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Jagan government to shut 40% bars in Andhra Pradesh

The state currently has 798 bars, which will be closed by January and new licences would be issued on lottery basis after cutting down their numbers.

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Amaravati, Nov 19 : Taking another major step towards total alcohol prohibition in Andhra Pradesh, the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government on Tuesday decided to shut down 40 per cent bars in the state.

At a review meeting on the implementation of prohibition in phases, Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy directed the officials to reduce the number of existing bars by 40 per cent.

The state currently has 798 bars, which will be closed by January and new licences would be issued on lottery basis after cutting down their numbers.

The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government also proposes to increase liquor price in bars to further discourage its consumption.

Minister for Excise Narayana Swamy said that it was also decided to impose time restrictions on bars. They will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. but food would be allowed to be served till 11 p.m. Bars in star hotels would be allowed to remain open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The minister warned that heavy penalty would be imposed against bootleggers and non-bailable cases would be registered against them.

Reducing the number of bars is another major step taken by Jagan Mohan Reddy since coming to power in May. He had promised total prohibition in phases. In the final phase, he wants to confine the sale of liquor to five star hotels only.

He earlier ordered a crack down on belt shops or illegal outlets of licenced liquor shops. Narayan Swamy claimed that 43,000 belt shops were closed in the crackdown.

The government took over the retail liquor business from October and increased liquor price. It cut down the number of liquor shops from 4,380 to 3,500. All the shops are currently run by the state-owned Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corporation Limited (APBCL). The business hours of the wine shops were also curtailed.

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Sacked DTC staff make it dramatic for AAP

“This is like a job fair for us. We want a job and this is that for us. We are contesting against Kejriwal to save the Constitution and the common man,” Sharma told IANS.

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Kejriwal for Nomination

New Delhi, Jan 21 : The last day of nominations for the February 8 Assembly elections turned dramatic for the ruling Aam Aadmi Party as close to 30 sacked DTC employees filed their candidature ahead of the Delhi Chief Minister, who waited for close to seven hours to file his nomination with token number 45 in hand.

Kejriwal reached the office of the Returning Officer (RO) to file his nomination from the New Delhi Assembly seat around 12.30 p.m. on Tuesday. However, even at 7 p.m. he was still waiting for his turn.

The Chief Minister was accompanied by his wife and parents along with party leaders Pankaj Gupta and Gopal Mohan.

As the clock ticked 3 p.m. — the deadline for the filing nomination — the anxiety prevailed among the party leaders and volunteers as the party’s chief minister face was yet to file the nominations.

Though the deadline for filing nominations was 3 p.m., all those who have been given token, would be allowed to submit their papers.

Party’s spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj went on to call it “nuisance”, adding an organised group of 50 candidates was taking tokens to file nomination at New Delhi every day for the last 4 days. “But they were not filing nominations. They just wanted to harass Kejriwal. This situation was very much in the knowledge of the RO & DM,” said Bhardwaj.

Earlier, he said around 35 candidates sitting at the RO office with CM, “without” proper nomination papers. “They are calling their proposers on phone to come. They are insisting unless their papers are complete and they file their nomination, they won’t allow the CM to file his papers,” Bhardwaj said.

However, this partially turned out to be true as a huge number of those in the list were the sacked DTC contractual employees.

The drivers and conductors of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), who lost their contract jobs, had last year floated a political party, the ‘Mazdoor Ekta Party’. However, just only one among them filed from the party, while close to 30 sacked DTC employees are contesting the election as an Independent against Kejriwal.

Manoj Sharma, one of the members of the DTC Contractual Employees Union, who filed his papers as an Independent, said they do not have any job.

“This is like a job fair for us. We want a job and this is that for us. We are contesting against Kejriwal to save the Constitution and the common man,” Sharma told IANS.

When asked if this is just to trouble the Chief Minister, Sharma said the DTC employees have a strong vote base and will win against Kejriwal.

He said this is not just the only seat where the sacked DTC candidates are filing nominations. “On several other seats as well the sacked employees are filing the papers,” he added.

While the AAP leaders seemed annoyed with the delay, Kejriwal called the other contestants his family.

“Many of them are filing for the first time. They are bound to make mistakes. We also made mistakes the first time. We should hand-hold them. I am enjoying waiting with them. They are all part of my family,” Kejriwal tweeted, in response to Bhardwaj’s tweet.

Delhi Deputy Cheif Minister Manish Sisodia, however, said the other contestants were planted by the BJP.

“The BJP has put 45 candidates before Kejriwal. The Election Commission is deliberately giving a long time to every candidate, whose papers are not complete or even to those whose proposal is not ready so that Kejriwal can be prevented from filling the nominations,” Sisodia tweeted.

He said Kejriwal cannot be stopped.

Delhi goes to the polls on February 8 and Tuesday was the last date for filing nominations.

(Nivedita Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

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57 fire tenders battle Surat fire

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Fire Tendor Crane

Surat, Jan 21 : At least 57 fire tenders were rushed to douse a massive fire that broke out early Tuesday at the Raghuvir textile market in Gujarat’s Surat town.

The 10-storey building was in flames in the Saroli area. The cause of the fire is not yet known, sources said. Officials said no loss of life had been reported so far.

The sources said the fire is under control and and cooling operation is underway.

Surat city fire officials said the fire call in the Raghuvir textile market was received by the fire station around 3 a.m.

The damage done by the fire will be estimated after the cooling operation is completed, sources added.

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Black kites with ‘No-CAA, NRC’ fly in Lucknow

The police have also recovered huge quantities of black kites with “No CAA, NRC”, written on them from the accused persons.

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Black kites with NO CAA NRC
Protesters agitate against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 and National Register of Citizens (NRC) by flying black kites with 'No CAA, NRC' written on them in Lucknow on Jan 21, 2020.

Lucknow, Jan 21 : About a dozen persons, including children, have been detained for flying black kites with ‘No CAA, NRC written on them in Lucknow on Tuesday.

It was around the same time when Union Home Minister Amit Shah was addressing a pro-CAA rally in Bangla Bazaar area here. More than a dozen persons were seen flying black kites in the posh Mall Avenue area.

As soon as the police received information, they rushed to the spot and brought down the kites. Some of those flying kites ran away but some have been detained.

The police have also recovered huge quantities of black kites with “No CAA, NRC”, written on them from the accused persons.

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