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Migrant workers going back on trains vow not to return

On Tuesday, the country witnessed more than 8,000 cases for the third consecutive day. With this, India has inched closer to the two-lakh mark as total number of Covid-19 cases in India rose to 1,98,706 with 5,598 fatalities.

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New Delhi, June 2 : Rajkumari, a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda has arrived at the New Delhi railway station along with all the belongings of her rented house to go back to her native place. She says she will never return as there is no work here.

However, Rajkumari’s woes don’t end here, as she has a waiting ticket for the train leaving for Varanasi.Speaking to IANS, she said, “We don’t have any work here. And as there is no income we are unable to pay the rent.”

”We are not going to come back to Delhi and it is the reason why we are going back to our village with all our belongings,” she said.

She said that her husband works as a daily labourer and now as they don’t have any work so there is no need to stay back here. She said that she will go back to her village and will do farming in the fields as the season of sowing rice is coming. Rajkumari is travelling back to her village along with her husband and two children and have booked the ticket on Tuesday morning from the New Delhi passenger reservation counter. Similar is the condition of Mukesh a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Deoria. He said that he wil not return to Delhi for at least one and half years. Speaking to IANS, he said, “I have to go to Deoria with my belongings, and I have been running to ticket counters to book a ticket. But I am unable to get a ticket.”

He said that he was tired of running from one counter to another counter. “I am getting tired as the heat is unbearable and we are sitting on the main road,” he said. When asked where he worked before the nationwide lockdown was announced to combat the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19), he said, “I used to work in a sewing factory and as the work is shut I have no option rather than to return to my home. “I am living here with three of my family members, so it is tough for me to feed them without any work,” Mukesh added. The Indian Railways has partially started the services of 200 more trains from Monday besides the

15 pairs of air conditioned trains. Even the norms of the social distancing outside the New Delhi railway station went for a toss as the people entering the station premises were standing just inches away from each other. The railways has suspended the passenger, mail and express train services on March 25.

However, it started running the Shramik Special trains to transport the stranded migrant workers, pilgrims, students and tourists across the country. Since May 1, the railways has transported over 56 lakh migrant workers across the country in over 4,000 Shramik Special trains. The railways also started to run 15 pairs of Special trains from New Delhi to different parts of the country. According to railway ministry officials, by 10 a.m. on Tuesday over 1.77 lakh passengers booked tickets for the 200 special time tabled trains.

Jagdish, a reisdent of Gaya in Bihar, who used to work in a sunmica factory said that he was also returning back to his home as he is unable to meet the demands of his family with the wage cut. Speaking to IANS, he said, “We are getting very less salary and the landlords in whose home we reisded here didn’t waive the rent. So that is the reason why I am going back to my native place.” When asked if he shall return back, he said, “First I want to reach home then only we can decide if we will come back or not.”

The country has witnessed mass exodus of migrant workers during the nationwide lockdown. Many people have braved the scorching heat and walked hundreds of kilometers towards their native places either by foot or on bicycles.

On Tuesday, the country witnessed more than 8,000 cases for the third consecutive day. With this, India has inched closer to the two-lakh mark as total number of Covid-19 cases in India rose to 1,98,706 with 5,598 fatalities.

By Anand Singh

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

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Nitish govt must demand SC-monitored probe into SSR case: Bihar Congress in-charge

“The Bihar government has made only statements in the case. They are not bothered about the case but are focusing only on politics,” the Congress leader said.

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Shaktisinh Gohil

New Delhi, Aug 14 : After taking a neutral stand on the Sushant Singh Rajput case for sometime, a leader of the Congress party has now asked the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government to demand for a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the Bollywood actor’s case.

Congress Bihar in-charge Shakti Singh Gohil said that instead of making statements in the media the state government should convince the apex court for an investigation monitored by the top court.

Speaking to IANS, Gohil said, “Even the Prime Minister has said many times that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is not an agency and it is not beyond doubt. Hence, the Bihar government should put facts before the top court and demand for a probe monitored by it so that the truth can come forward at earliest.”

The demand comes at a time when there is a strong sense of sympathy for the actor and his family prevails across the country.

“The party has sympathy for the family of the actor but one cannot doubt that the Mumbai Police are the best in terms of the investigation. They caught Ajmal Kasab alive and took the case to a logical conclusion, so raising a finger on the credibility of the Maharashtra Police is not a good thing,” Gohil added.

The Congress is a part of the coalition government in Maharashtra, in which Shiv Sena holds the maximum number of seats i.e. 56 followed by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) — 54, and the Congress — 44.

On the Sushant death issue, Congress is in a tightrope situation where any contrary step may put the alliance in trouble.

“The Bihar government has made only statements in the case. They are not bothered about the case but are focusing only on politics,” the Congress leader said.

The Bihar government in its written submission to the Supreme Court on Thursday alleged a political pressure by the Maharashtra government in the case.

“It is apparent that it is on account of political pressure in the State of Maharashtra that neither the FIR has been registered by the Mumbai Police nor did they extend any cooperation to the Bihar Police in discharging their obligation to conduct investigation expeditiously,” said the Bihar government in its submissions before the top court.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court had reserved the order on the plea of main accused Rhea Chakraborty seeking transfer of the case registered in Patna to Mumbai and asked all the parties in the case to file their written submissions.

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Newsprint paper manufactures voice concerns

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News Papers

New Delhi, Aug 13 : Indiscriminate import and dumping of newsprint paper is threatening the very survival of the domestic newsprint industry, says the Indian Newsprint Manufacturers Association (INMA), the apex body of newsprint manufacturers in India.

In the first quarter of the current fiscal year, as much as 85 percent of domestic demand for newsprint paper was met by imports while the country has adequate manufacturing capacities to meet the demand both in terms of quality and quantity. In a SOS communication to the Prime Minister, INMA has asked for urgent remedial measures to safeguard the interests of the industry.

“The adverse impact of dumping is so serious that currently no good orders are in place to keep the plants running, resulting in severe financial stress, endangering the continuity of the mill operations and retaining employment,” INMA has said in a statement.

“Domestic newsprint production capacity was 2.6 million tonnes in FY 2014-15 but has come down to 2.2 million tonnes in view of continued challenging environment leading to closure of mills. However domestic capacities are still adequate to meet the domestic demand. There is an urgent need to curb dumping and other unfair trade practices operating in the industry,” states INMA.

Due to imports being cheaper than the domestically manufactured newsprint product, during FY18 and FY19, domestic sales of newsprint stood at 1.2 million tonnes per annum which reduced drastically to 0.7 million tonnes in FY20 in view of dumping.

According to INMA, against the import price of $800 per tonne of newsprint in FY18, the news print is currently being dumped by exporters at $390-400 per tonne which is almost $250-300 per tonne cheaper than their home country sales price. With Covid pandemic leading to demand reduction worldwide, market intelligence points to dumping of newsprint paper at $350 per tonne.

INMA says it is not against legal import by actual users but against unfair trade practice being adopted by the exporters. As an urgent measure, INMA has asked for imposition of a five-year moratorium on newsprint imports, among other asks.

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Pilot stays in hunt for bigger role, to be rewarded in 2021 by high command

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Sachin Pilot

Jaipur/New Delhi, Aug 11 : The can may well have been kicked down the road in Rajasthan but the vexed leadership issue remains wide open. Contrary to popular perception, former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, who camped in Gurugram these past few days, has not beaten a hasty retreat.

Optically, he may have lost the skirmish, but he is very much in the game. This was a battle in a long drawn-out war. A war based on principles and one of anger over maltreatment.

Sources close to developments told IANS that his meeting with the Gandhi siblings – Rahul and Priyanka – at the former’s residence was one where he did not merely reveal his state of mind and reservations but was equally given cast iron assurances about the future.

Pilot, it is believed, didn’t hanker for any position but told them that belittling him by levelling charges of sedition was nothing short of outrageous. The Special Operations Group and Anti-Corruption Bureau charges were a travesty and he was pained and appalled at the charges levelled against him.

IANS has gathered that Pilot did not want to be a Deputy CM with a car and a bungalow for he had worked hard on the ground over the last six and a half years to help the Congress storm back to power in the state in the late 2018 election. To be viciously targeted by his own government was an abomination, according to him.

Apparently, he was given a fair hearing and while a decision on the party leadership in Rajasthan may have been kept in abeyance for the time being, a view will be definitely taken on this issue in early 2021. This assurance was given to him.

What is more is that Pilot has managed to get a fair and equitable settlement for all his followers, particularly those who camped with him in the last few days when they went underground. In a mockery of democracy, these MLAs were spied upon by the state CID which kept them under daily surveillance under Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s orders. This was intolerable for Pilot.

These things rankled with Pilot and while he was adamant that he won’t join the BJP from the outset, he was clear that he would stay with the Congress. All he wanted was a proper hearing and a just recourse to the problems and issues that he and his followers were facing in Rajasthan.

The Gandhi siblings have also come to realise that their footprint continues to shrink with the BJP trying to topple their state governments, the most recent case being Madhya Pradesh.

They didn’t want the BJP to take advantage of the fluid situation and hence sought closure. Once Pilot had given his side of the story, it was appreciated by the siblings.

It is clear that the Congress will want to hit the ground running with a young Pilot at the helm in the race for the state in 2023. It appears that Pilot may well become Chief Minister of Rajasthan in early 2021 to prepare for the battle in late 2023.

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