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Goa government slams NCP leader for ‘ignorance’ on Savarkar

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Panaji: The Goa government on Friday lambasted Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Jose Phillip D’Souza for his ignorance on Veer Sarvakar’s identity.

Savarkar was a freedom fighter and served as the president of the Hindu Mahasabha. He was arrested in connection with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and later acquitted of all charges.

The BJP-led government slammed the state Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Jose Phillip D’Souza after he said he did not know who Veer Savarkar was.

Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said D’Souza should take lessons on Indian history from his party supremo Sharad Pawar.

Speaking to reporters, Parsekar said D’Souza should spend a few hours in the same prison cell in Andaman Nicobar islands where Savarkar was incarcerated in the pre-Independence era.

“I have spent a couple of inspiring hours there… If he does not know who Savarkar is, he should ask his party president Sharad Pawar about how great a freedom fighter he was,” Parsekar said when asked about D’Souza’s comments on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference at the party’s state headquarters, D’Souza objected to the proposed naming of a government-run art Centre at Baina town, 40 km from Panaji, after Savarkar.

“They want to name the Ravindra Bhavan after Veer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. My question is, who is he, whether he is from Goa or from another country… we do not know,” D’Souza said.

Parsekar on Friday also clarified that there was no proposal with the government to name the structure after Savarkar.

D’Souza’s comments also irked another top minister, Sudin Dhavalikar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, who claimed that with his ignorance about Savarkar, D’Souza has “insulted freedom fighters”.

“I want to ask whether D’Souza is an Indian citizen at all if he has not heard of Savarkar,” Dhavalikar said.(IANS)

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Goa govt’s de-recognising coconut palm slammed by parliament committee

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Panaji: Goa government’s decision to de-recognise coconut palm as a tree was slammed by a parliamentary standing committee on science and technology, environment and forests on Saturday.

The committee, headed by Rajya Sabha member Ashwani Kumar, blamed the state government for its “tardy implementation of environmental laws and regulation”, and recommended a review of the controversial legislation.

Addressing a press conference, following a day-long discussion with state government officials, tourism and mining industry stakeholders and civil society groups, Ashwani Kumar said: “There was the issue of the definition of forests in which a coconut tree in Goa is not regarded as a tree, is regarded as grass which we found extremely unusual.

“We have recommended that a review of the definition of tree, under the tree protection act be undertaken,” he said.

“In law, we have to see the net effect of things. If the absence of a clear and an unambiguous description of a particular species, leads to its destruction, then surely the law will need to be changed,” he said.

The Opposition as well as civil society has repeatedly accused the BJP-led coalition government of amending the Goa Daman and Diu Preservation of Trees Act, 1984 and dropping the tree status accorded to the coconut palm in order to hasten real estate and industrial development at the cost of the environment.

State Forest Minister Rajendra Arlekar has defended the amendment, saying a coconut palm does not fit the definition of a tree even botanically.

Ashwani Kumar, then a union minister for law and justice in the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance government, also found fault with the Goa government’s track record on implementation of green laws.

He said the parliamentary committee has directed that a representative of the union ministry of environment and forests should engage with the state government to “find ways and means to implement in letter and spirit all possible laws intended to protect the environment”.

“We have put on record our displeasure at the tardy implementation of environmental laws and regulation,” he said.

Ashwani Kumar also raised the issue of the Investment Promotion Board, which was set up by the Goa government to facilitate speedy clearances.

“We also discussed about the single window clearances accorded by the Investment (Promotion) Board of Goa whereby a general exemption was given (vis a vis) obtaining of various clearances.

“It’s not the right way to go about it. We believe that in non-notified industrial areas also, the requirement of obtaining all clearances was necessary,” he said.

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Nitish’s Bihar development claim false: Pappu Yadav

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photo credit:photos.outlookindia.com

By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: “The tall claims of development in Bihar by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar are false and he has done nothing for the state except helping corrupt officials and mafias during his tenure”, Jan Adhikar Party chief Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, the controversial former MP who was last year acquitted in the murder of a CPI-M leader, has said.

pappu-yadav“Nitish has done no development and whatever he claims has no truth in it. Corruption has hit a new high in the state, there is no law and order at all,” said Yadav.

“He played the chief minister who always helped the corrupt bureaucrats and mafias and due to which he ran the government for 10 years. The people of Bihar have suffered due to his political ambitions,” added Yadav, who was previously expelled from Lalu’s RJD.

Asked about the number of seats he was planning to contest in the upcoming state polls, Yadav, once considered a close aide of Lalu Prasad, said, “We have not decided on the exact number of seats we want to contest on. We just want to serve the people of Bihar no matter how many seats we manage to fight on.”

“I have made a party not do petty politics but to bring a change in the state that has been looted by earlier governments. I have always stood for the people of Bihar and will continue to do that till my last breath,” he added.

Talking about former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, Yadav said he was used by Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar for their ends. He said they had humiliated Manjhi.

On the reports of him aligning with Samajwadi Party and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and floating a third front to challenge the NDA and the RJD-JD(U)-Congress grand alliance, he said: “I have no ideological differences with SP chief Mulayam Singh-ji. I have been a Samajwadi Party MP from Purnia.

“We have worked together in the past as well. If everything goes well, we can form the third front. Nothing is finalized as of now.”

However, NCP leader Tariq Anwar said that the SP-NCP alliance was finalized and that Pappu Yadav was ready to align with them.

The alliance may see Anwar as its chief ministerial candidate.

Yadav said if voted to power he would address the law and order problems at the earliest and ban the sale of liquor across the state within seven days.

He also expressed his disappointment with the ‘Bahubali’ tag that he has been given.

“Just because I come from a royal Yadav family and serve the youth of Bihar, people call me a Bahubali. It disappoints me a lot. I don’t know why people have given me this tag. I just want to ask is there not criminal cases against other top leaders? Aren’t there cases against Amit Shah? Why don’t people call him a Bahubali,” he asked.

Asked about his controversial comment on people from Manipur, he said: “I have said nothing wrong. It disturbs me when people from northern India, especially Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, are targeted in Manipur. We cannot have different treatment for people in the same country.”

“If the situation does not improve or violence against Bihar migrants continues in Manipur, we will forcibly pull out Manipuri passengers from trains running through Bihar and send them back to Manipur,” Yadav had said.

Yadav won thrice from Purnia – 1991, 1996 and 1999 – and won the 2004 Madhepura bypolls.

Last year, citing lack of evidence, the Patna High Court acquitted Yadav in a case related to the killing Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Ajit Sarkar in May 1998.

His wife, Ranjita Ranjan, is also a former MP.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Ignoring looming drought in Bihar, politicians fight for ‘pride’ and ‘change’

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Patna,A drought-like situation in Bihar is a serious issue for millions of farmers, but not for the politicians, including the main contenders in the electoral stakes — Janata Dal-United (JDU), Rashtriya Janada Dal (RJD), Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance(NDA).

 

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For them a ‘swabhiman’ (self-respect) and ‘parivartan’ (change) are more important slogans than poor rainfall. That farmers are suffering from a 31 percent deficient monsoons, leading to a drought-like situation in the state, has had no impoact on the political discourse.
Ahead of state assembly polls in October-November, political leaders and their supporters have not shown any sympathy for the plight of the poorest of poor farmers even as the political temperature starts heating up.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the star campaigner of NDA, addressed two public meetings in Muzaffarpur on July 25 and Gaya on August 9 but he did not mention anything on the near-drought situation in Bihar. His main plank was urging people to bring about a change in the state by questioning the “political DNA” of chief minister Nitish Kumar.
Neither BJP president Amit Shah, who launched ‘parivartan raths’ nor the several union ministers, including those from Bihar, who launched parivartan yatra from four places expressed their concerns on the farmers’ woes.
The allies of BJP like Lok Janshakti Party, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party or the Hindustan Awami Morcha have also been silent on the issue.
Nitish Kumar and his new ally RJD chief Lalu Prasad, have raised the decibel on pride of bihar by vehemently objecting to Modi’s remark on DNA of Nitish Kumar as being an “insult to Bihar.”
Nitish Kumar’s JD-U has launched a shabd-wapsi (take back your word) campaign to collect signatures and samples of 50 lakh people in Bihar to send them to Modi for a DNA test as a protest. Lalu has been showing more concern for caste census data to be made public.
In a ritualistic way, the state government has announced an increase in diesel subsidy for farmers directing the energy department to provide six to eight hours of uninterrupted power in rural areas.
A K. Sen, an official with the meteorological department in Patna said the situation in the state was “alarming” due to a deficient rainfall.”At present,overall rainfall deficit in Bihar is 31 percent. But the situation is alarming in 26 of 38 districts of the state where the deficit is more than 50 percent, Sen told IANS.
According to officials records,nearly two-thirds of Bihar’s population of 10.5 crore are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Nearly two-thirds of agricultural activities in the state are dependent on rain.
Poor rainfall till date has affected paddy sowing and plantation, triggering fears of another drought, an official of the state disaster management department, who did not want to be named, said.
Reports received here say that unlike in the past, there is no water for irrigation in the canals. A large part of central Bihar is irrigated by water from the Sone river through canals.
Even the water table in parts of central and south Bihar has gone down to alarming levels due to a poor monsoon.

(IANS)