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“Cancelling Cases Against Farmers For Farm Fires”: Punjab Chief Minister – dot newz

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Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Channi cancelled the FIRs but urged farmers not to burn stubble

Chandigarh:

The Punjab government will cancel all police cases against farmers who burn stubble, or agricultural waste, Chief Minister Charanjit Channi said Wednesday, as nearby Delhi and the national capital region lie smothered under a toxic and poisonous haze that has been partially linked to these fires.

The decision comes months before an Assembly election in which farmers (the farm laws protest and stubble burning) will likely play a major role. Chief Minister Channi also said cases filed during such protests will also be dropped.

“We want farmers to stop stubble burning and government will take strict action. But we are cancelling all FIRs registered for stubble burning till now. I am appealing to farmers not to burn stubble. The centre also needs to ensure farmers don’t burn stubble ” he said after a farmer leaders from 32 unions.

“Many FIRs were (also) registered against farmers by the state government since this agitation started. We have decided to cancel all FIRs related to farm agitation,” the Chief Minister added.

Shocking air quality levels in and around Delhi, and the national capital region, have been the focus of a charged back-and-forth in the Supreme Court.

One of the main points has been the share of farm fires to pollution levels – specifically contribution to PM2.5 levels in the atmosphere. PM2.5 particles – which have been well above safe levels in Delhi NCR since Diwali – can cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases such as lung cancer.

Punjab has recorded over 67,000 farm fires this season, a member of the state’s pollution control board told news agency PTI.

According to SAFAR – the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research – the share of farm fires to pollution over Delhi NCR on Wednesday dropped to a low of six percent.

But this was from a high of 35 per cent last week and 48 per cent post-Diwali.

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Farm fires contributed six per cent of air pollution in Delhi NCR on Wednesday, November 17

A blame game erupted in the top court this week over farm fires data, after the centre said only 10 per cent of the pollution is due to stubble burning. This contradicted the Delhi government’s claim – that farmers are largely to blame for the toxic air that envelops the national capital every year.

The court steered the focus away from the numbers and the rush to assign responsibility, and stressed the need to address the problem at hand – farmers burning stubble. Chief Justice NV Ramana asked governments to “pursue and request farmers to not burn stubble for a week“.

Justice Surya Kant also pointed out that fancy machinery offered by the centre and state as an alternative to stubble burning were well out of the financial reach of small and marginal cultivators.

“Irrespective of figures in affidavits, we have to consider the plight of farmers…what compels him to burn stubble? Nobody is concerned about that… People sleeping in five-star hotels in Delhi blame farmers. Look at such small landholdings. Can they afford the machines you talk about?” he asked.

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Air quality levels in Delhi have plummeted due to a host of problems, including stubble burning

Farmers approached by the Punjab government have refused use of these machines, which they call “not feasible”, and have demanded bonuses for waste management, PTI reported.

While the centre and states look to pin the blame on each other or the farmers, the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi (hauled up by the court) last night issued a series of short-term directions.

These include closing of schools and colleges and asking government employees to work from home, as well as closing six of 11 thermal power plants and banning entry of trucks. It falls short of a complete lockdown, though, particularly since private firms are only “encouraged” to issue WFH orders as well.

Air quality levels in Delhi NCR are expected to improve over the next few days, but only because windspeeds are supposed to increase and carry the pollutants away.

With input from PTI



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India Is No.1 Food Supplier To Arab Nations After 15 Years – dot newz

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The Arab world is among Brazil’s most important trade partners.

Sao Paulo:

India surpassed Brazil in food exports to the League of Arab States for the first time in 15 years as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted trade flows in 2020, according to data provided by the Arab-Brazil Chamber of Commerce to Reuters on Tuesday.

The Arab world is among Brazil’s most important trade partners, but its distance from those markets took its toll as the pandemic rattled global logistics.

Brazil accounted for 8.15% of the total agribusiness products imported by the 22 League members last year, whereas India captured 8.25% of that trade, ending Brazil’s 15-year advantage, the data showed.

Despite remaining competitive “from the farm gate in,” Brazil lost ground to India and other exporters such as Turkey, the United States, France and Argentina amid a disruption of traditional shipping routes.

Brazilian shipments to Saudi Arabia that once took 30 days could now take up to 60 days, according to the Chamber, whereas India’s geographic advantages allow it to ship fruits, vegetables, sugar, grains and meat in as little as week.

Brazil’s agricultural exports to the Arab League rose just 1.4% by value to $8.17 billion last year. Between January and October this year, sales totaled $6.78 billion, up 5.5%, as logistics problems subsided, Chamber data showed.

China’s push to boost its own food inventories during the pandemic also diverted some of Brazil’s trade with the Arabs, leading countries such as Saudi Arabia to step up promotion of domestic food production, while seeking alternative suppliers.

“It’s a turning point. The Saudis are still big buyers, but they are also net re-exporters of food,” the Chamber said in a statement.

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



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“BJP Development? Coconut Breaks A Road Open!” Akhilesh Yadav Sneers – dot newz

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Lucknow:

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, ally Jayant Choudhary at his side, berated Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the BJP on multiple issues today — including development, which the ruling party placed front and centre of the coming election. “What infrastructure has the BJP created,” he questioned, citing a recent headline from Bijnore that has raised many a chuckle in the state.

“The older tradition was — hit the coconut on the road and the coconut breaks. The new tradition they have started is hit the coconut on ground and the ground must break,” he told NDTV, speaking on the sidelines of a rally in Mathura attended by thousands.

Suchi Mausam Chaudhary, the BJP MLA from Bijnor Sadar, was left furious earlier this month at the traditional inauguration when bits of a 7-km road, renovated at a cost of Rs 1.16 crore, came off when struck by a coconut.

Challengers to the BJP government which came to power in the state with a sweeping mandate, the two leaders made a prediction. “Looking at anger among the people, BJP can even lose 400 seats. They will be wiped out in the western UP,” Akhilesh Yadav said.

Their sharpest barbs were reserved for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

In his address, Mr Yadav had spoken of the BJP “misrule” in terms of jobs, education development and farmers’ issues. Asked about his remark that the “Baba (Yogi Adityanath) just sits in Gorakhpur and rings a bell (while all this is happennig),” and how it would be received by the state’s Hindu voters, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Jayant Chaudhary spoke up.

“Adityanath is not a symbol of Hindu unity, he can be questioned,” Mr Chaudhary said. “This is not an issue about Hindu pride but issues like unemployment. Adityanath said he will give 70 lakh jobs. Today, their own posters say they have given only four lakh jobs,” he added.

Akhilesh Yadav had other questions. “The Chief Minister should answer whether the man sitting in the jeep that mowed down farmers (in Lakhimpur Kheri) was the Union Home Minister’s son or not… Yogi must answer how many cases were against him that he removed himself after becoming the Chief Minister,” he added.



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Women’s Commission Seeks Report On BJP Leader’s Remark About Mumbai Mayor – dot newz

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Kishori Pednekar is the current Mayor of Mumbai. (File)

The Maharashtra State Commission for Women has asked the Mumbai police commissioner to submit a factual report about an alleged objectionable remark passed by BJP leader Ashish Shelar about mayor Kishori Pednekar in connection with the recent cylinder blast in Worli.

Taking to Twitter, the Commission’s chairperson Rupali Chakankar said “insulting” comments made about women by responsible public representatives “will not be tolerated”.

The Commission has, therefore, taken a “serious” note of the comment and asked the Mumbai police chief to submit a factual report in this connection, Ms Chakankar tweeted on Monday night.

In her letter to the police commissioner, Ms Chakankar claimed, “Shelar’s comment ”the Mumbai Mayor visited (those injured in the blast) after 72 hours of the incident, where were you (the mayor) sleeping for these many hours?” is being broadcast in the news media”.

“So, a factual report should be submitted in this connection as per section 12(2) and 12(3) of the Maharashtra State Commission for Women Act, 1993,” she said.

Three members of a family died after a gas cylinder exploded in their home in a chawl in Worli area of central Mumbai.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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