The Indian Express | 6 days ago | 22-11-2022 | 05:40 pm
Launching a scathing attack on the Congress’ cross-country march ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ led by Rahul Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president J P Nadda Tuesday termed it a facade for its ‘Bharat Todo’ (translated as Dividing India) agenda as the party had sided with those who chanted slogans against the execution of Afzal Guru and India. Nadda also called the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) a party of “banners” that would “lose election deposits in all 67 seats of Himachal Pradesh and also in Gujarat” in the Assembly polls.BJP candidate Jetha Ahir, who is also the deputy Speaker of the Gujarat Assembly, said that the BJP would “send a naked Kejriwal back to Delhi”.Speaking at an election rally at Shehra in Gujarat’s Panchmahal district where Ahir is the candidate, Nadda took a dig at the Congress party for organising a ‘Bharat Jodo’ rally after being part of an alleged anti-India sloganeering on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus.Nadda alleged that when Congress did not respect former deputy prime minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who united the nation, it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who gave due respect to the leader by building his statue.“Now I am told Rahul Gandhi has finally arrived to campaign in Gujarat. Better late than never. But only the Congress knows if it is doing a ‘Bharat Jodo’ or ‘Bharat Todo,” he said.He reminded the gathering about the prolonged delay in hanging Afzal Guru, the mastermind in the 2001 Parliament attack, in February 2012 when the Congress was in power. Nadda said, “They (Congress) are people who say ‘Afzal hum sharminda hain tere kaatil zinda hain’, (translated as Afzal we are ashamed your killers are alive). They rue the hanging of Afzal, who was given capital punishment by the Supreme Court, and whose clemency petition was rejected by the then President Pranab Mukherjee.”The university had witnessed protests in the campus in protest against the death sentence awarded to Afzal Guru.“Rahul Gandhi stands with such people in JNU and in that same event there were also slogans that said ‘Bharat tere honge tukde tukde inshallah inshallah’ (translated as ‘India, you will be chopped into pieces’). He (Rahul) should first piece together his own party and then go out to unite the country.”Nadda came down heavily on Rahul Gandhi for walking along with Medha Patkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan activist. “Who is he (Gandhi) roaming with? Medha Patkar? Do you know who she is? She is the one who stood against Gujarat and delayed the completion of the Sardar Sarovar project for 15 years by orchestrating mindless protests. Instead of protecting the rights of the poor, she created obstacles in the raising of the height of the dam,” the BJP president said.Nadda said that today the dam is complete and the water reaches Saurashtra and fills up 115 dams and provides water round the clock to the people there. “After Modi became the Prime Minister, in 17 days, he gave permission to raise the dam by 17 metres. Do you want to vote for people who suppress the voice of Gujarat and are opposed to development?” he asked.The Gujarat assembly elections are slated to be held in two phases on December 1 and 5. The results of the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections held on November 12 would be announced on December 8.Nadda lashed out at the Congress for “shedding crocodile tears” for the issues related to tribals and the Other Backward Communities (OBC). “There are tribal people and OBCs in this audience today. Which other party has thought about tribals and OBC other than the BJP? Many will shed crocodile tears but the one who has tried to change your fate on the ground is the BJP under the leadership of Modiji. Why didn’t anyone from the tribal community ever sit in the seat of the President for so many years?”Nadda heaped praises on PM Modi, who first made a Dalit sit on the President’s chair, and then made a tribal woman – Draupadi Murmu – the President. He has given the tribal community respect in the world, he said while criticising the Congress for never holding an annual tribal day.He lauded the PM for taking measures to set up a tribal welfare institute, document the contribution of the tribals in the freedom struggle, and do research on the contribution of tribals to nation-building.Nadda said that the Congress “played” with the OBC community for years in the name of creating commissions. “It is Modiji who turned the Commission into a national body – the National OBC Commission and gave the respect that OBCs deserve.”Without naming Kejriwal, Nadda also attacked the Aam Aadmi Party, saying that in Uttar Pradesh, the AAP contested in 350 seats and lost their deposit in 349. “In Uttarakhand, they lost their deposit in 68 seats and their CM candidate switched over to the BJP. During the Goa elections, when I landed in Goa, I was stunned to see the number of banners they had put up there – the face of the same leader (Kejriwal) and the locals were so hopeful saying, ‘See the results when they come’. I said, let’s wait. And what happened? They lost their deposit in 35 of the 39 seats They are a banner-based party, we are a cadre-based party,” he criticised.Nadda also hailed various development schemes under the leadership of PM Modi such as Ayushman Bharat scheme, Indira Awas Yojana, Ujjwala Yojana and the Covid-19 vaccines. Nadda said that during his tenure as MLA, many people approached seeking medical aid for expensive surgeries. “Poor people would come to ask for a grant of Rs 2 lakh and I would have to tell them that I can give you Rs 1 lakh but it was as good as giving nothing because how can you save someone’s life by giving only half the amount needed for the treatment? So when I became the union health minister, Modiji gave me a huge responsibility and told me to make healthcare free for all poor,” Nadda said, recalling the measures taken by the then government which paved way for Ayushman Bharat scheme under which poor persons can avail of medical treatment up to Rs 5 lakh per year.Regarding Covid-19 vaccines developed in India, Nadda said that while it took decades for India to get vaccinations for other illnesses in the past, India produced two Covid-19 vaccines within nine months due to “the leadership of Modiji”.The former minister said that it took 25 years for a TB dose to reach India, 28 years for Tetanus vaccine to be available in India and a century to have a vaccine against Japanese Flu. “The vaccine had been ready in 1906 in Japan but came to India in 2006. But look at when Covid-19 struck the world in 2020 Modiji had formed a task force immediately. And within nine months, we had not one but two vaccines,” he said.At a time when Europe has not been able to come out of Covid, Nadda said that India has been able to thwart Covid. “No one is wearing a mask and people are sitting so close. This is the protective shield of Modiji’s vaccine given to the 19 crore people. The United States has not been able to finish its vaccination programme. We have given vaccines to 100 countries, out of which 48 have received our vaccination for free. We are not a country who takes, but a country who gives,” the BJP president pointed out.Nadda asked the audience to “protect” Jetha Ahir until December 5, so that he could “protect you after December 8”. “It is your duty to make Jetha win. It is your contribution to nation building and development,” he said.Five-term MLA Ahir, who also addressed the crowd, said that the party workers in Shehra had set a “target of 1 lakh victory margin”. “Like Arjun only saw the fish eye in Mahabharata, you only have to see the button of the ‘Kamal’ (BJP symbol of lotus) in the voting booth. Our workers have fixed a target that we are going to win Shehra by 1 lakh votes. There is no doubt that the BJP is going to form the government in Gujarat,” Ahir said while adding that Kejriwal’s promise of freebies is not going to work as “Modiji has been giving us free benefits for a long time”. The people of Gujarat trust the BJP, Ahir said.
To welcome the cast and crew of Israeli TV series Fauda at International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa, Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur tweeted in Hebrew on Monday. “I am pleased to welcome @FaudaOfficial stars @liorraz and @issacharoff to #IFFI53 in India! Israel and India share a special relationship,” he posted (roughly translated from Hebrew). Thakur also shared a clip of himself and Fauda actor Lior Raz jumping from the bus. In response, Israel’s Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, tweeted: “…You look one of the team and should probably consider joining Fauda”.NOTA Worry NotedAmid reports that BJP is in a comfortable position in Gujarat, the party leadership appears to be more worried about voter turnout as the D-day nears. The main topic of discussion in BJP’s internal meetings to review preparations is to bring down NOTA votes. Votes for NOTA came third in nearly 115 seats in 2017 elections. There were unsuccessful attempts from the party to shift the category from last position on electronic voting machines (EVMs) because, according to BJP leaders, many people cast their votes on the last line, considering it as number one on the list. Party leaders admit that the biggest task for its cadre and booth-level workers is to get voters out on polling days instead of “being overconfident” about BJP’s victory.Guns Trained on TrainsEven as the government highlights Vande Bharat Express trains as its major achievement, the train seems to invite more Opposition scrutiny. Several MPs, mostly from the Opposition camp, are armed with questions on the Vande Bharat for the ensuing Winter Session of Parliament. The drift of most of these questions, it is learnt, are to catch the government on the wrong foot and to get it revealing something not so complimentary about the celebrated train set.
New Delhi: The new international airport at Mopa is likely to become operational in the first week of January, possibly on the fifth, sources said.CM Pramod Sawant had said at the Times Now Summit last week that PM Narendra Modi could tentatively inaugurate it on December 11.“It takes about a month to make an airport operational after the inauguration,” sources said. “Airlines need to mark on tickets to and from Goa which airport the flight will operate from, Dabolim or Mopa. Also, CISF has to move in and take over security of the facility, which takes around 15 days. People who have bought tickets to and from Goa for the coming months will be informed by airlines via SMS in case their flights will now land at or depart from Mopa.” GMR Goa International Airport Limited (GGIAL), which will operate the airport, is looking at January 5 as Mopa’s opening date. On October 26, the directorate general of civil aviation had issued the aerodrome licence to the Airport after a series of checkposts, thus, the airport was certified to be safe for handling flights. Airlines like IndiGo have indicated that they will operate from both the existing Dabolim airport and the new one at Mopa.The Mopa airport is keenly awaited as Dabolim, a Naval airport, has limited slots for scheduled commercial flights. For years, this has meant flights during limited hours of the day — and hence high fares in peak travel season — for passengers. Being a 100% civilian airport, Mopa will allow more flights to Goa — at least doubling from current numbers.The airports economic regulatory authority (AERA) this August issued an ad hoc tariff order for the GMR-developed Mopa airport. For the first few years, second airports that will soon start opening in Indian cities/regions could be relatively more expensive than the single ones operating there so far. The reason: A majority of them will need to compete for traffic with the existing ones. When Bengaluru and Hyderabad got new airports in 2009 and 2008, respectively, the exiting ones — HAL and Begumpet — were closed for commercial flights. AERA’s ad hoc aeronautical charges tariff order for Mopa includes a user development fee (UDF) of Rs 450 and Rs 1,100 per departing domestic and international passenger respectively. The GMR group that has developed Mopa had proposed a UDF of Rs 980 and Rs 1,500. The authority felt “the proposal of the airport operator is on the higher side and needs to be moderated”. The authority has decided to allow GGIAL to charge the ad hoc tariff till March 31, 2023, or if the regular tariff order is issued before that.
Vasco: The department of legal metrology during a raid at Housing Board Colony, Zuarinagar, Vasco of BPCL domestic LPG cylinders, found 13 of the domestic LPG cylinders to be underweight.On Monday, people residing in Lamani Colony, Zuarinagar raised a protest after finding some cylinders brought for distribution were short in weight.Both the delivery person and driver of the distribution vehicle abandoned the truck and fled from the site after consumers confronted the duo.Following the uproar, assistant controller, legal metrology, South Zone-I Margao, Nitin Purushan along with his team rushed to the site and conducted a raid. Purushan said that necessary action will be initiated against the gas agency as per provisions of the legal metrology rules and acts. The department has advised consumers to check the weight of a cylinder before buying it and check the verification certificate issued by the department, and also urged citizens to lodge complaints on the designated number.
Panaji: The Union environment ministry (MoEFCC) has amended the CRZ notification, 2019, to allow activities like manual extraction of sand from sandbars in rivers and setting up of temporary structures, like beach shacks, in CRZ areas.The Centre has also given local authorities almost all powers to clear projects, except in case of those coming up in ecological sensitive areas and in water.A senior government officer said the amendments will be applicable only in states where the CZMP 2019 is notified and that, in the case of specific projects mentioned in the CRZ notification, 2019, approval will have to be sought from the MoEFCC.With reference to removal of sandbars in CRZ area, the MoEFCC’s CRZ amended notification, 2019, issued last week states: “The sandbars in intertidal areas shall be removed by traditional coastal communities only through non-mechanised manual method.”It further states that state governments and Union territory administration can permit removal of sand in specified quantity and in specified time period on the condition that the extraction is being carried out by registered persons from the local community. The notification also mandates annual renewal of the extraction registration.Various organisations and citizens have opposed amendments to the CRZ notification, 2019, related to oil and gas exploration, sand extraction from sandbars and retaining shacks on beaches during the monsoon, stating that the proposed changes will spell disaster for the environment and local communities.“For projects or activities also attracting the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, the Coastal Zone Management Authority shall forward its recommendations to the central government or state Environment Impact Assessment Authority for Category A and Category B projects, respectively, to enable a composite clearance,” the CRZ amendment states.For those projects not covered under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, but attracting the CRZ amended notification, 2019, and located in CRZ-I or CRZ-IV areas, Coastal Zone Management Authority shall forward its recommendations to the Centre, the MoEFCC notification states.The Centre had received representations from different stakeholders — state governments and ministry of petroleum and natural gas — through the director of general of hydrocarbon for making certain amendments in the CRZ notification, 2019, inter-alia, for delegating the powers of giving Coastal Regulation Zone clearance to State Coastal Zone Management Authorities or state governments for small infrastructure projects located in CRZ-I and CRZ-IV areas, exempting exploratory drilling and associated facilities thereto except in CRZ-IA areas, including the provision of temporary beach shacks as already available in Coastal Regulation Zone notification, 2011, as amended and expanding the said provision to all coastal states, allowing removal of sand bars by traditional communities.“Projects or activities not covered in the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, but attracting this Notification and located in CRZ-II or CRZ-III areas or those projects or activities listed in sub-paragraph (ii) of paragraph 7 of this notification, shall be considered for clearance by the concerned Coastal Zone Management Authority within sixty days of the receipt of the complete proposal from the proponent,” the MoEFCC notification said.
Panaji: With Maharashtra shutting down the Tillari dam for maintenance, parts of Bardez taluka are struggling for water supply. Residents in some of the wards in Porvorim said they are facing a lot of inconvenience due to the erratic water supply. Public works department (PWD) and the water resources department (WRD) confirmed that Goa and Maharashtra agreed to shut supply of water from the Tillari dam from November 11 to December 10 to carry out the annual maintenance, including the Tillari project tributaries.“There is a severe shortage of water in some parts of Porvorim, such as Pundalik Nagar Housing Board, Journalists Colony and the tail end areas,” said a resident. “This has been happening for the last 15 days. PWD does not have sufficient water tankers to supply water.”PWD officials have urged residents to use water “judiciously” till the repairs are complete. “Maharashtra stopped releasing water on November 11 and the WRD has said that the work will go on for at least a month. The WRD officials have also conducted site visits to understand the condition of the canals. Since the Tillari infrastructure is several years old, there is a lot of seepage. The maintenance work is expected to be completed by December 10,” said a PWD chief engineer.To meet the needs of water in Porvorim and nearby areas, around 100 MLD is being pumped from the Amthane dam and the balance requirement is being taken from the barrage at Assonora.