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Environmentalist G D Agarwal passes away

Agarwal had sent several letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had in 2014 pledged on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi that immediate steps would be taken to ensure cleaning of the holy river.

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G.D. Agarwal

Rishikesh, Oct 11 : Environmentalist G.D. Agarwal, who was on a fast for the last 111 days demanding a clean Ganga, died after a heart attack in Rishikesh on Thursday.

The 86-year old former IIT-Kanpur professor, Agarwal had been on hunger strike since June 22 for a pollution-free and uninterrupted flow in the Ganga.

He had demanded that steps be taken to make the river free-flowing for natural cleansing, and also a ban on construction of all hydroelectric projects along the tributaries of the Ganga besides enactment of the Ganga Protection Management Act.

Agarwal had sent several letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had in 2014 pledged on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi that immediate steps would be taken to ensure cleaning of the holy river.

However, the government paid no heed to his demands, said ‘IITians for Holy Ganga’, a forum formed to preserve the heritage and ecology of the river.

Agarwal, who is also know as Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, had given up water a couple of days ago after government failed to respond to his satyagraha.

He was moved to the AIIMS, Rishikesh, on October 9 from the protest site.

Activists and politicians criticised the government for not listening to Agarwal.

Calling the BJP government “insensitive”, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh said the BJP, which garnered votes in the name of the Ganga, could not save the son of the Ganga (Agarwal).

In a tweet, he said he had raised the issue in Parliament to save Agarwal.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan criticised the government saying Agarwal was forcibly picked up by the Uttarakhand police and hospitalised.

“He passed away today after his pleas to save the Ganga fell on Modi’s deaf ears. RIP Dear Sir. This world is not for pure souls,” Bhushan tweeted.

Union River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari had in August this year said nearly 70-80 per cent of the cleaning work of the Ganga would be completed by March 2019 and the holy river would become completely clean by 2020.

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AAP will Support Congress if Next PM is From Grand Old Party: Amanatullah Khan

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Amanatullah Khan

New Delhi, Jan 23: Openly announcing support for Rahul Gandhi in 2019, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan on Wednesday said that the party would extend support to the grand old party as there is much likelihood that the next Prime Minister would be from the Congress .

“Abhi bahar mujhse koi keh raha tha ki log keh rahe hain ki Congress ko vote isliye denge kyunki Pradhanmantri unka banega, hum ye keh rahe hain ki agar Pradhanmantri unka hi bana toh hum bhi usey support kar denge,” Khan said indicating that 2019 is Modi vs Rahul Gandhi.

The major statement by AAP’s Amanatullah Khan was made in the presence of Chief Arvind Kejriwal at the Delhi Waqf Board meeting.

The chairman of the board, urged the Imams of the city mosques to support the AAP and said, “People are saying they will vote for the Congress because the next prime minister will be from that party.

Muslim voters should elect AAP in Delhi and if Congress wins at the Centre, “it will draw our support”, he said.

Kejriwal also said that his party will support anyone except Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.

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INA veterans to march in Republic day parade

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New Delhi: The Indian Air Force Marching Contingent on Rajpath during Republic Day Parade 2018

New Delhi, Jan 23 : For the first time, four veterans from the Indian National Army (INA) of Netaji Subhash Chadra Bose will take part in the Republic Day parade on Rajpath.

The move is considered as an unprecedented honor for freedom fighters and the acknowlegmentof the contribution of INA in the Indian independence

According to the report, the veterans- Parmanand, Lalit Ram, Hira Singh and Bhagmal. The four are aged 95 plus.
The four veterans, who fought World War II, will be seated in jeeps that will march past Rajpath during the Republic Day parade.

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Piyush Goyal given temporary charge of Finance

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Piyush Goyal

New Delhi, Jan 23 : Railway Minister Piyush Goyal was on Wednesday given charge of Finance Ministry in the absence of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who is in the US for medical treatment, apparently ruling out his recuperation in time for the interim budget to be presented on February 1.

Goyal will hold the portfolios of Finance and Corporate Affairs on a temporary basis till the resumption of duties by Jaitley, who has now been made a Minister without portfolio, a Rashtrapati Bhawan communique said.

Jaitley (66) had a kidney transplant in May last year and then too Goyal was put in charge of Finance and Corporate Affairs.

“The President of India, as advised by the Prime Minister, hereby directed that during the period of indisposition of Arun Jaitley, the portfolios of Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs held by him, be temporarily assigned to Piyush Goyal, in addition to his existing portfolios.

“Further, as advised by the Prime Minister, Arun Jaitley be designated as Minister without portfolio during the period of his indisposition or till such time he is able to resume his work as Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs,” the communique said.

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