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Environmental volcano waiting to erupt: Parliament panel head

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New Delhi: An “environmental volcano” is waiting to erupt but the NDA government has not taken any significant action since it came to power, Congress MP Ashwani Kumar, who heads a parliamentary panel on environment, said on Saturday.

“The environment ministry has a huge responsibility consistent with its massive mandate to secure the future of India. I am sorry to point out that in the last 15 months, nothing new has been done to address the challenges that were known to the ministry,” Ashwani Kumar said at a press conference over the reports tabled by the committee.

“We (the committee) have said that whatever logistical difficulties of the ministry are there should be corrected. The ministry should be helped in discharging its mandate. But there is absolutely no excuse for inaction,” he told reporters.

“An environmental volcano is ready to erupt anytime… the environment ministry cannot escape responsibility,” he said.

The panel, which submitted 15 reports, has recommended formation of a new committee to consider afresh specific areas of environmental policy after it found the objections raised by experts on the proposals of a high-level committee constituted to review green laws as “valid”.

One of its reports said India has 13 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities, 76 of the 150 major rivers were polluted, and that 83 percent of the ground water was contaminated.

(IANS)

 

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COVID-19: Congress Urges Yogi to Open Places of Worship

Lucknow Congress president Mukesh Singh Chauhan has written a letter to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath

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Yogi Adityanath performs Rudrabhishek in Gorakhnath temple for safety from Corona. Wikimedia Commons

The Uttar Pradesh unit of the Congress party has written to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday to open all places of worship which are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter has been written by Lucknow Congress president Mukesh Singh Chauhan.

The letter said that the way the Central and State governments have issued orders to open shops for essential commodities, in the same way now all the big and small places of worship — temples, churches, mosques, gurdwaras should also be thrown open for the devotees.

Chauhan in his letter said, “India is a multi-religious and faith oriented country. Here people believe that worship of God will reduce their suffering. But due to the closure of the places of worship, people are not able to pray to their God. Therefore, major religious places should be immediately opened with social distancing in full compliance with the lockdown norms.

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Chauhan from Congress, in his letter said, “India is a multi-religious and faith oriented country. Here people believe that worship of God will reduce their suffering”. Pixabay

Chauhan said sanitizer machines should be placed at the entry of major places of worship just like it is done in government offices. He also said if liquor shops can be opened, in the same way, the temples, mosques, gurudwaras, churches should also be opened in full compliance of the social distancing norms.

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The president of the Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad, Mahant Narendra Giri, had also raised similar demand of opening of temples across the state. He had demanded from the Yogi government to open the doors of all temples for the devotees.

Giri had said, “Because of the closure of temples for the last two months, the livelihood of priests and other temple staff is also getting affected. When the government can allow liquor shops to be opened for revenue, why temples should not be allowed to open for the same reason.”

He had assured that after the permission to open the temples, the priests would follow the rules and protocols of social distancing and get the devotees to do it too. (IANS)

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“Where is The National Exit Plan?”, Congress Questions Government Over Lockdown

What is the 'national exit plan' from lockdown asks Congress

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Manish Tewari, Congress spokesperson asked "Where is the national exit plan,". WIkimedia Commons

The Congress has asked the government to spell out a roadmap for exiting the lockdown two days ahead of the expiry of lockdown-3 and following Prime Minister Modi seeking the states’ suggestions for lifting the restrictions.

“Where is the national exit plan,” asked Manish Tewari, Congress spokesperson on Friday.

“India announced a lockdown when the case count was 181 and now when you are lifting the lockdown, the number of cases has crossed 80,000. India is the first country apart from the US to be doing so,” said Tewari.

He said when the government can announce putting into effect the miscellaneous clause in the Disaster Management Act, then it can also come out with the exit plan.

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“The Prime Minister is playing a unique game as he announced lockdown; and now when things are out of hands, then the onus is put on the states to suffer the wrath of people.”, The Congress spokesperson said. Wikimedia Commons

“The Prime Minister is playing a unique game as he announced lockdown; and now when things are out of hands, then the onus is put on the states to suffer the wrath of people. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman too has put the onus of migrants on the states,” said Tewari.

The Congress said since states have to face people, no government can allow anarchy. “Therefore, states should be given more flexibility.”

The party has been questioning the exit strategy and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had asked the party chief ministers to press the Centre for a roadmap.

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The former Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh had asked the party chief ministers to press the Centre for a roadmap. Wikimedia Commons

Former party president Rahul Gandhi has emphasized that states should be consulted on zone categorization. He has asserted that the opening of the economy should be left to the states as they know better about the supply chain.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address on Tuesday said that coronavirus is a reality. He hinted that lockdown 4.0 would be “totally different.”

Read More: “We Have to Learn to Live With COVID-19”, Says Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain

The PM has also said in a video conference with Chief Ministers that as the country moves ahead, the economic activities that have been restarted would gain steam. He also asked state governments to ensure that rural India remains free from the Covid-19 crisis.

The Chief Ministers who couldn’t make themselves heard during the video conference on Monday were told to send their suggestions by May 15.

Though Maharashtra, Punjab, West Bengal and Telangana insisted on extending the current lockdown, some other states such as Delhi wanted greater freedom to open the economy, except in the containment zones. (IANS)

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Congress Launches Chat Portal to Help UP Stranded Workers

The initiataive is by UP Congress to help migrants

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In Jharkhand COVID-19 tally reached 174 consisting of mostly Migrant labourers. Pixabay

To help the migrant workers stranded in several states, the Congress, here on Saturday, launched a web portal, even as the political slugfest continued over rail fares of migrants being ferried by Shramik Special trains.

The Congress launched chat portal tinyurl.com/UPmitra to help UP workers stranded in other states as well as those stuck in the state. The portal has been developed by Valuefirst free of cost.

“We have launched this chat portal to provide help to those in need. The problems raised by them will be listed and the party workers will help them,” UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu said.

The list of the problems would also be shared with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, he added.

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The problems of the migrants will also be shared with the CM of UP. Pixabay

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The Congress, he said, was running community kitchen in 17 UP districts since the nationwide lockdown was announced to combat the spread of Covid-19. Meals and ration had been provided to over 47 lakh people, he added.

On Friday, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra sent over 100,000 face masks to Lucknow to help deal with the pandemic.

The party has also helped over 400,000 migrant workers in the state. (IANS)