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Will make electric vehicles mandatory for officials of my department, says Gadkari

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New Delhi [India], February 20 (ANI): In a bid to encourage the use of electric vehicles rather than those running on petrol and diesel, Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Friday said he will make electric vehicles mandatory for officials of his department.
His remarks came during the launch of the “Go Electric” campaign to spread awareness on the benefits of e-mobility and EV Charging Infrastructure as well as electric cooking in India.
“If 10,000 electric vehicles are brought into use in Delhi, then about Rs 30 crores per month spent on fuel can be saved and it will reduce pollution. I will make electric vehicles mandatory for officials of my department,” he said.
Gadkari also said that electric fuel is a major alternative for fossil fuels which have an import bill of Rs 8 lakh crores.
“When compared to conventional fuels the electric fuel has low cost, reduced emissions and it is also indigenous,” he added.
Gadkari urged Power Minister R K Singh to encourage value addition to Carbon Dioxide which is released from thermal power plants. He also mentioned the opportunities and potential of electric cooking in India.
While speaking about diversification of agriculture towards the energy and power sector, the Transport Minister said that the Ministry of Power should promote generation of green power from agriculture waste and biomass which can also benefit farmers across the country.
He also said the “Go Electric” campaign is an important initiative that would help in reducing the import dependence of our country in the coming years and would be an important step towards a cleaner and greener future. (ANI)

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Punjab CM slams AAP for walking out of Assembly before resolution seeking repeal of farm laws

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Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], March 5 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday lashed out at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for once again walking out of the state Assembly before the resolution seeking repeal of the farm laws was put to vote.
Hitting out at the AAP, Captain Amarinder said, “The party had never been truly concerned about protecting the farmers or their interests, and its leadership again proved itself to be an agent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with whom AAP national convenor and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal was colluding against the agitating farmers.
The Punjab CM, who had earlier in the House shown to the members a copy of the Delhi Gazette notification implementing one of the three Farm Laws, reiterated that AAP was cheating the farmers with its false propaganda in their support.
“The fact is that they have repeatedly backstabbed the farmers, and have done so ago,” Punjab CM said, recalling AAP’s earlier U-turns on the issue in Punjab.
AAP had earlier walked-out from the all-party meeting chaired by Captain Amarinder on February 2, just before the representatives of all the parties present were about to pass the resolution in support of the agitating farmers.
In the House earlier, AAP MLAs had rushed into the well before staging a walk-out, alleging that the Chief Minister was a member of the High-Powered Committee set up by the Centre on agricultural reforms and hence party to the decision on the Farm Laws.
The Chief Minister further said, “AAP is not interested in the truth but wanted to continue with its malicious agenda of spreading misinformation on the issue.”
Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 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)

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Devendra Fadnavis blames MVA govt for total constitutional failure in Maharashtra

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 5 (ANI): In a renewed attack on the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, opposition leader and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday said that it is solely responsible for the failure of constitutional machinery in Maharashtra.
“The post of assembly speaker being vacant for over a week shows the failure of constitutional machinery and has never happened before in history,” he told media.
Fadnavis further accused the government of trying to misuse its power over elections and being arbitrary and deliberately holding online meetings in municipalities.
“They are trying to create an artificial majority by conducting elections where they have a majority and not opting for polls where they don’t have the majority by simply citing the coronavirus,” he added.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls will be held in early 2022. (ANI)

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Over 2 lakh pax took RT-PCR tests at Mumbai airport in past six months

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 5 (ANI): Over 2.2 lakh passengers underwent the RT-PCR test at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai in the past 6 months, out of which 1480 tested positive, informed the airport authority on Friday.
According to a statement issued by CSMIA, the airport authority introduced the RT-PCR test counters at the terminal on September 6 last year.
“In February this year, over 80923 passengers registered for test as compared to 1776 in September last year,” the statement read.
“Of over 2,20,000 tests conducted at the airport in the period from September 2020 to February 2021, CSMIA has recorded a little over 1480 results as positive,” it read.
CSMIA had originally introduced the testing facility for arriving passengers in line with the norms of the government; the facility enabled passengers to submit a test sample at the counters at the airport and receive their report in 8 hours.
Taking forward its commitment towards creating a safe and seamless passage for its passengers, the airport extended this facility for departing passengers as well in October 2020.
It could also be availed by non-passengers visiting the airport to drop off or collect their loved ones. As a passenger-centric airport, CSMIA pays close attention to the comfort and convenience of its passengers. For passengers wanting a quicker result, CSMIA also rolled out an express test that provides results in 13 minutes.
CSMIA has adhered to the requirements as laid down by the government regarding the testing of domestic as well as international passengers.
Currently, the airport hosts three facilities at its Terminal 2 located at Level 2 Arrival Exit near Gate B, Level 2 Airside corridor, and Level 4 Departure on the curbside opposite Gate 2. The testing facilities are handled by Suburban Diagnostics, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, Lifenity Wellness International Limited and Mylab Discovery Solutions Pvt Ltd, respectively.
CSMIA has established over 30 counters of testing facilities set up for international and domestic passengers, including those equipped with molecular testing facilities that offer passengers the option to process their test results in 13 minutes post sample collection. In line with government norms, the regular test that provides results within 8 hours can be availed by passengers at a minimal cost of INR 850 while the express test is available at INR 4500.
As per the latest directive from the government, passengers arriving or transiting from flights originating from United Kingdom (UK), Europe, Middle East, Brazil and South Africa with a final destination in Maharashtra will have to observe a compulsory institutional quarantine of 7 days at a state-designated facility irrespective of a negative report pre-boarding. All international arriving passengers who are transiting from CSMIA to other states in India will have to undergo a mandatory molecular test on arrival at the airport before their onward journey; passengers arriving from Brazil, South Africa and the UK must wait at CSMIA until receiving their test result while those from Europe and the Middle East can proceed with their journey post submission of their sample.
All other international arriving passengers will have to provide proof of a negative report of a test undertaken 72 hours prior to the arrival. Alternatively, they can opt to undergo the molecular test on arrival at the airport, wherein post submitting the test sample they can proceed with their journey and receive their reports in 8 hours. Similarly, domestic passengers arriving at CSMIA from Delhi, Rajasthan, Goa, Gujarat and Kerala can opt to provide a negative test report taken 72 hours prior to travel or undergo the RT-PCR test on arrival at the airport. In lieu of the travel restrictions, passengers can also opt to undertake the test at CSMIA before their departure or at their destination airport.
Since the advent of the pandemic, CSMIA had implemented numerous SOPs, including the preventive measures laid down by health and government bodies to safeguard the well-being of the passengers and airport personnel. The airport continually strives to provide the best services and facilities to its passengers to ensure a seamless transit. CSMIA’s recent recognition as the Best Airport by Size and Region in the over 40 million passenger category is a further re-affirmation of the initiatives undertaken by the airport during the pandemic for enhancing the experience of its passengers. The RT-PCR test facility at CSMIA for both arriving and departing passengers is a boon for traveller concerns regarding the various quarantine regulations across borders. (ANI)

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J-K LG Manoj Sinha chairs preparatory meeting of ‘Azaadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav- India at 75’

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Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 5 (ANI): Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Friday chaired a high-level preparatory meeting of ‘Azaadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav- India at 75’ for celebrating 75 years of Independence of India, at the Civil Secretariat in Jammu.
Birthplaces of freedom fighters and martyrs like Brigadier Rajinder Singh (Village Bagoona, Samba), Maqbool Sherwani (Baramulla Town) were selected for mega curtain-raiser events on March 12.
Calling for grand celebrations with great enthusiasm and high zeal across Jammu and Kashmir, the Lt Governor directed the Administrative Secretaries to organize various commemoration activities to mark the beginning of Azaadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav.
As per an official release, instructions were also issued for holding Cultural Exhibitions and Programs, Khadi Exhibitions, Shikara rallies in Dal Lake, Seminars, Cyclothon/Cycle Rallies, Yoga Camps, Bike Rallies, and a variety of activities over 75 weeks prior to Independence Day 2022, to observe the 75th year of Independence.
The Lt Governor also called for identifying Aadarsh panchayats and Aadarsh Blocks, 75 each, on set parameters.
“Involve elected public representatives, youth, school students, social and cultural organizations, NGOs, Civil society and all the sections of the society for ensuring maximum public participation in this National festival of the grand celebrations of 75 years of Independence,” Lt Governor asked the officers.
Laying special emphasis on making large-scale publicity of the mega celebrations, Lt Governor asked the concerned officers to make optimum use of various online and offline media platforms so that the festival of 75 years of Independence reaches each and every citizen of the UT.
He said that all departments were directed to submit their respective action plan with a detailed calendar of commemoration activities for 75 weeks, covering all Districts, with specific locations of events to be prepared by the respective departments for the grand celebration of the festival.
Pertinently, the National Level celebrations will be launched by the Prime Minister on March 12, which marks the anniversary of Dandi March. (ANI)

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President Kovind to embark on 2-day visit to Madhya Pradesh on March 6

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): President Ram Nath Kovind will embark on a two-day visit to Madhya Pradesh on March 6.
“On March 6, 2021, the President will inaugurate the All India State Judicial Academies Directors’ Retreat at Jabalpur,” informed a press release by the President’s Secretariat.
The President will grace the Janjatiya Sammelan on March 7, organised by the Tribal Welfare Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh at Singrampur village in Damoh district.
Earlier this month, President Kovind was administered the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at the Army hospital (Research and Referral) in New Delhi.
Last month, he paid an official visit to the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands for the first time as the President of India. (ANI)

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Days after leading G23 in Jammu, Azad says Congress victory in upcoming assembly polls a top priority

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): Days after leading the Congress’ ‘Shanti Sammelan’ in Jammu attended by senior party leaders, Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday said the party’s victory in forthcoming Assembly elections in four states and one Union Territory is his top priority at the moment.
“Victory of Congress party in forthcoming assembly elections is my priority at the moment,” he told ANI.
Senior Congress leader Azad who recently retired from Rajya Sabha and has been advocating reforms in Congress including immediate internal elections.
He also said he is available wherever he is invited by candidates or the party for campaigning.
Azad is one of the key members of ‘G-23’ (or the group of 23 dissenting leaders, who had questioned the party’s functioning in a letter to interim president Sonia Gandhi) calling for sweeping reforms in the party.
Last week Ghulam Nabi Azad along with other senior leaders openly expressed displeasure with the current state of affairs within Congress.
Recently at another public event, Azad drew parallels between himself and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that the latter has not forgotten his roots and proudly calls himself a “chaiwala” as well as he does not hide his true self.
Following the statement, Congress party workers burnt his effigy and raised slogans against him in a protest in Jammu.
Many senior party leaders including Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president (JKPCC) Ghulam Ahmad Mir called the remark an “anti-party activity” and demanded clarification from him.
A total of 824 assembly constituencies will be going for polls in four states–Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam– and the Union Territory of Puducherry between March 28 and April 29. Results will be declared on May 2. (ANI)

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