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‘Ex-HAL chief’s statements on Rafale factually incorrect’

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Rafale deal scam

New Delhi, Sep 20 : Government sources on Thursday dismissed as “factually incorrect” media reports of former Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) chief T.S. Raju claiming that the defence undertaking had signed a work-share contract with French company Dassault Aviation — the manufacturer of Rafale fighter jets.

“In the news item published (Thursday) ex Chairman and Managing Director, (CMD) HAL has been quoted as stating that an agreed work-share with Dassault Aviation (DA) was submitted to government. The same news item also referred to the cost of the aircraft, life cycle cost issues, etc. The statement attributed to ex CMD, HAL is factually incorrect,” said the sources.

The sources said that Raju was a member of the Contract Negotiations Committee of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and “there were many major areas of disagreement between HAL and DA”.

They said that the HAL, in a letter on Oct 10, 2012 to the MOD, “brought out these disagreements pertaining to the work-share between them”.

“Subsequently in July 2014, HAL in its letter to MOD has also highlighted one major unresolved issue regarding responsibility sharing between DA and HAL for licence manufacture of the aircraft.

“Further, the man hours required for manufacture of various components of the aircraft in HAL was also a point of disagreement between DA and HAL. There is, therefore, a contradiction in the claims attributed to Raju,” they said.

The sources also said that the since the work-share between DA and HAL was “never agreed upon”, the statement claiming lower life cycle cost is “completely presumptive”.

They said that because of these reasons, the proposal for 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) could not be progressed further.

In an interview to a national daily, Raju who retired from the HAL on Sep 1, asserted that HAL “could have built Rafale fighters in India had the government managed to close the original negotiations with Dassault”.

Riding on Raju’s statements, the Congress led by its president Rahul Gandhi demanded Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s resignation accusing her of “lying”.

The party claimed that Raju’s remarks “nailed Sitharaman’s lie” that HAL didn’t have the capability to build the Rafale.

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Cyclone Phethai intensifies; over 50 trains cancelled in Andhra Pradesh

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cyclone-phethai
Photo Credit- Hindustan Times

Vijayawada, Dec 17: Cyclone Phethai has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm over the Bay of Bengal and is set to hit the coast near Kakinada on Monday afternoon.

Following this, The South Central Railway has cancelled over 50 trains in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

As per the IMD report, Cyclone Phethai has moved further north-northwestwards with a speed of 26 kmph during past 06 hours. The storm has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm and lay centred at 17:30 hrs.

The cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 70-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph has been predicted. The Met department has also issued a warning of heavy rainfall over isolated areas in coastal Andhra, north Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Jharkhand, south Chhattisgarh, and the parts of West Bengal.

Many trains from Vijayawada to various destinations in coastal Andhra were suspended as a precautionary measure.

The Visakhapatnam-Guntur Simhadri Express, Guntur-Visakhapatnam Simhadri Express, Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada Ratnachalam Express, Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam Ratnachalam Express, Narsapur-Nidadavolu Link Express and Nidadavolu-Narsapu Link Express were among the trains cancelled.

Passenger trains between Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Guntur and Bhimavaram were also cancelled.

Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) passenger trains between Vijayawada and destinations like Rajahmundry, Kakinada Port, Tenali, Bhimavaram, Guntur and Machilipatnam, MEMU trains between Rajahmundry and Visakhapatnam, Visakhapatnam and Kakinada Port, Tenali and Guntur, Visakhapatnam and Rajahmundry, Rajahmundry and Bhimavaram, Bhimavaram and Nidadavolu, Rajahmundry and Narasapur and Narasapur and Guntur were also cancelled.

The other cancelled trains include Kakinada Port-Kotipalli Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) passenger, Kotipalli-Kakinada Port DMU passenger, Machilipatnam-Gudivada, Bhimavaram-Rajahmundry, Nidadavolu-Bhimavaram, Ongole-Guntur passenger trains.

Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway directed officials of divisions likely to be affected to be prepared to handle any emergency situation.

Helplines were opened at Vijayawada, Guntur and Guntakal station for round-the-clock monitoring of the situation.

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Winter Session: Lok Sabha adjourned till 2 pm

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Parliament

New Delhi, Dec 17: The house was adjourned till 2 p.m. after the members created a ruckus on a range of issues.

Earlier, Amid uproar Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the Triple Talaq Bill in the house.

Following this, Congress member Shashi Tharoor opposed the bill saying it is targetted at a particular religion and hence unconstitutional.

The bill was brought in as per the direction of the Supreme Court, retorts Prasad and said several women belonging to the Muslim community suffered because of an instant divorce.

Later, again the Lok Sabha was disrupted, prompting the speaker to adjourn the house.

Prior to this, the house was adjourned till 12 p.m. after the opposition created a ruckus on a host of issues.

Soon after the Lok Sabha resumed for the day, AIADMK and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) members trooped near the Speaker’s podium and started raising slogans.

The AIADMK members took the Cauvery water issue while the TDP sought special status for Andhra Pradesh.

The Congress members were seen sloganeering against the government for misleading the apex court on the Rafale deal.

They were countered by the Bharatiya Janata Party, who demanded an apology from Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan requested the agitating leaders to allow the Question Hour to progress but the members continued with their protest.

Amid the din she adjourned the House till 12 p.m.

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13 miners trapped: Very difficult and complicated situation, says Meghalaya CM

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Ksan, Dec 17: Flagging concern over the incident where 13 miners were trapped in a mine at Ksan in East Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Monday described the situation very difficult and complicated said that the NDRF trying to save them but it looks very difficult.

“Very difficult and complicated situation. NDRF trying to save them but it looks very difficult. No matter how many pumps we put, water force is too much to bring it down to a level where we can enter and save them”, he told ANI.

The CM also said that he spoke to Union Minister Kiren Rijiju regarding the incident and requested him to send more professional help.

“We’re trying really hard but the water level is really high, the day after this incident took place I spoke to Union Minister Kiren Rijiju and requested him to send more professional help”, Sangma asserted.

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