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Restore Taj Mahal or demolish it: Supreme Court tells government

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Taj Mahal

New Delhi, July 11: The Supreme Court on Wednesday came down heavily on the Centre and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for not being able to protect the iconic Taj Mahal, asking to “shut it down” or “demolish or restore” the Mughal structure.

The apex court was unhappy as the Uttar Pradesh government failed to come out with a vision document to protect the Taj Mahal.

A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak was upset with the authorities for not taking any step to preserve the Taj Mahal and said its “sheer lethargy” on the part of the authorities.

“There is absolutely no willingness to protect the Taj Mahal. Pristine beauty of Taj Mahal has to be protected. You can shut down the Taj Mahal it demolish it. Restore it if you want or demolish it if it has to be demolished,” said the bench.

The court said the Taj Mahal is more beautiful than the Eiffel Tower and could have solved the country’s foreign exchange problem.

“There is the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Perhaps it is nothing compared to Taj Mahal. Our Taj Mahal is more beautiful. 80 million go to watch Eiffel Tower which looks like a TV Tower. This is eight times more than what we have. If you had looked after it, your foreign exchange problem would have been solved.

“Do you realise the loss caused to the country due to your apathy?,” observed the bench.

The Uttar Pradesh government had earlier told the bench that it would place before the court a draft of vision document on protection and preservation of the Taj Mahal that was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

Saying it would hear the case next on July 31 on a day-to-day basis, the bench told the Central government to furnish full details of the steps taken and action it intends to take for protecting the Taj Mahal along with time-frame and responsibility and accountability of the departments concerned.

During the hearing, the bench said that there was a report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, which dealt with the effects of pollution on Taj Mahal, but the authorities have not bothered to take appropriate steps on the issue.

The Central government submitted that the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur was conducting an assessment of air pollution level in and around the Taj Mahal and Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) and the report would be given within four months.

The court also sought personal appearance of the chairman of Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) — a 10,400 sq km area spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur in Rajasthan — to explain violation of its orders prohibiting expansion of industrial units in the zone.

The Uttar Pradesh government had said it was also trying to take care of the environment around the structure so that the historic monument could be there for another 400 years and not just for a generation.

The court has been hearing a plea filed by environmentalist M.C. Mehta seeking protection of the Taj from the ill-effects of polluting gases and deforestation in and around the area.

IANS

India

Rahul congratulates ragpicker’s son for cracking AIIMS entrance test

Choudhary also cleared the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), conducted on May 6, bagging the 803rd rank in the OBC category and 2,763 overall.

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Asharam Choudhary

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) Congress President Rahul Gandhi congratulated Asharam Choudhary, the son of a ragpicker in Madhya Pradesh, who cracked the AIIMS MBBS entrance test in his first attempt and hoped that he would contribute to nation-building and inspire many in future.

“I congratulate you on clearing the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) entrance test in your first attempt and getting selected at Jodhpur AIIMS to pursue Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)… I extend my best wishes to you and hope you will contribute to nation-building,” Gandhi said in the letter.

“I am aware that despite all challenges you were able to secure good rank. It is a testament to their dedication and your hard work that you have performed so well,” he said, adding it gave him immense pleasure to note how Asharam’s village doctor and parents inspired him in his journey and Dakshana Foundation supported him financially.

Choudhary also cleared the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), conducted on May 6, bagging the 803rd rank in the OBC category and 2,763 overall.

In his letter, the Congress President said, “I hope one day, you will also be in a position to inspire other children to take up medical profession and serve the people of India. You remind me of Mahatma Gandhi who used to say: ‘Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from the indomitable will’.”

In another letter to Chief Election Commissioner O. P. Rawat, Gandhi said:”I write this letter to commend you on the excellent initiative of the Election Commission in Karnataka. The issuance of the Braille EPIC cards to the visually impaired voters is a step in the right direction, which will make elections and voting accessible to all voters.”

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Rahul Gandhi will be the PM face in 2019 elections : Congress

Rahul Gandhi has been authorised to form election campaign committee and take decisions on pre-poll and post-poll alliance to form a grand national alliance.

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New Delhi, July 22 : Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said that Congress President Rahul Gandhi would be the Prime ministerial candidate of the party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“Naturally then Congress President would be the only face to be projected. Congress would fight this election by putting forward our leader – Rahul Gandhi: Randeep Surjwala replied when asked if Rahul Gandhi will be Prime Ministerial candidate of Congress party

Surjewala said, “We expect to better our ’04 performance. People will decide. Once Congress party becomes the single largest party touching the same magic figure of 200 or more, naturally Congress party will be leading whoever else wants to come&walk hand in hand.”

Punjab Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Capt. Amarinder Singh on Sunday backed party chief Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the joint Opposition front in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections •

 

, Amarinder said that Rahul was fully competent to lead the country and will surely prove to be a successful prime minister.

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Congress to set up special team to discuss alliances for 2019 polls: Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi has been authorised to form election campaign committee and take decisions on pre-poll and post-poll alliance to form a grand national alliance.

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New Delhi, July 22 : Congress President Rahul Gandhi announced on Sunday setting up of a special group within the Congress to discuss probable alliances with various national and regional parties to form a grand national alliance to take on Narendra Modi led government in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“We are setting up a group that is going to do that (alliance),” Rahul said after the Congress Working Committee meeting on Sunday.

“In each constituency, we have to find people who have not voted for us and develop a strategy to reach out to them and win back their trust,” he added.
“In the short term, we can come together with other parties and win the coming elections. After that, the damage done by the BJP & RSS to India’s institutions will have to be undone. Only the Congress can do this,” Rahul said.

Congress President called upon Congressmen and women “to rise as voice of the country and fight for India’s oppressed.”
Gandhi said as he chaired his first meeting of the revamped Congress Working Committee (CWC), after taking over as party chief in December last year.Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting is underway at Parliament Annexe.

Rahul Gandhi  said, “Expansion of our party vote base is one of our biggest tasks. In each constituency, we have to find people who have not voted for us and develop a strategy to reach out to them and win back their trust.”

Ashok Gehlot, AICC General Secretary said extended CWC authorised Rahul to constitute a committee to forge an alliance with like-minded parties for the 2019 Lok Sabha election to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

He described the newly constituted CWC as an “institution comprising experience and energy, as a bridge between the past, present and the future.”

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi  said “To counter RSS’s organisational might and financial power, the opposition has to get together in strategic alliances and that personal ambitions should be kept aside.”

Ashok Gehlot, AICC General Secretary said , “Rahul ji has been authorised to form election campaign committee and take decisions on pre-poll and post-poll alliance.”

Terming  Narendra Modi-led NDA government  as a “dangerous regime” compromising the democracy of  India, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said the rhetoric of PM Narendra Modi shows his “desperation” and it reflects that the “reverse countdown” of the Modi government has begun.

“We have to rescue our people from a dangerous regime,” said  Gandhi, adding that the party is “committed to make alliance work” and in this endeavour she is with the Congress president and her son Rahul Gandhi.

Addressing the first meeting of the extended Congress Working Committee (CWC), constituted by party president Rahul Gandhi, Former Congress chief Sonia said “democracy was being compromised under the current government and to counter RSS’s organisational might and financial power, the opposition has to get together in strategic alliances and that personal ambitions should be kept aside”.

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