A five-member delegation from Punjab on Thursday met Meghalaya Home Minister James K. Sangma, urging him to ensure one-time resolution of the issues concerning the Sikh settlers in Shillong. The delegation, led by Punjab minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, went to Meghalaya after reports emerged that members of the Sikh community were told to leave the State by the authorities. It requested that the High Powered Committee (HPC) set up by the Meghalaya government on the issue take into account all genuine concerns of the Sikh families before reaching any conclusion.Security a concernAn official statement said the delegation requested the Home Minister to ensure security of the hundreds of Sikh families who have been residing in the Punjabi Lane area of Shillong for decades now. The statement also said that Mr. Sangma assured the delegation that all efforts would be made to protect the Sikhs in Meghalaya.
Month: December 2019
BJP president Amit Shah on Wednesday appointed party vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna as in-charge of the party’s poll preparations in Jammu and Kashmir, a day after the core group from the State unit was told to begin preparations for the Assembly elections. Announcing the decision in New Delhi, general secretary Arun Singh said directions for ramping up booth level preparations, specifically in the Kashmir Valley, had also been given to the leaders. This, even as the Lok Sabha had, in this Parliament session itself, voted to extend the President’s Rule by six months. The core group on Tuesday evening was also told by BJP working president J P Nadda that the campaign should revolve around the development work done under the Central rule in the State, the successful conclusion of panchayat polls and the strong action taken against the Jammu and Kashmir Bank on allegations of corruption and questionable transactions.
Hiralal Solanki is waiting for the backwaters in the swelling Narmada to recede so that he could return home. Cooped up in a 10 feet-by-10 tin shelter at a relief camp with two younger brothers, a sister-in-law, and an assortment of recovered household items stacked around, he refuses to leave for Gujarat, where his parents were resettled more than two decades ago. Just eight, and a minor, in 1994, when his parents were given a five-acre plot in Panchmahal district, 192 km away, he and his siblings were left behind in the care of relatives. Today, leaving behind two shops and a ramshackle hut at Kotda village in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district that faces submersion, the families of Mr. Solanki and 130 others have shifted to the camp set up by the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) in the neighbouring Nisarpur, which too is facing submergence. Uncertainty remains As Gujarat continues to raise storage at the Sardar Sarovar Dam at a menacing pace, those residing in 178 affected upstream villages of Madhya Pradesh stare at uncertainty. On Saturday, the level in the dam had risen to 135.9 metres, well above the 135 metres that was to be filled by the end of this month as per the schedule prescribed by the Narmada Control Authority (NCA).Now, Mr. Solanki sits on the street selling pans, made possible with the help of some capital from a camp neighbour, who lent ₹20,000 at 5% interest. “I make just ₹50-60 a day now. Previously, it was ₹1,500,” he said. “Back at the village, the same friend lent us money at no interest.”“The allotted land is arid and we’re treated like outsiders in Gujarat,” said Mr. Solanki’s mother Durga Bai, who has come on a visit to care for her youngest son, who is suffering from typhoid. “We don’t know their language, and are often not allowed to pass through their fields.”Nowhere to go Rajesh Bhagole, 29, an agricultural labourer who shifted with his wife to the camp on July 12 from Nisarpur, said, “Why should we shift elsewhere when we were born here, studied here and vote here? I received no land when my father did. We have nowhere else to go. So, we’ll return to our houses when the water recedes.”As they had limited space to themselves, Mr. Bhagole explained that they had rented a room separately for ₹1,000 a month to store household goods.“Rehabilitated people continue to live in acquired houses [that the project authorities had acquired],” said Pawan Kumar Sharma, Commissioner, Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA). “We can’t force them to shift. Therefore, they usually return once the water recedes.”According to the NVDA, of the 37,729 project affected families in Madhya Pradesh, while 32,174 had been rehabilitated in Madhya Pradesh, 5,555 had been resettled in Gujarat. Recently, the Madhya Pradesh government admitted that more villages in the State were facing submergence than estimated earlier. At a makeshift school in the camp, 150 students shift to a neighbouring gaushala whenever the heat makes the tin classrooms with no fans, impossible to sit in. “I am waiting to return to my village school where we had fans,” said Payal Verma, who is staying at the camp alwith her parents, who are agricultural labourers, and a brother and grandparents.
Battered by heavy rainfall for the third consecutive day, Bihar recorded at least 18 deaths on Sunday due to inundated streets, water-logged railway tracks and marooned business establishments.The State capital continued to be among the worst affected, with some parts submerged in water levels rising up to the chest and its residents being rescued with the help of municipal cranes normally used for moving earth.“It is nature’s fury before which man is often helpless. We are, however, trying our best. The problem is we have no idea how long the downpour which caps a prolonged dry spell causing a drought-like situation is going to last.“Even the weather department seems clueless, making different predictions at different points of time,” Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told reporters.He was speaking after holding a meeting with officials including those of the disaster management department where he also interacted with officials in the other districts through video conferencing.He later drove through the water-logged streets and the worst-affected localities issuing instructions to officials.The cranes turned saviours as these were used to pick up people — many of them girls and boys from far-off districts who came here for studies and put up at hostels — stranded in places rendered inaccessible through normal modes of transport. Business has been hit badly as even drug stores were forced to keep the shutters down for fear of the stocks getting damaged and even swept away by the gushing water.The East Central Railway, head-quartered in Hajipur and covering most parts of the State, said many trains had been cancelled, short-terminated or diverted on account of water-logging and damage caused to bridges.ECR Chief Public Relations Officer also said, “All trains passing through Patna junction have been mandated to stop at Danapur as well. The move has been taken to bring some relief to the people who are greatly inconvenienced by the water-logging inside and around the junction.Air traffic has also been affected as GoAir announced on Twitter that it had diverted its flights from Mumbai to Lucknow and those from Delhi to Varanasi.The air carrier, along with IndiGo, issued advisories to passengers from the city to leave for the airport well in advance, apprehending traffic snarls.SpiceJet also urged passengers to “keep a check on flight status” since movement of flights could get affected “due to bad weather in Patna”.