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Congress MPs, MLAs to donate month’s salary to flood-hit Kerala



Randeep Singh Surjewala

New Delhi, Aug 18: The Congress on Saturday demanded that floods in Kerala should be declared a “national calamity.”

All elected representatives of the party would donate one month’s salary towards relief efforts in the state, it said.

The decision to donate salaries was taken at a meeting of Congress general secretaries, party in-charges of states, legislative party leaders and state unit chiefs, which was presided over by party chief Rahul Gandhi.

Gandhi had earlier in the day urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately declare the floods in Kerala as “a national disaster.”

Briefing reporters after meeting of Congress office-bearers, party communications in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Modi government should come forward to help Kerala where over 180 people have died and property worth over Rs 3,000 crore has been damaged due to floods.

“It was decided that all Congress MPs in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Congress MLAs across India and party MLCs will donate one month’s salary, which will be sent through the AICC for relief measures in Kerala,” Surjewala said.

He said it was also decided that all Congress governments will come forward to help the people of the state.

Surjewala said Punjab government has already donated Rs 10 crore to the Kerala Relief Fund and JD-S and Congress- government in Karnataka has also donated Rs 10 crore to the relief measures. The government in Puducherry has also donated Rs 1 crore.

He said special relief committees will be formed in adjoining states including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu apart from Puducherry. Material collected by Congress workers will be sent to the people of Kerala.

Surjewala said the party also noted with concern the grave situation due to floods in Karnataka and some other parts of the country.

“Modiji should stop discriminating in matters of flood relief. The Prime Minister must rise above party-politics and come forward to help Kerala, Karnataka and other flood-affected states. The Prime Minister should declare Kerala floods as a national calamity,” Surjewala said.

Overflowing rivers and a series of landslides in Kerala have resulted in the death of 180 people as of Saturday morning, with over 3 lakh others forced to move to some hundreds of relief camps.



Supreme Court sets aside NGT order allowing re-opening of Tuticorin plant



Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, Feb 18: The Supreme Court on Monday set aside the National Green Tribunal’s order which had allowed the reopening of Vedanta group owned Sterlite copper plant in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin.

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Aircel-Maxis case: Interim protection of P Chidambaram, Karti extended till March 8



P Chidambaram

New Delhi, Feb 18: The Patiala House Court on Monday extended the interim protection of former Union Minister P Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram till March 8 in the Aircel-Maxis case.

The ED is probing the Aircel-Maxis deal under the PMLA after taking cognisance of a 2011 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) complaint in the case.

On November 26, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had informed the Court that it has been granted permission by the central government to prosecute Chidambaram in connection with the case.

Chidambaram has denied all charges leveled by the central probe agency.

The agencies are investigating how Karti Chidambaram allegedly managed to get a clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in the Aircel-Maxis deal when his father P Chidambaram was the Union Finance Minister in 2006.

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Army major, 3 soldiers in killed Pulwama encounter



Pulwama Encounter

Srinagar, Feb 18: A major and three soldiers have lost their lives in an encounter in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian Army personnel of 55 Rashtriya Rifles, have been identified as Major VS Dhoundiyal, Havaldar Sheo Ram, Sepoy Ajay Kumar, and Sepoy Hari Singh.

Besides Indian Army personnel, a civilian named Mushtaq Ahmad was killed in the gunfight.

A top Jaish-e-Mohammed commander linked to Pulwama Attack believed to be trapped in the ongoing encounter with security forces, news agency ANI reported citing sources.

The gunfight erupted on Sunday late night after security forces, including the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), Special Operations Group (SOG) of the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), surrounded the village following the information that Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants were hiding in the area.

The same outfit that carried out the February 14 attack claiming lives of nearly 40 CRPF troopers.


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