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Delhi Sealing Issue : Does the matter become political ?

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi, seeking time to meet them for resolving the issue of sealing of shops in the national capital. In his letter to the prime minister, he stressed on bringing a Bill in Parliament to remove anomalies in the law, which are the reasons behind sealing of commercial establishments, and warned that unemployment caused by the drive could impact law and order situation in the city. "The reason behind sealing is anomalies in the law. It is the responsibility of the Central government to remove these anomalies," the chief minister said. Kejriwal had yesterday threatened that he would go on hunger strike if the sealing drive is not stopped by March 31. Traders earn their livelihood honestly and pay tax. But, they are suffering due to sealing. There is only one solution now. A Bill has to be brought in Parliament to remove anomalies in the law and save traders from unemployment, he said. In his letter to Modi, the chief minister said, "The traders are on the verge of starvation and each shop is means of livelihood for many people. If all of them are rendered unemployed (due to sealing) then it may impact law and order situation." Seeking an appointment with the prime minister, Kejriwal demanded that a Bill should be brought in Parliament immediately to stop the sealing drive. In his letter to Rahul Gandhi, the chief minister sought an appointment with him and said sealing of commercial establishments is driving lakhs of people unemployed. "A solution to this problem should be found by rising above politics. This issue needs to be strongly raised in Parliament and pressure should be exerted on the Centre to bring a Bill over it," Kejriwal wrote to the Congress president. The sealing drive was undertaken by the municipal corporations of the national capital on the directions of a Supreme Court-appointed committee in December last year. Under the drive, hundreds of commercial establishments have been sealed so far due to non-payment of conversion charges and violations of Delhi Master Plan.

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Are you with the Protest of Farmers marching from Nashik to Mumbai to demand loan waiver ?

Approximately 30,000 farmers are marching towards Mumbai. The march started from Nashik, with the number of people swelling as they make their way through different areas. They plan to reach Mumbai by Sunday, and to block the access to the state legislature building from Monday. They are demanding for the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission report to be implemented, which includes farmers getting 1.5 times the production cost on their produce. They also demand a complete waiver of loans and electricity bills.

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Is Punjab Government capable to stop Illegal Mining ?

Chandigarh : Chief Minister of Punjab Capt Amarinder Singh decided during the Cabinet meeting to form a sub-committee to suggest ways and means to end the menace of illegal mining in the state. The three-member Cabinet sub-committee, headed by Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and comprising Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Bajwa and Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, will study the entire issue, suggest ways and means to curb illegal mining, including plugging loopholes in the mining policy. The move follows crackdown ordered by the Chief Minister on illegal mining in Nawanshahr and Jalandhar districts after he yesterday spotted “unauthorised” activity on the Sutlej riverbed on his way to Kartarpur in a helicopter. To send across a stern message, Capt Amarinder also decided to convene a meeting of the deputy commissioners, senior superintendents of police (SSPs) and mining officers of nearly 11 districts, where complaints related to illegal mining activity are rampant, tomorrow. Earlier, during the pre-Budget meeting with the legislators, there was an increasing chorus among a section of the legislators to act firmly against those having direct and indirect stakes in the mining business. Some of the MLAs even went to the extent of decontrolling the sand and gravel mining. Nawanshahar legislator Anagad Saini and some other MLAs demanded that those behind the illegal activity and those providing the JCBs and porcelain machines should be brought to book.

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Should TDP divorce NDA ?

Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu announced that the TDP’s two ministers in the Modi government would resign. Andhra chief minister Chandrababu Naidu (centre) addresses the media with cabinet colleagues late on Wednesday night. Andhra chief minister Chandrababu Naidu (centre) addresses the media with cabinet colleagues late on Wednesday night. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) said that its ministers would quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre after failing in its bid to secure special category status for Andhra Pradesh. The decision came amid a persistent deadlock between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which leads the NDA, and the TDP over the issue, with the latter stalling Parliament for the third consecutive day. The Narendra Modi government refused to give in to the demand while making placatory gestures towards its largest ally in southern India. The TDP announced that its two ministers in the Modi government, aviation minister P Ashok Gajapati Raju and junior minister for science and technology YS Chowdhury, would quit. Before the announcement, TDP leaders said the BJP had pushed them to a position where taking a “tough stand” was the only option left. Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu said he will take a call on whether or not to remain in the NDA before the second leg of the budget session ends. The TDP has 16 members in the Lok Sabha and six in the Rajya Sabha. To be sure, the BJP and the NDA have a comfortable majority, and the threatened pullout of TDP from the coalition would pose no crisis for the government. “As a first step, both our central ministers will resign from the Narendra Modi cabinet on Thursday morning,” Naidu told journalists late in the night. “With regard to alliance with the BJP, we will decide on party-to-party basis later,” he said. Naidu made the announcement after discussions with his party’s members of Parliament in Delhi through teleconference and his own cabinet ministers in the state secretariat in Amaravati, following an announcement by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in Delhi categorically ruling out special category status to Andhra Pradesh. Naidu said Jaitley’s statement clearly indicated that the NDA government was not interested in resolving the crisis in Andhra Pradesh and coming to the rescue of the state, which, he said, had suffered in the aftermath of its 2014 bifurcation. “When the purpose of our joining the government is not served, we don’t have any option but to come out of it,” he said. He said that as a courtesy, he called up the Prime Minister’s Office to inform Modi of the decision. “I could not reach the prime minister on phone. Our officials informed the PMO of the decision,” the chief minister said. Politicians in the TDP familiar with the situation said the party had weighed several options, such as pulling out of the NDA, MPs resigning and ministers quitting the government, and it was decided that the divorce should be a step-by-step process. TDP leaders said pulling out ministers would send a signal to the BJP and will keep its hopes of special category status for Andhra Pradesh alive. If the demand is not met even after pulling out the ministers, the TDP will consider quitting the ruling coalition. In New Delhi earlier in the day, the Centre tried to pacify its ally, saying every commitment made during the 2014 bifurcation of the state to create Telangana would be honoured. “We are committed to giving monetary equivalent to special status to Andhra Pradesh,” finance minister Jaitley said. The minister said the special category status existed when the state was bifurcated, but such treatment is now constitutionally restricted to just the North-Eastern states and the three hilly states after the implementation of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations. Jaitley said the Centre is committed to funding all of Andhra Pradesh’s programmes to the tune of 90%, which is equivalent to the aid special category states get, through other means like external agencies. The Centre, he added, is even willing to accept the state government’s suggestion of routing such funds through the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). At meetings last month, the Centre suggested creation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV; a company created for a specific purpose) with the funds from NABARD going into it. Jaitley said the Andhra Pradesh government is yet to come back on the modalities of such a transfer. The TDP also has to deal with rival YSR Congress Party headed by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who has announced that his party MPs will resign from Parliament on April 6, the last day of the second leg of the budget session, if the demand for special category status is not met by April 5. YSR Congress won 8 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and remains TDP’s main rival in Andhra Pradesh, a state which Chandrababu Naidu won from the Congress after 10 years. Jagan Mohan Reddy has made special category status an election issue for the party. Of the total 175 assembly constituencies, the TDP won 102 seats in 2014. It doesn’t have to depend on the support of the four BJP legislators to maintain a majority, an advantage that Naidu wants to leverage. Naidu blamed state BJP leaders for launching a counter-attack on his government, rather than taking up the state’s issues with the Centre. “You cannot run away from your responsibility by attacking us. The 130-year-old Congress party was completely routed from AP for hurting the sentiments of the people. If you continue to hurt our sentiments by denying the special category status, which is our right, you will have to meet the same fate,” he said.

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