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53 bodies found so far at flood-ravaged Chamoli

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Three more bodies were found on Monday, including two from inside a tunnel of the disaster-hit Tapovan project in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand, taking the total number of bodies recovered so far to 53.

During the excavation work inside the tunnel, eight bodies have been found so far, officials said. Elsewhere, seven bodies were recovered from the Reni area where the Rishiganga project was destroyed in the flood. With the recovery of three more bodies since Sunday night, the total has gone up to 53. Nearly 200 people went missing after the 7 February deluge.

This is the first time since the 7 February flood that the rescuers have been able to find bodies inside the tunnel. “We are expecting more bodies as hopes are receding for survivals,” admitted a top official. There is still no contact with the remaining trapped people inside.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Nilesh Anand Bharne, who is spokesman of the state police, claimed the rescue work had been speeded up with the installation of some additional machines like excavators.

The rescuers are working on two places—one inside the tunnel and other at the remains of the Rishiganga project in Reni. They have stopped the drilling process inside the tunnel, said Superintendent of Police (SP) Chamoli.

After days of digging and excavation works, jawans of the army, ITBP, NDRF and SDRF, who are engaged in the rescue works, had managed to open a sizeable portion of the tunnel. But the presence of heavy silt and sludge inside the tunnel slowed down the excavation and digging work, top government officials admitted. Rescuers also consulted NTPC officials to understand the complicated design of the tunnel.

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SCBA to challenge SC’s decision on hybrid physical hearing

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New Delhi [India], March 7 (ANI): Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has decided not to accept the Supreme Court’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the hybrid mode of hearing commencing from March 15.
SCBA has decided to file a petition challenging the same.
SCBA executive committee in an emergency meeting on Saturday resolved to not accept the SOPs of hybrid hearing alleging that the decision has been taken by the Supreme Court without taking into confidence the Bar though it is an equal stakeholder in the dispensation of justice delivery system.
The Supreme Court has decided to begin a hybrid mode of hearing (physical and virtual) on an experimental basis from March 15. Supreme Court said a pilot basis final hearing/regular matters listed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays will be heard through hybrid mode.
The Secretary-General of the Supreme Court in a circular issued on March 5, said the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde has issued some directions and Standard Operating Procedure on commencing of the hybrid mode of hearing in the apex court amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.(ANI)

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Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to address Kisan Mahapanchyat in Meerut today

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New Delhi [India], March 7 (ANI): Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will address a ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’ in Western Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district today.
Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ajay Kumar Lallu on Saturday said that the party will continue to protest against the farm laws and “Priyanka Gandhi will address a ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’ in Meerut on Sunday and highlight the issues being faced by farmers.”
This will be the fifth Kisan Mahapanchayat in the region which will be addressed by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Priyanka Gandhi had chaired the meeting of UP Congress MLAs in Delhi and discussed the strategy to be adopted to take on the central government on farmer’s issues.
The Congress Party is organising Kisan Panchayats in 28 districts of Western Uttar Pradesh to raise a voice against the farm laws and to support farmers’ demand to repeal them.
Uttar Pradesh Congress had launched the ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ programme in the region on February 10 from Saharanpur through a Kisan Panchayat which was addressed by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
According to Sources with this Kisan Mahapanchayat, the party will conclude the Program in Western UP and the Next Phase will be launched in Eastern UP.
Since then, senior leaders are addressing Kisan Panchayats from district to tehsil level but Kisan Panchayats addressed by Congress General Secretary in-charge of the state Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has been planned aiming at gaining political ground.
She had also addressed the Kisan panchayat in Saharanpur which was organised by Congress leader Imran Masood and attended by Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Ajay Singh Lallu and other senior leaders. (ANI)

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Mamata to hold protest march against LPG price hike in Bengal’s Siliguri today

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Siliguri (West Bengal) [India], March 7 (ANI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will hold a ‘Padyatra’ in Siliguri on Sunday protesting against the LPG price hike.
“BJP is looting people by regularly hiking LPG prices. Women have been hit the hardest and I’m disgusted at the Centre’s lack of intent to cut taxes and lessen their burden. In protest, today I’ll be leading an all-women michil at Siliguri. REDUCE LPG PRICES NOW!, Mamata tweeted.
The poll fever in West Bengal is all set to go high on Sunday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a rally in the state capital and the chief minister will hold a protest march in the northern part of the state.
The fuel price hike has become a major issue. LPG Last week, the price of the cooking gas LPG was hiked by Rs 25 per cylinder across all categories, including subsidised fuel and those availed by Ujjwala scheme beneficiaries.
“We will stage a protest march in Siliguri tomorrow against the rise in cooking gas price, carrying LPG cylinders during the protest,” Banerjee told reporters yesterday.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a public rally at Brigade Parade Ground in Kolkata on Sunday. This will be PM Modi’s first public rally in the state after the announcement of the dates for eight-phased Assembly polls for 294 constituencies in West Bengal. According to party sources, many folk artists have been invited to perform at the event.
Last month, the chief minister warned the centre of launching a bigger protest if the latter does not reduce the prices of fuel.
Briefing the mediapersons outside her residence at Kalighat here, Banerjee had said, “The prices of fuel have been increased by double even when the crude oil prices have reduced by 50 per cent in the international market. If they do not reduce the prices we will start a bigger protest. Farmers are already agitating on the streets. If the common people also come to the streets, then Modi babu cannot do anything. Intimidating with agencies will not work.”
She also drove an electric scooter to travel to her residence in Kalighat from state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ in Howrah as a mark of protest against the fuel price hike.
Over a period of time, the prices of LPG, petrol and diesel have increased sharply in the country. Opposition parties have held protests in different parts of the country over the fuel price rise.
Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party are at loggerheads ahead of Assembly polls in West Bengal.
West Bengal Assembly elections will be held in eight phases starting from March 27 with the final round of voting taking place on April 29. The counting of votes in the state will take place on May 2. (ANI)

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PM Modi urges people to buy affordable medicines from Janaushadhi Kendras

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New Delhi [India], March 7 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged people to buy medicines from Janaushadhi Kendras at an affordable cost.
The Prime Minister’s remarks came while he was addressing Janaushadhi Diwas celebrations and interacting with beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana through video conferencing.
“Medicines are expensive, that’s why we have PM ‘Jan Aushadhi ‘ yojana for the poor which saves their money. Rs 9,000 crores of money has been saved by the poor because they got medicines at lower prices. Some people who do not buy medicines due to expensive cost is now purchasing medicines. I urge people to buy medicines at an affordable cost from Janaushadhi Kendra. If people call it ‘Modi ki Dukaan’ then buy it from that centre,” PM Modi said.
The Prime Minister was speaking after a woman, Rubina, from Madhya Pradesh, shared her experience of benefitting from Janaushadhi Yojana.
“My son has some medical issues. I used to buy Rs 5,000 medicines for him per month and could not afford it. But my neighbour told me about affordable medicines available at ‘Modi ji ki dukaan’. I went there and purchased medicines for Rs 2,000 only. I am happy that Modi ji is helping us,” she said.
Earlier, PM Modi dedicated to the nation the 7,500th Janaushadhi Kendra at North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Shillong on Sunday via video conferencing.
Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana’s initiative endeavours to provide quality medicines at an affordable price. The number of stores under the scheme has grown to 7499, with all districts of the country covered. Sales in the financial year 2020-21 (up to March 4, 2021) led to total savings of approximately Rs. 3600 crore for common citizens, as these medicines are cheaper by 50 per cent to 90 per cent than the corresponding market rates.
In order to create more awareness about Janaushadhi, an entire week from March 1-7 is being celebrated as ‘Janaushadhi Week’ across the nation, with the theme of ‘Jan Aushadhi – Seva bhi, Rozgar bhi’. The last day of the week- March 7 is being celebrated as ‘Janaushadhi Diwas’. (ANI)

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BSP condemns Giriraj Singh’s ‘beat up officials with bamboo sticks’ comment, says it may create law and order problem

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By Amit Kumar
New Delhi [India], March 7 (ANI): A day after Union Minister Giriraj Singh advised the people of Bihar’s Begusarai to “beat up officials with bamboo sticks” for appearing insensitive to their concerns, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Sunday condemned the “controversial” statement saying that it may create Law and order problem.
Speaking to ANI, BSP national spokesperson Sudhindra Bhadoria questioned the central government’s leadership for “not taking action against Singh.”
“Giriraj Singh has been making controversial statements in the past as well. This time he is making such a statement that becomes a law and order problem. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader is the minister who has taken the oath of the Constitution and has been giving statements like this,” he said.
“Why central leadership is not taking action against him. If they do not take action, then this kind of tendency will be promoted, which will lead to law and order situation in the country,” he added.
Giriraj Singh, Union Minister Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying had on Saturday advised the people of Begusarai, his Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar to “beat up with bamboo sticks” those officials who appeared insensitive to their concerns.
“If someone (any government official) doesn’t listen to your grievances, hit them with a bamboo stick. Neither we ask them to do any illegitimate job, nor will we tolerate illegitimate ‘nanga nritya’ by any official,” Singh said while addressing a public gathering in Begusarai. (ANI)

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18,711 new COVID-19 cases reported in India in last 24 hours

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New Delhi [India], March 7 (ANI): The number of COVID-19 cases in the country saw a slight increase in the last 24 hours with 18,711 new cases, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed on Sunday.
As many as 100 deaths were also reported, taking the death toll to 1,57,756.
The total number of positive cases in the country now stands at 1,12,10,799, including 1,84,523 active cases and 1,08,68,520 recoveries.
India is currently in the midst of the second phase of the vaccination drive, with as many as 2,09,22,344 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines administered so far.
As per the Indian Council of Medical Research, a total of 22,14,30,507 COVID-19 tests have been reported so far, including 7,37,830 in the last 24 hours.
Maharashtra continued to be one of the worst affected states with 10,187 new COVID-19 cases and 47 deaths in the last 24 hours.
According to the state department, the total positive cases in the state now stand at 22,08,586, including 92,897 active cases and 52,440 deaths. 20,62,031 patients have recovered so far in the state.
In Kerala, another badly affected state by the pandemic, there are currently 42,819 active cases. As many as 10,75,227 positive cases have been reported.
So far, 10,27,826 recoveries and 4,287 deaths have been reported, the state health department informed. (ANI)

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