The Ahmedabad-Kevadia seaplane service, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, has created controversy as it has not received any environmental clearances by the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment. PM Modi, who was on a two-day visit to Gujarat, had taken a seaplane from Kevadia to the Sabarmati riverfront on Saturday. According to reports, the process required for water aerodrome has also not been completed yet.
The process of constructing water aerodromes at the Statue of Unity, Shatrunjay Dam and Palitana Dam for seaplanes was submitted by the Gujarat government to the Ministry of Environment on 22 April. At that time, an expert committee of the Ministry of Environment had been asked to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the three sources to determine whether the project would have any impact on biodiversity and animals. A public hearing is to be held after that report is released. The Gujarat Pollution Control Board is also scheduled to hold a public hearing on the basis of this report so that people can submit objections. The EIA report has to be submitted by the Pollution Control Board to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.
Environmentalist Rohit Prajapati told The Daily Guardian that the seaplane cannot be inaugurated without an environmental impact report as the Gujarat government’s application is pending in the environment ministry. The Aviation Department of the Gujarat government is also under fire for violating the rules of Notification 2006 of the Union Ministry of Environment by not preparing an EIA report.
PM Modi had promised to launch a seaplane during the Assembly elections in 2017. However, it was learned that the Gujarat government had applied to the Ministry of Forest and Environment for the seaplane project at Shatrunjay Dam, Panitana Dam and Statue of Unity, but forgotten to apply for the construction of a water aerodrome on the Ahmedabad riverfront. The matter was finally brought to the notice of the Environment Department on 27 August.
Environmentalists are now preparing to return to the arena with this news of the Statue of Unity and the water aerodrome built for the seaplane on the Ahmedabad Sabarmati riverfront being in flagrant violation of environmental rules. Plans are afoot to take legal action against the government over its serious implications, which could hamper the seaplane project in the coming days.
Due to the short distance between the water aerodrome and the Pirana dumping site, there is a high chance of birds being hit with the seaplane. On Saturday, attempts had been made to keep the birds away from the seaplane site by setting off firecrackers continuously from 9 am to 1.40 pm to prevent any incidents during the arrival of PM Modi. Airport personnel had been placed at different places to detonate fireworks. Zone guns were also used for explosions. Along with the zone guns, 3 bombs were used extensively.
The Prime Minister inaugurated the country’s first water aerodrome on the occasion of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary.
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Centre, state officials to review CoWin portal functioning today
New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI): The chief of the CoWin portal, which is used for the COVID-19 vaccine administration by the Central government, RS Sharma, and Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan are scheduled to meet representatives from states today over the issue of glitches, said Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday.
While addressing a press conference after getting his first shot of COVID-19 vaccine, the Health Minister said, “Yesterday there were some glitches at the CoWin portal because a huge number of people was trying to register at the same time but within hours we were able to resolve the issue.”
As of 9:30 am today there have been 39 lakh registrations for COVID-19 on Co-Win 2.0 portal, the Minister added.
The Health Minister said that he and his wife have been administered Covaxin. “This vaccine will work as ‘Sanjeevani’. Hanuman Ji crossed India to get it, but this ‘Sanjeevani’ is available at your nearby private and government facility,” he added.
The Minister said that he had paid 250 rupees for the vaccine and added that those who can afford should pay for these vaccines.
Vardhan on Monday had also pointed out that in the next few days the “walk-in system” for COVID-19 vaccination will be further streamlined in states to ensure smooth functioning.
Those who have successfully taken the first dose after registration will get their next appointment automatically scheduled on the 29th day. (ANI)
Andhra Governor receives first dose of coronavirus vaccine at govt hospital in Vijayawada
Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) [India], March 2 (ANI): Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan on Tuesday took COVID-19 vaccine at Government General Hospital in Vijayawada.
The Governor’s wife Suprava Harichandan was also administered coronavirus vaccine today.
India commenced its third 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.
The Union Health Ministry of Health on Tuesday informed that a total of 1,48,54,136 people in the country have been vaccinated against COVID-19 so far.
As many as 12,286 new COVID-19 cases and 91 deaths were reported in India in the last 24 hours. With 12,464 fresh recoveries, the cumulative discharges reached 1,07,98,921.
The total coronavirus caseload in the country has gone up to 1,11,24,527, including 1,68,358 active cases and 1,57,248 deaths. (ANI)
Freight rates up by 25 pc due to hike in diesel prices, claims AITWA
By Shailesh Yadav
New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI): The surging diesel prices have led to an increase in freight rates across modes of transport as the rates have increased by 25 per cent, said Chairman of All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA) on Tuesday.
“30 to 35 per cent increase in the diesel price has contributed around 25 per cent to 30 per cent increase in the freight rates for the last one year for Full Truck Load (FTL) deals, which are generally between big transporters and companies,” said Pradeep Singal, Chairman, AITWA.
Explaining the impact of the continuous hike in fuel prices on the transport industry, Singal said, “We are not able to deliver instantly to our customers in such a competitive market. We have our annual, semi-annual contracts, and if the consignment has been left to us, it is not possible for us to charge more from the client later on. So, some portion of it has to be absorbed by the transport organisation and it is really impacting our profitability and also our cost of operation has gone up due to increase in the diesel prices, which has increased our capital cost.”
Requesting the government to reduce the prices, Singal said, “Inflation is increasing, it is going to impact all the industries. We should have a uniform price of diesel all over India, which will help us as we would not send our trucks to places only where diesel is cheap.”
He further suggested that the increase or decrease in diesel prices should be done only once a month so that the dealers can adjust their contracts and renegotiate with companies.
The small transporters’ conditions are worse due to the increase in freight rates.
Haryana Freight Carrier, Director, Subir Agarwal has who has his office at Transport Nagar, Ghaziabad and takes booking for Jharkhand and Bihar says that people like him are suffering due to the price rise.
“Our booking charges are the same for the last two years. We are booking parcels at the rate ranging between Rs 5 per kg to Rs 7 per kg. In October 2020, we were paying freight charges of Rs 66,000 per truck, which have a loading capacity of 15 tonne for Delhi to Ranchi or Delhi to Jamshedpur. Now, we are forced to pay Rs 90,000-Rs 95,000 per truck having a loading capacity of 15 tonne,” Agarwal said.
Speaking to ANI, owner of New Habibi Transport Corporation, Sonu said, “Today the diesel rate is around Rs 82 per litre for us, which is the reason behind the freight hike. Our trucks cover a distance of 2,800 km if we transport goods to Ranchi. The average mileage of truck is 4 km per litre and the diesel is around Rs 10- Rs 12 since October 2020, so we have to pay around Rs 8,000 more for fuel than what we were paying in October.”
Since October 2020, the oil marketing companies have increased the petrol prices by Rs 10 per litre and diesel prices by Rs 11 per litre in the metro cities to boost revenue and recover the pre-COVID price levels.
After the 16th revision of prices in February, petrol reached a new record of Rs 91.17 per litre in Delhi and diesel has touched the height of Rs 88.60 per litre in Mumbai on Saturday. (ANI)
Safe for 14-year-old to terminate 26-week pregnancy? SC asks Haryana hospital
New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the medical board of a government hospital in Haryana to examine if it would be safe for a 14-year-old girl to terminate her 26-week pregnancy.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde has asked the medical board to submit its report by next week on abortion of the girl.
The top court will next hear the matter on Friday.
The 14-year-old girl, in her plea, has stated that she was raped by her cousin leading to an unwanted pregnancy. She approched the apex court seeking permission to terminate her 26-weeks pregnancy.
Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, termination of pregnancy exceeding 20 weeks is not permissible without the leave of the court. (ANI)
Supreme Court adjourns hearing in Mullaperiyar Dam case till March 9
New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing in the Mullaperiyar dam maintenance and safety issues case till March 9, after the Union of India (UOI) sought more time to file its reply in the case.
The UOI today sought more time to file its reply in the case, after which a bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar and also comprising Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, allowed the prayer of the UOI and deferred the hearing till March 9, Tuesday.
“We adjourn the hearing of the case till March 9,” the bench of the Apex Court, led by Justice Khanwilkar said, today.
The top court was hearing the Mullaiperiyar dam case involving the maintenance and safety of it.
The Mullaperiyar dam, exists on the Periyar river, issue involved the ongoing water legal dispute between Tamil Nadu against the Kerala government. The issue pertains to the water sharing dispute and several other issues between two southern states — Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Mullaperiyar dam is located in Kerala’s Idukki district near Thekkady on Periyar River but is maintained and managed by the Tamil Nadu government. (ANI)
SC adjourns hearing of petitions challenging S Jaishankar’s election to Rajya Sabha
New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of petitions challenging the election of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde adjourned the hearing as letter for adjournment was circulated in case.
One of the petitions against Jaishankar has been filed by Congress leader Gaurav Pandya.
The pleas have also raised the issue of Election Commission’s (EC) power on issuance of separate notifications for holding bypolls for casual and regular vacancies in Rajya Sabha.
The pleas related to 2019 Rajya Sabha bypoll on two seats from Gujarat and both seats were won by BJP candidates.
On February 4 last year, the Gujarat High Court had dismissed the plea of Gaurav Pandya against Jaishankar’s election to the Rajya Sabha. It had also dismissed two other petitions filed by Congress leaders Chandrikaben Chudasama and Pareshkumar Dhanani against the election of BJP candidate Jugalji Thakore.
Jaishankar and Thakore had defeated Congress candidates Pandya and Chudasama respectively in the bypolls.
Chandrikaben Chudasama and Pareshkumar Dhanani had also approached the top court against High Court order dismissing their election petitions against Thakore. Both Jaishankar and Thakore were elected to Rajya Sabha on July 5 last year in by-polls held on seats vacated by Union ministers Amit Shah and Smriti Irani.
The Congress leaders have challenged the High Court order in the apex court.
Jaishankar while defending his election to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat last year, has stated in it’s affidavit before the apex court that the procedure of voting adopted by the Election commission did not flout any law or constitutional provision.
Congress leader’s appeal against the Gujarat High Court’s order is based on “misrepresentation of facts and incorrect understanding of law”, the minister has said.
The Congress leaders had moved the High Court challenging the election on the ground that the EC’s notifications, treating the two vacant seats to be of different categories and requiring bypolls to be held separately, were “illegal and in violation of provisions of the Constitution, the Representation of People (RP) Act, 1951 and the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.” (ANI)
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