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Horticulture Department provides subsidies to farmers to boost fruit plantation in J-K’s Poonch

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Poonch (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], February 21 (ANI): The Horticulture department in the Poonch district provides fruit saplings at subsidised rates to farmers to boost fruit plantation under different schemes of the department in the state.
Speaking to ANI, Abdul Hameed, Officer, Horticulture department said identified beneficiaries get 50 per cent subsidy on fruit saplings.
“Different schemes under Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) are provided to farmers. saplings of pecan nut, apple, apricot, and plum are being given to farmers on 50 per cent concession,” Hameed said.

“We are also working on the high-density plantations like apple and pecan nut have got a great scope of a plantation. Pecan nut grows in a huge quantity ranging from 50 kg to 1 quintal, from almost every tree, and the market rate for it is Rs 500 per kg,” he added.
“Farmers are coming forward on the scientific line to encourage fruit plantation in the state. We targeted 19 hectares out of which pecan nuts are 13.5 hectares and 5 hectares are fresh fruits like apple, apricot, plum, and peach,” Hameed said.
While speaking to ANI, Mohammad Junaid, a farmer said, “I have come for the first time to the horticulture nursery to buy apple and plum saplings. I really thank the department for the subsidies.”

“I have bought fruit saplings from the nursery a number of times. I have apple, pecan nut, walnut, and plum trees on my farm which provided me with income even in the COVID-19 lockdown period. I have 350 trees out of which 100 are of pecan nut and 250 of apple. I really thank the department for providing us with subsidies and knowledge to grow the trees,” said Mohammad Hafeez, a farmer.
Another farmer, Mohammad Aslam said, “I have come to buy around 500-700 saplings of apple along with my companions. We appreciate the department for cooperating with us to increase our income and providing us with adequate knowledge to grow them.”
Earlier, the Horticulture department organised a mela in Srinagar for distributing machinery at subsidised rates to farmers after identifying their requirements. Several dealers and retailers had put up their stalls to showcase their machinery which was being sold to farmers at subsidised rates. (ANI)

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Money laundering case: ED summons Ebrahim Kunju for interrogation on Mar 22

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Kochi (Kerala) [India], March 4 (ANI): The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has served a notice to former Public Works Minister and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) MLA VK Ebrahim Kunju, asking him to appear before its Kochi office on March 22 for interrogation in connection with a money laundering case.
The ED has also asked him to produce the details of his income and assets for verification.
The notice was served on Kunju in connection with the alleged deposit of around Rs 10 crore into the account of IUML mouthpiece, Chandrika daily in 2016. The money was allegedly credited through two banks following demonetisation. (ANI)

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BJP’s CEC to meet today, likely to finalise first list of candidates for upcoming Assembly polls

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New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): The Central Election Committee of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will meet on Thursday and is likely to finalise its first list of candidates for Assembly polls in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP chief Jagat Prakash Nadda, and other senior party leaders will attend the meeting which is scheduled to be held in the evening today at party headquarters here.
BJP chief Dilip Ghosh and party’s Central Observer for West Bengal Kailash Vijayvargiya arrived in Delhi on Wednesday to attend the CEC meeting.
On Wednesday, Nadda, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and his Cabinet colleague Himanta Biswa Sarma met Shah at his residence here to discuss strategy for Assam Assembly elections ahead of the CEC meeting.
The polling in four states and Puducherry will be held between March 27 and April 29. The counting of votes will be held on May 2.
As many as 18.68 crore electors will cast vote at 2.7 lakh polling stations in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry, said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora.
A total of 824 assembly constituencies shall be going for polls in four states–Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam– and the Union Territory of Puducherry. (ANI)

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Odisha government claims no loss of life in Similipal forest fire

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Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], March 4 (ANI): The Odisha government on Wednesday has claimed that there was no loss of life in the Similipal National Park fire, which has been raging for around a week and continues to rage the forest area, according to Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).
The statement came after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the fire situation at Similipal National Park a day after Union Environment, forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar sought a report on the devastating fire at the Park, one of the major biospheres in the country.
According to CMO’s official release, at a high-level meeting with senior government officials, CM Patnaik instructed officials to be vigilant and take all precautionary measures to combat the forest fire.
The Chief Minister said that “Shimlipal is not only a treasure trove of Odisha or India but also an invaluable asset of the whole world, CMO said in a release.
Additional Chief Secretary Department of Forests and Environment, Dr Mona Sharma informed that the blaze has been brought under control.
Sharma said that no casualties were reported so far and standard operating procedures have been issued to control the fire and no major trees have been damaged.
She also informed that the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Wildlife is monitoring the situation and preventive steps at the Spot.
Earlier on Tuesday Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has tweeted that “Distressed to learn about the forest fires raging in Simlipal Tiger Reserve from social media platforms. Request the urgent attention of Union Minister for Environment & Forest, Prakash Javadekar and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on this alarming situation at one of the most important biosphere reserves of the country.”
Later Union Minister Prakash Javadekar informed through a tweet that “he orders officers to take immediate action to report the issue.” (ANI)

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SC to hear petitions by women Army officers over permanent commission

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New Delhi [India], March 4 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Thursday will hear a batch of petitions on a plea by women officers in the Indian Army who had approached the Apex Court over non-implementation of its order to grant them a permanent commission.
The petitions demand direction that contempt proceedings be initiated against those who had allegedly failed in their duty to comply with the apex court’s earlier judgement.
The top court earlier ordered that the permanent commission will apply to all women officers in the Indian Army in service, irrespective of their years of service. It also ordered that after the judgement of Delhi High Court, Centre should grant permanent commission to women officers.
Last year, the SC had ordered the Central government to grant Permanent Commission (PC) to them in the Army’s non-combat support units on par with their male counterparts.
A bench of the Apex Court, headed by Justice Dr D Y Chandrahud, and also comprising Justice M R Shah, earlier fixed the matter for a final hearing to February 24.
One such petition was filed by one woman officer, through her lawyer, Chitrangda Rastravara and Advocate on Record (AOR) Archana Pathak Dave, before the Supreme Court seeking its immediate direction to implement its earlier order.
The Army, however, claimed that out of 615 women officers, there are 422 who are eligible and found fit for PC in the Army. But in reality, only 277 out of 422 have been granted PC and the remaining number i.e. 145 are those officers who are either non-optees or whose result is withheld due to medical and administrative reasons, 193 officers have been denied PC, Chitrangda said.
According to her petition, this figure of 422 is a figure only for good optics and does not truly portray the actual number. Thus, finding those officers who are non-optees fit for PC and denying the same to optees smacks of gross arbitrariness. (ANI)

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ED violating model code of conduct by summoning KIIFB officials: Kerala CM

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Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], March 4 (ANI): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan accused Enforcement Directorate (ED) of summoning Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) officials and said it is violating the Model Code of Conduct.
In a letter written to the Chief Election Commissioner, the Chief Minister said that the ED summoned KIIFB officials as per the political interests of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Hence, it is violating the Model Code of Conduct.
“The EC should take action against the investigating agency for violating the code of conduct,” the Chief Minister said.
Nirmala Sitharaman’s remark on February 28 during a BJP Yatra is evidence of the political use of investigative agencies, the letter read.
Recently, Sitharaman accused the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government of giving all the budget money to KIIFB.
While Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac yesterday said that there was no violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) in an alleged case of external borrowings of KIIFB through Masala Bonds.
“There is absolutely no violation of FEMA as we have received No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Reserve Bank of India (RBI),” said Thomas Isaac while speaking to ANI.
Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a case against KIIFB for external borrowings through Masala Bonds without the permission of the union government.
Yesterday, ED sent a notice to KM Abraham, CEO of KIIFB and asked him to appear before its Kochi office on March 5. It also sent a notice to Deputy Managing Director Vikramjit Singh and asked him to appear before it on March 4.
KIIFB was constituted by the state government as a corporate body. In November 2020, it had initiated an investigation into the Masala bonds of the KIIFB, as per the sources.
Recently, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman accused the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government of giving all the budget money to KIIFB. (ANI)

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Two new flag officers assume charge at Southern Naval Command

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Kochi (Kerala) [India], March 4 (ANI): Rear Admiral Antony George assumed charge as the new Chief of Staff of the Southern Naval Command and Rear Admiral Rajesh Dhankhar as the Chief Staff Officer (Training) of the SNC.

According to a defence release, both Flag Officers are alumni of the Indian Naval Academy and were commissioned into the Indian Navy on July 1, 1987 and July 1 1990 respectively.
Rear Admiral George is an “Anti Submarine Warfare” (ASW) specialist, who has served onboard frontline ASW ships and commanded the Missile Corvette INS Khanjar, as well as the Guided Missile Frigate INS Tarkash.
As a Flag Officer, he served as the first Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (Staff Requirements) at Naval Headquarters after which he took over as the Chief Staff Officer (Training), SNC on February, 2020.
“Rear Admiral Rajesh Dhankhar is a specialist in Navigation and Direction and has served on frontline warships as Navigating Officer and Operations Officer. Rear Admiral George is a recipient of the Nao Sena Medal and the Vishisht Seva Medal,” said the release.
Rear Admiral Dhankhar is a recipient of Nau Sena Medal (Gallantry) for undertaking non-combatant evacuation of Indian and foreign personnel from Yemen as part of Operation Rahat in April 2015, it added. (ANI)

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