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# Mehbooba hits out at erstwhile ally
A day after Bharatiya Janata Party national president Amit Shah accused former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of misrule and being soft on separatists, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president took to social media to rebut the allegations, saying it was “sad to see [the BJP] disown their own initiatives.”
“Many false charges levelled against us by our former allies. Our commitment to the Agenda of Alliance, co-authored by Ram Madhav and endorsed by senior leaders like [Union Home Minister] Rajnath (Singh) ji never wavered. It is sad to see them disown their own initiative and label it a soft approach,” said Ms. Mufti, who took on allegations by the former ally in a series of tweets.
At a rally in Jammu on Saturday, Mr. Shah accused Ms. Mufti of being soft on separatists and discriminatory to the Jammu and Ladakh regions.
“The allegations of discrimination against Jammu and Ladakh have no basis in reality. Yes, the Valley has been in turmoil for a long time and the floods of 2014 were a setback, therefore needed focused attention,” she said.
“Results on the ground are for all to see. If anything they should review the performance of their own Ministers, who largely represented the Jammu region if there were any such concerns, none among them either at State or Central level talked about it during the last 3 years,” she added.
The former Chief Minister also took on the BJP over the assassination of journalist Shujaat Bukhari.
On Kathua rape case
“After expressing concern about freedom of expression in J&K following Shujaat’s murder, their MLA, notorious and even punished for his role in the aftermath of the unfortunate Kathua case still threatens journalists belonging to the Valley, so what are they going to do about him?” asked Ms. Mufti.
Hardening her stand on the Kathua rape and murder case, Ms. Mufti said, “Not handing over the Rasana rape and murder case to CBI, getting the pro-rapist Ministers removed and also issuing orders not to harass the Gujjar and Bakarwal community in the guise of anti-encroachment drives were my duties as Chief Minister to provide a sense of security to both communities.”
In a bid to corner the Bharatiya Janata Party, which pulled out of the coalition government on June 19, she said the status quo on Article 370, dialogue with Pakistan and Hurriyat were a part of Agenda of Alliance.
# Microfinance delivery at doorstep
Cooperation Department’s ‘Muttathe Mulla’ to be piloted in Palakkad
A microfinance scheme will be rolled out on a pilot basis in Palakkad district by the Cooperation Department in association with the Kudumbasree Mission to check exploitation of the public by private microfinance companies and loan sharks.
Under the scheme to be executed through Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies, Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 25,000 will be provided as loan to an individual for a maximum of 52 weeks.
Of the 12% interest to be levied, 9% will go to the primary cooperative societies, and 3% to the Kudumbasree.
The Kudumbasree workers will disburse the loan at the doorstep of the beneficiary and the repayment, along with interest, will be collected from the house weekly, Minister for Cooperation Kadakampally Surendran told a press meet here on Sunday.
For a Rs. 1,000 loan, a sum of Rs. 1,120 will have to be repaid in equal instalments in 52 weeks.
Each Kudumbasree unit will get a cash credit of Rs. 10 lakh at an interest of 9% to be disbursed as loan. The loan of those defaulting for more than three months will be converted as loan of primary agricultural societies.
The loans given through Kudumbasree will not come under the government’s Risk Fund Scheme, which meets the loan liability of society members who die during pendency of loans.
Named ‘Muttathe Mulla,’ the scheme will be launched on June 26 by Mr. Surendran at a function to be organised by the Mannarcaud Rural Cooperative Bank at Thenkara.
The Minister said the scheme would be helpful to the people as loan sharks were now charging 24% to 200% interest.
Besides, the scheme would help create financial literacy, Mr. Surendran added.
# ‘Centre committed to early completion of Polavaram’
No truth in Naidu’s allegations against the Modi-led government, says BJP
Accusing Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu of the image of the Central government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP State unit president Kanna Lakshminarayana and party senior leader D. Purandeswari on Sunday said the Centre was committed to completing the Polavaram irrigation project and the work would be completed by the next summer in all likelihood.
Headed by the two leaders, a delegation from the BJP visited the project site and interacted with the media.
“Polavaram is being fully funded by the Central government and there is no compromise on the completion of the project. Unfortunately, Mr. Naidu is trying to make political gains by slandering the image of the Centre and the Prime Minister. But people of Andhra Pradesh are watching him closely and none of them is ready to go by his allegations,” they said.
‘No dearth of funds’
Stating that it was the responsibility of the BJP to inspect the work periodically as it was a Central government’s project, the BJP leaders said the bills submitted through proper channel were cleared and there was no pendency regarding the release of funds.
“Similarly, there is no dearth of funds and the Centre is keen on making the project reality at the earliest. Union Minister Gadkari is monitoring the work and getting involved wherever needed,” they said.
Payment of bills
Referring to the documents pertaining to the payment of bills for the completed work, Ms. Purandeswari said those documents were obtained under the Right to Information Act, which were the classic example to showcase the prompt payment by the Centre. “Mr. Naidu never spoke facts and we the BJP leaders never lied on any issue. We are here to highlight the facts on the project and explain to the people about the good work done in the State by the Central government,” she said.
She recalled that it was the Narendra Modi-led Central government that had merged seven mandals from Telangana with Andhra Pradesh only to pave way for the major irrigation project.
# 9 killed, 5 injured in road accident
Overloaded auto took to wrong side resulting in collision with bus
Eight women were among nine killed when a overloaded auto with 14 passengers collided with an APSRTC bus at Somayajulapalle of Orvakal mandal of Kurnool district early on Sunday. The others sustained injuries.
According to the DIG (Kurnool) Ghattamaneni Srinivas, who rushed to the spot and oversaw the rescue operation, the bus belonging to the Nandyal depot was on its way to Kurnool. The ill-fated auto carrying passengers from Kallapari village of Kodumuru mandal and Chanugondla village of Guduru mandal, was proceeding to Mahanandi, where the victims were to take country medicine to fight liquor addiction.
Of the three autos carrying passengers, the last one took to wrong side, resulting in the collision. The impact left the auto flung to a distance of 50 feet away.
While seven died on the spot, two were declared dead on arrival at the government hospital at Orvakal. The five injured, including the auto driver, were admitted to the government hospital at Kurnool, 30 km from the accident spot. Four of them, including a woman, are said to be critical.
Mr. Srinivas spoke to the injured auto driver Vasu (28) and bus driver Maddileti and the passengers. He consoled the family members of the deceased.
The deceased were identified as Boya Mareppa (60), Somakka (70), Gowramma (60), Boya Eeramma (57), Manikyamma (46), Lakshmi Devi (40), Hussain Amma (60), Govindamma (62) and Lakshmi Devi (55).Senior officials of the APSRTC and the Road Transport department from Kurnool also visited the accident spot and the area hospitals.APSRTC chairman Varla Ramaiah said all steps would be initiated to help the kin of the deceased and the injured. A pall of gloom descended on the two villages. The district administration prompted the officials concerned to oversee the post-mortem process, shifting of bodies and funeral formalities.
# Raj Bhavan warns against laying siege to its campus
‘Oppn. given enough time to understand Governor’s powers’
In its strongest message yet to Leader of the Opposition M.K. Stalin, the Raj Bhavan on Sunday warned of legal action against any attempt to lay siege to its campus. A Raj Bhavan statement said that the DMK leader and other parties opposing the Governor Banwarilal Purohit’s visits to various districts were given sufficient time to understand the legal position (on the Governor’s powers) and change their course.
The office of the Governor was protected under Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code and “any attempt to overawe or assault or use criminal force will be dealt with as per the law,” said the statement, issued a day after Mr. Stalin led his party cadre in a protest outside the Raj Bhavan to condemn the arrest of DMK functionaries who staged a black flag demonstration against Mr. Purohit.
Section 124 of the IPC provided for punishment including imprisonment of up to seven years to those attempting to restrain the President of India or the Governor of any State from exercising his or her lawful powers.
“The use of the word ‘review’ by the Leader of the Opposition is an attempt to mislead the people. He is either ignorant of the law or attempting to overawe by threatening to besiege Raj Bhavan or block the roads leading to the Raj Bhavan,” it said.
The Raj Bhavan statement contended that the Governor was vested with the responsibility of protecting and defending the Constitution and “those who do not understand the correct legal position or do not wish to abide by the law should desist from making comments or pursuing actions which are violative of the law.”
Defending the Governor’s visits to various parts of the State, the Raj Bhavan reiterated that as the Constitutional authority, Mr. Purohit enjoyed full power and freedom to visit any part of the State.
The Governor should be familiar with the problems faced by the people for him to take the “right decisions at critical times” and “send meaningful monthly reports” to the President, it contended.
As per protocol, the District Collectors are to receive him during such visits and extend the prescribed courtesies. And being the Head of the Executive, the Governor enjoyed “unhindered freedom” to meet and interact with officials of the State.
There had been no instance so far of the Governor either criticizing the performance of any department or giving a direction to any official, the Raj Bhavan claimed and added that the visits would continue in the coming months.
# NRC omissions raise fear in Assam
June 30 is deadline for final draft
Of Assam’s 14 MPs, All India United Democratic Front chief Badruddin Ajmal and his brother Sirajuddin Ajmal did not figure in the first draft of the updated National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on December 31 last year.
Also missing from the first draft containing 19 million names were at least 15 of Assam’s 126 MLAs. They included Badruddin Ajmal’s son Abdur Rahim Ajmal, who represents the AIUDF, perceived to be a pro-minority party, from the Jamunamukh constituency.
Off the list too were Boby Bhuyan Baruah, wife of separatist Paresh Baruah, who has been operating from neighbouring countries, including China, for three decades now, and their sons Ankur and Akash. Mr. Baruah leads the United National Front of Asom-Independent.
The MPs and MLAs — including the BJP’s Shiladitya Dev and Ashwini Rai Sarkar — and relatives of extremist leaders would rather wait for the final draft of the Supreme Court-monitored NRC to be out by the June 30 deadline. “The first list did not have my name despite my being an MLA for one term and an MP for two. The doors of the SC are open in case the name does not show up,” the AIUDF chief said a few days ago.
The leaders are not worried. But the likes of Moinal Islam, a mason from near Chhaygaon, west of Guwahati, who has been at a loss to explain why his father adds ‘Sheikh’ to his name while he doesn’t, and Subhas Saha of western Assam’s Dhubri town, half of whose family were excluded from the first draft despite having lived there for almost a century, are worried by speculation that up to four million people — mostly Bengali Hindus and Muslims — would become stateless after June 30.
Misplaced fears: official
“These are misplaced fears. We cannot quantify at this moment, but the number of people who might get left out would be 50,000 at most. Even then, they will get an opportunity to prove their citizenship through claims and objections,” Prateek Hajela, State NRC Coordinator, told The Hindu .
About 2,500 NRC centres across the State would continue to handle claims and objections before being wound up. A few centres would remain to continue the process of enlisting children of those who find their names in the updated NRC.
# Mystery over death of Sainik School student
The death of a Sainik School student in Kodagu has been shrouded in mystery.
N.P. Chingappa, a class 9 student, was found unconscious in the school washroom on Saturday. The staff rushed him to the primary health centre at Kudige where he was declared dead around 8 p.m. His father Naganda T. Poovaiah is a hockey coach at the same school. Sources said Chingappa was castigated for an act of indiscipline by a teacher on Saturday morning following which he disappeared.
The police said the cause of death would be known only once the post-mortem reports are available.
# 2 LeT militants killed
Two militants of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were killed, and another surrendered, as security forces launched an operation at Kulgam in south Kashmir on Sunday. One civilian died and scores were injured in the clashes that broke out after the gunfight. “Two terrorists, including ‘divisional commander’ Shakir Dar, were killed… One surrendered with arms and ammunition,” Director General of Police S.P. Vaid said. Dar joined the LeT two months ago, and the other killed, Haider, was believed to be a foreign militant, the police said.
# India cuts export quotas for Maldives
Supplies of essentials may be hit
India has lowered the limits on the export of certain essential commodities such as potatoes, onions, and eggs to the Maldives, according to a recent notification, in a move that sparked reports of possible food shortages in the Maldives. This move, though ostensibly based on a new method of calculation, comes against the backdrop of a recent heightening of tensions between the two countries.
The Maldivian media, however, recently reported that the Managing Director of State Trading Organization, Ahmed Shaheer, had assured the people that there will be no shortage of essential goods due to the Indian decision. According to a bilateral pact that came into effect in 1981, India exports essential commodities by and large in line with the requirement as communicated by the government of Maldives.
# In Odisha, a groom demands a growing ‘dowry’
School teacher from Balabhadrapur asks for 1,000 saplings to green his village
When 33-year-old Saroj Kant Biswal asked his prospective in-laws for a 1, 000 saplings as dowry, his demand was met with astonishment and consternation, not least from his own parents.
But an extravagant marriage procession to a venue decked with flower arrangements, accompanied by the bursting of fire crackers had never been the concept of a dream wedding for the school teacher from Balabhadrapur village in Kendrapara.
When his marriage proposal was first discussed Mr. Biswal’s only condition was a gift of a 1,000 saplings.
Support of fiancee
Despite objections, Mr. Biswal a member of ‘ Gachha Tie Sathi Tie (a tree is a friend)’ campaign for promoting afforestation and tree planting, remained firm in his demand. Fortunately, he found support from his fiancee, Rashmirekha, also a teacher.
When their wedding took place on June 22, his in-laws came to the venue with a truck-load of saplings, mainly of fruit trees.
Mr. Biswal took time off from the marriage rituals and distributed saplings among fellow villagers. Guests, who came to bless the couple were given saplings as return gifts.
“I am against any form of dowry. I wanted to spread the message of tree protection. And what could have been better occasion than my marriage to convince my fellow villagers that they should take tree plantation seriously,” said Mr. Biswal.
“As we both are teachers, our students will definitely be motivated by our gesture. I would urge others to think of other innovative ways to spread the message so that our planet gets back its green cover,” he said.
Source:- The Hindu