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Kejriwal orders action against corruption in RTO

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New Delhi, July 17: After a surprise inspection of one of Delhi’s biggest Regional Transport Offices, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday warned of strict action against officers who indulge in corruption with help from touts.

As Kejriwal and Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot landed at the RTO office at Burari, scores of agitated drivers of autorickshaws and commercial vehicles virtually mobbed them, complaining that nothing happens without the touts’ involvement.

“All the auto drivers and commercial vehicle drivers have complained that it is only when they come through a tout that their work is done quickly,” Kejriwal later told the media.

“Otherwise, the work remains pending for months. We will take strict action against all the officers found indulging in corrupt practices,” he said.

He announced that from August 1, all the work done at Burari RTO would be decentralized and that the Delhi government would try to open 5,000 vehicle fitness centres across Delhi.

“Earlier, people had to stand in long queues to get a fitness certificate. This also led to rampant corruption. Now, we will decentralize and open 5,000 more centres in Delhi,” he said.

Kejriwal instructed officers to make a list of all the complaints and the action taken for the last 10 days and submit a report to him by 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

IANS

India

PM Modi holds telephonic conversation with President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani

Mr Ghani thanked Mr Modi for timely supply of food and medical assistance to meet Afghan requirement.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reiterated India’s commitment to the people of Afghanistan in their quest for a peaceful, prosperous and inclusive Afghanistan.

Mr Modi today had a telephonic conversation with President of Afghanistan Dr Ashraf Ghani. Both leaders exchanged greetings on the joyous festival of Eid- ul -Adha.

Mr Ghani thanked Mr Modi for timely supply of food and medical assistance to meet Afghan requirement.

The two leaders also exchanged views on the evolving security situation in the region and other areas of mutual bilateral interest.

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India

Air India pilots allege blatant discrimination by management

“Why is the cost of the inefficiency of the Personnel Department being paid by pilots?” they asked.

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Air India 777

New Delhi, Aug 3 : Alleging blatant discrimination by Air India’s Personnel and Finance Departments, the pilots have told the national carrier’s management that if such behaviour continues unchecked, the Director, Personnel will be responsible for the consequences.

In a letter to Air India Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Bansal, the pilots’ associations, the Indian Commercial Pilots Association and the Indian Pilots Guild, have alleged that the management is discriminating against the pilots.

“We request you to kindly direct the concerned departments to clear backlogged files as well as outstanding dues for all pilots. We have cooperated unconditionally above and beyond the call of duty to ensure smooth flight operations. This blatant discrimination, among other grievances, has severely hampered our morale and faith in these departments. If such behaviour continues unchecked, the Director, Personnel will be responsible for the consequences to follow,” the pilots said.

“We would like to bring to your notice the lackadaisical attitude of the Personnel and Finance Departments in ensuring timely action and payment when it comes to pilots,” the letter said.

“When it comes to doling out promotions en masse for themselves or other support departments, not even a pandemic or national lockdown can dent their enthusiasm. When even retrospective deductions are made on our wages with immediate effect by way of prompt circulars, why do the same people drag their feet when it comes to clearing our rightful dues or honouring our service conditions?” the pilots asked.

Citing examples of this “lackadaisical attitude”, the pilots said that the Special Pay increment, as per the bilateral wage agreement between the management and the ICPA of January 1, 2016, mentions a yearly increment as per years of service in the grade.

“No increment has been made in special pay since 2019. This routine exercise is never given priority, as pilots are the prime beneficiaries. Further, despite clear directions from the Hon. Supreme Court, the 2016 wage has been illegally and unilaterally imposed upon pilots of the IPG who already have a separate bilateral wage agreement. The TMU (Temporary Medically Unfit) Insurance compensation for pilots is never paid on time. Pilots are made to run after their files from one department to the next till there are no more excuses to delay processing. At times, the delay is in years,” they said.

The pilots alleged that the Captain or Commander Grade revision is never carried out on time, despite being a routine annual exercise.

Then, the Personnel Department’s draft Establishment orders are replete with mistakes/omissions which has to be corrected through repeated representations, they said. After all this unnecessary delay, when the order is eventually released, the financial benefits accrue from the date of the Establishment order and not from the actual date of promotion, they said.

“Why is the cost of the inefficiency of the Personnel Department being paid by pilots?” they asked.

The PMU (Permanently Medical Unfit) compensation to any affected pilot is again never paid on time. As mentioned above, the affected pilot is made to run from pillar to post for his/her rightful compensation. “Please note that these pilots have lost their source of livelihood as they are permanently grounded. They are being let down by the company

when they need it the most,” the pilots said.

They also said that the retirement benefits of recent retirees are yet to be cleared. The treatment meted out to these loyal long-serving employees of Air India is unethical, as per the pilots.

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Cities

Delhi govt bans use of hookah in hotels, restaurants to stem COVID-19 spread

Delhi has so far recorded 1,38,482 COVID-19 cases and 4,021 people have died due to the disease.

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New Delhi, Aug 3 : The Delhi government on Monday banned the use of hookahs, with or without tobacco, in all public places, including hotels, restaurants and bars, with immediate effect to control the spread of COVID-19.

Smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as smoking means the fingers are in contact with the lips which increases the possibility of transmission of the virus, the health department said in an order.

“Smokers may also already have lung diseases or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase the risk of serious illness,” it said.

Smoking products such as water pipes often involve the sharing of mouthpieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of COVID-19 in communal and social settings, the health department said.

Therefore, the use and sharing of hookah, with or without tobacco (herbal hookah), “which might further increase the spread of SARS-CoV2, is strictly prohibited in all public places, including hotels, restaurants, bars, pubs, eateries, discotheques, etc. in Delhi with immediate effect to prevent and control the outbreak of COVID-19”, it said.

Delhi has so far recorded 1,38,482 COVID-19 cases and 4,021 people have died due to the disease.

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