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Indo-Bangladesh border to be sealed by June 2017: Government

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New Delhi, June 2 : The central government on Thursday set a deadline of one year to completely seal the 223.7 km Indo-Bangladesh border in Assam and hoped the entire exercise will be completed by June 2017.

The sealing of borders including riverine areas and “technological barriers” will have to be completed by June, 2017, it was announced at a high-level meeting here attended among others by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

The decision of the government comes close on the heels of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government taking charge in Assam.

In the run up to the polls, the party had pledged to complete sealing of the international border with Bangladesh in order to prevent illegal immigration.

“Additional Director General, Border Security Force and Additional Director General (Border), CPWD are already on site visit on Indo-Bangladesh Border in Assam to prepare comprehensive plan for sealing the border by June, 2017 by means of physical and non-physical barriers,” an official spokesman said here.

The 223.7 km Indo-Bangladesh border in Assam should be sealed, the Home Minister said in presence of Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, Secretary, Border Management, Susheel Kumar along with senior officials of the department of Border Management, the spokesman said.

However, sources said there are 122 locations (60.7 km.) where there is no physical barrier.

“In order to achieve the objective of sealing of Indo-Bangladesh border it was decided that 100 locations covering 11.9 km will have physical barrier,” the source said.

At the meeting, the Secretary, Border Management, briefed the ministers about the progress of border security infrastructure, programmes of border management and the way forward.

“It was informed that 4,374 km fence, 5,329.6 km border roads, 3,974 km floodlights and 2,420 numbers Border Out Posts (BOPs) have been constructed along the international borders for security of the borders,” an official release said.

The government has also claimed that major impediments hampering the development of border infrastructure have been resolved during last two years which will increase the pace of development of border infrastructure in coming years.

“In the meeting it was also outlined that almost all the remaining infrastructure works at the border will be completed in next three years,” the release said.

The Home Minister further directed that full use of technological solutions be made to secure sensitive areas along the borders.

This will involve networking of equipments like high resolution cameras, radars, unattended ground sensors, optical fibres, infra red sensors, aerostats, hand-held thermal imagers and integration of these with command and control architecture, the release said.

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Andhra govt petitions SC to defer Panchayat polls

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The Andhra Pradesh government has challenged the High Court’s green signal to conduct rural local bodies elections through a special leave petition in the Supreme Court.

In its petition on Thursday, the government said that it amounts to risking employees’ lives amid the coronavirus pandemic to go to elections at a time when the Covid vaccination drive was being held.

The petition pointed out that the State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar was not a medical expert to decide on the polls at a time when the vaccination drive was on, and alleged that he did not even consult any expert.

According to the petition, Kumar unilaterally went ahead with the election schedule, despite the state government highlighting that vaccination is of utmost importance now, amid the prevailing conditions.

The state government aims to start vaccinating its police forces from the first week of February, who are the frontline workers and already engaged in vaccine security, shipping and other tasks.

Likewise, the petition pointed out that Kumar has two more months left in the office and was adamant to conduct polls during his tenure at any cost, disregarding public health.
People will be compelled to participate in elections without taking a vaccine, which will pose a threat to their lives, said the petition.

Meanwhile, ruling YSRCP leader Vishwaroop said the government prioritises public health over the elections. “YSRCP will sweep elections on any given day. Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy went to polls alone several times,” said Vishwaroop.

Several other senior leaders assailed the SEC’s alleged unilateral decision.

Already, several government employee unions have opposed elections at this juncture, saying their lives are more important than the hustings.

Conduct of the rural local bodies’ elections has emerged as a major bone of contention between the government and the State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar.
These elections were originally supposed to have been held in 2018 when the tenure of the local bodies expired back then but were not held.

However, Reddy thought of going to the polls in March 2020 but Kumar did not give the green signal, citing the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a major standoff between the two.

Reddy accused Kumar of acting at the behest of opposition leader Nara Chandrababu Naidu and even tried to replace him, which backfired as the SEC has Constitutional protection equal to a Supreme Court judge.

With just two more months left as the SEC, Kumar is keen on conducting the polls which the state government is opposing, citing the coronavirus pandemic and the gigantic vaccination drive.

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Cong to get elected party chief by June: Venugopal

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The Congress will have an ‘elected’ party President by June, its General Secretary (Organisations) KC Venugopal said here on Friday after a crucial Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting.

Party sources said that several senior party leaders had raised the issue of CWC elections as well, which led to heated arguments. The party however denied any such happening.

Venugopal said that no dispute whatsoever on organisational elections arose at the “fruitful meeting”.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting that went on for three-and-a-half hours, Venugopal said: “The CWC discussed the organisational elections slated to be held in May. But CWC members unanimously requested interim chief Sonia Gandhi that the party elections should not interfere with Assembly polls in several states in the coming months.”

He said that the CWC members thereby requested for rescheduling of the organisational elections. “Finally, the CWC decided that an elected party President will be on the post in June 2021 at any cost,” Venugopal said.

As for ‘heated arguments’ between former Union Ministers Anand Sharma, Ghulam Nabi Azad and others who differed on the organisational elections, the Congress leader said: “There was no big debate in the CWC. We will conduct party election as per its constitution. And the schedule will be out very soon.”

“Some change in schedule was required due to coming Assembly elections (in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal, and Puducherry) and that was taken into consideration; the party will announce the election schedule accordingly,” he said.

Asked if there was demand for elections to the CWC as well, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: “Don’t get misguided. Don’t fall for rumours. The leaders whose names have been taken are not dissenters — they are our respected leaders and they are our family members. And we all were unanimous that the party election schedule be postponed for a month.”

Even as Surjewala said that there were not heated arguments in the meeting, the party source present there said that Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot raised the issue of demand by a few leaders for organisational elections and questioned if they had no faith in Congress leadership.

A fuming Anand Sharma, one of the 23 signatories to a letter to Sonia Gandhi in August last year, retorted by demanding CWC elections as well.

“We will have to look into the party constitution once again to see if elections to the posts of Congress President and Working President can be held simultaneously or not. Elections will definitely be held — we are not saying that elections to the CWC will not be held, Venugopal said.

–IANS

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Kisan Congress demands Rahul be made party chief

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The Kisan Congress on Friday passed a resolution for making Rahul Gandhi the president of the party.

In a statement, Kisan Congress vice chairman Surendra Solanki said, “Kisan Congress stands in solidarity with party chief Sonia Gandhi. And, it always remains indebted to her for the strong leadership and making the party strong.”

“But if there is any change in the party’s top leadership, then the Kisan Congress will stand with Rahul Gandhi. And the Kisan Congress working committee has passed a resolution to make Rahul Gandhi as the party President,” it said.

It also said, “Looking at the farmers’ agitation, issues of unemployment besides others, the country needs the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.”

The demand of the Kisan Congress came just hours before the crucial CWC meeting, the highest decision making body of the party. Sources said the CWC will also discuss the schedule of the election for the party president’s post.

Source: IANS

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