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Evolve consensus to counter pollution in Delhi: Punjab CM to Modi



Amarinder Singh

Chandigarh: Expressing deep anguish and anger at the unprecedented situation triggered by the growing air pollution in Delhi, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday wrote an emotional letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, underlining the need for evolving a consensus on tackling the issue, rising above political affiliations and regional considerations.

In his letter, the Chief Minister said: “No Indian, and definitely no person in Punjab, is oblivious to the misery of our brethren in the national capital, whatever many around the country might have been led to believe.”

Pointing out that his own children and grandchildren living in Delhi, were currently sharing the plight of the lakhs of people in the national capital as a result of the toxic air enveloping the city, he said the prevailing situation “has exposed the hollowness of our claims of being a progressive and developed nation.”

“How can a country be called developed when its capital city has been reduced to a gas chamber, not by any natural disaster but a series of man-made ones?” he asked.

Making it clear that he had no intention of brushing his hands off Punjab’s responsibility in this tragic state of affairs, the Chief Minister said, however, the entire country, including Delhi itself as well as the government at the Centre, had allowed “this state of affairs to emerge and sustain, with our various acts of commission and omission”.

Admitting that stubble fires, supported by the winds blowing in the wrong direction, were contributing to the toxic levels of air pollution that prevail today in Delhi, the Chief Minister, at the same time, noted that data from several independent agencies had pointed out that large-scale industrial pollution, the traffic overload, the excessive construction activity taking place in Delhi were equally, if not more, to blame.

But Amarinder Singh took no solace from this data. Nor could this blame game help any of them to “assuage our own guilt in a matter of such serious national consequence”, he said.

“The harsh truth is that while all of us are busy conveniently passing the buck to one another, Delhi’s people are reeling under excruciating misery, and are facing one of the worse ever health disasters in the nation’s, possibly the world’s, history,” he wrote.

Observing that “the situation continues to aggravate while we all play ball over the people’s pain and grief,” the Chief Minister said the crux of the problem was that “we have persistently and foolishly refused to rise above political considerations to launch a collective search for a permanent solution”.

“The solutions each one of us, the so-called stakeholders, have been proffering from time to time are but knee-jerk interventions that translate into nothing more than a case of ‘too little, too late’ every time (sic),” he said.

The Chief Minister further wrote that Punjab had tried to enforce the law against stubble burning as much as possible, and was even penalising the farmers, “even though it goes against my conscience to punish a community that has suffered, and continues to suffer, at the hands of an ungrateful nation”.

But that, he added, “does not really deter the farmers from resorting to burning of the paddy straw to keep their pathetic margins from falling further.”

Delhi and Haryana, too, were doing what they could, in their own ways, he pointed out, but added that the role of the Centre had remained dubious in the whole affair, even though the central government was the biggest stakeholder of national prosperity.

Amarinder Singh further wrote that he had expected the government of India “to have taken the matter in its able hands long back, to find a holistic solution to this grave problem”.

That, unfortunately, had not happened till date, despite even the Supreme Court expressing its concern on the rapidly deteriorating situation, he lamented.

The Chief Minister recalled that he had personally suggested to the Prime Minister and other union ministers, on several occasions, a separate bonus amount of Rs 100 per quintal to facilitate stubble management by the farmers.

“Perhaps your government does not feel that is the right solution, which would explain its failure to respond positively to my request,” he added.

But then, asked the Chief Minister, “what is that solution that can end this grave problem once and for all?”

“Is it not your government’s task, Mr Prime Minister, to search for that permanent solution, in consultation with all the other stakeholders, including Punjab, Delhi and Haryana?” he further went on to say.

Stressing the need for the Centre’s urgent intervention, the Chief Minister concluded, in his letter, “After all, what is at stake goes way beyond our petty political ambitions.”


Congress leader Sushmita Dev tests Covid positive in Assam, tally 14,032

Gogoi’s legal counsel Santanu Barthakur told the media, “In the morning, I received the news that Gogoi has tested positive for Covid-19.”



Sushmita Dev

Guwahati/Silchar, July 9 : While former Congress Lok Sabha member Sushmita Dev has tested positive for coronavirus, the Assam government refuted the media reports that Akhil Gogoi, jailed top farmers leader, tested Covid-19 positive.

On Thursday, Covid-19 death toll rose to 24 and number of cases jumped to 14,032 in the state.

All India Mahila Congress (AIMC) chief and the party”s national spokesperson Dev, daughter of former Union Minister Santosh Mohan Dev, was on Wednesday admitted to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital after she tested nCoV positive.

“I have tested positive for Covid-19. I am asymptomatic as of now,” the 48-year-old Congress leader tweeted. Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra inquired about her health.

On Akhil Gogoi testing Covid-19 positive, Inspector General of Prisons Dasarath Das said he had not received any such report from the health department.

Gogoi’s legal counsel Santanu Barthakur told the media, “In the morning, I received the news that Gogoi has tested positive for Covid-19.”

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samitee (KMSS) founder is lodged in the Guwahati Central Jail for the past seven months for his role in the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.

On Wednesday, two associates of Gogoi, who are in the judicial custody, tested Covid-19 positive.

Meanwhile, during the day two more Covid-19 deaths were reported in the state, taking the toll to 24, while the number of cases rose to 14,032.

Two more Covid-19 patients, aged 70 and 56, succumbed to the infection this morning at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, tweeted Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

The Health Department is conducting door-to-door Covid-19 testing in Guwahati from Tuesday. The campaign in the Pandu area of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation is being personally monitored by Sarma.

According to the health officials, the number of Covid-19 cases in Assam has climbed to 14,032. Of this, 5,279 are active as 8,726 people have been discharged, three migrated to other states and 24 died.

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Goa faces health, finance, law and order emergencies: Kamat

Kamat said Goa was not just facing a health emergency, but also an emergency related to its finances as well as the law and order.




Digambar Kamat

Panaji, July 9 : Goa was in a health, finance and law and order emergency and “no one could say what will happen” in the state over the next 15 days, said Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat, here on Thursday.

This was staated by the former Chief Minister at a time when Goa reported 136 cases, the new single-day high, on Wednesday and the geographic footprint of Covid-19 appeared to reach new areas.

One sitting MLA had tested positive and an ex-Health Minister died from Covid-19 some days back, Kamat said.

Last week, Clafasio Dias, BJP legislator from the Cuncolim seat, in a video on social media said he had tested Vovid-19 positive and been admitted to the designated Covid-19 hospital. Former Health Minister Suresh Amonkar, who was had co-morbid condition, died from Covid-19 on July 6.

Kamat also demanded a white paper from the Goa”s BJP-led coalition government on the coronavirus scenario in the state. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant was bound to inform the opposition legislators as well as common people about the pandemic and the efforts being made to tackle it.

In view of the rising Covid-19 cases, the Chief Minister has urged people not to venture out of homes and avoid unnecessary socialising to help check infection.

Kamat said Goa was not just facing a health emergency, but also an emergency related to its finances as well as the law and order.

“We know the government treasury is strained because of financial mismanagement and expenses related to Covid-19. Now the police is behaving in a high-handed manner,” Kamat said.

He was referring to detention of three persons in the remote Melaulim village in North Goa. They were picked up while addressing the media on government excesses in land acquisition for the upcoming Indian Institute of Technology campus in the village.

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Is Modi Govtr diluting India’s claim on Galwan Valley: Congress

“Dear PM. 1. Are you creating a ‘buffer zone’ in our own territory? 2. Are you pushing our forces back 2.4 KM in our territory? 3. Are you compromising on PP-14 being Indian territory?




surjewala modi

New Delhi, July 9 : The Congress on Thursday raised questions before Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the status of India’s position in the Galwan Valley. It asked whether a buffer zone in own territory was being created and the claim over the Galwan Valley being diluted.

Congress Chief Spokesperson Randeep Surjewala amid reports that the Indian forces were pulling back asked four questions to the Prime Minister.

“Dear PM. 1. Are you creating a ‘buffer zone’ in our own territory? 2. Are you pushing our forces back 2.4 KM in our territory? 3. Are you compromising on PP-14 being Indian territory? 4. Are you diluting India’s claim over Galwan Valley? India demands answers,” tweeted Surjewala.

He cited a news report in his tweet.

On June 15, Indian and Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers were engaged in brutal hand-to-hand combat at Patrolling Point 14. A total 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops were killed in the worst clash in four decades.

As per the agreement between the Corps Commanders, a buffer zone of at least 1.5 km on both sides of the Line of Actual Control has to be created in these areas.

Sources said that in Galwan Valley, the water level of the Galwan river has risen suddenly due to melting of snow, which could have forced the Chinese to move from the area faster. The Indian Army is reported to be using drones to verify Chinese movement as physical verification has been hindered by the rising water levels of the Galwan river.

The report says that at Pangong lake, the most contentious issue between the two sides, Chinese troops have moved up to Finger 4 where they have brought over 120 vehicles and dozen boats. The Chinese army has also opened up a new front in the area near the Depsang Bulge, a tabletop plateau north of Galwan. They have built camps and deployed vehicles and troops.

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