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# Ceasefire ends, ops against J&K militants to resume
Official cites enhanced threat to Amarnath yatra commencing on June 28
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Sunday that the government has decided not to extend the suspension of operations (SoO) in Jammu and Kashmir and that operations against terrorists would resume.
The SoO was announced on May 16, when the month of Ramzan started.
The prime reason for the decision was the enhanced threat to the Amarnath yatra that commences on June 28, a senior government official said.
The official said that by ignoring the government’s initiative, the Hurriyat Conference had failed to seize the opportunity.
“Operations against terrorists to resume. The government commends the security forces for having shown exemplary restraint during Ramzan, despite grave provocations,” Mr. Singh said.
He said the government was committed to creating an environment free of terror and violence in the State. “It is important that all those who have the interests of the people of J&K, and especially the youth in mind, isolate the terrorists and work towards bringing back the misguided youth to the right path… On the other hand, terrorists indulge in wanton killing of innocent civilians and attacks on security forces,” Mr. Singh said.
Interestingly, the government had made up its mind not to extend the SoO last week itself when it reviewed the security preparedness for the yatra. The assassination of Rising Kashmir Editor Shujaat Bukhari only firmed up the decision.
“There were multiple incidents reported in the month of Ramzan. It would have reflected badly on the government if taking advantage of the SoO militants attack the Amarnath yatris,” said the official.
Last year, eight persons were killed when a bus carrying pilgrims from Gujarat was attacked by Lashkar-e-Taiba militants.
# Naidu raises Special Category Status issue at the meeting
Revenue deficit, Polavaram figure in his list of demands
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu raised several pending issues, including the Special Category Status (SCS), at the fourth NITI Aayog Governing Council meeting in Delhi on Sunday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Chair.
In 20 minutes, he urged for clarification on the bifurcation-related SCS, construction of a capital city, Polavaram project, revenue deficit and pull back of Rs. 350 crore relating to the backward areas development fund.
Railway zone, establishment of greenfield crude oil refinery and petrochemical complex, increase of seats in the Assembly, resolving anomalies in the taxation matters, construction of a steel plant at the YSR Kadapa district, establishment of the Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor, the Visakhapatnam and the Vijayawada metro rail, the Dugarajapatnam port and establishment of a Greyhound Training Centre figured in his list of demands.
Explaining how his State was lagging in terms of development compared to other southern States, he said the per capita income of the combined State of Andhra Pradesh was Rs. 89,214 for 2013-14 while that of the remaining 13 districts for the same period stood at Rs. 82,870 against Rs. 1,12,162 for Telangana.
Mr. Naidu said the people of Andhra Pradesh never wanted the bifurcation which was a unilateral stand of the Centre.
He said the provisions made in the AP Reorganisation Act were yet to be implemented and the Modi government had failed to fulfil its promises in the last four years.
He also pointed out that clarity eluded in several other issues.
Mr. Naidu demanded that the Centre spell out the special assistance the State would be given.
He said the Centre should release, without any further delay, adequate funds for land acquisition for the Polavaram project and for implementation of the relief and rehabilitation package. It should also initiate measures to ensure that the project was completed within the stipulated time frame, by 2019.
‘Need funds for capital’
He said Andhra Pradesh was left without a capital after the division.
To construct a new capital, the State needed funds. He said AP was planning for a greenfield capital and the Centre should grant funds adequately for it.
The Chief Minister said the Modi government had pulled back Rs. 350 crore allocated for the backward areas development and also spoke about what he called Centre’s ‘flip-flop’ on revenue deficit in the State.
The Centre should do the needful to fill the gap.
# PM renews call for debate on simultaneous polls
At NITI Aayog meet, Modi favours a uniform voter list
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday again called for widespread consultation on simultaneous elections in the country during the fourth governing council meeting of the NITI Aayog. The meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers of 23 States, the Lieutenant-Governor of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and senior Union Ministers.
“The Prime Minister called for widespread debate and consultations on simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabhas, keeping in view aspects such as the resulting financial savings and better utilisation of resources,” an official statement said.
Reacting to Mr. Modi’s speech, the Congress accused the government of “telling half-truths and building tall tales.”
Finance panel row
Briefing the media after the meeting, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar said as a result of being in a “perpetual election” mode, the focus on development was diluted.
On amending the terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission as raised by some States, Mr. Kumar said, “Those who are already born, they should be given what is rightfully theirs… For all such devolutions, the current population [as per 2011 census] should be the basis.”
He, however, added that Mr. Modi had asked States to give “fresh ideas” to the Commission for incentivising outcome-based allocations and expenditure correction.
# ‘We are not on strike’
Delhi IAS officers allege they have been victimised
The Delhi IAS Association on Sunday refuted the Aam Aadmi Party’s claim that its members were on an “undeclared strike.”
Revenue Secretary Manisha Saxena, Transport Commissioner Varsha Joshi, South Delhi District Magistrate Amjad Tak and Directorate of Information and Publicity Secretary Jaydev Sarangi told reporters here that IAS officers were “working with utmost sincerity and dedication,” and in a neutral manner.
The officers, however, said they would not attend those meetings which, they feel, would be “unsafe,” in an indirect reference to the alleged assault on Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash by some AAP MLAs during a meeting at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence.
Mr. Kejriwal assured them that he would ensure their safety, saying they were a part of his family. Earlier in the day the Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to resolve the “constitutional crisis” created by the tussle between Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and the Aam Aadmi Party government.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “I along with the Hon’ble CMs of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala have requested Hon’ble PM to resolve the problems of the Delhi government immediately.”
# To Russia with love, on a cycle
A Kerala teacher keeps his date with the FIFA World Cup
No place is too far to catch the excitement of the football World Cup, and one fan in Kerala decided to pedal all the way to Russia.
Clifin Francis, 28, a mathematics teacher at a coaching centre in Ernakulam, commenced his cycling voyage from Iran on March 13.
On June 5, he entered Russia and was on his way to Moscow on Sunday.
“I love cycling and football. I used to pedal to the coaching centre and once cycled from Kochi to Kanyakumari. I decided to cycle to Russia to join the biggest soccer party. So far it has been a great journey, enjoying new places, cuisines, cultures, and making new friends,” he told The Hindu over phone.
Mr. Francis rolled through nearly 4,000 km, passing through several landscapes before reaching Russia.
He left Kerala on February 23 and his first stop was Dubai, where he bought a bicycle. The next stop was Iran, which he reached by ship. He launched his cycling expedition from Bandar Abbas, the famous port city that overlooks the Strait of Hormuz.
The resident of Thuravoor, near Cherthala, says he did not encounter any difficulties while pedalling through Iran and Azerbaijan. “The local people welcomed me warmly to their houses. Some of those I met were big fans of Indian cinema, and mentioned Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai. I spent my 28th birthday eating kebab and drinking ‘istak’ with villagers in Meymeh in Iran.”
A quick check showed that there were many Keralites in Azerbaijan, whom Mr. Francis met.
The only serious difficulty he encountered was in Georgia, where he was denied entry. “I had to return to Azerbaijan and take a different route to Russia, where authorities welcomed me when I showed them my FIFA fan identity card. I hope to reach Moscow in six days,” he said. Most journey nights were spent in tents in the countryside.
The trip was funded out of savings from his job, the teacher said. Yet, at the end of it all, he will witness just one World Cup game, between France and Denmark in Moscow on June 26. “I have a ticket only for that match. But my dream is to get an autograph from Lionel Messi on my bike,” the avid fan of the Argentina national team said.
Having caught the biking bug, Mr. Francis is thinking of a global cycling tour. “I want to sell my cycle in Russia, buy a new one, and ride around the world.”
# Kumaraswamy to meet Modi today
Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday to discuss the fallout on Karnataka following the notification of the Cauvery Management Board.
Sources in the Chief Minister’s office said Mr. Kumaraswamy would be discussing the possible problems from Karnataka’s perspective arising out of the notification, with both the leaders. With Mr. Modi, the Chief Minister is also likely to bring the issue of coal shortage faced by thermal power plants in the State.
Among other issues, allocation to the State under the State Disaster Response Fund, the issue which Mr. Kumaraswamy touched upon in his address at NITI Ayog’s General Council meeting on Sunday, would also be raised, sources said.
# Rain triggers landslips in Siruvani hills
‘Anti-poaching watchers engaged in clearing debris’
Downpour in Udhagamandalam and in neighbouring Kerala has triggered landslips at several places in Siruvani hills, Pooluvampatti Forest Range in Coimbatore Forest Division for the last one week.
A group of anti-poaching watchers under the guidance of two forest guards were engaged in clearing the debris and uprooted trees for the last one week, said C. Palaniraja, Pooluvampatti Forest Ranger.
“Landslips during rainy season in hills and adjoining forest areas are usual happenings,” he said.
Forest officials and employees are always on the alert to prevent loss of life and damage to properties, the official added.
# Dhanush artillery gun clears final trials
The indigenously upgraded artillery gun Dhanush has successfully completed final user trials and is ready for induction into the Army. Dhanush is an upgraded version of the Swedish Bofors gun procured by India in the mid-1980s.
Source:- The Hindu