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CAA takes centrestage in Kerala as CPI-M and Congress spar on the issue, BJP seeks to attack their 'hypocrisy'



Thiruvananthapuram, April 7 (IANS) Weeks before the single-phase polling to Kerala’s 20 Lok Sabha seats, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) continues to take centre stage in the election campaign of the state’s two traditional political rivals – who are part of the INDIA bloc at the national level but fierce competitors in the state.

A reason why the CAA is now one of the most discussed and debated poll issues between the ruling CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front and the Congress-led United Democratic Front is the state has nearly 24 per cent Muslims in its over 3.30 crore population.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took up the issue right after the CAA was passed by the Parliament in 2019, asserting that it would not be implemented in Kerala. On the last day of 2019, his government, with the support of the Congress-led opposition, got a resolution demanding the scrapping of the provision passed nearly unanimously by the Assembly, with the lone BJP legislator O. Rajagopal being the only one opposing it.

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Since then, the issue was lying dormant but regained focus with the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls, and Vijayan again used it to attack the Congress.

The Chief Minister has been consistently slamming the Congress’ national leadership in general and Rahul Gandhi, who is an MP from the state, in particular over their “silence” on the CAA.

But when he claimed that the issue was also missing in Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, the state leadership of the Congress, including the Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan and veteran legislator Ramesh Chennithala, hit back at him, alleging that he was shedding crocodile tears and pleasing the BJP leadership by attacking Rahul Gandhi.

However, Vijayan is refusing to abandon the issue, noting in the election campaign that right from 2019 when this issue first surfaced, the Left, inside and outside the Parliament, had strongly come out against it but the Congress “played hide and seek”, showing some inclination for a joint protest, but backing out later.

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His tirades intensified when the Congress manifesto came out and he pointed out that while his CPI-M’s manifesto is clear that the CAA will be repealed, the Congress is still “silent” on it.

“Just look at the Congress manifesto, there is total silence on what they will do if they come to power with regards to the CAA. Is it not clear that they are hand in glove with the BJP with regards to the CAA,” he claimed.

But the Congress is hitting back at Vijayan, with acting state Congress President M.M. Hassan accusing the Chief Minister of attacking Rahul Gandhi and the Congress to keep Prime Minister Narendra Modi “happy” as he has grave cases against him and his family.

Hassan also said that Vijayan is “engaged in spreading lies” against Rahul Gandhi, but the truth is that the Congress leader has 18 cases in various states because he protested and spoke against the CAA.

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The BJP, starting from PM Modi to the grassroots party workers, is also seeking to capitalise on the issue, accusing the two fronts of hypocrisy by being part of the INDIA bloc but fighting in Kerala.

State BJP President K. Surendran contended that times have changed and the people of Kerala have now understood that the CPI-M and Congress are two sides of the same coin and both these parties have just one agenda of garnering the Muslim votes and will go to any extent for this.

“They hug in Delhi and they fight in Kerala. This tactic will not work anymore,” he said.



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Amaravati works to be completed in 2.5 years, says Andhra minister




Amaravati, June 16 (IANS) Works relating to the development of Amaravati as Andhra Pradesh’s capital will be completed in two-and-a-half years, said P. Narayana on Sunday after taking charge as the Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development.

With the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) back in power, work is set to resume in Amaravati, where it had come to a standstill in 2019 after the YSR Congress Party government had announced its plans to build three state capitals.

The TDP, which stormed to power along with its allies Jana Sena and BJP, has made it clear that Amaravati will be developed as the sole state capital as planned earlier.

After assuming office at the state Secretariat, Narayana said the works in Amaravati would resume soon.

“We will do a review in 15 days and decide on a time-bound programme,” he said while making clear that Amaravati will be developed as the old master plan.

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Narayana said that the development of Amaravati in three phases will cost Rs.1 lakh crore.

The first phase was taken up by the earlier TDP government at a cost of Rs 48,000 crore. He recalled that tenders were called to undertake works to provide basic amenities covering a major part of the capital and to construct residential quarters for ministers, secretaries, officials and other employees. The then government had also made payments to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore. He claimed that 90 per cent of the works relating to residential blocks of ministers, secretaries and officials were completed.

The minister said Amaravati was designed as one of the five best capitals in the world. The design was prepared with the assistance from the Singapore government. A team of ministers and officials had also visited Singapore, China, Japan, Russia, and Malaysia to prepare the design. He recalled that the then government had issued a land pooling notification on January 1, 2015, to acquire land required for the state capital and by February 28, farmers had handed over 34,000 acres of land to the government without any litigation.

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Narayana said since he gained experience by undertaking various studies for the development of state capital during the earlier TDP government, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has once again entrusted the portfolio of Municipal Administration and Urban Development to him.

Narayana also announced that 100 Anna canteens will be re-opened in the next 21 days.

After assuming office as the minister, he held the first review meeting on Anna canteens. He said the government would examine the proposal of awarding food supply work to the Akshaya Patra Foundation. The government was studying the agreement signed and the orders issued in the past. The Foundation has conveyed that it is ready to start the food supply to canteens in three weeks. The minister said like in the past these canteens will supply meals for five rupees.

After coming to power in 2019, the YSR Congress government had shut down Anna canteens.


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Municipal officer shunted out after demolitions in front of Jagan’s house in Hyderabad




Hyderabad, June 16 (IANS) A top municipal official of Hyderabad was transferred on Sunday, a day after the demolition of a few structures in front of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s house in Hyderabad.

IAS officer Bhorkade Hemant Sahadeorao, Zonal Commissioner (Khairatabad Zone), Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), was relieved from his post.

GHMC Commissioner K. Amrapali has directed him to report before the General Administration Department.

The action by the GHMC Commissioner came after the Telangana government took serious note of the demolitions without approval from the higher-ups.

The GHMC Zonal Commissioner, however, was reported to have ordered demolitions on a direction from a Telangana minister who resides near Jagan Mohan Reddy’s house at Lotus Pond in Jubilee Hills.

A few structures erected on the footpath in front of Jagan Mohan Reddy’s house were demolished on Saturday, triggering a controversy. The Town Planning staff of the GHMC used excavator machinery to bring down the structures, which were being used by security personnel, especially during Jagan Mohan Reddy’s visits to Hyderabad. These structures were constructed in 2019 after he became the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. The demolition was carried out a few days after Jagan Mohan Reddy lost power in the neighbouring state. His YSR Congress Party suffered the worst defeat as the TDP-Jana Sena-BJP alliance stormed to power with a landslide victory.

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Dharavi Redevelopment Project: Debunking myths vs revealing reality




Mumbai, June 16 (IANS) The allegations made by Mumbai North Central MP Varsha Gaikwad about a supposed land grabbing scam and the Maharashtra government granting land to Adani Group under the Dharavi Redevelopment Project (DRP) have been refuted.

According to sources, no land is going to be handed over to SPV or Adani Group. It will be transferred by the state government to their own department, Redevelopment Project/Slum Rehabilitation Authority (DRP/SRA).

The Dharavi Redevelopment Project Private Ltd (DRPPL) will pay for the land in lieu of development rights and build facilities like housing, commercials and handover back to government of Maharashtra’s DRP for allotment as per the government scheme.

The state support agreement, which is part of the tender, clearly states that the government of Maharashtra has an obligation to provide land to their own DRP/SRA department.

Here are the real facts that debunk all the myths surrounding this issue:

The allegation is that the government land is given at a highly concessional rate to Adani Group.

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The reality is the Railway land is allocated to DRP for which Dharavi Redevelopment Project Private Ltd (DRPPL), which is a joint venture between the Maharashtra Government and Adani Group, has paid a hefty premium of 170 per cent to prevailing market rates to the Central government.

As per the tender, DRPPL will have to pay for all lands allocated to DRP/SRA, at rates to be decided by the government.

The allegation is why allocate land across Mumbai to Adani Group when everyone in Dharavi wants in-situ rehabilitation.

The reality is as per the tender norms, no Dharavikar will be displaced. The state GRs (Government Resolutions) of 2018, 2022 and tender conditions clearly spell out eligibility for in-situ rehabilitation.

Holders of tenements in existence on or before January 1, 2000, will be eligible for in-situ rehabilitation.

Those existing between January 2000 and January 1, 2011, will be allotted homes under PMAY (Prime Minister Awas Yojana) outside Dharavi anywhere in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) for just Rs 2.5 lakh or via rental housing.

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The tenements which exist post January 1, 2011, till the cut-off date (to be declared by the government) will get homes under the state government’s proposed affordable rental home policy with an option of hire-purchase.

The allegation is that green cover is to be destroyed in the name of Dharavi redevelopment on Railway land.

However, the reality is the project envisages stringent ESG (environmental, social and governance) and environmentally friendly development.

No deforestation is envisaged. In addition, several thousand plants and trees will be added. So far, Adani Group has planted 4.4 million plus trees across India and has committed to add one trillion trees.

The allegation is that no due process was followed by the state government while issuing GR for allotting Kurla Mother Dairy land to Adani Group.

The reality is the land is being allocated to DRP and not Adani Group.

The prescribed process under Maharashtra land Revenue (Disposal of Government Lands) Rules, 1971 was followed before GR was issued.

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The allegation is that there should be a 50:50 partnership between the state government and Adani Group in the SPV.

The reality is the tender clearly mentions that the lead partner will bring in 80 per cent equity and the remaining 20 per cent equity will rest with the government.

The allegation is that the survey should be conducted by the government and not by the Adani Group.

The reality is, like in all other SRA projects, DRP/SRA of the government of Maharashtra is conducting the survey, via third party experts and DRPPL is a mere facilitator.



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Yogi Adityanath tells MPs, MLAs to constantly monitor work on public welfare projects




Gorakhpur, June 16 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has urged all MPs, MLAs, and other public representatives to consistently monitor development and welfare projects in their constituencies.

He said that public representatives should ensure that eligible individuals in their areas benefit from government welfare schemes. He also encouraged them to propose new development initiatives to enhance the progress of the state further.

Addressing public representatives from the Gorakhpur division on Sunday, the Chief Minister congratulated the newly elected MPs and commended the efforts of MLAs who worked diligently during the Lok Sabha elections.

He received updates from all the MLAs present regarding the progress of ongoing development and welfare projects in their respective regions.

Emphasising that development is an ongoing process, he urged the representatives to proactively prepare proposals to cover all potential areas for development.

He highlighted the importance of ensuring that eligible individuals who have not yet benefited from any government scheme are identified and connected to both Central and State government initiatives.

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Yogi Adityanath also discussed the assembly-wise performance of the party in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections and appealed to all the public representatives to start working on the upcoming target from now on.

The Chief Minister emphasised that in a democracy, the people hold supreme importance.

He underscored the responsibility of representatives to attentively address public issues and expectations, and to propel development and welfare initiatives accordingly.

He noted that public satisfaction is the true measure of a representative’s work and urged them to build and maintain the trust of the people.



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Dharavi Redevelopment: 'Land transfer is to Maha govt, not the developer Adani Group'




Mumbai, June 16 (IANS) The ongoing Dharavi redevelopment project does not involve any land transfer to Adani Group but it was only to the Maharashtra government’s Dharavi Redevelopment Project/Slum Rehabilitation Authority (DRP/SRA).

The Dharavi Redevelopment Project Private Ltd (DRPPL), which is a joint venture between the Maharashtra Government and Adani Group, is a developer of housing and commercial tenements and it will hand over the same to DRP/SRA of the state government to allocate as per survey findings.

Sources have strongly denied the recent allegations made by Mumbai North Central MP Varsha Gaikwad over the allotment of land for rehabilitation of Dharavi residents within Mumbai.

Sources said that as per the tender, while land remains and stands allocated to DRP/SRA at rates decided by the government, DRPPL has to pay to the government as per demand just for development.

This is as per tender scheme.

In return, DRPPL will get development rights.

The state support agreement, which is part of the tender document, clearly states that, state government will support the project by giving land to their own DRP/SRA department.

The details of multiple and important government resolutions on Dharavi Redevelopment have been conveyed multiple times to the concerned MP.

These include GRs (government resolutions) of 2018 and later of 2022, which gives absolute clarity about the proposed redevelopment of Dharavi and the ensuing rehabilitation of Dharavikars.

As far as the Railway land is concerned, it was allocated to DRP even before tendering for which DRPPL has paid a whopping premium of 170 per cent to the prevailing ready reckoner rates.

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And additionally, is developing a world class township there. The allegations that Dharavikars will be thrown out of Dharavi and rendered homeless are pure fiction and a mere figment to create anxiety among masses.

The government’s GR of 2022 depicts a unique condition that each and every tenement holder of Dharavi, eligible or ineligible, will be given a home, a copy of which is also publicly available.

“No Dharavikar will be displaced under the DRP/SRA scheme. This is a unique provision compared to regular SRA scheme wherein only eligible tenement holders were provided a house of up to 300 square feet and it remains in all previous government dispensations,” a source said.

Under the Dharavi redevelopment project, the tenement holders will be provided a house of 350 square feet, which is 17 per cent more than any other SRA scheme in Mumbai.

According to sources, the Dharavi Redevelopment Tender is one of the most progressive in terms of its outlook towards informal settlers of Dharavi.

It is completely pro-people which includes free and highly concessional housing, stamp duty and property tax exemption, ten-year free maintenance and a ten percent commercial area in residential premises to enable the prospective housing societies to have a sustainable revenue stream in addition to the corpus being provided, sources submitted.

The GRs of 2018, 2022 and the tender clearly spells out eligibility for in-situ rehabilitation for tenements in existence on ground floor before January 1, 2000.

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Those existing on higher floors and beyond, up to January 1, 2011, will be allotted homes under PMAY outside Dharavi anywhere within MMR for just Rs 2.5 lakh or rental housing as per policy of government of Maharashtra.

Tenements which came into existence between January 1, 2011 and date to be announced by the government of Maharashtra will get homes under state government’s proposed affordable rental home policy with an option of hire-purchase.

The demand for 500 square feet for an informal settlement has no such precedence in Mumbai’s slum redevelopment schemes and thus is only being promoted to cause anxiety among people.

For the eligible tenements of businesses, the government scheme provides for a proper free of cost business place as also a five-year state GST rebate is offered which will result in boosting their profitability, usher them into the formal economy, make them more competitive and offer them multiple growth opportunities.

On deliverables, the tender has put stringent timelines and any violation will attract penalties.

On the allegation that the allotment of a Kurla land was done without following due process by the state government, sources clarified that the facts are otherwise.

Firstly, the land is going to be given to DRP and not Adani Group nor DRPPL.

The process under Maharashtra land Revenue (Disposal of Government Lands) Rules, 1971 was duly followed before issuance of the relevant GR.

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“The actual concern and fear of the MP is not for the people of Dharavi or their betterment. The opposition and spreading of such fake narratives is being driven only for electoral ambition to keep the people of Dharavi stay the way they have been with poor or little to almost zero access to basic amenities to lead a dignified life. That is the reason why for so many decades no action was taken to build proper housing for Dharavikars,” said a source.

The MP (referring to Varsha Gaikwad) is also attempting to build a false narrative and throw a spanner in the works of the state government’s scheme to redevelop Dharavi even as its residents are waiting for better houses with world-class amenities for several decades, sources added.

The Dharavi Redevelopment Project is a first-of-its-kind initiative that seeks to transform the locality into a world-class city, creating a sustainable and thriving neighborhood while preserving its timeless essence.

The project seeks to improve the quality of life for over one million residents of Dharavi through a human-centric approach.

Also, a number of additional initiatives are being integrated towards sustainable multi modal transport systems, state of art infra on utilities.

Additionally, vocational based skilling is being planned for youth and other wage aspirants of Dharavi to improve their earning potential and facilitate them jobs, which will give them opportunities which are more eco-friendly and benign.



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