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Kangana bungalow demolition smacks of malice, says Bombay High Court

Ranaut had sought Rs 2 crore in damages from the BMC and urged the court to declare BMC’s action illegal

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Kangana Ranaut

Mumbai, November 27: The Bombay High Court on Friday has said the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) action of demolishing part of Kangana Ranaut’s bungalow here smacks of malafide and was done to cause substantial loss to the actor, and quashed the demolition order.

The court also said it did not approve of authorities using “muscle power” against any citizen.

A division bench of Justices SJ Kathawalla and RI Chagla noted that the action undertaken by the civic body left hardly “any manner of doubt” that it was unauthorised.

The bench was hearing Ranaut’s petition challenging the demolition carried out by the BMC at her Pali Hill bungalow in suburban Bandra on September 9.

“The civic body has proceeded to act wrongfully and illegally against the rights of a citizen,” the bench said.

Ranaut had sought Rs 2 crore in damages from the BMC and urged the court to declare BMC’s action illegal.

On the issue of compensation, the bench said it was appointing a valuer who would hear the petitioner and the BMC on monetary damages caused to her due to the demolition.

“The valuer shall by March 2021 pass appropriate orders on compensation,” the court said.

The civic body had opposed the plea and said the actor had brazenly and unlawfully carried out extensive alterations and additions to the bungalow in breach of its approved plan.

Ranaut had filed the petition on September 9 when the demolition process was initiated by the BMC. The court had in an interim order on September 9 stayed the demolition work. PTI

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Delhi schools to reopen today after 10 months , parents still hesitant

Schools have also been directed not to hold assemblies and physical outdoor activities.

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Children wearing mask

New Delhi, Jan 18: After being closed for nearly 10 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools in Delhi are set to reopen from Monday for students of Classes 10 and 12. However, parents are still in a quandary whether to allow their wards to attend.

The Delhi government has decided to reopen schools, shut since the first 21 day nationwide lockdown was imposed in March, 2020, in the view of the upcoming CBSE board exams.

Schools that reopen will have to follow the standard operating procedures (SOP) issued in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, including social distancing, compulsory mask wearing and sanitisation and others.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, in a tweet on Sunday, said: “Had a review meeting with senior Education Dept officials. Everyone is excited and a little nervous at having Class 10& 12 students back in schools from tmrw for practical/counselling. All preparations-sanitizers, masks, social distancing measures- are in place. Good luck to all!”

The Directorate of Education has made it clear that students can come to school only if their parents allow it, and the school administration cannot compel physical attendance of their students.

However, parents spoke to IANS were not sure if they would send their children to schools from Monday onwards.

“It’s not only me but most parents have made a unanimous consent not to send their children to school in this situation. As we all are aware that Covid-19 is still with us and our children can get affected. I can’t say all parents have the same thought but, yes, all are concerned about safety of their children,” said the mother of a Class 12 student in the Andhra Education Society School, ITO.

Sources told IANS that the schools administrations in Delhi have sought parents’ consent through an ‘NOC for offline classes’.

A letter issued by Preet Public School in Preet Vihar read: “As per the order of Delhi government, the school may start the offline classes for practical, doubt session, assignment activities related to CBSE examination 2021. The school will follow the SOP guidelines in respect of Covid-19 issued by MHA, Govt. of India.”

In the letter, parents have been asked to submit their consent in writing. Parents have to ensure that their children will wear face masks, carry hand sanitiser and maintain social distancing. Parents also have to ensure that there is no history of Covid-19 infection in their families.

“It has been over a week since we (parents) have been debating whether to send our children to school or not. See, practical classes are very important in view of exams preparation. If I talk about my own daughter, who is in Class 10, she has completed almost all the syllabus but practical classes are also important. I know, it is about the future of my daughter but, I would wait at least one week to see if school is fully safe from Covid-19,” said a mother of a Preet Public School student.

The Directorate of Education had earlier made it clear that physical attendance is not compulsory and students will attend schools only with the consent of parents. It had also said that only schools outside the containment zones will be allowed to reopen and teachers and school staff living in such areas will not be allowed to attend schools.

Schools have also been directed not to hold assemblies and physical outdoor activities.

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Cold wave conditions persist in north India

Meanwhile, the Met officials said that fog reduced visibility early in the morning at most places in the two states.

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Cold Winter Weather

New Delhi, Jan 17 : Parts of north India remained under the grip of an intense cold wave on Sunday with night temperatures dropping below the 5 degrees Celsius-mark at some places and dense fog enveloping several areas.

The minimum temperature in Delhi dropped to 5.7 degrees Celsius but it is likely to rise over the next two days due to a change in the wind direction, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The national capital will see shallow fog on Monday morning and light rain is likely to occur, the IMD said. The city’s minimum and maximum temperatures are expected to settle around 8 and 17 degrees Celsius.

An IMD official said easterly winds are blowing in Delhi that are not as cold as northwesterly winds coming in from the snow-clad western Himalayas.

Hence, the minimum temperature is likely to rise by a few notches over the next two days.

Meanwhile, Delhi’s air quality index (AQI) improved slightly to the ‘very poor’ category from ‘severe’ on Saturday as favourable wind speed helped in dispersion of pollutants.

The city’s AQI was 329 at 8.30 pm on Sunday. The 24-hour average AQI was 407 on Saturday, 460 on Friday, 429 on Thursday, and 354 on Wednesday.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.

Intense cold wave conditions persisted in Kashmir, even as the minimum temperatures increased marginally across the valley.

The meteorological department said a western disturbance is likely to affect Jammu and Kashmir for a few days starting January 22, bringing snowfall and rain to the union territory.

The night temperature in Kashmir improved slightly but remained several notches below the freezing point, a Met department official said.

Srinagar city — the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir — recorded a low of minus 7.6 degrees Celsius, up from minus 8.2 degrees Celsius the previous night, he said.

Pahalgam, which also serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 8.7 degrees Celsius, up from the previous night’s minus 9.4 degrees Celsius.

Qazigund was the coldest place in Jammu and Kashmir with a minimum temperature of minus 9 degrees Celsius, the official said.

The intense cold wave in Kashmir has resulted in the freezing of water supply lines in several areas. A thick layer of ice has covered several roads, making it difficult for motorists to drive.

Several water bodies, including the famous Dal Lake, have also frozen. The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and river police are conducting patrolling around the frozen water bodies to ensure the safety of people.

Parts of Uttar Pradesh witnessed dense fog and cold day to severe cold day conditions prevailed at isolated places.

Churk in Sonbhadra district was the coldest place in the state with a minimum temperature of 4.6 degrees Celsius, it said.

Agra recorded a low of 6.3 degrees Celsius, followed by 6.6 degrees Celsius in Kanpur and 8.7 degrees Celsius in Jhansi.

The weather department said dense to very dense fog is very likely to occur in the morning at a few places in the state on Monday and cold day conditions are also very likely to prevail at isolated places over the state, it said.

Weather is most likely to remain dry in the state. Shallow to moderate fog is very likely to occur at isolated places over the state on Tuesday and Wednesday, it added.

Cold weather conditions continued to persist at many places in Haryana and Punjab with temperatures hovering below the normal limits.

According to the Met department, Narnaul in Haryana reeled under intense cold, recording a low of 2.5 degrees Celsius, three notches below normal limits.

Hisar, too, experienced a cold night at 3.4 degrees Celsius, down four notches, while Sirsa, Bhiwani and Rohtak registered below normal minimums at 4 degrees Celsius, 4.7 degrees, and 5.6 degrees respectively.

In Punjab, Bathinda recorded below normal minimum at 3.4 degrees, while Faridkot and Gurdaspur, too, recorded below normal lows at 5.5 degrees and 7 degrees Celsius respectively.

Chandigarh, the common capital of the two states, recorded a low of 8.3 degrees Celsius.

During the past few days, maximum temperatures, too, have been hovering 6-10 notches below normal at most places in the two states and Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, the Met officials said that fog reduced visibility early in the morning at most places in the two states.

In Rajasthan, night temperatures dipped by a few degrees in parts and Pilani was the coldest place recording a temperature of .4 degrees Celsius followed by Churu which shivered at 1.9 degrees.

Dense fog also engulfed many parts of the state.

Ganganagar, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Alwar, Bundi and Dabok recorded 2.5, 6.1, 6.3, 7.4, 9.6 and 10 degrees respectively.

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‘Corrupt officials, leaders involved in IndiGo manager’s murder’

“Five days since the incident, there is no headway into the investigation of Rupesh Singh’s murder and it indicates a nexus of corrupt officials, leaders and land, sand and liquor mafia,” Yadav said.

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Four-time Lok Sabha MP and Jan Adhikar Party (Loktantrik) President Pappu Yadav has levelled sensational allegations on the nexus of corrupt officials, politicians and mafia in Bihar who may be involved in the murder of IndiGo Airlines manager Rupesh Kumar Singh.

“Five days since the incident, there is no headway into the investigation of Rupesh Singh’s murder and it indicates a nexus of corrupt officials, leaders and land, sand and liquor mafia,” Yadav said.

“As per our information, Rupesh Singh was reportedly involved in tenders of Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) and electricity departments. He was part of a company which managed to obtain a licence for a canal in Darbhanga. These could be the reasons behind his murder on the orders of unknown nexus in Bihar,” Yadav added.

“The matter needs to be investigated thoroughly by an independent agency monitored by a sitting judge of the high court,” Yadav said.

He said if the Bihar government wants to make the state crime-free, it should identify persons involved in land, sand and liquor mafia and their properties should be recommended for investigation by the Enforcement Directorate.

“They are by and large involved in criminal incidents in Bihar and are shielded by political leaders and officials,” he said.

He said the annual income of the Nitish Kumar-led government through liquor revenue was Rs 4,000 crore before a blanket ban was implemented in the state in 2016. Now corrupt officials and leaders are earning double the income through it.

Yadav also levelled allegations on two senior IAS officers holding posts as Principal Secretary and District Magistrate (DM), respectively. He said the former was the CMD of Bihar State Power Holding Corporation Ltd (BSPHCL) in 2018 and had sent five non-qualified women to foreign countries for training on state government’s expenses. While the latter had given arms licences to 70 persons having criminal records when he was the Katihar DM. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) enquiry is currently underway against him and he is on leave right now.

“We request Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to recommend to the Centre for their termination from their posts,” he said.

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