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PM Modi must take governance back from babus

Priya Sahgal

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PM Modi
PM Modi must take governance back from babus

The Government of India circulars during Covid-19 have become a regular comprehension hurdle. Whoever is writing them needs a lesson in simple communication. The gem of course being Para 2 of the Home Ministry circular on 3 May, which, incidentally, was issued to clarify an earlier missive. This is how this clarification on the movement of migrants (title of said document) went: “It is clarified that the MHA orders are meant to facilitate movement of such stranded persons who had moved from their native places/work places, just before lockdown period but could not return to their native places/work places on account of restrictions…the facilitations envisaged in the aforesaid orders is meant for such distressed persons but does not extend to those categories of personas who are residing normally in places other than their native places for purposes of work etc…” This led adman Suhel Seth to quip on Twitter: “This is fast becoming Kaun Banega Clearpati Challenge.”

The problem of course is that if the message is confused so will be the missive. If you do finally manage to decipher this very convoluted missive, one simple truth stands out— this is not meant to facilitate the movement of migrants at all. They don’t fall into the definition of distressed here. Rather they are the “category of personas” (whatever that means) who are “residing normally in places other than their native places for purposes of work” and thereby exempted from travel. The travel loophole only applies to, say, a daughter living in Delhi who had gone to Udaipur to visit a sick parent and was caught in the lockdown. Not the migrant worker who had left his native place in Bihar to work in a unit in Delhi that had locked down, and rendered him both homeless and jobless. Of course, I could have easily interpreted this wrong, because clarity is not the cornerstone here, but this is my takeaway.

Also, interesting to note is that this clarification was issued against the backdrop of an earlier 29 April circular instructing states to “mutually agree” upon organising bus services from point of origin to their native places. When this didn’t work out as planned, given the long distances involved, the buck was passed onto the Railway Ministry to organise special trains. And we all know how the babus messed that up with their Rs 50 surcharge for special trains. Why is the Prime Minister letting all this happen on his watch? That Narendra Modi, the Master Communicator, should let himself be wrapped up in bureaucratic mumbo jumbo is a mystery in itself. Not to mention the fact that he scored a major self-goal by allowing the Congress to walk away with the narrative when Sonia Gandhi asked Congress governments to bear the cost of the tickets for the homeless migrants. Maybe the PM should spend some of his lockdown time watching reruns of Yes Prime Minister before the bureaucracy does a Humphrey Appleby on him.

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Haryana to provide infrastructure worth Rs 32 crore for beekeepers

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CHANDIGARH: In With a view to facilitating production and trade of quality honey in the state, the Haryana government has proposed various infrastructure development projects and training programmes for beekeepers to the tune of Rs 32.28 crore under the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ economic package. This includes setting up of a quality control test laboratory at Integrated Beekeeping Development Centre (IBDC), Ramnagar, district Kurukshetra, at a cost of Rs 20 crore. Besides, Rs 1.40 crore would be earmarked for establishing collection, marketing and storage centres, post-harvest, and value addition at IBDC. A sum of Rs. 10.88 crore is proposed to be spent on other components such as beehives, bee-colonies, bee-breeders, training programmes and other state agricultural universities (SAU) projects.

While stating this in Chandigarh on Friday, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Department Sanjeev Kaushal said that the setting up of the laboratory, which would be got accredited, would help beekeepers and honey producers produce quality honey for domestic consumption, as well as exports.

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Increased compensation for kin of hooch victims

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CM Captain Amarinder Singh.

CHANDIGARH: In a healing touch to the bereaved families affected by the spurious liquor tragedy which has claimed over 113 lives, the Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday announced an increased compensation for victim’s families from existing Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. He also said that survivors who had lost eyesight in the tragedy would also get Rs 5 lakh. Handing over a cheque of Rs. 2.92 crore for the families of 92 victims of Tarn Taran, CM unambiguously said that anyone, however affluent he might be, responsible for this atrocious crime would not be spared at any cost.

Reiterating his government’s commitment to stand by the victim’s families, the CM also extends help by providing jobs, education, and other social security benefits to them. “Perpetrators of this heinous crime would not be spared at any cost and severe action would be taken against them”, the CM said. Informing further, he said that investigations are already underway in this case and DGP Dinkar Gupta has been directed to further expedite the same.

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2 absconders held, murder charges against kingpins

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CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Police on Friday arrested two of the key absconders in the hooch tragedy, while adding murder charges to the FIRs against all the kingpins in the case. On directives of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Section 302 IPC has been added to the FIRs against the kingpins, directly responsible for the death of 113 people across three districts, DGP Dinkar Gupta said.

With the arrest of father-son duo, Harjit Singh and Shamsher Singh, the total number of arrests in the case has gone up to 54, of which 37 are from Tarn Taran, 9 from Amritsar Rural, and 8 from Batala, DGP added. Harjit Singh and Shamsher have also been booked on murder charges, apart from Kashmir Singh and Satnam Singh, said the DGP. He said that in addition, two FIRs have been registered for harbouring the criminals involved in the case and another 21 persons have been arrested in this connection. More than 887 raids have been conducted since 31 July, when the first deaths in the case were reported, in the three affected districts (303 in Tarn Taran, 330 in Amritsar (Rural) and 254 in Batala). While Harjit was nabbed by Amritsar (Rural) police, which has registered one FIR, his son was apprehended by Tarn Taran police, which has booked 3 FIRs with maximum of 84 deaths, DGP said. Two FIRs have been registered in Batala, with 14 deaths. The coordinated raids that led to the arrest of the duo took place this morning, he added.

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Naidu targets Jagan on capital issue, says Amaravati centrally located

Lokeswara Rao

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Criticising Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s decision to have three state capitals in Andhra Pradesh, TDP leader and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said that “effective decentralisation can only be achieved with one central capital — Amaravati.”

Naidu demanded an explanation from Reddy over his apparent hatred with the current capital and his stubbornness to destroy an excellent ongoing project. He reiterated that YSRCP’s action would only push the state into darkness and destroy opportunities for the upcoming generations.

Addressing a press conference here, Naidu said that from the Chief Minister to Ministers, all YCP leaders made pre-poll assurances that they would not change the capital. But now they aren’t even forthcoming to the idea of a fresh mandate on the concept of three capitals. The opposition leader warned the present government that this move will be very detrimental for the future of the state and pointed out that while 132 projects were started in Amaravati, simultaneously 160 additional projects begun in all the 13 districts from Srikakulam (northern district) to Anantapur (near Bangalore).

Five clusters were visualised under the Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor and another three clusters were planned under Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor. Three mega cities, 14 smart cities, 3 international airports and ports were on the anvil. Naidu also said that 12 out of the total 15 Central government institutions were given to backward regions of Rayalaseema and North Andhra for a balanced development in the state. These included Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management and so on. Seema was converted into a horticulture hub.

Naidu asserted that decentralisation was not a new concept and Amaravati was actually visualised as a vibrant city to achieve the larger objective to ensure decentralised development in the state. It has got huge potential to create spin-off benefits for all districts in the State. Amaravati has also got an excellent self-financing plan such that it would generate funds from out of its own valuable land resources to meet its future infrastructural requirements. The TDP chief said that he had sown the seeds for HiTech City when some sections made fun of that at that time. But, this gradually led to exponential growth in Hyderabad with the help of additional projects like International Airport, Pharma City and Outer Ring Road. Similarly, plans were made for developing Amaravati where 139 projects were lined up. But, the Government has crippled all these projects. He said that the Central Government has a responsibility to intervene and stop capital shifting in the larger interests of AP people.

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Sushant probe quarantined: Bihar cop’s parting shot to Maha govt

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MUMBAI: Punjab’s Shortly before he took a flight back to Bihar, Patna (Central) Superintendent of Police (SP) Vinay Tiwari on Friday alleged that “it is not me, but the Sushant Singh Rajput probe that was quarantined”. Released from quarantine by the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) after six days and directed to leave Mumbai before Saturday (August 8) as per the Covid-19 protocols, Tiwari said, “The Maharashtra government did not isolate me, but quarantined the probe into the death of Sushant Singh Rajput.”

He claimed that this attitude of the Maharashtra government has had an opposite effect on Sushant’s suicide case. Tiwari added that he was not informed by any BMC official personally that he could walk free from quarantine. “The BMC merely sent me a message and I am proceeding to Patna accordingly,” he said.

In a late night order on Thursday, BMC Additional Municipal Commissioner P. Velrasu permitted Tiwari to be relieved from home quarantine. The development came after the Bihar Police wrote to the BMC on Thursday saying Tiwari should be released from quarantine to facilitate his return to his home state to resume his duties.

 The Bihar Police also pointed out that he was no longer required in Mumbai and his arrival period was within seven days. An IPS officer of 2015 batch, Tiwari had arrived here from Patna on August 2 to probe the case related to Bollywood actor Sushant’s death. However, as per the Covid-19 protocols, he was shunted to home quarantine at the SRPF Guest House in Goregaon, even as Bihar Police cried foul although the BMC said that it was merely following the due procedures.

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Rhea came in touch with Sushant only for his wealth: Bihar govt to apex court

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The Bihar government has filed an affidavit in Supreme Court seeking dismissal of the plea by actress Rhea Chakraborty seeking to transfer FIR from Patna to Mumbai in Sushant Singh Rajput suicide case. The affidavit said that Rhea Chakraborty and her family members came in contact with Sushant Singh Rajput with the sole motive of grabbing crores of rupees from him and later painted a false picture of his mental illness.

Bihar police began their investigation after an FIR (First Information Report) was registered by Rajput’s father KK Singh in Patna against Chakraborty under several sections, including abetment of suicide, and recommended CBI probe into Rajput’s death case looking at the sensitivity of the matter and its interstate ramifications.

Bihar government accused Mumbai police of non-cooperation, stating that “the forcible quarantine of the IPS officer Vinay Tiwary is nothing but a result of an afterthought on part of Mumbai police aimed at obstructing the investigation by the Patna police which is amply clear from the fact that when the four members of the SIT went to Mumbai, they were not quarantined.

However, when IPS officer Vinay Tiwary reached Mumbai, he was forcibly quarantined by the BMC. The aforesaid fact casts a serious aspersion on the role of Mumbai police who is apparently siding with the petitioner for the reasons best known to them.”

 Bihar police further said that despite total non-cooperation from Mumbai police, they have found several leads in the investigation. They told the top court that since the probe points are scattered at many places in India, a CBI probe into Rajput’s mysterious suicidal death is much needed.

 Bihar government said it has the jurisdiction to investigate the case, seeking to reject Chakraborty’s submission under section 179 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) that the entire cause of action arose in Mumbai and it has no jurisdiction to register FIR.

Earlier, the top court had asked all parties involved to file their response in three days. It also ordered the Maharashtra government to apprise the court of the stage of investigation by Mumbai police into Rajput’s death.

The case will now be heard next week. Maharashtra government is likely to file its affidavit in a sealed cover.

The Supreme Court heard a petition by Rhea Chakraborty seeking to transfer the investigation to Mumbai, where investigation in connection with Sushant Singh Rajput’s death is already underway.

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