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Congress neither has a leader nor policy or ideology: PM Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday slammed the Congress, saying the grand old party “neither has a leader nor policy or ideology”. He also alleged that the previous Congress government and their policies had damaged Assam “socially, culturally, geographically and politically”.

Addressing a public rally in Karimganj ahead of the Assembly elections in Assam, PM Modi said, “On one side, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a policy, leadership, and good intentions. While on the other side, Congress neither has a leader nor policy or ideology.” The Prime Minister also criticised the Congress for their alliance with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).

He alleged that Congress has become so weak that it can go to any extent and join hands with anyone. “Can a party that doesn’t have stable thinking give a stable govt to Assam,” the PM questioned.

He further urged people to vote for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). He referred to the development works done in Assam over the past five years under the BJP-led government and said attention has been paid to boosting infrastructure.

“Decades ago, this entire region was one that had better connectivity. However, Congress’ corrupt and vote-bank-based governance had made Assam one of the most disconnected states in India. Congress has kept Assam divided in every way, BJP tried to connect Assam in every way. ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ is the BJP’s development mantra,” PM Modi said.

“In 2016, when I came here, I was shocked to know that Congress governments ran Divisional Commissioner for Barak Valley from Guwahati. National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has overcome this injustice,” he added.

PM Modi said rail connectivity was very poor in Barak Valley and people have continuously demanded it. “The quality of roads, too, was poor. People had to travel long distances to reach different parts of Assam. The gas connectivity, too, wasn’t up to the mark. The BJP government is swiftly pulling Assam out of this situation. New roads, flyovers, and bridges are being built. The Bhupen Hazarika Setu has also been completed by our government,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the work done by the NDA government in Assam is also being praised by visitors to the state. “The widening of railway tracks was done on mission mode and big trains are also reaching here. The number of trains reaching this region has doubled in the last few years,” he said.

The Assembly elections in Assam for 126 seats will be held in three phases starting on 27 March. The counting of votes will take place on 2 May.

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Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to be active: Arpita Mehta

Fashion designer Arpita Mehta charted her journey in the world of fashion in 2009 and has since become a new-age force to be reckoned with. In an exclusive interview with NewsX, she spoke about her journey, Covid-19 pandemic, and more.

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Arpita Mehta, who won the most glamorous designer of the year in her graduating fashion show from S.N.D.T. University in Mumbai is a very talented young Indian fashion designer. She started her own label in the year 2007 after working under renowned fashion designer Manish Malhotra for two years. Now she has her own studio in Juhu, Mumbai. Arpita recently joined NewsX for an exclusive interview for NewsX India A-List talking not only about how her journey started but her contributions to the pandemic situation as well.

Starting with her journey from school days Arpita told us, “To be honest I was an absolute nerd in school and was a hardworking student. But when the big question came about what I wanted to do next, I was really perplexed and I remember my parent’s reaction to fashion they were very surprised. Ten years ago people didn’t see fashion the way they see it now, so at that point of time it took me a while to convince them but I went ahead and studied fashion at S.N.D.T. University, Mumbai. After completing the three-year course from the institute, I worked with the designer for two years and after that, I launched my own label.”

With perseverance and a knack for detailing, she debuted at the Lakmé India Fashion Week Winter/Festive ’13, showcasing her very first collection, ‘Violet Garden’ that featured unique digital prints embellished with intricate mirror work detailing. And there has been no turning back since. Today, Arpita’s illustrious clientele include industrialists, fashion industry stalwarts and celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Sonam Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Kareena Kapoor Khan, and Alia Bhatt, to name a few.

“It was not immediately that I launched my own label, it took me a few years and more years for me to figure out what I want to do and how I want to do it. I had no contacts in the field of fashion to help me. I started from absolutely scratch and finding my own team of workers. The beginning years were complete struggles and mistakes that I made but I feel that something that helped me to decide upon what I wanted to do, what my brand should be about, what is aesthetic to take forward. The struggle of starting everything from scratch made me have my own individual personality that I built on myself and on my brand. Ten years later now, yes we are having a good time,” continued Arpita.

When asked about how she feels now after a decade in the industry and how she marked the occasion of launching her very own Flagship store, she responded, “Ten years, to be honest, was a very big milestone for me because even though it’s been ten years I feel we just haven’t been working for long. We launched our first Flagship store in Mumbai and as it was in 2020, we couldn’t make a big physical launch but we did do a digital launch and we did it well. The storehouses all our signature style lehengas to raffle sarees to mirror jackets which everyone loves, basically everything and it’s kind of a very contemporary looking store where one can spot it from outside. Apart from launching this, we even launched a very special coffee table book which is something very dear to me and it had all the inspirations of the brand from where we all were inspired by. We did get a very few known actors from Bollywood who are also friends and well-wishers of the brand to do a campaign for us. This was truly very special and once can see it online.”

Talking about her inspirations, Arpita said, “I feel constantly inspired by nature be it the sea, be it the forest or flowers. Nature is constant but even apart from that, there’s always this added element that I am inspired by which keeps changing I feel every season, every three months or every six months. Inspiration comes anywhere and anytime and I feel something that always resonates with every collection that I do, be it in the form of print or embroidery. Therefore inspiration is everywhere, you just have to be active.”

When asked about her beliefs that sets her brand apart from the others, she said, “I feel very early on my brand as in me. There is this craft of mirror work which is very true to a place in Gujarat and Rajasthan and has been around for years. What we did is because I have a sentimental connection with that being a Gujarati, and it’s something I wore a lot as a child. It kind of stuck with me and I wanted to do something different and unique that no one has been doing at that time. We took this craft and we made it in a contemporary manner. We organised the craft and presented it in such a way that one could wear obviously not just in that part but people could wear from the smallest to biggest Indian functions. I feel that this identity, the kind of embroidery and the mirror work that we used is something that has stuck with the brand right from the beginning until now and I think that is something that sets us apart from the rest.”

Talking about 2020 and how she coped up personally and professionally as well, the designer said, “I feel all of 2020 and now also in 2021 there has been a mix of emotions. Some days you are feeling anxiety and some days you are feeling overwhelmed by what’s happening around and some days you feel helpless that am sitting at home. To sum it all up it has been a mix of all emotions, while you have been mentally active but physically inactive because we were all at home. But it has also given us a lot of time to reflect on our personal lives and the way we interact with other people where work is concerned or where family is concerned and I think that helped me a lot in this time to just kind of go back into the past and see where and on have we been spending our time doing all this life.”

On a concluding note, the designer shared with us about the initiative she started to help the community at large during the pandemic. “We thought of coming up with an initiative last month called ‘Wishful Wednesday’ where every Wednesday we hold a sale digitally and we reach out to all our clients all over the world. We are offering them our garments and our latest collections at a discounted price and whatever amount comes out of that sale we have been directing it towards charity. We have tied up with different NGOs who have been doing absolutely amazing work and reaching out to people who are suffering from multiple Covid issues.”

“I just felt that was the way for us to give back to our country because you know it feels helpless and therefore we thought of taking this initiative where everyone comes in together and try to do their level best on whatever they can. It’s been amazing, the responses have been overwhelming and you feel amazing about the fact that so many people have come forward,” added Arpita.

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TIGER’S RETREAT: BIG CATS HAPPILY LIVING IN MADHYA PRADESH

Their number has gone up by 218 in the past four years; in next census, it should be over 600.

Dr Shailendra Shrivastava

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The official figures of tigers in a state indicates how much forestlands it has; and how clean its environment is. Such a green milieu also shows how benevolent Mother Nature is to that state and signals its prosperity. The forests of Madhya Pradesh are echoed with the roars of tigers. Those rolls waft a message that the big cats are flourishing with vitality in a natural habitat in the state.

Madhya Pradesh lies in the heart of India. It is also home to tigers. They live here in peace. The state is not only known to the world for its culture, tradition, and historical vestiges but also for its natural resources and tigers. In the past four years, the number of tigers has shot up by 218. If their number goes up in this way, then there will be more than 660 tigers next year, when the tigers census will take place.

According to the 2018 Tiger Census, Madhya Pradesh has 526 tigers. The state had 308 big cats in 2014, nevertheless. The forest department is enthusiastic about the fact that as the number of tigers has increased in the state, one can see big cats even in those districts where there had been no tigers.

The story does not end here. Eleven districts have seen a rise in the number of tigers. The number of big cats has gone up so much in Kanha, Bandhavgarh, and Pench Tiger reserve that one can see them stroll in normal forest areas. As far as Bhopal goes, sightings of big cats in the state capital and its nearby areas are barely uncommon. There are reports about the movements of nearly one and a half dozen tigers in forests around the state capital. Similarly, 40 tigers ramble in the dark deep woods of Balaghat.

The movements of tigers caught the sight of many foresters in Indira Sagar and Omkareshwar dams. There had barely been any big cats in these areas. Forest officials shifted chital (spotted deer) to these areas to increase the population of tigers. The tigers are fond of hunting chital. The efforts of the forest department yielded fruits. In the past four years, people have spotted big cats in the forests of Dewas. There were no tigers in these forests earlier.

Foresters also caught the glimpse of tigers in the woods of Khandwa, Panna, Chhatarpur, Damoh, Umaria, Chitrakoot, Maihar, Sarangpur, Satna, Rewa, Katni, Shahdol, Vyauhari, and Jabalpur. People living in Mahoba district on the rims of Uttar Pradesh have spotted tigers from Panna Tiger Reserve. Similarly, many people have seen the movements of tigers on the roads of Sidhi, Chhattisgarh, Pench, and on the borders of Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

THE NUMBER OF TIGERS HAS INCREASED IN PAST TWO YEARS; 60% RISE IN RESERVED AREAS

The number of tigers has gone up since 2018 from 5% to 60%. The official figures of tigers have increased by 100 in five national parks, 24 in reserved forests, and 63 in forests in the state in the past two years. Besides, there are more than 45 cubs across the state, which will become one-year old by the time the census begins next year. The forest officials say if the number of tigers continues to increase in this way, it will be 660 when the census begins next year.

Bandhavgarh has seen the highest number of tigers in the past two years, which is 40. According to an internal survey, there were 124 big cats in Bandhavgarh National Park in 2018. Now, it has shot up to 164. Similarly, Panna Tiger Reserve had 25 tigers. Their number has now grown to 42.

Kanha National Park which had 88 tigers in 2018 has now 118. Pench Tiger Reserve had 61 tigers, whose number has gone up to 64. In the same way, Satpura Tiger Reserve had 40 tigers in 2018. Now, it has 45. Two years ago, Dubri had five tigers. The number has gone up to 13 now. The internal survey is, however, conducted on the method followed across the country to estimate the number of big cats.

REASONS FOR THE RISING NUMBER OF TIGERS IN MADHYA PRADESH

The number of tigers has increased in Madhya Pradesh because it has a more conducive atmosphere in its forests, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries to the growth of big cats than other states. The state provides in its national parks and in its wildlife sanctuaries an environment favourable to the breeding of tigers. They are also given proper food. In the reserves—especially in the national parks and in the tiger reserves—there are adequate arrangements for their protection. In the past decade, many villages have been displaced from the core areas of tigers such as Kanha, Panna, Pench, Satpura, and Bandhavgarh reserves.

Now that the villagers have been ousted and those areas have turned into grassy lands, the number of chitals, sambhar, blue bulls, and four-horned antelopes have increased. The tigers count on these animals for survival. The tiger is an integral part of forests. This animal plays a significant role in developing ecosystem and diversity.

This wild animal helps nature to maintain a balance between the food chain and trees. Therefore, the presence of tigers is necessary to maintain the ecosystem.

Dr Shailendra Shrivastava is retired DGP, Madhya Pradesh & Chairman, Citizens for Change Foundation.

The number of tigers has gone up since 2018 from 5% to 60%. The official figures of tigers have increased by 100 in five national parks, 24 in reserved forests, and 63 in forests in the state in the past two years. Besides, there are more than 45 cubs across the state, which will become one-year-old by the time the census begins next year.

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BIGGEST PALMETUM IN NORTH INDIA INAUGURATED AT HALDWANI IN UTTARAKHAND

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The first Palmetum, specialized botanical park, of Uttarakhand, which is also the biggest in the whole of North India was inaugurated on Sunday.

Chief Conservator of Forest (CCF) Sanjeev Chaturvedi on Sunday inaugurated the Palmetum which has been developed by the research wing of the Uttarakhand Forest Department in the premises of Uttarakhand Forest Research Institute located in Haldwani. The Palmetum has around 100 different species of Palms.

Main aim of establishment of Palmetum is to promote conservation, further research and to create awareness about importance and ecological role of various palm species. Palmetum completed in a period of 3 years; it has been funded under CAMPA scheme of Central Government with an amount of 16 lakhs only, said Sanjiv Chaturvedi, Chief Conservator Forest, Uttarakhand.

Chaturvedi told The Daily Guardian, “The project has been established in an area of approximately 3.00 Acre, in Haldwani. Around 20 species of Palm in this Palmetum are endangered / threatened (total number of 4 species are critically endangered, 2 species are endangered, 2 species are vulnerable and 6 species are near threatened as per (International Union for Conservation of Nature) IUCN categorization, while 1 is rare as per ENVIS, 1 is threatened as per Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board and 1 is rare as per Indian Biodiversity Portal.

Out of the total palm species, 1 is endemic to Uttarakhand); Trachycarpus takil (Takil Palm), which is endemic to Uttarakhand, is only Palm which can survive sub zero temperature and declared as threatened by Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board; other endangered / threatened species include Beaucarnea recurvata (Ponytail Palm), Hyophorbe lagenicaulis (Bottle palm), Dypsis leptocheilos (Red neck palm) , Hyophorbe verschaffeltii (Spindle Palm)etc.

Lots of edible items come from palm trees. Coconuts are an obvious product of palm trees, dates, which are very nutritious; betel nuts used extensively in India; palm oil used in making food; acai fruit -all come from palm trees. Palm wine is created from coconut palms, date palms, the Chilean wine palm and other species. Owing to their great aesthetic and ornamental value, palms are cultivated for both indoor and outdoor decoration. Palms are managed by the indigenous populations for food, fodder, handicrafts, thatches and construction materials.

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HARYANA POLICE MAKE ELABORATE ARRANGEMENTS IN VIEW OF ‘BHARAT BANDH’ CALL BY FARMERS TODAY

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In view of the nation-wide call for ‘Bharat Bandh’ given by various farmers’ organizations, Haryana Police has issued an advisory stating that people may face traffic blockages on various roads and highways of the state on September 27. Giving this information here on Sunday, a Haryana Police spokesman told The Daily Guardian that elaborate arrangements have been put in place by the civil and police administration in Haryana according to directions of the state government. The primary objective of these arrangements is to maintain public peace and order, preventing any kind of violence and to facilitate the functioning of traffic and public transport systems across the state.

The farmers organisations have given the call to block state and national highways on September 27 between 6 am and 4 pm. As per reports, it is expected that agitating groups may sit in dharna on various roads and highways and block them for some time. The national and state highways in the state may see some traffic disruptions for several hours, the spokesperson added.

All the citizens are being informed about these arrangements in advance so that they are able to plan and modify their journey accordingly, to avoid any inconvenience. All the districts have also been asked to make necessary arrangements in this regard, he added.

He also appealed the farmers to raise their issues peacefully without disturbing law and order situation. Stern action as per the law would be taken against the elements trying to disturb public order under the guise of bandh call, he said while signing off.

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CHILDREN WITNESSED AN ALARMING INCREASE IN BMI DURING PANDEMIC

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On Saturday, Prof Dr. Arun Bansal, PGIMER, spoke on various issues relating to parents, pediatricians, and kids at a hybrid conference of North Zone Pedicon, which was organized by the Chandigarh Association of Paediatricians, in which around 600 delegates across the globe participated.

As per Dr Piyush Gupta (President, Central Indian Academy of Pediatrics), “A child doesn’t need to get vaccinated first and then go to school. Moreover, it is wrong on the part of the school administration to ask parents to sign the consent form for sending kids to school. We, as IAP would speak to the government to stop this practice as it compromises the psyche of kids and parents both. IAP has created such guidelines for parents and people in common to understand what and how to handle kids during the pandemic.”

Dr. Bansal told The Daily Guardian, “It has been seen in kids that due to pandemic, increased screen time, lockdown their BMI was increased, many institutes like PGIMER did BMI study on kids, and it is found that Body Mass Index was increased 17.3 to 17.8 in just a few months. Hence, Vaccination is important but stopping kids to go school or doing physical activity may prove out to be more taxing on kids than this virus.”

Talking further Dr. Bansal and Dr. Arun Prasad said, “Maybe kids are blessed to natural antibodies against the virus but kids who had exposed to the virus, might have remained asymptomatic or moderately sick but the real problem started after the six months of the virus when the child had recorded multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a post-Covid complication. So far, PGIMER has seen 100 such complications, where lungs and other organs of kids got compromised yet PGIMER was able to treat them all.”

The organizing committee comprises of Dr Piyush Gupta (President, Central Indian Academy of Pediatrics), Dr GV Basavraj (Hon. Gen. Secretary, CIAP), Dr Ramesh Kumar (President-Elect, CIAP), Dr. Purna Kurkure (Treasurer, CIAP), Dr. Sangeeta Yadav (Organising Chairperson), Dr. Arun Bansal (Scientific Converner), Dr. Gaurav Gupta (Co-Organising Chairperson), Dr. Arun Prasad (Organising Secretary), Dr. Kanya Mukhopadhaya (Scientific Convener), Dr. Roosy Aulukh (Scientific Committee), and Dr. Gunjan Baweja (Co-Organising Secretary).

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RAGHUNATH KUCHIK’S BOOK CHRONICLES THE JOURNEY OF SHIV SENA

Urvashi Khona

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MUMBAI: Raghunath Kuchik, the deputy leader of Shiv Sena State’s Minimum Wages Advisory Committee, a minister of state rank has come out with a comprehensive book on the journey of Bal Thackrey led Shiv Sena and its journey over the past five decades. Book “Shivsena-Asmita Sangharsh Vaatchal” that was released by Shiv Sena’s senior leader and MP Sanjay Raut was presented to Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari by Kuchik himself.

Governor Koshyari who immediately read a couple of pages of the book said, “It’s very interesting.”

He also said it was a fiery brand leader and Sena Supremo Balasaheb’s personality that boosted Shivsena and BJP alliance in the past and he was confident that Sena-BJP will come together sooner or later on the development agenda.

The book that throws light on several dimensions of Shiv Sena is written by several scholars, experts including former Maha CM and senior Sena leader Manohar Joshi and several journalists. Expressing about his book that traces the political transition of Shiv Sena in the last five decades said, “It has been in my mind for a long time that such a book should be published through my organization Prabodhan Trust. We intend to bring this book in English in the future to bring it to the national level.”

Shiv Sena’s Labour leader Dr Kuchik discussed Shiv Sena’s labour movement and how it is helping people in long run across industries. Since he heads Minimum Wages Advisory Committee (MWAC) in Maharashtra, he also made Koshyari understand about Minimum Wage policy, new mechanism and enforcement. He strongly shared various labour issues for the unorganised and IT sector, their social security and pointed out how difficult COVID-19 time especially for labours across the industry.

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