Amidst the ongoing power tussle in Punjab Congress and ‘power’ (electricity) crisis in the state, Congress MLA and former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday targeted Chief Minister Amarinder Singh as he raised questions on Power Purchase Agreements in Punjab. He also gave suggestions to improve the electricity situation in the state.
In his 9-part tweet, Sidhu said, “Truth of Power Costs, Cuts, Power Purchase Agreements and How to give Free and 24 hour Power to the People of Punjab: 1. There is No need for Power-Cuts in Punjab or for the Chief Minister to regulate office timings or AC use of the Common People … If we Act in the right direction,” he tweeted.
The Congress leader said that Punjab is buying power at an average cost of Rs 4.54 per unit, while the national average is Rs 3.85 per unit and Chandigarh is paying Rs 3.44 per unit.
Sidhu said that the Punjab Vidhan Sabha can bring in new legislation to amend the Power Purchase Agreements signed by the Badal government which are responsible for the high electricity rates in the state.
“Punjab’s over-dependence on three Private Thermal Plants at Rs 5-8 per unit makes Punjab pay more than other states Badal Govt signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with three Private Thermal Power Plants in Punjab. Till 2020, Punjab has already paid 5400 Crore due to faulty clauses in these Agreements and is expected to pay Rs 65,000 Crore of Punjab People’s Money just as fixed charges,” he said.
Sidhu further said that Punjab can purchase power from the National Grid at much cheaper rates, “but these Badal-signed PPAs are acting against Punjab’s Public Interest. Punjab may not be able to re-negotiate these PPAs due to them having legal protection from Hon’ble Courts, but there is a way forward”.
He continued, “Punjab Vidhan Sabha can bring in New Legislation with retrospective effect to Cap power purchase costs to prices available on the National Power Exchange at any given time … Thus, by amending the law, these Agreements will become Null & Void, saving People of Punjab’s Money,” he said.
He pointed out that Punjab’s revenue per unit of consumption is one of the lowest in India, “due to gross mismanagement of the complete power purchase and supply system”. PSPCL pays Rs. 0.18 per unit “extra” on every unit supplied, even after receiving over Rs 9,000 crore in subsidy from the state.”
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Sambit Patra takes a jibe at Udit Raj for insulting President Murmu
Sambit Patra, the national spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party, attacked Congress leader Udit Raj on Thursday for his comments against President Droupadi Murmu and claimed that they demonstrated the party’s “anti-tribal ideology.”
On Wednesday, Udit Raj accused President Murmu of engaging in “chamchagiri” with his divisive comments against her.
“No country should get a president like Droupadi Murmu Ji. Chamchagiri also has its limits. She says 70 percent of the people eat Gujarat’s salt. She will get to know once she starts living by consuming salt only,” Udit Raj said in his tweet in Hindi.
Sambit Patra of the BJP claimed that Udit Raj’s language toward the President was offensive, depressing, and unsettling.
He added that the Congress party had previously referred to the President in such a manner. When a tribal woman was elected president of the nation, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury used language about her that we have heard before.
“It is surprising and saddening how Congress is regularly using disrespectful words towards the President of India, who has struggled enough to reach the topmost position of the country and it shows their mentality,” Patra said, adding that it “exposes their anti-tribal mindset”.
He also demanded an apology from the party for their treatment of the nation’s first tribal leader.
Days before Udit Raj’s comments, President Murmu observed that 76% of the nation’s salt is produced in Gujarat, adding lightheartedly that “all Indians use the salt produced in Gujarat” at a civic banquet held in her honour by the Gujarati government on Monday in Gandhinagar (yah kaha jaa sakta hai ki sabhi deshwasi Gujarat kaa namak khate hain).
In the meantime, Shehzad Poonawalla of the BJP poked fun at the party in the meantime by questioning whether the Congress party supported such conduct.
Poonawalla launched a vicious attack, claiming that this was the genuine “Chaal Charitra Chehara” of the Congress, who had repeatedly insulted India’s first female Adivasi President.
Recounting how Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary referred to Murmu Ji as “Rashtrapatni” and Congress leader Ajoy Kumar described her as having an “evil attitude,” Poonawalla questioned whether Udit Raj would be fired if the Congress disagreed with this terminology. Would this statement be condemned by Rahul and Sonia Gandhi?
“it is unlikely that they would (condemn it) as such statements are applauded by the first family, which ensured the defeat of Babasaheb Ambedkar twice and ensured that Bhagwan Birsa Munda never got his due.”
He also accused Congress of having “deep-seated hatred for Adivasis and Dalits” and said, “Droupadi Murmu ji rose up through sheer hard work and commitment despite her challenging socio-economic circumstances and became a people’s President, but Congress cannot accept this.”
Australia: Sydney marks wettest year since 1858 as more floods predict
Authorities prepared for severe floods in Australia’s east on Thursday as Sydney marked its wettest year in 164 years. More torrential rain is predicted to fall over the next three days.
Australia’s largest metropolis has experienced 2,200 mm of rain in a year for the first time since records began in 1858, and there are still almost three months left in 2022.
Approximately 2,213 mm (87 inches) of rain has fallen on Sydney by Thursday afternoon, breaking the previous record of 2,194 mm recorded in 1950.
In the five hours since 9 a.m. local time (2200 GMT, Wednesday), more than 58 mm have fallen, according to Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) live data.
As Australia’s east coast continues to experience the exceptional La Nina weather pattern for a third straight year, further downpours are predicted for the rest of 2022.
Heading into late spring and summer, we’re still in this active La Nina period so we can expect more and more rainfall and that does increase the risk of flooding,” BoM forecaster Jonathan How told ABC television.
Three times in the past two years, flooding has affected Sydney’s suburbs, displacing tens of thousands of people.
Authorities in Sydney cautioned citizens to be on the lookout for flash floods and to avoid driving on flooded roads as a wild weather system was anticipated to drop torrential rains through the weekend across a large area of Australia’s east.
The capacity of many dams and rivers has already been reached. In order to help avert future floods, the state of New South Wales has committed to increasing the height of the wall at Sydney’s Warragamba Dam, which provides 80% of the city’s water.
‘Katappa did not have double standards’: CM Shinde slams Uddhav’s remark
At a Dussehra rally on Thursday, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde retaliated against Uddhav Thackeray for his remarks against Katappa, claiming that even Katappa had self-respect and did not have double standards.
“They call me ‘Katappa’. I want to tell you that even ‘Katappa’ had self-respect and did not have double standards like you,” Shinde said. Recently, Uddhav Thackeray said, “The only thing I feel angry about is that when I was admitted to the hospital, the people whom I gave the responsibility (of the state) became ‘Katappa’ and betrayed us… They were thinking that I would never return from the hospital.”
In an attack on Uddhav Thackeray, Shinde claimed that Narayan Rane would have taken over as CM if Balasaheb Thackeray had still been alive.
“He (Uddhav Thackeray) didn’t feel ashamed of taking the oath of CM. If Balasaheb Thackeray had been alive he would not have become CM, Balasaheb would have made Narayan Rane CM”, CM added.
At the Dussehra rally on Wednesday at Mumbai’s BKC field, Balasaheb Thackeray’s son, Jaidev Thackeray, attended to show his support and shared the stage with Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde.
Jaidev Thackeray expressed his support for CM Shinde and stated, “Don’t abandon Eknath Shinde by himself. He serves peasants and common people “.
Shiv Sena Dussehra event on MMRDA grounds was attended by Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and members of his faction.
In honour of Balasaheb Thackeray, Shinde spoke. A Mahant from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh was summoned to perform the “Shashtr pooja” (worship of arms) for the 51-foot-long sword.
Uddhav Thackeray was denounced by Shinde as a traitor for his former party’s affiliation with Congress. “Balasaheb Thackeray made an alliance with the BJP. You did gaddari, but we are not gaddar. You have committed a sin… go apologise to Balasaheb samadhi at Shivaji park”.
Shinde went on to praise his leadership, claiming that Uddhav Thackeray had brought about a revolution while betraying the Maharashtrian people and selling Balasaheb Thackeray’s ideas.
“You point at us for stealing your father, but you have sold your father and the packed ground here shows this,” he said.
Shiv Sena’s Shinde faction leader Ramdas Kadam called out Uddhav Thackeray, saying, “Even your brother, cousins, or Raj Thackeray are not with you. Uddhav ji, if you cannot even keep your family intact, how will you keep the state intact?”
In his attack, Shinde said, “This is not your (Uddhav Thackeray) pvt. ltd company. The Shiv Sena is made up of Shiv-Sainiks who have given their sweat for it. Not for people like you, who did partnerships and sold it.”
When Uddhav Thackeray was in office, he said that for two years, they obeyed all commands while he shattered Balasaheb’s worldview.
“As mentioned by Gulabrao Patil, all the MLAs used to meet me and tell me about their problems because you never met them… I used to give aid to them (MLAs) from my ministry. Why did MLAs and MPs left you? Raj Thackeray, Narayan Rane, and Smita Thackeray left you. Are we all wrong?” he asked.
Prashant Kishor states that he will not work for Nitish Kumar
Prashant Kishor, an election strategist turned politician, said on Wednesday that he would not work for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, even if Nitish vacates the CM’s chair for him. Prashant Kishor stated that he made a promise to the people that he cannot change. He has also revealed that during their last meeting, after Nitish Kumar left the NDA alliance in Bihar and became the chief minister of the Mahagathbandhan in the state, Nitish Kumar asked him to join the JD (U).
“I categorically told the CM that I will not work with him even if he (Nitish Kumar) makes me his political heir or …vacates the chair of CM for me. I said no….I have made a promise to the people…it can’t be changed,” Prashant Kishor said as he addressed a gathering at Jamunia village in the West Champaran district as part of his ongoing 3,500-km Jan Suraah yatra.
Prashant Kishor made frequent references to Nitish Kumar in his addresses during the yatra. “You all must have learnt through media reports that Nitish Kumar had called me to his residence about 10-15 days back. He asked me to lead his party. I said it is not possible,” Prashant Kishor said on Tuesday.
“After losing the 2014 (Lok Sabha) polls, he met me in Delhi, begging for help. I assisted him in winning the 2015 assembly polls as the chief ministerial candidate of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’. Today, he has the temerity to offer ‘gyan’ (wisdom) to me,” he said.
Prashant Kishor joined the JD(U) in 2018 and rose to the position of national vice-president before being expelled due to a disagreement with Nitish Kumar over the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Nitish Kumar recently accused Prashant Kishor of working for the BJP, while the JD(U) questioned Prashant Kishor’s funding for his yatra. Prashant Kishor addressed these concerns, stating that those interested in his funding should be aware that, unlike them, he never engaged in ‘dalaali.’
“Politicians have for long been seeking my advice on how to win elections. Media has been full of praise for my track record as a political strategist. But never before have I asked anybody to lend me money,” he said. “But today I am seeking donations. This is the fee that I am charging towards building this movement which entails expenses like the tent we have put up here,” Prashant Kishor said.
Girl raped, murdered in Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri
Superintendent of Police (SP) Mainpuri, Kamlesh Dixit on Wednesday said a girl was raped and murdered in Nagla Shisham village in Uttar Pradesh.
“Police received information about the rape and murder of a girl in Nagla Shisham village. Police reached the spot and immediate action was taken. Action will be taken by arresting the guilty soon,” Dixit said.
Meanwhile, under suspicious circumstances, the victim’s body was found hanging.
The incident took place when the deceased father went to work at Mainpuri and the mother was gone to Agra.
Moreover, the deceased sister saw the victim through the window where her sister’s body was hanging.
SP Dixit further added, “The sister of the deceased told the police that the accused Pushpendra strangled her sister to death.”
However, the body of the victim has been sent to the district headquarters for post-mortem.
Kerala: Tourist bus struck state transportation vehicle, 9 deaths, 38 injuries
Kerala minister M B Rajesh reported that, nine people were murdered and 38 more were hurt after a tourist bus carrying students collided with a KSRTC bus at Mangalam, close to the Vadakkenchery region of Palakkad.
The horrifying traffic collision happened when the tourist bus hit the KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) bus from behind. While the KSRTC bus was travelling to Coimbatore, the tourist bus carrying Baselios Vidhyanikethan School children and faculty was travelling from Ernakulam to Ooty. Five kids, one instructor, and three KSRTC bus passengers were among the deceased.
38 people have been admitted to the hospital.
“Five people sustained serious injuries, but they are said to be out of danger,” Rajesh said.
More information is awaited.
In a previous incident in Uttarakhand, the Pauri Garhwal bus accident resulted in up to 32 fatalities and eighteen injuries, according to information provided to the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) on October 4.
The chief minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami, pledged financial support to the families of those killed in the disasters in Pauri Garhwal and Uttarkashi.
Earlier on October 3, a bus carrying a wedding procession of 50 people in Uttarakhand’s Pauri Garhwal district crashed into a gorge close to Simdi village.
“A wedding procession had left in a bus from Laldhang when an accident occurred. Information is being taken from the family members. A rescue operation is still underway by Pauri Police and SDRF at the spot,” said Haridwar SP City Swatantra Kumar Singh.
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