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Seven killed as oil tanker collides with car on Yamuna Expressway

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Mathura (Uttar Pradesh) [India], February 24 (ANI): Seven persons were killed after an oil tanker collided with a car near Naujheel police station on the Yamuna Expressway on Tuesday night, said an official.
Mathura senior superintendent of police Gaurav Grover said: “Seven persons including two women died after an oil tanker collided with the car they were travelling in on Yamuna Expressway.”
“The oil tanker was headed towards Agra. As per preliminary investigations, the tanker collided with the divider. During the collision, a car came between the tanker the divider. All those who were travelling in the car are dead. The kin of the deceased have been informed about the incident,” Grover said.
“Bodies have been recovered and sent for post-mortem. Further probe is underway,” he said. (ANI)

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Punjab Assembly passes resolution seeking unconditional withdrawal of farm laws

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Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], March 5 (ANI): Punjab Assembly on Friday passed a resolution seeking unconditional withdrawal of the three contentious farm laws by the Centre.
According to a press statement, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh introduced a resolution calling for the repeal of the farm laws, declaring that these laws cannot be accepted and allowed to remain on the statute book to the detriment of the farmers, as not only are they against the principles of cooperative federalism but their objectives are apparently preposterous.
The resolution was later passed unanimously by those present in the House. It demanded the unconditional withdrawal of the Farm Laws in the interest of the farmers and the State, and to continue with the existing system of Minimum Support Price (MSP)-based government procurement of food grains.
“The House resolves to once again urge upon the Government of India to withdraw these laws unconditionally in the larger interest of the farmers, and the State and continue with the existing system of MSP-based government procurement of food grains,” the resolution stated.
Captain Amarinder also appealed to the Central government to withdraw all cases and notices against the agitating farmers to build a congenial environment for an amicable solution and introduced a resolution calling for the repeal of the farm laws by the Centre.
The Punjab CM also questioned who benefits from unregulated private mandis and cess, taxes imposed on those markets. He also questioned the benefits of several other issues, including debarring Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers, deregulation of mandi fees, debarring farmers from approaching courts and stock limits on storage of food grains.
He also lamented that the three Bills passed unanimously by the Punjab Assembly to counter the ill-effects of the farm laws had still not been granted Presidential assent.
“Though nobody dares speak out loud, the response to these questions is clear”, said the Chief Minister after putting up the questions in the Assembly, adding that his government was fully conscious that the Centre has no choice but to withdraw these legislations and ensure socio-economic security of the farmers and farm workers, the release read. (ANI)

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Owner of explosives-laden vehicle found outside Antilia dead; Fadnavis demands NIA probe

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 5 (ANI): After the owner of the explosives-laden vehicle found outside Reliance group chairman Mukesh Ambani’s residence died by suicide on Friday, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis demanded a probe by National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the matter.
Addressing media after reports about the suicide of Mansukh Hiran, the owner of the explosives-laden vehicle found outside Antilia surfaced, Fadnavis said, “I had demanded the security for Hiran in the Legislative Assembly today along with the NIA probe in the matter. Now after the suicide of Hiran, the suspicion intensifies. I demand an NIA probe in the matter.”
Earlier today, Maharashtra Police said an unknown male corpse was found in Retibunder Creek on Retibunder road in Mumbra (w). Later the corpse was identified as Mansukh Hiran, a resident of Thane whose vehicle with gelatin sticks was found parked on Carmichael Road near Mukesh Ambani’s residence Antilia.
Police said the prima facia shows Hiran died by suicide.
In the state Assembly earlier today, Fadnavis had raised suspicion in the case and said “there are a number of coincidences in the matter”.
“The owner of the car was at Mumbai’s Crawford market for shopping but his car was stolen. Assistant Police Inspector (API) Sachin Waze who found the car, and the owner of the car Hiren were in talks, he was from thane and this car also came from thane. All this is suspicious so the owner of the car must be given protection,” Fadnavis had said.
A car carrying unassembled explosive materials was found abandoned at Carmichael Road in South Mumbai last week, near the house of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani. The bomb squad and police teams are conducting a probe.
According to the Mumbai Police, a Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) examined the vehicle and found gelatin, a substance often used to make explosives.
According to sources, the handwritten “threat letter” in “broken English” was addressed to Mukesh Ambani and his wife Neeta Ambani.
The suspect who parked the car (near Mukesh Ambani’s house yesterday) was seen in CCTV footage but has not been identified as he was wearing a face mask and his head was covered with a hoodie, said Mumbai Police.
Mumbai Police has deployed its personnel outside Ambani’s house after explosive materials were found. (ANI)

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NABARD chairman G R Chintala takes over chairmanship of APRACA

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Chairman G R Chintala on Friday took over the chairmanship of the Asia Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA).
Chintala is succeeding Bank of Ceylon CEO DPK Gunasekera in office.
Speaking to ANI, Chinatala said, “APRACA is a body of 24 nations with close to 88 members. It is an international organisation, which does a lot of information exchange, takes capacity building initiatives, and creates new institutions. The last chairmanship India got was in 1999, which is almost 19 years back. This is a very big thing for the nation and proud day for an institution to head the international body.”
73rd EXCOM and 22nd General Assembly Meeting of the APRACA was held in New Delhi on Friday virtually.
“Biggest challenge for us is how to put the things in order and go ahead with the new initiatives and a new kind of requirement for the agriculture sector. Climate change in the agriculture is a big challenge. Agriculture is going to be affected most with the rise in the temperature. Now the time has come for APRACA to do such kind of information exchange to mitigate the climate crises and also adapt strategies so that small farmer’s livelihood should be guaranteed,” NABARD chairman added.
Chintala further praised the work done by NABARD in the COVID-19 pandemic and said that its balance sheet was closed on Rs 5.32 lakh crore in March 2020, adding that this year they are going to achieve the level of Rs 6 lakh crores.
He added our banks were continuously open during this pendamic and most of the state governments, Chief Ministers borrowed money for infrastructure related projects.
“We have done a tremendous and commendable job with infrastructure financing. So now that infrastructure is going to be created. It is going to bring stability to the Indian agriculture sector,” he further said. (ANI)

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Free power to farmers, subsidised power to the industry will continue: Punjab CM

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Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], March 5 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday announced that free power to farmers and subsidised power to the industry will continue in the state in his government.
According to a press statement, he mentioned that benefits such as free power to farmers and subsidised power to the industry will continue, as will the 200 free units of power to Scheduled Castes (SC), Below Poverty Line (BPL), Backward Castes (BC) households, and freedom fighters in the state as his government was totally committed to the welfare of all sections of the people, with focus on the development of key sectors, including Agriculture and Industry.
There are approximately 14.23 lakh tube-wells in the State and the total subsidy borne by the State is Rs 5,733 crores for the year 2018-19, and Rs 6,060 crore for the year 2019-20, said Captain Amarinder, adding that this will benefit 14.23 lakh farmers. Besides, 1.36 lakh industries had so far received Rs. 6,010 crore in power subsidy, while 24.31 lakh domestic consumers were getting free power, he added.
The Chief Minister also mentioned ‘Khushaal Kissan and Kamyab Punjab (K3P)’. “The remaining 1.13 lakh of the 5.64 lakh small and marginal farmers eligible for the state government’s debt waiver scheme, would be covered within the next fiscal year. Further, the government had decided to disburse Rs 520 crores to 2.85 lakh landless farm laborers who are members of the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies,” said Captain Amarinder.
Disclosing that farmers’ incomes have increased through higher quantities purchased on Minimum Support Price (MSP) in the state, the Chief Minister said, “Foodgrains purchased annually were 213.5 Lakh million tones during 2007-2017, and had increased to 285 lakh million tonnes during 2017-21,”.
He further disclosed that the total remuneration of farmers from government procurement of food grains has gone up to Rs 2.16 lakh crore since April 2017 – an increase of about Rs 90,668 crore over the earnings in the corresponding procurement seasons of the previous government.
Thus, the farmers’ incomes through the sale of food grains have increased by more than 72 per cent ever since the government took over in March 2017, said the CM, adding that all payments to farmers were done online bringing more transparency. (ANI)

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Malankara Orthodox Church backs BJP leader for saving historical shrine in Kerala from demolition

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Alappuzha (Kerala) [India], March 5 (ANI): After interventions were made by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to save a 1000-year-old Christian church in Kerala’s Alappuzha district from demolition, the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (MOSC) has decided to support the BJP leader who took the initiative to protect it.
St George Orthodox Church Cheppad faced the demolition threat due to a proposed widening of a national highway. Fr KM Varghese Kaleekkal the former vicar of that church said that it was BJP leader Dr R Balashankar who helped the church during the crisis.
“When we were protesting to save the church from demolition as part of the national highway widening many leaders from Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M), Congress and others visited us. But none of them took the initiative to save the church from getting demolished. It was BJP leader Balashankar who spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari,” Fr. Varghese told ANI.
“Due to their intervention, the alignment of the highway’s widening was changed after Archeological Survey of India (ASI) issued orders to make Church a protected monument,” he added.
Fr. Varghese also an MOSC management committee member said, “We will surely cast our vote to those who protected our home.”
“The church even does not have to officially announce to vote for BJP. All people here know it was Prime Minister who intervened after Balashankar took the initiative. So we will be supporting him,” he added.
When asked if the Church will make an official announcement he said, “Now it’s too early to comment as even the candidates have not been decided. If any official announcement should be made, we will make it at the appropriate time. But surely we will support those who supported us at the time of crisis.”
BJP is likely to field Balashankar from the Chengannur assembly where Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church has great influence.
The St George Orthodox Church, Cheppad, is believed to be built in AD 1050. The church has many rare mural paintings that date back to the 13th-century.
“Also the tomb of Malankara Metropolitan Philipose Mar Dionysius from 1855 is housed in the church,” said Fr. Varghese. (ANI)

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Trouble in alliance, Congress’ KS Alagiri in tears after DMK ‘shames’ Congress in seat-sharing

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Chennai (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 5 (ANI): With just a month left in Tamil Nadu Assembly polls, cracks are appearing in the Congress-Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) alliance in the state.
Sources inside Congress told ANI, Tamil Nadu Congress president KS Alagiri broke down in front of party members after feeling humiliated by DMK during the seat-sharing discussion.
“KS Alagiri was addressing the executive committee members of Congress when he breakdown in tears and said DMK have shamed Congress in seat sharing. He said he had not felt such shame in his lifetime,” the source said.
According to sources, DMK has offered 25 seats to Congress in the state.
Tamil Nadu Congress state executive committee meeting was held in the party headquarters in Sathyamoorthy Bhavan, Chennai on Friday.
It was a closed-door meeting, presided by senior party leader Veerappa Moily, Tamil Nadu Congress in-charge Dinesh Gundu Rao and Alagiri.
After the closed-door meeting, Alagiri addressed the media and said the discussion with DMK on seat sharing is underway.
Meanwhile, DMK in a pre-poll alliance allotted three seats to IUML (Indian Union Muslim League) and six seats to Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK).
Tamil Nadu assembly elections will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will be done on May 2.
The term of the fifteenth legislative assembly in Tamil Nadu is ending on May 2, 2021. As many as 6,28,23,749 electors will choose candidates for the sixteenth legislative assembly in Tamil Nadu.
Ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is contesting the poll in a pre-poll alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), while MK Stalin’s DMK has joined hands with Congress.
This time actor-turned-politician Kamal Hassan’s party Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM) is also in the fray.
In the last Assembly elections held in 2016, the DMK won 80, Congress won just eight, AIADMK won 134 seats, BJP won 4 seats and the rest were won by other parties and independent candidates.
The opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led front, which includes the Congress, had won 37 of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu in 2019. (ANI)

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