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Supreme Court slams ASI for not protecting Taj Mahal

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, May 9: The Supreme Court on Wednesday slammed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for not being able to protect the iconic Taj Mahal, and asked about the steps being taken to prevent the Mughal structre from being destroyed by insects and algae.

A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta was concerned after the ASI told it that the Taj Mahal was getting infected by insects which breed in the stagnant water of the Yamuna river that flows by the monument.

The ASI, which is in-charge of maintaining and repairing monuments, also told the bench that algae are a “big problem” and all those monuments which are on the river bank faces similar issues.

The bench asked how could the algae reach the higher reaches of the Taj Mahal. The ASI replied: “It flew there.”

“Can algae fly,” asked the court.

The ASI also told the court that the Taj Mahal floor at several places was dirty, because all the people walking on it do not use socks.

“We provide socks only to the VIPs, others use their own socks,” it told the court. The Taj floor was also getting discoloured.

The bench pulled up the ASI saying the situation would not have been so if it had taken steps to prevent it.

“The problem is that the ASI is not willing to accept that there is a problem. This situation would not have arisen if the ASI had done its job. We are surprised with the way the ASI is defending itself,” the top court said.

“Perhaps we need to examine solution to prevent the decay of the Taj Mahal without the ASI,” the bench said.

Additional Solicitor General A.N.S. Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) was already considering the top court’s suggestion to appoint international experts to look into the issue of protection and preservation of the 17th century mausoleum.

The Uttar Pradesh government said 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.

The government 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 Centre said it would consider the top court’s suggestion to take the assistance of Indian experts or from abroad to see the extent of damage and whether it could be reversed and the steps that could be taken to check them.

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

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11-kg tumour extracted from Mumbai woman’s abdomen

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Mumbai, Sep 20 : Doctors in Mumbai have extracted a gigantic 11-kg tumour from the abdomen of a 55-year-old woman after a marathon nine-hour surgery.

A team of medicos headed by oncologist Dr Tanveer A. Majeed, urologist Dr Santosh Palkar and Dr Shilpa Deshmukh performed the complicated surgery at the Zen Multispeciality Hospital in Chembur.

The patient Sujata Sinha (name changed) is a housewife who noticed her abdomen growing daily accompanied by breathing difficulties.

At the height of lockdown in June, she consulted a local doctor who confirmed the presence of a tumour with ultrasound and CT scan.

However, owing to the lockdown she did not take any further steps or medicines, even as the tumour continued to grow rapidly, making her look obese.

Finally, she was referred to the ZMH and Dr Majeed checked her condition on September 8 to find she was weighing around 80 kgs, and suffered from diabetes and hypertension.

Further tests revealed the huge abdominal tumour encroaching the right half of the abdomen, pushing the right kidney to the left side, duodenum, liver, small intestine and colon to the left side, besides her major blood vessels supplying to the heart.

After further clinical diagnosis, the patient was advised surgery by Dr Majeed as it indicated a rare cancer of connective tissues that resemble fat cells under a microscope.

“After opening the abdomen, we found a huge tumour which had displaced all the other body organs to the left side. It weighed 11 kgs and had dimensions of 55 cm x 40 cm x 35 cm, and the patient lost around one litre of blood during the nine-hour operation,” said Dr Majeed.

The patient is recuperating well at the hospital now, has started an oral liquid diet, can breathe normally, and will be required for a follow-up after three months.

“We delayed treatment due to the pandemic lockdown. But I am fortunate to be operated at ZMH where the doctors saved my life. I feel much lighter now, can eat and breathe properly and resume normal life,” said the patient gratefully.

Prior to this, a team of doctors at the Global Hospital, Parel, had extracted a massive 12-kg tumour from a woman’s abdomen in December 2014.

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Uttar Pradesh man nabbed for importing drugs from United States

He used to order the drugs from the US through Instagram or Wickr and the payments were made through bitcoins.

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ganja

Lucknow, Sep 20: The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has arrested a person from here and seized 2.7 kg of bud (curated marijuana) concealed in an air compressor machine at Delhi.

The consignor is based in the US and a few earlier seizures made by NCB had the same origin which alerted the NCB team.

The payment for the consignment was made through bitcoins and came into contact through Instagram ID of the consignor.

According to the NCB press statement, the parcel was sent to India from the US on August 31.

A detailed investigation into the case with the help of digital analysis led NCB team to the consignee C. Gidwani, a Lucknow resident, who accepted his involvement in the case on September 18.

The necessary digital evidence was also seized. He admitted that he used to import such parcels on a regular basis for last one and a half years for himself and further distribution to his friends.

He used to order the drugs from the US through Instagram or Wickr and the payments were made through bitcoins.

The accused also revealed that he used to get ‘charas’ and ‘marijuana’ from Delhi and Bangalore-based suppliers. Further investigations into the backward and forward linkages were underway.

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Agri Bills historic, in farmers’ interest: Modi tweets in Punjabi

Modi said that the Indian farming system immediate needed the latest technology.

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Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Sep 20 : In the wake of protests by farmers in Punjab and Haryana against three agriculture-related Bills, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday assured the farmers — through tweets in Punjabi language — that the proposed laws were historic and in their interest.

“No dilution of MSP regime; government procurement of agricultural produce to continue,” Modi said in one of the series of tweets in Punjabi, hours after the passage of two of the three contentious agricultural Bills by the Rajya Sabha.

Reiterating his government’s commitment and dubbing the passage of the farm Bills as a “watershed moment”, the Prime Minister said: “We are here to serve the farmers. We will do our best to help the farmers and ensure a better life for their future generations.”

Modi said that the Indian farming system immediate needed the latest technology.

“Our agriculture sector is in desperate need of the latest technology that assists the industrious farmers. Now, with the passage of the Bills, our farmers will have easier access to futuristic technology that will boost production and yield better results. This is a welcome step.”

“For decades, the Indian farmer was bound by various constraints and bullied by middlemen. The Bills passed by Parliament liberate the farmers from such adversities. These Bills will add impetus to the efforts to double the income of farmers and ensure greater prosperity for them,” tweeted the Prime Minister.

Earlier in the day, the Upper House of Parliament also its nod to The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020. The Lok Sabha passed the two Bills on Thursday.

The third is The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

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