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Be honest & start moving forward: Mohit Chobey, Business Leader & Author

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Mohit Chobey
Mohit Chobey

Mr Mohit Chobey, a business leader, TEDx speaker and someone who has competed in the Ironman competition joined NewsX in a special segment, NewsX A-List to talk about his journey. Mr Chobey has also written a book, which is titled ‘1000 KMs to Leadership’.

Mohit Chobey gave some very important insights about his life, and how he arrived at the point he is today. Talking about his journey as an author, he said, “I have been informally writing in terms of blogs, but I think the formal process of getting into an authorship happened pretty recently. I had a plethora of writings, which I had put together, many of the experiences in terms of how I saw myself evolve as an individual, as a person, a human being, in the process of becoming an endurance athlete. So one of the most impactful events which happened to me was when I undertook this journey to South Africa, and participated in something called the Comrades Marathon, it’s more than 100 years old, and it is the largest and possibly the biggest ultramarathon in the world, it’s 90 km distance over 12 hours.”

Mr Chobey said, “During the process, the way I evolved, I think the articulation of that into feelings was something very difficult. So over the years, I kind of put together my thoughts. And eventually, it forced me to come out with a book and not just a book, it’s a series of three, this is just the first in the trilogy, called 1000 KMs to Leadership.”

Mohit comes from an army background, so he obviously has that resilience. Talking further about his background, he said, “I think it always plays a role, genetics, and the environment in which you’re brought up makes a difference for me, since my father donned the uniform for 38 years, and I’ve been to some very interesting escapades and adventures along with him. He was a national-level hockey player and I think to that extent, at least, the athleticism and the sports element was ingrained in me. And very early from in my life, I think sports was an integral part of me. So it will be very, you know, kind of apt to say that part of the upbringing, which was, you know, kind of, eventually helped me become an athlete.”

Mr Chobey added, “Some other traits, which also got developed as a part of the same process was that you end up residing in different cities, and going to different schools, that allows a certain amount of versatility and adaptability. And I think to that extent, that helped me become a much better and stronger business leader, and to be able to manage situations much better.”

Mohit Chobey was able to soak in the metropolis of the country of India as well as get an insight into what rural India or Bharat is basically all about. Talking about the same, he said, “My first few years in the corporate world were with FMCG companies, and they further ensured that my understanding of India was not limited to the metropolis, but to the last mile, to the hinterland to the villages. And it is a matter of fact that this entity, this nation of ours, is actually a conglomeration of different aspects to be merely being able to see it from one city. You really have to dive deep into it, dwell into it to really get the holistic understanding of the nation. And I think early in my career, that’s something which happened to me. I’m very grateful for that.”

Not too many people were informed of the Ironman competition before Milind Soman completed it. It’s basically a 3.8-kilometre swim, typically in open water, might be a lake or river and ocean. It is followed by a 180-kilometre bike ride and culminates in a full marathon of 42.2 kilometres. The overall distance is 226, which is expected to be covered between 15 and a half to 17 hours depending on the terrain. “For me, I think the trigger point was after I became a fairly serious endurance athlete in the running space. I was exposed to the idea of Ironman and as I believe challenges help us evolve as individuals, this is something which I was really looking forward to, I knew it was not really my domain, because swimming in the open water kind of takes you into a different level altogether. I’ve tried to capture some elements of it in my second book, but the challenge is something which I thrive on”, said Mohit.

Talking about his 2nd book, Mr Chobey said, “The second book’s title is ‘Coming Back to Life and there is a figurative element, and there’s a fair amount of factual element in the title of the book. But that’s something which the viewers will get to see, maybe three, four months down the line.”

The first time Mohit competed in the Ironman competition, he was disqualified. That disqualification worked as a catalyst for him. “It taught me a lot. Incidentally, as I said, swimming is my Achilles’ heel and I actually had a life-threatening experience while I was training for Ironman. I actually had to be pulled out of a lake in Faridabad before I really went down the third time, and possibly the final time underneath the water. We thankfully had a lifeguard with us who pulled me out. And that day, I realized that I really needed to kind of break the barriers in my mind, I really needed to cross that Rubicon. But sadly, the first time I competed in Iron Man that was in France and by the time I came out of the water because I had meandered so much, I ended up missing the cut off for 10 minutes. And I realized that you know, sometimes No matter how much effort you put in, things don’t work out the way you would want them to be. But that’s okay. The point is very clearly, are you ready to take it up, ready to pick up the conflict and have another shot at it? Incidentally, it so happened that once I got back into a mental frame to do so I ended up doing five Iron Man in a matter of 12 months, three full Ironman and two half Ironman across three continents in the world,” said Mohit. 

Talking about his 2nd book, Mr Chobey said, “The physical powers and the motivation elements are the add ons to it but the book is about a life journey, it’s about a professional journey. So anyone and anybody out there who wants to look at life, and wants to see some elements of their life that resonate in a book, and go through the travails and challenges what life throws at us, should pick up the book. Incidentally, the background or the context is running, and in running, specifically, the ultramarathon comrades which I had mentioned. But if you are a reader, you’re looking at some roller-coaster journey into life, into professional life and you want to take have some interesting takeaways from that, I think you should pick up the book.”

Mohit spoke about the challenges he faced during his journey, he said, “I faced challenges and most importantly, the slotting of the book. So like who is the book for and straightaway the two thoughts which cross your mind are in terms of motivation and in terms of physical progress. And I had initially a tough time trying to convince publishers to understand that it’s not about that, it is merely the canvas of running, but the painting is about life. And that, you know, movement or moving from one domain to the other is something which eventually I was able to convince invincible publishers, I did have another publisher who was comfortable and eventually understood the idea of publishing this book, out of the timeframe wasn’t suitable for me. It took some convincing for me to get people to understand that it’s a very broad-based book and does not merely stick to a specific domain.”

Addressing Physical Fitness notions in India, Mohit said, “I guess I’ll quote an example and maybe use the Hindi idiom “Sathiyajana”, which is basically somebody turning 60. The fact is that when somebody turns 60, that’s what the term you use and the underlying notion behind that is basically your mental faculties and possibly your physical faculties are not at the same level. Now, to give an example, when I did the Comrades the first time, the 90 kilometre race over mountains, one gentleman was 63 years old, and he finished 30 minutes ahead of me. I think it was a Eureka moment for me, it was a life-changing moment for me.”

Mr Chobey further said, “Age is nothing but just a number and possibly the reason is that our parents were so involved in putting bread on the table to explain expand your horizons into physical fitness and mental robustness, they were not able to spend the time. But the current generation, I think they have enough and more time to be able to understand the need for it not merely in terms of physical health, but how it also impacts mental health. And I think that’s a very relevant topic right now, going around that physical activities do not merely help you keep your body fit up, it also keeps your mind robust, and positive.”

Mohit Chobey is also a business leader and has been a TEDx speaker. Talking about that aspect of his life, Mohit said, “I think all of us are multifaceted and it’s up to us to understand which are the strong points which we have and we can shine them and chisel them enough for it to be, you know, really sparkling. For me, I have been in the corporate domain for the past 22 years now and I was given responsibility a bit earlier in life. I think so I was hitting a business when I was nearly 29 years old, it was unheard of at that point of time. So 17 years across multiple industries, whether financial services, banking, the FMCG space, or across hospitality and hotels, e-commerce, so I’ve kind of done it all. And incidentally, I was having a conversation with one of the groups on SRCC yesterday, and they said, so why do you have such a broad-based experience? And the simple answer was, as business leaders, what we need to understand is the levers of the business, you cannot create a high level of finesse in terms of subject matter, expertise beyond a certain level. It’s like saying, I’m going to sharpen the pencil, but the pencil can only be sharpened to a certain extent. After that, the lead gets broken. So for me, my adaptability, which I think was a part of my growing up years, is something which has held me in good stead and made me a leader who’s adaptable, not nearly to industries, but to surroundings, to people, and to situations. And I think that really helps to bring the best out of me, in consonance with the endurance sports which I’m involved in, creates and enhances the gravitas, which is expected from a business leader. Lastly, as a TEDx speaker, I think, for me to be able to share my story across a broad spectrum of viewers and listeners that a lot of things can be possible and nothing needs to be straitjacketed, it does require resilience, it does require effort, but you can ensure that your multiple facets can really shine out and bloom.”

Mohit ended up writing an article on the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. He said, “It’s called ‘Opportunity in adversity. Too many times we end up getting so overwhelmed by the change in fortunes of situations that we do not see the opportunity which presents. To put it into perspective, the very fact that I could come up with my book was possible because of COVID. I’m not undermining the kind of global impact it has had. The fact of the matter is, it created certain time availability. For me, I was able to dedicate more time, my transition time, like transit time was not there anymore. I could allocate without not compromising either in my fitness or in my corporate responsibilities. So I think that’s something for each one of us. Anytime situations change, we do find opportunities for doing something new. I was very surprised and pleasantly surprised that the Bhagavad Gita mentions the same. So I was like, okay, there’s something right, I must be doing because a sacred text seemed to be resonating the same thing.”

Giving a piece of advice to the young generation, Mohit said, “I think the most important thing is being honest. Honesty to yourself about what you want, honesty to yourself about what you are, and honesty to yourself about what you aspire to be. If you’re able to have that honesty about yourself, at least you’ll be able to baseline yourself with in terms of traits, skills and, if you’re clear about what your direction is, not necessarily the destination, the destination keeps on evolving, if you’re clear about the direction, I’m sure enhancements in physical fitness, enhancements in your mental prowess, and overall happiness quotient will naturally come to force. And that’s my simple advice, be honest, and just ensure that you make a meaningful difference and start moving forward in the same.”

As Mohit mentioned in his 2nd book, he is aiming at a trilogy. “So I have actually put together elements of four different books right now. One is a trilogy, and one is a bit more on the emotional side. But the trilogy is basically evolution for me as an athlete, as an individual, and as a leader because every time within the leadership scheme of things, we take up bigger responsibilities, we look at adversity, the kind of difficulty we end up facing seems to only increase and you need to find different ways and better ways to be able to manage that. So I think so, as the journey unfolds. The same will be told through the three books, which are in the offing.”

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A marine commando recounting 26/11 attacks from ground zero

A minute-by-minute account of that fateful night, how a team of MARCOS entered the Taj, and how one of its bravehearts confronted the terrorists and was nearly killed.

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Decorated with the Shaurya Chakra for his role in rescuing hostages, Praveen Kumar Teotia was one of the MARCOS—Marine Commandos of the Indian Navy—who fought the terrorists holed up in the Taj during the 26/11 attacks, suffered near-fatal injuries and, in the end, saved hundreds of lives. Teotia, in his book, narrates a minute-by-minute account of that fateful night, how his team entered the Taj, how he confronted the terrorists and how he was nearly killed. Excerpt:

It was a usual Mumbai evening. Walking past the Leopold Café, I was headed towards the Gateway of India. The majestic Taj stood gazing at the Arabian Sea, overwhelming the tourists below. Bewildered by its imposing structure, I looked at the Taj and marvelled at its beauty. The people inside must be living such a luxurious life, I thought to myself and sighed.

It was 8 pm and the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea looked calm. Heading towards my naval base, I had one final look at the area. Some pigeons fluttered past, a policeman whistled and a hawker packed his belongings for the day. The neon-lit surrounding would now illuminate some late-night lovebirds, looking for their private space in this insomniac city. Life looked picturesque and undisturbed. Who would have known that an hour from then, death would spread its dirty tentacles, choking life out of this picture? Who would have imagined that ten men from Pakistan would come sailing through the Arabian Sea in a small boat and would launch the most dastardly attack on the city? And hardly would have I imagined that few hours from now, I will be facing these fidayeen, inside the Taj, eye to eye, and my life would change forever.

I entered the room. It was dark and silent. Ever since we had entered the Taj, there was death and mayhem around us—in the halls, the corridors, the reception area. The lazy opulence of the place had been disrupted and what stood before us was a shaken Taj. Bullet-ridden bodies were lying amidst the inferno and bloodbath. Some lucky survivors had to be pulled out with corpses lying on top of them, an experience that would torment them for life. Imagine your loved one or a complete stranger lying breathless on top of you. What could you do? Push it as if the person didn’t mean anything to you? Or just lie down with your eyes closed, smelling blood and feeling the unmoving mound of flesh on top of you, waiting to either die or be rescued?

Everything about the majestic Taj that day was pale and morbid, but the atmosphere of the room we had just entered was sinister. Danger was very close and years of my training and times spent in real operations told me that something was not right in this room. I could sense danger lurking somewhere. I became more vigil. But nothing was visible.

I was leading the team and behind me, roughly at a distance of a metre and a half, was my buddy. Third in the line was Sunil Kudiyadi, our navigator for the night. Without him, it would have been very difficult to manoeuvre through the Taj. Behind Mr Kudiyadi, there were two more commandos, Ranjeet and Ashok, and even though our friend, the security manager, had no weapon to himself, he was safely ensconced between the armed commandos. His calm demeanour was noteworthy as it helped us focus more. Mr Kudiyadi was also one of the commandos that day, albeit without an army fatigue.

One more step and I was consumed by complete darkness now. I was carrying my weapon in my right hand and with the left hand, I tried exploring the wall. ‘Where is the light switch?’ I quietly asked Kudiyadi. ‘Should be ahead.’ All of us were groping in the dark.

My left hand was now touching the wall and it provided me with support and acted as my guide while moving ahead. I was taking each step very slowly and quietly, with my eyes ocussing in the darkness. After ten to twelve cautious steps I heard a sound.

Click.

Click.

These were, in fact, two sounds coming from two different sources. It was the sound of safety catches of two AK-47s being removed. The AK-47 is one of the first true assault rifles and, due to its durability, low production cost and ease of use, the weapon and its numerous variants remain the most widely used assault rifles in the world. To fire, the operator inserts a loaded magazine, moves the selector lever to the lowest position, pulls back and releases the charging handle, aims and then pulls the trigger. In this setting, the weapon fires only once, often called semiautomatic, which requires the trigger to be released and depressed again for the next shot. With the selector in the middle position (full-automatic), the rifle continues to fire, automatically cycling fresh rounds into the chamber, until the magazine is exhausted or the pressure is released from the trigger.

The first click indicated that the attacking weapon was in single shot. The second click meant that it was now in ‘burst’ mode and with a single press of the trigger the entire magazine could be emptied. The standard magazine capacity is thirty rounds, which mean thirty bullets at once racing towards the target. Gauging by the extent of this planned assault, it was clear that the terrorists knew they were facing an army or commandos, and not ordinary citizens. They wanted to ensure maximum damage in minimum time.

I swiftly bent down a bit. They had been in this darkened room for a while, hence they must have adapted. They were able to now see the movement in the dark. With enough time, our eyes can adapt and see the low levels of light present in partial darkness. Human eyes take several hours to fully adapt to darkness and reach their optimal sensitivity to low-light conditions. The quickest gains in vision sensitivity are made in the first few minutes after exposure to darkness. For this reason, many people think that after only a few minutes, their eyes have reached their peak sensitivity. But after several hours of exposure to darkness, the eyes continue to adapt and make small gains in sensitivity. My attackers thus had an edge over me.

I, however, had just entered the room and the surroundings were unfamiliar for me. I felt a table and hid myself behind it, trying to locate the direction of the sound. It was coming from the right side of the room. My cheek placed neatly on the butt of my weapon and my fingers on the trigger, I now aimed towards the direction from where the sound was coming from. With my eyes focussing hard to decipher even an iota of movement, I was ready to take my shot. And suddenly there was a flash. The flash was followed by the sound of burst fire that was directed at me. The staccato of burst shots filled the room, leaving a deafening silence in the room.

My weapon was in single-shot mode and I immediately fired three to four shots. In a split second, it was all over.

I had been shot.

Excerpts from the book, ‘26/11 Braveheart: My Encounter With Terrorists That Night’ (Rupa).

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‘I have always been used to lockdowns’: Deepa Malik, Paralympian & Arjuna Awardee

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Deepa Malik

Indian athlete and a medalist in the paralympic games, Deepa Malik joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation in its special segment called NewsX A-List. 

Addressing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Deepa said, “By the grace of God, I have always been used to lockdowns. I faced my first lockdown when I was a five year old and was in a hospital, literally admitted for a year at a go as a young little girl, in an era when there were no laptops, i-pads, Netflix or mobile phones. That was one and second, my daughter had an accident as a very young child and she got Hemiplegia paralysis on one side, so with her, I had to be grounded.”

Deepa’s own paralysis in 1999 left her bed-ridden for two years and for two years, she was not even made to sit because she had to go through major surgeries in her spine. “With urine bags and everything around me, all I could see was the ceiling, I was not even made to turn around, just to change diapers. So mentally I have been prepared for a lockdown or being a social recluse,” said Deepa.

Deepa went on to say, “Being a sportswoman, every time you are getting ready to win a medal for 130 crore Indians, you have to go under a lockdown, you have to eat very consciously, you have to work towards your immunity,  you have to exercise, you have to do your meditation because the focus is important in winning a big medal and then, you are under such a strict regime that you have no time to socialize. So for me, the lockdown has not been a very unprecedented situation in a way of mental stress, but of course, Covid was new, my role in Covid was very new because in February I had taken over as the president of the Paralympic Committee of India. It was a transition for me, from being an athlete to being into an administrative role. So, for me, it was a totally new learning experience.”

Talking about the impact of Covid-19 on the athletes, Malik said that India still does not have the infrastructure or the public transportation that aids the physically challenged people’s smooth movement outside their home. She said that they do not have end-to-end accessibility in most parts of the country. She addressed the problems faced by the athletes who are below the poverty line. However, looking at the positive aspect of this, Deepa said that the athletes learnt to use the video calling mobile applications during this pandemic. According to Deepa, they were able to communicate with each other more than they ever did before.

Deepa Malik has received a number of awards in the last decade for her work, some of the awards that she received include Padmashree award, Arjuna award, Rajeev Gandhi Khel Ratna award, Women Transforming India award etc. Deepa thinks that her entire journey was aimed at changing the mindsets.  “So when the United Nations, Niti Ayog, Prime Minister, Jury chooses me to receive an award that says ‘Women Transforming India’ award, that was very dear to me and it was received by my father and that was the day my father asked everyone to pray for me and he said that he had faith that I’ll bring everyone a medal. On 12th, I won it.”

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‘Poetry and art makes you care about things’: Mahima Tyagi

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Mahima Tyagi

NewsX was recently joined by Mahima Tyagi, a student and a content writer for an exclusive chat. Mahima shared her journey of being a writer and a filmmaker with NewsX in its special segment NewsX A-List.

Giving a background of how content writing began for her, Mahima said that she was really young when it began for the first time, it had a lot to do with some of the teachers that she had. She said that the English teachers she had in school were keen on imparting the knowledge that they thought would help students in life and a lot of the kids turned a blind eye to that, but Mahima didn’t and that’s where it just all began, she was really young, she was about 5 years old when she wrote her first poem, it was basically a rehash of something that had already been written.

“I think what really drove me to it after my 12th grade was, I was awarded like a certificate of recognition by the HRD ministry in my 10th grade, and I had, at a very early age kind of associated my self-esteem with academic success. And I was really happy about that until of course, as things go, and I think in 12th grade, I suffered a little bit of a setback academically and the career path that I had in mind was sort of out of the window at that point and I think it was, as the same goes, one door closes, another one opens. And I decided just by chance to apply to some of the universities I would have had dreamt of when I was young and I managed to get into some, pretty much all of them.  I then chose the one that I wanted the most and so I just pursued it, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever taken. Not a day goes by without me just cherishing what it is to be a writer and to wield the power of the pen,” said Mahima.

Ms Tyagi believes in the power of her pen and she believes that with her writing, she can bring about a change in the society. “Writing is art at the end of the day and any kind of art can bring about as much change as perhaps extensive political lobbying can, it’s the same. It targets the attitude that pervades in society. So at the end of the day, if you have the right intention in mind, art is one of the strongest mediums to bring about that change and I think I’ve witnessed that firsthand when I was competing in the international poetry competition. And since I was studying in London, I was at a place where there was, perhaps, a lakhs of brown poets, or people that came from the Indian sub-continent, which one could attribute to the societal taboo around art as a career medium,” said Mahima Tyagi.

Mahima shared that when she confirmed with her poetry coach that she was going to talk about colonialism, it was a very intense and bold risk to take at that point, because of her judges panel that would go in front of her, and since it was an international competition with a lot of white people in the room and a lot of people from the British origin, but her coach gave her a green signal.

“I remember when I had finished reciting my poem, there was a brief pause. I think that was the moment of that final moment of revelation, is this going to work? Or am I going to just completely lose faith in this entire process. And I got applauded by everyone there and I think it meant a lot to me because it made me realize that if I truly believe in something, no matter how bold, no matter how outrageous on confirmative, it’s going to arouse an emotion among the people,” said Ms Tyagi.

Elaborating more on the poems written by her, Mahima said that she dabbles between either social journalist poetry or a more lyrical and personal poetry. She added that with the first kind that she takes to is based on social issues, studying abroad, in some strange way brought her closer to the social fabric of her own country.

Talking further on the same, Mahima said, “I think when you look at something from a distance, we’re able to see it in its entirety and that’s what I was able to do and I just came closer to the issues that I had grown up seeing, but never really noticing, perhaps, there are a lot of issues and at the risk of sounding a little lofty, human trafficking or the class divide and a lot of different issues, the religious divide, there’s so many things that I’ve written poetry about which aim at perhaps, arousing some sense of emotion, some sentimental life change.”

Mahima is also passionate about filmmaking, sharing more on the same, Mahima said, “I think I realized that poetry is storytelling and so is filmmaking. So the idea at the end of the day is to is to extend a narrative out there for people to observe and that’s where I think films are visual poetry. So that’s where it came about, I think I was just talking to a few friends and I had some modules, some courses at my time in university, where I was studying films and I realized that it’s visual poetry, like I said, and I started to then make few videos, and I had this series where I would just like to portray in the background, and we would have visual direction. So that’s where our passion for films came into being, so I created documentaries, or just fiction, all of that. And like I said, it’s art at the end of the day, so poetry, filmmaking, public speaking kind of blended together for me, and it became art, which is something that I really feel passionately about.”

Talking about her source of inspiration, Mahima said,  “Inspiration’s  everywhere, I think when you have drive and when you really care about things, and poetry and art, in general makes you care about things. A lot of it also came from a lot of field work that I have done, so I wrote this little collection about the Rohingya community. I met these people, they are beautiful people, their stories are so compelling, they’re so  evocative that you  can’t help but gain inspiration.

Sharing about her future plans, Mahima said that she believes that in life, one needs to have a cause and then have means to bring that cause to fruition. She added that the cause at the end of the day is to to bring change in attitudes that wade away taboos that continue to persist in society still. “The Muse for me personally is poetry or I think it’s filmmaking. So the idea is to wake up every single morning, care about something and try to change what it is that prevents me from caring about things,” said Mahima.

Conveying her message to the youth, Mahima said, “My message is that there’s no one singular method to bring about change. You can’t get that one degree or do that one course or meet that one person, it doesn’t have to be that way. I think you just need to believe and you need to care and you need to use your privilege to kind of bring about that change. One of my favourite authors ever Nikesh Shukla, he says, ‘Get where you want to be, and then throw a line back’ and I think that’s a beautiful way to just look at life and that is what I would like to say to the youth as well, use your privilege, get where you want to be and then throw line back to the people, to your roots, and bring everyone ahead in front of you.”

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UNRULY TOURISTS THRONGING CASINOS AS IF IT WERE A CARNIVAL TIME: GOA BJP MLA

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A ruling BJP legislator in Goa on Tuesday criticised unruly tourists thronging the state’s offshore casinos as if it were a carnival time, thus foregoing social distancing norms and other Covid-related SOPs.

BJP MLA Atanasio Monserrate also expressed concern about increasing number of Covid-19 cases traced to Goa’s offshore casinos, while urging Health Minister Vishwajit Rane to direct his officials to conduct an inspection to see whether SOPs are being followed in the offshore casinos of Goa.

“They (tourists) come here to have fun, but Goans should not be infected by Covid-19 because of this. I will be speaking to the Chief Minister and the Health Minister to see what can be done to check if SOPs are being followed,” Monseratte said, commenting on the large unruly crowds outside the six offshore casinos operating in the Mandovi river off Panaji.

“No one is wearing masks. It is like a carnival. Goans may end up paying dearly for this. Maharashtra has even made testing compulsory for Goans. But here, it is free for all. According to the guidelines, they cannot allow operations like this,” Monserrate said.

Carnival is a popular Catholic event which marks the beginning of the holy lent season. On Monday, after photos of thousands of tourists milling on beaches and outside casinos without masks and in violation of the social distancing norms, were published in the local media, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had announced an increase in penalty for not wearing masks from Rs 100 to Rs 200.

With IANS inputs

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MAHAGATHBANDHAN FIELDS RJD MLA FOR SPEAKER’S POST IN BIHAR

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RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav

The Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) in Bihar on Tuesday fielded five-time Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLA Awadh Bihari Choudhury as its candidate for the post of Assembly Speaker. The election for the Speaker’s post is due on Wednesday.

Choudhury, an MLA from Siwan, is directly pitted against National Democratic Alliance (NDA) nominee and three-time BJP MLA Vijay Kumar Sinha.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Tuesday said Choudhury has filed his nomination for the Speaker’s post on behalf of the Opposition Grand Alliance. Confident of Choudhury’s victory, he said that the post of Speaker in the Legislative Assembly is an eminent and responsible post held by a leader who can take the ruling party and the Opposition along and listen to the views of all party leaders. The Speaker’s chair must be held by someone who has immense political experience, Tejashwi added.

Asked about seeking support from the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Tejashwi said he would appeal to all the Opposition MLAs to vote for a veteran leader as Speaker of the Assembly. The RJD leader said Choudhury became an MLA for the first time in 1985 and has been elected an MLA five times.

Choudhury said the Grand Alliance has nominated him as the candidate for the post of Assembly Speaker. The Siwan MLA assured all the MLAs that if elected as Speaker he would run the House following all rules and perform his task without any prejudice.

Meanwhile NDA candidate Vijay Sinha said that normally the post of Speaker goes to the ruling party as it has the majority in the House. “The post of Speaker is elected with mutual understanding of ruling and opposition parties and it is based on numbers. Our alliance has projected me on the basis of seniority and we are fully confident about it,” Sinha said.

Tarkishore Prasad, the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar and BJP leader said: “We have the numbers to elect the Speaker in the House and we will prove our majority. Traditionally, it goes to the ruling alliance.”

Meanwhile, the RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav urged pro-tem Speaker Jitan Ram Manjhi to conduct the oath-taking ceremony of every candidate of his alliance.

Yadav was hinting at Bahubali MLA Anant Singh of the RJD and Amarjeet Kushwaha of the CPI (ML). The former was elected from Mokama and is currently lodged in jail. Kushwaha has been elected from Ziradei and is lodged in Siwan jail. Both of them are facing criminal charges.

The opposition Mahagathbandhan has 110 seats in the Assembly and there is reportedly a big chance of 5 AIMIM, 1 BSP and one independent candidate voting in its favour. The ruling NDA has 125 seats. In such a situation every vote is important for both the sides.

With IANS inputs

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Hold Punjab, Haryana Chief ministers liable for stubble burning: AAP

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Senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Atishi Marlena said on Monday that the Environment Committee of the Delhi Assembly, of which she is the chairperson, met the Air Quality Commission and demanded strict action against Punjab and Haryana governments for burning stubble.

She said the commission has been requested to fix the accountability of the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana on the issue of burning stubble and take strict action against them by filing a case.

The AAP leader said the commission has also been requested to order the governments of Punjab and Haryana to resolve the stubble burning issue with bio-decomposer technology.

She said, “We presented the commission with two major agendas. The first is to give orders to the governments of Punjab and Haryana to implement the bio-decomposer developed by the Pusa Research Institute in cooperation with Delhi government with immediate effect. This is an effective as well as an efficient alternative to this problem. Secondly, we have also requested the commission to take stringent action against the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana as they have failed to curb stubble burning. The Air Quality Commission has the power to take legal actions and can order jail term to anyone causing pollution.”

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