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People stage protest over air pollution in Delhi

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New Delhi, Nov 6: As national capital and its surroundings continued to suffer toxic air quality, people demonstrate outside the Indira Paryavaran Bhawan on Tuesday. 

The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi at 9 a.m. was recorded 403, on a scale of 0 to 500.

The AQI on Monday at the same time was 415, which had gradually deteriorated to 435 by evening.

India

Farmers-govt dialogue inconclusive, 4th round of talks on Thursday

‘Bullets or peaceful solution’: Farmers’ union member after discussion with government

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Farmers Union

New Delhi, Dec 1: The government’s proposal to form a committee to study the three contentious farms laws was rejected by farmer unions during the ongoing talks called by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday to resolve the issues raised by agitating farmers.

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Roop Singh Sanna told IANS that the government proposed to form a committee to study and discuss issues related to the three farm laws enacted in September during Monsoon Session of Parliament.

The farmers’ leader, while sharing inputs received from its union members attending the farmers-ministers ongoing meeting at Vigyan Bhawan, said the government offered to select four-five members from farmers association to form the committee in which there will be some government members.

He said that all the “union leaders unanimously rejected” the government’s offer.

“Forming a committee is an attempt to postpone the issue. We are not ready to accept government’s offer,” said Sanna.

The government is holding on to its stance of not rolling back the three farm laws which farmers allege are “anti-farm” and “black laws”: The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

The information comes from the meeting led by Agriculture Minister Tomar and Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution, in presence of more than 32 farmer union leaders on the sixth day of the ongoing farmers’ protest. The meeting started at Vigyan Bhawan around 3.30 p.m.

The meeting is also being attended by Union Minister of State for Commerce Som Prakash and Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal.

The meeting between the government and farmers comes after late Monday night invitation sent by Agriculture Minister to them following their ongoing protest started from November 26.

Thousands of farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh have been protesting at Delhi borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Currently, these farmers have been protesting at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur borders.

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Railways zero-based timetable: We will ensure there is no passenger inconvenience, says VK Yadav

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VK Yadav

With many news reports indicating the reduction of many small stations across the country after the implementation of the zero-based timetable, Railway Board Chairman and CEO VK Yadav on December 1 said the national transporter will ensure there is no passenger inconvenience and the aim is to reduce travel time.

“If there is a poorly patronised train, we will try to see if it can be merged with another train and run an additional train where there is more demand. We will ensure there is no passenger inconvenience. Travel time of trains will come down due to the zero-based timetable and the number of trains will not be reduced. Poorly patronised stoppages will be rationalised in a professional manner although we are yet to make a decision when it will be implemented. We will divulge details about it later in a formal manner,” he said addressing the media.

He also said some passenger trains used by people in rural India will be converted into express trains and Railways is planning to convert passenger train services to Mainline Electric Multiple Unit rakes.

Yadav said the growth in freight services has not dimmed, with November witnessing loading at 110 mt, the highest in the year till now.

In this period, Railways earned Rs 10,657.66 crore from freight loading, which is Rs 449.79 crore higher compared to last year’s earnings for the same period.

On the Vande Bharat bidding process, Yadav said technical evaluation is currently underway and by January 15, the Railways expects to finalise the tender. adding that he won’t be able to comment on the aspect of reverse bidding as the matter comes under the tender committee.

BULLET TRAIN PROJECT STATUS

On the land acquisition hurdles for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project in Maharashtra, Yadav said although only 22 percent land has been acquired in Maharashtra, they are in talks with the state government and things are moving in the right direction.

“We had a detailed discussion with Chief Secretary of Maharashtra government and he has promised that within four months, land acquisition will reach up to 80 percent. Work on the awarded tenders will begin in December this year and completed in four years,” Yadav said.

PRIVATE TRAINS

Yadav expressed satisfaction on the response of private entities for the PPP in passenger train operations project.


“The response has been very good. In the Chennai cluster, six clusters have qualified. In Mumbai cluster, 11 companies have qualified and in remaining clusters, 8-10 companies have qualified,” he said.

The project is expected to bring in private investment of around Rs 30,000 crore.

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Suspend three farm laws, withdraw cases against farmers: Congress

The Congress also demanded withdrawal of cases against farmers booked for stubble- burning.

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Randeep Surjewala

New Delhi, Dec 1 : Even as the Centre held talks with farmer leaders over their demands, the Congress on Tuesday welcomed the development but demanded that the three farm laws be suspended immediately and all cases against protesters withdrawn.

“The government should talk to the farmers with an open heart and the Prime Minister should announce suspension of all three central farm laws and withdrawal of all cases against the farmers,” Congress Chief Spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

“Scrap all the three farm laws or give guarantee of continuation of MSP system to farmers,” he added.

The Congress also demanded withdrawal of cases against farmers booked for stubble- burning.

Following invitation from Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, 36 farmer leaders mainly from Punjab were holding parleys with the central government at Vigyan Bhavan from 3 pm onwards.

The farmers are demanding the repeal of the three farm laws enacted in September.

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