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Petroleum Minister refutes reports of stopping subsidy on LPG cylinders

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By Shailesh Yadav
Dibrugarh (Assam) [India], February 23 (ANI): Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday denied reports that government has stopped giving subsidy on LPG cylinders.
He also rejected the reports of International Energy Agency (IEA) that half of the beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Scheme are not refilling LPG cylinders once it is emptied due to affordability among one of the reasons.
In an interview with ANI, Pradhan said, “Reports of stopping LPG subsidy are baseless. We are still providing subsidy to the consumers of remote and interior areas of the country. 8 crore beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana got 14 crore LPG cylinders free of cost during the lockdown period.”
Pradhan further said last year, during the lockdown period, the central government did this to help the people and to minimise the impact on poor people of the country with free cylinders.
“Today PMUJY is known for the welfare of poor people,” he added.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, three free cylinders for beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna was announced.
The Petroleum Minister also refuted the IEA report, which says ‘Access to clean cooking goes beyond technical availability: It also extends to issues of adequacy, reliability, convenience, safety and affordability. While the government has broadened availability to LPG through different schemes to reach most Indian dwellings, nearly half of all households in 2019 continued to rely on traditional uses of biomass for cooking, mostly in rural areas.’
Responding to the report, Pradhan said these facts were incorrect.
“We have reports that around 70 per cent of beneficiaries of PMUJY are refilling their LPG cylinders and this has become a practice among them. The remaining 30 per cent of beneficiaries who are not refilling their LPG cylinders has a habit of collecting woods as they are getting it free. They don’t understand that nothing comes free in this world and have its own cost,” he said.
“By doing this they are inviting health issues, polluting the environment and leading to domestic pollution. We are trying to make them aware. Today, 95 per cent household have LPG connections. Our target is to connect every household with LPG. The world is praising us for connecting 95 per cent household with LPG connections. Once we are ready with our infrastructure to provide every household clean cooking gas I am sure that these people will also stop traditional uses of biomass for cooking,” Pradhan added. (ANI)

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Mangaluru identified as prominent emerging IT cluster: Karnataka Deputy CM

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Mangaluru (Karnataka) [India], February 24 (ANI): The Karnataka government has identified Mangaluru as a prominent technology cluster in its effort to expand the information technology industry as per ‘Beyond Bengaluru’ policy, said Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwathnarayan on Wednesday.
Ashwathnarayan during his inaugural speech at Mangaluru Innovation Conclave said, “Mangaluru has been identified as the emerging technology cluster which includes the districts of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada, and Kodagu and this process will be accelerated with appropriate measures.”
“Mangaluru will also emerge as the startup hub apart from becoming an IT hub and the government is taking required measures towards that end. Mangaluru has also been considered as a prominent cluster with regard to ESDM (electronic system and design management) and this is a prominent zone in the ‘Beyond Bengaluru’ region,” he said.
To promote the growth of innovation and technology in areas ‘Beyond Bengaluru’, the Karnataka government has constituted the Karnataka Digital Economy Mission (KDEM) to promote digital industry growth, attract investments and promote the technology industry across our state.
The Deputy Chief Minister said that the body would work alongside the state government and would help in increasing the contribution of the digital economy in the state to 30 percent of state’s GSDP and generate additional employment of around 30 lakhs in the next 5 years. “We are also targeting revenue of USD150 billion in IT exports in Karnataka in the next five years.” (ANI)

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Have Rahul, Sonia ever praised Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue?: Ravi Shankar Prasad hits out at Cong criticism over Motera Stadium renaming

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New Delhi [India], February 24 (ANI): Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday hit out at the Congress party whose leaders had expressed disapproval over the naming of the Motera Cricket Stadium after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and asking if Sonia or Rahul Gandhi had ever praised the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue in Kevadia.
“Has Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi ever praised world’s tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Kevadia? Have they visited it? What more can be said?” the Union Minister said at a press conference here.
Earlier today, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the 1,32,000-seater stadium, the largest cricket in the world.
Speaking at the inauguration of the stadium President Kovind noted that the stadium also provides world-class facilities for various sporting activities.
“It is a matter of pride for us that the Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium has become the world’s largest cricket stadium with a capacity of 1.32 lakh spectators. The stadium is not only the largest in the world but also provides world-class facilities for various sporting activities,” he said.
Following the President’s announcement, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had tweeted, “Maybe they just realised the stadium was named for a Home Minister who had banned their parent organisation! Or maybe this is advance booking to ensure the next visiting Head of State is hosted here, like Trump? Or is this the beginning of a legacy-creation-thru-labelling spree?”
The BJP has also hit back stating that significant sports infrastructure, awards, and trophies in the country have been named after members of the Nehru-Gandhi family. (ANI)

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Naming of world’s largest stadium after PM Modi a ‘humble attempt’ to honour his vision, says JP Nadda

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New Delhi [India], February 24 (ANI): Bharatiya Janta Party national president Jagat Prakash Nadda on Wednesday said that the naming of the world’s largest stadium after Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a “humble attempt” to honour his vision.
“With the untiring efforts and policies of the Prime Minister, India will secure the top position in sports as well. The naming of the world’s largest stadium after PM Narendra Modi is a humble attempt to honour his vision,” Nadda tweeted.
Earlier in the day, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the newly-built Motera Stadium which was renamed the Narendra Modi Stadium ahead of the pink-ball Test between India and England.
The stadium is the biggest cricket stadium in the world as it has a total capacity of 1,32,000 and all the facilities have been taken care of. (ANI)

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Parts of north India to witness heavy downpour, snowfall

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New Delhi [India], February 24 (ANI): Heavy rain lash and snowfall are expected in parts of north India this week starting from Wednesday.
In view of the harsh conditions on the horizon, multiple orange alerts have been issued over the western Himalayan region particularly in Jammu-Kashmir and Uttarakhand.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), a western disturbance will begin influencing the weather across the northernmost parts of India from Wednesday onwards.
The MeT department forecast isolated hailstorm very likely over Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit, Baltistan and Muzaffarabad on February 25 and over Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
“Fairly widespread to widespread rainfall/snowfall over Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit, Baltistan and Muzaffarabad from Wednesday to Sunday, and isolated to scattered rain/snow over Uttarakhand over the next five days. As for Himachal Pradesh, isolated to scattered rain/snow conditions are on the alert for the next two days, followed by fairly widespread rain/snow for the subsequent three days,” the IMD said.
Apart from the precipitation, isolated thunderstorms and lightning are also in the forecast over all the locations for the rest of the week. Moreover, isolated hailstorms may hit Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit, Baltistan and Muzaffarabad on Wednesday and Thursday, Himachal Pradesh from Thursday to Saturday, and Uttarakhand between Tuesday and Saturday.
This sign is expected to bring some balance to the precipitation figures across the Western Himalayan region, which has experienced below-average rain and snow since the beginning of 2021. However, given the predictions, the IMD, New Delhi has issued an advisory instructing residents to ‘be prepared’ for rough weather. (ANI)

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Himachal CM inaugurates Technology Innovation Hub at IIT Mandi

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Mandi (Himachal Pradesh) [India], February 24 (ANI): Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Wednesday inaugurated Technology Innovation Hub developed with an investment of Rs 110 crores at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi.
The Chief Minister was presiding over the 12th Foundation Day programme of IIT Mandi held in Auditorium Hall at North Campus of the institute today.
“The IIT was making its valuable contribution for the development of the Country and the welfare of humanity and expressed hope that the IIT would continue to contribute in Nation building,” Thakur said.
“The State Government would extend all possible help to provide better connectivity and other infrastructure facilities in the institute,” he said adding that the institution was a pride of the state,” he said.
Thakur said the institute continued its academic and research programs in digital and hybrid mode despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The IITs have also contributed significantly in dealing with the situation arising due to COVID-19 in the state,” he said,
Later, the Chief Minister inaugurated the Central Library Facility at North Campus completed by spending an amount of Rs 9.5 crores.
An MoU was also signed between the district administration and IIT Mandi in presence of the Chief Minister for development and deployment of Landslide Monitoring System in Mandi. (ANI)

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Govt has no intention of protecting culprits of Hirenagavalli blast: K Sudhakar

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Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], February 24 (ANI): Karnataka Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Wednesday asserted that the state government had no intention of protecting the culprits in the Hirenagavalli blast incident that took place in Chikkaballapura earlier this week.
“Several suspects have already been arrested in this case, including the owners of the company. A CID (Crime Investigation Department) investigation has also been ordered. Despite this, some people are trying to give it a political colour and indulging in character assassination,” a statement quoted Sudhakar said, condemning the statements of Congress leaders.
“It is very unbecoming for those in responsible positions to try to fish in troubled waters,” he added.
The health minister, who is also Chickaballapur district in-charge minister, said that after the Shivamogga blast incident that took place earlier last month, as many as three meetings had been held with the District Administration.
“Officials have been instructed to check illegal mining activities, supply, storage, and usage of explosives through regular inspections at mining sites,” he said.
“Although the mining activity is legal, the storage and usage of explosives were in violation of rules. So officials had filed a case and ordered the suspension of activities. Officials again visited the site a few days later and fearing further action, the owners had instructed the workers to shift the explosives to a remote place. The unfortunate incident took place when the explosives were being shifted,” Sudhakar added.
Karnataka Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh Nirani on Tuesday inspected the blast site at Hirenagavalli in Chikkaballapura.”
“A compensation of Rs 5 lakh will be provided to the kin of the deceased. The injured will be provided the best medical care. State Government will extend all the assistance to the victims and their families,” Nirani said.
According to Karnataka Police, at least six people have died and another has sustained injuries in the blast at Chikkaballapur district on Monday night. (ANI)

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