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Uttarakhand rescue ops may continue for 48 hours, says DG NDRF

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Chamoli (Uttarakhand) [India], February 8 (ANI): The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Monday informed that rescue operations following glacier burst in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand may continue for 48 hours.
“There is accessibility issue because it is a tough terrain. By road, only two teams could manage to reach Joshimath, the remaining teams were airlifted. It is difficult to predict how long, but rescue operation can possibly take 24-48 hours,” SN Pradhan, Director General of NDRF, told ANI.
“Rescue operation underway in 2.5 km long tunnel. The problem lies with debris which’s gradually being cleared. 27 people have been rescued, 11 are dead, 153 are missing, and out of 153, 40-50 are stuck in the tunnel and for the rest, there is a possibility of being washed away in Uttarakhand,” he added.

District Magistrate Swati Bhadoria said that the rescue operations are in progress in collaboration with NDRF teams.
“Rescue operations are in progress with the NDRF teams who have brought various equipment so that we could reach the people who are stuck in the tunnel,” she told ANI.
The rescue teams will also reach the villages that are affected due to the breakdown of a bridge.
“We have started rescue operations for 13 villages who are affected due to breakdown of the bridge and will provide them with food and medical assistance,” Bhadoria said.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) started the rescue operation on Monday morning and since then transportation of the required load from Dehradun to Joshimath, including 122 personnel, around 5T of load, and 6 rescue canines, has been completed.
“Starting from 6:45 am today, 6 Mi 17 sorties, 1 ALH sortie and 1 Chinook sortie have been carried out. Transportation of required load from Dehradun to Joshimath, including 122 personnel, around 5T of load and 6 rescue canines, has been completed,” said teh IAF.
Also, an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) was tasked with the reconnaissance of the affected area by six scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) along with their specialised equipment.

“Many Indian Air Force movements took place including 2 Hercules, 2 An-32 and 4 helicopters since yesterday. The movement of NDRF teams and their equipment also took place. Since morning, 3 Mi-17, 1 Chinook and 1 ALH moved. 9 outgoing and 6 incoming movements till now,” said Dehradun Airport Director DK Gautam.
Meanwhile, Manoj Singh Rawat, Additional Director General (ADG) Western Command, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) took stock of the rescue operations at the Tapovan tunnel and deployed sniffer dogs for rescue operations.

Tapovan Hydro-Electric Power Dam, also known as Rishi Ganga Project was completely washed off following a glacier burst in the Chamoli district, stated the IAF’s initial report as Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) deployed at Joshimath has undertaken recce of affected areas. (ANI)

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War of words over Congress-ISF Bengal alliance; ‘against core ideology’ says Anand Sharma

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New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma on Monday hit out at the party’s alliance in West Bengal with the Indian Secular Front (ISF) led by Furfura Sharif pirzada Abbas Siddiqui, stating that such tie-ups went against the party’s core ideology and, Gandhism and Nehruvian secularism.
He further stated that the Congress “cannot be selective in the fight against communalism.”
“Congress’s alliance with ISF and other such parties is against the party’s core ideology, Gandhism and Nehruvian secularism, which is the soul of the Congress party. These issues should have been discussed on the Congress Working Committee,” Sharma said in a tweet on Monday.
“We have to fight every form of communalism. The presence and support of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress President is shameful, he should make his stand clear,” the deputy leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha said.
Sharma was among the ‘G-23’ or group of 23 dissenting leaders who had on Saturday gathered in Jammu and talked about how the party was weakening. The 23 leaders had had expressed dissent at the functioning of the Congress party and had written a letter to Sonia Gandhi in August last year.
The stalemate between Congress and ISF continued at the first joint rally of the Left-Congress-Indian Secular Front (ISF) at Brigade parade ground in Kolkata on Sunday.
ISF chief Abbas Siddiqui applauded the Left Front for accepting his party’s demand for crucial 30 seats including Nandigram. He also made it clear that the ISF will support the Left Front.
Meanwhile, responding to Anand Sharma’s remarks while addressing reporters after a Congress-Left meeting over seat sharing for assembly polls in the state, West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury today said, “We’re in charge of a state and don’t take any decision on our own without any permission.”
Sharma’s remarks on the party’s West Bengal Congress chief came after Chowdhury earlier today said there was no direct negotiation with Indian Secular Front (ISF) yet and they want to finish seat-sharing matter with Left at the soonest.
“Talks with Left party on alliance is on. We want to finish the seat-sharing matter with the Left soonest. In 2016 we came into an alliance and this time also things are in the same continuation,” said Chowdhury.
When asked asked about ISF’s alliance, he had said, “No direct negotiation with ISF, meeting is continuing with Left. However one of our leaders spoke to them (ISF) but there has been no direct negotiation with our party.”
Polling will be held in eight phases starting from March 27 and concludes on April 29 for 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal. The counting of votes will take place on May 2. (ANI)

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‘Vote carefully’: Priyanka Gandhi warns women voters against highest crime rate in Assam

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Biswanath (Assam) [India], March 1 (ANI): Hitting out at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in poll-bound Assam, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday alleged that Assam has the highest crime rate against women in the country and the government has not taken any steps for its prevention.
She also noted that the upcoming assembly elections in Assam are significant for women and advised them to use their power to vote responsibly.
“Assam has the highest crime rate against women in the country. The govt has not done anything to stop crimes against women. You have the power to vote, you should use it responsibly. These elections are very important for women,” said Priyanka Gandhi Vadra addressing a gathering during a public rally at Gohpur of Biswanath district.
The Congress leader also interacted with women tea garden workers and Self-Help Group (SHG) members here on Monday.
During her visit, she also paid tributes to Assamese freedom fighters and 1942 Quit India Movement martyrs — Kanaklata Barua and Mukunda Kakati.
She also posted some pictures from her visit on Twitter and wrote, “The multi-colored culture of Assam is its power. During visit to Assam, felt that people are ready with full commitment to save this multicolored culture. The Congress party is with them in the fight to save their culture and heritage.”
Earlier today, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also offered prayers at the Kamakhya Temple.
The Congress leader who launched the party’s election campaign in Assam today, will tour the state for two days.
In Assam, elections will be held in three phases, beginning from March 2. Counting of votes will take place on May 2.(ANI)

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DIAV, wife of late Vice Admiral sign agreement to support kin of deceased armed forces personnel

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New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): The Directorate of Indian Army Veterans (DIAV) and Veena Nayyar, wife of Late Vice Admiral KK Nayyar, former Vice Chief of Naval Staff signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to pledge Rs 2 crore for welfare schemes run by the Army, Navy and Air Force.
According to an official release, Nayyar presented a cheque of Rs 2 Crore to three services which was received by Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Naval Staff, Gen MM Naravane, Chief of the Ar my Staff and Air Marshall VPS Rana, Air Officer In Charge of Administration at Army Headquarters, New Delhi.
The main objective of the MoU is to facilitate various welfare schemes instituted for the next of kins of fallen service personnel. The welfare schemes include Education Scholarships and Computer Grant forwards and widows of deceased service personnel, Grant for Higher Education of widows and Marriage grant for widows and daughters.
The Chief of the Naval Staff and the Chief of the Army Staff conveyed their gratitude to Nayyar for her benevolent contribution to the three services and said that her noble gesture would support more than one lakh widows and wards in leading a respectful life.
DIAV is one of the primary organisations of the Indian Army which looks after the Rehabilitation and Welfare of the families of Service personnel who have died in harness. DIAV has disbursed approximately Rs 86 crore to about 76,000 beneficiaries over the past 20 years towards various welfare schemes, according to the release.
Lt Gen Harsha Gupta, Adjutant General and Veena Naravane, President Army Wives Welfare Association and Sudha Gupta, General Secretary, Army Wives Welfare Association were also present on the occasion. (ANI)

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IMA urges Centre to provide free COVID-19 vaccines to all

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New Delhi [India], March 1 (ANI): The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Monday requested the Central government to provide COVID-19 vaccination free of cost to healthcare workers (HCWs) and people of the country.
In an official release, the IMA said: “Vaccination is an effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases. We request the Government of India to make the online vaccination portal more people friendly. We also request to provide the COVID-19 vaccination free of cost to the HCWs and people of the country.”
The IMA also congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking the first jab of coronavirus vaccine today.
“Indian Medical Association stands with our Prime Minister and the government for this mass COVID-19 vaccination drive,” the association further said.
The second phase of the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive for age-appropriate population groups (people above 60 and those with comorbidities above 45) began on Monday with the Union Health Ministry calling out eligible people to get an appointment at respective hospitals in the country.
Earlier on Monday morning, Prime Minister Modi took the first dose of Covaxin, India’s homegrown coronavirus vaccine developed by biotechnology firm Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Soon after receiving the first dose of the vaccine at AIIMS Delhi, he tweeted, “Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS.” (ANI)

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NCP Chief Sharad Pawar takes first dose of Covid-19 vaccine

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 1 (ANI): Nationalist Congress Party Chief, Sharad Pawar was administered the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine on Monday.
“I took my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Sir J. J. Hospital, Mumbai today. To strengthen the vaccination drive, I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine and join the fight against corona virus,” Sharad Pawar said in a tweet.
India commenced its third phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus from March 1, the Central government has announced on February 25.
The eligible beneficiaries who are entitled to receive the Covid-19 vaccine from March 1, were able to register themselves on the Co-WIN platform from Monday onwards. The
Central government has created the Co-WIN application dedicated to monitor real-time management of Covid-19 vaccination across the country.
Maharashtra reported 6,397 new Covid-19 cases, 5,754 recoveries, and 30 deaths in the last 24 hours, as per the State Health Department today.
Amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the past few days, the Maharashtra government has imposed a lockdown in Amravati. (ANI)

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BJP’s CT Ravi slams ‘runaway MP’ Rahul Gandhi for his ‘formidable enemy’ remark on PM Modi

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Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], March 1 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National General Secretary CT Ravi on Monday hit out at Rahul Gandhi calling him a “runaway MP” a day after Congress leader’s “formidable enemy” jibe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Ravi in a letter to the Wayanad MP said: “You have termed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a ‘formidable enemy’, and have said that “we have defeated much enemy bigger than this”. Let me tell you something using simple words. PM Narendra Modi or the BJP have never treated you as an enemy. You are nothing more than our political opponent and I sincerely hope you understand this plain truth. Our “formidable enemy” is anyone working against the interests of Bharata Mata. We treat Her enemies, be it internal or external as “formidable enemy”.
“Your family has not been able to come to terms with the fact that a humble Chaiwala has become the Prime Minister of India. Aren’t you the “formidable enemy” for trying to belittle the success of the Common Man? Aren’t you the “formidable enemy” for suppressing the aspirations of the Nation’s Poor?” he further asked.
Terming Rahul Gandhi as a “Runaway MP” Ravi wrote in his letter said, “Hope you are in good health and best of your spirits. I am sure you must be enjoying your ‘election holidays’ in the states going to polls in the coming months. How did you feel when former Puducherry CM Narayanaswamy openly lied to you about what an elderly woman said to you? Did you find that you have many competitors within Congress who can lie better than you?”
Putting forth ceratin questions to the Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Ravi asked, “Now, let me ask you something Rahul Baba. What bigger enemy than PM Modi have you defeated in the past?
Attacking Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Ravi in his letter asked, “For personal glory, your great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru created the Kashmir mess by bringing in Article 370. Thousands of our soldiers were martyred and lakhs of our Kashmiri Pandits suffered due to his Sin. Did he defeat the “bigger enemy”, his personal ego?”
“By failing to see through the cunning moves of China, Nehru created the Himalayan Blunder by surrendering our land in 1962. Did he defeat the “bigger enemy”, his blind faith in Chinese? To remain in power, your grandmother Indira Gandhi destroyed the Constitution by imposing emergency in 1975. Did she defeat the “bigger enemy”, her lust for power?” read Ravi’s letter.
He further asked, “In order split Sikh votes and weaken the Akali Dal, your grandma Indira
propped up Bhindranwale. This ill-conceived move not only created a nightmare called Khalistan, but also resulted in her own assassination. Did Indira defeat the “bigger enemy”, her political weakness?”
“The actions of your father Rajiv Gandhi resulted in the Sikh Genocide of 1984 in Delhi. Did he defeat the “bigger enemy”, his personal revenge?” asked Ravi alleging that Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was responsible for Sikh Genocide in the country.
In another question, Ravi in his ltter asked, “The political hara-kiri committed by your father Rajiv Gandhi resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka and Indian
Soldiers. Did he defeat the “bigger enemy”, his false prestige?”
Terming Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as “puppet prime minister, Ravi further stated, “By installing a puppet Prime Minister, your mother Sonia Gandhi plundered India for ten years. Did she defeat the “bigger enemy”, her sinister plans to destroy India?”
Ravi in his letter stated that Gandhi failed to prove his worth as the member of parliament from Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi and furthr alleged that he was elected as a member of parliament from Kerala’s Wayanad due to polarisation of votes.
“You failed to prove your worth as a MP of Amethi. You ran away to Wayanad and won due to communal polarisation of votes. Did you defeat the “bigger enemy”, your foolish desire to become the Prime Minister of India?” Ravi said in his letter.
Ravi also accussed Rahul Gandhi and his family of murdering democracy.
“From Nehru to you, your family murdered democracy by indulging in Dynasty Politics. Did your family defeat the “bigger enemy”, the desire to rule at all costs?”
He further asked, “Did you say that PM Modi is a “formidable enemy”? Let me explain to you what is the real meaning of formidable enemy and who is the real enemy of India.
Ravi went on to allege that though Rahul Gandhi and his family have the surname of Mahatma Gandhi, but they failed to live upto the Gandhian values.
“Your family borrowed Mahatma’s surname. But your family’s actions never lived upto the Gandhian values. Isn’t your family the “formidable enemy” for bringing disrepute to the Mahatma and his principles?” he asked in his letter.
“By creating and nurturing the Frankenstein monster called Corruption, your family destroyed the development of the Nation for seven decades. Isn’t your family the “formidable enemy” of India’s growth and its progress?” read Ravi’ letter.
Ravi also alleged that in the name of “Garibi Hatao”, Rahul Gandhi and his family captured power for decades by playing with the emotions of the poor and asked, “Isn’t your family the
“formidable enemy” of Indians for abusing their trust?”
“Your family ruled India for almost five decades. How many toilets did your Governments build for the Poor? How many toilets did PM Modi Government build for them? Isn’t your family the “formidable enemy” of India’s poor for depriving them of basic necessity called toilet?” he further asked.
Ravi also alleged that governmnts run by Rahul Gandhi’s family deprived healthcare facilities to the Indian citizens.
“What stopped your family run Governments from providing universal healthcare to our Citizens? Did the Nation have to wait for 72 years after Independence and PM Modi to introduce Ayushman Bharat scheme? Isn’t your family the “formidable enemy” of the masses for failing to give them proper healthcare facilities and insurance?” Ravi asked in his letter.
His letter further asked, “How many Jan Dhan accounts did your family Governments open
compared to PM Modi Government? How many gas cylinders did your family give to poor households compared to PM Modi? Who is the “formidable enemy” here, your family that deprived basic facilities to the people for decades or PM Modi who provided them in six years?”
Ravi went on to allege that Rahul Gandhi’s “family government” worked against
the interest, culture and traditions of Tamil Nadu by ensuring a ban on the state’s traditional sport ‘Jallikattu’.
“Your family Government ensured the traditional Jalli Kattu being banned in Tamil Nadu. But PM Modi made sure Tamil Makkal could celebrate their traditions by bringing in an ordinance supporting the Jalli Kattu. Isn’t your family the “formidable enemy” of Tamil Nadu for working against the interest, culture and traditions of the State?” Ravi questioned in his letter.
Ravi also stated in his letter to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi that despite vicious camaigns run by the opposition to malign the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he is relentlessly working to build a New India with the mantra “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas”.
Ravi’s letter further read, “Dear Rahul Baba, today the entire World is praising PM Modi for his
spectacular achievements since 2014. Despite all the vicious campaigns unleashed against Him, PM Modi is relentlessly working to build a New India with the mantra “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas”.
“Remember that jealousy results in the self-destruction of the self, and not the
other person. Before I end, let me ask you this. Who are you? What are your achievements
so far? Answer these questions honestly, and you will realize who is the
“formidable enemy” of Indians,” Ravi said in his closing reamrks in his letter to the Congress leader.
The letter comes a day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi while addressing a gathering in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli during his visit to the state to campaign for the April 6 assembly polls, said, “Yes we are fighting a formidable enemy (Modi). We are fighting an enemy that is dominating the money in this country. We are fighting an enemy that is crushing its opponents. But we have done this before. We have defeated a much bigger enemy (British) than this new enemy that has come.” (ANI)

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