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Centre allows ‘UDAN’ regional air services in select routes

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New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) As domestic flights resume on Monday, regional air connectivity services under the UDAN scheme will also resume but in select areas and with conditions, as per the modalities set by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

In an order, the ministry on Sunday said that all the operational routes in priority areas which include the northeastern region, hill states and islands are permitted to resume operations.

Further, all operational helicopter routes are permitted to resume operations. All operational routes with no viability gap funding (VGF) are permitted, it said.

The ministry also said that all operational routes up to 500 km stage length are permitted to resume operations. And selected airline operators (SAOs) are allowed to operationalise awarded routes under UDAN, including seaplanes on the permitted routes.

“If willing to operate without VGF support, SAOs may operate Tourism RCS routes (T-RCS) or RCS routes with stage length more than 500 km in areas other than Priority Areas. However, other incentives for the respective routes as per the scheme document would continue to be available for the contract period,” the order said.

Selected airline operators may also be allowed to operate regional connectivity scheme routes with stage length more than 500 km as per the respective SAO agreements in cases where operation of such routes are necessary for repositioning of aircraft for a network which consists of all other permitted RCS routes.

Non-operation of such RCS routes would lead to the airports being connected by such routes to become unserved as per the scheme document.

Considering the limited amount of demand likely to be seen in the near future as well as the objective of optimal utilisation of viability gap funding, selected airline operators are allowed operating flexibility in their schedules while mandating a minimum of 3 flights per week and maximum as per the awarded frequency in the respective agreements.

Further, selected airline operators are allowed flexibility to operate truncated routes from the networks or from new networks as long as RCS routes within the network belong to the permitted categories

“RCS-UDAN flights would be in addition to the permitted 1/3rd capacity of the approved Summer Schedule, 2020 as communicated vide Order dated 21st May, 2020 of MoCA,” said the order.

India has allowed airlines to recommence domestic passenger flight operations in a calibrated manner from May 25.

Passenger air services were suspended for both scheduled domestic and international flights since March 25, due to the imposition of the nationwide lockdown in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

India

India walks out of UN General Assembly as Imran begins attack

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Imran Khan at UNGA

United Nations, Sep 25 : The Indian delegate at the UN General Assembly Session on Friday walked out when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan began his diatribe in his speech.

First Secretary Mijito Vinito, who was at the second seat on the first row of the Assembly chamber, got up and left as Khan began his attack on India by focusing on the RSS before bringing up Kashmir.

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India

CPM cadres protest farm bills across Andhra Pradesh

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CPIM Worker Protest Farm

Amaravati, Sep 25 : Thousand of Communist Party of India Marxist (CPM) workers in Andhra Pradesh are protesting the new farm bills which the Parliament cleared recently, accusing them of being anti-farmer and in favour of business corporations.

“The farm bills will cause great injustice to farmers. Though many political parties opposed their passage, the government still passed them forcibly,” senior AP Communist Party leader Gorla Ramakrishna told IANS.

He said that earlier when people used to hoard agriculture products to manipulate market prices, the government used to raid such hoarders to bring order and protect the farmers.

However, he said these farm bills will create massive asymmetry, pitting ordinary farmers against corporate giants armed with the wherewithal, cold storage, transportation facilities and others to literally rule the market.

The Left leader said that a farmer always strives to sell his produce and repay the debts he has incurred while cultivating the crops.

“A farmer does not have infrastructure to even store his produce for even 10 days. He will be in a hurry to repay his debts. With these new bills, all the powers will now go into the hands of middlemen and corporates,” said Ramakrishna.

He said the corporates can easily move massive amounts of farm produce from state to state to cash in on market uncertainties.

“A real farmer will not benefit with these bills. Not only a farmer, even a buyer will suffer as the middlemen and corporates will create artificial shortage of farm produce to make a killing,” the CPM leader observed.

Importantly, Ramakrishna alleged that middlemen and other market forces who used to stealthily hoard farm produce until now which do it legitimately with these bills allowing them.

“Before the introduction of these bills, hoarders used to illegally store farm produce with fear which will now get legitimised. Now all the people with financial muscle will do it deliberately. Ordinary farmers and buyers will be the losers,” he lamented.

The senior leader said CPM started resisting these bills right from the time they were proposed.

Farm bills aside, Ramakrishna has also expressed his displeasure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his policies which according to him are benefiting the rich corporates and cronies.

“Especially during the Coronavirus time, we have seen how a person rose up in the billionaire rankings. What does it show? See how the fuel prices have increased. It is our anguish that this government is not caring for the farmers and the common man,” he said.

He disapproved of the farm bills, saying that corporate companies, foreign entities and others will take advantage of the privileges they accord them.

He said the country will have to contend with corporate farming in the future when small farmers will be forced to give up their profession for large corporates to emerge and carry out corporate farming.

“Nowadays labourers are increasing. There is no truth in the claims made by some people that labourers are not available. What will happen to the farmer who gives up agriculture? He is becoming a labourer,” he said.

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Javed Akhtar takes a dig at news channels for ignoring farmers’ protests: ‘If Karan Johar had invited some farmers to his party…’

Javed Akhtar took a dig at news channels and sarcastically remarked that if Karan Johar had invited farmers to his party, they would not have to choose between covering Bollywood and the farmers’ protests.

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Javed-Akhtar

Javed Akhtar took a dig at news channels prioritising Bollywood’s alleged drug links over the farmers’ protests in their coverage. The lyricist sarcastically remarked that if Karan Johar had invited farmers to his party, ‘life would have been easier’ for the channels, as they would not have to choose between Bollywood and the farmers’ protests.

“If Karan johar had invited some farmers too for his party life would have been easier for our TV channels.They would not have had to choose between farmers protest and Karan’s party!. it seems that Karan’s do is the second most favourite PARTY of our channels,” he wrote.

On Friday, more than 200 farmers’ groups across the country blocked roads and organised rallies in protest against three controversial farm bills passed in the monsoon session of the Parliament. The farmers worry that the new laws could potentially dismantle the current Minimum Support Price (MSP) system and leave them vulnerable to exploitation by agribusinesses.

Meanwhile, a video taken at one of Karan’s house parties last year has been under fresh scrutiny amid an investigation into Bollywood’s alleged drug links. Politician Manjinder Singh Sirsa renewed his claims that it was a ‘drug party’ and filed a complaint with the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) earlier this month.

The video featured a number of prominent Bollywood personalities, including Deepika Padukone, Ranbir Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Vicky Kaushal, Arjun Kapoor, Malaika Arora, Shahid Kapoor, and filmmakers Zoya Akhtar and Ayan Mukerji. However, none of them were seen consuming drugs in the clip.

The NCB found evidence of a potential drug racket in Bollywood, while investigating the drugs angle in Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. His girlfriend, Rhea Chakraborty, was arrested earlier this month on charges of procuring drugs. She has been remanded to judicial custody till October 6.

Names of several Bollywood celebrities have come up in the investigation. The NCB has issued summons to Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Rakul Preet Singh and Shraddha Kapoor. Reports suggest that 39 more Bollywood celebrities are under the scanner.

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