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Cyclone Nivar intensifies, Tamil Nadu declares public holiday today

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Cyclone Nivar, centred about 130 south of Chennai, has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its bulletin on Wednesday. “It is very likely to intensify further into a very severe cyclonic storm during the next 12 hours,” the IMD added.

The cyclone hit the coast between Puducherry and Marakkanam in Tamil Nadu late in the Wednesday night, bringing with it heavy rain and strong winds.

In view of Cyclone Nivar, the Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday said the state-wide public holiday will continue till 26 November in 13 districts of the state. The Chennai airport and metro services have also been closed. As many as 26 flights from and to Chennai have been cancelled in view of Cyclone Nivar, the Chennai Airport said.

“Due to Cyclone Nivar, the statewide public holiday to continue till November 26 in 13 districts of Tamil Nadu including Chennai, Chengalpattu, Kanchipuram, Villupuram, Vellore, Thiruvannamalai, Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Mayiladuthurai, Ariyalur, and Perambalur,” said Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami.

Heavy rainfall might occur at few places over Vellore, Ranipet, Tiruvallur, Tirupattur, Krishnagiri, Tiruchirapalli, Salem and Dharmapuri districts of Tamil Nadu, the Met department said. It also predicted scattered heavy to very heavy rain at isolated places over Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Chennai, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu, Myladuthirai, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Kallakurchi, Villupuram and Tiruvannamalai District of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal.

A total of five trains have been partially cancelled, including two for Wednesday, three for Thursday, and one for 28 November, Southern

On Cyclone Nivar impact, Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, DG of IMD said, “Cyclone Nivar gradually intensifying. It could cause structural damage, uprooting of trees, damage to thatched or tin houses, and damage to banana and paddy crops. There’ll be strong winds and heavy rain. The most impact will be in Puducherry and Karaikal.”

The Southern Command of Indian Army said that the jawans are ready to assist the government and civil administration in both Tamil Nadu and Puducherry ahead of Cyclone Nivar’s landfall. As many as 12 humanitarian assistance and disaster relief teams and two engineer task forces are ready for deployment, according to reports. Such is the expected intensity of the cyclone that seven gates out of the 19 of Chembarambakkam Lake in Chennai have been opened. For the first time in around five years, the gates of the reservoir have been opened, sources said. 

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‘Modi will soon be ‘former PM’ like Atal ji’: Bhupesh Baghel on Motera stadium renaming

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Raipur (Chhattisgarh) [India], February 24 (ANI): Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Wednesday said the renaming of Motera stadium reflects a tradition followed by BJP, which had done something similar during the tenure of late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“It’s BJP’s tradition. When Atal ji was alive, Atal Chowk was named after him. He was no more the PM but Atal Chowk was named after him in Chhattisgarh. It’s a sign that Modi ji will soon be a former (PM) like him,” Baghel said while addressing a press conference about the state budget here.
Earlier in the day, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the newly-built Motera Stadium which was renamed the Narendra Modi Stadium ahead of the pink-ball Test between India and England. The stadium is the biggest cricket stadium in the world as it has a total capacity of 1,32,000.
Congress and other opposition leaders had criticised the BJP for renaming the stadium, which was earlier named after Sardar Vallabhai Patel.
BJP had hit back at the criticism and said that institutions and buildings have been named after leaders of the Gandhi-Nehru family.
Meanwhile, talking to reporters here, Chief Minister Baghel said the size of the state budget 2020-2021 was Rs 95,650 crores.
“The size of the main budget of 2020-21 was Rs 95,650 crores. The first supplementary size was Rs 3,807 crores, the second supplementary budget is 2,387 crores and the size of the third supplementary is 505 crores, the total size of the first second and third has been 1 lakh 2349 crores,” he said. (ANI)

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Smriti Irani, Giriraj Singh slam Rahul on repeat gaffe over Fisheries Ministry

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New Delhi [India], February 24 (ANI): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s repeat “gaffe” about the need for the creation of Fisheries Ministry drew sharp criticism from union ministers including Smriti Irani and Giriraj, Singh who accused him of peddling lies.
During an interaction with the fishing community in Kollam in Kerala on Wednesday, Gandhi made a veiled attack at the Central government saying no one speaks for fishermen in Delhi.
“Just like our farmers farm the land, you farm the sea. Farmers have a Ministry in Delhi, you don’t. No one speaks for you in Delhi. The first thing I would do is to have a ministry dedicated to the fishermen of India so that your issues can be defended and protected,” he said.
Gandhi had made a gaffe earlier this month at a meeting in Puducherry and demanded the setting up of a separate ministry for fisheries. The BJP leaders had then slammed his remarks.
While BJP leaders slammed Gandhi over his latest remarks, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge defended him.
Union Minister for Textiles and Women and Child Development Smriti Irani said that Wayanad MP’s “spiteful, vile politics is based on lies”.
“The fact that Rahul Gandhi sustains on a lie was evident when he again promised the people in Kerala, a ministry for fisheries. The fact that he insults the people of Kerala by speaking a lie time and again is something that the citizens need to take note of,” Irani said.
Giriraj Singh, who is Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, accused Gandhi of “misleading the people of the country”.
“He (Rahul Gandhi) should know that there is a Fisheries Department for which an investment of Rs 20,050 crore has been made by the Centre. In 70 years, work that couldn’t be done by your ‘nanaji’ and others, has been done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.
“I believe that it’s a planned strategy. The brother is putting a rift between north and south and the sister is misleading the farmers. Rahul Gandhi’s strategy is to mislead the fishermen. He is either conspiring to mislead the country or he does not have sufficient knowledge,” he added.
Union Power Minister RK Singh said the senior leaders from the Congress should inform Gandhi that a separate ministry already exists under the leadership of Giriraj Singh.
“It seems that no one has given information on Fisheries Ministry to him and he does not know about it. It is important that senior leaders of Congress should make him understand so that he doesn’t make such statements. They should correct him that the Government of India already has a Fisheries Ministry and Giriraj Singh is Cabinet Minister and Ministry is doing a lot of work,” Singh said.
“He (Rahul Gandhi) had said the same thing in the past in Puducherry,” he added.
Kharge said that attention was not being paid to the Fisheries Department.
“Fisheries Department comes under Agriculture but nobody gives attention. I appreciate what Rahul Gandhi said. They need full support from the government. Fisheries Ministry should be created. In some places, there are Fishery Ministries but at the Centre, they haven’t taken the interest.” (ANI)

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Announcements made against me from mosque: Sanjeev Balyan on clashes in Muzaffarnagar

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Muzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh) [India], February 24 (ANI): Following the clash between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) workers in Soram village of Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh, Union Minister and BJP leader Sanjeev Balyan alleged that clash was instigated by an announcement made through a mosque.
At least four people were injured reportedly on Monday during the clash at Soram village where Balyan had gone to pay homage to a deceased local and an argument ensued between the two sides.
“Ten to twelve family members of a Samajwadi Party candidate misbehaved with me in Bhaisnwal village. Five to six Lok Dal workers did the same when I was in Soram village to attend a function. After I left, a clash erupted. Announcements were made from mosque to unite against me,” the Union Minister of State for Animal Husbandry and Muzaffarnagar MP told mediapersons here on Tuesday.
Western Uttar Pradesh has been witnessing a number of farmers’ “mahapanchayats” amid the protest against the Centre’s three farm laws.
The central government had offered to put the farm laws “on hold” for 12-18 months, an offer rejected by the farmers’ unions protesting against the laws. Several rounds of talks have been held with farmers over their demand for the repeal of three new laws against which farmers have been protesting at Delhi borders for nearly three months. (ANI)

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Mangaluru identified as prominent emerging IT cluster: Karnataka Deputy CM

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Mangaluru (Karnataka) [India], February 24 (ANI): The Karnataka government has identified Mangaluru as a prominent technology cluster in its effort to expand the information technology industry as per ‘Beyond Bengaluru’ policy, said Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwathnarayan on Wednesday.
Ashwathnarayan during his inaugural speech at Mangaluru Innovation Conclave said, “Mangaluru has been identified as the emerging technology cluster which includes the districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, and Kodagu and this process will be accelerated with appropriate measures.”
“Mangaluru will also emerge as the startup hub apart from becoming an IT hub and the government is taking required measures towards that end. Mangaluru has also been considered as a prominent cluster with regard to ESDM (electronic system and design management) and this is a prominent zone in the ‘Beyond Bengaluru’ region,” he said.
To promote the growth of innovation and technology in areas ‘Beyond Bengaluru’, the Karnataka government has constituted the Karnataka Digital Economy Mission (KDEM) to promote digital industry growth, attract investments and promote the technology industry across our state.
The Deputy Chief Minister said that the body would work alongside the state government and would help in increasing the contribution of the digital economy in the state to 30 percent of state’s GSDP and generate additional employment of around 30 lakhs in the next 5 years. “We are also targeting revenue of USD150 billion in IT exports in Karnataka in the next five years.” (ANI)

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Have Rahul, Sonia ever praised Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue?: Ravi Shankar Prasad hits out at Cong criticism over Motera Stadium renaming

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New Delhi [India], February 24 (ANI): Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday hit out at the Congress party whose leaders had expressed disapproval over the naming of the Motera Cricket Stadium after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and asking if Sonia or Rahul Gandhi had ever praised the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue in Kevadia.
“Has Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi ever praised world’s tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Kevadia? Have they visited it? What more can be said?” the Union Minister said at a press conference here.
Earlier today, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the 1,32,000-seater stadium, the largest cricket in the world.
Speaking at the inauguration of the stadium President Kovind noted that the stadium also provides world-class facilities for various sporting activities.
“It is a matter of pride for us that the Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium has become the world’s largest cricket stadium with a capacity of 1.32 lakh spectators. The stadium is not only the largest in the world but also provides world-class facilities for various sporting activities,” he said.
Following the President’s announcement, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had tweeted, “Maybe they just realised the stadium was named for a Home Minister who had banned their parent organisation! Or maybe this is advance booking to ensure the next visiting Head of State is hosted here, like Trump? Or is this the beginning of a legacy-creation-thru-labelling spree?”
The BJP has also hit back stating that significant sports infrastructure, awards, and trophies in the country have been named after members of the Nehru-Gandhi family. (ANI)

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Naming of world’s largest stadium after PM Modi a ‘humble attempt’ to honour his vision, says JP Nadda

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New Delhi [India], February 24 (ANI): Bharatiya Janta Party national president Jagat Prakash Nadda on Wednesday said that the naming of the world’s largest stadium after Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a “humble attempt” to honour his vision.
“With the untiring efforts and policies of the Prime Minister, India will secure the top position in sports as well. The naming of the world’s largest stadium after PM Narendra Modi is a humble attempt to honour his vision,” Nadda tweeted.
Earlier in the day, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the newly-built Motera Stadium which was renamed the Narendra Modi Stadium ahead of the pink-ball Test between India and England.
The stadium is the biggest cricket stadium in the world as it has a total capacity of 1,32,000 and all the facilities have been taken care of. (ANI)

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