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Plan to revive 50 un-served and under-served airports approved

The project is estimated to cost Rs 4,500 crore.

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un-served airstrips

New Delhi, March 6 : The central government on Monday approved a plan to revive 50 un-served and under-served airports in three financial years starting from 2017-18.

According to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), the approved proposal envisages to revive 50 un-served and under-served airports or airstrips of the state governments, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and civil enclaves.

The project is estimated to cost Rs 4,500 crore.

“Fifteen airports, airstrips each would be revived during 2017-18 and 2018-19 each, while 20 airports, airstrips would be revived during 2019-20,” the CCEA was quoted as saying in a statement.

“As an outcome of the approval, small cities, towns shall be connected on commencement of operation of flights to under-served, un-served airports.”

“It will further boost the economic development in these areas as well as surrounding areas in terms of job creation and related infrastructure development.”

The CCEA pointed out that revival of airstrips, airports will be ‘demand driven’, depending upon firm commitment from airline operators as well as from the state governments for providing various concessions as airports will be developed ‘without insisting’ on financial viability.

Last year, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had informed Parliament that the ministry had sought Rs 4,650 crore from the central coffers to revive 50 un-served and under-served airports.

That time Sinha had said that the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP), 2016, has provision for promotion of regional connectivity by way of revival of un-served and under-served airports.

“In order to implement the scheme, a proposal has been submitted to Ministry of Finance for making a budgetary provision of Rs 4,650 crores (approx.) to revive a total of 50 such airports, airstrips,” the minister informed Parliament on July 19, 2016.

Currently, the country has about 75 operational airports. However, there are 17 under-served airports and 407 un-served airstrips in the country.

An under-served airport is defined as an airport which has no more than seven scheduled commercial flight departures per week, whereas an un-served airport or airstrip is the one which has not even received a single scheduled commercial service during the last two flight schedules.

India

Soren meets Rahul as JMM-Cong govt completes 1 yr in Jharkhand

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Hemant Soren

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Monday met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi here as the JMM-Congress alliance government completed a year in the state.

According to Congress leaders, Soren called on Rahul Gandhi here and discussed state politics and the JMM-Congress government completing one year in the state.

Besides Soren, Congress’ Jharkhand in-charge R.P.N. Singh was also present in the meeting. Soren had arrived in the national capital after a gap of several months. The Chief Minister was unable to come to Delhi in the last few months due to the nationwide lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

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India

Jaishankar raised Mallya’s extradition, UK not giving details: Centre to SC

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Vijay Mallya

he Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that Vijay Mallya’s extradition has been raised at the highest political level, but the UK government has refused to share the details of the confidential proceedings delaying his extradition.

“In December 2020, External Affairs Minister Dr. S.Jaishankar raised the issue with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and most recently in January 2021, the Home Secretary of India raised it with the UK Permanent Under Secretary of Home. UK’s response remained the same”, said Solicitor General Tushar Mehta before a bench headed by Justice U.U. Lalit.

Mehta added that in November last year the foreign secretary of India raised the issue of Vijay Mallya extradition with UK Home Secretary Priti Patel, who responded that the UK’s legal complexities were preventing Mallya’s quick extradition.

Mehta submitted that the Indian government has been informed that there is a further legal issue that needs to be resolved before Mallya can be extradited. “Under United Kingdom law, extradition cannot take place until it is resolved. As it is judicial in nature, the issue is confidential, and you will understand that Her Majesty’s government cannot provide any more details”, said Mehta citing official response from the UK.

Mehta submitted before the bench that his extradition has been pursued at the highest level and sought adjournment on the matter. The top court has fixed the matter for further hearing on March 15.

On August 31, the Supreme Court had dismissed Mallya’s plea seeking review of a 2017 judgment which held him guilty for contempt of court. The top court also sought Mallya’s presence before the court on October 5.

The top court had held him guilty of contempt, as Mallya did not truthfully disclose the full account of his assets. In May 2017, the apex court held him guilty of contempt of court for transferring $40 million to his children, and ordered him to appear on July 10, 2017 to argue on the quantum of punishment.

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We will not quarrel, but celebrate R-Day: Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait

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Rakesh Tikait

The farmers protesting against the new Central farm laws have announced a ‘Tractor March’ on Republic Day. On Monday, the Supreme Court heard the petition of the Delhi Police on the issue. The apex court said it is for the Delhi Police to decide whether it would allow the farmers to enter Delhi or not.

The apex court asserted that it is the Delhi Police and not the judiciary that has the authority to decide on the issue.

Responding to this SC order, the National Spokesperson of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), Rakesh Tikait, said the highest court has taken cognizance of the matter, it is a good thing that the law and order situation must be looked into by the police. At the same time, the farmers leaders have said they would take out a parade on Outer Ring Road in the national capital so the police should come and talk to them and remove the roadblocks for the parade.

Tikait said the citizens of the country cannot be stopped by constitutional institutions or the police from celebrating Republic Day. “We are not going to the national capital to fight. We will celebrate the R-Day in Delhi, earlier we used to celebrate it in the fields and villages. Now we are here in Delhi so we will celebrate the day here,” the BKU spokesperson added.

The Delhi Police had filed a petition in the Supreme Court to ban the ‘Tractor March’ by the farmers on January 26. They had said that law and order could be affected if the march is allowed on Republic Day.

During the SC hearing, it said the entry of farmers into Delhi is a law and order issue and who are allowed to come to Delhi or not is for the Delhi Police to decide.

However, he farmers have said they would take out a parade on January 26 on Outer Ring Road. The parade would include tableaux in vehicles that would showcase the agricultural reality in various states in addition to historical regional and other protest marches.

The farmers would hoist the national flag on these vehicles and also carry the flags of the farmers organisations. No flag of any political party would be allowed in the parade.

There would be participation of the families of the martyrs of the farmer protests, defence service personnel, reputed sportspersons, women farmers etc. Several states are expected to be represented in the parade.

The farmers who can’t come to Delhi to participate in the parade will organise parades in various state capitals and district headquarters.

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