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116 animals perished in flooded Kaziranga park so far, 143 rescued

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Assam inundated by floods

With over 90 per cent of land and forest areas in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park flooded by rainwater, at least 116 wild animals have been killed so far due to drowning or vehicle-hits even as 143 animals have been rescued, officials said on Tuesday.

Officials of the Forest Department and Kaziranga Park, a World Heritage site, said many tigers and rhinos had strayed into nearby villages and higher locations due to flooding of their habitats.

Park and Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) officials said over 90 per cent of the park’s 430 sq km area was now flooded, with traffic movement on the National Highway-37 near Kaziranga now suspended.

According to the officials, 11 rhinos, 88 hog deer, seven wild boars, four wild buffaloes, two swamp deer, two porcupines and one sambar and one python had so far perished in the floodwater or after hits by vehicles on the National Highway-37.

Of the rescued animals, 110 were hog deer, four tigers, two rhinos, 17 pythons, and three turtles.

The officials said that 16 hog deers were killed during treatment while 117 animals were released into the forest area after they were treated.

Park Director P. Sivakumar said that rising water level in the park areas had forced three sub-adult tigers to stray into a goat-shed in Kandolimari village and nearby areas.

“Subsequently, the tigers have already been driven back into the park area. All-out efforts were made to take care the animals in the entire Kaziranga National Park,” Sivakumar told IANS over phone.

Formed in 1908, the Kaziranga National park, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985, is home to more than 2,200 one-horned Indian rhinoceros, approximately two third of the total world population.

Besides Kaziranga National Park, located on the edge of the eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspots of Golaghat and Nagaon districts, the Manas and R.G. Orang national parks, the Pabitora wildlife and the Tinsukia wildlife sanctuaries were also affected and a large number of wild animals marooned.

Each year, the monsoon floods inundate the National Park, forcing a large number of wild animals to leave the safety of the park and head towards the nearby hills in Karbi Anglong district by crossing National Highway-37 that passes near the park’s boundary.

Of the 223 camps of forest personnel guarding the park, 73 have been inundated and six others vacated due to rising water levels.

The heavy monsoon rains over the past one month have led to massive flooding of the north-eastern state of Assam, inundating 2,254 villages and affecting around 25 lakh people and 109,600 hectares of crop area in 24 of the 33 districts.

According to ASDMA officials, the flood fury had resulted in 85 deaths so far in 21 districts, whereas 26 others were killed in separate landslides in different parts of Assam, specially in the southern region of the state since May 22.

India

RS passes two agri Bills amid pandemonium

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The Rajya Sabha on Sunday passed two agriculture-related Bills amid a pandemonium due to protests by opposition members.

The Upper House gave the nod to The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, as opposition MPs continued to shout slogans during their passage. Some lawmakers even staged a walkout in protest.

Earlier, replying to the debate on the Bills, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar assured the House that the Minimum Support Price regime will not be scrapped. Some of the amendments moved by the opposition lawmakers were not pressed for voting while those pressed for voting were negated.

The opposition also demanded that the Bills be sent to the Select committee of the Upper House but it was not accepted by the government.

Earlier, the House witnessed unruly scenes when TMC MP Derek O’Brien went near the Chair and tried to snatch a mike while citing from the rule book. When his objections were overruled, an aggressive Derek O’Brien tore the rule book by calling the Bills “Kala Kanoon” or black laws, leading to adjournment of the House for a brief period.

The Trinamool leader was also heard saying: “You cannot do this” to the Chair. At one point in time, the aides of the Deputy Chair, who was conducting the House proceedings, had to come forward to shield him.

Despite repeated requests, many opposition members reached the Well of the House to register their protests.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded that discussion on the Bills be continued on Monday. “To decide this, we should go by the consensus among the members, not by the numbers of the ruling party,” Azad said.

The opposition as well as BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal termed the Bills an “anti-farmers” move by the Centre, with some staging a walkout.

Thousands of farmers in Punjab, Haryana and several other states have been protesting since the government introduced these Bills in the Lok Sabha on September 14, the opening day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

The Bills seek to replace the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 promulgated on June 5.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 seeks to provide a new ecosystem in which farmers and traders, as per the government, will enjoy freedom of choice relating to sale and purchase of their produce and facilitates remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels to promote efficient, transparent and barrier-free inter- and intra-state trade and commerce.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, aims to provide a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers.

–IANS

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India

Rajya Sabha passes controversial Agri Bills amidst protests

A final end date is yet to be fixed, though sources indicated that it could end on Wednesday.

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Farmers Protests Kurukshetra

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha on Sunday witnessed chaos as the ruling party passed the contentious Agriculture Bills amidst prolonged protests by the Opposition.

The protesting MPs occupied the well and shouted slogans, resulting in the Upper House being adjourned for a brief duration.

The monsoon session of the Parliament, which was scheduled to end on October 1, is likely to be cut short owing to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. A final end date is yet to be fixed, though sources indicated that it could end on Wednesday.

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Security beefed up on Delhi borders over protests by farmers

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Security on the inter-state borders of Delhi was beefed up on Sunday in view of the ongoing protests by farmers in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana against the three Bills related to the agriculture sector, a Delhi Police officer said.

More police personnel have been deployed in the border areas as a precautionary measure, including at Singhu border and GT-Karnal Road.

Farmers from nearby states are expected to arrive in Delhi to mark their protest, since different farmer organisations have given calls for protests over the proposed legislations.

“We are keeping an eye on the borders with Punjab and Haryana; arrangements have been made to stop farmers from entering Delhi,” the senior police officer said.

Precautionary measures have also been taken on Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border. Two companies of security forces have been deployed near Ghazipur and Ashok Nagar side to prevent the entry of farmers from western Uttar Pradesh.

“We have set up border pickets as a precautionary measure on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border. Our teams are on alert,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Jasmeet Singh said.

Farmers in several states are up in arms against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion And Facilitation) Bill; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill; and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill.

Source: IANS

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