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Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa’s wife in trouble over IT notice

Lavasa had earlier dissented in various decisions of the poll body involving complaints against Modi and Shah for alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct, where they were given a clean chit.

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New Delhi, Sep 23 : Fresh troubles surfaced for Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa’s wife after the Income Tax Department issued a notice against her on Monday in connection with her income after becoming independent director of various companies.

Sources told IANS that Lavasa’s wife Novel Singhal became independent director in companies after the Election Commissioner took charge as secretary of government of India.

Singhal, a former banker, resigned from the State Bank of India around 2005.

Lavasa had earlier dissented in various decisions of the poll body involving complaints against Modi and Shah for alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct, where they were given a clean chit.

Earlier this year, Lavasa had claimed that his participation in EC meeting regarding the issue was “meaningless” as his dissent remained unrecorded.

Cities

Delhi Police in crosshairs of traffic jams on Monday

Due to poor planning, Delhi police could control neither the JNU crowd nor the protests elsewhere, making it a worst day for commuters.

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JNU protest to Parliament

New Delhi, Nov 18 : It was a harrowing time for Delhi police on Monday in the national capital. While controlling the JNU students, who took to the streets against the fee hike, Delhi Police forgot to look after other areas where jams are commonplace.

The police had the inputs about other protests happening in the city, but it chose to ignore them which ultimately resulted in massive jams in central and north Delhi.

In an incident in central Delhi, the ‘Halla Bol’ brigade of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi took to the streets at Turkman Gate, Jama Masjid, IP Estate and outer Ring Road near Nigambodh Ghat, to protest against the Delhi government. As a result the areas of ITO, Rajghat, Geeta Colony witnessed massive jams for several hours with long queues of cars stuck on the road.

A roving IANS reporter did not find even a single traffic personnel in these areas to control the traffic. The situation turned worse when the traffic, stuck for a long time, started moving in the wrong direction.

In a similar incident in the Karkardooma area of east Delhi, Sikhs protesting at the Staff Selection Commission’s Office, led to a massive jam. They were protesting against the Commission’s decision to bar a Sikh from appearing in the examination as he was wearing a ‘kada’ (metal bangle worn by Sikhs as a religious symbol). As the Sikhs surrounded the Commission’s office, the officers inside had a harrowing time, as very few police personnel were present to control the crowd.

These incidents were happening in various parts of Delhi at the same time when the police were trying to stop the JNU students’ march to Parliament. The protest resulted in massive traffic snarls in central Delhi leading to jams at various locations. The situation became so bad that Delhi metro closed operations at Udyog Bhavan, Patel Chowk and Central Secretariat metro stations, though temporarily.

Due to poor planning, Delhi police could control neither the JNU crowd nor the protests elsewhere, making it a worst day for commuters.

(Sanjeev Kumar Singh Chauhan can be contacted at [email protected])

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Centre bans Meghalaya-based insurgent group HNLC

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Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council

New Delhi, Nov 18 : The Central government on Monday banned Meghalaya-based insurgent group Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) and declared it and its factions, wings and front organisations as “unlawful associations”.

In the wake of increased activities of violence and other subversive acts of HNLC, the Union Home Ministry issued a notification, saying the group continues to intimidate and bully civilians to extort funds, maintains links with other insurgent groups of the Northeast to carry out acts of extortion and intimidation, and maintains camps in Bangladesh to give sanctuary and training to its cadre.

Noting that the HNLC along with all its factions, wings and frontal organisations have openly declared as its objective the secession of the state’s areas, which are largely inhabited by Khasi and Jaintia tribals, from the Indian Union, the Ministry said the activities of the group are detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of India.

“If these are not immediately curbed and controlled, the HNLC will regroup and rearm itself, expand its cadre base, procure sophisticated weapons, cause loss of lives of civilians and security forces, and accelerate its anti-national activities.

“Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967), (hereinafter referred to as the said Act), the central government hereby declares the HNLC, along with all its factions, wings and front organisations as unlawful association,” the notification said.

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No Central funds for Delhi under ‘National Clean Air Programme’

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New Delhi, Nov 18 : The national capital facing severe air pollution has not received any funds from the Centre under the ‘National Clean Air Programme’ despite being among the 102 non-attainment cities, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Monday.

Calling air pollution as one of the biggest global environmental challenges, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in January 2019 launched the ‘National Clean Air Programme’ (NCAP).

In a reply to a question raised by Prabhat Jha, Rajya Sabha Member from Madhya Pradesh, the Ministery of Environment, Forest and Climate Change informed the House that 102 non-attainment cities have been identified under the NCAP based on the ambient air quality data for the period 2011-2015 and WHO report 2014/2018.

“The city-specific action plans have been approved for ground implementation for all 102 non-attainment cities,” the reply said.

Out of 102 non-attainment cities identified under NCAP, for the cities with million-plus population and (air quality of) PM10>90µg/m³, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is funding Rs 10 crore in the current year for 28 such priority cities.

“For the remaining non-attainment cities, funding of Rs 10 lakhs per city for cities with population less than five lakhs and Rs 20 lakhs per city, for cities with a population of five to 10 lakhs have been sanctioned,” the reply said.

The 28 priority cities, according to the reply were: Vijayawada, Chandigarh, Raipur, Bhilai, Surat, Ahmedabad, Dhanbad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Gwalior, Mumbai, Nagpur, Navi Mumbai and Pune.

Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Kolkata and Patna were also among the 28 cities, along with Agra, Allahabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi.

As per the reply, Rs six crore each has been sanctioned to the 28 cities.

The reply also said that funds have been released to 90 cities, including the 28 cities, under the scheme, with no mention of Delhi.

The funds were released for various components, which include installation and commissioning of Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS), creating green buffer zone along the roads, Mechanical street sweeper, mobile enforcement unit, public awareness and capacity building activities and water sprinkler.

“The Central government has launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) under the Central Sector “Control of Pollution” Scheme as a long-term, time-bound, national-level strategy to tackle the air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner with targets to achieve 20 per cent to 30 per cent reduction in PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations by 2024 keeping 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration,” the Rajya Sabha was informed.

The national capital has been witnessing severe air pollution for the last month, with the air quality touching the ’emergency’ mark.

The air pollution in the national capital was so toxic after Diwali that the Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) had declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR and had advised people, especially children and the aged, to limit their exposure to the environment.

The Delhi government has urged the Centre many times to take steps to deal with the air pollution as it has blamed stubble burning in the neighbouring states for the deteriorating air quality here.

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