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Punjab Chief Minister Seeks PM Modi’s Relook Into Law Enlarging BSF Jurisdiction – dot newz

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Charanjit Singh Channi has sought an appointment with PM Modi to discuss the issue. (File)

Chandigarh:

Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to have a relook into the central legislation enlarging the BSF’s territorial up to 50 km in the state from the Indo-Pak border. In a letter written to PM Modi, Mr Channi also urged him to restore the BSF’s territorial jurisdiction, limiting it only up to 15 km in the state from the international border, as earlier.

He made the plea arguing that the restoration of the territorial jurisdiction of the border guarding force will help the BSF and Punjab police work together amicably against the anti-national forces and safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.

Mr Channi also sought an appointment with PM Modi to discuss the issue.

Mr Channi wrote to the PM on a day one of his Cabinet ministers dubbed the central legislation extending the BSF’s territorial jurisdiction as the Centre’s “fourth black law” after its three farm laws.

Arguing that the police and law and order are subjects under the State List of the Constitution, the Punjab chief minister asserted that in a federal set up these matters are to be handled by the state government.

“By conferring powers of police officers to search, seizure and arrest people upon the BSF, not only for the prevention of offences punishable under various Acts but also for any cognisable offence punishable under any other Central Act without consulting the state governments or obtaining their concurrence, amounts to encroachment upon the powers and role of the state by the Centre,” the chief minister asserted.

He further accused the central government of trying to weaken the spirit of federalism and disturb the federal structure of the Constitution.

In his letter to the PM, Mr Channi argued that the BSF is trained to perform its primary duty of guarding and securing the international border and to act as the first line of defence.

He also contended that policing in the hinterland is the duty and responsibility of the state police.

“Moreover, the Punjab Police is a professional force fully competent to handle any law and order situation within the state,” he wrote, as per an official statement.

The chief minister also pointed out that the Punjab Police has adequate experience of dealing with terrorism effectively in the past, which he said, would not have been possible without effective coordination between the Punjab Police and the central agencies.

He said joint operations have been conducted successfully against drug traffickers and terrorist modules because of excellent coordination between the BSF and Punjab Police in the recent past.

Making a strong plea to review the entire matter, Mr Channi asserted that there are no justifiable reasons for unilaterally changing the existing arrangements by the government of India now.

The Union government has amended the BSF Act to authorise the force to undertake search, seizure and arrest within a 50 km stretch, up from the existing 15 km, from the international border in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.

Punjab has over 500 km of international border with Pakistan and more than 80 per cent of the total area of the border districts — Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Fazilka — and all the major towns and cities, including all the headquarters of these border districts, fall within 50 km from the Indo-Pak border, Mr Channi pointed out.

Meanwhile, Punjab’s Soil and Water Conservation Minister Rana Gurjeet Singh on Friday dubbed the central legislation extending the BSF territorial jurisdiction up to 50 km from the Indo-Pak border inside the state as the Centre’s “fourth black law” after its farm laws.

Mr Singh, who also holds the portfolios of Technical Education and Employment Generation ministries, said the increase in the BSF’s jurisdiction from earlier 15 km to 50 km is the “fourth black law imposed by the Centre on Punjab”.

Addressing a gathering in Hoshiarpur after laying the foundation stone for an irrigation project using treated water, Mr Singh said the Centre earlier had imposed three farm laws and now the more powers to BSF is another “black law” against Punjab.

“The Punjab government will strongly oppose this arbitrary decision,” the minister said.

Opposing the Centre’s move to extend the BSF’s territorial jurisdiction in the state, the Punjab Cabinet on Monday had said that law and order is a state subject and the police force is capable of dealing with any situation.

The minister also lashed out at the Centre “for deliberately ignoring the demands and concerns of the country’s farmers, who, he said, have been protesting at borders of the national capital for eleven months”.

He reminded the Centre that Punjabis played a vital role in the country’s freedom struggle and safeguarding the frontiers of the country besides contributing immensely to the country’s food kitty by producing crops. But the farmers today have been forced to sit at Singhu and other parts for their rights with the Centre paying no heed to their demands.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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High Altitude Areas In Uttarakhand Receive Season’s First Snowfall – dot newz

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The sky remained overcast in the plains with isolated light showers at several places (File)

Dehradun:

The Himalayan temple of Kedarnath and the high altitude areas of Chamoli district received the season’s first snowfall on Thursday while it drizzled in the lower areas intensifying the chill across the state.

Besides the Kedarnath shrine in Rudraprayag district, the Musk Deer Park, Valley of Flowers and the Nanda Devi National Park in Chamoli district also received snowfall, officials in Dehradun said.

The sky remained overcast in the plains with isolated light showers at several places, including state capital Dehradun.

The temperature recorded in Dehradun on Thursday was 15.4 degrees Celsius, Tehri 10 degrees Celsius, Pantnagar 18.4 degrees Celsius, Mukteshwar 8.4 degrees Celsius and Almora 13.4 degrees Celsius, the MeT Department in Dehradun said.



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37 Years On, Bhopal Gas Tragedy Victims Still Await Adequate Compensation – dot newz

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“In 1984, Congress was in power in Madhya Pradesh and at Centre”: Bhopal Gas Tragedy Minister

Bhopal:

Thirty-seven years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, termed as the world’s worst industrial disaster, the survivors and the family of the dead are still waiting to be compensated fairly with an organisation working for them claiming that each victim has so far received less than one-fifth of the allotted sum.

The leak of methyl isocyanate, a toxic gas, from the pesticide plant of Union Carbide on the intervening night of December 2 and 3, 1984, had killed over 3,000 people and left 1.02 lakh others affected at that time. However, the number of affected later rose to over 5.70 lakh.

Talking to PTI, Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vishvas Sarang said, “In 1984, the Congress was in power in Madhya Pradesh and at the Centre. The two governments did not put forth the case of the victims in a right manner to enable them to get more compensation.”

Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti (BGPSSS) co-convener ND Jayaprakash said the Supreme Court assisted settlement on February 14-15, 1989 worth Rs 705 crore was based on the assumption that only around 3,000 persons died and 1,02,000 were affected.

“This compensation was a complete sham as each gas victim ended up being given less than one-fifth of the sum allotted even as per the terms of that unjust settlement,” he added.

When asked to explain, he said that the financial aid was USD 470 million in 1989. The dollars turned into more than Rs 3,000 crore in 2004, when the disbursements started.

“But the number of the victims swelled to 5.73 lakh and this amount was distributed among them. So, each victim got one-fifth of the compensation,” he added.

“The failure on the part of the Supreme Court to hear the long-pending curative petition against the unjust settlement of 1989, has had an adverse impact on the interests of the gas victims,” he said in a media statement.

The curative petition (civil), which was filed by the Union of India on December 3, 2010 to challenge the unjust settlement of 1989 and to seek additional sum of at least another Rs 7,724 crore as compensation was last listed before the Constitution Bench of the Court on January 29 last year, he said.

“However, the hearing was postponed to February 11 last year. Sadly, the matter was never listed on that date or ever since then,” he said.

Failure to dispose of the curative petition has also meant the indefinite postponement of the hearing of the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed on March 17, 2010 by eight members of Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sangathan (BGPMUS) and BGPSSS, he said.

In the SLP, the two NGOs have sought enhancement of settlement sum by a factor of five in terms of the magnitude of the disaster as assessed by the claim courts and in terms of the gravity of injuries suffered by the gas victims on the basis of their medical records, Jayaprakash said.

Failure to dispose of the pending curative petition and the SLP for over a decade has effectively denied the gas-victims several thousands of crores of additional compensation that they are legitimately entitled to, he added.

In the curative petition, the Centre has sought Rs 7,724 crore as additional funds from successor firms of US-based Union Carbide Corporation, now owned by Dow Chemicals, for giving compensation to victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy.

The Centre, in its plea, is seeking a direction to Union Carbide and other firms for Rs 7,722 crore additional amount over and above the earlier settlement amount of USD 470 million in 1989 for paying compensation to the gas tragedy victims.

On June 7, 2010, a local court had convicted seven executives of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) to two years of imprisonment in connection with the incident. The then UCC chairman, Warren Anderson, was the prime accused in the case but did not appear for the trial. On February 1, 1992, the Bhopal CJM court had declared him an absconder. He died in the US in 2014. 



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5 Contacts Of Bengaluru Omicron Patient Test Positive For Covid, Isolated – dot newz

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Bengaluru:

Five contacts of an Omicron patient have turned out to be Covid positive, Karnataka announced today, shortly after the Union health ministry said the first patients of the new Covid variant have been found in the state. The patients have been isolated and their samples have been sent for genome testing, Karnataka said amid concern over the highly infectious strain that has set off global alarm.

One of the two initial patients is a 46-year-old health worker from Bengaluru, who developed symptoms of fever and body ache on November 21.

He tested positive the following day and was admitted to hospital; his sample was sent for genome sequencing on the same day.  But three days later he was discharged.

After extensive contact tracing, the Karnataka government said he had 13 direct contacts and more than 250 secondary contacts.

The other confirmed Omicron patient is a 66-year-old South African national who came to India with a negative Covid report.

The man, who received both vaccine doses, tested positive on arrival and was asymptomatic, following which he was told to self-isolate.

A week later, with a negative Covid report from a private lab, he flew to Dubai. Samples from his 24 primary and 240 secondary contacts have returned negative test results.



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