Category Archive : Maharashtra

Mamata Banerjee expresses solidarity with farmers protesting against ‘draconian’ farm laws | India News

KOLKATA: Recalling her 26-day long hunger strike against the forceful acquisition of agricultural land in 2006, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday expressed her solidarity with the protesting farmers against the three farm laws passed by the Centre.
“14 years ago on 4 Dec 2006, I began my 26-day hunger strike in Kolkata demanding that agricultural land cannot be forcefully acquired. I express my solidarity with all farmers who are protesting against draconian farm bills (now laws) passed without consultation by Centre #StandWithFarmers,” the West Bengal Chief Minister tweeted.

Meanwhile, All India Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien also met farmers gathered at Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana border) on Friday.
O’Brien arranged a telephonic conversation between Mamata Banerjee and the protesting farmers.
The farmers are protesting against The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020

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Covid-19 vaccination drive will begin as soon as scientists give nod: PM Modi | India News

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India’s vaccination programme against Covid-19 would begin as soon as a go-ahead from scientists is given, and asserted that healthcare workers involved in treating coronavirus patients, frontline workers and old people suffering from serious conditions would be inoculated on priority.
In his closing remarks at an all-party meeting with leaders of various political parties to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the country, Modi said experts believe the wait for the Covid-19 vaccine will not be long and it may be ready in a few weeks.
Nearly eight vaccines are at different stages of trial with their manufacturing assured in India, Modi said.
Three vaccines from India are also at different stages of trial, he said.
Experts believe that the wait for Covid-19 vaccine will not be long and it is believed that it may be ready in the next few weeks, Modi said.
“India’s vaccination drive would begin as soon as we get a go-ahead from scientists. The Centre is working on the basis of suggestions from state governments about who will be inoculated in the first phase of the vaccination drive,” he said.
“Priority in this (vaccination) will be given to the healthcare workers involved in treating Covid-19 patients, frontline workers and old people suffering from serious conditions,” he said.
Central and state government teams are working in tandem for the distribution of the vaccine against Covid-19, Modi said, adding that India has expertise for vaccine distribution as well as capacity.
“Our scientists are very confident of succeeding in their endeavour of developing a vaccine against Covid-19. There are names of vaccines from different countries doing the rounds in the market, but the world is keeping a watch on having the cheapest and safest vaccine. That is why, it is natural that the world is watching India,” he said.
Public health will be top priority as far as Covid-19 vaccine pricing is concerned and states will be fully involved in the process, he said.
In his remarks, Modi also said, “We must make sure rumours are not spread during vaccination, rumours that are anti-national and anti-human. Thus, all political parties must make sure that we save all Indians from such rumours and spread awareness.”
Floor leaders from all parties in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were invited to attend the virtual meeting which started around 10:30 am.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses all-party meet: Highlights | India News

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday addressed all-party meeting called by him to discuss the Covid-19 situation, through video conferencing.
Here are the highlights from PM Modi’s address:

  • Our scientists are very confident of succeeding in their endeavor of making COVID vaccine. The world is keeping a watch on the cheapest & safe vaccine. That is why the world is watching India.
  • Experts believe that COVID vaccine will be ready in the next few weeks. As soon as scientists give a green signal, vaccination will start in India. Healthcare, frontline workers & elderly person suffering from serious diseases will be given priority in vaccination.
  • Teams of Central & State governments are working together for vaccine distribution. India has the expertise & capacity in vaccine distribution & fare better compared to other nations. We’ve a very big & experienced network in the field of vaccination. We will fully exploit it.
  • I appeal to leaders of all political parties to send your suggestions in writing. I assure you that they will be considered seriously.

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India’s Covid-19 active caseload drops to 4.35% of total cases | India News

NEW DELHI: India’s active Covid-19 caseload continued to further dip below the 5 per cent mark to 4.35 per cent on Friday, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed.
With 36,595 new infections and 42,916 recoveries, the trend of more daily recoveries than the new cases has led to a continuous contraction of India’s active caseload which presently stands at 4,16,082.
The total number of recoveries now stands at 90,16,289, taking the Recovery Rate to 94.2 per cent. The gap between recovered cases and active cases is steadily increasing and currently stands at 86,00,207.
About 80.19 per cent of the new recoveries are from by ten States/UTs.
The highest number of recoveries has been reported from Maharashtra with 8,066 recoveries, followed by Kerala (5,590) and Delhi (4,834).
Ten States/UTs have contributed about 75.76% of the new daily caseload, with Kerala reporting 5,376 cases, followed by Maharashtra with 5,182 cases, while Delhi followed recorded 3,734 new cases.
540 case fatalities that have been reported in the past 24 hours out of which 77.78% of them are from ten States and UTs.

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Farmers’ stir: Protesters continue to camp at Delhi borders amid heavy police deployment | India News

NEW DELHI: With the protesting farmers sticking to their demand for the repeal of the Centre’s new farm laws, thousands remained at the national capital‘s border points on Friday amid heavy police deployment.
Representative groups of agitating farmers will meet later in the day to discuss the future course of action after talks between them and three union ministers failed to yield any resolution on Thursday.
Protesting farmers from Uttar Pradesh have blocked National Highway-9 near the UP Gate while those from Punjab and Haryana are staying put at other border points leading to Delhi.
Another round of discussions between the farmer unions and Centre is slated for Saturday.
Security personnel at border points – Singhu, Tikri, Chilla and Ghazipur – stand guard, as the ongoing protests entered their ninth day on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police suggested alternative routes to commuters entering or exiting the city.
The Delhi Traffic Police took to twitter to inform commuters about the closure of Singhu, Lampur, Auchandi, Safiabad, Piao Maniyari, and Saboli borders. They also said that National Highway-44 was closed on both sides.
They instructed commuters to take alternative routes via National Highway-8, Bhopra, Apsara border, and Peripheral expressway.
“Traffic has been diverted from Mukarba & GTK road. Avoid Outer Ring Rd , GTK road, NH 44,” the Delhi Traffic Police tweeted.
According to the police, Tikri and Jharoda borders are closed for any traffic movement while Badusarai border is open only for light motor vehicles like cars and two wheelers. Jhatikara border is open only for two-wheelers, it said.
However, if anyone needs to commute towards Harayana, they can go via Dhansa, Daurala, Kapashera, Rajokri National Highway-8, Bijwasan/Bajghera, Palam Vihar and Dundahera Borders, the police said.
“The Chilla border on Noida link road is closed for traffic from Noida to Delhi due to farmers protests near Gautam Budh Dwar. People are advised to avoid Noida link road for coming to Delhi and use DND,” they said in a tweet.
Since the Ghazipur border on National Highway-24 is closed for traffic due to the protests, the police advised commuters coming from Ghaziabad to Delhi to use the Apsara or Bhopra borders or the Delhi-Noida Direct (DND) expressway.
The protesters had on Wednesday threatened to block other roads of Delhi in the coming days if the new agriculture laws were not scrapped soon.

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PM Modi lauds Indian Navy on Navy Day | India News

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday lauded the Indian Navy on Navy Day, saying it fearlessly protects the country’s coasts and also renders humanitarian assistance in times of need.
“Navy Day greetings to all our valorous navy personnel and their families. The Indian navy fearlessly protects our coasts and also renders humanitarian assistance in times of need. We also remember India’s rich maritime tradition over centuries,” he said in a tweet.

Navy Day is celebrated on December 4 every year to commemorate the Indian Navy’s attack on Karachi harbour during the 1971 India-Pakistan war, inflicting massive losses on the enemy.

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Jammu Kashmir DDC elections 2020: Third phase of polling underway | India News

<p><em>People stand in queues for the third phase of DDC elections in Jammu’s Chak Jafar.</em><em> (Credits: ANI)</em><br><span class=”redactor-invisible-space”></span></p>

NEW DELHI: Jammu & Kashmir voters on Friday queued for the third phase of voting in the District Development Council (DDC) elections where residents in 33 constituencies are set to vote. Voting began at 7 am and will continue till 2 pm. The elections will conclude on November 19 and counting will take place on December 22.
Here are the top developments:

  • A total of 7.27 lakh voters will exercise their voting right to decide the fate of 305 candidates in the third phase of DDC polls.
  • Out of the total 280 constituencies in the union territory of J&K, in the third phase voting will be conducted in 33 constituencies – 16 from Kashmir division and 17 from Jammu division.
  • As many as 166 candidates from Kashmir division and 139 from Jammu division are contesting polls, said State Election Commissioner (SEC) KK Sharma.
  • Adequate security arrangements have been made. The Election Commission also urged people to follow Covid-19 guidelines.
  • The voting for 280 constituencies will take place in eight phases and coincides with by-polls for sarpanch and panch elections.
  • In the by-polls for Sarpanch posts, 66 of the total 126 constituencies will be polling on Friday. A total of 184 candidates are in the fray.
  • In panch by-polls, out of 1,738 constituencies 798 have been elected unopposed. Voting will take place in 327 constituencies for which 749 candidates are in the fray.
  • The first phase was held on November 28 with nearly 52 percent electorate exercising their franchise in both divisions.
  • In 43 constituencies that went to polls in the second phase of District Development Council (DDC) elections, total voter turnout was 48.62 per cent. While the Jammu division recorded an average voter turnout of 65.54 per cent, the Kashmir division recorded 33.34 per cent voter turnout.
  • The DDC elections and sarpanch & panch by-polls mark the first democratic exercise in Jammu and Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state into two union territories last year.

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Interfaith marriage: Youth thrashed on UP court premises | India News

NEW DELHI: A Muslim youth, 21, was allegedly abused and beaten inside the court premises in Aligarh on Thursday where he had come with a girl, also 21, to get legally married.
In a set of videos, the youth was seen forcibly taken away by some policemen. In the other video, the girl was also seen being dragged away by women constables as she continued to shout that she wanted to live with the youth. The girl, who is from another faith, had come from Chandigarh for the marriage. They were taken to Aligarh’s Civil Line police station. When contacted, CO Anil Samaniya told TOI, “The matter is being inquired in detail.”

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Governor yet to sign on Rajasthan’s farm bills | India News

NEW DELHI: Over a month has passed since the Congress government in Rajasthan had passed bills to counter the contentious central legislation on agri-marketing, but governor Kalraj Mishra is yet to give his assent.
This could become another flashpoint between the Congress government and the governor.

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In Puri, more than Covid, ban from ‘gateway to heaven’ scares faithful | India News

NEW DELHI: At 8am every day, 60-yearold Durga Prasad Das Mohapatra goes to the Jagannath Temple in Puri to offer prayers. This has been his routine for the last 45 years. Mohapatra is the daitapati nijog or the general secretary of the group of 185 servitors who are engaged in the Rath Yatra in Puri every year. If the 12th century temple is at the centre of Mohapatra’s existence, his life’s desire is to be cremated at Swargadwar — the crematorium in Puri that many Hindus believe to be ‘the gateway to heaven’. Mohapatra is among the countless who harbour this wish.
But now, coronavirus has come in the way of faith. The local administration has prohibited cremation of Covid-19 victims at Swargadwar. And this ban has given rise to an extraordinary situation. The stigma attached with the disease and the fear of spending lonely days in a hospital, added to the apprehension of not getting a cremation at Swargadwar is said to be making people — especially the elderly — risk their lives. People are avoiding getting tested and not approaching doctors when symptoms of Covid show up, say residents of this seaside town in Odisha.
During the lockdown, the Puri administration had barred outsiders, even those who hadn’t died of Covid, from being cremated at Swargadwar. Earlier, people not only from across Odisha but also Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh travelled to Puri to cremate their kin. Over 100 funeral pyres used to be lit here daily before the pandemic, which dipped to 20-25 with the curb on non-locals, according to sub-collector Bhabataran Sahoo, also the secretary of Swargadwar Seva Samiti. Currently, Swargadwar sees 40-50 cremations a day. The restriction on non-Puri people didn’t go down well with the public and the ban was relaxed in October.
For those dying of Covid-19 in Puri, Odisha government has created a separate crematorium. “People who cremate the Covid dead are trained and steps are taken as per protocol,” says Saroj Kumar Swain, additional executive officer of Puri municipality. “We are more concerned about the safety of the living than the wishes of those who want to attain heaven after death,” he says.
Sub-collector Sahoo says the cremation ground staff quiz those accompanying a hearse and ascertain the cause of death if a medical certificate isn’t provided. “Some people have been turned back after the details they provided raised suspicion of a Covid death,” adds Sahoo. Swain says corpses aren’t tested for Covid but neighbours inform them if they suspect that a death is related to the disease.
But there is no answer as to why separate arrangements can’t be made for Covid victims at Swargadwar like in many other crematoriums. Repeated calls and messages sent by TOI drew no response from Puri collector Balwant Singh and municipality executive officer Bijaya Kumar Dash.
On the ground, there’s a running battle between faith and reality. Shibasis Tripathy hails from Bhubaneswar and works in Bengaluru, where he has lived 11 years. “But I still desire to get the final send-off from Swargadwar,” he says. The urge is stronger among the servitors at Puri’s Jagannath temple. “Servitors’ mukhagni (lighting of the funeral pyre) is done with Vaishnavagni or fire from the grand kitchen at Jagannath temple,” says Das Mohapatra. Servitors believe that their lifelong service would come to nothing if their final rites aren’t performed at Swargadwar with the sacred fire.
“Over 600 servitors and their family members have tested positive for Covid and around 25 have died,” says a senior servitor and temple official who didn’t want to be named. He further says, “The numbers must be higher as many are hiding symptoms. It is especially true for the elderly who fear that they would be packed off to hospitals in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack and denied final rites at Swargadwar.” Dr JP Das, a government doctor in Puri, says people were not only dodging tests but also hiding Covid symptoms. “The fear of being isolated in hospitals and denied cremation at Swargadwar were major deterrents,” he says.
How many elderly people have made Puri their home in the wish for a cremation at Swargadwar? “It is difficult to say as no survey has been done,” states sub-collector Sahoo. According to Das Mohapatra, over 1,000 retirees have bought land and built houses in Puri. Then there are hundreds of widows and widowers who stay at various mutts and lead a religious life with the sole goal of attaining heaven through Swargadwar.
Dr Das says that fear and stigma attached to Covid have ebbed. And with Covid cases dipping, it seems the worst is behind for this temple town. “Since October, reported cases of infection among the servitors of Jagannath temple too have come down,” says Das Mohapatra, who himself was Covid-positive and emerged victorious “with blessings of Lord Jagannath and modern medical care at a Covid quarantine centre.”

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