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Dams might have negative influence on River Ganges, says Water Resource Ministry of India

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Broken end of footbridge over the Mandakini river at Rudraprayag Image: Wikimedia Commons
  • Hydroelectric projects on Mandakini, Bhagirathi and Alaknanda river might affect Ganges in a negative manner  
  • The water resource ministry wants SC to review these projects
  • The region around the projects are geologically weak and seismically active 

NEW DELHI: The water resource ministry has opposed the hydroelectric projects on the Alaknanda, Bhagirathi and Mandakini River hence contradicting the permission given by environment and power ministries for setting up of dams.

After the Kedarnath incident of 2013, when around 100,000 pilgrims remain trapped in the Uttarakhand valley after serious landslides and bad monsoon, the Supreme Court had put a hold on all the 70 proposed hydroelectric projects on the Alaknanda-Bhagirathi river basin. On May 10, SS Patwalia, additional solicitor general brought to notice that the environment and power ministry has approved the construction of five of the six projects, namely— Lata-Tapovan (171 MW), Jhelum Tamak (108 MW), Kotlibhel 1-A (195MW), Alaknanda (300 MW), Khironi Ganga (4 MW) and Bhyunder Ganga (24 MW).

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The water resource ministry headed by Uma Bharati informed the Supreme Court that any further hydroelectric projects on Alaknanda, Mandakini and Bhagirathi rivers can be dangerous for Ganga.

State of Sri Kedarnath Temple during the 2013 Kedarnath tragedy
State of Sri Kedarnath Temple during the 2013 Kedarnath tragedy

The ministry argued that the permission was given before the unfortunate Kedarnath tragedy of 2013 but now there is need for a comprehensive hydrological and hydro-geological study to know how dams can affect the flow of rivers.

“All these new projects are coming up close to the existing projects, many of which are in ecologically sensitive areas hindering the source of fresh water resource. Hence, any further project will have substantial impact on ecological footprint of the area,” the ministry said.

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According to the ministry, the permitted projects are around regions which are geologically weak and seismically sensitive. So, there is a need to review these projects. The ministry said that Ganga could remain pure and pristine only if Alaknanda, Mandakini and Bhagirathi rivers are allowed to flow freely invoking the ‘Aviral Dhara’ of the Indian government which aims for a clean and continuous flow of the river Ganga.

-This report is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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    Not only SC but environment experts should intervene in such matters

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Rs 4,000 Crore Plan for Herbal Cultivation Includes Ganga River Banks, Informs Finance Minister

NMPB will identify 800 hectare of land near the river for the same

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on atomic energy research reactor
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government will provide level playing field for private companies in satellite launches and space-based services. Wikimedia Commons

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday informed that a corridor of medicinal plants would be created on the banks of the Ganga and for this National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) would identify 800 hectare of land near the river.

It forms an important part of a slew of initiatives announced by the minister towards development of agricultural infrastructure, capacity building, logistics and legislative reforms.

-River_Ganga Finance Minister
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s decision to create a corridor of medicinal plants on the banks of the Ganga is part of the Rs 4,000 crore programme launched for the promotion of herbal cultivation. Wikimedia Commons

Read More: No Trace of Community Transmission in Karnataka: Medical Education Minister

The NMPB has supported 2.25 lakh hectare area under cultivation of medicinal plants. Now, 10,00,000 hectares will be covered under herbal cultivation in next two years with the outlay of Rs 4,000 crore.

The move is expected to lead to Rs 5,000 crore income generation for farmers. It will also develop a network of regional Mandis for medicinal plants. (IANS)

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What Gives Advocate Prashant Bhushan Right to Hurt Hindu Religious Sentiments?

Most communists hide behind the veil of corruption and pass out anti-hindu comments. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan is one such example

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Prashant Bhushan
This isn't the first time that Prashant Bhushan has made such inconsiderate remarks that hurt hindu religious sentiments. Flickr

By Kanan Parmar

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan was slammed by the Supreme Court (SC) after his offensive remarks against the Union Minister Prakash Javedkar who had earlier shared a picture of him watching the Hindu mythological show ‘Ramayana’ amid the nationwide lockdown.

The lawyer had tweeted:
“As crores starve and walk hundreds of miles home due to the lockdown, our heartless ministers celebrate consuming and feeding the opium of Ramayana & Mahabharata to the people!”

The SC replied to Bhushan by saying that people can watch whatever they wish to on television.

After Prashant Bhushan’s critical Anti-Hindu comments, Jaidev Rajnikant Joshi, a former army personnel from Rajasthan filed an FIR claiming that the lawyer has been insensitive with his comments and had hurt religious sentiments.

According to an OpIndia report, “The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim protection from arrest to Advocate Prashant Bhushan in FIR registered against him by Gujarat police alleging hurting of religious sentiments. Posting the matter to be heard after two weeks, the court issued a notice to the Gujarat Government, ordering them to not take any coercive action against the defendant till the next day of the hearing.”

The question that arises in the minds of many is that why the lawyer has a problem with people watching Hindu epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata. His words are equal to spitting venom on Hindus.

Prashant Bhushan
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan was slammed by the Supreme Court after his offensive anti-Hindu remarks. Wikimedia Commons

This isn’t the first time the lawyer has made such inconsiderate anti-Hindu comments. Let us have a look at some of his tweets that prove he is callous and insensitive.

Dr. Munish Raizada from Chicago- who too had been part of anti-corruption party Aam Aadmi party along with Prashant Bhushan- says, “People have the right to practice the religion of their choice or be an atheist. That is fine! However, that does not give people the right to demean or mock people having religious or cultural faiths and preferences. There have been instances when these (Indian) communists and atheists have disrespected people of the Hindu religion but they seem to be blissfully blind when it comes to Islamic and Christian practices.”

According to Raizada, Prashant Bhushan isn’t the only hypocrite out there. There are many people like him with the same mindset. It is interesting to observe that AAP has been sheltering a bunch of left loonies right from the beginning in various shades. He points out that reflecting back, the very first National Executive committee of AAP has at least 50 % members as communists or a paler shades of that. Was it a trap in the name of anti-corruption? Bhushan is on records while being a part of AAP saying that if AAp comes to power, the industry would be under state control (typical communist economic mind set, where as it is well know that this economic theory has miserably failed).

Also Read- Demonisation Of Hindus At Danger Level – Fuelled By Arundhati Roy And Others

Here are a few questions to reflect upon. Why don’t the leftists and communists speak about incidents when they are wrong? Why did they not speak up against the wrongdoings of the attendees of Tablighi Jamaat? Is this a conspiracy? What are these people trying to hide behind their Hindu-phobic words?

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Supreme Court: Tests Free for Poor And the Needy Only

The ICMR on Monday had urged the court to withdraw its free coronavirus test order, contending that the interim order passed on April 8, may work to the detriment of the cause the country is fighting

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Supreme Court
"It is, therefore, submitted that final relief is incapable of being granted and only on this ground the ad-interim order deserves not to be continued." Pixabay

The Supreme Court, modifying its order on free coronavirus test at private labs, on Monday said that free testing for COVID-19 shall be available to persons eligible under Ayushman Bharat scheme as already implemented by Centre and any other category of economically weaker sections of the society as notified by the government for free testing.

The apex court insisted that it never intended to make testing free for those who can afford it and asked the government to issue rules to reimburse private labs for free tests.

A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and S. Ravindra Bhat said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare may consider as to whether any other categories of the weaker sections of the society e.g. workers belonging to low-income groups in the informal sectors, beneficiaries of Direct Benefit Transfer, etc. apart from those covered under Ayushman Bharat are also eligible for the benefit of free testing and issue appropriate guidelines in the above regard also within a period of one week.

“We further clarify that the order never intended to make testing free for those who can afford the payment of a testing fee fixed by the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) for COVID-19,” said the bench.

Supreme court of india
“We further clarify that the order never intended to make testing free for those who can afford the payment of a testing fee fixed by the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) for COVID-19,” said the bench. Flickr

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the government, contended that under the Ayushman Bharat Yojana, about 10.7 crore poor and vulnerable families, which means approximately 50 crore beneficiaries, are covered under the scheme and they can avail the benefit of free of cost COVID-19 test even in the private labs. He submitted that beneficiaries under the scheme would get a cashless COVID-19 test in private labs.

The top court noted that the April 8 order intended to make testing in private labs of COVID-19 free for economically weaker sections of the society who were unable to afford the payment of testing fee as fixed by ICMR — Rs 1,500 for screening and Rs 3,000 for confirmative tests.

“Ministry of Health and Family Welfare may issue necessary guidelines for reimbursement of the cost of free testing of COVID-19 undertaken by private labs and necessary mechanism to defray expenses and reimbursement to the private labs,” said the court.

The court said the private labs can continue to charge the payment for testing of COVID-19 from persons who are able to pay the testing fee as fixed by ICMR.

Supreme Court of India
The court said the private labs can continue to charge the payment for testing of COVID-19 from persons who are able to pay the testing fee as fixed by ICMR. Flickr

The ICMR on Monday had urged the court to withdraw its free coronavirus test order, contending that the interim order passed on April 8, may work to the detriment of the cause the country is fighting.

The ICMR said the decision to involve private labs in the process of testing was taken after extensive deliberation with the national task force on all aspects. “The Central government, after elaborate and extensive discussions and deliberation with subject experts from various fields, took an administrative decision to involve private labs while imposing price cap for them to ensure that they do not charge more and cannot exploit the citizens,” it said in its affidavit.

“It is, therefore, submitted that final relief is incapable of being granted and only on this ground the ad-interim order deserves not to be continued,” the ICMR added, seeking dismissal of the petition seeking free tests for all citizens.

The apex body for the formulation and promotion of biomedical research insisted, while keeping factor of the resources not being unlimited as a pre-dominant factor, the government also considered the hardship which can be faced by the poor section of the country in the process of testing. ICMR informed the top court that unlike other routine tests being conducted in labs at the will and wish of the citizens, these tests would be conducted only after a qualified physician certifies need for such a test, and this protocol applies to both government and private labs.

Supreme Court Of India
Representational Image. The Supreme Court, modifying its order on free coronavirus test at private labs, on Monday said that free testing for COVID-19 shall be available to persons eligible under Ayushman Bharat scheme. Flickr

The ICMR informed the court that some of the components which are essential parts of the kits like primer probes, master mix are patent protected products, and therefore, cannot be manufactured indigenously without importing these components. It contended the resources cannot be unlimited and the government is bound to prioritise the resources in public interest.

Also Read: NGOs and Private Institutions Offer a Helping Hand to Bihar

“In view of this position, our country will have to depend upon the import of all these components. This is the problem faced by most of the countries in the world and these patent components are manufactured by few countries only which are out of India”, said ICMR.

Advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi had filed a plea in the court contending there are large sections of society who at present are unable to afford the payment of Rs of 4,500 for testing. He submitted that the government has to take responsibility for getting every person tested. In the event that one person in a family tests positive, the entire family requires testing. He submitted that government hospitals are overcrowded; hence, such persons may be permitted testing of Covid-19 in private labs free of cost. (IANS)