Friday December 6, 2019
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Rajasthan CM Raje fails to meet PM and BJP president, returns to Jaipur

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credits: worldhindunews.com

Jaipur/New Delhi: Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje returned to Jaipur on Saturday afternoon after failing to meet Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and BJP president, Amit Shah, in the wake of charges that she helped former IPL chief Lalit Modi.

The chief minister, who left on Saturday morning by helicopter to attend a NITI Aayog meeting, spent some time at her house in Delhi before flying back to Jaipur afternoon, a source close to Raje said.

The source insisted that the chief minister went to Delhi only to attend a NITI Aayog meeting and that nothing else was scheduled in the national capital.

credits: IANS
credits: IANS

However, political analysts view her failure to meet the Bharatiya Janata Party’s top leaders as a snub.

BJP sources said Raje, under attack from the opposition which wants her to quit, wanted to meet Prime Minister Modi, Shah as well as Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, to give them her side of the story on the Lalit Modi issue.

“It seems that after being denied an audience by the top leadership, she felt it is better to come back to Jaipur,” said a BJP functionary on the condition of anonymity.

“She will certainly try again to reach out to the central leadership, and may send her close confidants from here (Jaipur) to meet them in the next couple of days,” he added.

The Rajasthan BJP is standing by the chief minister, saying that all the allegations hurled against her are baseless.

Rajasthan Health Minister, Rajendra Rathore, has said: “The party is fully behind the chief minister. There is no questioning of her resigning.”

The opposition has ganged up against Raje, saying she signed a witness statement in support of Lalit Modi’s immigration application for Britain when he was being probed by the Enforcement Directorate.

She was then the leader of the opposition in the Rajasthan assembly. According to the opposition, she also made it known that the matter should be kept confidential.

Ashok Parnami, the BJP state president, on Friday admitted that the documents being shown by the media do contain her signature on the last page.

“The document is not in official format of any UK court,” Parnami said. “The signed document is not a witness statement, and it was not presented in a court.”

In New Delhi too, a Rajasthan government official told a media outlet, that Raje had no plans to meet either Prime Minister Modi or any other BJP leader.

“She was here only to attend the NITI Aayog meeting,” he added.

According to BJP sources, a meeting took place between Prime Minister Modi and Shah on Friday in which it was decided that Raje would attend the NITI Aayog meeting.

A BJP leader privy to the meeting told the media channel, on the condition of anonymity, that the leaders also discussed “how to convert the Blue Corner Notice against Lalit Modi into a Red Corner Notice”.

“Lalit Modi can be detained in any country if the Red Corner Notice is issued,” he said. (IANS)

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Sambhar Lake Becomes Death Bed for Large Number of Birds

The excessive salt in the water led to the poisoning, causing hypernectremia, which is water deprivation due to sodium intoxication

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Sambhar Lake
After witnessing drought for many years, this year the Sambhar Lake, however, brimmed with water due to heavy rains. The inflow made the water toxic due to the change in its alkalinity. Pixabay

A deadly game of survival is on in the Sambhar lake of Rajasthan for decades — salt versus birds. The result came a few days back: thousands of birds were seen floating dead in the lake and their carcasses scattered on the edge of the 12 km catchment area.

The dead birds seen floating in this largest inland salt lake in the country, include plovers, common coot, black winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet among many other migratory birds.

Harsh Vardhan, a renowned environmentalist, told IANS that no forest department official has ever been appointed to look after the lake. The lake comes under the Hindustan Salt Limited, a public limited enterprise formed in the post independence era to manufacture salt. Its job is to manufacture salt. So who should look after the lake; this has never been decided, he said.

The lake has not been handed to the forest department, and the area, where birds come, is no one’s land. Sambhar lake may be a part of the Hindustan Salt Ltd, but the company has nothing to do with the birds, he says.

The chief wildlife warden Arindam Tomar has maintained silence over the issue.

Even, Principal secretary, forest and environment Shreya Guha has washed her hands off the issue. All that she did was to a give statement that the Jaipur and Nagaur District Collectors have been asked to remove the bodies. She added that 4,800 birds have been dead till date, which is disputed by experts like Harsh Vardhan, who say that counting is not easy in the vast area.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday held a meeting on the issue.

Sambhar Lake
A deadly game of survival is on in the Sambhar Lake of Rajasthan for decades — salt versus birds. Pixabay

Meanwhile, Harsh Vardhan questioned the presence of several private salt miners and entrepreneurs, who have set shops in and around the lake. “They dig tube wells which suck water from the land making it parched. The remaining water gets evaporated leaving crystal of salts which are packed and sold in gunny bags,” he said.

Lack of water and drought has haunted Sambhar lake for years. State government has been spending huge money to woo tourists through activities like mobiking, balloning, race, Bollywood shoots, etc. A resort on the rim of the lake showcases salt manufacturing for the tourists. Crores of Rupees have been spent on the upkeep of the narrow gauge train and watch stations, but birds and conversation issues were always overlooked.

As Sambhar lake went dry, concentration of salt deposits came up within it. The water from surrounding rivers, meant to flow into the lake, was diverted by the miners.

After witnessing drought for many years, this year the lake, however, brimmed with water due to heavy rains. The inflow made the water toxic due to the change in its alkalinity.

The excessive salt in the water led to the poisoning, causing hypernectremia, which is water deprivation due to sodium intoxication, Vardhan said.

It seems birds which came in high numbers due to high water quantity this season died due to hypernectermia after consuming their feed which is the planktons, the microrganisms found in water.

Sambhar Lake
The dead birds seen floating in this largest inland salt lake i.e Sambhar Lake in the country, include plovers, common coot, black winged stilt, northern shovelers, ruddy shelduck, and pied avocet among many other migratory birds. Wikimedia Commons

The only step that has ever been taken by any government in the state was in 1981 when it was decided to designate the site as wetland and was renamed as the Ramsar site.

According to an estimate, around 60,000 birds visited the lake in a year which has come down to less than 20,000.

Vardhan says that if the lake remains with the Hindustan Salt Limited, which has been a loss making unit since years or if it is handed over to the private operators, who do excessive mining of water, then the lake and the birds are sure to die.

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Experts like him want the lake to be handed over to the forest department which can develop it as a wetland. (IANS)