PANAJI: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Friday said that all in Goa must work together to enhance the happiness index. “People expect the government to raise the happiness index which is not right. People should work hard to achieve that,” he said.Sawant said that the government will ensure that the people get all the necessary assistance in this mission. After the launch of ‘Har Ghar Dhyan’ initiative, he said that meditation brings clarity of mind and helps formulate clear action. The initiative was inaugurated at a function organised by the directorate of art & culture in collaboration with Art of Living, at Durbar Hall Raj Bhavan in Dona Paula.“We need to develop positivity in us which is possible with yoga and meditation,” Sawant said. “The development of positivity in people is possible only by practising yoga and meditation.”The chief minister sought the cooperation of everyone in taking up this campaign. “The stakeholders of schools and colleges have an important role in this endeavour,” Sawant said. “With meditation, we will be able to create happy families and people will achieve peace of mind and positivity. Let us work together to elevate the happiness index in our state.”
Valpoi: Chief minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday assured to restore Nanus Fort to its former glory with the support of the people.“Deepaji Rane, who staged the first revolt against the Portuguese in 1852, will be annually honoured with a guard of honour at the fort,” he said. Sawant was addressing a gathering at the fort on the occasion of the Republic Day. A guard of honour was also presented for the first time at the historic fort located in Sattari taluka to commemorate the revolt.“Goa was liberated from Portuguese rule on December 19, 1961. The events of 1852 and Deepaji Rane’s achievements should be remembered forever,” he said. The chief minister said the government wants to restore the fort which is currently in ruins. Sawant said that Nanus Fort in Sattari and Deepaji Rane’s house at Kumbharkhan will be restored and given a facelift through the archaeology and public works departments. He urged land owners in the vicinity of the fort to support the state government in terms of acquiring land for the restoration work, approach road, etc. “People may gift the required land or allow the government to acquire the land so that a proposal in this regard can be moved from our side,” said Sawant.“The Archaeological Survey of India or the state archives and archaeology department will be requested to take up the fort’s restoration,” Sawant said.
Dayanand Mandrekar was a minister in the Manohar Parrikar-led cabinet. (File)Panaji: Former Goa minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Dayanand Mandrekar on Friday equated Karnataka's attitude on the Mahadayi river dispute with that of Duryodhana from the epic "Mahabharata", who refused to give any territory to the Pandavas and "bullied everyone".The former water resources minister was addressing a gathering of former legislators on the Mahadayi water diversion issue, where Goa Assembly Speaker Ramesh Tawadkar was present."Goa and Karnataka are neighbours. In our village, we maintain good relationship with our neighbours as we rely on them in good and bad times," said Mr Mandrekar, who was a minister in the Manohar Parrikar-led cabinet between 2012 and 2017.Goa and Karnataka have been embroiled in a dispute for several years now over the distribution of the Mahadayi river water. Goa has taken objection to Karnataka's proposal to construct dams on Kalasa and Banduri tributaries of the Mahadayi river."But looking at the attitude of Karnataka, I recall Satyayug…Duryodhan had said that he will not part with even a needle point of territory for Pandavas. He was bullying everyone," the BJP leader said, adding that the neighbouring state should understand that people are living in a democracy.The Central Water Commission recently approved a detailed project report (DPR) submitted by Karnataka for the construction of the two dams, to which the Goa government has objected.The Goa government has contended that Karnataka cannot divert water from the river, as it passes through the Mahadayi Wildlife Sanctuary, which is located downstream in North Goa.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.comEarlier this week, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had said that the state government is making efforts on legal, technical and political fronts and leaving no stone unturned to win the battle for Mahadayi river water.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)Featured Video Of The DayWatch: Haryana Chief Minister Showcases His Bike Riding Skills
Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said the coastal state will win the battle for the Mahadayi river water as his government is making efforts on legal, technical and political fronts and leaving no stone unturned.Goa and Karnataka are at loggerheads over diversion of the Mahadayi water through the construction of dams by Karnataka on the river's tributaries Kalasa and Banduri.The Central Water Commission recently approved a detailed project report (DPR) submitted by Karnataka for the construction of the two dams, to which the Goa government has objected.The Goa government has contended that Karnataka cannot divert water from the Mahadayi river, as it passes through the Mahadayi Wildlife Sanctuary, which is located downstream in North Goa.PromotedListen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com“Whoever may say anything, we are firm on our decision. Whatever we have to do for Mahadayi, we are doing it legally, technically and politically. We will do whatever is required and we are confident that we will win the battle," Mr Sawant said on Tuesday.He was reacting to a purported statement of Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on a resolution by the Goa Assembly against the Mahadayi river water diversion.Featured Video Of The DayWatch: Haryana Chief Minister Showcases His Bike Riding Skills
PANAJI: Goa has initiated the process of preparing masterplans for most towns in the state, with work on masterplans for three towns already under way, said chief minister Pramod Sawant on Monday. The government has also initiated GIS-based surveys of urban local bodies (ULB) to help plug revenue leakages, Sawant said.“The state has initiated the preparation of the masterplan for 12 urban local bodies, and at present, the masterplan for three urban local bodies is under way,” said Sawant.The directorate of municipal administration has appointed an agency to prepare the Master Plan 2041 for Margao, Ponda and Valpoi. The state capital already has several masterplans in place.Stating that the GIS-based detailed survey will enable municipal bodies to identify tax evaders and assess taxes efficiently, Sawant said, “It is an initiative that will enable the administration to assess tax efficiency and unauthorised structures. All the structures will come under the tax ambit, and revenue leakage will be plugged.” The chief minister was speaking at the Smart Cities CEO’s conference on data and technology. He said that along with smart projects, cities also need “smart people” who can effectively point out shortcomings and help bring about further improvement.Imagine Panaji Smart City Development Ltd (IPSCDL), which is executing projects under the Smart Cities Mission, has taken up 47 projects in Panaji city worth Rs 950.3 crore, of which 15 projects worth Rs 58 crore have been completed.According to IPSCDL chief executive officer, Mamu Hage, 32 projects worth Rs 892 crore remain to be completed. “We will try to expedite the ongoing projects as well as maintain the convenience of the residents as much as possible,” said Hage.She said that the integrated command and control center at Altinho is ready for commissioning and is currently undergoing trials. She said that the system gathers a lot of data through various sensors and devices across the city. “This conference is centred on how we use this data, and how we use this technology, which is getting collated into our command and control center to better frame our policies and to make better decisions,” said Hage.
PROVORIM: If permission to Karnataka’s detailed project report (DPR) for the Mhadei water diversion is not withdrawn by the Centre, then chief minister Pramod Sawant should never use the term ‘doubleengine sarkar’ again, Fatorda GFP MLA Vijai Sardesai said in the House on Thursday. This will be a failure of the double-engine government, and it will prove that having a BJP government at the Centre and in the state has no meaning, he said. Sardesai moved an amendment to the house resolution on the Mhadei and demanded that a resolution be passed by the House stating that within the next six months the Goa government will take up work on all 59 projects to tap the Mhadei’s water, as recommended by the 1999 masterplan. This will make the state’s case against Karnataka stronger, he said. “During the last assembly session, the CM said that the coal handling capacity at Mormugao port will not be increased at any cost. But, yesterday, approval was received to increase coal handling,” said Sardesai, adding the same may happen in the case of the Mhadei diversion issue, despite chief minister Pramod Sawant’s assurances. He said that it is not the opposition that is playing politics over the Mhadei issue. That the approval to Karnataka’s diversion project came ahead of elections there shows that BJP at the Centre is using it as a political issue, he said. “Our advocate general says that no water has been diverted from the main Mhadei, but water from the Kalasa and the Bhandura nullahs have been diverted. This is like saying that one hand and one leg of a patient have been amputated, but he is doing fine.” He said that while the government did not even find the issue worth mentioning in the governor’s address, it was good to see the issue now being discussed as critical by BJP MLAs. “The ruling MLAs are saying the BJP government will give justice on the Mhadei issue, and we are supposed to silently accept it and go along with it. You cannot expect us to be cheerleaders,” said Sardesai. Sardesai said that an amendment brought by Union minister Prakash Jawadekar allows states like Karnataka to go ahead with drinking water projects without any forest clearances, which will make it simpler for Karnataka to bulldoze its water diversion works.
Porvorim: Amidst a serious debate on Karnataka’s plans to divert water from the Mhadei river basin, agriculture minister Ravi Naik once again reiterated his plan to build several dams across Goa to store rainwater for consumption and export. Naik said that Goa can use the dam water to earn foreign exchange through export of water. “The central government should give us Rs 20,000 crore and we can build as many dams that we want, and we can store as much water as we want,” said Naik. Naik was speaking on a government resolution to demand that the Centre withdraw the approvals granted to Karnataka’s detailed project report for water diversion from the Mhadei. Naik said that Goa gets a significant amount of rain, which is not efficiently utilised. He said that Goa can even explore the possibility of exporting water to countries in exchange for fuel. “The approvals for DPR should be withdrawn by the Centre. There can be wars over water in the future and for this we need to be alert,” said Naik.
On the Goa-Karnataka border, at the foothills of the Western Ghats, a tiny village is in the eye of a storm. It is in this village of Kankumbi, where Karnataka has started its work of diverting water from the Mhadei.Four short concrete pillars in the Kankumbi forest range, across the Kalasa, stand testimony to Karnataka’s intention to divert water from Goa’s lifeline into the Malaprabha basin.Further north of the Kalasa, there are large canals carrying water into the Malaprabha basin. This work began without any forest clearances. But even as Karnataka has embarked on the Mhadei diversion project—officially and unofficially—the tiny state of Goa continues to keep going back to the drawing board, deliberating and discussing ways and most often than not failing to come up with solutions to utilise the Mhadei water.Over three decades after a masterplan was drawn in 1999 to utilise the Mhadei’s water by envisaging 61 projects across the river, Goa has only the Anjunem and the Amthane reservoirs to show.Goa had even submitted before the Mhadei Water Disputes Tribunal that it intends to meet the demand for its ‘major uses’ through these projects and 61 dams are required to meet Goa’s water requirement up to 2051. But except for the two reservoirs, the rest 59 projects continue to remain on paper, with the state initiating the process for 10 minor dams just two years ago. Karnataka has long argued that the Mhadei’s waters flow into the sea and therefore, it should be allowed to divert only to meet its “drinking water requirements” in Hubballi and Dharwad.Manoj Borkar, who has been researching Goa’s faunal taxa for three decades, said that Karnataka’s argument that Goa is allowing its water to flow into the sea is foolish at best.“That is the natural cycle of the river. If the flow is stopped it would not be a river. The Mhadei is a river upstream, which as it meanders down turns into an estuary before it meets the sea. The delicate balance in salinity in its coastal plains is maintained by a cycle of precipitation and evaporation, which will be destroyed if the water flow is stopped at Kankumbi,” he said.But it is only in 2020, more than two decades later, that the Goa water resources department initiated the process to set up 10 minor dams in the Mandovi basin and soil investigation was carried out with assistance from the forest department.Of the 10 minor reservoirs for which survey and investigation work was taken up, work on two located at Dharbandora in Kajumol and in Tatodi was expected to be taken up first. But with the matter now pending before the Supreme Court, Goa will require several clearances before the work can begin.“The projects still need to go through many stages, environment impact assessment and get forest and wildlife clearances. The projects also need approval of the central water commission of the Union ministry of water resources — irrespective of the fact that they are minor projects — since they are in a contested basin,” said a senior government official.A report by a private entity, on behalf of the Goa Energy Development Agency and the water resources department, has clearly stated that there is a potential for hydro power projects at nine locations across the state, including on the Mhadei’s waters at Harvalem waterfall, Anjunem dam and Amthane minor irrigation tank.Initial reviews of site conditions indicate that 100kW, 70kW and 20kW micro hydro machines can be installed at site locations.“Hydroelectricity projects were first conceptualised on the Mhadei in the 1960s and even the foundation stone was laid. Though it was found unfeasible at the time, new technology now makes it feasible. The draft State Water Policy, 2021, had also suggested that the process of setting up hydro power plants in Goa’s river basins needs to be expedited,” said an expert.A study by SR Shetye (former director of National Institute of Oceanography), D Shankar, Neetu S and K Suprit shows that the run-off from the Mandovi is much higher than the present dam storage capacity created by the Goa government to date.“The only functional dam on the Mandovi is the Anjunem Dam. The storage capacity of the dam is 45Mcum, less than 1% of the runoff estimated in Panaji. On the Zuari, there exists a much bigger dam, the Selaulim dam. With a storage capacity of about 227Mcum (about 10% of the Zuari’s virgin flow at its mouth near Cortalim),” said the study. Experts like Sachin Tendulkar, a 2007 Fulbright scholar who has studied hydrological problems in Australia, reckon that Goa must get serious about managing its water resources better and should start by drawing catchment management plans.“Water basins are unique. We need to arrive at this golden mean as to what extent we can stretch our catchment areas. The Mhadei issue is a wake-up call,” he said.
Panaji: After opposition leader Yuri Alemao complained that pollution is being caused by fish meal plants at Cuncolim industrial estate, chief minister Pramod Sawant said pollution control board officials were sent for inspection and appropriate action will be taken. Raising the issue during Question Hour, Alemao sought an assurance from the chief minister that there will be an immediate against the polluting units. Sawant said permission for the plant was given in 2011, and it started operation in 2012. Stating that the problem was also noticed then, he said, the effluent treatment plant (ETP) was made operational, yet some tried to release waste through borewells and action was taken against three. The CM said the polluting fish meal plants will be asked to shut if they do not operationalise their ETPs. tnn
Panaji: After over seven hours of heated discussion over the Mhadei diversion by Karnataka, the opposition and the ruling party members kept aside their political differences to protect Goa’s lifeline, as the state assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution to urge Centre to withdraw the nod given to Karnataka for diversion of water and immediate formation of the Mhadei Water Management Authority.Chief minister Pramod Sawant also announced the setting up of a 12-member panel headed by water resources minister Subhash Shirodkar, including MLAs from all parties, to decide the future course of action. “The committee will also seek inputs from legal and environment experts,” he said.Making a strong appeal to all the members to put up a united front, Sawant said: “Let us make whatever comments we have to make here today itself and from tomorrow we should not make any statements outside the House which will adversely affect Goa. We should all come together from tomorrow.”Putting forth his government’s efforts to save the Mhadei, Sawant said Goa would not be found wanting in either action or deed and would strongly oppose any move to divert the water.“Though we have not asked for an early hearing in the Supreme Court, we are constantly monitoring the case. We have filed an interlocutory application already. We have also written to the central government to form the Mhadei Water Management Authority. We are also objecting to out of basin use,” said Sawant.The issue of increase in salinity if water is diverted is also being pursued with the Jal Shakti ministry.“Water from the Kalasa and the Bhandura (tributaries of the Mhadei) is already being taken. It is a well-established fact. I am not denying it and nobody can deny it. Karnataka had stated in the court earlier that the openings to the canals carrying the water into Karnataka have been shut. And though they have carried out constructions to show shutting of the opening, we have our doubts. Our engineer went there and using deep cameras, a report has been made to show how the openings are deep and water is still flowing below into Karnataka,” said the CM.Sawant accepted the opposition argument that six wildlife sanctuaries, including Karnataka’s Bhimgad, is dependent on the Mhadei’s water and that diversion of water from the river will lead to scarcity for Podoshem, Sanquelim and Assonora water treatment plants of Goa.While the opposition—GFP’s Vijai Sardesai and AAP’s Venzy Veigas—insisted on a time frame for withdrawal of permission given to Karnataka’s revised detailed project report (DPR) for water diversion, Sawant said he would leave it to the House committee to lay the groundwork for it.At the start of the discussion itself, Sawant made it clear that he was converting the notice given by Aleixo Sequeira for a short duration discussion on the Mhadei diversion into a House resolution.“Our resolution raises three points: It objects to out of basin use of the Mhadei’s water, we want the sanction granted to Karnataka’s DPR withdrawn for the Mhadei water diversion and seek immediate formation of the Mhadei Water Management Authority,” he said.But opposition MLAs said a House resolution would be inadequate legally to stop diversion by Karnataka.Sawant said Goa has a strong legal team and legal consultants who have been engaged for years and have deep understanding of the Mhadei dispute.The chief minister also made it clear that any adverse decision by the water management authority would not put any restrictions on Goa for legal recourse.Besides water resources minister Shirodkar, the other members in the committee include BJP’s Michael Lobo, Ganesh Gaonkar, Premendra Shet, and Deviya Rane; Congress’s Carlos Ferreira; MGP’s Jit Arolkar; AAP’s Venzy Veigas; GFP’s Vijai Sardesai; RGP’s Viresh Borkar; and Independents Alexio Reginaldo Lourenco and Chandrakant Shetye.
Provorim: If permission to Karnataka’s detailed project report (DPR) for the Mhadei water diversion is not withdrawn by the Centre, then chief minister Pramod Sawant should never use the term ‘double-engine sarkar’ again, Fatorda GFP MLA Vijai Sardesai said in the House on Thursday.This will be a failure of the double-engine government, and it will prove that having a BJP government at the Centre and in the state has no meaning, he said.Sardesai moved an amendment to the house resolution on the Mhadei and demanded that a resolution be passed by the House stating that within the next six months the Goa government will take up work on all 59 projects to tap the Mhadei’s water, as recommended by the 1999 masterplan.This will make the state’s case against Karnataka stronger, he said, stressing that the state government needs to be pro-active and assertive in its fight against Karnataka over the Mhadei diversion.“During the last assembly session, the CM said that the coal handling capacity at Mormugao port will not be increased at any cost. But, yesterday, approval was received to increase coal handling,” said Sardesai, adding the same may happen in the case of the Mhadei diversion issue, despite chief minister Pramod Sawant’s assurances.He said that it is not the opposition that is playing politics over the Mhadei issue. That the approval to Karnataka’s diversion project came ahead of elections there shows that BJP at the Centre is using it as a political issue, he said.“Our advocate general says that no water has been diverted from the main Mhadei, but water from the Kalasa and the Bhandura nullahs have been diverted. This is like saying that one hand and one leg of a patient have been amputated, but he is doing fine.” He said that while the government did not even find the issue worth mentioning in the governor’s address, it was good to see the issue now being discussed as critical by BJP MLAs.“The ruling MLAs are saying the BJP government will give justice on the Mhadei issue, and we are supposed to silently accept it and go along with it. You cannot expect us to be cheerleaders,” said Sardesai.Sardesai said that an amendment brought by Union minister Prakash Jawadekar allows states like Karnataka to go ahead with drinking water projects without any forest clearances, which will make it simpler for Karnataka to bulldoze its water diversion works.
PANAJI: The International Film Festival of India (Iffi) hasn’t been able to attract international delegates despite the state government spending crores of rupees every year.International delegates have constituted less than 2% of total delegates each year, as per data from the past five editions of the festival.Chief minister Pramod Sawant, who is also minister for information and publicity, in a written reply submitted to the Goa legislative assembly, stated that international delegates didn’t make up more than 1.5% of the total delegates who registered for the festival between 2018 and 2022.The last edition of the festival — the 53rd edition, held in Goa in November 2022 — received 83 international delegates — a mere 1.2% of the total 6,774 delegates who registered for the festival.Similarly, international delegates comprised 1.5%, 1.4%. 1.1% and 0.9% for the 49th, 50th, 51st and 52nd editions of the festival in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2021, out of the total of 6,635, 8,263, 2,898, and 4,068 delegates respectively who registered.Non-Goan (Indian) delegates constituted a large chunk of the delegates — close to 67%, while Goan delegates made up for 32% of the total delegates, on average at each of the past five editions of the festival.Sawant was replying to a question by leader of opposition Yuri Alemao on the expenditure incurred by the Goa government and the breakup of delegates at the past five editions of Iffi.The chief minister further submitted that the Goa government spent over Rs 76 crore for the past five editions of the festival, of which it received a mere Rs 16.6 crore financial assistance/grants from the Central government and Rs 2.3 crore from sponsorships.
The coming elections in the Northeastern states of Tripura, Nagaland, and Meghalaya will see the BJP fighting to keep hold of the gains it made in the region in 2018. While the BJP is in power in Tripura, it is a part of the ruling coalitions with the National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) in Nagaland and with the National People’s Party (NPP) in Meghalaya.The term of the three assemblies, which have 60 members each, is set to end in March. Tripura will vote on February 16 and Meghalaya and Nagaland on February 27. Votes will be counted on March 2.A look at how the previous elections panned out and what is at stake now:The Nationalist Democratic People’s Party (NDPP) and the BJP contested the elections together. While the BJP won an unprecedented 12 seats, the NDPP’s Neiphiu Rio became the Chief Minister.This year, the state will again see an election in the shadow of the long-awaited final settlement to the Naga political question. It was in hope of this that all parties here joined hands in 2021 to form the UDA.The Naga People’s Front (NPF), which once ruled the state, has announced that it will be contesting the election alone and against the NDPP-BJP coalition. Like in 2018, both parties have announced a pre-poll alliance, with the BJP set to contest 20 seats and the NDPP the remaining 40.NPF – 26 (38.78%)NDPP – 17 (25.30%)BJP – 12 (15.31%)Independents – 1 (4.28%)JD(U) –1 (4.49%)There are fissures between the BJP and the National People’s Party (NPP) led by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma. In the 2018 election, Sangma’s party was backed by the BJP and the regional parties but contested 53 of the 60 seats on its own. The impression that the BJP is anti-Christian has been hard to shrug off, with misgivings of the community further strengthened after the surfacing of a letter by the Assam Police Special Branch seeking information from local police stations in BJP-ruled Assam on religious conversions and the number of churches in the state.The most vocal Opposition party against the BJP in the state is the Trinamool Congress (TMC), a new entrant in Meghalaya. In November 2021, 12 of 17 sitting Congress MLAs, led by former Chief Minister and six-time MLA Mukul Sangma, switched over to it. Mukul Sangma, a popular leader, can help the party, especially in his home turf of Garo Hills, which sends as many as 24 MLAs to the 60-member Assembly.BJP – 2 (9.63%)Congress – 21 (28.50%)Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) – 2 (5.35%)NPP – 19 (20.6%)United Democratic Party – 6 (11.61%)Khun Hyniewtrap National Awakening Movement – 1 (0.9%)The BJP came to power in the state for the first time in 2018, ending a 25-year reign of the Left Front. On May 14, 2022, in an abrupt change, the BJP dropped Biplab Deb and brought in the relatively low-key Manik Saha as CM. The Congress and CPI(M) are trying to put up a fight together, and there is increasing talk of an alliance between the two, while the tribal TIPRA Motha party, formed in 2021, may take away tribal votes of BJP’s ally IPFT. TIPRA Motha may end up being a decisive factor in the elections.BJP – 35 (43.59%)CPI(M) – 16 (42.22%)IPFT – 8 (7.38%)
Setting stage for an anti-BJP alliance ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, K Chandrasekhar Rao-led Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) held its first public meeting in Telangana’s Khammam on Wednesday.The meeting, which saw a massive turnout, assumes political significance as it is the first public meeting after the TRS decided to go national by renaming itself as BRS. It also saw the participation of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav and CPI’s D Raja.Watch Live: BRS Party’s mammoth public meeting at Khammam, Telangana. #BRSforIndia #AbkiBaarKisanSarkar https://t.co/GjiibdkQct— BRS Party (@BRSparty) January 18, 2023Telangana, where the BJP is trying to establish itself as an alternative to the BRS, will go to polls later this year.Addressing the rally first, Kerala CM Vijayan said the public meeting is being held at a time when the “democracy is under attack by those at the Centre”. He also lauded KCR to have taken the initiative to bring like-minded CMs together and start a people’s movement. CM Vijayan further extended his state’s support to the pro-policies being taken by the Telangana government.Vijayan claimed that elected governments are being toppled and that efforts are on to portray Hindi as the national language while sidelining the mother tongues. “Imposing Hindi by doing away mother tongues threatens the unity of the country,” he added.Highlighting the recent controversy over Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar’s remarks on the issue of the powers of the judiciary vis-a-vis the legislature, Vijayan said that even the judiciary was under attack.Before arriving in Khammam, KCR and the top Opposition leaders visited the Yadagirigutta in two helicopters to offer prayers at a temple. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Kerala CM Vijayan, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav, CPI national general secretary D. Raja, state ministers Vemula Prashanth Reddy and Talasani Srinivas Yadav, MP Joginapally Santosh Kumar, and MLC K Kavitha were also present.Telangana’s ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) on October 5 last year changed its name to ‘BRS’, heralding the party’s foray into national politics.– With PTI inputs
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao is all set to address a massive public meeting at Khammam on Wednesday evening. The meeting, scheduled to begin at 5 pm, will also be attended by national Opposition heavyweights, sending out a message to the BJP.All roads leading to Khammam are choked with traffic as thousands of vehicles with supporters of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) proceed to the venue. This is the first mega public rally of the CM, popularly known as KCR, since his party changed its name from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi.Before arriving in Khammam, KCR and the top Opposition leaders visited the Yadagirigutta in two helicopters to offer prayers at a temple. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav, CPI national general secretary D. Raja, state ministers Vemula Prashanth Reddy and Talasani Srinivas Yadav, MP Joginapally Santosh Kumar, and MLC K Kavitha were also present. KCR and the Opposition leaders will fly to Khammam from Yadadri in two choppers.On Chief Minister Sri K Chandrashekhar Rao’s invitation, all of them came to Pragathi Bhavan at 9.45 am on Wednesday morning.On this occasion, CM KCR hosted breakfast for the national leaders.#BRSforIndia #AbkiBaarKisanSarkar pic.twitter.com/hbe2soaoHk— BRS Party (@BRSparty) January 18, 2023The public meeting has been billed as a massive show of strength and a precursor to the formation of an anti-BJP alliance ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Telangana, where the BJP is trying to establish itself as an alternative to the BRS, will go to polls later this year.State minister T Harish Rao said BRS and the other party leaders would send a “loud and clear message to the BJP” that they were ready to face it and throw a challenge. “The entire BRS leadership including state and district level leaders will attend the meeting. At least five lakh people are expected to attend. It will surpass the meeting held at Karimnagar in 2001 when the TRS was launched,” said the minister.For the meeting, BRS leaders have mobilised cadre from the 10 Assembly constituencies of the former Khammam district and four other nearby districts.At the rally, KCR will outline his national vision for his party and announce farmer-friendly policies. Several leaders of farmer unions and associations will attend the meeting.BRS leaders said the transformation of the TRS to the BRS was drawing attention and response from all corners of the country as an alternative political force under the leadership of KCR.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab has found itself in the midst of a controversy after an RTI reply revealed that the first roadshow the party held after winning the Punjab Assembly elections last year cost the government-owned PEPSU Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) more than Rs 68 lakh. The roadshow was held before Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s oath-taking ceremony.The PRTC sent 454 buses from its 13 depots for the roadshow held by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Mann in Amritsar on March 13, 2022, three days before the latter took oath as Punjab CM and incurred a cost of Rs 68,70,252, information acquired last week by activist Harmilap Grewal under the Right to Information (RTI) Act reveals.Similarly, it sent 213 buses for the oath-taking ceremony at Khatkar Kalan on March 16, 2022, spending Rs 24.72 lakh, as per information from the RTI reply. Total expenditure on both events of PRTC alone crossed Rs 93 lakh. “Initially, when gross misuse of public transportation for party functions was exposed, AAP had announced to pay for the bus service from its own pocket. PRTC has not been paid a penny,” said Grewal. “One becomes a chief minister only after taking the oath and it is totally unconstitutional to spend out of public exchequer even before legally acquiring the chair,” Grewal added.PRTC authorities are tight-lipped over who gave the orders to send the buses. “Such decisions are taken by the government,” the PRTC PRO said, refusing to respond to further queries.When asked if AAP would pay the bills, party spokesman Malwinder Singh Kang said, “As far as the oath-taking taking ceremony is conducted, it was a government function and obviously, the government would pay the bill. I will check on the status of the Amritsar roadshow.”The Punjab governor should take action against the errant officers, Grewal said. “The officers concerned should be made to pay the expenses from their own pockets,” he added.On the day of the Amritsar roadshow, Congress party MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira had tweeted an official letter in which the chief secretary had asked the special chief secretary, revenue and rehabilitation, to immediately take up a case with the finance department to allot Rs 15 lakh to the deputy commissioner (DC) of Amritsar and Rs 2 lakh each to all 23 districts for making adequate arrangements, including transportation for the roadshow.“Now, I have found in an RTI reply that GM, PRTC Ludhiana, had written a letter to Ludhiana DC and demanded payment for the buses sent to Amritsar and Khatkar Kalan. The PRTC depot, Ludhiana, spent Rs 5 lakh for sending buses to the Amritsar roadshow and more than Rs 1.88 lakh for oath-taking ceremony,” Grewal said, alleging that PRTC officials intentionally blocked replies to his RTI queries and he had to file an appeal.
In its written submission to the Election Commission of India (ECI), earlier this month, Uddhav Thackeray–led Shiv Sena has alleged that the Shiv Sena rival faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has filed a large number of forged and fabricated affidavits of support to the EC in a bid to prove support of the majority.“This Hon’ble Commission ought not to rely upon the affidavits of support and the minutes of meetings filed by the petitioner (Shinde Faction). It is submitted that the respondent (Thackeray faction) has reliably learnt that a large number of forged and fabricated affidavits of support have been filed by the petitioner,” the written submission made by Thackeray–led Sena states.It further also alleges in the submission that the residential addresses of MPs Rahul Shewale and Hemant Godse are the same in the affidavits, and that of 39 affidavits of the Shinde faction MLAs, two affidavits have been filed by the same person – Deeepak Kesarkar– currently a minister in Maharashtra.The EC is hearing a dispute between two factions of Shiv Sena, led by Uddhav Thackerey and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, over which is the real Shiv Sena and has the right over the party’s poll symbol – the bow and arrow. After launching a rebellion against Uddhav Thackeray led Shiv Sena in June last year, Shinde had staked a claim on the party and approached EC with a plea to acknowledge its factions as real Shiv Sena and allot it party’s poll symbol.The EC, in October last year, had frozen the symbol and party name and had allotted new interim names and symbols to both factions, asking them to submit details of support they had from the cadre and elected representatives of the party and organisational wing.Both factions have submitted the required documents. The Shinde faction, in its written submission with the EC, has claimed the support of over 12 lakh party members and office-bearers, while Thackeray-led Sena has claimed it has the support of over 23 lakh party members, elected representatives, officer-bearers and other national executive members.The Sena (UBT) has also raised questions about the authenticity of the Shinde faction’s claim as well as the documents of support it has submitted to the EC.
PANAJI: Chief minister Pramod Sawant told the Goa Legislative Assembly on Tuesday that all pending applications of Laadli Laxmi Scheme will be cleared by March 31 and that of Griha Aadhar scheme too.“The applications of married women would be cleared by March 31 as also the cases that have been pending in the last five years over small details, will be cleared,” Sawant stated during question hour, after Congress' Aldona MLA Carlos Almeida, charged that the government does not have money to clear the pending applications, but has to splurge on events. Around 13000 applications are pending under the Griha Aadhar scheme as the scheme is being streamlined. Those will also be cleared at the earliest, he said. “We have not spent money on unwarranted things. Finance department has been actively working on this aspect,” Sawant said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Tuesday compared Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena to a British viceroy and asked if the people of the country had fought for Independence only to be subjected to dictatorial behaviour.Kejriwal was speaking on the second day of the Delhi Assembly’s Winter Session, a day after an uproar in the House over what the ruling AAP said was interference by Saxena in the government’s functioning. Monday’s session was adjourned within a few minutes following sloganeering from both Aam Aadmi Party and BJP MLAs. After this, AAP legislators, including the chief minister and his deputy Manish Sisodia, decided to protest outside the L-G’s residence.On Tuesday, the Delhi chief minister once again brought up the issue of teachers’ training in Finland as he objected to the Delhi L-G seeking a cost-benefit analysis for the programme.“I went to meet the L-G and I want to share the discussion I had with him. I wish BJP leaders were also here to listen to this. Nothing is permanent in this world. Aaj Delhi mein humari sarkar hai, unke L-G hain, kal agar bhagwan ne chaha to aisa bhi ho sakta hai Centre main humari sarkar ho aur L-G humare ho. (Today, the AAP has the government in Delhi and they (BJP) have the L-G. Tomorrow, if God wills, it is possible that we will have a government in the Centre and our L-G). But I assure you that our L-G will not behave like this and will not stop the work of an elected government,” he said.Speaking about the file about sending Delhi government school teachers to Finland for a training programme and alleging for which Saxena has refused permission, Kejriwal said, “Delhi has 2 crore people and lakhs of children. I consider all these children as mine. All these children are Harshita and Pulkit (his son and daughter). My only objective is to provide a good education to all the children.”On its part, the L-G’s Office has denied it has refused permission. It said Saxena had asked for a detailed cost-benefit assessment of the programme, whether the agency conducting the training is equipped to do so, and if the training can be done in India itself. Kejriwal and Sisodia have hit out at the L-G for ordering a cost-benefit analysis.“Teachers and principals shape the future of the children. But they are being stopped. LG sir is saying that he has rejected but he has advised considering a cost-benefit analysis. He has returned the file twice with objections. When you apply for a driving licence, they will not say no to you, they will object and give you different reasons and will fail you,” Kejriwal said.He also held up a piece of paper and said it had the names of BJP MPs, MLAs, and ministers who studied abroad.Alleging that the L-G is stalling all work being done by an elected government, Kejriwal said, “He does not have any power but he is sitting on our head. Yeh to begani shaadi main Abdullah deewana ho gaya, L-G humare sar par baithe hain… How can the L-G decide how we educate our children? When the Supreme Court clearly says that L-G does not have any authority to take independent decisions and issue orders”.“When I told him about the SC order and judgment… He says it might be the SC’s opinion. I was shocked and told him ‘Sir, this is contempt of court order’… L-G Sir is not my headmaster. Even my teachers have never checked my homework as he does. I am an educated person, elected by the people. When I asked, he said ‘I have been appointed by the President of India and have the power’. He is like the British viceroy,” Kejriwal said.The eight BJP MLAs, meanwhile, came to the Assembly dressed in black, wearing black turbans, to protest against “corruption by the Delhi government”. As the proceedings started, MLAs Ajay Mahawar, Jitendra Mahajan, OP Sharma and Abhay Verma were marshalled for entering the well of the house and were suspended for the entire day. The others boycotted the session.
Gujarat will celebrate the 74th Republic Day on January 26 with a state function organised at Botad district, the first time such an event will be held in the district. Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel will participate in different functions on the occasion and preside over the main flag-hoisting event.As part of a tradition started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while he was chief minister, the state functions to mark Independence Day and Republic Day are held at different district headquarters. Accordingly, this year, the state function will be held at Botad.The chief minister will reach Botad on January 25. Apart from inaugurating various developmental works, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel will also release two coffee-table books on Botad district, one on religious places and another on the district itself. The chief minister will also attend a cultural programme on January 25.Gearing up for the celebrations, the district administration has launched a cleanliness drive and beautification of Botad town.
In a major blow to Ghulam Nabi Azad-led Democratic Azad Party (DAP), its general secretary Nizam-ud-Din Khatana and over three dozen of its founding members are joining the Congress here on Tuesday.Significantly, the latest defections from the DAP have come at a time when Azad is likely to meet the Election Commission in connection with the registration of his new party.A senior DAP leader confirmed that Azad has been called by the Election Commission for a meeting on Tuesday. “At present, we call our party Democratic Azad Party but it depends on what name the Election Commission allows us tomorrow,’’ he said.Hailing from Kashmir’s Kokernag area, Nizam-ud-Din Khatana, a two-time MLC (from National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party), had quit the PDP to join Azad’s party in September last year. His son, Chowdhary Gulzar Khatana, who was vice-chairperson of Gujjar and Bakerwal Advisory Board with the status of minister of state during the PDP-BJP coalition government, is also quitting DAP and joining the Congress.A senior DAP leader said both Nizam-ud-Din and his son had left the party and joined the Congress earlier this month when former deputy chief minister Tara Chand and former minister Peerzada Sayeed returned to their previous party. Nizam-ud-Din, who has been a loyalist of Sayeed, is unwell and not active in politics, he added.The defections threaten to destabilise the DAP, which is yet to overcome the damage caused to it by the expulsions of three senior leaders — former deputy chief minister Tara Chand, former minister Dr Manohal Lal Sharma and former MLA Balwan Singh — in December last year and the subsequent resignations by nearly 126 of their supporters, including many founding party members.One of the founding DAP leaders, who recently returned to the Congress, told The Indian Express that at the time of preparing documents for getting EC registration, they were told to have at least 100 founding members. “Accordingly, we made 50 founding members each from Jammu and Kashmir divisions,’’ he said, adding that while a number of them have already left DAP following the expulsion of three senior leaders, several more are quitting on Tuesday.Earlier in the day, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted: “Tomorrow, more leaders from DAP-Disappearing Azad Party will end their leave of absence and return to where they belong. Expect news from Jammu, which is all set to welcome the Bharat Jodo Yatra on January 19.’’DAP general secretary and former minister R S Chib, however, denied it, saying the party has more than 500 founding members. He said they had sent a list of more than 800 founding members to the Election Commission, along with their application for registration, and of them, nearly 300 were rejected on account of deficiencies in their documents. All the founding party members are not senior leaders, he added.The DAP, meanwhile, seems to have started damage-control exercise. After senior DAP leaders, including G M Saroori and Jugal Sharma, party chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad had an over four-hour long meeting with Dr Sharma at his residence in Jammu last week to persuade him return to the party. The latter sought time to consult his supporters before taking a decision, sources said.A senior DAP leader said he is most likely to return to Azad’s party and for this, he has already fixed a public meeting at Billawar on January 18.The buzz created by Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, whose last leg through Jammu and Kashmir is about to begin, has ensured an impressive reception for the march. Chairman of Dogra Swabhiman Sanghthan and former minister Choudhary Lal Singh, who has been three-time MLA from Basohli and two time MP from Udhampur constituency, has already extended his support to the yatra amid speculation that he is returning to the Congress.Before forming his own party, Singh was a BJP MLA from Basholi and a minister in PDP-BJP led coalition government in J&K. He had joined the BJP ahead of the 2014 Assembly elections after quitting Congress.
The mortal remains of Mukarram Jah, the titular eighth Nizam of Hyderabad, will reach the city Tuesday evening and the public will be allowed to pay their respects at Chowmahalla Palace between 8 am and 1 pm Wednesday, a statement issued by his office on behalf of the family said. Arrangements are being put in place at the iconic Mecca Masjid for the final rites of the last Nizam on Wednesday.Jah, 89, the successor and grandson of the seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur, passed away on Saturday night in Turkey’s Istanbul where he had been living. His mortal remains are being brought to Hyderabad as per his desire to be laid to rest in his homeland.The Telangana government has decided to accord full state honours to Mukarram Jah. “In recognition of Mukarram Jah’s social services in the fields of education and medicine for the poor as the successor of the Nizam, the Chief Minister directed chief secretary Shanthi Kumar to conduct Jah’s last rites with the highest state honours,” a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office said.Born in France on October 6, 1933 to Prince Azam Jah and Princess Durru Shehvar, the daughter of the last Caliph of the Ottoman empire Sultan Abdul Mejid II, Mukarram Jah was coronated as Asaf Jah the Eighth on April 6, 1967 after the passing away of Mir Osman Ali Khan in February 1967.“The mortal remains of H.E.H. the VIII Nizam late Nawab Mir Barkat Ali Khan Walashan Mukarram Jah Bahadur will be brought from Turkey and will arrive at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad at 05.00 PM IST, 17.01.2023. The mortal remains will be brought directly to Chowmahalla Palace,” a statement issued by his office on behalf of the family said.The family, its trustees, staff and close friends will be allowed to pay their final respects to the last Nizam between 7 pm and 10 pm on Tuesday at the Chowmahalla Palace, according to the statement.On Wednesday at around 4 pm, “the mortal remains will be carried to Mecca Masjid and arrangements have been made such that a maximum number of people are able to give ‘Kandha’ to H.E.H. the VIII Nizam. After Asar prayers, H.E.H. the VIII Nizam will be laid to rest by his immediate family,” the statement added.While the Nizam’s Dominion of Hyderabad ceased to exist after it acceded to the Indian union in 1948, the seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan served as the Raj Pramukh of the state from January 26, 1950, when it accepted the Indian Constitution, till October 31, 1956, when parts of the Hyderabad state were merged with neighbouring regions to form Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. In June 1954, Osman Ali Khan wrote to the Union Government to recognise Mukarram Jah as his successor and the request from the former monarch was accepted by the Centre in 1964.Following the passing of Osman Ali Khan in 1966, Jah continued to hold the title of the Nizam of Hyderabad till November 1971 when the government abolished the privy purse and royal titles. He moved to Perth in Australia the next year and bought a sheep farm spread across 5 lakh acres and visited Hyderabad occasionally.While Asaf Jah the first, Mir Qamar-ud-din Khan Siddiqi, was laid to rest in Aurangabad and the seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan Bahadur was buried at Masjid-e-Judi beside his mother’s grave, the graves of all other rulers in between and that of other royal members are at the Asaf Jahi tombs located at the entrance of the Mecca Masjid. Mukarram Jah’s grave will be located next to his father Azam Jah’s at the Asaf Jahi tombs as per tradition. Mukarram Jah’s demise brings down the curtains on the Asaf Jahi dynasty founded in 1724.
Many in India and the diaspora are rightly feeling cheerful about the success of RRR at the Golden Globe Awards.Some critics, of course, are concerned about identity and appropriation issues in and around the movie. In parts of the US media that hold a rather monolithic view of South Asian politics, critics warned RRR’s Western fans that the movie had some “regressive” politics and themes (“because Ram” as one might put it these days). In India, some critics have said that the movie fails to do justice to subaltern viewpoints, portraying Bhim as subservient to Ram, for example.These academic debates are well-known, but there is a broader lesson from RRR’s growing global profile that is both practically useful – and urgently relevant – for everyone confused and confounded by questions of identity in a world that is both intensely global, and yet deeply nationalistic, at political, cultural, and existential levels.Indians, and by extension, India, I believe face a crisis of lack of understanding and competence in international communication, which might have been less alarming in a less interconnected time in the past, but is proving disastrously divisive and self-defeating for us at this time — whether this “us” is what these days is called “Left” or “Right”. After colonialism, after the declining Nehruvian experiment, after Mandal and Mandir and Masjid and all that has come, we are more confused than ever, in my view, about what it means to invoke a sense of togetherness in the name of the nation, in the name, specifically, of India.How do we communicate, as Indians and as all the multiple identities that often go alongside being Indian, in regional, local, religious or cultural terms? Is there a lesson from RRR’s global appeal, which might be nationalism, or might be despite nationalism?There are two examples from the past few days we could consider here.The first of these was about RRR. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy tweeted that RRR had made Telugus proud only to be rebuked by singer Adnan Sami who insisted that the Telugu evocation would stoke separatism just like Partition had once done.Was it a case of cultural misunderstanding by Sami, or just social media fingers? I do not know, but this incident was a stark reminder of how ludicrous the obsession with policing “anti-nationals” has become in some circles.As a Telugu person myself, and one who saw the division of our state into Andhra Pradesh and Telangana unfold in my own life, I thought that the chief minister’s comment about the “Telugu flag” flying high (and RRR’s own rather explicit Telangana-Andhra brotherhood themes), was a welcome gesture in celebrating our own historical “unity in diversity” as it were. Suggesting that a “Telugu flag” might be hostile to the “Indian flag” as Sami did, seemed bizarrely misplaced (and I hope he realises that we Telugus actually have a bit of a friendly claim on being able to call the Indian flag itself a “Telugu flag” because of Pingali Venkayya!)The second example of “anti-national” invocations that misfired is not about RRR though and is actually a bit more disturbing.A Hindu temple of the Swaminarayan tradition in Australia was desecrated recently with graffiti praising Sikh militant leader Jarnail Bhindranwale and condemning Prime Minister Narendra Modi.What is peculiar about the reactions to this incident is that the temple management condemned the incident on social media not for being “anti-Hindu”, but rather explicitly for being “anti-India”.Although some anti-Hinduphobia activists clearly saw the vandalism as anti-Hindu in nature (after all, if the grievance of the perpetrators was with “India”, why did they not protest at the Indian mission, why did they pick on a Hindu temple?), it is a telling comment on the naivety or complicity of many in the Indian diaspora with a dated conception of nationalism in a global age.Simply put, the phrase “anti-national” or “anti-India” does not mean anything negative at all in a global context today where there are people, not only non-Indians but even fellow South Asians, who do not see being “anti-India” as a sin, crime, or problem in any way.To an average Australian or Canadian or American, someone of South Asian descent claiming to be a proud Indian or proud Tamil or Kashmiri or Punjabi does not really make a difference. The diaspora can’t simply expect a phrase that might have some currency in India to have the same persuasive effect in a global context, unlike say, a universal, human rights concept that highlights something far more fundamental, like religious hatred.If a Hindu temple is attacked, the word for it is “Hinduphobic”, not “anti-India.”Yet, this is where much of the diaspora and the patriotic Indian’s conversation is stuck these days, a result perhaps of too much state and social media indoctrination at near-religious levels around the label of the nation.To conclude on a less pessimistic note though, I believe RRR is still more evocative of a harmony between the universal, national and local than critics would admit.Some in the West might fault the movie for its monolithic depiction of the British as cruel racist colonisers, but the fact remains that this did not prevent a lot of Western viewers from being entertained, and charmed, by RRR’s unique mix of Telugu-nativity and pan-Indian diversity.At the end of the day, we humans probably want stories where the underdog rises again from defeat and pain to win, and where a man seemingly on the wrong side of the story actually turns out to be not quite so at all.And we humans, most of all, perhaps want to see movies in which as heroic, strong, and decent as our heroes are, they are only human, and our planet, with its forests, animals, goddesses, and gods is more than human — Anthropocene and anthropocentricity notwithstanding.RRR roared for the gods; not “my gods” or “your gods”, but just “the gods”, and it showed.The writer is professor of media studies at the University of San Francisco
PORVORIM: No sooner did the four-day winter session of the Goa legislative assembly begin on Monday, the opposition tried to disrupt governor P S Sreedharan Pillai's address to the House, demanding a discussion on the Mhadei issue before his address.All opposition MLAs, who wore black outfits in protest, rushed to the well of the House shouting slogans, and were escorted out by marshals. The MLAs were seen holding placards with slogans like 'Save Lifeline of Goa Mother Mhadei', 'Withdraw approval for DPR of Kalasa-Bhandura project'."Today, The Times of India has reported that not only the Mandovi is affected due to the diversion of the Mhadei, but also the Zuari river. I think this governor has read The Times of India. If he has read The Times of India, he should have spoken on his own and not read the speech given by the government," Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai said, adding he wanted the governor to speak on Mhadei the way the Tamil Nadu governor expressed his personal views in the House. Immediately after the governor entered the house, the opposition MLAs stood up and started demanding a discussion on Mhadei, and started shouting “amchi Mhadei”. “With regard to the governor’s address, I would request the governor’s address to clear the stand with regards to the withdrawal of the detail project report (DPR),” said leader of opposition Yuri Alemao. “This injustice on Opinion Poll day cannot be tolerated by Goa and Goans, so I request the governor to speak on behalf of the government (and) first clear its stand on whether the DPR has been withdrawn by the Central government. We need this, and without this, we cannot function. Goa’s lifeline is Mhadei. This is a very important issue and we want amchi Mhadei.” Despite a ruckus by the opposition, Pillai continued his speech. Intervening, Alemao requested the governor to allow the chief minister to speak on Mhadei, else tender his resignation. “This is about our sentiment and that of the people of Goa. On the day of the Opinion Poll, this is not acceptable.” Reacting to the opposition disturbing the governor’s speech, chief minister Pramod Sawant said that it is the first time in the history of Goa that the governor’s speech was interrupted. “They (opposition) are neither serious about government business nor Mhadei, they just want to play to the galleries,” Sawant said.
The L-G House Monday alleged that the Delhi government is delaying tabling three reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.The Delhi government was not available for an immediate comment on the matter.“The Controller of Accounts of Delhi government has sent a reminder to the office of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia for seeking approval of L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena to table the three audit reports namely, ‘State Finance Audit Report’, ‘Performance Audit on Prevention and Mitigation of Vehicular Air Pollution in Delhi’ and ‘Revenue, Economic, Social and General Sectors and PSUs’ for the year that ended on 31st March 2021,” said the officials.The officials said these reports are pending with Sisodia, who also holds the charge of the Finance Minister.“These three reports were submitted to the Delhi government on June 23, September 27 and November 10 in 2022 respectively,” said officials.The CAG submits its report to the state government, who after approval of the Finance Minister and the Chief Minister sends a recommendation for placing them in the Assembly to the L-G, as per the GNCTD Act, 1991, said officials.“All the reports were submitted by the Principal Accounts Office to the office of the Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister through Finance Department for seeking the approval of Hon’ble L-G for laying of the same on the table of the Delhi Legislative Assembly…as per the file monitoring system, all the said files are with the office of the Hon’ble Deputy CM,” read the reminder from the Controller of Accounts to the Deputy CM’s office.“The L-G Secretariat on November 29, 2022, had written to the Finance Department, GNCTD, seeking appropriate action as per law for expeditiously laying the reports before the Assembly in the next session,” the officials added.
On the fifth day of the Punjab leg of his Bharat Jodo Yatra, Rahul Gandhi trained his guns on Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, his AAP government and party supremo Arvind Kejriwal saying that Punjab should be run from the state and not from Delhi.Addressing a gathering in Urmar Tanda in Hoshiarpur district, the Congress leader said, “Last thing I want to tell Punjab. See, every state of India has its history, way of living and Punjab should be run from Punjab only…I have said a very deep thing. Punjab should not be run from Delhi. Punjab should be run from Punjab only and I want to tell this thing to the Punjab chief minister, want to tell this thing to Bhagwant Mann-ji that Punjab should be run by Punjab only and not under any influence by Delhi and Bhagwant Mann should not be under any pressure from (Arvind) Kejriwal-ji.”“This is about the history and honour of Punjab. You should work here independently. The Punjab CM should listen to what is in the hearts of the farmers and labourers in the state and work accordingly and should not become someone’s remote control.” Gandhi further said. “Understand this thing that whenever the Congress ruled Punjab, we adopted this philosophy. Punjab CM should run Punjab.”Lashing out the BJP-led government at the Centre, Gandhi said the farmers who protested against three farm laws were tapasvis as they did not go back home for one month. He said that when he demanded two minutes of silence for the 700 farmers who died during the agitation, “the government said no one would observe silence; no one got martyred”.“The farmers were demanding the fruit of their tapasya. They were demanding the fruit of their sweat and blood. Two years later, the prime minister says it was a mistake. The PM of the nation did not talk to the farmers for even a minute. I say this with guarantee that had there been the UPA government, had Manmohan Singh-ji been the prime minister, he would have gone and talked to the farmers…Congress leaders reach out to farmers to ask what happened, what they want. But this government does not hear,” he saidGandhi also criticised the Modi government over demonetisation, GST policies, Covid response and the rejection of the land acquisition Bill. “This is an attack on tapasvis. This is a country of tapasvis and this yatra is protecting that spirit.”“The labourers of this country, small shopkeepers, small and medium businessmen, the youth of the country, they all do tapasya. When a youth prepares for an IIT exam, it is a sort of tapasya. When a student takes the exam of 10+2, that is tapasya. When a farmer sows the seed in the farm, that is tapasya. When a labourer constructs a building, that is tapasya. And our message is that in this country, a theft is being committed with the tapasvis. The one who is doing tapasya is not getting the fruit and the one who is not doing tapasya is getting the fruit. The debt of farmers will not be waived off, but debts worth lakhs of crores of rupees of two to three billionaires would be waived off,” the Congress MP said.Earlier, in the morning, Gandhi started his Yatra from Kala Bakra, near Adampur, in Jalandhar district. Historian S Irfan Habib was among those who joined him in the Yatra. Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu also joined the Yatra from Kharal Kalan, where it halted before its evening leg started.Gandhi also met the late Bahujan Samaj Party leader Kanshi Ram’s sister Swaran Kaur and Kanshi Ram Foundation chief Lakhbir Singh.The morning leg of the Yatra was dedicated to the cause of women’s empowerment as hundreds of women including MGNREGS workers and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) walked with Gandhi. He interacted with school and college students, little girls as well as elderly women during his walk, which lasted about four hours.
Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo yatra entered its fifth day in Punjab on Monday. Punjab has three regions, namely, Majha, Malwa and Doaba. It will be Rahul’s third day in the Doaba region.Today he resumed his yatra from the Kala Bakra village near Bhogpur in Jalandhar district at 7:00 am. The first break will take place at 11:00 am in the village of Kharal Kalan. And from there it will resume at 3:00 pm and proceed towards Tanda Urmur in district Hoshiarpur on the Jalandhar Pathankot National Highway. The yatra will halt at 6:00 pm and the night stay would be at Khudda near Tanda.Yesterday, Rahul had heaped praises on the people of Punjab on his Facebook handle. Rahul wrote, Blessed by five rivers, Punjab is known for its fertile land. But even nature’s gifts must be nurtured and worked upon for them to yield benefits. It is the Tapasya of the people of Punjab that has turned this land of great opportunity into a land of prosperity, over time.“Their tapasya has also made the people of Punjab fearless, generous, warm and compassionate. As I walk through this remarkable state, every heart I connect with has a common story to tell, a story of true love for India.”Out of his eighth days yatra in Punjab including one day halt on the Lohari festival on January 13, Rahul is spending four days in Doaba itself which is more than half.Doaba, which has 1/5 representation in the state assembly, had given 10 out of 18 seats that Congress had won in Punjab during the 2022 assembly elections. Also, Doaba has the highest percentage of the Dalit population in the country.Rahul Gandhi had started the Punjab leg of his Bharat Yatra from the historical Fatehgarh Sahib on January 11 and entered Ludhiana from there and remained there till January 12.Rahul resumed it on January 14 from Ludhiana- Jalandhar border and entered the Doaba region from Phillaur. But on the same day, he had to suspend it just two hours after its resumption because of the sudden demise of sitting Lok Sabha MP from Jalandhar Santokh Singh Chaudhary, who died while walking in the yatra.After the cremation of Chaudhry which was attended by Rahul, the Yatra resumed at 3:30 pm again on Sunday from Jalandhar’s Lyallpur Khalsa college and it went peacefully till its halt at 6:30 pm in Adampur.
Amid the reported sluggishness in the ship recycling industry at Alang in Bhavnagar district, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel Monday approved three town planning (TP) schemes for Alang and surrounding villages to facilitate planned development of the area.“Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel has approved seven town planning schemes. These town planning schemes include four preliminary schemes of Ahmedabad and three draft TP schemes of Alang. The three draft TPs have been approved by the CM for the first time after the formation of the Alang Area Development Authority by the state government,” an official release said on Monday.The three draft TP schemes were submitted to the state government by the Alang Area Development Authority (AADA) in October, 2020.The TP schemes cover areas along the National Highway-51 which connects Bhavnagar to coastal Dwarka via Trapaj village near Alang and state highway 37 which connects Alang and Sosiyo villages to Trapaj. These areas are located in the western part of the AADA development plan approved by the state government in 2018. The schemes envisage planned urban development of Alang and other 16 villages spread across 131 square km in Talaja and Ghogha talukas of Bhavnagar.“The plan is to facilitate development along these highways by providing basic infrastructure through the TP schemes,” Vikas Ratada, the chief executive authority (CEA) of AADA told The Indian Express.“Unlike conventional TP schemes, the draft TP schemes for Alang focus on commercial and industrial space as they were drafted keeping in mind the ship recycling industry and the plan to develop a new industry of scrapping old vehicles,” Ratada said.The government approval to the draft TP schemes came amid sluggishness in the ship recycling industry in Alang since 2016-17 as ship-recyclers are finding it hard to sell their scrap to steel re-rolling mills.“Roads will be developed and upgradation of infrastructural facilities will increase the ease of living of people. A total of 21.14 hectares of land have to be acquired for housing of the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) under the three draft TPs … and a total of 18,900 EWS houses can be constructed here,” he said.Thousands of workers, a large majority of them migrants, engage in the ship recycling and allied industries at Alang. Many of them live in huts in nearby areas. “Through these TP schemes, we shall be able to provide affordable housing as well as recreational space to these labourers by building houses and developing parks and gardens,” the CEA said.Former AADA chairman and BJP leader Girish Shah welcomed the development.“The AADA had prepared 8 draft TP schemes when I was its chairman from 2014 to 2020 and three of them were forwarded to the state government. This (the TP schemes) will facilitate faster development of Alang. It will benefit farmers also as the government will spend money on developing basic infrastructure,” he said.The four TP schemes in Ahmedabad – TP scheme no. 74 (Chandkheda-Zundal), TP Scheme No.123/A (Naroda), TP Scheme No.90 (Vinzol-2) and TP Scheme No. 96/A (Hansol-Asarwa) – will make 83 hectares of land available for construction of 4,350 EWS houses. The seven TP schemes will make 29.31 hectares of land available for gardens, playgrounds and open space and 25.56 hectares for public facilities in Alang and Ahmedabad. They will also make 65.68 hectares of land available for sale for the purpose of generating revenue for meeting the cost of infrastructural facilities, the release said, adding CM Bhupendra Patel has so far approved about 100 TP schemes for “expediting the development of urban areas”.