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Punjab CM urges PM Modi to ensure urgent resolution of ongoing agitation ‘to satisfaction of protesting farmers’

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Chandigarh, February 20 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure an urgent resolution of the ongoing farm unrest by the Centre “to the satisfaction of the protesting farmers by addressing all their grievances.”
Through his speech submitted for the virtual meeting of the NITI Aayog, the CM called for the fullest respect for the ‘Annadata’ and reiterated his government’s stand that agriculture is a State subject and law-making on it should be left to the States in the true spirit of “cooperative federalism” enshrined in the Constitution, according to a press release.
In this context, he pointed to the state amendments already passed to the central legislations by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in October 2020, it said.
“Captain Amarinder could not attend the NITI Aayog meeting as he was indisposed,” the release added.
The CM asserted that any reform that is sought to be introduced in a sector subsuming almost 60 per cent of the country’s workforce must be done only through a process of extensive consultation with all the stakeholders, of which Punjab is a key stakeholder, being at the forefront of ensuring food security for the country.
Citing strong apprehension among farmers of Punjab that the Minimum Support Price (MSP)-based procurement regime through Food Corporation of India (or agencies on its behalf), introduced as part of food security measures in the 1960s, maybe discontinued in view of the Shanta Kumar Committee Report of 2015, Captain Amarinder also stressed the need for the Indian government to decisively dispel any such impression “to instill proper confidence in the farmers of the State,” the release mentioned.
The CM also used the forum to once again reiterated the state government’s demand for a bonus of Rs 100 per quintal of paddy procured as “Paddy Straw Management Compensation”, which can be used for purchase or rental of new equipment, attaining the skills for efficient use, and to reduce the cost of operation and maintenance.
He also requested the Central to provide Rs 5 crore per MW (Megawatt) financial support for Biomass Power Projects and Rs 3.5 crore per MW for Biomass Solar Hybrid Projects to the state as Viability Gap Fund (VGF) to help alleviate the effects of paddy straw burning through ex-situ utilization of available paddy straw with good returns to the farmers, according to the release.
It mentioned that underlining the importance of aligning the cropping system to agro-climatic conditions at the district level for optimum use of resources, Captain Amarinder called upon the Central government to designate agencies to procure and provide MSP matching the returns of wheat and paddy in order to incentivise the farmers to take up cultivation of alternate crops and thereby achieve diversification and save precious water.
He also sought Central’s support and liberal financial assistance to facilitate the state’s programmes and schemes for diversification towards Nutri-cereals, pulses, horticulture, fisheries and animal husbandry.
The importance of water conservation was also highlighted by the CM.
He has also requested the Centre government to consider Punjab’s pilot project – ‘Pani Bachao Paisa Kamao (PBPK)’ – as a national project, for which a feasibility report amounting to Rs 433.00 crore has already been submitted by the state to the Central Water Commission.
The Punjab CM further sought a Deficiency Price Support for alternative crops like maize, in order to encourage farmers to diversify out of the water-intensive paddy crop.
The release further said that Captain Amarinder also urged the central government to devise a cluster development scheme, on the lines of the MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) sector, for the Food Processing Sector for creating ‘Common Facilities’ in every Agri Cluster which will supplement the three Mega Food Parks established in the state. (ANI)

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MP Cabinet approves law to give life imprisonment to food adulterators

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Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) [India], February 27 (ANI): Madhya Pradesh Cabinet on Friday approved a Penal Law (Madhya Pradesh Amendment) Bill, 2021 to give life imprisonment to food adulterators.
Informing about it, the state’s Home Minister Narottam Mishra said, “Madhya Pradesh Cabinet has approved Penal Law (Madhya Pradesh Amendment) Bill, 2021 to give life imprisonment to food adulterators.”
It is noteworthy, in December 2019, an awareness rally was held in Bhopal to fight the menace of adulteration. The rally saw the participation of the people of all age groups.
The rally was held from Roshanpura to Lal Parade in the capital city. The enthusiastic volunteers were heard raising slogans against adulteration and demanded pure food products. (ANI)

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Lt Gen Yogendra Dimri appointed as next Commander-in-chief of Lucknow-based Central Army Command

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New Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI): Lieutenant General Yogendra Dimri has been appointed as the next Commander-in-chief of the Lucknow-based Central Army Command.
Lieutenant General AS Bhinder will take over as the new head of the Jaipur-based South Western Army command. (ANI)

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Andhra CM asks town planners to find solutions for emerging challenges with futuristic outlook

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Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], February 27 (ANI): Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy here on Friday called upon the town planners to come up with solutions to the emerging challenges with a futuristic outlook on the goals set by the United Nations for sustainable development.
While inaugurating the 69th National Town and Country Planners Conference virtually at Vishakhapatnam, the Chief Minister said that he is looking forward to the recommendations on affordable housing for lower-income groups and reducing the financial burden on the government in wake of the growing cost of land and high rents in urban areas making the land acquisition a difficult task.
He expressed confidence that the three-day meet will come up with solutions that are pertinent to the State and country vis-a-vis the 17 sustainable goals for 2030 set by the United Nations.
“The Conference, being organized by the Institute of Town Planners of India (ITPT) and attended by Town Planners, Academics, Researchers, Directors and others from across the country, would deliberate on the emerging challenges in the changing scenario, and I hope the Summit will come up with useful recommendations,” the Chief Minister said in his inaugural address.
Some of the interesting topics the Summit would be discussing include the impact of COVID in work culture and the requirements besides environment and climate change.
“Water management is another issue of major concern and it needs comprehensive planning as cities are growing from multiple directions and there will need to extend the water facilities to all areas,” he said.
The Chief Minister has stated that the government is looking forward for developing the coastal region utilising the vast stretch of 974 Km coastline in the State, where even Visakhapatnam city is also one of the beneficiaries of an integrated coastal development plan.
Jagan Mohan Reddy reiterated that the purpose of this summit is to deliberate various issues on sustainable development goals by 2030 as recommended by the UN and looking forward to the solutions that would emerge in the summit for a remarkable change in current situations to lead better.
“We will take forward all the suggestions and recommendations that the Conference will give after the deliberations and put them to best use,” he added. (ANI)

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Devotees celebrate Magh Purnima, govt showers flowers petals over Sangam Ghat

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Prayagraj/Haridwar (Uttar Pradesh/Uttarakhand) [India], February 27 (ANI): Devotees across Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand on Friday took holy dips on the occasion of ‘Magh Purnima’, the full moon night in the Magha month of the Hindu calendar.
To mark the occasion, the Prayagraj District Administration showered flower petals on devotees at Triveni Sangam, also known as Sangam Ghat, the meeting place of three rivers — the Saraswati, Yamuna, and Ganga (Ganges).


Devotees in Prayagraj and Haridwar were seen observing the holy occasion by offering diyas (lamps) in the water.
Magh Purnima is celebrated around the months of January and February and Lord Vishnu is worshipped during this time. (ANI)

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Nashik Police give unique farewell to sniffer dog on retirement

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Nashik (Maharashtra) [India], February 27 (ANI): Spike, a sniffer dog, who was a part of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) of the Nashik City Police Force, received a grand farewell on 24 February after completing 11 years of service.
Spike, who joined the Nashik Bomb Detection-Dog Squad in 2010, is famous for discovering hidden petrol bombs.

Spike was paraded on the bonnet of the Police van on the occasion while Police marched by the side of the vehicle.
The unique way of paying respect to the dog ended with the cutting of a cake. (ANI)

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NGT directs monitoring committee to look into death of elephant by electrocution in Madhya Pradesh

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New Delhi [India], February 27 (ANI): The National Green Tribunal on Saturday directed Central Monitoring Committee constituted by Environment Ministry to look into the death of an elephant by electrocution and to protect the lives of 40 elephants in Bandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh.
An NGT bench headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed Central Monitoring Committee constituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and the Chief Wildlife Warden, Madhya Pradesh to look into the grievance in the present application and take remedial action in accordance with the law.
The tribunal was hearing an application moved by one PG Najpande seeking for fixing accountability for the death of an elephant by electrocution and to protect the lives of 40 elephants in Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh.
The applicants have stated that on November 28, 2020, one elephant lost its life by electrocution in the forest area of Bargi, village Mohas, District Jabalpur on account of a high voltage trap with high voltage over-loaded power lines.
Apart from the death of one elephant, there is a danger to the lives of 40 wild animals in the forest of Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh.
The tribunal noted that a Central Monitoring Committee has been constituted by the MoEF&CC to coordinate with the elephant-bearing States on the issue of the safety of elephants in elephant protection zones. (ANI)

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