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Mithun not Covid positive: Mimoh

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After reports of veteran actor Mithun Chakraborty testing Covid positive made rounds on social media, Mimoh Chakraborty confirmed that he is Covid negative. Mimoh said, “Dad is fine. He is working on the show and and for the people back in West Bengal. He is hail and hearty by the grace of God and the love and blessings of his fans. He continues to inspire me every day to work extremely hard and stay positive at all times. It’s easy to put it out with just a rumor.but to verify that if it is true or not takes action and time.”

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CANNABIS SMUGGLERS IN ANDHRA PRADESH ATTACK NALGONDA POLICE

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VISHAKHAPATNAM: Nalgonda Police opened fire on cannabis smugglers after they attacked the police at Lambasingi ghat road of Chinthapalli police station limits in Visakhapatnam.

As per locals’ information, around 6 pm on Sunday 10 rounds of shots were fired on smugglers when they attacked the police. According to Superintendent of Police B.V. Krishna Rao, Nalgonda Police came to Visakhapatnam rural area to apprehended a few Cannabis smugglers near the Lambasingh area. He said that the police personnel opened fire to save their lives as 18 to 20 persons attacked them with stones and knives.

“In this process, only one smuggler was injured.”

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Delhi Police arrest three for siphoning off loan amount from bank

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The Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police has arrested three persons for allegedly siphoning off more than Rs 300 crore which they had taken as a loan from Yes Bank. The accused have been identified as Yateesh Wahaal, Satish Narula and Rahul Singh Yadav. A case was registered after a complainant registered his complaint against Nayati Healthcare and Research NCR Pvt Ltd, of which Yateesh and Satish were directors. As per police, the victim had 49% shares of a company named OSL Healthcare Pvt Ltd and the other two directors named Chandan Mishra and Charchit Mishra had the rest 51% share. OSL Healthcare Pvt Ltd aimed to build and run a hospital in Gurugram. “The company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health, Neuro & Allied Sciences (VIMHANS) for operating and managing VIMHANS’ IPD, OPD, Emergency and Diagnostic Services and VIMHANS providing its state of the art medical super speciality services for psychiatry and allied services to OSLHPL,” Delhi Police said in a release. The police said that the complainant was also promised a remuneration of Rs 30 lakh per month as his professional fees for his services. “But during the completion of the hospital, OSL Healthcare Pvt Ltd started facing financial issues which forced them to sell their 51% stock to Naarayani Investment Pvt Ltd., the holding company of M/s Nayati Healthcare & Research NCR Pvt Ltd at the consideration of Rs 99 crore,” read the release.

The complainant has alleged Nayati Healthcare & Research NCR Pvt Ltd took a loan of 312 crore from Yes Bank to develop the hospital but they misappropriated the money. “During the investigation, it was found that after receiving a loan, a sum of Rs 208 crore was transferred to a bank account in the name of Ahluwalia Construction. On verification of the said account, it was found that that the said account was opened by the accused named Rahul Singh Yadav only with a view to divert/siphon off the loan amount as it was a dummy account. Ahluwalia Construction, a renowned builder replied that it has worked at the site of the Gurugram Project and had received only Rs 10 crore from the alleged company. The project is still incomplete,” the police said.

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WHO to meet on 26 October to consider Covaxin’s emergency usage

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Dr Soumya Swaminathan, World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist on Sunday said that WHO’s technical advisory group will meet on 26 October to consider emergency use listing (EUL) for Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin.

Taking to Twitter, Swaminathan said the WHO has been working closely with Bharat Biotech to complete the dossier. “The technical advisory group will meet on Oct 26th to consider EUL for #Covaxin. @WHO has been working closely with @BharatBiotech to complete the dossier. Our goal is to have a broad portfolio of vaccines approved for emergency use & to expand access to populations everywhere,” Dr Swaminathan tweeted.

Covaxin has been submitting data to WHO on a rolling basis and submitted additional information at WHO’s request on September 27.

“Covaxin manufacturer, Bharat Biotech, has been submitting data to WHO on a rolling basis & submitted additional info at WHO’s request on 27 September. WHO experts are currently reviewing this info & if it addresses all questions raised, WHO assessment will be finalized next week,” WHO had tweeted earlier this month.

Covaxin, India’s first vaccine candidate for Covid-19 was developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV).

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Rains devastate Kerala, death toll mounts to 21

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The death toll in Kerala caused by heavy rains and landslides mounted to 21 on Sunday, according to the state’s Information and Public Relations Department. The flood situation has become so grave that two Indian Army teams have been deployed in Thiruvananthapuram and in Kottayam to carry out rescue and relief operations along with the local administration. The Defense Security Corps (DSC) has deployed one team in Kozhikode and one in Wayanad. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been deployed in Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram districts. In addition, five more teams have been directed to be deployed in Idukki, Kottayam, Kollam, Kannur and Palakkad districts.

The Air Force and Navy have been instructed to be ready for emergencies. Two choppers of the Air Force reached Thiruvananthapuram from Sulur near Coimbatore. In Pathanamthitta district, it has been reported that people are trapped near Mallappally. The Air Force helicopter was deployed following a recommendation from the District Disaster Management Authority that an airlift may be needed, although firefighters are trying to carry out rescue operations. Navy helicopters were deployed to distribute food parcels to landslide affected areas in Kokkayar.

According to a statement issued by the Indian Army, 40 Indian Army personnel from Pangode Military Station was the first rescue team to be deployed at the site in Kavali in Kottickal of Kottayam district, which had witnessed the loss of lives and heavy damage to property from the thunderstorms since early Friday. The statement further stated that one Column of Army personnel from DSC Centre, Kannur with engineering and medical components arrived at Wayanad and commenced the rescue operations.

Another specialist Engineering Task Force (ETF) under Headquarters Dakshin Bharat Area from Bengaluru arrived at Mundakayam and Koottickal. A total of three columns have been deployed by the Army so far, it said.

The statement further said that despite the harsh and inclement weather conditions the Army reached the spot within a few hours of requisition and have been since employed in assistance to the civil administration in rescue and relief operations in the area. Working since the late hours, the team was the first to reach the site at Kavali and have been successful in recovering three bodies from the debris, it added. The Indian Army said in its statement that during the process of recovery, the team had salvaged a large quantity of gold and expensive accessories which were immediately handed over to the civil administration for further accountability. It also mentioned that the team have also been clearing and managing the traffic on the roads and diverting the flow of water into streams thereby ensuring the unhindered movement of rescue materials. The team is working in close coordination with the DC, Kottayam and the Tehsildar of Kanjirapally in the distribution of the much-needed relief material and in ensuring that normalcy returns in the area at the earliest, it added.

Earlier in the day, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged the people of the state to remain cautious and prepare themselves to move to relief camps, higher ground or safer localities if requested by government officials. He also advised against inessential travel. The CM said that 105 relief camps have been set up across the state and arrangements made to start more camps as soon as possible amid heavy rainfall and landslides. In a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office Vijayan said, “People should take precautions to avoid accidents. Follow the instructions of the authorities and shift if necessary. Avoid unnecessary trips.”

According to the CMO press statement, a red alert has been issued for dams Kaki in Pathanamthitta district, Sholayar in Thrissur district, Peringalkuthu, Kundala, Kallarkutty, Mattupetty and Kallar in Idukki district. A red alert has also been issued for the dams of the irrigation department in Chulliyarbin Palakkad and Peechi in Thrissur district. An orange alert has been declared in Vazhani, Chimmini in Thrissur district and Minkara, Mangalam and Malampuzha in Palakkad district. A blue alert has been issued for Ponmudi dam, Idukki dam in Idukki district and Pampa in Pathanamthitta. A blue alert has also been issued in Pothundi in Palakkad district and Neyyar dams in Thiruvananthapuram district.

Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted that the intense spell of rainfall activity over Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and Puducherry is likely to reduce from today. There would be a significant reduction in rainfall in Kerala today as compared to Saturday, said Indian Meteorological Department senior scientist Naresh Kumar on Sunday. “There is going to be rainfall of a maximum of 6-7 cm today as compared to the 29 cm of rainfall recorded Saturday. And thereafter, there would be clear weather,” Kumar said. “Yesterday there was a low-pressure area over south-east Arabian sea adjoining Kerala. Today morning it is markedly less. It is weakened today. Because of its effect, yesterday there was extreme rainfall, more than 29 cm rainfall,” said Kumar.

Fishing has been banned in Kerala, Karnataka and Lakshadweep coasts after IMD warning.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday and discussed the situation in the state following heavy rains and landslides. The Prime Minister expressed condolences to the bereaved families and assured the state’s people that the authorities were working on the ground to assist the injured and affected. “It is saddening that some people have lost their lives due to heavy rains and landslides in Kerala. Condolences to the bereaved families,” PM Modi tweeted.

“Spoke to Kerala CM Shri @vijayanpinarayi and discussed the situation in the wake of heavy rains and landslides in Kerala. Authorities are working on the ground to assist the injured and affected. I pray for everyone’s safety and well-being,” the Prime Minister tweeted.

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Army using Heron drones to track PLA activities along LAC

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Indian Army’s aviation base with its Heron drones is helping India keep a hawk-eye on Chinese activities along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the highly sensitive Arunachal Pradesh sector. The Army base is also equipped with other important assets including the ALH Dhruv including its weaponised version Rudra to enhance the capabilities of forces on the ground at a time when India and China have been engaged in a military standoff since last year.

Explaining in detail the capabilities of the Israel-origin Heron drones, Major Karthik Garg told ANI, “This is the most beautiful aircraft as far as surveillance resources are concerned. Since its inception, it has been the backbone of surveillance. It can climb up to 30,000 ft and continue to give feed to commanders on the ground. So that, we can manoeuvre forces on the ground. It has an endurance of 24-30 hours at a stretch.”

Talking about surveillance during bad weather, Major Karthik added, “We have day and night cameras and for bad weather, we have synthetic aperture radar which can give track of entire terrain.”

Describing the capability of Missamari Army Aviation Base, Lieutenant Colonel Amit Dadhwal said, “These rotary-wing platforms provide a plethora of capabilities so that you know they can achieve success in all kinds of operations. This aircraft is fully capable of carrying troops and full battle load to any kind of treacherous terrain, or in any kind of weather conditions. This lean and mean machine is made in India is made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). This equipment and this aircraft are fully capable to carry out operations in.”

Speaking further about Dhruv, Dhadwal also described the night evacuation capability and mentioned that the aircraft has been instrumental in saving more than 50 lives in the sector by doing night casualty operations.

He further added, “Over a period of time, when we give you a general time of operation, we are fully capable of doing night casualty evacuations, from the same aircraft has been further modified and weaponized into a more lethal version, which we call it as ALH WSI which stands for Advanced Light helicopter weapon system integrated, which is known as the Rudra helicopter, this aircraft is fully equipped with various mission systems as well as weapon systems onboard.”

Dadhwal spoke about Cheetah and said the helicopter proved itself and “for the past 50 years in the Indian Army, and it has been one of the stable and more reliable aircraft of Indian Army”. ANI

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PUNJAB’S LAST CHANCE FOR RESURRECTION: SIDHU WRITES TO SONIA GANDHI

He seeks time to present her with a 13-point agenda that can be the basis of the ‘Punjab model’ ahead of the Assembly elections next year.

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P unjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Navjot Singh Sidhu has written a letter to the party’s interim president Sonia Gandhi, seeking time to discuss issues related to the 2022 Assembly elections. He shared on Twitter on Sunday a copy of the letter dated 15 October, Friday. Talking of the “priority areas that Punjab government must deliver upon” Sidhu requested for a meeting to present his 13-point agenda, which he thinks should be made part of the Congress election manifesto. Calling this “Punjab’s last chance for resurrection and redemption”, he said that he has come to this conclusion “after multiple deliberations and consultations with party workers from across Punjab and with a deep understanding of the public sentiment over 17 years of public life”. “I express with a lot of pain in my heart that this is Punjab’s last chance for resurrection and redemption,” he added. “The issues at Punjab’s heart as understood very well by you, and signified by the 18-Point agenda given to the last Chief Minister are equally relevant today. I stood for each point in that agenda through the responsibility vested in me of the organization, keeping the executive under check, to be the guardian of Punjab’s rights,” said Sidhu in his letter. Sidhu stated that Punjab for decades was the richest state of the country and today it is the most indebted state. He further said that Punjab is submerged under lakhs of crores of debt due to gross financial mismanagement over the last 25 years and diversion of public resources making a few powerful people rich while leaving the state “debt-distressed”. Sidhu in his letter further alleged, “It has been supplemented by 7 years of BJP rule discriminating against Punjab while paying its financial dues such as GST payments, Rural Development Fund payments, Post-Matric Scholarship for Scheduled Castes payments etc. Subsequently, the increasing debt overhead Punjab has led to our financial resources being

used for merely paying off the old debt and interest upon it.”

Sidhu said in his letter, every year, Punjab has to take new debt to support basic development works, to invest in 60:40 shared Central development schemes, providing healthcare, education and infrastructure needs of the stat.

He added that Punjab has nearly one lakh vacant government posts, caused by the “lack of resources”. Government hirings are at “lowest wages” and contractual, school teachers have to work on probation for 4 years on minimum wages, “delays in implementation” of 6th Pay Commission by five years are all due to “state not having enough resources”.

Sidhu also mentioned drug menace in his letter, writing, drugs have “plagued almost an entire generation” of Punjab. He suggested a solution to the problem by writing, “This requires a stern action, as I always reiterate all corruption flows from the top, thus heads must roll from the top. The Big-Fish behind drug trafficking in Punjab as mentioned in the STF report must be immediately arrested and given exemplary punishment.”

On agriculture, the Punjab Congress chief says that while agriculture is the backbone of Punjab, “as we all protest against the Centre’s three black laws, the government of Punjab must reject them completely by announcing that they will not be implemented in Punjab at any cost. As we did in the case of Satluj Yamuna Link Canal (SYL), such stern resolve is needed today. This resolve must be supported on the ground by bringing in structural changes.”

Raising the issue of electricity, Sidhu writes that cheap and 24 hour electric supply should be provided to all domestic consumers, especially urban domestic consumers who suffer the most due to cross-subsidy burden upon them, as power tariff for industrial and commercial use, and give free power for agriculture is decreased. He further said that fixed power subsidy must be given to all domestic consumers, be it the decreasing price of power to 3 Rs per unit or 300 units of free power to all.

Writing on his 13-point agenda, Sidhu also mentioned, “Release White-Paper on Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and cancellation of all faulty PPAs as promised along with considering the present coal-shortage in the country, Punjab must move towards smart, cheap and efficient PPAs to meet state’s power demands, with a special focus on cheap solar power and aggressively pursuing grid-connected roof-top and institutional solar.”

Writing on Scheduled Caste and Backward Class welfare, Sidhu wrote, “Even after High Command’s progressive decision of appointing a Dalit Chief Minister to give the under-privileged more voice in the Government, it has not been supported in the State in equal measure, we should have at least one Mazbhi Sikh in Cabinet, representation to Dalits from Doaba, at least two representatives from Backward Caste Community in the Cabinet. Special package of 25 Crore for development of reserved constituencies.”

“We must fulfil our promise of 5 Marla plots to SCs, money for pakka ceiling for every Dalit household, agricultural lands to landless poor, fixing responsibility and initiating an inquiry into Post-Matric scholarship scam, while clearing dues to the Dalits students for pursuing their education further,” he added.

Stressing on the issue of employment generation, Sidhu suggested filling up of thousands of vacant government posts on a regular basis, while also addressing the grievances of the employees’ unions. “More than 20 Unions are protesting across the state. We must take their demands under compassionate consideration. The government must open doors for discussion, consultation and deliver what it can, considering its fiscal means,” Sidhu’s letter reads. He suggested that more emphasis should be given to bringing industries to Punjab especially in areas such as agro-processing, knitting and hosiery.

The immediate focus should be on implementing more reforms to promote Ease of Doing Business (EoDB), enabling time-bound single-window clearances, supporting MSMEs with a specific focus on employment-generating industries, he wrote

He also recommended that Punjab must bring in a youth policy to increase participation of the youth in governance, adding that emphasis should be on enhancing and enabling infrastructure on sports, skill development and startup culture. Concrete measures should be taken to increase the participation of women in politics, governance and opportunities for employment, he added.

He also raised the issue of liquor by writing, “I have been fighting for this cause since the first Cabinet meeting of our government in 2017, Punjab must monopolise liquor trade in the State, by bringing it under a state-run Corporation, as in case of Tamil Nadu, Punjab should own distilleries and liquor vends, giving at least 20,000 crores more revenue to the state along with thousands of jobs.”

He added, “I further request you to kindly give me a personal audience to present to you the Punjab Model with a 13-Point Agenda to be part of the Congress Manifesto for the 2022 Assembly Elections, which is separate from this by means of its long-term vision to be implemented over a longer period of time, have crafted it through years of consultations with academics, civil society, party workers and feedback from the People of Punjab.”

Following are the issues raised by Sidhu: justice for sacrilege, drugs, agriculture, electricity, PPAs, Scheduled Caste & Backward Caste welfare, employment, single window system and comparative advantage, women and youth empowerment, liquor, sand mining, transport and cable mafia.

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