Karnataka floods: CM Bommai requests Amit Shah to send central team to assess damage

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai Sunday said he has requested Union Home Minister Amit Shah to designate a central team to assess damages inflicted by the floods in at least 13 districts in the state so far.

“I have written to the (Union) Home Minister to send a central team to Karnataka to assess the damages caused by the floods for the last few days,” Bommai said after reviewing the situation across the state on Sunday.

After a meeting held with senior officials from across areas affected by the floods, Bommai said, “While 466 villages have been affected so far, 13 people have died and one person is missing,” he announced.

He added that most of these villages in Belagavi, Uttara Kannada Udupi districts were situated on the banks of river Krishna. “The water levels are yet to recede and restoration works will begin soon after the rain abates. I have directed officers to release Rs 510 crores for restoration works immediately,” Bommai, who is also the single-person cabinet ruling the state at present, said.

He reiterated that Rs 150 crore will be spent under NDRF guidelines to restore roads and bridges submerged due to the high water levels. “While DCs (Deputy Commissioners) have Rs 700 crore with them available already, another Rs 660 crore will be released. Officials have also been directed to assess damage to houses and crops by a survey according to the norms,” Bommai said.

Meanwhile, the CM clarified that compensation amounts of Rs 5 lakh for loss of house, Rs 3 lakh for partial damages, and Rs 50,000 for minor damages will continue to be released as well. He added that officials were in the process of ascertaining and classifying damaged properties.

Earlier on Thursday, Bommai — on his first tour outside Bengaluru after taking over as new CM — had visited the flood-affected areas in Uttara Kannada district, which was one among the worst hit as floods followed incessant rains during the last fortnight.

He had then directed the Uttara Kannada district administration to shift those in Kalache village in Yellapur taluk to another safer place completely. The area had reported widespread devastation due to landslides earlier.

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Former West Bengal higher education minister Sudarshan Roy Chowdhury passes away

Former West Bengal higher education minister and veteran CPM leader Sudarshan Roy Chowdhury passed away at a private hospital in Hooghly district following a massive heart attack on Saturday night. He was 75.

“The veteran leader had been sick for some time and was hospitalised on Saturday morning after his health deteriorated. He had a massive heart attack following which he was declared dead around 8.20 pm,” a party source said.

Chowdhury, who was a professor of political science in Serampore College, was elected as an MP from the same Lok Sabha constituency.

He was made the higher education minister by the then chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya after he won the assembly election from Jangipara in 2006.

Former party MP Mohammed Salim expressed grief and termed it a personal loss. “Professor Sudarshan Roychoudhury, former Member of Parliament, ex-Minister and CPI(M) leader has passed away. Personally, lost a friend, philosopher and guide,” Salim tweeted.



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Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar announces reduction of power tariff by 37 paise per unit

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Saturday announced reduction of the power tariff in the state by 37 paise per unit. Following the reduction, the total power expenses of consumers will go down by around Rs 100 crore per month, the state government said.

“Discoms have achieved a substantial reduction in the average power purchase cost of about 46 paise per unit during FY 2020-21 over the previous year due to better planning and scheduling. This has also been reflected in FSA calculations done by HERC where FSA is negative. Hence, to pass on this benefit to the consumers, particularly during these Covid times, the state government has decided to waive off the 37 paise FSA which was being charged from the consumers,” a state government spokesperson said.

“FSA burden in respect of agriculture consumers is already being borne by the state government. Also, the state government has endeavoured to provide quality power to the electricity consumers of the state at affordable rates. Over the last few years, the Haryana Power Distribution Companies have turned around and their excellent performance is also reflected in the integrated rating of power Discoms done by the Union Ministry of Power where Haryana has emerged as the second best-performing state after Gujarat,” the spokesperson added.

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Explained: Tokyo 2020 sees the return of bitter US vs Russia rivalry

Written by Shahid Judge
, Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |

July 31, 2021 12:09:10 pm

The big story from the first week of Tokyo 2020, is the return of the bitter US vs Russia rivalry. In a throwback to the Cold War era, the two sporting superpowers have crossed swords on field and have also indulged in wars of words off it. Rio Olympics gold-medalist US swimmer Ryan Murphy, after getting dethroned by Russian star Evgeny Rylov, hinted that the race wasn’t fair. “I’ve got 15 thoughts, 13 of them would get me into a lot of trouble. It is a huge mental drain on me to go throughout the year, that I am swimming in a race that’s probably not clean,” he said. His comments alluded to Russia’s infamous doping scandal in 2014, which prompted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to ban the country from competing in international sports using the Russian flag or the country’s name. In Tokyo the entire Russian contingent competes for the ‘Russian Olympic Committee (ROC),’ and their national anthem is not played after a gold medal win. There have been other episodes at Tokyo that have brought out the acrimony between the long-time political and sporting rivals.

Was this a solitary incident of a player questioning a Russian achievement?

No. When Simone Biles, the popular American gymnast pulled out of the Olympics citing mental health problems, the women’s ROC team won the country’s first gold medal in the team all-around event since 1992 – when Russia competed as the ‘Unified Team’ of former Soviet states. This technically made it Russia’s first-ever gold in this event.

Later in a press conference, an American journalist asked the ROC team if they would have won if Biles competed, to which Russia’s 16-year-old Viktoria Listunova replied: “That is not a very good question, I would say. Simone Biles is human.”

On Wednesday, World No 2 men’s tennis player Daniil Medvedev was left furious at his press conference when he was asked if Russian players carry the ‘stigma of cheaters.’

“This is the first time I haven’t answered a question. You should be ashamed,” he replied.

Has the ROC responded?

On the Russia Today website, reporter and presenter Danny Armstrong wrote a scathing piece on the issue under the headline – “Whiny American athletes & bitter US media should learn to lose gracefully without blaming Russia.” His column panned not just the US athletes but also the media. “If Olympic medals were given out for histrionic temper tantrums at losing, the USA’s athletes and media would be runaway winners. Maybe then they would stop blaming Russia for their defeats. Sure, if you can’t attain attention by finishing atop the podium, achieve it by attempting to knock the winner off their perch with a bolo punch of passive-aggression in one fell swoop of disparagement, discrediting and degrading comments, especially if they are a country whose name no one is legally allowed to utter, to make sure everyone talks about only you.”

Is this the first time the US and Russia have been involved in an Olympic spat?

Infamously, both countries boycotted the Olympics held in the rival nation during the Cold War. The Americans did not turn up at the Moscow Games in 1980, and the Russians skipped the next edition in Los Angeles in 1984.

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How have the Americans been with athletes from other nations with tense diplomatic ties?

On July 28, the US men’s basketball team came up against Iran – at a time when the two nations have been embroiled in a diplomatic standoff. Yet the reception before and after the match was cordial and warm.

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American coach Gregg Popovich later commented during a media session: “In general, people in different countries get along a whole lot better with each other than their governments do. If people in all of these countries were running the show, things would be a whole lot better. When you involve politicians, it becomes much more complicated with self-interests, ideologies and personal agendas.

“The Olympics here are a venue and a time where sport transcends all that petty c*** that you get from governments. There’s no surprise that the coaches would enjoy meeting each other, talking to each other, and players showed sportsmanship. We just wished that that was real life, which we all have to live through.”

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‘Illegal’ buildings near Qutub Minar: HC seeks South MCD response

SEEKING COMPLETE details of properties which have unauthorisedly come up in the vicinity of Qutub Minar, the Delhi High Court has directed the Municipal Commissioner (South Zone) to fix responsibility of officers who were supposed to monitor the area but “have permitted” the illegal constructions.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, while listing the case for August 20, directed the Deputy Commissioner (South Zone) to be present on the date. “Let the status report-cum-action taken report be filed before the next date of hearing,” said the court. The court has also directed the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to ensure that none of the illegal properties are permitted to be occupied, if not already occupied.

The order was passed in a petition filed by Rinku Kaushik in 2018 alleging that a “vast illegal and unauthorised colony” was being developed on government land adjoining Qutub Minar and “six storied and above height buildings are being constructed there”. During the hearing Thursday, the petitioner said that despite repeated directions, the officers of the SDMC have permitted the illegal constructions.

In October 2020, the court had termed it “baffling” how the SDMC permitted a row of houses to come up in the vicinity of Qutub Minar and asked the DCP of the area to file a status report explaining how “large-scale construction” was permitted despite a strict vigil of the police there.

“All these structures are in the vicinity of the Qutub Minar and it is imperative that the ambience of the area be maintained, especially in view of the strict prohibited and regulated zones regarding construction near protected monuments. Has the ASI been consulted? Interestingly, the photographs annexed to the ATR show multi-storey buildings being constructed,” Justice Najmi Waziri said in the order last year.

The observation was then made by the court after seeing an action taken report submitted by the SDMC which, as per the order, showed demolition of some structures in the area. While the SDMC described it as “appropriate action” against unauthorised construction, the court noted that the “isolated punctures” in walls or roofs are insufficient.

In April 2019, the SDMC informed the court that nine properties have been identified of the 23 mentioned in Kaushik’s representations. In September 2019, the civic body submitted that action has been taken as per law against the properties identified by it.

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RBSE BSER Rajasthan Board 10th Result 2021 announced at www.rajresults.nic.in, rajeduboard.rajasthan.gov.in: List of Websites

RBSE Rajasthan Board 10th Result 2021: The Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (RBSE) will be declaring the result of class 10 examinations, 2021 today at 4 pm. Students can check their results on the official websites at rajeduboard.rajasthan.gov.in, rajresults.nic.in, rajasthan.indiaresults.com.

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Rajasthan: As talks continue, Congress MLAs list their complaints to Ajay Maken

For the second consecutive day, Ajay Maken, the AICC general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan, individually met party MLAs to take feedback on issues such as Cabinet expansion, the constitution of district Congress committees and political appointments.

Sources in the Congress said that in the course of Wednesday and Thursday, several of the MLAs who met Maken didn’t mince words complaining about ministers and party office-bearers.

On Thursday evening, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot held an informal dinner for MLAs at his residence. While legislators loyal to him were present, former deputy CM Sachin Pilot, who is in Delhi, skipped the dinner.

“I told Ajay Maken ji that minister Shanti Dhariwal might be a good minister but when it comes to his performance as the in-charge minister for Jaipur district, he has performed poorly,” said a Congress MLA on condition of anonymity.

After the first day’s meeting with Maken, Congress MLA from Chaksu Ved Prakash Solanki had said that the communication exercise should also include those Congress candidates who had contested the last Assembly elections but lost.

Health Minister Raghu Sharma, who met Maken Thursday, said there was no truth to media reports that MLAs had complained about ministers. “The system of feedback is not new and has been there for a long time in the Congress. But what you see or read in newspapers is not the truth,” Sharma told reporters.

MLAs known to be loyal to Pilot emphasised the need to include youth and give proper representation to “those who helped the Congress form the government in the state”.

Cabinet expansion and political appointments to accommodate his men have been among the long-standing demands of Pilot, who had mounted a revolt against Gehlot last year.

“Those people or sections who gave their blood and sweat to form the government, they should get representation. We conveyed our stand on those ministers against whom we had complaints,” said Congress MLA Ramniwas Gawriya, a supporter of Pilot. “If those who formed the government after working hard, if they don’t have a stake, then in the future the Congress and all of us would have to pay the price,” he added.

Another Pilot supporter, MLA Mukesh Bhakar, said youth should get importance within the Congress as this would make the party stronger. Bhakar said it was up to the Congress to decide how to utilise the considerable support base of Pilot.

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Delhi Assembly speaker raises GNCTD Act during 2-day monsoon session: ‘Centre trying to murder Constitution’

Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel said the BJP-led Centre has “attempted to murder the Constitution” by curtailing the powers of the Delhi Assembly through the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021. He was speaking during the two-day monsoon session of the assembly which began on Thursday.

“Pained” by the passage of the law in Parliament, and repeated obstructions by BJP MLAs during question hour, Goel asserted that he will only allot 20 minutes to opposition legislators out of the six hours of House proceedings from now.

Soon after the members gathered, the BJP MLAs tried to raise issues such as lapses in the annual maintenance contract of proposed 1,000 low-floor Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses, waterlogging, and shortage of teachers in schools.

Goel turned down the demand of the BJP MLAs, and requested them to allow question hour to continue without disruptions. Twenty minutes after the session began at 11 am, he ordered that BJP MLA Anil Bajpai be marshalled out. Later, the other three BJP MLAs were also marshalled out.

The amended GNCTD Act, which was passed in March, bars the Assembly or its committees from making rules to take up matters concerning day-to-day administration, or to conduct inquiries in relation to administrative decisions.

The BJP MLAs termed Goel’s ruling that only 20 minutes will be reserved for them to speak as “despotic”. But Goel insisted that he was “following the Lok Sabha model”.

Senior officials said the norm is to divide floor time proportionately so that in an hour-long discussion, the BJP MLAs, with their current strength, stand to get six minutes.

Senior BJP MLA Vijender Gupta said the Assembly was witnessing an “emergency-like situation”. “The opposition MLAs demanded a breach of privilege motion against Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot for misleading the house on procurement of DTC buses and its AMC contract. In addition, the opposition also demanded to know why the matter pertaining to failure of the Delhi government in opening any new school or college and shortage of teachers in schools, that was listed for discussion, was withdrawn from the revised list, unilaterally. Unable to gather any satisfactory answer, the Delhi government marshalled the opposition out,” he said.

Meanwhile, soon after the proceedings started, Goel observed that senior Delhi government officials who were present in the gallery of the House did not stand up while the national song was being played. Later, assembly secretary Rajkumar raised the matter with Chief Secretary Vijay Dev through a letter. The secretary wrote that “necessary action” should be taken against the officers.

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Early morning water woes at Khuda Lahora

In the early hours when they were fast asleep, residents of Khuda Lahora found themselves in water. Harrowing time was spent by the villagers when they found their houses flooded as water flowed back from the N choe of Patiala ki Rao. Many belongings of residents got damaged in the incident.

Waterlogging after heavy rain at Khuda Lahora village on Wednesday. Express PhotoHouses from number 380 to 391 were the affected lot.

Rohit, one of the house owners, told The Indian Express that several belongings of residents have got damaged.

The residents said that around 10 days ago with the help of city BJP president, they had requested the administration to pull down a small causeway bridge near the Botanical Garden by around 40 feet so that flooding doesn’t happen and the water doesn’t flow back since their drainage pipes are in the area.

“The officials came and pulled down a part of it by 10 feet. Had they paid heed to our request and pulled down the bridge by 40 feet, at least the water would not have flowed back as it did last night,” Rohit said.

The residents said that their houses have been getting flooded with water for the last 15 years. “There were residents whose fridge, sofa got spoilt as water reached up to two to three feet high. We have been facing this damage for quite long now. Now we pray that heavy rain doesn’t take place,” Rohit said, adding that de-silting is also not carried out properly.

Shailender Singh, Chief Engineer of Municipal Corporation, said that it was because of the backflow from Patiala ki Rao that the houses were flooded. “In fact, Chandigarh Administration had made a causeway bridge and pipes were laid above it. Water used to pass through the pipes but along with that there was dried vegetation as well which would block the pathway. Subsequently, the high flood level would also increase. Thus, pipes which are there to drain out the storm water couldn’t do it and there was a back flow because of the obstruction. When bed level at Patiala ki rao increased, the HFL would also increase. That is why administration has been asked to dismantle the causeway bridge, else there would be a problem even tonight if the rain takes place,” the Chief Engineer said.

The Chandigarh Administration’s team was in the process of pulling down the part of causeway bridge so that water doesn’t flow back and there is no alarming situation in the next rain spell.

Sukhna Lake’s water level increases

Sukhna Lake’s water level, which was just 1,156.40 feet two days ago, saw the water level swell. On Wednesday, the water level was 1,160.10 feet. The danger mark when the flood gates have to be opened is 1,163 feet. A team of engineering wing has been kept on stand by if rain increases the water level further.

The UT Adviser directed the engineering department to monitor and man the control room 24X7 to avoid any sort of flooding in the city. The directions were passed after the Khuda Lahora flooding incident.

UT Chief Engineer C B Ojha said that people can call at 4639999 and all complaints will be dealt with. He also said that the officials are monitoring the situation of Sukhna Lake 24X7.

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‘Arbitrary’ FIR lodged to suppress crime, prevent the prosecution of offenders, Shukla tells Bombay HC : Mumbai

Seeking that the FIR in the alleged illegal phone-tapping case registered against her by the Mumbai Police be quashed, senior IPS officer Rashmi Shukla submitted Wednesday before the Bombay High Court that the “arbitrary” case had been lodged to “suppress the crime and not to investigate and prosecute offenders” who were indulging in corrupt practices in postings of the police officers.

Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, representing Shukla, submitted before the court that his client was being made a “scapegoat” and “harassed” through the probe for being “honest” and unearthing corruption involved in postings and transfer of senior police officers.

A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar was hearing a plea by Shukla against the FIR lodged under the Official Secrets Act, 1923, at the BKC cyber police station against unidentified persons for allegedly tapping phones and leaking certain confidential documents on the complaint filed by the State Intelligence Department.

The alleged tapping of phones had taken place when Shukla headed the SID. Shukla is currently serving as additional director general of the Central Reserve Police Force’s (CRPF) South Zone and is posted in Hyderabad.

Jethmalani said the then Maharashtra director general of police (DGP) had asked Shukla to carry out surveillance and she was merely following his directives and had taken requisite permission from then state additional chief secretary Sitaram Kunte as per the Indian Telegraph Act.

“The numbers belonged to a few brokers of certain politicians involved in corruption and demanding massive monetary compensation for plum postings and transfers. They were allegedly taking instructions from top government officials and had political connections,” Jethmalani submitted.

“Interception, with due permissions to prevent crime, is a valid ground for interception of wireless messages,” he said and sought that FIR against Shukla be quashed. The plea also sought that the probe is transferred to the CBI.

The court adjourned the hearing on Shukla’s plea to August 5 after the state assured the HC that no coercive steps, including arrest, will be taken against her till August 6.

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