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Not in race for another term , says President Pranab Mukherjee

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New Delhi, May 25 : President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday probably gave enough hints that he may not be in the race for another term in Rashtrapati Bhavan.

“I have exactly two months to go. July 25, a new President will assume office. I am sending back officials who have worked with me, back to their ministries and departments. One has gone to the Commerce Ministry, two to the Ministry of External Affairs,” he said.

The President was speaking at a farewell tea organised for the media by President’s Secretary Omita Paul for his Press Secretary Venu Rajamony, a career diplomat who has been appointed the Ambassador to The Netherlands. Rajamony will assume his new office in The Hague early next month.

Mukherjee’s remarks assume significance in the context of the ongoing hectic political activities centred around a candidate for the President’s election slated in July. The Congress-led Opposition has given enough indications that it will not be averse to a second term for Mukherjee if the government is acceptable to it. But the ruling dispensation has not given any hints about who it has in mind for the top post.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi is hosting a lunch for Opposition leaders here on Friday as part of efforts to arrive at a consensus over the Opposition candidate. Trinamool Congress, whose leader Mamata Banerjee has also been invited for the lunch and has met Gandhi recently, is known to be okay with another term for Mukherjee.

In his remarks, Mukherjee said after a hectic political life he had been wondering whether he would fit into the President’s post where the incumbent has to work under Constitutional rules.

In her speech, Paul described Rajamony as an excellent communicator and complimented him for a good job of putting across the President and Rashtrapati Bhavan activities to the people through the media.

Senior journalist Sachidananda Murthy praised Rajamony’s role in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, saying he broke new grounds. Rajamony had also contributed to making the Rashtrapati Bhavan library one of the best in the city.

Thanking the President for the opportunity provided to him, Rajamony said he had worked with Mukherjee for two years in the Finance Ministry before his election as President and nearly five years in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, and that had given him wonderful insight into Mukherjee as a public functionary, who the outside world called a “walking encylopedia”.

IANS

India

Five new faces in Prasar Bharati board

The Prasar Bharati Board plays a crucial role in the general administrative functioning of the state broadcaster. Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body.

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Shaina NC

New Delhi, July 7 : With nine of the 13 posts in the Prasar Bharati board becoming vacant, the Centre on Tuesday appointed five key individuals, including BJP spokesperson Shaina NC and music composer Salim Merchant, as part-time members of the coveted board.

The other three are Sanjay Gupta, the editor-in-chief of a Hindi daily, media personality Alok Agawarwal and veteran journalist Ashok Kumar Tandon.

While Merchant’s tenure lasts till 2021, Agarwal and Shaina NC’s tenures last till 2023. Sanjay Gupta and Ashok Kumar Tandon’s tenures expire in 2025.

Speaking to IANS, Shaina NC said that thrust will be given on the All India Radio. “I think our endeavour will be to completely organise Doordarshan and Prasar Bharati, particularly mediums like All India Radio, which has tremendous connectivity and a lot of goodwill. I think that will be maximised to the best of our ability,” she said.

The Prasar Bharati Board plays a crucial role in the general administrative functioning of the state broadcaster. Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body.

Recently, the state broadcaster made headlines after its spat with news agency PTI. Prasar Bharati had shot off a letter threatening to end its “relationship” with PTI over the alleged “anti-national” reportage by the news agency, a charge refuted by PTI’s former Editor-in-Chief M.K. Razdan, who called it “preposterous”.

Asked about whether deciding the fate of the “relationship” between the broadcaster and the news agency will be on the table, Shaina NC said, “I am sure a lot of issues will come up,” adding that it won’t be right for her to “predetermine” at this juncture.

Earlier, in her tweet, the BJP leader also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar for her appointment to the prestigious board.

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Health

Health Ministry steps in to curb black marketing of Covid drug

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has given approval for the manufacturing and marketing of Remdesivir to Cipla, Hetro and Mylan.

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remdesivir antiviral drug

New Delhi, July 7 : The Union Health Ministry has asked all the states to strengthen their vigil so that black marketing of Covid-19 drug Remdesivir is prevented.

The Directorate General of Health Services under the Health Ministry has written to the Drug Controllers of the states to prevent sale of Remdesivir above MRP.

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has given approval for the manufacturing and marketing of Remdesivir to Cipla, Hetro and Mylan.

The DGHS said that it has received a letter from LocalCircles routed through the Health Ministry, raising concerns over black marketing and overpricing of Remdesivir by certain unscrupulous persons.

“In view of the above, you are requested to instruct your enforcement officials to keep strict vigil on the matter to prevent black marketing and sale of Remdesivir injection above the MRP,” the DGHS said in the letter to the states.

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Cities

LG Polymers CEO among 12 arrested over Vizag gas leak mishap

According to police, while 12 people died on May 7 and 8, three more villagers succumbed on May 25 and afterwards. A total of 34 animals also died in the incident.

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Visag Gas Victims Protests

Visakhapatnam, July 7 : LG Polymers Managing Director and CEO, Sunkey Jeong and Technical Director D.S. Kim were among 12 officials of the company arrested by Visakhapatnam police on Tuesday, in connection with the styrene gas leak tragedy that left 15 dead and hundreds hospitalised in May this year.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, R.V.S.N. Murthy, who is also the investigation officer, said the accused were booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

They were also booked under Indian Penal Code”s Sections 278 (Making atmosphere noxious to health), 284 (Negligent conduct with respect to poisonous substance), 285 (Negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter), 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) read with section 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

The gas leak from LG Polymers plant on the intervening night of May 6 and 7 affected Venkatapuram and five other villages.

According to police, while 12 people died on May 7 and 8, three more villagers succumbed on May 25 and afterwards. A total of 34 animals also died in the incident.

The development comes a day after the High Powered Committee (HPC) submitted its probe report to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The HPC probe report had listed several lapses on the part of the LG Polymers management, which led to the styrene gas leakage.

The other accused arrested on Tuesday are LG Polymers” and Additional Director (Operations) P.P. Chandra Mohan Rao, HOD, SMH (in-charge) K. Srinivas Kiran Kumar, team leader production Raju Satyanarayana, engineers C. Chandrasekhar, K. Gowri Sankara Nagendra Ramu, K. Chakrapani, operator Muddu Rajesh, night duty officer (operations) P. Balaji, incharge GPPS S. Atchyut and safety officer in night shift K. Venkata Narasimha Ramesh Patnaik.

According to the investigating official, the investigations disclosed that the incident at M6 styrene storage tank took place due to negligence of the accused who were also having knowledge that their acts are likely to cause death.

“The investigations so far made disclosed that the accident occurred to the poor design of M6 Tank, inadequate refrigeration and cooling system, absence of circulation systems, inadequate measurement parameters, weak safety protocol, poor safety awareness, inadequate risk assessment and response, poor management, slackness of management, insufficient knowledge amongst staff, insufficient understanding of the chemical properties of styrene, especially during storage under idle conditions and total breakdown of the emergency response procedures,” the police said.

Meanwhile, in a related development in the case, the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) suspended environmental engineers R. Lakshmi Naryana and P. Prasada Rao for negligence.

Acting on the report of the HPC, APPCB suspended Prasada Rao, environmental engineer, regional office, Visakhapatnam, for gross negligence in allowing operation of LG Polymers without environmental clearance, allowing import and storage of huge quantity of styrene without verifying safety and environmental issues. Lakshmi Narayana, environmental engineer, zonal office, Visakhapatnam, was also suspended on the same charges.

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