Times of India | 1 month ago | 04-02-2023 | 04:58 am
Panaji: Goa Tourism’s dedicated helpline for tourists had chief minister Pramod Sawant entangled in a gaffe with the opening call, as the customer care executive was unable to tell him the starting point of the Carnival.The helpline, 1364, was launched on Friday. To demonstrate its functioning, the chief minister called and asked for the details of the upcoming Carnival.The customer care executive told Sawant that Carnival will be celebrated from February 18 to 21, prompting him to follow up with a question about the venue for the first day of the festival. The executive’s response left Sawant and the entire team red-faced. “The location given is Panaji, Mapusa, Margao, and Vasco, but the first place is not yet finalised,” said the executive. Sawant expressed surprise and the crowd laughed. Going with the flow, Sawant told the executive that he would take up the issue with the tourism minister.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Monday directed the officers of Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) to develop a separate dashboard for all the properties of the state’s urban development authority.Details such as property location and owner’s name would be registered in the dashboard, he said. He also directed the officials that the entire record of the HSVP including the documents of the properties should be digitised.The chief minister, who is also the chairman of HSPV, was presiding over the 125th meeting of the authority here, according to an official statement.In the meeting, Khattar gave ex-post facto approval for the construction of multi-storey car parking and commercial complex by Faridabad Smart City Limited on about 4,000 square metre land in Sector-18A of Faridabad.Post facto approval was also given for the issuance of allotment letters of ownership rights to 131 shopkeepers and Antyodaya Market being constructed in place of the Rehri Market; as per the instructions of the Chief Minister, after the incident of fire in the Rehri market of Sector-9, Panchkula last year. Apart from this, pucca shops will be set up as Antyodaya Market in place of Rehri markets in Sectors 7, 11 and 17 of Panchkula.The chief minister said pucca shops should be constructed in the cities where Rehri markets are functioning.On this, HSVP Chief Administrator Ajit Balaji Joshi informed the chief minister that the HSVP has a proposal to set up Antyodaya Market in place of Rehri markets in Gurugram, Faridabad and Karnal.Khattar instructed the officers to constitute a committee to prepare a list of the cities where buildings or any other type of construction or activity has been done on the HSVP’s land or on the land of other departments. It was also apprised in the meeting by the officials that the HSVP has 5,418 residential, 2,688 commercial and 230 institutional properties, out of which 4,804 residential, 2,305 commercial and 205 institutional properties have been sold through e-auction.Khattar said that on the lines of the scheme for setting up cooperative group housing societies for MLAs, employees, journalists and lawyers in Panchkula, permission can be given to set up cooperative group housing societies for former MLAs as well.
A SENIOR official in the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Office resigned Friday over links between his son, who is a businessman associated with the BJP, and “conman” Kiran Patel, who is in J&K custody for posing as an official of the Prime Minister’s Office.Hitesh Pandya, additional public relations officer in the Gujarat CMO, submitted his resignation Friday evening after nearly 22 years in the office where he served under five chief ministers, including Keshubhai Patel, Narendra Modi, Anandiben Patel, Vijay Rupani and Bhupendra Patel.Speaking to The Indian Express, 73-year-old Pandya said, “I have tendered my resignation to the Chief Minister (Bhupendra Patel). Nobody asked me to resign. I felt I should resign. I will wind up my pending work by March 31 and be relieved from the office.”Earlier, speaking to this newspaper hours before his resignation, Pandya acknowledged that his 43-year-old son Amit had visited J&K this month along with Kiran Patel “for business purpose” with his consent. Amit and another man identified as Jay Sitapara were accompanying Kiran Patel when he was arrested in J&K earlier this month. Amit and Sitapara have been called by J&K police for questioning in the case.According to Pandya, Amit is “innocent” and “a witness” in the case against Kiran Patel. Asked about his son’s current location, Pandya said, “He is in Kashmir indeed. And I have been saying from day one that he had been called (by J&K police) to record his statement as a witness.”According to Pandya, his son deals in home security appliances like CCTV cameras through his firm Safe Solution. He also said that Amit has been associated with the BJP and was convener of the party’s social media cell in Gujarat’s North Zone.“As part of party reshuffle, he was relieved of his responsibilities as convener of the party’s social media cell’s north zone in January this year,” Pandya said. When contacted, the cell’s state convenor Manan Dani confirmed that Amit was the convenor for North Zone till January 2023.Pandya, meanwhile, denied any knowledge of Kiran Patel having any links to the CMO. But he acknowledged that in 2011, Patel was associated with a private organisation floated by him called Nation First Foundation (NFF).“I started it in 2011 to propagate Modi saheb’s ideas. I am the founder of the organisation…Our work was only related to serving the nation. Then we had done a Bharat Jago Abhiyan to create awareness among people towards the BJP government’s works and projects… He (Kiran Patel) came into contact because he was with Amit. And he joined NFF,” Pandya said.Asked specifically about Amit’s association with Kiran Patel, Pandya said, “They were working in a publicity company in 2004. And I know him as Amit’s friend… But in 2011 itself, I realised that he (Kiran) was not a person to be kept with us. So, I relieved him and all the people with him (from NFF)…I did not find his dealings and billing proper…Then, he (Kiran Patel) started his own organisation”.Asked why he didn’t warn his son about Kiran Patel, Pandya said, “As a friend he can be with anyone. Secondly, he is a businessman. If you think that a person can get you business, why would you break the relationship? He was keeping him away without snapping the relationship.”This, Pandya said, changed after Amit suffered a “rare heart condition”. “In September last year, Amit’s heart had stopped… and he still survived. I had written a story about that in some newspapers. He (Kiran) read it and reached the hospital to see Amit. After that, he increased his contact with Amit. Then, he told Amit that he has lot of work in Kashmir and he can go with him.”According to Pandya, Amit left for J&K with Kiran Patel “after asking me”. “He had gone for business purpose…He wanted to put forward a business proposal related to CCTVs,” he said.“After Kiran’s arrest, Amit and Jay were kept in a hotel and their statements recorded. Then, they were let go and told that they will have to come whenever called…His statement was recorded as a witness,” he said.According to Pandya, “After getting to know about the case (from Amit), I immediately informed the Chief Minister (Bhupendra Patel) and others who I felt needed to be informed.”Pandya has had one of the longest tenures in the Gujarat CMO, having been posted there since 2001 initially as assistant PRO in a lateral appointment. He was earlier employed with Life Corporation of India, and had also worked with Rajkot daily “Phulchhab”.
The Congress on Saturday announced its first list of 124 candidates for the upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka with former chief minister Siddaramaiah being fielded from his Varuna seat.Pradesh Congress Committee chief DK Shivakumar will contest the elections from his Kanakapura assembly constituency, according to the list.PR1 Karnataka vs Candidates 2023 by Dorjee Wangmo on ScribdThe party has fielded former deputy chief minister G Parameshwara from the Koratagere (SC) constituency. Former ministers KH Muniappa and Priyanka Kharge will contest from Devanahalli and Chitapur (SC), respectively. Priyanka is the son of Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge.The party’s central election committee cleared the first list of candidates after a meeting in Delhi on March 17. The committee is chaired by Congress chief Kharge. Rahul Gandhi was also present at the meeting.The Congress is the first party to release its candidates’ list for the elections in Karnataka. The Election Commission is yet to announce the schedule for assembly polls in the southern state.Assembly polls in Karnataka are slated before May when the tenure of the current assembly ends.The Congress is seeking to wrest power from the BJP in the southern state.
Days after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the Delhi High Court that it would not be arresting Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, he appeared before the CBI for questioning in connection with the land-for-jobs scam case around 10.30 am today.The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) representative was escorted to the investigation team after completing the required formalities upon his arrival at the CBI headquarters.“We have always cooperated with the agencies, but the situation in the country is such that it has become very difficult to fight. But we have decided to fight against this and we will win,” news agency ANI quoted Yadav as saying.Yadav moved the Delhi High Court on March 16 seeking a direction to quash the CBI summons issued to him in the case.The RJD leader in his plea said that the CBI case was filed in accordance with the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the criminal conspiracy provisions of the IPC for the alleged offences committed between 2005 and 2009. His plea claimed that, “he did not have any connection whatsoever” with the alleged crime during this time; in fact, he was “missing” during this time.Earlier, Yadav’s parents former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi and former Railways Minister Lalu Prasad, were granted bail by a Delhi court in connection with the same CBI probe. The court granted them bail considering the fact they were “charge sheeted without arrest” and there would “be no need for arrest at the instance of the Court”.According to the CBI, at least eight people were given Group D jobs in the Railways in lieu of plots of land while Lalu was serving as Railways minister. Lalu and his family allegedly acquired over 1 lakh sq ft of land for just Rs 26 lakh, when the then cumulative market value was over Rs 4.39 crore. The CBI has claimed that Lalu Prasad Yadav received financial benefits while serving as the minister of railways from 2004 to 2009.Lalu Prasad’s MP daughter Misa Bharti appeared before EDRJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s MP daughter Misa Bharti was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate on Saturday in Delhi regarding the land-for-jobs case, officials said.(With inputs from PTI)
Laid-off IT sector employees can continue to stay in the United States even beyond the H-1B time limit of 60 days to find another job, as per an announcement by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).Earlier, it was presumed that H-1B visa-holders get only 60 days after losing their job to either find a new job, have another employer file an H-1B petition on their behalf, or leave the US. While this may be true, all they have to do is shift their H-1B visa status to a B category visa, meant for tourism or business travellers, while they are there, according to USCIS.In fact, the US has this facility for anyone visiting the country on B1 (business) or B2 (tourist) status, the USCIS stated. The clarification is expected to assuage fears of Indian citizens on H-1B visa in the US amid widespread layoffs in the IT sector, which are said to have affected over 1 lakh Indians. In the first quarter of 2023 itself, layoffs — or “workforce reductions” — have been effected by tech giants such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Zoom. Several startups have also announced job cuts across sectors.The USCIS stated, “Many people have asked if they can look for a new job while in B-1 or B-2 status. The answer is, yes.”In a series of tweets, it clarified that “searching for employment and interviewing for a position are permissible B-1 or B-2 activities”.However, it is not permissible to engage in employment on B1/B2 visas. “If you are in B-1 or B-2 status, please remember you may not engage in employment within the domestic labour market (also known as ‘local labour for hire’) while in B-1 status or engage in any employment while in B-2 status,” the USCIS said.Before beginning any new employment, a petition and request for a change of status from B-1 or B-2 to an employment-authorised status must be approved, and the new status must take effect, the US government agency stated. Even those planning to look for employment in the US can use B1/B2 visas. The US recently said that it will process a million non-immigrant visa applications in India in 2023. At present, a thousand interviews are being conducted in India on a daily basis for B1 and B2 visas. The US had also extended interview waivers for B1/B2 cases, in case the applicants have had a US visa before, even if in another category.The embassy and consulates in India have already processed over 2 lakh visa applications so far this year, as per statistics provided by a US Embassy spokesperson in New Delhi.