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Centre has 15 new rail projects for Northeast, says Modi

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Aizwal, Dec 16: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday the Centre is committed to put all the state capitals of the northeast on the rail map and is executing 15 new projects in the region.

“We are committed to bring all the state capitals of the northeast region on the rail map. The government of India is executing 15 new rail line projects of 1,385 km length, at a cost of over Rs 47,000 crore,” Modi said during his visit to Mizoram.

“It is said that the lack of connectivity is one of the biggest hurdles in the path of development of the Northeastern region,” Modi noted, adding: “My government wants to do ‘transformation by transportation’ through investment in infrastructure…”

He said the Centre has been proactively following the ‘Act East Policy’. “As a gate-way to South East Asia, Mizoram stands to gain immensely from this. It can emerge as a key transit point for trade with Myanmar and Bangladesh,” said the Prime Minister.

The vision of New India can be realised only if fruits of development reach all, he said.

The Centre plans to focus on around 115 districts which are relatively backward when evaluated on various indicators. This will benefit backward districts of Northeastern states, including Mizoram, said Modi.

“In the spirit of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” every Indian, irrespective of caste, gender, religion, class must have equal opportunities to partake in the new prosperity,” he added.

Modi was in Mizoram to inaugurate the 60 MW Tuirial Hydro Electric Power Project (HEPP). He dedicated the project to the people saying it will boost the socio-economic development of the state.

Tuirial Hydropower Project is the first major central government project to be successfully commissioned in Mizoram, Modi said, also adding that besides electricity the reservoir water will also open new avenues for navigation.

“This will provide connectivity to remote villages. The huge reservoir, spread over an area of 45 square km, can also be used for development of fisheries,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister said the project would boost eco-tourism and provide a source of assured drinking water supply.

He said the project was first cleared by the union government of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, way back in 1998 but got delayed.

“The completion of this project is a reflection of our commitment to complete ongoing projects and usher in a new era of development in the Northeastern region,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister also said that during the tenure of Vajpayee, significant work was done for the development of the Northeast.

“We have taken forward this vision and are devoting resources for the progress of the Northeast. My ministerial colleagues are frequently visiting the Northeast,” Modi said.

“There have been over 150 ministerial visits. Our initiative – the Ministry of DoNER at your doorstep has added impetus to the development of the Northeast. It has enabled us to understand the aspirations of the Northeast even better,” he added.

Modi also said that he was delighted to be in Mizoram and this was his first visit as Prime Minister as he had visited the state before also.

“I admire the beauty and friendly nature of the people,” he said.

“The high literacy rate, scenic beauty and availability of large English-speaking population in Mizoram make for a perfect blend to develop the state as a model tourist destination,” said the Prime Minister.

IANS

India

President Kovind donates ₹5 lakh for Ram Temple construction

His Excellency Ram Nath Kovind along with his family donated in their individual capacity to the donation drive and conveyed their warm greetings for the nationwide fund campaign,” VHP President Alok Kumar said after receiving the donation from the President.

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Ram Nath Kovind

New Delhi, President Ram Nath Kovind has given the first donation for the construction of the grand Ram temple at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. He donated ₹5,00,100 to a joint delegation of office bearers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Ram Mandir Trust at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday.

With this donation by President Kovind, the fund collection drive for the Ram temple started across the country. The campaign will run till February 27.
“We went to President Ram Nath Kovind for the launch of the Ram Mandir Fund Donation Drive. He donated Rs 5,00,100 under the Shri Ram Mandir Fund Donation Drive which kicked-off across the country from Friday. His Excellency Ram Nath Kovind along with his family donated in their individual capacity to the donation drive and conveyed their warm greetings for the nationwide fund campaign,” VHP President Alok Kumar said after receiving the donation from the President.

Vinod Bansal, the VHP national spokesperson, told that a massive public outreach campaign would be launched to cover 13 crore families across 5.25 lakh villages in the country for the construction of the grand Ram temple at Ayodhya. As many as 65 crore people from 13 crore families would be directly linked with the Ram Mandir fund donation drive.

The delegation to meet President Kovind comprised the treasurer of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, Govind Dev Giri Maharaj, VHP President Alok Kumar, Ram Mandir Construction Committee Chairman Nripendra Mishra and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s Delhi state Head Kulbhushan Ahuja.

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Supreme Court to take up pleas connected to farm laws on Jan 18

The Supreme Court is likely to hear on Monday the pleas challenging the three farm laws and also the pleas seeking the removal of farmers camping at various Delhi borders.

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New Delhi: A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Vincent Saran will take up the petitions on January 18. On January 12, the top court stayed the implementation of the three farm laws until further orders.

The hearing assumes significance after Bhartiya Kisan Union President Bhupinder Singh Mann, a key member of the court-appointed expert panel, recused himself.

In a statement, Mann said he would give up any position to prevent farmers’ interests from being compromised.

He said that in view of the prevailing sentiments and apprehensions amongst the farm unions and the public in general, he is ready to sacrifice any position offered or given so as to not compromise the interests of Punjab and farmers of the country.

“I am recusing myself from the committee and I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab,” Mann added.

Apart from Mann, Shetkari Sanghatana (Maharashtra) president Anil Ghanwat, International Food Policy Research Institute’s Pramod Kumar Joshi and agriculture economist Ashok Gulati have been appointed by the apex court on the expert panel.

Staying the implementation of the farm laws, the top court had expressed hope that this step may help resolve the deadlock.

However, amid the ninth round of talks on Friday, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait, who is part of the negotiations between farmer unions and the Centre, said the unions have made it clear that the committee formed by the Supreme Court is “not acceptable” to us.

Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been agitating at various Delhi borders since November end.

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Accept mistake and repeal farm laws: Justice Katju to PM Modi

Markandey Katju also suggested that a statutory farmers’ commission be set up to deal with their problems

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farmers-protest

The former Supreme Court judge, Justice Markandey Katju, on Thursday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately repeal the three new farm laws through an ordinance and urged him to accept his “mistake” of hurrying the three laws through.

“All human beings make mistakes. By doing this, far from losing face, you will be applauded. If you do it your popularity, far from going down, will soar,” Justice Katju wrote in a letter to Modi. He also suggested that a statutory farmers’ commission be set up to deal with farmers’ problems.

Without such concessions, he contended, the protesting farmers’ plan to enter Delhi on Republic Day with their tractors and the likely police action could lead to another Jallianwala Bagh or massacres similar to Bloody Sunday in St Petersburg (January 1905) or 13 Vendémiaire in Paris (October 1795).

“Bloody Sunday” refers to firing by the Tsar’s forces on unarmed demonstrators in St Petersburg on January 22, 1905. Estimates of the death toll range from around 100 to 4,000.

On 13 Vendémiaire (first month in the French Republican Calendar) of Year 4 — or October 5, 1795 — revolutionary troops under Napoleon Bonaparte, then a general, quelled a rebellion by royalists. Some 1,400 royalists are estimated to have been killed.

Justice Katju, who was a Supreme Court judge till 2011, warned that angering the farmers, now united across castes and religions, could cost Modi politically and using violence against them could trigger turmoil in the states and affect the armed forces, whose personnel come mostly from farming families.

He wrote: “The farmers in huge numbers are presently camped at the border of Delhi but are determined to enter Delhi on 26th January and join the Republic Day parade with their tractors. This will obviously not be allowed by the Government, and consequently, violence in the form of police and paramilitary lathi charges and firing seems inevitable, and a Jalianwala Bagh type massacre (or like the massacre on Bloody Sunday in St Petersburg in Russia in January 1905, or as on Vendemiarie in Paris in October 1795) may ensue.”

Saying that he was sure Modi would like to avoid that, Justice Katju added: “The Government should issue an Ordinance immediately repealing the 3 laws. If you do this, you will be hailed by all for doing it. If anyone asks why the laws were made at all, you can say that we made a mistake, and we realise our mistake and are correcting it. All human beings make mistakes. By doing this, far from losing face, you will be applauded. If you do it your popularity, far from going down, will soar.

“Simultaneously, the Government should appoint a High Powered Farmers Commission having as its members representatives of the leading farmers’ organisations, government representatives, and agricultural experts, tasked with the duty of considering all aspects of the problems of our farmers, the principal one being that they are not getting adequate remuneration for their produce (because of which 3 to 4 lac farmers have already committed suicide).

“This Farmers Commission should hold several meetings, perhaps stretching over several months, and then the consensus which emerges, to which everyone agrees, should be enacted as a comprehensive law.”

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