NHRC accepts action taken in styrene gas leak tragedy in Andhra Pradesh - The Daily Guardian
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NHRC accepts action taken in styrene gas leak tragedy in Andhra Pradesh

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New Delhi [India], February 20 (ANI): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) India on Friday accepted the action taken by the authorities concerned and the ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore paid to the families of the 12 people who died in the tragic styrene gas leak incident in LG plant in Visakhapatnam.
“The Andhra Pradesh government has informed the Commission that 485 people were paid Rs 1 lakh each who were hospitalized for two-three days. It has also informed that criminal proceedings were initiated against the 12 accused,” read a press statement from NHRC.
The Commission had taken suo motu cognizance of media reports about the death of eight persons and over five thousand others falling sick due to leakage of styrene gas in Vizag district of Andhra Pradesh on May 7, 2020.
The leakage of the gas had reportedly affected people within a radius of about three kilometers. Many people were reported lying on roads while some complained of difficulty in breathing and rashes on their bodies.
On the basis of the early media reports then, the Commission had observed that “though prima-facie, as of now, there are no reports regarding human error or negligence but the fact that so far at least 8 innocent citizens have lost their lives and thousands have fallen sick, is indeed a serious issue of violation of human rights. The right to life of the victims has been grossly violated. At a time when the human lives across the country are at stake due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus and everyone is forced to stay indoors, the gruesome tragedy has come as a bolt from the blue for the people.”
The Commission had issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter including the status of the rescue operation, the medical treatment provided to the people who fallen sick and relief and rehabilitation provided by the state authorities to the affected families.
“A notice had also been issued to the Director-General of Police, Andhra Pradesh to inform within four weeks about registration of FIRs in the matter and status of the investigation being conducted. A notice was also sent to the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs, through its Secretary, to examine whether the norms laid down under relevant provisions of the law are being implemented at the particular industrial unit,” it said.
According to NHRC, pursuant to the directions of the Commission, the Director-General of Police, Andhra Pradesh, submitted a detailed report on relief measures including evacuation.
“With regard to the status investigation of the case registered by the police, it has been submitted that 437 witnesses were examined including the statement of 16 officials, security and technical persons who are working in LG Polymers Company,” it added.
During the further course of the investigation, based on the evidence, witnesses and other documentary and experts’ opinions, 12 accused were arrested and produced before the AMM Court, Visakhapatnam. The Court granted them 15 days remand to judicial custody to all the 12 accused persons.
The NHRC has observed that having considered the requisite reports received from the concerned authorities and also the fact and circumstances of the case, any further proposition from the end of this Commission is not required.
It has further observed that “it was an unfortunate incident in which 12 people lost their lives due to gas leak, however, the State Government has compensated the bereaved families by paying ex gratia to the tune of Rs 1 crore each to the next of kin of the deceased, adequate monetary compensation to more than 2000 victims, who fell sick and hospitalized besides taking legal action against the accused persons. The State Government has also deposited an amount of Rs 50 crores with the Collector and District Magistrate, Vishakhapatnam as per the orders of NGT, New Delhi for the restoration of the environment and payment of interim compensation to victims of the gas leak.” (ANI)

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Slain IndiGo manager’s widow writes to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, demands CBI inquiry

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Patna (Bihar) [India], March 7 (ANI): The widow of IndiGo station manager Rupesh Kumar Singh, who was shot dead by unidentified bike-borne men in Patna on January 12, has written to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar urging for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the case.
Singh was shot in Punaichak area under Shastri Nagar police station area in Patna on January 12. He later succumbed to his injuries.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had said that a special team had been formed to probe the murder and assured that strict action will be taken against the culprits.
Patna police on February 3 arrested one person identified as Rituraj and claimed he had shot Singh as revenge for a road rage incident in which he was thrashed by the slain airline manager in November last year.
The family had been demanding a CBI inquiry into the case soon after police cited the road rage motive behind the murder.
Earlier in February, Nandeshwar Singh, brother of the slain manager had said that Patna SSP Upendra Kumar Sharma met the family and assured that Nitu Singh, widow of Rupesh Singh will be provided with security. (ANI)

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India crosses 2 crore mark in cumulative Covid-19 doses

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New Delhi [India], March 7 (ANI): The cumulative number of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 2.06 crore on Saturday, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 this year and vaccination of the Frontline Workers (FLWs) started on February 2, 2021.
The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1, for those who are over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
A total of 2,06,62,073 vaccine doses have been given, as per the provisional report till 7 pm on March 6, the Union Health Ministry said in a release.
According to the Health Ministry, these include 69,72,859HCWs who have taken the 1st dose and 35,22,671HCWs who have taken the 2nd dose, 65,02,869FLWs (1st dose), 1,97,853FLWs (2nd dose), 4,60,782beneficiaries more than 60 years old and 30,05,039beneficiaries aged 45 and above with specific co-morbidities.
A total of 11,64,422vaccine doses were given till 7 pm today, the fiftieth day of nationwide COVID19 vaccination.
Out of which 9,44,919beneficiaries were vaccinated for 1st dose and 2,19,503HCWs and FLWs received 2nd dose of vaccine as per the provisional report. Final reports would be completed for the day by late tonight, Health Ministry added. (ANI)

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Tarun Tejpal case: Hotel CCTV footage will demolish prosecution, says defence lawyer

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Panaji (Goa) [India], March 7 (ANI): Hotel CCTV footage will demolish the arguments of the prosecution in the rape case filed against former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, defence lawyer Rajeev Gomes said on Saturday.
Speaking to ANI outside the trial court in Mapusa town in North Goa, Gomes said that there were several lacunae in the police investigation, which have been pointed out in written and oral arguments before the court.
Tejpal, a veteran journalist who was accused of sexual assault by a female colleague in November 2013 was arrested on November 30, 2013. He is currently out on bail.
Last week, the Bombay High Court had dismissed that hotel CCTV footage will demolish prosecution, says defence lawyer in his plea seeking postponement of the hearing till December on the grounds that his lawyer was busy with another matter.
On September 29, 2017, the Goa court had charged him under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code, including rape, sexual harassment, and wrongful confinement. He, however, pleaded not guilty.
Following the framing of charges, Tejpal had moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of the charges levelled against him. In August, the top court refused to quash the charges and directed the trial to be concluded within six months. (ANI)

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NSD looking forward to opening a regional centre in Jammu and Kashmir, chairman Paresh Rawal

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New Delhi [India], March 7 (ANI): Chairman of the National School of Drama (NSD) Paresh Rawal said that the country’s prestigious theatre training school is looking forward to opening new centres in the county soon, including one in Jammu and Kashmir.
While talking to ANI, Rawal said, “I believe that NSD should be extended to centres, it should be opened everywhere in North, West, East and South. So that boys who are like me, who are not from NSD should get a chance and as I said if I was in NSD then I would have been better than what I am today.”
He added that recently a request had been received from the Lieutenant Governor of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha for opening a centre there.
“This will soon be discussed with NSD society members and the government. Hopefully, we will have a concrete plan to do it soon. In fact, we are keen to set up centres in the states of Gujarat, West Bengal, and Maharashtra,” Rawal added.
“Kashmiri boys and girls want to do something. I want to open NSD in Kashmir soon. I am very excited about that,” Rawal said.
The chairman also said that the government is actively considering giving the Institute of National Importance tag to NSD, which will further strengthen the institute by enabling it to award degrees, introduce new courses like playwriting, costume designing, property making etc, and also open up new centres.
“We are talking to the Government of India to expedite the matter. Also, the proposal of re-development of the existing NSD campus is under consideration. The issue was brought to light in a meeting with Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri last week,” added Rawal. (ANI)

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Jatiya Parishad, Raijor Dal to decide who forms next government in Assam says Rasel Hussain

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Guwahati (Assam) [India] March 7 (ANI): Hitting out at Bharatiya Janata Party over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Raijor Dal said that this time it along with alliance partner Assam Jatiya Parishad will decide on who will form the new government in the state.
Raijor Dal has teamed up with the Assam Jatiya Parishad to fight the upcoming Assam assembly polls together.
“BJP is going to lose the election along with alliance partner Asom Gana Parishad (AGP). People of Assam want to get rid of them. The BJP government lied about CAA, NRC, and the public has decided to remove them from power. I assure you that,” Rasel Hussain, Vice President, Raijor Dal said on Saturday.
On Friday the Raijor Dal announced that its president, jailed activist Akhil Gogoi will contest the upcoming elections from Sibsagar constituency in Upper Assam. The party also announced the list of 17 candidates it is fielding for the first two phases of the three-phase elections in the state which begins on March 27.
He further said, “This time the regional alliance of Jatiya Parishad and Raijor Dal will decide who will form government in the state after this election.
“Akhil Gogoi is the only person in the northeast since independence who will contest election from jail. Sonowal government had accused Gogoi of false cases and kept him in jail for the past 15 months,” he claimed.
Hussain said that their only target is to defeat BJP, “We are not contesting against Mahagathbandhan and that’s why we are only contesting on 17 seats in the first two phases,” he added.
Gogoi, a peasant leader has been in jail since December 2019 in connection with a National Investigation Agency (NIA) case for his role in the anti-CAA protests in Assam. He was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
Raijor Dal was launched as a political outfit in October last year in Guwahati.
In the first phase, Raijor Dal will contest in 12 out of the 47 seats where the first phase election is scheduled for March 27. In the second phase elections on April 1, it has named candidates for six out of 39 seats. Assam will go to the polls in three phases beginning March 27.
The BJP had scripted history in Assam in the last assembly polls and won an absolute majority with its allies, defeating Congress which had been in power in the state for 15 years. It had bagged 60 seats, AGP 14, and BPF 12 seats in the last assembly polls. (ANI)

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Assam Assembly polls: Congress releases list of 40 candidates

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Guwahati (Assam) [India], March 7 (ANI): The Congress on Saturday released its first list of 40 candidates for the upcoming three-phase election for the 126-member Assam Assembly.
Polls to the 15th Legislative Assembly polls in the state will begin on March 27 as per the schedule announced by the Election Commission of India with counting slated to be held on May 2.
Leader of Opposition Debabtata Saikia will contest from Nazira, his traditional bastion and former minister Rakibul Hussain will contest from Samuguri.
Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora will contest for Gohpur seat and former minister Bismita Gogoi will fight from Khumtai seat.
Angkita, the daughter of former Assam Congress president Anjan Dutta, has won party ticket for Amguri seat.

The Congress led grand alliance or ‘Mahajath’ comprises the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC), All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI (M), the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Liberation or CPI(ML), and the Anchalik Gana Marcha (AGM).
The Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF) has also broken away from the BJP-led alliance to join the ‘Mahajath’.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had on Friday released the first list of 70 candidates for the elections. In the last assembly election in 2016, the BJP scripted history and formed the government for the first time in Assam ending Congress’ 15-year rule led by former chief minister Tarun Gogoi.
The term of the 14th legislative assembly of Assam is up to 31 May 2021. The Assembly elections for 126 seats will be held in three phases starting from March 27.
The first phase of notification is March 2 and 47 seats in 12 districts will go to the polls.
The last date of nomination March 9 and the date of poll is March 27. In the second phase, 39 constituencies in 13 districts will go to the polls on April 1.
A total of 41 constituencies in 12 districts will go to polls on April 6. (ANI)

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