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2016 Pathankot attack: IAF inquiry exposes security lapses, Airbase officer resigns



New Delhi, June 21, 2017: A Court of Inquiry by the Indian Air Force (IAF) into the terror attack at the Pathankot Air Force Station on January 2, 2016, has found serious lapses in the air base’s security as well as its handling of the incident.

The then Air Commodore J S Dhamoon, who has been named in the inquiry, has sought premature retirement from service.

IAF sources said Dhamoon has sought “premature separation” from service even as the process of Court of Inquiry into possible lapses in security at the base was going on.

The inquiry conducted by Air Vice-Marshal Amit Dev, found lapses in the base’s security. The report noted that had the terrorists been pinned down by IAF Garud commandos, the lives of the five Defence Security Corps personnel could have been saved.

The inquiry is understood to have concluded that the airbase wasn’t able to come up with a comprehensive plan to defend the airbase although there was clear and precise intelligence about the attack.

The report also faulted the Guard Commandos for their failure in handling the situation and said that they were ill-prepared for the task. As a result, it has now been decided to deploy them in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir to gain experience.

“The Guards are a competent force but they need to battle-hardened. Based on the inquiry report, the government has decided to deploy them in J&K for battle inoculation,” defence sources said.

IAF sources said the CoI is still underway and the report will have to go through several levels before it is accepted.

Wefornews Bureau


LG Polymers CEO among 12 arrested over Vizag gas leak mishap

According to police, while 12 people died on May 7 and 8, three more villagers succumbed on May 25 and afterwards. A total of 34 animals also died in the incident.




Visag Gas Victims Protests

Visakhapatnam, July 7 : LG Polymers Managing Director and CEO, Sunkey Jeong and Technical Director D.S. Kim were among 12 officials of the company arrested by Visakhapatnam police on Tuesday, in connection with the styrene gas leak tragedy that left 15 dead and hundreds hospitalised in May this year.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, R.V.S.N. Murthy, who is also the investigation officer, said the accused were booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

They were also booked under Indian Penal Code”s Sections 278 (Making atmosphere noxious to health), 284 (Negligent conduct with respect to poisonous substance), 285 (Negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter), 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) read with section 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

The gas leak from LG Polymers plant on the intervening night of May 6 and 7 affected Venkatapuram and five other villages.

According to police, while 12 people died on May 7 and 8, three more villagers succumbed on May 25 and afterwards. A total of 34 animals also died in the incident.

The development comes a day after the High Powered Committee (HPC) submitted its probe report to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The HPC probe report had listed several lapses on the part of the LG Polymers management, which led to the styrene gas leakage.

The other accused arrested on Tuesday are LG Polymers” and Additional Director (Operations) P.P. Chandra Mohan Rao, HOD, SMH (in-charge) K. Srinivas Kiran Kumar, team leader production Raju Satyanarayana, engineers C. Chandrasekhar, K. Gowri Sankara Nagendra Ramu, K. Chakrapani, operator Muddu Rajesh, night duty officer (operations) P. Balaji, incharge GPPS S. Atchyut and safety officer in night shift K. Venkata Narasimha Ramesh Patnaik.

According to the investigating official, the investigations disclosed that the incident at M6 styrene storage tank took place due to negligence of the accused who were also having knowledge that their acts are likely to cause death.

“The investigations so far made disclosed that the accident occurred to the poor design of M6 Tank, inadequate refrigeration and cooling system, absence of circulation systems, inadequate measurement parameters, weak safety protocol, poor safety awareness, inadequate risk assessment and response, poor management, slackness of management, insufficient knowledge amongst staff, insufficient understanding of the chemical properties of styrene, especially during storage under idle conditions and total breakdown of the emergency response procedures,” the police said.

Meanwhile, in a related development in the case, the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) suspended environmental engineers R. Lakshmi Naryana and P. Prasada Rao for negligence.

Acting on the report of the HPC, APPCB suspended Prasada Rao, environmental engineer, regional office, Visakhapatnam, for gross negligence in allowing operation of LG Polymers without environmental clearance, allowing import and storage of huge quantity of styrene without verifying safety and environmental issues. Lakshmi Narayana, environmental engineer, zonal office, Visakhapatnam, was also suspended on the same charges.

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Court grants bail to Malaysian nationals who took part in Tablighi meet

The Centre has cancelled their visas and blacklisted them. The foreign nationals have not been arrested yet.




Tablighi Jamaat

New Delhi, July 7 : A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to several Malaysian nationals chargesheeted for attending the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi’s Nizamuddin in mid-March in alleged violation of visa norms and Covid-19 guidelines issued by the Indian government.

“All the accused persons mentioned in Column A no. A11 A of the chargesheet are admitted to bail on personal bond of Rs 10,000 each. The counsel for all the accused shall file the personal bond on behalf of all the accused persons for today itself,” said Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur of Saket Court.

As of now, the police have filed chargesheets against 121 of the 125 Malaysian nationals. All the accused appeared before the court through video conferencing. On Monday, the court took cognisance of the 59 chargesheets filed in the matter.

After the court announced its order, Advocate Hari Haran moved the plea bargaining application on behalf of each accused.

“The plea bargaining applications moved by all the accused persons in the present chargesheet be marked to Siddharth Malik, MM, South East for 08.07.2020 for disposal as per the law,” Gurmohina Kaur added.

Plea bargaining is a pretrial negotiation between the accused and the prosecution where the accused agrees to plead guilty in exchange for certain concessions by the prosecution.

It is a bargain where a defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge and the prosecutors in return drop the more serious charges.

The Crime Branch has named more than 900 foreign nationals, including over 120 Malaysians, in connection with the case. An FIR was registered against Tablighi Jamaat leader Maulana Saad Kandhalvi and six others on March 31.

The case pertains to a congregation at the Banglewali Masjid in Delhi”s Hazrat Nizamuddin area in mid-March, in which a large number of foreign nationals had participated.

The accused persons have been charged under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Epidemic Diseases Act, the Disaster Management Act, and also for violating the prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Centre has cancelled their visas and blacklisted them. The foreign nationals have not been arrested yet.

Earlier this month, the Delhi High Court had issued a slew of suggestions to a city court for speedy disposal of the cases related to several foreign nationals connected to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation.

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World Bank Sanctions $400 Million To Enhance Namami Gange Programme

“The government’s Namami Gange Programme has revitalized India”s efforts to rejuvenating the Ganga,” Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India, said.




Namami Gange

New Delhi, July 7 : The Indian government and the World Bank on Tuesday signed a loan agreement to enhance support for the Namami Gange programme that seeks to rejuvenate the Ganga.

The Second National Ganga River Basin Project will help stem pollution in the iconic river and strengthen the management of the river basin which is home to more than 500 million people.

The $400 million operation comprises a loan of $381 million and a proposed guarantee of up to $19 million.

The agreement for the $381 million loan was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the government, and Qaiser Khan, Acting Country Director (India), on behalf of the World Bank. The guarantee instrument will be processed separately.

Khare said that the Ganga is India”s most important cultural, economic and environmental resource, and the government”s Namami Gange programme seeks to ensure that the river returns to a pollution-free, ecologically healthy state.

The new project will extend the government”s and World Bank”s engagement in this critical national programme to make the Ganga a clean, healthy river.

The World Bank has been supporting the government”s efforts since 2011 through the ongoing National Ganga River Basin Project, which helped set up the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) as the nodal agency to manage the river, and financed sewage treatment infrastructure in several riverside towns and cities.

Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General of the National Mission for Clean Ganga, said that the continuity provided by the Second National Ganga River Basin Project will consolidate the momentum achieved under the first World Bank project, and help NMCG introduce further innovations, and benchmark its initiatives against global best practices in river rejuvenation.

“The government’s Namami Gange Programme has revitalized India”s efforts to rejuvenating the Ganga,” Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India, said. “The first World Bank project helped build critical sewage infrastructure in 20 pollution hotspots along the river, and this Project will help scale this up to the tributaries. It will also help government strengthen the institutions needed to manage a river basin as large and complex as the Ganga Basin.”

The sprawling Ganga Basin provides over one-third of India”s surface water, includes the country”s largest irrigated area, and is key to India”s water and food security. Over 40 per cent of India”s GDP is generated in the densely populated basin. But the Ganga river is today is facing pressures from human and economic activity that impact its water quality and flows.

Over 80 per cent of the pollution load in the Ganga comes from untreated domestic wastewater from towns and cities along the river and its tributaries. For this, sewage networks and treatment plants in select urban areas would be built to help control pollution discharges. These infrastructure investments and the jobs they will generate will also help India”s economic recovery from the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) crisis.

To ensure that these infrastructure assets function effectively and are well maintained, the project will build on the innovative Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) of public private partnership introduced under the ongoing NGRBP, and which has become the solution of choice for sewage treatment investments in the Ganga Basin.

Under this model, the government pays a private operator 40 per cent of the capital cost to build a sewage treatment plant during the construction period; the remaining 60 per cent is paid as performance-linked payments over 15 years to ensure that the operator runs and maintains the plant efficiently.

The $400 million operation includes a proposed Guarantee of up to $19 million to backstop the government”s payment obligations for three Hybrid-Annuity-Model Public Private Partnership (HAM-PPP) investments on the Ganga”s tributaries.

The $381 million variable spread loan has a maturity of 18.5 years including a grace period of 5 years. The $19 million Guarantee Expiry Date will be 18 years from the Guarantee Effectiveness Date.

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