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Saturday,19-June-2021

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B.S. Yediyurappa pulls up Bengaluru civic body for delaying projects

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Upset over delay in completing the smart city projects, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Wednesday pulled up the city civic body officials.

“Though I have instructed the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) to complete the 27 smart city projects by May 31 before the monsoon sets in, the works are incomplete, as evident from piles of mud and craters on both sides of the roads,” he said at a review meeting with civic officials.

As the southwest monsoon has arrived and is set to intensify in the ensuing weeks, the Chief Minister asked BBMP Commissioner Gaurav Gupta by when the pending works would be completed.

“I have daily observed that the incomplete road works in the city’s central business district are a hindrance to the public and for VIP movement. They are a hurdle for the movement of people and vehicles,” he said.

The smart city projects Chief Engineer, however, assured him that the works would be completed by June 30.

Expressing disappointment over the slow progress of the projects, funded by the Central and state governments under the urban renewal mission, Yediyurappa said he gave a priority list to the civic body after personally inspecting the works in February-March.

City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant brought to the Chief Minister’s notice that the incomplete works were causing traffic congestion across the city.

The Chief Minister directed the civic officials to speed up works and complete them at the earliest to avoid inconvenience to the public.

Yediyurappa also reviewed the expansion of metro rail network across the city and the suburban train service project, which have been delayed due to the lockdown.

The second phase of the metro rail project is under construction to extend the service by 66 km at a cost of Rs 33,070 crore.

“As the metro service cannot become profitable only through fare collection, commercial spaces along its lines and stations should be utilised to generate income,” Yediyurappa told the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd officials.

Reviewing the status of the 148 km suburban train service expansion project, he directed the South Western Railway (SWR) and the Urban Development Department to complete the construction works at the earliest to ensure decongestion of roads.

Crime

Calcutta High Court snubs Mamata Banerjee government on post-poll violence

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Four days after West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar wrote to chief minister Mamata Banerjee alleging that the state government has been inactive and indifferent about the sufferings of the people due to post-poll violence, the Calcutta High Court on Saturday criticised the Mamata Banerjee government and observed that the state has not taken any concrete steps to address the complaints pertaining to post-poll violence.

“In a case where the allegation is that life and property of the residents of the State are in danger on account of alleged post poll violence, the State cannot be allowed to proceed in the manner it likes. The complaints required immediate action… It is the duty of the State to maintain law and order and inspire confidence in the residents of the State,” the High Court observed.

The five-member bench, hearing a clutch of petitions alleging hundreds of persons got displaced due to the violence and that they are now unable to return to their homes due to fear of backlash, also observed, “Though action should have been taken by the State but despite matter being pending in Court apparently no concrete steps have been taken”.

The 5-judge bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal reminded the West Bengal Government that it is duty bound to maintain the law-and-order situation in the State and to inspire confidence in the people. The Bench also comprises of Justices I.P. Mukerji, Harish Tandon, Soumen Sen and Subrata Talukdar.

The Court asked the State to ensure that there is no obstruction of any kind in this process. “Such obstruction shall be viewed seriously, which may entail action under the Contempt of Courts Act besides others,” the order said.

The Court also directed the State Legal Services Authority to look into complaints of displaced persons who are being prevented from returning to their homes and take necessary steps for their rehabilitation.

The court then ordered the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to constitute a committee that will examine complaints filed by persons who were displaced during the post-poll violence in West Bengal. Earlier, the High Court had constituted a committee composed of members nominated by NHRC, SHRC & SLSA to coordinate rehabilitation of displaced persons of Entally constituency.

The Committee shall examine all the cases and may be by visiting the affected areas will submit a comprehensive report to this Court about the present situation and also the steps to be taken to ensure confidence of the people that they can peacefully live in their houses and also carry on their occupation or business to earn their livelihood.

“The persons prima facie responsible for crime and the officers who maintained calculated silence on the issue, be pointed out,” the Court added.

The case will be heard again on June 30.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar recently wrote a strong letter to chief minister Mamata Banerjee criticising her silence over post poll retributive bloodshed, violation of human rights, outrageous assault on dignity of women and wanton destruction of property. The letter was met with utmost criticism from the state government.

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National News

PM Narendra Modi condoles demise of DPIIT Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday expressed grief over the demise of Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, Secretary of Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

Odisha-born Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Mohapatra succumbed to Covid-19 on Saturday. Mohapatra was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Delhi where he took his last breath.

In a tweet, the Prime Minister said: “Saddened by the demise of Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, DPIIT Secretary. I had worked with him extensively in Gujarat and at the Centre. He had a great understanding of administrative issues and was known for his innovative zeal. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti,” the Prime Minister tweeted.

Union Minister Piyush Goyal also expressed his condolences over the demise of Mohapatra through Twitter, saying “extremely saddened to hear about the loss of Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, Secretary DPIIT. His long-standing service and dedication to the Nation have left a lasting impact. I convey my deepest sympathies to his family and friends”.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also took to Twitter to express his deep condolence. “A pioneer, he made unparalleled contributions in reforming the urban development landscape in Gujarat, led many public enterprises with distinction and also steered the commerce & aviation sector,” Pradhan tweeted.

The 1986 batch IAS officer, Mohapatra had assumed charge as the secretary of the DPIIT in August 2019.

Before taking over as the secretary of DPIIT, he had served as the chairman of the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Mohapatra had also served as a joint secretary in the Department of Commerce, where he worked for the promotion of special economic zones (SEZs), public procurement and project exports (financing and insurance), a statement from DPIIT had said.

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National News

PM Narendra Modi may hold all-party meet on Jammu and Kashmir next week

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to hold an all-party meeting on Jammu and Kashmir next week, a first such move taken since the abrogation of Article 370 from the region and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories in August 2019, sources said.

However, the schedule is not yet fixed, it is learnt that the meeting may occur any time next week.

The meeting will be held in Delhi as the central government wanted to restart the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir which was bifurcated into two UTs — Jammu and Kashmir with an assembly and Ladakh without one.

Regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir may also agree to participate in the Delimitation Commission proceedings. The commission was set up in March 2020 to redraw the constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir before the next assembly elections are held.

However, the National Conference (NC), one of the oldest parties in Jammu and Kashmir, may not join the meeting as it is adamant on the restoration of the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir.

Public representatives may also be the part of the meeting.

The development comes following a meeting taken by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday in Delhi to review ongoing welfare programs in Jammu and Kashmir in order to bring development with transparency in the region.

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other top officials attended Shah’s meeting on Friday.

In a statement, the home ministry said that all-around development and welfare of people of Jammu and Kashmir is the government’s top priority. Shah congratulated Sinha and his team for ensuring the Covid-19 vaccination drive has reached 76 per cent of the target in the Union Territory and 100 per cent in four districts.

The statement said Shah asked authorities to ensure the farmers in the region get the benefits of the central schemes.

Jammu and Kashmir has been without an elected government since chief minister Mehbooba Mufti lost power when the Bharatiya Janata Party withdrew support to the People’s Democratic Party-led government in June 2018.

Mufti and two other former chief ministers were among hundreds of people arrested in the run-up to the nullification of the Constitution’s Article 370 that stripped Jammu & Kashmir of its special status. A communications blackout and a lockdown were also imposed to stem protests against the move. All the restrictions have since been removed.

The first major electoral exercise –District Development Council polls — was held in the region as part of efforts to restart political activities in Jammu and Kashmir last year. All major political parties participated in the exercise. The parties have also shown willingness to engage with the Centre.

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