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U’khand glacier burst: Control room members in Jharkhand tremble on getting distress calls from relatives

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By Rizwan Arif
Ranchi (Jharkhand) [India], February 16 (ANI): Members of the control room set up to provide help to people of Jharkhand trapped in Chamoli glacier burst tremble each time they receive a call from distressed families.
Every time they have to deal with a pain-stricken voice on the phone. People are desperate to know whether their loved ones are still alive. A team of five counsellors are continuously providing them mental and emotional support.
“This is a painful situation. Family members and other relatives of missing persons have been continuously calling and asking about them. Our counsellors are handling them in the right manner. Still we can’t express their grief. It is really not easy to handle this, but we have to,” said Shikha Pankaj, control room incharge.
“Fourteen people are still missing. Labour Superintendents of Ramgharh and Lohardaga have gone to Chamoli with the family members of missing persons. We have received photographs of some bodies which can’t be identified. To identify them, DNA test is going on,” she further added.
Rosalia Tirkey who is the assigned counsellor for Lohardaga district said, “We are short of words while counselling families. They want some sort of assurance which the control room is unable to give right now.”
“Families are going through an unbearable waiting period. They call us to know whether rescue is still going on. Every time they break down and ask whether we can get the body at least? After hearing all this, I am unable to control myself. They just want to hear a hopeful statement from us,” said Rosalia Tirkey, the counsellor
Fourteen people of Jharkhand are still missing while 29 persons have returned to the state safely. Among the missing, four are from Ramgarh, nine from Lohardaga and one from Bokaro. Labour Superintendents of Ramgarh and Lohardaga have gone to Chamoli to help in tracing the missing persons.
Meanwhile, all 11 bodies retrieved from Tapovan tunnel till now have been identified, said Deputy Inspector General of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) Ridhim Aggarwal on Tuesday.
“31 of 58 bodies recovered so far have been identified. All 11 bodies retrieved from Tapovan tunnel till now have been identified,” Aggarwal told ANI.
“Teams of SDRF and NDRF along with dog squads are conducting searches in Raini village, Tapovan, and nearby areas,” she added.
According to the Uttarakhand Police, the death toll in the glacier burst in Chamoli has gone up to 58. A total of 11 bodies have been recovered from the Tapovan tunnel, whereas 146 people are still missing.
Meanwhile, the Chamoli District Magistrate Swati Bhadoria inspected the rescue operations that are underway in Chamoli. (ANI)

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TRS President says BJP, Congress have no worth to ask for votes in Telangana

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Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], February 28 (ANI): The Telangana Rashtra Samithi Working President K. T. Rama Rao on Saturday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to defame the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) party at every level. He said that both BJP and Congress have no worth to ask for votes in Telangana.
He said, “BJP is only trying to defame the TRS party at every level right from Delhi to all the way in Telangana. They have tried to take credits for many schemes that the Telangana Government has set up including Mission Bhagiratha. On the other hand, the Congress Party did have a great history but currently doesn’t hold any future. Both BJP and Congress do not hold any worth to ask for votes in Telangana.”
He said that people especially graduates must know about the lies that are being spread against the TRS party by BJP.
Rao, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) working President, said, “For any party, any election is very important. For the upcoming MLC elections. All the party workers and leaders must work together to win in these MLC elections.”
“TRS MLC candidate, Surabhi Vani Devi, has a clean image for her works to the field of education. This will definitely create a positive impression amongst graduates towards her,” KT Rama Rao said.

Further speaking, Rao said, “TRS party has grown from not being able to contest in an election due to the lack of candidates to being elected twice in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections. This is how our TRS party has grown over time. This is because of the leadership of K Chandrashekhar Rao, the Cheif Minister of Telangana and the TRS Party President.”
Further slamming the BJP MLC Candidate, N Ramachander Rao, TRS President said that despite being an advocate himself, Ramachander Rao has always told lies and has during his tenure as an MLC for the last six years. Ramachander Rao has done nothing to Telangana’s graduates.”
TRS President said, “As BJP is trying to defame the TRS party at every level, we must make graduates aware of the works that the TRS party has done to the state. We must make people aware of the hike in petrol, diesel and cooking gas prices. The BJP government has not given money for various schemes in the state, neither did they give the state a special status. Moreover, they haven’t even sanctioned a single medical college to the state of Telangana.”
He said, “Like no other governments in the past, TRS Government was able to create 1,33,000 job opportunities to the unemployed in the state. Moreover, we were able to create nearly 14 lakhs of jobs in the private sectors too. It is because of the TRS government, Hyderabad city has seen such a speed development.”
He further appealed to all the party workers and leaders to work as one to win in the upcoming MLC elections.
Telangana MLC elections in the state are scheduled to take place on March 14 this year. (ANI)

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Amit Shah to attend public, organisational programmes in Puducherry, Tamil Nadu today

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New Delhi [India], February 28 (ANI): Union Home Minister Amit Shah will attend public and organisational programmes in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu on Sunday, informed an official statement.
“Union Home Minister Shri Amit Shah’s to attend public and organisational programmes in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, tomorrow February 28, 2021,” Office of Amit shah informed in a tweet on Saturday.
At 10:30 AM, the Union Minister will hold a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Puducherry Core Committee meeting. The meeting will take place in Karaikal.
At 11.30 AM, he will address a public meeting in Karaikal. At 1:30 PM, he will attend a BJP Puducherry Mandal and Office bearers meeting in Karaikal, Puducherry.
Later, he will travel to Tamil Nadu.
At 3:45 PM, he will attend a BJP Tamil Nadu Core Committee meeting at Theivanai Ammal College for Women in Viluppuram, Tamil Nadu.
At 5 pm, he will address a Vijay Sankalp rally in Jankipuram, Viluppuram, Tamil Nadu.
At 7 pm, he will attend a BJP Tamil Nadu Mandal and Office Bearers meeting at Theivanai Ammal College for Women in Viluppuram, Tamil Nadu.
A total of 824 assembly constituencies shall be going for polls in four states–Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam– and the Union Territory of Puducherry, said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora on Friday.
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.
Polling for 30 assembly seats in Puducherry will be held on April 6. Of the 30 Assembly seats, five are reserved for the Scheduled Caste candidates. As many as 10,02,589 electors will choose the candidates for the 15 legislative Assembly of Puducherry. (ANI)

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Chennithala demands resignation of state fisheries minister over deep-sea trawling contract

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Kochi (Kerala) [India], February 28 (ANI): Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala on Saturday demanded the resignation of the state Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma over the alleged corruption in a Rs 5000-crore deal the Kerala government is said to have signed to open up deep-sea fishing in the Kerala waters to EMCC International Pvt. Ltd, an American multinational company.
“No other government in Kerala would have deceived the people like this. Representatives of the EMCC met the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan twice. It was Mercykutty Amma who took EMCC team to Cliff House (official residence of Kerala CM),” Chennithala claimed.
“The fisheries minister should resign,” he demanded.
Chennithala had levelled corruption charges against Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma and Industries Minister EP Jayarajan and accused them of being the “chief conspirators” of the deep sea deal.
“The memorandum of understanding (MoU) of Rs 5000 crore project was signed at the Global Investors Meet Ascent 2020 in Kochi. The project involves fishing with 400 deep-sea trawlers, five mother fishing vessels, and nets that can shift to the bottom of the sea. Supplementary agreements in this regard were signed between the Government of Kerala and EMCC International last week,” Chennithala alleged during the Kollam stretch of his ‘Aishwarya Kerala Yatra’.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had earlier rejected allegations of the Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala about a purported agreement concerning the deep-sea fishing project and said the government only intervenes for the betterment of the entire fishermen community and ‘fake campaign’ will not work.
The elections for 140-member Kerala Assembly will be held on April 6. (ANI)

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Mamata should see the violence during past elections: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury after she questioned 8-phase polls

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Kolkata [India], February 27 (ANI): Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Saturday slammed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for questioning the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) decision to conduct the Assembly polls in eight phases saying that she should see the violence during Panchayat and other elections in the past.
“Mamata Banerjee should look at the mirror and see what she has done in the past years. There has been violence in Bengal during the Panchayat and other elections. Law and order situation had gone out of hand. In other states also, elections are conducted in phases. I think we should not have any problem and raise questions on ECI. It is Mamata Banerjee who has a problem with it,” Chowdhury told ANI.
On the Congress-Left-ISF alliance, Chowdhury said, “Initially, Congress and the Left Front alliance was smooth. Then, the (Indian Secular Front) ISF entered into the electoral arena and expressed their desire to participate in the alliance. Left parties have already forged an alliance with them but Congress still has not been able to do it.”
Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India on Friday announced that West Bengal will witness eight-phased Assembly polls. While the voting will begin on March 27, the counting of votes will take place on May 2.
West Bengal is likely to witness a triangular contest this time with TMC, Congress-Left alliance and BJP in the fray.
While Mamata Banerjee is seeking her third consecutive term, BJP has set a target of winning 200 seats in the 294-member state Assembly. Congress and the Left have stitched the alliance for the polls and had already finalised the seat-sharing agreement. They are also in touch with the Indian Secular Front (ISF), recently floated by influential minority leader Abbas Siddique.
In 2016, West Bengal Assembly elections, out of the 294 seats, Congress had managed to win 44 seats while the Left Front bagged 33 seats. The ruling TMC secured 211 seats and the BJP had won 3 seats. (ANI)

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Border residents in J-K’s Baramulla relieved after ceasefire agreement

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Baramulla (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], February 27 (ANI): The agreement between India and Pakistan to cease firing along the Line of Control has brought happiness among residents of border areas in the Uri Sector in Baramulla as they can now lead normal lives.
“We are very happy that the Commanders from both sides have agreed to observe the ceasefire. Cross-border firings cause big problems in the lives of people living along the border. We used to face all kinds of troubles and difficulties. We are thankful to the government for this step. Now, we can live in peace,” said Abdul Razzak, a border resident.
The residents in the border areas of Nabila village, along the Line of Control (LoC), in the Uri sector in Baramulla are hoping for peace after India and Pakistan reiterated commitment for a ceasefire on borders.
“I am a resident of Nabila. The ceasefire observance decision has brought great relief to all of us living along the border. Our children could not go to school earlier. We had to face difficulties in our daily life. I want to thank the government for the move,” said Farid Khan, a local of Nabila.
Ceasefire violations, cross-LoC firings, and shelling are the biggest hurdle in the lives of people living near border areas of the Uri sector in Baramulla. Firing and shelling only bring pain for civilians living along LoC. Now, they are hoping that their problems will be solved after the ceasefire agreement.
The Uri sector witnessed a spurt in ceasefire violations during the last year. More than 12 people, including soldiers, were killed in more than 36 ceasefire violations while hundreds of structures suffered damage.
The most deadly ceasefire violation recently took place on November 13 last year in Kamalkote, when four civilians and two soldiers were killed while a civilian had lost both his legs. The incident caused massive damage to the property as well, forcing locals to flee temporarily from the area.
“Earlier due to shelling, we had to face many problems. We couldn’t even take out our cattle to pastures. Now after this agreement, we hope things will be normal for us,” said Shahid-ul Islam, Sarpanch of Nabila Village.
He added, “Our children also had difficulties going to school. I especially want to thank the Indian government for taking the initiative for this great step.”
Border residents of Nabila Village of Uri thanked prime ministers of both countries for taking this step.
Earlier on Thursday, after discussions between the Director Generals of Military Operations of India and Pakistan, the two sides have to cease firing along the Line of Control (LoC)and all other sectors with effect from midnight of February 24 to 25. (ANI)

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Andhra Pradesh reports 118 new COVID-19 cases

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Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], February 27 (ANI): Andhra Pradesh reported 118 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, taking the total count of cases to 8,89,799.
According to the state health department, Andhra Pradesh has 667 active COVID-19 cases as of now.
The death toll in the state due to coronavirus stands at 7,169. The total number of recoveries reached 8,81,963.
Meanwhile, 16,488 new COVID-19 cases and 113 deaths were reported in India during the last 24 hours, informed the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) on Saturday.
With this, the total coronavirus caseload in the country has gone up to 1,10,79,979, including 1,59,590 active cases and 1,07,63,451 discharges.
The COVID-19 death toll reached 1,56,938 on Saturday with additional 113 deaths. (ANI)

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