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Supreme Court clears Chardham highway project



Chardham Yatra Marg Project

New Delhi, Aug 16 (IANS) The Supreme Court has allowed various works in progress under Centre’s Chardham Mahamarg Vikas Pariyojna plan for connecting four holy places — Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kdarnath and Badrinath — by an all-weather road.

An apex court bench comprising Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and Surya Kant also ordered the Ministry of Environment and Forests to form a high-powered committee (HPC) by August 22.

The bench said the committee will consider cumulative as well as independent impact of the Chardham project on entire Himalayan valleys.

The committee will also give directions to conduct Environmental Impact Assessment by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the court said and asked the committee to submit its recommendations within four months.

The bench said the committee will hold quarterly meetings to ensure compliance and may suggest any further measure after each review meeting.

The committee would consider if revision of the full Chardham project should at all take place in order to minimize the adverse impact on the environment and social life.

The court said the committee will also assess the environmental degradation, loss of forest lands, water resources and the impact on the wildlife. The committee will direct mitigation measures.

The court was hearing a plea by NGO Citizen for Green Doon against the National Green Tribunal’s September 26 2018 order giving its conditional approval to the connectivity project in view of larger public interest.

The NGT, while clearing the Chardham project, had said: “We are of the view that all environmental concerns can be addressed by having a responsible and independent oversight mechanism which may monitor the environmental safeguards during the execution of the project.”

The NGO said the NGT, instead of looking at the entire project as one whole, viewed it in over 50 segments, which made them appear small projects not necessitating environment clearance or public hearing.

The NGO said that the hills in the region are fragile and that if the project is allowed to continue, it would cause an irreversible damage to ecology that would be equal to the damage done together by 10 hydro power projects.


Mamata ask Congress , Left to join hands to save the country



Kolkata, Jan 27: AFter passing pass a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in its assembly, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged the opposition Congress and the Left Front to unite together against the Bharatiya Janta Party and save the country.

“The time has come to put aside narrow differences and fight together to save the country,” Banerjee said in her address in Assembly on anti-CAA resolution.
Saying that the National Population Register was part of the Census process and was done during the CPM regime.

Asking for support from the Congress and the Left, She quoted the lines of Rabindranath Tagore, indicated that she was ready to go it alone too. “I am prepared to walk alone… Ekla chalo re,” the Chief Minister said.

Mamata Banerjee has said the CAA and the NRC citizenship verification drive can only be enforced in Bengal over her “dead body”.

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European Parliament to vote on anti-CAA , Kashmir resolutions on Jan 30



Anti CAA Protests

Brussels, Jan 27: The European Parliament is set to debate and vote on six resolutions tabled by as many as 600 of 751 members of the EU parliament on both the issues, their greatest concern arising over the likelihood of the controversial citizenship law creating the “largest statelessness crisis in the world”.

The 154 members EP members drafted the five-page resolution fearing that the recently enacted legislation by India could trigger the “largest statelessness crisis in the world.” The Parliament is expected to vote on January 30.

The resolution describes the CAA as “discriminatory” and “dangerously divisive” but also a “violation of India’s international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”.

“However, the legislation has triggered the fears of the Muslim community since its enactment as the naturalisation of non-Muslim refugees, namely undocumented migrants from the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities of Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered India on or before December 31, 2014,” the resolution stated. It also called the CAA “explicitly discriminatory in nature” as it excludes Muslims from having access to the same provisions as other religious groups.

The resolution has also called on the Indian government to ensure the right to peaceful protest is allowed and to guarantee the life and physical integrity of those who choose to protest. In addition, during the debate, the European Parliament will also take up the Kashmir issue.

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Popular Front of India rejects allegations of funding anti- CAA protests



Shaheen Bagh Protests

New Delhi, Jan 27: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sent a note to the Union ministry of home affairs stating there is a link between protests against the contentious citizenship act, the Kerala-based Popular Front of India has strongly rejected allegations that it had provided financial funding for protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and that money transfers made to some prominent lawyers were part of the organisation’s efforts to fund anti-CAA protests.

Popular Front of India condemned the news reports regarding Popular Front’s financial link to instigate the CAA protest.

In a statement the Popular Front of India slammed “vested interested who are keen to blame Popular Front for everything that is happening in India”, said it would “fully comply with the law of the land”, and demanded that the “baseless” allegations be backed with proof.

Firstly, the news channels have attributed the report to Enforcement Directorate through some “unnamed sources” but the ED has not contacted our organization, nor the ED has issued any such official statement regarding these allegations.
The news attributes around 73 bank accounts to Popular Front and states that Rs. 120 crore was transferred through these “alleged” Popular Front accounts to fund the anti-CAA protest. Popular Front of India had stated it multiple times that we fully comply with the law of the land and the allegation of Rs.120Cr transferred from the Popular Front’s accounts just before the CAA protest is totally baseless and the people who are leveling these allegations should prove these claims.

Secondly, few news channels also alleges funds transferred from the Kerala state Popular Front of India account for advocates like Kapil Sibal, Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaising. This statement exposes the intention of the vested interested who are keen to blame Popular Front for everything that is happening in India. The truth is that transfers were made in 2017 as a lawyer fees for these advocates for the Hadiya Case. This transfer was openly declared by Popular Front in various public meetings. Attributing a fees transfer that happened in 2017 as a funding for 2019 CAA protest is totally absurd and exposes the intention to defame Popular Front.
Another allegation leveled is the transfer of funds to Popular Front’s Kashmir Wing. It is a open fact that Popular Front of India does not have any wing or branch in Jammu and Kashmir. We challenge the so called “Unnamed Sources” to prove that there is any wing of Popular Front working in Kashmir. Popular Front carried out extensive flood relief work in Kashmir in 2014 and built more that 100 houses for the flood victims which was also openly declared by the organization in 2014 itself through official publications. Assigning the 2014 flood relief as 2019 anti-CAA protest funding makes it clear that there is a planned vilification campaign going on against Popular Front to stop our growth.
We are confident that the fate of these series of allegation will also be like the ones before which could never be proved. Recently the UP and Assam government alleged Popular Front’s role in the anti-CAA protest related violence and even arrested our state level leaders. But their claims proved to be nothing but imaginations when they could not prove anything in the court and our leaders were released on bail.
Popular Front will not be bowed down by such cheap campaign by the forces backed by the fascist who want to stop us. We will continue our struggle against the fascist forces who try to suppress the voices of dissent.

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