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Will not allow any damage to eco-sensitive zone via mining: SC



Supreme Court

Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde on Wednesday said the Supreme Court will not allow any damage to the eco-sensitive zone and if an area falls in an eco-sensitive zone, then neither the Centre nor state will have the right to mine it.

A bench, headed by the Chief Justice and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, said as far as exploitation of natural resources is concerned, the court cannot rely on either the Centre or the state government.

“When it comes to nature, there is always an attempt to make money out of it. If the eco-sensitive zone is hampered, we will not allow it,” said Chief Justice Bobde as the bench heard a suit filed by the Jharkhand government challenging the Centre’s decision to auction coal blocks in the state for commercial mining.

The bench noted that prima facie, the Centre is entitled to auction coal blocks in the state, as it is not a scheduled area, and asked the Centre to file an affidavit within a week clarifying whether in the area under question is eco-sensitive or not.

The Chief Justice noted that Jharkhand is claiming immunity from the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR Act). “Politics and law are connected, no doubt about it, but we don’t consider it a part of law,” he said.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the state government, submitted that 53 per cent of Jharkhand is forest areas and the state is challenging the auction, which, he insisted, is “contrary to public interest”.

As the Chief Justice asked if he was saying that mining lease cannot be granted in an eco-sensitive zone, Singhvi said it can be done in a small area far away from such a zone. The Chief Justice then sought evidence be placed on record that the area under coal blocks is an eco-sensitive zone.

Senior advocate Fali Nariman, also appearing for the state government, said the government has put forth full details on the areas in eco-sensitive zones.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, representing the Centre, said that two weeks before the filing of the suit, the state filed a writ petition asking the Centre to hold back the coal block auction until global investment climate improves, which would help the state to maximise returns on natural resources.

Querying Singhvi on this submission, the CJI said the court is not an expert on eco-sensitive areas, but it can certainly ask someone to visit and check if these areas are eco-sensitive.

Nariman urged the court to postpone the auction of coal blocks for a few months as the suit under Article 131, filed by the state, needs to be decided. Singhvi submitted there is a large population of tribal people in the state and 30 per cent of the area is a forest area and the MMDR Act will not apply as the state is a scheduled area.

However, the AG objected to these arguments.

After a detailed hearing on the matter, the bench then adjourned the case for two weeks and permitted the state government to file a rejoinder after the Centre files its affidavit.

In July, the top court had issued notice to the Centre on the state government’s plea challenging its decision to auction coal blocks and alleging that the announcement was made by the Centre unilaterally.

Source: IANS


Saraswat Brahmins want ban on burning of Ravan’s effigies




Saraswat Brahmin

Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), Oct 25 : The Saraswat Brahmin community in Mathura has sought a ban on the practice of burning effigies of Ravan, year after year.

“The Hindu religion does not permit burning of effigies of a person who has already been cremated,” Omvir Saraswat, who heads the Lankesh Mandal, said.

“Burning of effigies of Ravan amounts to ‘Brahma Hatya’ (slaying of Brahmin). Even Lord Ram, after slaying Ravan, had offered prayers for his soul in Lanka. He also asked his younger brother Laxman to take the blessings of Ravan,” Saraswat added.

He said that as per Hindu tradition, burning effigies of a dead person amounts to showing disrespect for him which is not even permitted by law. The practice must be stopped because a section of society holds Ravan in high esteem.

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‘Scared to face truth’: Rahul Gandhi takes a jibe at Mohan Bhagwat, says govt and RSS allowed China to take our land

RSS marks Vijay Dashmi as one of its biggest events when the RSS chief addresses the RSS workers on a number of issues concerning politics, society, national security and family values.



Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said BJP Government and the RSS allowed China to to take our land as Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat said that Indian defence forces, government and the people responded sharply to China’s boisterous efforts to invade the country’s territories.

“It’s clear to world how China encroached and is still encroaching our borders. Everyone is aware of its expansionist behaviour. This time, it has picked up fight with Taiwan, Vietnam, US, Japan, along with India. But India’s response has made China nervous,” Bhagwat said in his address at the annual Dussehra function at Maharshi Vyas auditorium, RSS headquarters in Nagpur.

Sharing screenshot of an ANI tweet, Rahul Gandhi said, “Deep inside, Mr Bhagwat knows the truth. He is just scared to face it. The truth is China has taken our land and GOI & RSS have allowed it.”

India and China are engaged in a standoff since April-May this year starting from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast. India has deployed close to 60,000 soldiers to counter the Chinese Army which first moved troops to transgress into Indian areas in Pangong Lake and other adjoining locations.

Bhagwat asserted that securing cooperative ties with our neighbours and at international relations is the only way to neutralise the expansionist aspirations of China and “our present policies seem to be charting those very horizons”

“Rising above China economically and strategically. We intend to be friendly with all. This is our nature. But mistaking our benevolence for weakness and attempts to disintegrate or weaken us by sheer brute force is unacceptable. Our reckless detractors should know this by now,” he said.

“Until recently the philosophy of integrating the world on the basis of the market forces dominated but with the latest turn of events, the idea of safeguarding life and exercising international cooperation has started to take shape in the global mind. We should speed up our pace in making our relations more friendly with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, our neighbours, who are also our friends and countries of similar nature to a large extent,” he added.

“The role of China in the context of COVID-19 pandemic can be said to be doubtful, but it was clear to the whole world, the manner in which China attempted to encroach on India’s borders, because of its economic strategic force. Indian defence forces, government and the people remained unfazed and responded sharply to China’s boisterous efforts to invade our territories,” he further said.

RSS marks Vijay Dashmi as one of its biggest events when the RSS chief addresses the RSS workers on a number of issues concerning politics, society, national security and family values.

(With agency inputs)

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World becoming fan of our local products: PM Modi

He added that previously there were massive fairs (melas) on the occasion of Dussehra…but in present times, they took on a different form.



Narendra Modi

New Delhi, Oct 25 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that since India is opting for ‘vocal for local’, many of the local Indian products have the potential of becoming globally popular and are attracting a lot of attention.

“World is becoming a fan of our local products. One such example is Khadi. Our Khadi is being known as nature friendly fabric plus its becoming a fashion statement,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the Mann Ki Baat programme.

The Prime Minister also said that Khadi has since a long time been a statement of “simplicity”. He added that the fabric has health benefits as its body-friendly and is also an all-weather fabric.

He said that on Gandhi Jayanti, the Khadi store in National capital’s Connaught Place witnessed a massive sale of Rs 1 crore.

The Prime Minister also asked the citizens to opt for local products while going out for shopping during the festive times. “When you go out to buy something during these festive times, remember the vocal for local,” he said.

“During the lockdown, we closely came to know about those members of society, without whom our lives would be miserable. Sanitation workers, brothers and sisters working as domestic helps, local vegetable vendors, milkmen, security guards….we have now felt the significance of their roles in our lives in a better way,” the PM said.

The PM said that during this crisis, these people were with us, now during the festivities, we shall make these people a part of our celebrations.

“I earnestly urge you to ensure, in whatever way, in making them a part of your celebrations. Treat them as members of your own family…you will see for yourself how your joy rises by leaps and bounds,” PM Modi said.

The Prime Minister also wished the nation on the occasion of Vijay Dashmi or Dusshera. “On this auspicious occasion, heartiest greetings to all of you. The festival of Dussehra is one of the triumph of truth over untruth. But, simultaneously, it is also the festival of victory of patience over crises,” he said.

“Today, all of you are carrying on with immense patience, celebrating the festival with restraint…and hence, in our ongoing fight, our victory too is assured, he said.

He added that previously there were massive fairs (melas) on the occasion of Dussehra…but in present times, they took on a different form.

The festival of Ramleela too was one of its major attractions….but now, that too has been restricted to some extent. Earlier during Navratra, the notes of Garba of Gujarat would reverberate all over….this time all grand events have been curtailed. Many more festivals are on the way in the days to come, he said.

The Prime Minister also asked the Indian citizens to think of the braveheart soldiers who are firmly stationed on our borders in line of duty. “Even during these festive time, all in service, security of Mother India. We have to light a lamp at home in honour of these brave sons, daughters of Mother India,” he said.

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