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Indian cities, states step up climate action plans




San Francisco, Sep 14: At the Global Climate Action Summit, mayors and government functionaries of Indian cities have announced to scale up their actions to combat climate change and to protect people from hazardous climate impacts.

Speaking at the high-level forum on India Climate Actions, convened by NRDC and partners, officials, mayors and organization leaders detailed their plans ranging from heat action to cool roofs and building codes.

In a significant step that will save thousands of lives, Maharashtra Principal Secretary for Financial Reforms Sujata Saunik said six more states would adopt heat action plans.

Soon all 17 states prone to extreme heat will have plans in place to protect communities from deadly temperatures, said the US-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) quoting the Indian official.

Currently, 30 cities and 11 states in India have such plans, which enable vulnerable groups to take life-saving precautions.

On cool roofs, Telangana Principal Secretary Arvind Kumar said Hyderabad intends to convert 1,000 buildings to cool roofs as part of the city’s Heat Action Plan.

Cool roofs will be used on all low income government housing, as well as on schools and hospitals, to lower indoor temperatures without using electricity.

Ahmedabad Mayor Bijalben Patel said her city will develop a citywide cool roofs policy by 2019.

To increase the energy efficiency of India’s construction boom, Kumar said five more cities in Telangana would adopt energy conservation building codes and online compliance systems by 2020.

Buildings currently account for 30 per cent of India’s electricity consumption.

He also launched a new case study here entitled ‘Getting Climate Ready’ which is aimed at helping other cities and states formulate their own efficient building codes.

For tackling air pollution, Mayor Patel of Ahmedabad discussed the city’s innovative Air Information Response (AIR) Plan, and previewed the findings of a forthcoming study on the plan’s effectiveness.

Combustion of fossil fuels is a major contributor to air pollution in India.

Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak said the city will have 500 electric buses serving residents by 2020, and that all diesel buses will be eliminated by 2021.

Similarly, Telangana will increase its number of electric buses from 40 now to 2,000 by 2019.

As part of the state’s soon-to-be-released Electric Vehicle Policy, all new three-wheel rickshaws must be electric, as no new diesel three-wheelers will be allowed.

Telangana Principal Secretary Kumar said the government aimed to increase solar power capacity by 500 MW by promoting solar parks and rooftops.

The NRDC and the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) announced plans to provide 15,000 more solar powered pumps to saltpan farmers in Gujarat.

The NRDC and SEWA also launched a new residential energy project to facilitate access to solar-powered lights, cleaner cookstoves and more efficient appliances. Starting in two pilot villages, the program plans to scale quickly to 10 locations.

During the climate action summit, Pune Mayor Tilak accepted a Policy Innovation Award in honor of a city program employing 3,000 women to collect waste door-to-door from 600,000 houses.

Women in the cooperative ensure that waste is sorted properly for recycling, she said.

Ahmedabad Mayor Patel has also prioritized waste management and pledged that her city will be zero waste by 2031.



New Delhi: Indian Youth Congress takes out torch rally to protest against Farm Bills 2020



Youth Congress Farm Protest

New Delhi: Upping its ante against the government over the controversial farm Bills, the Youth Congress on Thursday took out a ‘Mashaal Juloos’ (torch rally) saying the party will always stand by the 60 crore farmers against the “black laws” and it will support all the organisations fighting for the farmers’ rights.

Hundreds of Indian Youth Congress activists led by its chief Srinivas B.V. and national incharge Krishna Allavaru started the torch rally from Raisina Road to India Gate. However, the Delhi Police stopped the torch rally before India Gate. Speaking to media, Allavaru said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi before coming to power in 2014 had promised two crore jobs to youths every year and double the income of the farmers. But now the government has brought the black laws to snatch the lands of the farmers.”

Accusing the government of being anti-farmer, Srinivas said that Youth Congress will stand with 60 crore farmers of the country and will fight the government to force it to withdraw the “anti-farmer” laws.

He also said that now the farmers will not be hoodwinked by the false promises of the Modi government and will fight for their rights on the streets of the country.

“The government talked about providing jobs and the upliftment of farmers, but with the anti-farmer black laws, the government is on the verge of making India farmer-free,” he said.

He also said that IYC will support all those organisation which will fight for the farmers’ rights.

On Wednesday also the IYC had taken out tractor rally from Panipat to New Delhi. The tractor rally, however, was stopped by the Haryana Police in Panipat’s Samalkha and hundreds of Youth Congress activits were detained.

The Congress has also planned nationwide agitations and programmes against the controversial farm Bills passed in Rajya Sabha on Sunday. The Congress has announced to collect two crore signatures of farmers from across the country by November 14 that it will submit to President Ram Nath Kovind asking him to not give his assent to the Bills.

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Congress draws up detailed plan for protests against farm Bills

Addressing a press conference, he said: I want to make two points in the context of what happened in the Rajya Sabha… I want to ask if there was any quorum or not… 5 to 7 people asked for division in front of me, but nobody paid heed.




Kisan Tractor Rally

New Delhi: The Congress, which is protesting against the farm Bills passed by the Parliament, has chalked out a detailed programme of agitation, which will begin on September 26 with an online “Speak up for Farmers” campaign.

The party has also set up a “Save Farmer and Labour” committee.

On September 28, the party will organise a march from the Rajghat to the Raj Bhavan, and on October 2, the party will burn the effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in each assembly segment. A signature campaign will be held from October 2 to October 31, while a state-level farmers’ convention will be organised on October 10.

“BJP’s anti-farmer Bills ensure the profitability of a few in exchange of the prosperity of our farmers. These Bills are a direct attack on the backbone of our nation,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference, he said: “I want to make two points in the context of what happened in the Rajya Sabha… I want to ask if there was any quorum or not… 5 to 7 people asked for division in front of me, but nobody paid heed.”

The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha amid an uproar by opposition members that led to eight of them being suspended from the House.

“There is no mention of MSP, no criteria for pricing… despite that you are tricking the nation by saying that we have not removed MSP,” Singhvi said.

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‘Govt Insecure of Voices of Dissent’: Cong Fumes After Salman Khurshid, Udit Raj Named in Delhi Riots Chargesheet



Salman Khurshid

New Delhi: The Congress hit out at the Modi government Thursday after Delhi police named its leaders Salman Khurshid and Udit Raj in a charge sheet filed in the February riot cases, saying it will “neither cow down nor bow down before authoritarianism”. “The FIR against Salman Khurshid, Udit Raj and others reflects the mortal fear and cowardice of the Modi government. These are men and women of proven track record and of stellar service to the nation. Not surprising that a narcissist government gets insecure of voices of dissent,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted.

The Delhi police charge sheet has said Khurshid and Raj were among politicians who gave provocative speeches during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Police have referred to former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan and a protected witness and said they told them about the speeches in their disclosure statements. The charge sheet said the protected witness stated in the statement, recorded under CrPC Section 161 (examination by police), that several big names such as Raj, Khurshid, CPM leader Brinda Karat had come to the Khureji protest site and gave “provocative speech”.

“Whether in the Parliament or the restless streets of India, the Modi government subjugates, suppresses and suffocates dialogue and discussion. PM Modi detests such democratic principles. Let it be remembered – we’ll neither cow down nor bow down before authoritarianism,” Surjewala added in a second tweet. Other Congress leaders too voiced their disapproval at their colleagues finding a mention in the charge sheet. Ahmed Patel said it is “shameful” that the BJP government is “falsely harassing” senior politicians like Khurshid, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechuri and others.

Yechury, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, economist Jayati Ghosh and Delhi University professor Apoorvanand were named in a supplementary charge sheet filed recently in the riot cases for “provoking and mobilizing” anti-CAA protesters. “These leaders have an impeccable record of fostering communal harmony, the Delhi police’s charges are not only wrong but also laughable,” Patel said in a tweet.

Jairam Ramesh tweeted, “A former Foreign Minister and Law Minister, Salman Khurshid is amongst the nicest, gentlest, learned, nationalistic, secular Indians I have known, and he figures in a chargesheet! It is a SHAME on the Delhi Police and its true and two masters.” Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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