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UP power employees strike over PF scam

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Yogi Adityanath

Lucknow, Nov 18 Employees of the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL), on Monday, proceeded on a two-day work boycott to protest against the provident fund scam in which their money was invested in the tainted Dewan Housing and Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL).

However, the units generating power have been exempted from the protest to prevent grid failure.

The energy department has issued directives to the officers concerned to make adequate arrangements to keep electricity supply normal in in the state in view of the 48-hour work boycott.

The state home department has also asked all district magistrates and police chiefs to ensure proper security of all vital installations in their areas.

The employees are demanding that the state government give a guarantee for safe return of their provident fund money, invested in DHFL by the Uttar Pradesh Power Sector Employees’ Trust.

The Uttar Pradesh Vidyut Karmchari Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti, a joint forum of power employees and engineers, has warned the management against taking any repressive measures against the agitating staff during the ‘work boycott’.

The employees will report to their offices but shun work in a ‘work boycott’ as opposed to a full-fledged strike in which they may not even show up at the place of work.

Uttar Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation Ltd (UPPTCL) director (operation) R. K. Singh has asked the officials concerned to outsource staff to man the transmission substations and lines in view of the proposed 48-hour work boycott.

He said ex-army men should be deployed for the security of the substations and local police should be contacted for the security of the employees who want to work. Proper arrangements of food, stay and conveyance should be made for the staff that might have to work for longer hours due the work boycott.

Similar measures, according to sources, were being taken to man and manage distribution substations and lines as well.

The power employees, meanwhile, are continuing with statewide demonstrations and meetings, protesting against investment of their provident fund worth of above Rs 2,600 crore in an unsecured private housing company.

They demanded that the state government should not only give a guarantee for the safe return of the money, but also take action against the IAS officers responsible for the scam.

Samiti convener Shailendra Dubey said the employees were also agitated over the fact that the CBI probe into the PF scam had not begun yet. “There appears to be an attempt to save the bureaucrats who actually presided over the scam,” he alleged.

Dubey said all preparations had been made to make the 48-hour work boycott successful. “We would proceed on strike if any of our agitating employees was harassed during the work boycott,” he warned.

Shailendra Dubey further said that engineers will not fix any fault in power plan and even faults in transmission and distribution system will not be attended by the power employees during the 48-hour boycott.

The employees have been up in arms against the UPPCL management, demanding the arrest of former UPPCL chairman Alok Kumar, who was also the ex-officio chairman of the Uttar Pradesh State Power Sector Employees Trust which invested more than Rs 4,100 crore in DHFL since March 2017.

UPPCL sources said the corporation was preparing to file a review petition in the Mumbai high court, which has barred DHFL from releasing money to its creditors.

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Bengal MLA was ‘killed’ as he joined BJP: Tripura CM

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Biplab Deb

Agartala, July 13 : Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Monday alleged that West Bengal legislator Debendra Nath Ray was killed because he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party last year.

Deb, who was the Tripura state BJP President until recently, in a tweet said: “Body of Sri Debendra Nath Ray, BJP MLA from Hemtabad, a reserved seat, in Uttar Dinajpur, was found hanging in Bindal, near his village house. People are of clear opinion that he was first killed & then hung. His crime? He joined the BJP in 2019.”

The 65-year-old MLA was found mysteriously hanging on Monday morning, a few meters away from his home near a local market in his village, about 454 km from West Bengal capital Kolkata.

Ray had joined the BJP in 2019. Earlier, he was elected to the state assembly as Communist Party of India-Marxist nominee in 2016.

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Doctor who managed Goa’s only Covid hospital tests positive

The state currently has more than 900 active Covid-19 cases, with 17 fatalities linked to coronavirus.

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Dr Gomes

Panaji, July 13 : Dr. Edwin Gomes, who had emerged as the face of Goa”s Covid-19 treatment and care effort, and had served as the in-charge of medication of patients at the state’s only designated Covid-19 hospital, has tested positive for the viral infection, a government spokesperson said.

“Dr. Gomes has been admitted to a state government facility for doctors infected by coronavirus,” the spokesperson said.

Gomes, 58, is also the head of medicine at the state”s only medical college, the Goa Medical College, and had last week ended his unbroken 98-day shift at the designated Covid-19 hospital.

The state currently has more than 900 active Covid-19 cases, with 17 fatalities linked to coronavirus.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has said that “four to five” Covid-19 patients who died, were suffering from cancer. “Eight to 10 patients were above the age of 80 years, while one also died of liver failure. The death rate has increased due to co-morbid conditions,” Sawant told reporters at the State Secretariat.

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Delhi riots: Court rejects bail plea of Tahir Hussain

Communal clashes broke out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after clashes between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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Tahir Hussain

New Delhi, July 13 : A Delhi court on Monday dismissed the bail application of suspended Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor, Tahir Hussain, in connection with the murder of Intelligence Bureau (IB) staffer Ankit Sharma.

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav observed, “There is enough material on record to presume that the applicant was present at the spot of crime and was exhorting the rioters of a particular community and as such, he did not use his hands and fists, but rioters as ”human weapons”.”

Intelligence Bureau (IB) staffer Ankit Sharma was killed in Chand Bagh area during the northeast Delhi violence on February 25. His body was recovered from the drain and had 51 sharp and blunt injuries on it.

The court further said that there is a possibility that if Hussain is released on bail at this stage, he may tamper with the evidence or threaten the witnesses.

Hussain, who is in judicial custody since March, had sought bail on the grounds that there is no cogent evidence to connect him to the alleged murder of Sharma.

Besides this, the court also noted that Hussain”s involvement is being investigated upon with regard to his connection with members of PFI, Pinjratod, Jamia Co-ordination Committee, United Against Hate Group and anti-CAA protesters.

“Riots in the area of northeast Delhi were carried out in an organized manner and as part of the deep-rooted conspiracy,” said the sessions judge while denying bail to Hussain.

Hussain has also been booked under the stringent anti-terror law — Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, in a case related to alleged conspiracy in the riots.

Communal clashes broke out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after clashes between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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