Amravati (Maharashtra) [India], February 23 (ANI): Streets in Maharashtra’s Amravati wore a deserted look, a day after it was placed under a week-long curfew due to the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the district.
However, as shops selling essential commodities will be allowed to remain open during the curfew from 8 am to 3 pm, some people ventured out of their homes to re-stock the supplies.
A local resident Pramod Kakur said many people who are not well versed with online shopping have to step out for their day-to-day chores despite curfew in place.
“People who don’t know how to do online shopping will have to step out, no matter what. Also, many people live alone who eat outside. They have to get out of their homes to arrange for their meals,” said Kakur.
Another resident Uma Shanker said if the government does not impose a complete lockdown, people will keep finding reasons to go out of their homes.
“If the government wants people to obey the curfew properly, they should deploy security forces to keep a check on people. If the government keeps the essential shops open, people will keep finding ways to move out of their homes,” said Shanker.
Amravati in Maharashtra will be placed under a week-long curfew from 8 pm on Monday due to the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in the district.
According to the Union Ministry of Health, Maharashtra has 54,306 active cases currently. The state has so far reported 19,99,982 recoveries and 51,806 deaths.
Owing to the spike in COVID-19 cases in the state, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray yesterday said the coming eight days will decide whether there will be a lockdown in the state.
On Saturday, Mumbai police fined a total of 17,500 people for not wearing face masks at public places in Mumbai. The fine for not wearing a mask is Rs 200. (ANI)
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Dollar Smuggling Case: Kerala Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan summoned by Customs on March 12
Kochi (Kerala) [India], March 6 (ANI): Customs department on Friday served notice to Kerala Assembly Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan asking him to appear before it on March 12 in connection with the dollar smuggling case.
The Speaker has been summoned to the Kochi office of the ED.
This comes after an affidavit submitted before the Kerala High Court earlier on Friday in which Customs Commissioner (Preventive) Sumit Kumar claimed that gold smuggling scam accused Swapna Suresh had disclosed that the smuggling of foreign currency was done at the instance of Vijayan and the Assembly Speaker with the help of the UAE Consulate.
“Suresh spoke with clarity about the smuggling of foreign currency at the instance of the Chief Minister and the Speaker with the help of the Consulate. She has also clearly stated about the improper and illegal activities of three ministers of the state cabinet and the Speaker,” the affidavit submitted before the High Court.
Earlier this year in January, K Ayyappan, the Assistant Private Secretary of Speaker Sreeramakrishnan was interrogated by Customs officials for nine hours in connection with the dollar smuggling case.
The case came to light during the investigation of the Kerala gold smuggling case, which is currently being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Enforcement Directorate (ED), and the Customs department.
The matter, which pertains to the smuggling of gold in the state through diplomatic channels, had come to light after 30 kg gold worth Rs 14.82 crore smuggled in a consignment camouflaged as diplomatic baggage was busted by the Customs in Thiruvananthapuram on July 5, 2020.
The Vijayan-led LDF government in the state has been facing political heat in connection with the case. This comes ahead of Assembly polls in Kerala.
The Congress party sought the chief minister’s removal for his alleged involvement in the gold smuggling case. After four hours of heated debate on January 21, the State Assembly rejected this motion following which the opposition staged a walkout.
Meanwhile, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) convenor and acting CPI (M) state secretary A Vijayaraghavan on Friday said that the alliance will march to the Customs offices in Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Kochi on Saturday “in protest against the nefarious design by Customs department to defame LDF government and Kerala Chief Minister.”
“The Customs has taken over the political campaign of the BJP and the UDF. This repugnant move is being made by the Customs after the realisation that LDF cannot be defeated politically,” Vijayaraghavan said,
Also, a statement issued by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) said that the ED, Customs and CBI are writing statements and affidavits in the courts on the baseless allegations raised by the BJP and the Congress in the recent past.
On Thursday chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan alleged the Model Code of Conduct was violated by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her visit to Kerala and she is “attempting to attack” his government by using the Enforcement Directorate (ED). (ANI)
Efforts from Ministry of Tribal Affairs help tribal women pave way for their economic development
New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): Tribal women are now paving the way for economic development in their communities due to the efforts of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
For generations, Rakshaben Nitinbhai Patel’s (36) family in Dharampur, Gujarat relied on menial jobs to fend for themselves. But for the past 10 years, the family of six has seen a total change in its finances for the better. This transformation came after Patel driven by the poverty of her family was chosen by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to train in the traditional art form Warli painting that belongs to her region-under the women empowerment scheme.
Warli painting is a tribal art form practiced by the tribal communities from the North Sahyadri range in Maharashtra. Patel learned the tribal art form in a local workshop organized by the Ministry. “Everybody does Warli painting in my village but they do regular stuff, I wanted to do something different in the workshop that can be sold in the market,” said Patel. So, she started painting bamboo handicraft products like showpieces, vases, etc. –
The idea clicked and now she sells over 30 exquisite hand-painted bamboo items at exhibitions organized by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) across India. She participates in six to seven exhibitions every year and the money earned takes care of her family’s financial needs throughout the year.
“This is a drastic change from our earlier life where my parents and ancestors worked on daily wages. And I really like doing this work as there is name, fame, and income. My entire family is proud of me,” she said. Thus, to ensure a bright future for her two kids, Patel has enrolled them in an English medium school.
Patel also ensures that her good fortune benefits the entire community and teaches painting to women at local workshops organized by NGOs.
“Besides training, we pay the students for the articles painted by them and these products are sold at the exhibition as well,” she said.
Similarly, Jareen (30) who belongs to the Gujjar community from Paliur, Chamba in Himachal Pradesh is engaged in making organic products for the past five years. The idea was given to her by a foreign tourist that she diligently followed. And today with her sister-in-law Bano, she provides work to over 200 local tribal women. They make and sell organic products like flower essential oil, handmade- soaps, beeswax candles, room freshener, etc. These products are sold in MoTA’s exhibitions as well as in government showrooms.
“This work has given employment to our entire community,” says Jareen. “If the government continues to support us like this, then poverty from the tribal areas will be wiped out within a year,” she said excitedly.
Even Rajashree Rade, (30) from Vikramgad in Palghar, Maharashtra has taken her passion for Warli paintings to places. She learned the art from her husband Rajesh Rade, (32), around eight years ago. Today she makes photo frames, t-shirts, handkerchiefs, and wooden crafts with Warli painting.
“At times we are also called to paint murals on government buildings,” she said. Though the lockdown put a halt on their income, it has not dampened their spirits. “We hope that the exhibitions and other activities by the government start again soon. This will provide us and our entire neighborhood some income,” she added.
The success of these women in tribal art forms is fueling dreams of prosperity for others as well. For instance, Suman Munda, (21) from Jharkhand’s Isco village hopes that her Sohrai paintings help her become financially independent. Though she is pursuing graduation, she hopes that her training in the art form would help her in earning some income.
“I have participated in some exhibitions occasionally organized by the Ministry and earned good pocket money earlier. If I get a chance to do it professionally, I would be more than happy to do so,” said Munda. Sohrai is a ritualistic art form done on mud walls by tribal women during harvest festivals.
To help women like these to have a sustainable means of livelihood, the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs has established a Centre of Excellence (CoE) at the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). Under this initiative, over 1000 tribal artisans from across India will undergo skilling/ mentoring sessions to get their products market-ready both in domestic and international markets.
International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8. (ANI)
Delhi couple resorts to crowdfunding for treatment of their infant suffering from rare genetic disorder
New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): A couple living in Delhi’s Paschim Vihar are trying to raise Rs 16 crore through crowdfunding to save their 10-month-old child Rehansh’s life, who is suffering from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) 1, a rare genetic disease.
SMA-1 is a genetic disorder in which a child is unable to attain his or her bodily development milestones corresponding to age.
“We came to know of the disease very late. When we took him to a doctor, the doctor said that there is only one treatment for this disease. We have only 13 months left. We have to get him treated in any way in the next 13 months. Crowdfunding is the only option left to us, but there is not much response yet because the amount is quite big. We appeal to the people and the government to come forward and help us save our child’s life,” Rehansh’s mother, Rudrakshi, told ANI.
“For four or five months, Rehansh had no problem, he was like a normal child. But after six months, he didn’t reflect the milestones he was expected to reach as per his age. Earlier, he used to sit with support, but after a while, he couldn’t sit up even with support. After that, when we saw him not corresponding to the normal milestones of a child, we consulted the doctor,” she added.
“The neurologist told us to get genetic counselling done and get SMA-1 tested. When we did the test, we found out that Rehan is an SMA-1 positive child,” she said.
She further informed that three years ago, gene therapy was developed as a treatment for SMA-1 that is not available in India. It is available only in the US and costs Rs 16 crores.
Dr Anne Mathew, who is treating the child, informed, “Children with this disease don’t survive beyond two years. He’s fine now but is going to get weaker and won’t be able to sit, swallow or breathe. There’s only one treatment where he can be given a missing genetic code via a virus. It’s a one-shot cure and the most expensive drug.”
Speaking to ANI, Rehansh’s father Manish Suri said, “If every family contributes even a little, we will be able to get our child treated. The doctor has told us that the disease is extremely rare, the ration is one in 10,000 children. We never thought that Rehansh had any problem because he was normal.”
“We came to know that the Mumbai-based couple saved their child Tiara through crowdfunding. The Indian government also helped them, so we have also used this platform to save our child and are appealing to the government and people to help us save our child’s life,” he added.
“Earlier, I was in a job. Later, I started stepped into property dealing. It is not happening now because Rehansh is in much need of care. The wife works in a bank but she has taken maternity leave. Since then, she is on leave without pay,” Manish further said. (ANI)
PM Modi calls for fighting climate change through policies, behavioural change
New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said there are two ways to fight climate change and calamities — one is through policies and orders, while the other is through behavioural change.
Delivering the keynote address at the CERAWeek 2021 through video conference, PM Modi said the share of non-fossil sources in India’s installed capacity of electricity has grown to 38 per cent.
“India is working to increase the share of natural gas from the current 6 per cent to 15 per cent by 2030. LNG is being promoted as fuel. He also mentioned the recently launched National Hydrogen Mission and PM KUSUM which promotes an equitable and decentralized model of solar energy generation,” he said.
However, the PM said the most powerful way to fight climate change is behavioural change and asked the people to ‘fix’ themselves so the world will be a better place.
“This spirit of behaviour change is a key part of our traditional habits, which teach us consumption with compassion. A mindless throwaway culture is not a part of our ethos,” he said.
The Prime Minister also expressed pride in Indian farmers, who are constantly using modern techniques of irrigation, while noting that there is growing awareness on improving soil health and reducing the use of pesticides.
He remarked that today the world is focussing on fitness and wellness. “There is a growing demand for healthy and organic food. India can drive this global change through our spices and our Ayurveda products,” he added.
He also announced that the Centre is working on metro networks in 27 towns and cities for eco-friendly mobility.
The Prime Minister said for large-scale behaviour change, the country needs to offer solutions that are innovative, affordable and powered by public participation, citing examples like people embracing LED bulbs, Give It Up Movement, increased LPG coverage, affordable transportation initiatives. He expressed happiness about the growing acceptance of ethanol across India.
PM Modi further noted that over the last seven years, India’s forest cover has grown significantly, the population of lions, tigers, leopards and waterfowls has grown. “These as the great indicators of positive behavioural changes,” he said.
He concluded, “Now is the time to think logically and ecologically. After all, this is not about me or you. It is about our planet’s future. We owe this to our coming generations.”
PM Modi received the prestigious CERAWeek Global Energy and Environment Leadership Award. The award recognises the commitment of leadership towards the future of global energy and environment, and for offering solutions and policies for energy access, affordability and environmental stewardship. (ANI)
Samyukt Kisan Morcha demands judicial inquiry in R-Day violence
Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], March 5 (ANI): The Samyukt Kisan Morcha on Friday demanded a high-level judicial inquiry into the violence that occurred on Republic Day in the national capital.
“SKM demanded a high-level judicial inquiry into the incident that happened on Jan 26, 2021, where a peaceful Kisan Parade was intentionally disrupted and the route was blocked under a deep-rooted conspiracy hatched by Delhi police at the instance of Central Government,” read a press release by the Morcha.
Today the legal panel of SKM held a press conference at Kisan Bhawan Chandigarh against the repressive measures and violation of human rights at the hands of the Centre and Delhi Police in order to foil the peaceful agitation of farmers against the three farm laws enacted by the Central Government.
They further demanded the immediate release of the farmers lodged in different jails of Delhi and withdrawal of false cases registered against farmer leaders on large scale under very serious and cognizable offences and scrapping of notices being issued to hundreds of farmers in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand under the garb of joining investigation with intention to implicate them in false cases.
More than 20 FIRs have been registered against suspected and unidentified persons in which the police is intending to involve innocent persons by issuing notices. Legal penal has called upon the farmers not to be afraid of the notices and repressive measures being taken by police and not to join the investigation and also not to respond to the notices.
They further told that till today 125 farmers out of 151 have been released on bail and others are likely to be released as their bail applications are pending for hearing. The tractors and other vehicles which were illegally retained by the police need to be released as early as possible. The legal panel is also considering initiating legal action against police officers who are responsible for torture and causing injuries to the farmers.
The legal panel and the SKM have called upon the people to come forward against the repression, putting barricades on the roads, obstructing the passages and for the restoration of democratic rights and civil liberties being curtailed by the central government which is posing a great danger to the democratic system of the country.
They further told that tomorrow for repealing the three black laws, legal guarantee on minimum support price (MSP), and shunning the repressive tactics, Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) expressway will be jammed from 11 am to 4 pm. (ANI)
2 policemen booked for taking bribes from bus driver
Indore (Madhya Pradesh) [India], March 5 (ANI): The Indore Lokayukta Police on Friday filed a corruption case against two policemen over charges of bribery.
Both the policemen were posted at Bhanwarkuwan police station. They allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 20,000 from a private bus driver for freeing his bus.
“Ramkumar Sharma, a resident of Dewas, had complained to the Lokayukta that his bus, which runs between Indore and Dewas, was taken to the Bhanwarkuwan police station by constable Rahul Raghuvanshi and another policeman for running out of permit,” Lokayukta Inspector Vijay Chaudhury told ANI.
“There he was asked for Rs 20,000 for freeing his bus by the constables. The Lokayukta registered the case recorded by the complainant. On March 1, the Lokayukta laid a trap to catch them red-handed. But, both the accused got a whiff of this and disappeared from the police station,” he added.
The Lokayukta filed a case against both of them under the Prevention of Corruption Act on the basis of the recording bu the complainant. Both the accused are absconding. (ANI)
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