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Punjab Congress Leader’s Swipe On Indira Gandhi’s Death Anniversary – dot newz



The ad tweeted by Sunil Jakhar, who was Punjab Congress chief before Navjot Sidhu


The Congress in Punjab lurched into another crisis today after ex-state unit chief Sunil Jakhar sneered at the party for apparently forgetting former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s death anniversary.

At 11.32 am Mr Jakhar – who has not shied away from criticism over the Amarinder Singh-Navjot Sidhu feud, or taking swipes at Chief Minister Charanjit Channi – tweeted an ad from last year – when Amarinder Singh was still Chief Minister – that featured quotes from both leaders.

The senior leader declared he was ‘borrowing’ the ad as “none appeared today”.

“I can understand BJP trying to erase the ‘Iron Lady of India’ from history, but don’t we still have a Congress government in Punjab. PS: I know Captain saab won’t mind my using this Punjab government’s ad from last year, as none appeared today,” he said.

The Congress’ Punjab handle responded an hour later with a photo and the caption: “We pay tribute to the Iron Lady of India and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ji on her death anniversary.”

The party’s central handle has been posting tributes to Mrs Gandhi since early this morning.

On Thursday Mr Jakhar offered cryptic comment on Arvind Kejriwal’s visit; he tweeted the Delhi Chief Minister was in Punjab while the Punjab Chief Minister was in Delhi “yet again”.

Must say, at least one of them has got his timing right,” he said.

Continuing turmoil in Punjab turmoil comes at an inopportune time for the Congress, which is scrambling to keep its shape and prep for a re-election campaign for next year’s polls.

The Amarinder Singh-Navjot Sidhu feud exploded in September and led to Mr Singh resigning (he claimed “humiliation”), a sulking Mr Sidhu made Punjab Congress chief (he wanted Mr Singh’s job) and Charanjit Channi made the state’s first Dalit Sikh leader (with one eye on the poll math).

Mr Jakhar had hit out at Harish Rawat (the former Uttarakhand Chief Minister was then the party’s state-in-charge) over his support of Mr Sidhu, declaring it “undermined” Mr Channi’s authority.

Mr Sidhu’s subsequent and dramatic ‘resignation’ as Punjab Congress chief – upset that he was not consulted by the Chief Minister over some appointments – made matters worse, with Mr Jakhar slamming the former cricketer for his actions. “It’s just not cricket… ” he tweeted.

Since then, the party has also had to face the prospect of losing votes to Amarinder Singh, who remains a hugely influential figure and has announced his intention to start his own outfit and hold seat-sharing talks with the BJP and breakaway Akali Dal factions.

Yesterday Mr Singh (via his media advisor Raveen Thukral) rubbished rumours of backchannel talks with the Congress; he said “the time for rapprochement is over” and that he “will not stay”.

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




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


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




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


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





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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