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Appointment against guidelines, says UGC on CM Vijayan’s private secretary’s wife

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Thiruvananthapuram, May 13 (IANS) In a jolt to Priya Varghese — the wife of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s secretary K.K. Ragesh — the UGC has filed a counter affidavit in the Supreme Court that her appointment as an Associate Professor in Kannur University was against the guidelines of the UGC.

In its affidavit, the UGC has said that the period during which any candidate goes for PhD studies cannot be considered as experience. If the apex court accepts the UGC view, then the appointment of Varghese can run into trouble.

It was on June 22 last year that a division bench of the Kerala High Court overturned a single bench judgment that asked to re-scrutinize her appointment after the second-ranked candidate raised objections against her appointment, which according to the petitioner was in violation of the UGC guidelines.

The verdict of a Kerala High Court division bench in July last year went in Varghese’s favour following which she joined her new post.

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The second-ranked candidate, however, approached the apex court and it was in this case that the UGC filed its counter affidavit.

With the apex court all set to go for its summer recess, in all likelihood, the case will now be heard after the break.

Varghese is the wife of Ragesh, a former Rajya Sabha member of the CPI(M) who hails from Kannur. He is considered a close aide of CM Vijayan and is presently his private secretary.

The controversy surfaced when an RTI query revealed that Varghese got the maximum marks (32 out of 50) in the personal interview, while the second-ranked candidate Jacob Skariah scored 30. Varghese’s research score was a mere 156, while the second-ranked candidate secured 651. However, Varghese was ranked first based on the personal interview.

–IANS

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Two injured as DTC buses crash in southwest Delhi

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New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Two people sustained injuries after a Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus hit another stationary bus in southwest Delhi’s Nauroji Nagar on Tuesday morning, police said.

Sharing the details, police said that information was received on Tuesday morning at Safdarjung Enclave police station regarding an accident at Nauroji Nagar bus stand on Outer Ring Road between two DTC buses.

Upon reaching the spot, it was revealed that a DTC electric bus driven by Akash was picking up passengers from the Nauroji Nagar bus stand when another DTC bus driven by Chandveer hit it from the rear side.

“Two persons namely Mukesh Kumar and Shamshula, both residents of Durga Park, West Sagarpur, received minor injuries and are undergoing treatment at AIIMS Trauma Centre,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southwest) Rohit Meena.

“Legal action is being taken in the matter,” the DCP added.

–IANS

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No feasibility study needed for solar rooftop connections up to 10 kW in TN

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Chennai, May 28 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission (TNERC) has directed the state power utility TANGEDCO not to conduct a technical feasibility study for solar rooftop proposals of up to 10 kilowatts.

The regulatory commission in the state in an order dated May 23, has directed the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) to exempt consumers using solar rooftops of up to 10 kilowatt power based on Rule 7(A) of Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Amendment Rules, 2004.

The TNERC came out with the directive after TANGEDCO ordered an exemption on solar rooftops with a capacity of up to only 3 kilowatts.

The directive was required after several households complained that there was a delay in installing rooftop solar systems in households by the TANGEDCO.

The regulatory commission also directed TANGEDCO that the sanction power of the Grid Interactive Solar Photovoltaic Power System capacity of up to 10 kW should be delegated to the lower-level field officers.

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While TANGEDCO has to conduct the study and produce the feasibility report for a solar rooftop project in households within a fortnight, consumers told IANS that there has been an inordinate delay.

Meenakshi Sundaram, a retired College professor, who wanted to install a solar rooftop connection of 8 kW, told IANS that there has been a long delay from Tangedco and several consumers like her were dejected.

–IANS

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LS polls: PM Modi to campaign in Jharkhand, Bengal today

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New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will campaign in Jharkhand and West Bengal on Tuesday for the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

The Prime Minister will hold a public meeting in Jharkhand’s Dumka at 12:15 p.m., followed by another two in West Bengal’s Barasat at 2:30 p.m. and Jadavpur at 4:00 p.m.

Prime Minister Modi is also scheduled to offer floral tributes at the statue of Subhas Chandra Bose in Kolkata Uttar at 5:55 p.m. and then begin a roadshow. After the roadshow, he will offer floral tributes at the statue of Swami Vivekananda at 7:00 p.m.

Major political developments that will unfold across the country on Tuesday:

* Union Home Minister Amit Shah will hold public meetings in Odisha’s Chandbali at 12:30 p.m., Jajpur at 2:15 p.m., and Puri at 4:00 p.m.

* BJP President J.P. Nadda will address public meetings in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur at 11:00 a.m., Mandi at 1:15 p.m., and Rohru at 3:15 p.m.

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* INDIA bloc partners Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav will address ‘Parivartan Sankalp Sabhas’ in Uttar Pradesh’s Rudrapur (Bansgaon Lok Sabha constituency) at 3:15 p.m. and Gangapur (Varanasi) at 5:10 p.m.

* Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will address election rallies in Pipiganj, Gorakhpur at 11:10 a.m. and Mirzapur at 1:00 p.m. From there, he will go to Bihar to hold public meetings in Fatuha (Patna) at 3:10 p.m., Bhojpur at 4:30 p.m. and Patliputra at 6:00 p.m.

* Samajwadi Party leader Dimple Yadav will address an election rally at 1 p.m. in Uttar Pradesh’s Dohrighat (Mau) for the INDIA bloc candidate from the Ghosi Lok Sabha constituency.

* Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and Nishad Party chief Sanjay Nishad will address a public meeting in the Chauri Chaura Assembly constituency of the Bansgaon Lok Sabha constituency.

* Gujarat Congress President Shaktisinh Gohil will address a press conference at 12 noon at the party headquarters in New Delhi.

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–IANS

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IndiGo flight receives bomb threat at Delhi airport

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New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) An IndiGo flight bound for Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh received a bomb threat at Delhi airport on Tuesday morning, prompting authorities to declare an emergency, police said.

According to airline officials, IndiGo flight 6E2211 operating from Delhi to Varanasi had received a specific bomb threat at the airport. The threat call was received at around 5.40 a.m., said officials.

“All necessary protocols were followed and the aircraft was taken to a remote bay as per guidelines by airport security agencies. All passengers were safely evacuated via the emergency exits,” said an airline official.

“The flight is currently undergoing inspection. Post completion of all security checks, the aircraft will be positioned back in the terminal area,” the spokesperson added.

More details are awaited.

–IANS

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Mamata Banerjee not to attend INDIA bloc's June 1 meeting

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Kolkata, May 27 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced that she will not be able to attend the crucial meeting of the opposition INDIA bloc, convened by Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, in New Delhi on June 1.

Banerjee, who is also the Trinamool Congress chief, cited two reasons behind her inability to attend the meeting.

“First of all, on June 1, there will be the final and seventh phase of Lok Sabha polls for nine constituencies in West Bengal. Secondly, because of Cyclone Remal, many people have been displaced and are currently residing in temporary shelters. I will have to supervise that as well. These two factors are important for me and hence I will be staying back on June 1,” she said while addressing an election meeting in Kolkata Uttar Lok Sabha constituency for party candidate and sitting MP Sudip Bandopadhyay.

However, Banerjee did not make it clear whether she would send a representative for the meeting.

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In her speech at the election meeting, she again launched a scathing attack against both the Congress and the CPI-M.

“These two parties have the only aim in West Bengal. That is to benefit the BJP by dividing the opposition votes,” she claimed.

–IANS

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