Chamoli (Uttarakhand) [India], February 15 (ANI): The death toll in the avalanche triggered by the bursting of a glacier in Chamoli, Uttrakhand has gone up to 55, Chamoli Police said on Monday.
“Today, three more bodies have been recovered from the Tapovan tunnel. Till now, from a total of 55 dead bodies and 22 human organs, we have identified 29 bodies and one organ. The DNAs of unidentified bodies have been conserved,” the Chamoli police said in a tweet.
Rescue agencies have recovered three more bodies from the Tapovan tunnel and one body from Maithana village.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel along with National Disaster Response Force and other sister agencies have been conducting search and rescue operation in Chamoli district.
Missing reports of 179 people have been filed till now at the Joshimath police station, and relief and rescue operations are still underway.
The Project Director of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) hydro power project, Ujjwal Bhattacharya had earleir said, “We have progressed up to 135 metres inside the Tapovan tunnel. Bodies are being recovered with caution so as to return them to their family members.”
Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand Police on Sunday had said that the Alaknanda River at Srinagar in Pauri Garhwal is flowing at the normal level; no alert has been issued by the district administration in this regard.
Uttarakhand Disaster Response Force has put an alarm system to detect the rise in the level of water and alert about it, in Raini village of Chamoli district.
A glacier burst in the Tapovan-Reni area of Chamoli District of Uttarakhand last week led to massive flooding in the Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers and damaged houses and the nearby Rishiganga power project. (ANI)
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TDP releases party manifesto for municipal polls
Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], February 26 (ANI): Telugu Desam Party (TDP) National General Secretary Nara Lokesh on Friday released TDP’s manifesto for forthcoming municipal polls in Andhra Pradesh.
Promises in the TDP manifesto included the revival of Anna canteens to provide food at Rs 5, halving of taxes increased allegedly by Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) government and Job Mela for unemployed youth once in every six months.
There was also a promise in the manifesto that the beautification of municipalities and corporations will be undertaken by TDP. Permanent auto stands with free drinking water and toilets and meeting halls for Mission for Elimination of Poverty in Muslim Areas (MEPMA) groups were other items in the TDP manifesto.
The manifesto promised to increase the salaries of sanitation workers to Rs 21,000 and abolishment of tax on water. It also said that TDP will provide free drinking water and complete the Township and Infrastructure Development Corporation (TIDCO) housing projects.
Lokesh said, “Jagan is a gun without bullets. There is no law and order in the state. Atrocities against women have increased.”
“Electricity charges are drastically increased. Bus charges and water tax rates are rising. Fuel prices have shot up during Jagan’s rule. Price of sand, cement has also increased,” he said.
“YSRCP government is giving money to the people with the right hand and grabbing it with the left. People both in rural and urban areas are being looted,” he further said.
“The government has ample amount of funds but they are not spending it on infrastructure projects as they won’t get any commissions. The government is not paying for any welfare schemes either,” he added.
On the alleged Visakhapatnam Steel Plant privatisation, Lokesh said that the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister surrendered to the Modi led Union Government and alleged that the YSRCP MP YS Avinash Reddy is part of the committee which took the decision to privatise Vizag Steel Plant.
He further alleged that the chief minister used religion for his political growth. “He has taken holy dips in all holy rivers. But after he came to power, almost 150 temples have been attacked.” (ANI)
Has 8- phase polling in Bengal done for convenience of PM Modi, Amit Shah? Mamata asks ECI
Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], February 26 (ANI): With dates for West Bengal Assembly polls announced on Friday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee questioned the Election Commission’s decision to bifurcate the polls into eight phases and alleged that it was being done to suit the convenience of the BJP.
Addressing mediapersons here after the poll dates were announced , Banerjee said, “I request the ECI to consider West Bengal as their own state, not through the eyes of BJP. I respect ECI’s decision, but why have they broken-up the districts. South 24 Parganas is our stronghold. Voting will be held in three different phases there. Has it been done for the convenience of PM Modi and Amit Shah?”
Mamata Banerjee alleged that the BJP was misusing its authority as the ruling party at the Centre to influence state polls.
“The Centre cannot misuse its powers for a state election. If they do it, then they will have to face the music. We are common people. We will fight our battle. BJP has sent money to all districts through agencies. I Request ECI to stop the misuse of money.”
“The Union Home Minister should be concerned about the country. He cannot misuse his powers for elections here. We welcome the Prime Minister but he cannot misuse his powers for West Bengal polls,” added Banerjee.
She further alleged that the Centre has been using the government agencies to fight her.
“I am the only woman serving chief minister at the present. They are so scared of me. They are coming with all force along with agencies just to defeat one woman,” said Banerjee.
The ECI on Friday announced that West Bengal will witness eight-phased Assembly polls beginning March 27. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.
Addressing a press conference, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said, “West Bengal will see eight-phase elections. 30 Assembly constituencies in five districts will go to polls in the first phase on March 27. 30 Assembly constituencies in four districts will go to polls in the second phase on April 1. In the third phase, 31 constituencies in 3 districts will go to the polls on April 6. 44 constituencies in five districts will go for polling on April 10.”
“In the fifth phase, 45 constituencies in six districts will witness polling on April 17. 43 constituencies in four districts in the sixth phase will go to polls on April 22. 36 constituencies in five districts in the seventh phase will go for polling on April 26. In the eighth and final phase, 35 constituencies in four districts will witness polling on April 29,” he said.
The ECI has appointed two special police observers — Vivek Dubey and MK Das — for West Bengal.
With the announcement of the election schedule, the Model Code of Conduct has come into force in the state. (ANI)
Delhi HC adjourns hearing on plea seeking court-monitored probe into farmer’s death during R-Day tractor rally
New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Thursday adjourned the matter till March 4 on a plea seeking court-monitored probe into the death of a farmer Navreet Singh, who died during the tractor rally on January 26 in the national capital.
The family had approached the Delhi High Court and raised several questions on the death and sought a post mortem video and X-ray report of the deceased.
A single-judge bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna deferred the matter for March 4 after the respondent counsel sought adjournment.
The Delhi police have earlier informed the Delhi High Court that a first information report (FIR) has been registered in the death of Singh who had died allegedly due to the overturning of a tractor during the tractors rally on Republic day.
The plea has sought a thorough and independent court-monitored probe into the alleged incident. It alleges the cause of death to be bullet injury but, according to the Delhi Police, Singh died in the accident after the tractor he was driving overturned after ramming into a barricade near ITO in Delhi.
Lawyer for petitioner Advocate Vrinda Grover submitted that various medical/ forensic experts who have reviewed the description of injuries in the post mortem report have independently made statements reported by various media houses, opining that the injuries are consistent with firearm /gunshot wounds and that the said injuries could not have resulted from the tractor overturning, as has been repeatedly asserted and announced by the Delhi police including senior officers, the Commissioner of Police and Deputy Commissioner of Police.
The plea moved by the grandfather of the deceased has stated that he has sufficient “reason to mistrust and not accept the hasty, unverified and self-serving conclusion of the Delhi Police, which has publicly and without any investigation stated that the death of his grandson was a motor vehicle accident'”
The Delhi Police had released CCTV footage showing the farmer’s tractor overturning after ramming into barricades at ITO.
Protesters broke barricades to enter New Delhi and clashed with police in several parts of the national capital during the January 26 ‘tractor rally’ protest organised by farmers.
The demonstrators also had entered the iconic Mughal era monument Red Fort and unfurled their flags from its ramparts.
Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws: Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; the Farmers Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and farm Services Act 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. (ANI)
A day after Mamata Banerjee, Smriti Irani drives scooty during BJP roadshow in West Bengal
South 24 Parganas (West Bengal) [India], February 26 (ANI): Union Minister Smriti Irani on Friday rode a scooter during a roadshow of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in West Bengal’s Panchpota, just a day after chief minister Mamata Banerjee took to the road on an electric scooter.
Dressed in a black saree and doning a black helmet, Irani participated in the a bike rally in Baruipur-Sonarpur area in the South 24 Parganas district attended by scores of BJP workers amid chants of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ and ‘Khela Hobe’ (the game will be played).
Irani along with Union Minister Rajnath Singh are campaigning for the BJP in the poll-bound state currently being ruled by the Trinamool Congress (TMC).
BJP workers carrying party flags also showered flower petals on her as she drove past a large crowd. The Minister was also seen stopping for a while to wave at the crowd.
Yesterday, Mamata Banerjee rode an e-scooter to travel to and fro from her residence in Kalighat to state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ in Howrah as a mark of protest against the fuel price hike. While she rode pillion to the secretariat sitting behind state minister Firhad Hakim in the morning, she took to the driver’s seat during her return commute to Kalighat in the evening.
In the run up to assembly polls which will he held in eight phases starting March 27, the TMC and the BJP have begun campaigning.
The Election Commission on Friday announced that West Bengal will witness eight-phased Assembly polls beginning March 27. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)
Will follow rules on Covid vaccination of MPs ahead of Parliament session: Birla
By Nishant Ketu
Shillong (Meghalaya) [India], February 26 (ANI): Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Friday said the vaccination against COVID-19 for members of Parliament will be done in accordance with the rules and process of the government, ahead of the beginning of the second phase of the Parliament Budget session.
“No programme of COVID vaccination of MPs and Parliamentary staff has been scheduled before the commencement of the second phase of the budget session of Parliament. Rules and process of vaccination are decided by the government. We will also follow that,” Birla told ANI.
The Speaker said the COVID-19 testing of all MPs, employees, journalists reporting from Parliament and others will be conducted before the session.
“To run the House (Lok Sabha) safely, we will get all the MPs along with staff tested in accordance with guidelines laid down by the Centre,” he said.
The Speaker said the duration of the upcoming Parliament session will be discussed with Rajya Sabha chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu.
When asked to comment on farmers unions call to gherao the Parliament, Birla said: “A dialogue is going on between the government and the farmer organizations. The bill has been passed and the government is discussing the subject. Whatever is the demand of the Opposition, it is decided in the BAC to discuss it.”
The second phase of budget session will take place from March 8 to April 8. (ANI)
Open rebellion in Congress: Upset G-23 leaders likely to give strong message to Gandhis from Jammu tomorrow
New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): Days after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s “North-South” remark, fireworks are likely within the Congress party, when upset senior Congress leaders from north India are expected to make a strong statement against the top party leadership in Jammu on Saturday.
While Congress scion Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to head towards the poll-bound Tamil Nadu on Saturday, the party’s dissenters, also known as G-23 (or the group of 23 dissenting leaders, who had questioned the party’s functioning in a letter to interim president Sonia Gandhi), will hold a show of strength in Jammu.
Senior Congress leaders Anand Sharma, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Kapil Sibbal, Raj Babbar, Vivek Tankha, Ghulam Nabi Azad will address an event in Jammu on Saturday which Manish Tiwari is also expected to join. They all belong to North India.
On the condition of anonymity, a senior leader of the Congress G-23 told ANI on Friday that it is a message to Rahul Gandhi: “We will tell the country that from north to south India is one.”
Last year in August, G-23 leaders through a letter to interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi expressed their discontent and urged the top leadership of Congress to bring immediate reforms, including organisational elections from the grass-roots to the Congress Working Committee (CWC) level.
Today, they are once again up in arms against the Gandhi family and their loyal close circle who are holding key positions in the party and the parliament.
A senior leader from G-23 said, “What’s happening in Congress today is a clear violation of the agreement reached in Congress Working Committee in December last year, but there are no signs of any reforms or election.”
According to G-23 sources, the leaders are also furious over the treatment meted out to Ghulam Nabi Azad, who recently retired from Rajya Sabha and was not accommodated by the Congress high command.
A leader from the G-23 group said, “When other parties were offering seat to Azad, PM spoke so well about him. Our congress party leadership showed no respect to him. In fact, a lawyer who is fighting cases of Robert Vadra has been brought to Rajya Sabha.”
Mallikarjun Kharge’s appointment as leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha by Congress, while ignoring other senior leaders also enraged members of G23.
A senior leader from the G-23 grouping told ANI that the flashpoint or the tipping point is the north-south statement made by Rahul Gandhi in Kerala recently.
G-23 sources said that leaders will speak their minds, show solidarity, and give a message to the party leadership.
According to sources, Congress’ top leadership is aware about the moves of G-23 leaders.
A top source in the party said leadership is keeping an eye on the whole episode and “not in a hurry to come to any conclusion”.
It is also important to note down that Gandhis have not reacted in the episodes yet, although the last attempt was made to cool down the situation was done in December last year, when G-23 leaders were invited by Sonia Gandhi at her residence for meeting.
According to sources, a few of the Congress leaders were kept out of the meeting on the request of G-23 leaders.
Later, it was said that more of these meetings will be held in near future and issues raised by G-23 leaders will be addressed by the party. However, no such meeting has been called till now and no efforts have been made to address their concerns.
While addressing a public rally in Thiruvananthapuram earlier this week, Rahul said, “For the first 15 years, I was an MP in the North. I got used to a different type of politics. For me, coming to Kerala was refreshing as suddenly I found that people are interested in issues and not just superficially but going into detail in issues.”
Several leaders, including Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, BJP president JP Nadda and Union Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Thakur slammed the Wayanad MP for his statements, accusing him of creating a “north-south” divide.
The BJP had latched onto the comments of Rahul Gandhi and cornered him by alleging that the statement reeked of a bias against North Indians. (ANI)
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