers were discharged from the hospital on Tuesday.

Union home minister Amit Shah today addressed the Rajya Sabha over the diaster and assured that rescue operations to save those stuck inside tunnels “is going on a war footing and all-out efforts are simultaneously being made for searching missing persons.”

He said in the financial year 2020-21, Rs 1041 crore has been allocated to the Uttarakhand under the State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF)and the first installment of the central share amounting to Rs 468.50 crore has been released to the state government.

As hours tick by inexorably, search and rescue teams face a challenging situation in clearing slush and debris from the Tapavon tunnel, where 30- 35 workers are trapped, in Chamoli. The search operation is going on relentlessly and the target is to clear the debris and to reach 180 mts inside the tunnel.

According to the rescue team, so far about 150 mts has been cleared and efforts are underway to remove debris from the next 30 mts. Water is gushing out of the tunnel and slippery condition is making operation arduous. The rescue team is working on different plans to establish contact with the trapped workers. Using drones for surveying the tunnel and inserting cameras using drilling machines, are some of the options.

A team of ITBP is distributing ration packets in disaster affected villages. The local administration has established a temporary helipad at Lata village for relief operation. Ration kits are moved by chopper to Lata and from there the ITBP team walks to the affected villages to distribute it. Ration was distributed at Jugaju and Juwagwar villages, which are around 7 kms from Lata.

Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat visited the disaster affected Reni village and interacted with the villagers and assured them all possible help. He instructed the district collector Chamoli that there should be no shortage of essential items in the 13 villages cut off from connectivity after the 7 February flash flood.

A dozen workers of the power project were rescued from the Tapovan tunnel on Sunday. After rescue, the workers were admitted at the ITBP Hospital in Joshimath. All the rescued workers were discharged from the hospital on Tuesday.

Union home minister Amit Shah today addressed the Rajya Sabha over the diaster and assured that rescue operations to save those stuck inside tunnels “is going on a war footing and all-out efforts are simultaneously being made for searching missing persons.”

He said in the financial year 2020-21, Rs 1041 crore has been allocated to the Uttarakhand under the State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF)and the first installment of the central share amounting to Rs 468.50 crore has been released to the state government.




U’khand: Rescuers face uphill task due to heavy slush, debris


. The rescue team is working on different plans to establish contact with the trapped workers. Using drones for surveying the tunnel and inserting cameras using drilling machines, are some of the options.

As hours tick by inexorably, search and rescue teams face a challenging situation in clearing slush and debris from the Tapavon tunnel, where 30- 35 workers are trapped, in Chamoli. The search operation is going on relentlessly and the target is to clear the debris and to reach 180 mts inside the tunnel.

According to the rescue team, so far about 150 mts has been cleared and efforts are underway to remove debris from the next 30 mts. Water is gushing out of the tunnel and slippery condition is making operation arduous. The rescue team is working on different plans to establish contact with the trapped workers. Using drones for surveying the tunnel and inserting cameras using drilling machines, are some of the options.

A team of ITBP is distributing ration packets in disaster affected villages. The local administration has established a temporary helipad at Lata village for relief operation. Ration kits are moved by chopper to Lata and from there the ITBP team walks to the affected villages to distribute it. Ration was distributed at Jugaju and Juwagwar villages, which are around 7 kms from Lata.

Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat visited the disaster affected Reni village and interacted with the villagers and assured them all possible help. He instructed the district collector Chamoli that there should be no shortage of essential items in the 13 villages cut off from connectivity after the 7 February flash flood.

A dozen workers of the power project were rescued from the Tapovan tunnel on Sunday. After rescue, the workers were admitted at the ITBP Hospital in Joshimath. All the rescued workers were discharged from the hospital on Tuesday.

Union home minister Amit Shah today addressed the Rajya Sabha over the diaster and assured that rescue operations to save those stuck inside tunnels “is going on a war footing and all-out efforts are simultaneously being made for searching missing persons.”

He said in the financial year 2020-21, Rs 1041 crore has been allocated to the Uttarakhand under the State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF)and the first installment of the central share amounting to Rs 468.50 crore has been released to the state government.

As hours tick by inexorably, search and rescue teams face a challenging situation in clearing slush and debris from the Tapavon tunnel, where 30- 35 workers are trapped, in Chamoli. The search operation is going on relentlessly and the target is to clear the debris and to reach 180 mts inside the tunnel.

According to the rescue team, so far about 150 mts has been cleared and efforts are underway to remove debris from the next 30 mts. Water is gushing out of the tunnel and slippery condition is making operation arduous. The rescue team is working on different plans to establish contact with the trapped workers. Using drones for surveying the tunnel and inserting cameras using drilling machines, are some of the options.

A team of ITBP is distributing ration packets in disaster affected villages. The local administration has established a temporary helipad at Lata village for relief operation. Ration kits are moved by chopper to Lata and from there the ITBP team walks to the affected villages to distribute it. Ration was distributed at Jugaju and Juwagwar villages, which are around 7 kms from Lata.

Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat visited the disaster affected Reni village and interacted with the villagers and assured them all possible help. He instructed the district collector Chamoli that there should be no shortage of essential items in the 13 villages cut off from connectivity after the 7 February flash flood.

A dozen workers of the power project were rescued from the Tapovan tunnel on Sunday. After rescue, the workers were admitted at the ITBP Hospital in Joshimath. All the rescued workers were discharged from the hospital on Tuesday.

Union home minister Amit Shah today addressed the Rajya Sabha over the diaster and assured that rescue operations to save those stuck inside tunnels “is going on a war footing and all-out efforts are simultaneously being made for searching missing persons.”

He said in the financial year 2020-21, Rs 1041 crore has been allocated to the Uttarakhand under the State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF)and the first installment of the central share amounting to Rs 468.50 crore has been released to the state government.




R-Day violence: Deep Sidhu sent to 7-day police custody


Actor-activist Sidhu, accused in Red Fort violence, was arrested by Delhi Police on Monday night from Karnal

A Delhi court today sent actor-activist Deep Sidhu to 7-day police custody in connection with the Red Fort violence during farmers’ tractor parade in the national capital against the Centre’s controversial three new agri laws on the Republic Day.

Metropolitan magistrate Prigya Gupta sent Sidhu to the Delhi police custody after the police alleged he was one of the main instigators of the violent incidents at the Red Fort on 26 January.

Sidhu’s counsel, however, claimed he had nothing to do with the violence and was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The pol ice had announced a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh for information leading to Sidhu’s arrest. Earlier in the day, Delhi Police announced the arrest of Sidhu. The arrest was made by a team of Delhi Police’s Special Cell, said deputy commissioner of police (Special Cell) Sanjeev Kumar Yadav.

Yadav said that Sidhu was arrested from Karnal Bypass at 10.40 pm yesterday, adding that he was wanted in connection with the case of instigating the crowd at the Red Fort on Republic Day.

“The Crime Branch will investigate his role in detail,” the DCP said. Asked where he was hiding after the 26 January violence, Yadav said the investigation was at an initial stage.

“He was a prominent player behind the Republic Day violence. We have evidence about that how he had been instigating youngsters with his provocative speeches on 25 January and 26 January. Even he instigated youths when he was hiding from the police,” said Yadav.

After the Republic Day violence that had left over 500 security personnel injured and one protester dead, Sidhu was posting videos on social media.

“Sidhu was in contact with a woman friend who lives in California. He used to make videos and send it to her, and she used to upload them on his Facebook account,” police sources said. He kept changing his locations to evade arrest, they said.

On 26 January, thousands of protesting farmers who reached ITO f rom the Ghazipur border clashed with police. Many of them driving tractors reached the Red Fort and entered the monument, where a religious flag was also hoisted.

In the FIR registered in connection with the Red Fort violence, police alleged that two magazines with 20 live cartridges were snatched from two constables by protesters who also damaged vehicles and robbed anti-riot gear.

“The mob later hoisted different flags there. They also started creating nuisance on the rampart. The unruly mob was asked to come downstairs. They went to Meena Bazar area to enter the Red Fort. When the police tried to take them out of Lahore Gate, the mob became violent and attacked personnel. The mob thrashed the police personnel and threw them in the wells,” police had alleged in the FIR.




Cabinet expansion triggers revolts in Bihar BJP


The Cabinet expansion took place well 84 days after Kumar took oath as the chief minster on 16 November after the NDA won elections with wafer-thin majority.

The much-awaited first Cabinet expansion of chief minister Nitish Kumar in Bihar today saw many new and surprising faces getting place there, causing heartburns among the old guards and triggering revolt in the BJP.

The Cabinet expansion took place well 84 days after Kumar took oath as the chief minster on 16 November after the NDA won elections with wafer-thin majority.

While the BJP got rid of the deadwoods who remained the usual faces in the Cabinet in the past 15 years, the JDU has given preference to both experience and talents.

The surprise inclusion of faces in the Nitish Cabinet from the BJP side include Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, former union minister, Niraj Kumar Bablu, brother of late film actor Sushant Singh Rajput who committed suicide last year and former Lok Sabha Member Janak Ram.

What was surprising is that prominent old and trusted leaders such as Nand Kishore Yadav and Prem Kumar were not given the place in the Cabinet although they were overactive on social media these days. In their places, fresh faces like Subhash Singh, Narayan Prasad and Alok Ranjan Jha were given the ministerial berths.

However, the BJP move triggered revolt in the party with a senior party leader Gyanendra Singh Gyanu openly questioning the decision of the party. Alleging the BJP has gone to the “Yadavs and Baniyas (businessmen)”, Gyanu said the upper caste legislators were not given proper representation in the Cabinet.

“The eligibilities of the legislators have not been looked into. People with criminal antecedents have been made the ministers while persons with clean image have been shown the door. This party is bound to face serious consequences of this blunder,” Gyanu said and claimed he had the support of around 15 legislators.

He alleged the party has also not tried to make a fine balance of caste, region and experience in the cabinet.

“About 50 percent of the BJP legislators are form upper caste but none from them were made the deputy chief minister. The party has gone into the hands of Yadav and Baniyas,” he alleged. Gyanu further charged the state party leadership with keeping the Prime Minister and Home Minister in dark and including all the wrong leaders into the Cabinet.

The JD-U, on the other hand, maintained its old and experienced leaders in the Cabinet such as Shrawan Kumar, Madan Sahni and Sanjay Jha. What, however, was surprising was the inclusion of former DGP Sunil Kumar in Nitish cabinet. Two others leaders, such as Sumit Kumar Singh and Jaman Khan who lent their support to the Nitish Kumar government were also given the place in the Nitish cabinet. Singh had won elections as an Independent candidate whereas Khan was elected on BSP ticket but joined the JD-U.

The chief minister’s move to include Khan in his Cabinet, however, has drawn criticism from the Opposition who alleges Khan faces several criminal cases against him such as attempt to murder and rioting. While becoming the chief minister in 2005, Kumar himself had set a standard that none facing criminal or corruption charges will be included in his cabinet. It was under this practice that Jitan Ram Manjhi, Ramanand Prasad Singh, Ramadhar Singh and Mewalal Chaudhary had to resign as ministers earlier.




Governor Ms. Uike invited Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah to visit Chhattisgarh


Discussion on various issues of the state including Naxalism

Governor Ms. Anusuiya Uike paid courtesy call on Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah in New Delhi today. The Governor honored the Union Home Minister Shri Shah with shawl and shriphal. Home Minister Shri Shah said that the tribal-rural areas of the state should be visited more and more. The government has made good plans for them which are being implemented. This implementation will be more effective by your tour in these areas. Also see that those schemes are implemented better. The Governor invited Mr. Shah to visit Chhattisgarh and discussed and provided information on other major issues including Naxalism in the state.

The Governor thanked the Home Minister Mr. Shah for the decisions and initiatives taken during the Corona period and said that when the whole country was affected by the Corona crisis, important decisions were taken from time to time and the citizens were helped. Ms. Uyke said that when I requested you to provide information about the workers, students and citizens being stranded during the lockdown, then prompt action was taken by you, due to which citizens from different parts of the country could reach their homes. The Governor thanked Mr. Shah for this. He presented Mr. Shah a booklet titled "The Role of the Governor in the Coronas" based on the work done by him during the Corona period. Ms. Uike informed Mr. Shah about the various works done in the state during the Corona period.




Under the leadership of Chief Minister Mr. Bhupesh Baghel, the development of industries is happening at a rapid pace: Chhattisgarh becomes a center of attraction for investors


There is adequate availability of electricity, minerals, land, water, skilled workers

Industrial policies favorable to industries

Under the leadership of Chief Minister Mr. Bhupesh Baghel and the efficient guidance of Industries Minister Mr. Kavasi Lakhma, Chhattisgarh is moving towards rapid development in the field of industry. The government has formulated several policies that are helpful in the creation and development of industry in the state. There is enough availability of minerals in Chhattisgarh, replete with natural resources. A new industrial policy has been formulated in the state to encourage investment. In this, various investment incentive grants, rebates and concessions have been given by dividing the eligible industries into general, priority industries and high priority industries. As a result of this, according to the State Investment Promotion Board, a total of 104 MoUs have been done in Chhattisgarh during two years, in which more than 42 thousand 714 crore capital investment is proposed. This will provide employment to more than 64 thousand people. Among these investments, 37306.39 crores in 78 MoUs in Steel sector, one MoU amount 2000 crores in Cement, 7 MoUs 1082.82 crores in Ethanal, 283.61 crores in 5 MoUs in Food sector, 56.41 crores in 3 MoUs of Pharmaceutical, 529.50 in 3 MoUs of Defense sector. Crore, 30.76 crores in 2 MOUs in electronics, one MOU 245 crores in solar and 1179.99 crores in other 4 sectors.

    Chhattisgarh holds the status of surplus state in terms of electricity generation. Being a surplus, Chhattisgarh also sells electricity to other states. As per the September 2020 report of the Central Electricity Authority, working under the Government of India, the thermal power houses of Chhattisgarh State Power Generation Company have achieved the first position in the country, recording the highest power generation. With this, Chhattisgarh has become the first state without power cut. Electricity is available here at a rate lower than India's average electricity rate. Which attracts investors for investment in the state.

   Here, 30 to 60 percent of the land premium has been given in the land allocation in industrial areas and 60 percent in the high priority industries in the category. There was an increase of one year in the period prescribed for setting up industries in the land leased to industries. Transfer of land was made easier in cases of non-use of industrial land allotted on lease. An 18-month timeframe was set for earlybird grant for setting up new bio ethanol plant. First MOU After starting production within six months, there was a provision for grant of earlybird grant. The rate of water use for industrial purpose from government or natural sources has been reduced by 20-36 percent. Micro, small and medium scale industries have been given the option of permanent capital investment grant or net SGST reimbursement. Central, major, mega and ultra mega industries have been given full exemption from electricity duty for 5 to 10 years according to the category of development blocks.

      A special package has been announced by the state government in the Industrial Policy 2019-24 for Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes entrepreneurs and startups. The industries to be set up in the Industrial Policy 2019-24 will be eligible for grant discounts and concessions for expansion and embalming. In addition, micro-industries as well as small and medium industries will also be given the facility of permanent capital investment grant.

Chhattisgarh state start-up package has been included in the policy to incorporate new ideology in industries and create new jobs. These start-ups will be provided more facilities from other industries with less formality. The state has been declared as the Best Emerging Start-up Eco System State by the Government of India. Similarly, more than 415 startups have been recognized by the Central Government so far. 4 incubators have been set up in the state.




Massive rescue operation launched to evacuate trapped workers from Tapovan tunnel


The rescue team has so far recovered 20 bodies and was successful in evacuating 12 persons trapped in a tunnel.

Massive search and rescue operation was launched to save trapped workers from the Tapovan tunnel in Chamoli on Monday. The Uttarakhand government has officially confirmed that 197 workers remain missing in the flash flood.

The rescue team has so far recovered 20 bodies and was successful in evacuating 12 persons trapped in a tunnel.

A big rescue team, involving Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Army, SSB, State Disaster Response Force and National Disaster Response Force, are working day and night to find trapped workers.

A flash flood in the Rishiganga river created havoc near Reni village in district Chamoli on Sunday. The Rishiganga and Tapovan power projects were badly affected by the disaster. Providing a new theory on the flash flood, the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS)(a constituent unit of Indian Space Research Organisation) claims that the flash flood took place after a landslide triggered a snow avalanche. The institute rejects the earlier theory of the disaster taking place due to glacier burst.

The Dehradun based Indian Institute of Remote Sensing used two images one of 6 February and other of 7 February – to state, “It has been observed from the satellite data of 7 February 2021 in the catchment of the Rishiganga at the terminus of the glacier at an altitude of 5,600 Mts, a landslide triggered a snow avalanche covering 14 sq. km and causing a flash flood in the downstream of the Rishiganga.”

The IIRS finding estimates that the flash flood has generated 2-3 million cubic meter of water in a short span. The entire focus of the teams involved in search and rescue operations since Sunday is to rescue trapped workers from the two tunnels at Tapovan.

An ITBP team saved the lives of a dozen workers, who were stuck in a tunnel. Excavators were used to clear the slush and debris inside the other tunnel and the operation continued for the second successive day.

Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said, “I am leaving for Joshimath and will spend the night there. Tomorrow I plan to visit the affected areas and will also meet people. Our relief and rescue operations are continuing in full swing and we are doing best to save lives.”

A joint team of the ITBP, Army, SDRF, SSB and NDRF were involved in clearing debris from the Tapovan tunnel. The team has cleared debris from 90 Mts patch and the target is to remove the remaining 50 Mts stretch to reach a junction of the tunnel. It is assumed that 30 to 35 persons are trapped in the tunnel.

Uttarakhand Police’s DGP Ashok Kumar, “We are involved in the search and rescue work and presently operation to clear debris from the Tapovan tunnel is underway. We are supplying relief material to affected villages~ which lost their connecting road as their bridges were swept away in the flash flood.”

About a dozen villages’ remains cut off from the rest of the world after losing the bridges. The Uttarakhand government used choppers to supply rations in the affected areas. Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Raj Kumar Singh and Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank toured the affected area on Monday.




Biden, Modi commit to working closely on terrorism, Covid, Indo-Pacific


The White House statement on the call with Modi did not directly mention China, as it had in readouts of Biden’s calls with Prime Ministers Scott Morrison of Australia and Yoshihide Suga of Japan during which it said that they had also discussed the Indo-Pacific.

US President Joe Biden and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi have committed themselves to work closely on a range of issues from fighting terrorism and upholding territorial integrity to defeating the Covid-19 pandemic and rebuilding the global economy, according to the White House.

The call to Modi on Monday was among the first by Biden after he assumed office to the leader of a country outside the tight network of neighbours and treaty allies.

During their phone conversation, the White House statement said that they pledged to “stand together against the scourge of global terrorism.”

“The leaders agreed to continuing close cooperation to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, including support for freedom of navigation, territorial integrity, and a stronger regional architecture through the Quad” (the regional group of democracies, India, the US, Japan and Australia), it added.

“The leaders agreed to stay in close touch on a range of global challenges and look forward to what the United States and India will achieve together for their people and for their nations,” the White House said.

Modi tweeted, “President @JoeBiden and I are committed to a rules-based international order. We look forward to consolidating our strategic partnership to further peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.”

In another tweet, Modi said, “We discussed regional issues and our shared priorities. We also agreed to further our co-operation against climate change.”

The White House said that Modi and Biden agreed to work on rebuilding the post-coronavirus global economy “in a way that benefits the people of both countries.”

They also committed themselves to “work closely together to win the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic (and) renew their partnership on climate change,” according to the White House.

Myanmar, where the military has blocked the outcome of the recent parliamentary elections and arrested State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, who was the de facto head of the nation, and other leaders of the National League for Democracy, came up in their discussion.

Modi and Biden “resolved that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld in Burma,” the statement said.

Biden has said that promoting and defending democracy around the world would be a cornerstone of his foreign policy agenda.

The statement said that during his call, “the president underscored his desire to defend democratic institutions and norms around the world and noted that a shared commitment to democratic values is the bedrock for the US-India relationship.”

It appeared to allude to the criticism of India by some politicians from his party as well as entertainment figures who back him over the farmers’ protest and by organisations and media outlets about what they say are curbs on freedom of expression.

Biden had not mentioned in his first foreign policy agenda-setting speech last week the Indo-Pacific region, which had been elevated by his predecessor Donald Trump in the US strategy to face the China challenge, or India.

But in that speech he had made clear that China is the prime adversary for the US.

In his call to Modi he has reaffirmed the importance of the Indo-Pacific region and the ties among the Quad, which was rekindled during Trump’s presidency.

The White House statement on the call with Modi did not directly mention China, as it had in readouts of Biden’s calls with Prime Ministers Scott Morrison of Australia and Yoshihide Suga of Japan during which it said that they had also discussed the Indo-Pacific.

But the mention of support for “territorial integrity” in the discussion with Modi can be seen as a reference to the threats to India from China in the context of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remarks at his Senate confirmation hearings about “working with India so that no country in the region including China could challenge its sovereignty.




Deep Sidhu, wanted in Red Fort violence, arrested


Within two hours of uploading, it was viewed 19,000 times and received 11,000 comments.

Delhi Police Special Cell has arrested Punjabi actor-turned-activist Deep Sidhu who was an wanted in the January 26 Red Fort violence case.

Sidhu was absconding ever since as the police searched for him in various places in Punjab and Haryana and even declared a reward of Rs 1 lakh on him.

“We have arrested the wanted-accused Deep Sidhu,” said Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, DCP Special Cell.

The Delhi Police had announced the cash reward of Rs 1 lakh each for information on Deep Sidhu, Jugraj Singh, Gurjot Singh and Gurjant Singh; and Rs 50,000 each on Jajbir Singh, Buta Singh, Sukhdev Singh and Iqbal Singh for their alleged involvement in the Republic Day violence that saw at least one person die and several injured, including policemen.

Police would now probe where he got shelter since January 26 and who all provided it. Those who provided shelter to him could also face legal action.

Another co-accused Sukhdev Singh was earlier arrested from Chandigarh.

Sidhu on January 31 uploaded a video on his verified Facebook account. In the 15 minute-long video message, titled ‘straight from my soul’, he was seen giving an emotional statement in Punjabi, which loosely translates to: “I am being defamed… I had left my whole life behind, and come here to join the Punjabis in their protest. But now I am being labelled a traitor.”

“All I did was raise a voice for your rights. For so many months, I have been meeting everyone on roads, in tents. Now a single man is being made a traitor,” he said addressing the hundreds of farmers, who have been sitting in protests at Delhi’s borders since November 26 against the three contentious farm laws.

Within two hours of uploading, it was viewed 19,000 times and received 11,000 comments.




Modi extends olive branch to farmers


PM slams those abusing Sikhs; assures MSP will remain; plea to call off stir

Accusing the Opposition of taking a U-turn on the farm reforms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today invited agitating farmers for talks on the farm laws and said the Government was ready to exchange views and resolve their apprehensions.

In the same vein, he also hit out at deleterious influences from abroad, referring to them as ‘foreign destructive ideology’, as well as a new “breed” of agitators ~ ‘Andolanjivi’ ~ in the country who cannot live without a tumult.

In an apparent reference to tweets by pop star Rihanna and Swedish climateactivist Greta Thunberg favouring the agitating farmers, Modi played on the term ‘Foreign Direct Investment or FDI’ to warn against deleterious influences from abroad.

Replying to the Rajya Sabha debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address, he said “options” were still open, and there were no tensions in the talks, even after several rounds of discussions. The Prime Minister said the Opposition, including the Congress Party, had from time to time, called for reforms in agriculture, and it was not clear why they were opposed to them now.

India was not a static society, he said, and legislative changes were brought gradually, he said. Time had come to bring reforms in the agriculture sector. The proposed reforms should be given a chance, and if shortcomings were found, they would be corrected, he said.

The Prime Minister said the MSP(Minimum Support Price) was there and it would continue, as it was now.The sanctity of the place where he was giving this assurance should be respected, he said.

Modi said reforms were opposed even on earlier occasions, but they were pursued with good results. Even former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had referred to the rigidities in the marketing system which prevented the farmers from getting good returns, and offered to remove the handicaps, the PM said.

He said the Opposition had made several speeches on the farmers’ agitation but concentrated on the manner it was being conducted; there was no attempt to refer to the spirit of the laws. The farmers would only land in darkness, if there was politics on the reforms, he said.

Modi said the farm laws would benefit the small farmers particularly, whose number had risen to 86 per cent. The number of those owning up to half a hectare of land had risen from 51 per cent to 68 per cent.

As the Prime Minister rose to give his 80 minute reply, the Trinamul Congress members staged a walk-out. The Motion of Thanks to the President’s address was adopted by the House after rejecting all amendments moved by the Opposition.

He said by increasing the ambit of Fasal Bima Yojana in 2014, claims worth `90,000 crore have been settled benefiting small farmers in the country. He said nearly `1.15 lakh crore rupees were directly transferred into the accounts of the farmers under the PMKISAN scheme.





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