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Farmers, ordinary citizens suffering due to increased fuel prices, says Samyukta Kisan Morcha

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New Delhi [India], February 20 (ANI): The farmers, as well as ordinary citizens of the country, were incurring huge losses due to the rising prices of petrol, diesel and gas, said the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of protesting farmer unions, on Saturday.
The farmer body also said that increased fuel prices are also resulting in farmers getting lower minimum support price (MSP) for their produce.
“The central government gives lower MSP by wrong calculations of inputs and now due to rising fuel prices, input costs have also increased. Along with farmers, ordinary citizens of the country will also suffer huge losses due to the rising prices of petrol, diesel and gas. People are protesting all over the country against rising prices,” the SKM said in a statement.
All India Krishak Khet Majdoor Sangathan (AIKKMS) protested against rising petrol prices in Jhajjar and Rewari of Haryana, in which a large number of people participated, it said.
Fuel prices have been rising over the past few weeks with petrol price touching an all-time high of Rs 97 per litre in Mumbai on Saturday, while diesel rate crossed Rs 88-mark.
To strengthen the ongoing farmers’ movement against central farm laws, the series of Kisan Mahapanchayats is taking place throughout the country, the SKM said adding that “even though police arrested several farmers during their February 18 ‘rail roko’ programme across the country and filed “false cases” against them, this movement will continue”.
It also announced that on February 23, ‘Pangdi Sambhal’ Day will be celebrated across the country including all Delhi borders and urged all women and male protesters to celebrate this day by wearing a turban of any color to assert self-respect.
The central government has 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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BNS Prottoy Commander meets Western Naval Command Chief in Mumbai

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 4 (ANI): Commanding Officer (CO) of Bangladesh Navy Ship BNS Prottoy Captain Ahamed Amin Abdullah met Vice Admiral RB Pandit, Chief of Staff of the Western Naval Command on Thursday as part of the Bangladesh Navy ship Prottoy’s visit to Mumbai from March 2 to March 4.

The CO of Bangladesh Navy ship also laid a wreath at Sea Monument “Gaurav Stambh” within the Naval Dockyard premises in Mumbai.

“Captain Ahamed Amin Abdullah Commanding Officer (CO) of Bangladesh Navy Ship BNS Prottoy accompanied by Assistant Defence Advisor, High Commission of Bangladesh called on Vice Admiral RB Pandit, Chief of Staff, Western Naval Command Headquarters,” tweeted the Indian Navy.
“BNS Prottoy on return passage to Bangladesh from Abu Dhabi, UAE is currently visiting Mumbai from March 2 to March 4. The CO also laid a wreath at the ‘Gaurav Stambh’ – a monument to commemorate Victory at Sea, at Naval Dockyard Mumbai,” further read the tweet. (ANI)

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Indian Army along with NGO inaugurates bakery to provide employment to women in J-K’s Rajouri

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Rajouri (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 4 (ANI): The Indian Army in collaboration with a non-governmental organization (NGO) has inaugurated a bakery to provide employment to women in Kalakote village in Rajouri district.
The bakery was inaugurated on Wednesday in collaboration with the NGO Aseem Foundation.
The 63 Rashtriya Rifles came up with the project to help create employment for women of the under-developed and remote area and help them become self-reliant and improve their standard of life.
The women were trained for 21 days starting from February 8 to February 28 and during this period they were provided with practical knowledge about the bakery operation and baking techniques of several items like cakes and cookies.

“We were provided training for 21 days, in which we learned to bake cakes and cookies of several types. We really thank the NGO and Indian Army for helping and guiding us during the process,” said Saroj Bala, a baker.
Speaking to ANI, Mehak Khurshid, a teacher at Aseem Foundation said, “It is a great experience in teaching other women such tasks through which they can stand up on their feet and be financially independent. We really thank Indian Army for supporting us through the way.”
“During the training period, we taught them to bake a banana cake, walnut cake, dry cake, bread, a famous Maharashtra’s sweet named “Naan Khathai”, and coconut cookies,” Khurshid added.
Expressing gratitude towards the Indian Army, another baker, Khalida Parveen said, “It is a great opportunity provided by the Indian Army. They stood behind us like a backbone and we will be always thankful for the effort they have put in for us.”

The initiative is a small part of the overall effort of the Indian Army towards women empowerment in order to enable them to seek better job opportunities and to make them capable of initiating their own ventures and become self-reliable.
The Municipal Committee Chairman and the general public of the village conveyed their gratitude for this enterprising initiative for the positive engagement of the unemployed women to pursue a line of a profession with better opportunities. (ANI)

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Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel inoculated in 2nd phase of COVID-19 vaccination drive

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New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): As second phase of vaccination of COVID-19 is underway in India, Union Tourism and Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel on Thursday took the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
“I trust the visionary leadership, scientist, indigenous vaccines, doctors and healthcare workers of this nation. I received my first dose of vaccine at AIIMS Delhi today,” Patel tweeted.
Several other union ministers and politicians have also received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the second phase of the world’s largest vaccination drive.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Delhi and appealed to all those who are eligible to get inoculated.
Following the PM, several Union Ministers, including Amit Shah, S Jaishakar, Jitendra Singh, also received their first vaccine jabs.
India commenced its second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus from March 1. (ANI)

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AgustaWestland case: Court dismisses ED’s plea for cancellation of bail to Gautam Khaitan

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New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): A Delhi Court on Thursday dismissed the Enforcement Directorate’s plea for cancellation of bail granted to the accused Gautam Khaitan in AgustaWestland money laundering case.
Special Judge Arvind Kumar while passing the order noted that the alleged act raised by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the part of the accused Gautam Khaitan is not so serious as to warrant the cancellation of bail of the accused. However, the court imposed several more bail conditions on Khaitan.
“However, some further conditions need to be imposed on accused to avoid any chance of tampering of evidence or influencing the witnesses. The accused shall report to the ED office once a week. He shall not contact any witness of this case particularly Pareen Khan. It is made clear that the aforesaid conduct of the accused shall be considered, also at the time of considering the request of the accused for the permission to travel abroad, if made,” the court said in the order.
The ED contended that the accused Gautam Khaitan had tried to mislead the investigating agency in as much as in his statement recorded in 2014 he failed to recognise Pareen Khan, however, in the year 2017-2018 he mentioned her to be a family friend of the accused of more than 30 years and tried to avoid joining investigation on the excuse of paucity of time from December 18, 2019 to December 21, 2019 in order to avoid confrontation with the witness namely Pareen Khan who was in India to join the investigation.
The ED further said that other than meeting Pareen Khan personally, the accused has been contacting her regularly either through Whatsapp messages or through alternate mobile numbers. It is submitted that accused has been instructing the witness to delete the chat messages and has been deleting the same from his own mobile phone. The ED also submitted that the accused kept on projecting a wrong picture of the investigation and kept telling Pareen Khan to not come to India to join the investigation.
The ED also contended that the accused Gautam Khaitan had made all possible attempts to derail the investigation and not let the said witness join the investigation and asked her to destroy the Whatsapp chat. Accused Gautam Khaitan had further tutored her for presumable questions of the investigation in case of any eventuality.
Meanwhile, senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra and Advocate Pramod Luthra who represented Gautam Khaitan submitted that the accused was granted bail on January 9, 2015 after being arrested on September 23, 2014 and has since then cooperated with the investigation and attended all the court hearings in the last five years.
The lawyers further stated that Pareen Khan had not been cited as a witness in any of the complaints/supplementary complaints filed by the ED. Therefore, there was no reason for the accused to influence her. It is contended that Pareen Khan had nothing to do with the AgustaWestland controversy, which is the admitted case of the ED.
According to the ED, the accused Gautam Khaitan is involved in laundering proceeds of crime and there is sufficient evidence against him that he had floated and used various shell companies in his name and in the name of his clients to launder the proceeds of crime arising out of 12 VVIP helicopter deals between the Government of India and AgustaWestland.
The AgustaWestland case is an alleged case of corruption that is being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED. It has been alleged that bribes were paid during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime to “middlemen”, perhaps even politicians, when India agreed to buy 12 AgustaWestland helicopters built by an Italian defence manufacturing Company Finmeccanica at an estimated cost of Rs 3,600 crore. Later in 2014, the said deal was scrapped by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. (ANI)

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Rajasthan minister slams Centre over rising fuel prices

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Jaipur (Rajasthan) [India], March 4 (ANI): Rajasthan Transport Minister Pratap Khachariyawas on Thursday slammed Centre and said unlike the Rajasthan government, the Centre prefered to increase the excise duty on petrol and diesel.
“On one hand, there is Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot government’s budget, which has brought relief to all the people in the state with no tax and then there is Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government’s budget, which has increased excise duty on petrol and diesel. They have ended LPG cylinder subsidy and increased rates by Rs 300,” said the Rajasthan minister.
Rajasthan’s Assembly session had commenced from February 10, this year. The state’s budget session took place on February 24. The Union Budget was presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on February 1, 2021.
On February 26, allaying concerns of people over the upward spiralling of fuel price, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had said the price will decrease as winter season ends.
“Increase in petroleum price in international market has affected consumers too. Prices will come down a little as winter goes away. It is an international matter, price is high due to increase in demand, it happens in winter. It will come down as the season ends,” said Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
On January 29, the Rajasthan government decided to reduce the rate of value added tax on petrol and diesel by 2 per cent due to surge in fuel prices in the state. (ANI)

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Former ‘Dinamalar’ editor R Krishnamurthy passes away, Javadekar expresses grief

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New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar on Thursday condoled the demise of R Krishnamurthy, former editor of Tamil daily ‘Dinamalar’.
“Saddened to hear the demise of R Krishnamurthy ji. His contribution was instrumental in making Dinamalar, one of the most popular Tamil Dailies. Deep condolences, may God give strength to his family to bear the loss. Om Shanti,” Javadekar said in a tweet.
Krishnamurthy, a renowned epigraphist, passed away at the age of 88 on Thursday morning. He had played a pivotal role in simplifying the Tamil script. He is survived by his wife K Rajalakshmi, two sons and two daughters.
Dinamalar was founded in 1951 by TV Ramasubba Iyer and Krishnamurthy had joined it in 1956.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary and former Karnataka minister CT Ravi also expressed his condolences on Krishnamurthy’s death.
“Pained to learn about the sad demise of Thiru R Krishnamurthy, the former editor of popular Tamil daily Dinamalar. Fondly known as RK, Thiru Krishnamurthy published many papers and books on Tamil script, epigraphy and numismatics. I pray for the Sadgati of His Soul. Om Shanti.” he tweeted. (ANI)

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