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Wednesday,04-August-2021

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Indian Navy trying to rule Goa by proxy: BJP Minister Mauvin Godinho

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Transport Minister in the BJP-led coalition government in Goa, Mauvin Godinho, lashed out at the Indian Navy accusing its officials of trying to “rule” Goa by proxy, by cornering large chunks of prime real estate and depriving civilians from use of land resources.

Godinho late on Tuesday also described a zoning proposal made by the Indian Navy to deter and regulate real estate development within a 20 km radius of Goa’s only airport, which functions out of a naval base INS Hansa, located near the port town of Vasco, as “ridiculous”.

Following Godinho’s opposition to the proposal, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has convened a meeting on October 22, when all stakeholders of the state government as well as the Indian Navy, are scheduled to discuss the latter’s zoning proposal aimed at enhancing security of the semi-military aviation facility.

“What will Goans do? Where will they go and build? Is it an effort of the Navy or their ploy to come and rule Goans? We have an elected government here. We are in a democracy… (Only) anybody out of their mind will recommend that 20 km around the radius of the airport there cannot be developed or you can have development only with one storey buldings,” Godinho said.

Land tracts owned by the Defence Ministry have been a cause of concern for Goa’s political class, across parties, who have accused the Indian Navy, as well as the Indian Army of hogging land tracts in the state, while arguing that Goa has limited land resources for development.

The recent move by the Indian Navy, as the authority in-charge of the Goa airport, to put together a colour coded zoning map for the facility with stipulated height restrictions, has sparked outrage from the political class, including those like Godinho, in whose legislative assembly constituency the airport is located.

“We cannot allow us to be ruled by the Navy… Just because we salute them, respect them, we worship them literally for protecting the country, it does not mean that they should consider themselves holy cow and totally go against civilian interest,” Godinho said.

The Transport Minister also said, if development activity was not allowed within the 20 km radius around the airport, large tracts of land including the prime Dona Paula area near Panaji, would be impacted by the norm.

He also urged the Indian Navy to make a concession for Goa, which is India’s smallest state, and whose landmass was in many cases smaller than the size of districts in bigger states like Maharashtra or Karnataka.

“There is mounting population everywhere, we do not have land to build houses and they (Navy) want to say you cannot build anything. In what world are they living,” Godinho said.

National News

‘Official work’: Sharad Pawar says amid speculation over meeting with Amit Shah

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NCP supremo Sharad Pawar on Tuesday met Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi, sparking off speculations.

Pawar himself sought to clear the air, terming it an official meet. “Had a brief meeting with Union Co-operation Minister Shri Amit Shah in New Delhi today along with Shri Jaiprakash Dandegaonkar, President of NFCSF (National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories Ltd) & Prakash Naiknavre to discuss issues faced by the sugar co-operative sector,” he said.

The meeting gained significance as it came on the same day as Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule attended the breakfast meeting of opposition leaders hosted by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress and the Shiv Sena, who are the Nationalist Congress Party’s allies in the Maharashtra, however, dismissed any political significance of the meeting.

The meeting came a day after Shiv Sainiks went on a rampage, tearing down a brand new hoarding erected by the Adani Airport Holding Ltd (AAHL) outside Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) to protest against what they alleged was AAHL’s unilateral move to abruptly ‘change’ the name of CSMIA and replace it with the Adani Group brand name.

Pawar has been meeting the ruling party leaders and ahead of monsoon session on July 17, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and talked for about 50 minutes, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

The meeting took pace amid reports over fissures in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government in Maharashtra.

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Delhi Cabinet approves increased salary of MLAs

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Arvind-Kejriwal

The Delhi Cabinet on Tuesday approved salary hike of the members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) after getting approval from the Centre.

With the approval from the cabinet, Delhi MLAs will now get a salary of Rs 30,000 per month.

As per a provision of the Bill cleared by the Delhi Assembly in 2015, the basic salary of legislators will increase from the current Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000.

However, the AAP government said that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has scuttled the proposal and restricted it and capped the salary of the MLAs to only Rs 30,000. They will be getting a total of Rs 90,000 per month including Rs 30,000 basic salary and other allowances.

The restriction imposed by the Centre has forced Delhi’s MLAs to be amongst the lowest paid among all states in the country.

“The salary of Delhi’s MLAs hasn’t increased since 2011 and the Delhi Government had requested the MHA that it should be at par with MLAs of other states, however the MHA refused to do so,” said Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in a statement.

The Delhi Government had proposed a salary of Rs 54,000 for the MLAs.

“Now the salary plus allowances of the MLAs of Delhi has been restricted by the MHA to Rs 90,000,” it said.

Proposal for an increase in salary and allowances of Delhi MLAs was pending with the MHA for the last 5 years.

The cabinet has also approved salaries and other allowances of Ministers of Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and MLAs under the Legislative Assembly of Delhi (Amendment) Bills, 2021.

“After Cabinet approval, the proposal and draft bills will be sent for MHA’s approval before being placed in the Delhi Assembly,” CMO said.

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Uttar Pradesh Congress plays caste game, woos Dalits

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In order to regain its lost ground in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress on Tuesday observed a ‘Dalit Swabhiman Diwas’ to woo the community and highlight the atrocities on the weaker sections in the non-Congress governments.

While it is wooing Dalits and OBCs, the Brahmins are being ignored by the Congress, say state party insiders.

State head of the Congress Dalit cell, Alok Prasad, said that the significance of August 3 was that the proposal to appoint Dr B.R. Ambedkar as the Union Law Minister in the Nehru cabinet was passed on this day.

“We are taking out Dalit Swabhiman Yatras on this day to create awareness among Dalits and pay tributes to Ambedkar,” he said. The Congress also plans to hold a Dalit panchayat.

The state Congress has already held caste conferences for Nishad, Maurya-Shakya, Kushwaha and Pal-Gaderia-Dhanger caste groups.

The move by the state unit to focus on castes has irked the senior party leaders who feel that the Congress is simply following in the footsteps of the regional parties.

“We slam other parties for playing the caste and communal card but this is exactly what we are doing. Instead of focussing on issues, we are following the caste path which is detrimental to party interests,” said a former UPCC president.

Interestingly, the Congress state leadership has started criticizing other non-BJP parties instead of focusing its attention on the ruling BJP.

Uttar Pradesh Congress minority cell chairman Shahnawaz Alam has been attacking the Samajwadi Party for ignoring the victimisation of its leader Mohd Azam Khan and not opposing it.

Alam said that if anything untoward happens to Azam Khan, Akhilesh would be equally responsible for it.

A senior party leader said, “What exactly is the state leadership trying to do? We should be attacking the BJP but we are shooting down regional parties with whom we could have a post-poll alliance.”

While SP and BSP are trying to woo Brahmins who are disgruntled with the BJP, the Congress has chosen to ignore Brahmins completely-even those within the party.

A senior political analyst said, “The problem with Congress is that it is completely directionless. They have no strategy and policy for the elections and each one is pulling in a different direction.”

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