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Mafia created sand scarcity, says Chandrababu Naidu

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Chandrababu Naidu

Vijayawada, Nov 14 : Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday alleged that the sand scarcity in the state was created by sand mafia which was active with the full support of Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief said the sand mafia had spread its activities to neighbouring states as the sand from Andhra Pradesh was being transported illegally to Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The leader of the Opposition was addressing the party workers at 12-hour-long fast undertaken by him here over the sand scarcity.

Claiming that the man made scarcity of sand has brought the construction activity in the state to a halt, he said over 35 lakh workers have lost their livelihood.

Naidu alleged that about 50 workers committed suicide as they were not finding the work in the absence of construction activity. He said that despite the suicides, YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government was not responding to the situation.

Targeting Jagan Mohan Reddy, the TDP leader alleged that after creating a sand shortage, he entered into a secret deal with certain cement companies. He said YSRCP MLAs and other leaders were given licenses for sand extraction.

Naidu also alleged that they encroached upon the sand reaches and were not allowing farmers to collect the sand from their fields. He demanded immediate steps to stop the illegal transport of sand to cities like Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru. “If the government wants it can stop the illegal transport in one day,” he said.

The former chief minister said free sand policy as implanted during the TDP rule was the only solution. He demanded that sand be made available to people free of cost.

Naidu demanded financial assistance of Rs 10,000 per month each to all the construction workers and Rs 25 lakh compensation for the kin of those workers who committed suicide.

He also slammed the chief minister for making personal attacks on Jana Sena leader Pawan Kalyan for leading long march in Visakhapatnam over sand scarcity.

Naidu said personal attacks were being made or false cases were being slapped against those questioning the government.

India

MPs seating in galleries, RS gets ready for monsoon session

Naidu directed the officials to submit a detailed action plan by early next week, for this purpose.

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Parliament of India

New Delhi, July 3 : The Rajya Sabha Secretariat is exploring seating members of the upper house in the house’s chamber as well as the galleries in conformity with the norm of physical distancing and to enable virtual participation of other members from either the Central Hall or Balayogi Auditorium in the Parliament premises for the monsoon session.

As the Lok Sabha Secretariat came out with new rules for reconvening parliamentary panel meetings, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Friday too held detailed discussions on various options for conducting the proceedings of the upper house during the ensuing Monsoon Session of the Parliament. The Secretary General and other senior officials of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat were present in the hour-long discussions.

However, virtual participation is considered to be limited, in view of the capacity constraints of NIC at present to enable such virtual participation of all MPs. But, Naidu said that there is a need to scale up capacities for larger virtual Parliament in due course.

The chamber and the galleries of the Rajya Sabha can accommodate 127 members while adhering to the physical distancing norms. Sources said that all the galleries, except the media gallery, would be utilised for seating the members. Seating of media persons in the media gallery would also be in conformity with the physical distancing norm for which guidelines would be framed.

“For enabling the viewing of participation of the members from outside the chamber of the House through virtual participation, it has been felt that screens need to be arranged both within the chamber of the House and outside as required,” sources said.

But given the limited seating capacity of 127 members in the chamber and the galleries of the House, Naidu asked the officials of the Secretariat to draw up appropriate plans for seating based on the strength of various parties in the House or any other effective criteria like preparing a list of the participants in the proceedings of the House for the day who would be accommodated accordingly.

But running a Parliament session during the time of pandemic is not easy as ensuring seating alone. Issues relating to taking up Question Hour, voting in the House if required, administering oath or affirmation to the newly-elected members, detailed planning for transportation of members, effective measures for physical distancing and sanitisation among other issues were discussed.

Naidu directed the officials to submit a detailed action plan by early next week, for this purpose.

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India

Why PM did not name China, again: Chidambaram

He said that the country wants to know if Modi named China as the intruder or not while talking to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi, July 3 : Former Union Minister P Chidambaram on Friday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not naming China as an “aggressor” while speaking in Leh during the day, wondering aloud if he had done otherwise in his telephonic talks with US and Russian presidents.

“For the third time in a week, the PM did not name China as the aggressor. Why? What is the purpose of talking about an unnamed ”enemy” to the people of India and the jawans in Ladakh?” the senior Congress leader tweeted.

He said that the country wants to know if Modi named China as the intruder or not while talking to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

The Congress leader also alleged government silence on satellite images “showing Chinese troops occupying key positions in places hitherto considered as undisputed Indian territory”.

“The PM has still not answered our questions about where the violent clashes took place on June 15 between Chinese and Indian troops and if the Chinese have intruded Indian territory at several points,” the former Union minister said.

Amid ongoing tension at borders with China in eastern Ladakh, Modi paid a visit to Leh and forward locations this morning to review the security situation on the ground.

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India

Ahmed Patel asks ED, who in Gujarat Govt gave benefits to Sandesara

This is the third time the ED questioned Patel under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. Earlier he was first questioned on June 27 and then on June 30.

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Ahmed Patel

New Delhi, July 3 : After being grilled thrice in a week by the Enforcement Directorate personnel over alleged links with the Sandesara group, promoters of Sterling Biotech, the Congress treasurer has hit back at the agency.

Patel in a tweet said, “Thank you officials of Director ED for coming to my house thrice.”

He added that “I answered each of their 128 questions but they failed to answer my one fundamental question.”

He posed a query to the probe agency and asked “Who in the Gujarat state govt was responsible for bestowing multiple benefits, privileges and honours on the Sandesara group?”

Earlier on Thursday after hours of grilling by the Enforcement Directorate personnel on links with the fugitive Sterling Biotech promoters, Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel said the financial probe agency is working under some pressure as no proof has been found against him despite answering 128 questions.

This is the third time the ED questioned Patel under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. Earlier he was first questioned on June 27 and then on June 30.

“I was asked 128 questions based on allegations but yet no proof was found against me. The agency was satisfied by my replies but the questioning is a result of political vendetta. I don”t know under whose pressure they are working,” Patel told mediapersons.

Patel said he is ready to answer more questions.

While the Congress has also defended the party treasurer, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said on Thursday that the BJP is not able to digest the defeat it suffered in 2017 at the hands of Patel.

Frustration and political vendetta is writ large. It is a traceable direct link from the Prime Minister and the Home Minister and the Gujarat connection to the Congress and Ahmed Patel. It is clear that a slap in the face of illegal, reprehensible, manipulative activities in Gujarat elections has not yet been digested by the BJP national and Gujarat leadership, said Singhvi.

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