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Monday,17-May-2021

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Gujarat Assembly passes Bill to curb land grabbing

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The Gujarat Assembly on Thursday passed The Gujarat Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill, 2020. The Bill seeks to curb land grabbing in the state by setting up special courts. It has provisions for stringent action with a jail term of upto 14 years and a fine extending to the (Jantri) value of the land.

Minister for Revenue Kaushik Patel presented the Bill during the ongoing monsoon session of the 14th state assembly on Thursday and it was passed unanimously by the House. The state government had earlier brought in an ordinance to the same effect on August 25 as the House was not in session then.

Under the provisions of the new law, special courts will be set up to dispose off cases within 6 months. The special courts would also take up cases on a suo moto basis. The burden of the proof will be on the accused. Those found guilty of grabbing land will be punished with a jail term ranging from 10 years to a maximum of 14 years and with a fine extending to the Jantri (ready reckoner) of such properties or land.

The Bill is empowered to override the existing laws pertaining to land and property and any other provisions contained in any other law in force or custom which are inconsistent with the provisions of the new Bill. The legislation will cover both government as well as privately owned land, properties and also the properties of trusts and religious organisations.

According to the government, it has been observed that some persons operating individually or in groups, make fictitious claims and indulge in large scale fraudulent sale of land through unscrupulous real estate dealers and also grab land either by force or deceit. The proposed law, believes the government, will curb such illegal activities.

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Pinarayi Vijayan cuts cake ahead of the beginning of second term

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Taking full credit for leading the ruling CPI-M led LDF to a second term, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan ahead of the first meeting of the Left Democratic Front after the election results, celebrated the occasion by cutting a big cake here on Monday.

Left Democratic Front convenor A. Vijayaraghavan told the media that a 21-member cabinet will be sworn in on Thursday and including Vijayan there will be 12 cabinet ministers from the CPI-M.

In the 140-member Kerala Assembly the Left won 99 seats, while the Congress-led Opposition secured 41.

The others include four from the CPI, one each from the JD (S) and the NCP, while four single legislator parties will share two cabinet posts with each party getting a term of 2.5 years each.

Vijayan himself took the lead and after cutting the cake gave a piece to all the leaders who came for the meeting.

Among the decisions that have been agreed to is that the single party legislator parties which include the Kerala Congress (B), Nationalist Kerala Congress, Congress-S and the INL is that all of them will be given a cabinet post but they will have to share two cabinet ministers post between the four.

Antony Raju of the Nationalist Kerala Congress will get a term of 2.5 years and after that he will have to move out for present State Minister for Ports, Kadanapally Ramachandran of the Congress -S. Ahamed Devarcoil will take the first term and midway will make way for actor turned former State Minister K.B. Ganesh Kumar.

Emerging out of the LDF meeting, Raju said as things stand he will be the one to get the first term and we as a party are extremely thankful to the CM for giving us this opportunity.

Kerala Congress (Mani) party which has 5 legislators, whose leader Jose K.Mani, son of late K.M. Mani, was looking downcast as he lost the election. He said that his party had wished to get two cabinet ministers posts, but due to limitations it has not happened.

“We have been given one Minister’s post and the post of Chief Whip (which comes with cabinet status). We did ask for two ministerial posts, but there are limitations, so we settled for one,” said Mani.

Nationalist Congress Party leader T.P. Peethambaran who has two legislators will get a cabinet minister. He said their national leader Praful Patel is arriving on Tuesday and the final decision will be made then on who will be their party nominee for the minister’s post.

Likewise the national president of the Janata Dal (S) H.D. Deva Gowda will decide who of their two legislators will become a Minister.

Even though they have one legislator and are a full fledged ally of the Left, the Loktantrik Janata Dal (S) is the only one who failed to get a cabinet post.

Another unlucky legislator is five-time winner Kovoor Kunjumon. Though his faction of the RSP is not an ally, he has been a fellow traveller of the Left after coming out of the RSP faction which is presently in the Congress led Opposition. He also failed to get any post.

The CPI-M and the CPI are busy finalizing their ministers and are expected to announce the names in a day or two. Indications are barring K.K. Shailaja — the outgoing popular Health Minister, all will be new faces. All eyes are on P.A. Mohammed Riyaz on whether he will find a slot in the CPI-M list.

Riyaz, the All India president of the DYFI (the youth wing of the CPI-M), is the son-in-law of Vijayan. He married Vijayan’s daughter Veena Vijayan last year. It was the second marriage of both.

While the Speaker’s post will be taken by the CPI-M, the deputy speaker will go to the CPI.

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Mamata Banerjee starts dharna at CBI’s Kolkata office

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has started a sit-in in CBI’s Kolkata office to protest the arrest of four of her Trinamool Congress leaders, provoking an unusual Centre-state confrontation of sorts.

Banerjee rushed to the 15th floor of the ‘Nizam Palace’ where the CBI has the office of its anti-corruption cell.

Her spokesperson, lawyer Anindyo Raut told waiting media persons: “Didi (Banerjee) will not leave this CBI office until her party colleagues are released or until she is also arrested.”

He said Mamata Banerjee told the CBI officers they have arrested the four leaders, among them two sitting and two former ministers, without the mandatory notice. “These arrests are politically motivated and illegal. Suvendu Adhikari and Mukul Roy have been let off though they faced the same charges,” Raut quoted Mamata Banerjee as saying.

Central forces guarding the CBI office were not letting media persons inside the office — so speaking to CM Banerjee was not possible.

But she sent out Raut to let journalists “know her viewpoint”.

The CBI on Monday launched parallel raids and detained TMC ministers Firhad Hakim and Subrata Mukherjee and MLA Madan Mitra in its probe in the Narada sting case. Within hours, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reached the CBI office.

Along with the TMC leaders, former Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee was also picked up and later arrested by the CBI in the same case.

The TMC leaders were taken to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office in the Narada sting operation case. A few days ago, Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had given permission to the CBI for prosecution of these TMC leaders.

Dhankhar had threatened the Trinamool Congress and said he should not be forced to use his powers.

Trinamool MP and lawyer Kalyan Banerjee told IANS the party leaders had “always cooperated with the CBI in these cases.”

“Now the CBI says they have arrested the four because they are submitting the charge sheet against them. If they are submitting charge sheet, that means the investigation is over. So why they need the leaders in custody and where is the mandatory notice of arrest! This is downright illegal and politically motivated, we will move the court and we have faith in it,” Banerjee told IANS.

Analysts blamed the Modi-Shah government at the Centre for provoking this confrontation.

“Modi and Shah have failed to stomach the party’s humiliating defeat in West Bengal. They are not only trying to take revenge but also divert national attention from their failure to handle Covid by provoking this confrontation. Who knows what they plan if this leads to violence,” said Sukhoranjan Dasgupta, veteran political commentator and writer of several books on West Bengal.

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Amit Shah talks to 4 CMs about preparedness on cyclone Tauktae

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday chaired a review meeting with the Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Union Territory of Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli to assess preparedness to deal with the cyclonic storm “Tauktae”.

He took stock of the measures and the plans by the states and UTs, as well as Central Ministries along with agencies concerned to deal with the cyclone, and the situation arising out of it.

National Weather Forecasting Centre of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that “Tauktae” (pronounced as Tau’Te) over east central Arabian Sea is likely to intensify further in the next 24 hours.

The cyclone is very likely to move north-northwestwards and reach Gujarat coast in the evening hours of May 17 and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva (Bhavnagar district) around May 18 early morning.

“Tauktae” moved nearly northwards with a speed of about 11 kmph during past 6 hours and lay centered at 5.30 a.m. on Sunday over east central Arabian Sea near latitude 15.0 degree North and longitude 72.7 degree East, about 130 km west-southwest of Panjim-Goa, 450 km south of Mumbai, 700 km south-southeast of Veraval (Gujarat) and 840 km southeast of Karachi (Pakistan),” the IMD said.

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