Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], February 24 (ANI): As the contract entered by the Kerala government with a US firm for deep-sea fishing and allied activities landed in a controversy, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan revealed that the Centre had informed Kerala Government that “the firm was registered in the US but such agency doesn’t exist in the commercial sector, which they claim to be.”
The revelation comes a day after the Kerala Government cancelled the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between State-owned Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) with the US-based EMCC International for a deep-sea fishing project of Rs 2,950 crore that includes building trawlers, development of harbour and port development activities.
“For the state government to enter into MoU with a foreign entity, it needs to take the approval of the Government of India. Kerala govt had written to MEA Joint Secretary on 3 Oct 19 to find out about the agency with which they were planning to enter into the agreement. The Joint Secretary wrote to the Counsel General of India in New York and a copy of that was marked to the Kerala Government as sort of a reply. Counsel General replied on 21st Oct that they’ve been trying to find out about this agency but haven’t been able to get in touch with them,” Muraleedharan told ANI detailing the turn of events.
He said that the communication sent to the Kerala government also indicated that the address is not of a building where such a firm exists.
“It’s only a place which people hire for temporary requirements. The firm was registered in the US but such an agency doesn’t exist in the commercial sector which they claim to be. This is what was informed,” he said.
Further, Muraleedharan said that in spite of getting to know the facts, after four months Kerala Government signed the MoU which point to “ulterior motives”.
“It’s unbelievable that senior officers of the Government of Kerala didn’t bring it to the notice of minister. It means that the Kerala government pretended that they’re going on a real MoU despite the fact that they had received a communication that this is not an agency with which they can do business. So I doubt if there is some ulterior motive involved,” he added.
The reaction of the Minister comes after the leader of opposition of Kerala assembly Ramesh Chennithala who alleged corruption charges in the deal distributed to media persons a letter by state principal secretary KR Jyothilal addressed to the joint secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, to verify the credentials of the EMCC International, the US-based firm.
In the official letter sent to the Ministry of External Affairs it is mentioned that the company was interested in innovative technology development for deep sea fishing in Kerala and that the US firm has submitted a concept note to the Kerala government. (ANI)
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Reliance urges employees, family members to register for COVID-19 vaccination, to bear all costs
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 5 (ANI): Nita M Ambani, philanthropist, chairperson and founder of the Reliance Foundation, has sent a mail to all Reliance employees and their family members, urging them to register for the government of India’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, and the company would bear the full cost of the vaccination for the employee, spouse, parents and children.
In the mail, the non-executive director of Reliance Industries said cherishing the health and happiness of our family is what it means to be part of a family–the Reliance family.
She said: “With your support, we will soon be able to put the pandemic behind us. Until then do not let your guard down. Continue to take the utmost safety and hygiene precautions. We are in the last stages of the collective battle. Together we must win and we will win.”
Earlier, in the Reliance Family Day 2020 message, chairman and managing director Mukesh Ambani and Nita Ambani had given assurances that as soon as any approved vaccine is available in India, Reliance would plan early vaccination for all employees and family members.
The government has now started the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination programme.
She concluded the letter, “Corona haarega, India Jeetega.” (ANI)
Indian national killed in police firing by Nepal police
Pilibhit (Uttar Pradesh) [India], March 5 (ANI): An Indian national sustained injuries in police firing at the Indo-Nepal border allegedly after an argument with the Nepal police and died at a hospital, said Uttar Pradesh Police on Thursday.
The deceased was identified as Govinda, 26, who had gone to Nepal with two other men, Pappu Singh and Gurmeet Singh.
Pilibhit Superintendent of Police Jai Prakash said, “We have received information that three Indian nationals who had gone to Nepal had a confrontation with Nepal Police on some issue. One man has been shot and succumbed to injuries at a hospital. Another one crossed the border and entered the India side to save his life, while the third one is still missing.”
After this incident, tension has increased in the area. The police are monitoring the situation. (ANI)
YSRCP candidates file nominations for legislative council elections
Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], March 5 (ANI) Six Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) candidates for MLC elections under MLA quota filed nominations on Thursday in Amaravati.
Challa Bhageeratha Reddy, Balli Kalyana Chakravarti, C Ramachandraiah, Mohammad Iqbal, Duvvada Srinivas and Karimunnisa have filed nominations yesterday here.
The election is necessitated as four members are retiring from the state legislative council on March 29 who includes Tippeswamy, Sandhya Rani, V V Chowdary and Mohammad Iqbal.
One seat has become vacant as Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose resigned from the council and was elected to Rajya Sabha recently. Another seat became vacant due to the death of MLC Challa Ramakrishna Reddy.
Before filing the nominations, the candidates have met with the Chief Minister and party president YS Jaganmohan Reddy at his camp office in Amaravati.
The Chief Minister handed over the B Forms to the candidates. Later, they filed nominations at the state assembly on the last date (March 4).
Polling will be held for these MLC seats under the MLA quota on March 15 and counting will follow the same day.
The election for two teachers’ MLC seats will be held on March 16. However, YSRCP decided not to contest for those two berths. The party decided to leave them for teachers’ representatives only. (ANI)
NDA to hold meeting to finalise CM, constituency distribution in Puducherry: BJP
Puducherry [India], March 5 (ANI): The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will hold a meeting to finalize the Chief Minister and constituency distribution in the forthcoming elections in Pondicherry, in two days, said BJP president V Saminathan on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters at the BJP headquarters, Saminathan said: “Union Minister McGowan had set up various working committees to expedite the work for the Pondicherry Assembly elections and that a 12-member committee headed by former minister Namasivayam had been set up to prepare the first phase election report.”
He also informed that a committee of 11 people has been formed under his leadership.
He further said that the election report will be prepared based on the wishes and views of the public.
Asking whether the NR Congress was in the alliance or not, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said that the NR Congress was part of the NDA and that a meeting of the leaders of NDA would be held in two days on the Chief Minister and the constituency agreement.
Earlier, Union Minister McGowan and top officials were present and held consultations with BJP executives.
The Congress-led government in the UT fell before completing its five-year term under Chief Minister V Naraynawamy.
Narayanasamy had resigned on February 22 ahead of a floor test in the 33-member House (including three nominated) following the resignations of five Congress and one Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) legislators.
On February 23, President Ram Nath Kovind accepted his resignation.
Kiran Bedi was replaced as state L-G with Telangana governor Tamilisai Soundararajan being given the additional charge of the UT.
The Election Commission has issued a protocol for voting. All poll officials will be vaccinated against Covid-19 before elections for five assembly polls, the commission said.
Central Armed Police Forces would be deployed and also special observers from other states would be nominated for monitoring the expenses during the assembly elections. (ANI)
Strict action will be taken against Sharjeel Usmani, says Maha Deputy CM
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 5 (ANI): Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday said that strict action will be taken against former Aligarh Muslim University student leader Sharjeel Usmani, who is accused of hurting religious sentiments with his comments at the Elgar Parishad in Pune in January.
“Strict action will be taken against Sharjeel Usmani and those who have committed the crime. Nobody will be spared. We have filed a case against him (in Elgar Parishad matter) and police are investigating the matter. What we know is that he is absconding and is in Uttar Pradesh,” said Pawar in the state Assembly session.
on February 2, Pune City Police registered an FIR against former AMU student Sharjeel Usmani for a speech he delivered at an Elgar Parishad event here.
The complaint was filed by Pradip Gawade, Pune regional secretary of Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha, for allegedly hurting religious sentiments and using objectionable words against a particular community.
Usmani had attended the Elgar Parishad event organised at Pune’s Ganesh Kala Krida Manch on January 30. Soon after, a video of him allegedly using objectionable words against the Hindu community went viral and demand for stern action against him was raised. (ANI)
Goa Crime Branch seizes 10 kg Ganja in two raids over three days
Panaji (Goa) [India], March 5 (ANI): A team of Goa Crime Branch has arrested two persons in raids conducted at different locations for allegedly possessing drugs and recovered over 10 kilograms of Ganja.
According to a statement on Thursday, “Crime branch conducted a raid on March 1 and arrested Rajesh, 38, with over five kg Ganja in Margao.”
In another raid, on March 4, the team arrested Pandurang Pakhare, 47 with over four kg Ganja at Mapusa Bus Stand.
During the investigation, accused Rajesh admitted that he was going to supply the drugs in South Goa, while the other confessed that the drugs were to be supplied in North Goa.
Two separate FIRs have been registered. Further investigation in both cases is underway, the police said in the statement. (ANI)
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