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Rains triggers landslide in Kerala : 15 dead

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Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 7: At least 15 people have been killed after heavy rain caused a landslide in Kerala’s Idukki district early this morning, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Friday evening, While announcing Rs 5 lakh as compensation for the families of those killed, the chief Minister said that the cost of treatment will be borne by the state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted Friday afternoon to say he was “pained by the loss of lives” and to announce compensation, from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund, of Rs 2 lakh each to family members of those who had died and ₹ 50,000 to those who were injured.

Fifteen others have been rescued so far and are undergoing treatment at the Tata General Hospital in Munnar. An NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) team is engaged in rescue operations.

Officials say the landslide happened in the Rajamalai area of the district, which is around 25 km from the tourist town of Munnar. Around 80 people lived in the area, officials said, adding that they do not know, at this point, how many more are trapped under the mud.

A connecting bridge was swept away making access to the area difficult.

A 50-member strong special task force of the state fire service – who have been equipped for night-time work – are among the emergency services personnel sent, Chief Minister Pinaryai Vijayan has said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted that a second team, based in Thrissur, was also en route and police, fire service personnel and forest and revenue officials had been instructed to join rescue efforts.

A 50 member strong special task force team of the Fire Force has been dispatched to Rajamalai in Idukki for rescue efforts. They have been equipped for nighttime rescue activities. #KeralaRainspic.twitter.com/olo1eraMNV

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Rail-Roko: Farmers continue to block tracks in Amritsar against farm bills

Farmers, under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, have been staging a sit-in on the rail track in Punjab since last Wednesday

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Farmers Protest

Farmers squatted on the Amritsar-Delhi railway track here on Sunday, continuing their ‘rail-roko’ agitation against the contentious farm bills passed by the Parliament last week.

People from nearby villages brought cooked food and other items for the demonstrators. ‘Langar’ (community kitchen) has also been organised at the site by local gurdwaras.

Women wearing saffron dupattas also joined the protest, raised slogans against the Centre and said they would not allow the implementation of the three legislations.

Farmers, under the banner of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, have been staging a sit-in on the rail track in Punjab since last Wednesday.

Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher demanded that all the sitting 13 MPs from Punjab should tender their resignation with immediate effect in support of the farmers’ demands. He asserted that BJP leaders would not be allowed to enter villages.

The committee had announced to extend their agitation till September 29. Trains services remained suspended in the state because of the protest.

Farmers have expressed apprehension that the Centre’s farm reforms would pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big companies.

Parliament had passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020; the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill; and the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill. These are yet to get the assent of the President.

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Ex-Bihar police chief Gupteshwar Pandey takes political plunge, joins JD(U)

Speculation is rife that he may be offered ticket to contest the assembly election from a seat in his native Buxar district.

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Gupteshwar Pandey IPS

Former Bihar police chief Gupteshwar Pandey, who took voluntary retirement from service a few days ago, joined the state’s ruling JD(U) on Sunday.

Pandey, an outspoken police officer, joined the party in the presence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is also the JD(U) president.

The 1987 batch IPS officer had strongly defended Kumar on the issue of institution of a CBI probe into the mysterious death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput.

Ever since he took VRS weeks before the October- November assembly elections, there was speculation that he could take the political plunge.

“Nitish Kumar ji personally called me and offered party membership with great love. I accepted it,” Pandey said.

“I don’t know anything about politics. I will do what I am asked to do,” he told reporters.

Speculation is rife that he may be offered ticket to contest the assembly election from a seat in his native Buxar district.

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India

President Kovind gives assent to three farm Bills amid farmer protests

The President’s assent to these bills comes amid the Opposition criticising the manner in which they were passed in Parliament.

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Ram Nath Kovind

New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave assent to three contentious farm Bills that have triggered protests by farmers especially in Punjab and Haryana.

According to a gazette notification, the President gave assent to three Bills: The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020.

The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 aims to permit the sale of agricultural produce outside the mandis regulated by the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) constituted by different state legislations.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, provides for contract farming.

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020 deregulates the production, supply, distribution of food items like cereals, pulses, potatoes, onion and edible oilseeds.

The President’s assent to these Bills comes amid the Opposition criticising the manner in which they were passed in Parliament.

Even NDA’s oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has parted ways on the issue of these farm Bills as farmers in Punjab and Haryana intensify protest.

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