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Antony accuses Modi government of ‘surrendering’ to China

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The Congress has mounted its attack on the Modi government over the issue of disengagement with China in the Ladakh sector. On the occasion of the second anniversary of the Pulwama terror attack, Congress fielded its senior leader and former Defence Minister A.K. Antony to launch a blistering attack on the BJP-led NDA government.

In a press conference on Sunday, Antony, while accusing the government of ‹surrendering› Indian territory to China, posed several questions before the Modi government.

“A few days back our Defence Minister made a statement in Parliament about disengagement in the Pangong Lake area and the Galwan Valley. We are peaceful people, but peace at what terms and what cost if the Galwan and Pangong disengagement is surrender? This should not be done at the cost of national security. Surrender in areas which were in our control in the Galwan Valley was never a point of dispute with China,” Antony said.

While putting a question mark on the disengagement process, Antony accused PM Modi appeasing China by ‹agreeing to disengagement on Chinese terms.› “Please understand the gravity of the situation. Disengagement is good but it cannot be at the cost of national security,” Antony asserted. Citing the example of Galwan, he said, “Areas which have been traditionally under our control, we are surrendering that right as well.”

Speaking on the much talked about Fingers, Antony said, “The area between Finger 8 and Finger 4 was a disputed area where both armies used to patrol. Sometimes, there was pushing and jostling by troops of either side but India always maintained its claim to the LAC up to Finger 8.”

While questioning the government, he added that India has agreed to come back to Finger 3. “Finger 3 is a permanent base named Dhan Singh Thapa. The Indian Army has a post at Finger 4. Then why has that been vacated and why has the right to patrol till Finger 8 been surrendered?” Antony asked.

Antony also accused the Modi government of not giving priority to national security. “For the first time, India is facing two front war-like situations – one from Pakistan and now China is becoming more belligerent by building infrastructure and military mobilisation across the India-China border, mainly from eastern Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim. The Narendra Modi government is not giving proper priority to national security,” he said.

He also criticised the Union Budget and said, “When the Chinese are everywhere at the border, everyone expected a substantial increase in the defence budget. Our armed forces demanded an increase both in the capital and revenue expenditure. The government is showing so much bravado, but practically there is a 1.48 percent increase, compared to the revised budget last year,” he stated.

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Fire breaks out in forest in Telangana’s Nagarkurnool, no casualties reported

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Nagarkurnool (Telangana) [India], March 2 (ANI): A fire broke out in forest near Domalapenta in Nagarkurnool district on Monday night.
Speaking to ANI, District Forest Officer Krishna Goud said no casualties were reported in the incident.
“Forest officials received the information about the fire at around 11.30 PM after which two teams comprising of 10 firefighters reached the spot immediately. The fire was extinguished with the help of blowers and the dousing operation was completed by 2.30 AM. As it is mere grass that caught fire, so loss was reported,” he said. (ANI)

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Gujarat local body polls: Early lead for BJP, counting underway

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Gandhinagar (Gujarat) [India], March 2 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leading in 73 constituencies while Congress ahead in 11 seats as the couting of votes for Gujarat local body election is underway.
As per the latest trends, out of 231 taluka panchayats in the state, the BJP is leading in 73, Congress in 11 and others in 3.
Out of 31 district panchayats, the BJP is leading in 28. In 81 municipalities, BJP leading in 60, Congress in 6 and others in 1.
Polling in 31 district panchayats, 231 taluka panchayats and 81 municipalities of Gujarat and by-elections of 23 municipalities and 3 taluka panchayats were held on Sunday.
The average turnout in taluka panchayats was 66.84 per cent.
Out of 4,715 seats in 231 taluka panchayats in 2015, Congress got 2555, BJP got 2019 and 141 others.
In 2015, due to the Patidar movement, the BJP’s tally was hit. In 4,715 seats of 231 taluka panchayats, 111 seats of BJP, 5 seats of Congress and 1 seat of others have been declared uncontested. (ANI)

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Govt aims to operationalise 23 waterways by 2030: PM Modi

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New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI): While observing that capacity of major Indian ports increased to 1550 million tonnes annually now from 870 million tonnes per annum in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that the government aims to operationalise 23 waterways by 2030.
“Our government is investing in waterways in a way that was never seen before. Domestic waterways are found to be cost effective and environment friendly way for transporting freight. We aim to operationalise 23 waterways by 2030,” PM Modi said in his inaugural at Maritime India Summit 2021.
“India has as many as 189 lighthouses across its vast coastline. We have drawn up a programme for developing tourism in the land adjacent to 78 lighthouses. The key objective of this initiative is to enhance development of the existing lighthouses and its surrounding areas into unique maritime tourism landmarks,” he added.
The Prime Minister said that the capacity of major ports which was around 870 million tonnes per annum in 2014, has increased to around 1550 million tonnes annually now.
“This productivity gain not only helps our ports but also boost the overall economy by making our products more competitive,” he said.
“The Government of India is also focusing on the domestic ship building and ship repair market. To encourage domestic shipbuilding we approved the Shipbuilding Financial Assistance Policy for Indian Shipyards,” he added.
Inviting world to invest in Indian maritime sector, PM Modi said, “India’s long coastline awaits you. India’s hardworking people await you. Invest in our ports. Invest in our people. Let India be your preferred trade destination. Let Indian ports be your port of call for trade and commerce.”
During the event, Prime Minister Narendra launched the Sagar Manthan- Mercantile Maritime Domain Awareness Centre and e-book of maritime vision 2030, which is aiming to make the Indian maritime insutry at par with the top global benchmark in the next 10 years.
The Maritime India Summit 2021 is being organised by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways on a virtual platform www.maritimeindiasummit.in from March 2 to March 4 via video conferencing. (ANI)

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Urdu Bulletin: PM Modi’s Covid-19 vaccination, farmers stir covered prominently

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New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI): Various Urdu publications in their Tuesday editions gave prominent coverage to Covid-19 vaccination of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as soon the second phase of inoculation began on Monday.
The publications have also reported the hike in price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders. They also reported that Chinese hacker groups may have targeted India’s power grid system and caused a disruption in power supply.
Rashtriya Sahara: The newspaper leads with the news of the Covid-19 vaccination of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers of the Central government on Monday.
Vaccination will be conducted in more than 12 thousand government and private hospitals. The state of Bihar will provide free vaccination to its citizens in private hospitals also. In the second phase of the vaccination drive 27 crores will be inoculated, it reported.
It also reported a hike in fare price of LPG cylinders and stated “No relief from inflation, LPG is again expensive.”
The newspaper has also featured the report that Chinese state-sponsored actors have deployed malware into Indian power grids during the ongoing tension at the border between India and China.
Inquilab: The newspaper has given importance to Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s speech against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It reported that the Congress leader said that leaders of the BJP speak about the Citizenship Amendment Act in other parts of the country, they do not have the courage to do so in Assam.
The newspaper has reported on a plea in the Supreme Court which seeks a direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR (First Information Report) into the alleged chanting of religious slogans during electioneering in West Bengal.
The newspaper has also reported Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait’s statement against the Central government.
Tikait said farmers will not step back till a solution is found. “The farmer is also ready. He will look after his crop as well as the agitation. Let the government hold talks when it has the time,” he said. (ANI)

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Protesting against fuel hike Kerala observes 12-hour strike

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Kochi (Kerala) [India], March 2 (ANI): Protesting fuel price hike Kerala Motor Vyavasaya Samrakshana Samiti has called for a 12-hour strike on Tuesday.
Trade unions and employers organisations informed about the strike in a joint press meet on February 23.
While the protesters did not prevent the movement of private vehicles, the state-owned Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) plied on road. However, only a few KSRTC buses were seen plying with a few passengers. In Kochi, the metro services were operating as usual.
In view of the strike, exams scheduled for Tuesday have been postponed by the Kerala University, APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University, MG University, Sree Sankaracharya Sanskrit University, Kannur University, Cochin University of Science and Technology till further notice, informed the Public Relations Officers (PROs) team of the university.
Board of Higher Secondary Examinations informed that Higher Secondary and Vocational Higher Secondary model exams are also postponed till March 8. (ANI)

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India sincere to emerge as leading blue economy of world: PM Modi

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New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI): Asserting that India is a natural leader in maritime sectory with a rich history, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the nation is very sincere to emerge as as a leading blue economy of the world and pointed out that the government aims to operationalise 23 waterways by 2030.
“The Summit brings together many stakeholders relating to this sector. I am sure we will achieve great success in boosting the maritime economy. India is a natural leader in this sector. Our nation has a rich maritime history. Civilisation flourished on our coasts. For thousand of years, our ports have been important trading centres. Our coasts connected India to the world,” the Prime Minister said after inaugurating Maritime India Summit 2021 through video conferencing.
“Through this Summit, I want to invite the world to come to India and be a part of our growth trajectory. India is very sincere about growing in the maritime sector and emerging as leading blue economy of the world,” he added.
India’s leading focus area in martime sector includes– upgrade current infrastructure, create new generation infrastructure, boost the reform journey, PM Modi said.
“Through these steps, we aim to give strength to our vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the government is investing in waterways in a way that was never seen before. Domestic waterways are found to be cost effective and environment friendly way for transporting freight, he said.
“We aim to operationalize 23 waterways by 2030. India has as many as 189 lighthouses across its vast coastline. We have drawn up a program for developing tourism in the land adjacent to 78 lighthouses,” he added.
During the event, Prime Minister Narendra launched the Sagar Manthan- Mercantile Maritime Domain Awareness Centre and e-book of maritime vision 2030, which is aiming to make the Indian maritime insutry at par with the top global benchmark in the next 10 years.
Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State (MoS) Ports, Shipping and Waterways (Independent Charge), who was also present at the event virutally said the summit is one of the biggest virtual summit in the world attended by 1.7 lakh partipants from more than 100 nations.
“In the three day summit, we will have ministers from eight nations, over 50 global CEOs and more than 160 speakers which include 115 international speakers from 24 nations,” he said.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and his Andhra Pradesh counterpart YS Jagan Mohan Reddy also joined the event via video conferencing.
The Maritime India Summit 2021 is being organised by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways on a virtual platform www.maritimeindiasummit.in from March 2 to March 4 via video conferencing. (ANI)

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