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Negligible response to Bharat Bandh call in Uttar Pradesh




The Bharat Bandh call given by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Friday against rising fuel prices, the new e-way bill and Goods and Services Tax (GST) has evoked negligible response in Uttar Pradesh.

The All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA) — the apex body of the organised road transportation companies — had announced support to the Bandh but in Uttar Pradesh, transporters were apparently divided and in several cities, trucks were seen operating even after the ‘chakka jam’ began at 6 a.m.

“We cannot stall trucks without prior notice. We have commitments to fulfil to our clients and deliver goods on time,” said Daljeet Singh, a truck operator from Haryana who was seen with his truck in Lucknow on Friday.

Commercial establishments in almost all major cities, including Lucknow, Meerut and Agra, were open on Friday.

“There was no clarity in the Bandh call. Besides, our business is already in doldrums and we cannot afford more closures,” said Raj Kumar Chaudhary, a businessman in Meerut.

The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) core committee chairman, Malkeet Singh said that they had already distanced themselves from the Bharat Bandh call.

“This Bandh call is only on paper and not on the ground level,” he said.

Meanwhile, a heavy deployment of police force was seen at Transport Nagar in Lucknow on Friday. The Transport Nagar is the centre of transport activity in the state capital and a meeting point of transporters.

A senior district official said that police had been deployed to check forceful closure of any commercial or transport activity.

The CAIT as well as AITWA are seeking scrapping of the new e-way bill or eliminating certain rules from it. The e-way bill system has been introduced nationwide for inter-state movement of goods with effect from April 1, 2018.

They have also appealed to the government to withdraw heavy taxes on fuel prices and make it uniform across India.

Calling the GST ‘one of the most complex taxation systems’, the protesters want a review of the GST system and simplification of the tax slabs.

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Arvind Kejriwal urges Centre to cancel CBSE exams




Amid a continued rise in the number of fresh Covid-19 cases in the national capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday urged the Centre to cancel the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) examinations.

“There would be around six lakh students and around one lakh teachers who will come to the exam centers and in turn, these centres may turn into new Covid-19 hotspots. This fourth wave of the pandemic in Delhi is very critical and it is also affecting the youth and children. I would request the Centre to cancel the CESE exams,” he said while addressing a press conference.

“We have seen that in past few days several countries have cancelled exams. Even in India many states have called board exams.

“We can find some other alternatives for assessment of students’ performances to declare their results,” he added.

Kejriwal also said that the present Covid-19 situation in the capital city is critical as there were over 10,000 single-day cases being registered for the last few days, and therefore more dedicated beds would be required in the coming days.

“The Delhi government would convert schools into Covid care centres to increase the number of beds,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister also said that due to surge in Covid-19 cases in the city, Delhi government hospitals have been directed to conduct emergency surgeries only and to cancel planned surgeries for the next two to three months.

“Planed surgeries are in high number while emergency surgeries are usually less. Therefore, hospital authorities have been directed to admit non-covid patients only if it is an emergency case.”

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FIR against 3 Bihar MLAs for violating Covid norms




The Bihar Police have registered an FIR against three MLAs from the opposition parties for violating Covid norms in Rohtas district, an official said.

Shyam Sunder Rai, the circle officer of the Nasriganj in Rohtas district confirmed the development.

The FIR registered against Anita Chaudhary, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLA from Nokha and a former minister; Arun Singh, the CPI-ML MLA from Karakat, Vijay Kumar Mandal, RJD MLA from Dinara in Rohtas district.

The three legislators went to the Baradih village under Nasriganj police station to participate in a political event on Monday evening. The event was organized by RJD veteran leader Ram Nath Yadav. Besides them, a number of local public representatives and leaders of Rohtas district also participated in the event.

“As a duty magistrate, I found that majority of leaders are not wearing face masks and not maintaining social distancing norms. As the second wave of corona is at its peak, there is a possibility of it spreading further. Hence, I have lodged a complaint with the concerned police station against them,” Rai said.

“We have also learnt that the organizer had not taken permission from the district administration for the event,” Rai said.

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Sushil Chandra takes charge as 24th CEC




Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on Tuesday took charge as the 24th Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India replacing Sunil Arora, who retired a day earlier.

Chandra was appointed as an Election Commissioner on February 14, 2019.

Along with Arora and former Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, Chandra oversaw the successful organisation of that year’s Lok Sabha elections.

Chandra’s term will end on May 14, 2022. Before that however, Assembly elections are likely to take place in the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday appointed Chandra as the new CEC in line with the convention to appoint the senior-most election commissioner to the top post.

Chandra is the senior-most Election Commissioner, ahead of Rajiv Kumar.

After Arora’s retirement, there is only two members in the poll panel.

Chandra will oversee the completion of the ongoing Assembly elections in West Bengal, where four out of the eight rounds of voting have been completed.

The final phase will take place on April 29, followed by the counting of votes and declaration of results on May 2.

During his over two-year tenure as an Election Commissioner, Chandra supervised assembly elections of more than 10 states and worked towards making the entire nomination process online.

As a member of the Arora-headed panel, Chandra was also involved in the organisation of the recently concluded Assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.

Other assembly elections conducted during Chandra’s tenure as an Election Commissioner include those in Maharashtra and Haryana (October 2019), Jharkhand (December 2019), Delhi (February 2020) and Bihar (October-November 2020).

The Bihar polls were the first to take place during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier, Chandra had served as the chairperson of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).

Under his leadership, CBDT launched “Operation Clean Money” in 2017 in a bid to curb illegal wealth and black money.

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