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Election Commission appoints 15 expenditure observers for Punjab

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Chandigarh, May 2 (IANS) The Election Commission of India (ECI) has appointed 15 expenditure observers for all 13 Lok Sabha constituencies in Punjab, state Chief Electoral Officer Sibin C. said on Thursday.

The observers are entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the expenditure incurred by candidates and political parties during the campaign, ensuring compliance with election expenditure regulations.

Sibin C. said the appointed observers are distinguished Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers. He said Harshad S. Vengurlekar has been appointed for Gurdaspur, Bare Ganesh Sudhakar for Amritsar, Anurag Tripathi for Khadoor Sahib, Madhav Deshmukh for Jalandhar (reserved), and Pawan Kumar Khetan for Hoshiarpur Lok Sabha constituency.

Similarly, Shilpi Sinha has been appointed for Anandpur Sahib, Pankaj Kumar and Chetan D. Kalamkar for Ludhiana, and Akhilesh Kumar Yadava and Nandini R. Nair for the Bathinda constituency.

Anand Kumar for Fatehgarh Sahib, Manish Kumar for Faridkot, Nagendra Yadav for Ferozepur, Amit Sanjay Gaurav for Sangrur, and Meetu Agarwal for Patiala have also been appointed.

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Each observer will play a crucial role in ensuring the fairness and transparency of the electoral process in their respective constituencies, he added.

Punjab will go to the polls for all 13 parliamentary seats on June 1.

–IANS

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6 feared missing as boat capsizes in Patna

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Patna, June 16 (IANS) Six persons are feared missing on Sunday after a boat capsized on the outskirts of Patna, authorities said.

Subham Kumar, Barh Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO), confirmed the incident, adding that 17 members of a family boarded the boat to cross the Ganga River

“It has capsized in the middle of the river. The local boat sailors managed to rescue 11 of them but six persons are still missing. The mishap occurred at Umanath Ghat of Barh,” Kumar said.

He added that the victims belong to one family living in Malti village of Nalanda district.

The district administration has informed the NDRF and SDRF about the incident and the rescue operation is underway to pull out the missing persons.

On the occasion of Ganga Dussehra, a large number of devotees had come from far-flung areas to take holy bath in the Ganga river.

The eyewitnesses have said that many devotees went to the other side of the Ganga river using boats to take a holy bath.

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The victims boarded a boat which capsized midway in the river.

–IANS

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IAF contingent participates in combat exercise 'Red Flag' in Alaska

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) An Indian Air Force (IAF) contingent participated in Exercise Red Flag 2024 conducted at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska of the United States Air Force, from June 4-14. This was the second edition of Exercise Red Flag 2024, which is an advanced aerial combat training exercise, held four times a year by the US Air Force.

The exercise witnessed the participation of the Indian Air Force along with the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF), Royal Air Force (RAF) of the United Kingdom, Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF), German Luftwaffe, and the US Air Force (USAF).

“IAF contingent participated with the Rafale aircraft and personnel comprising of aircrew, technicians, engineers, controllers and subject matter experts. The transatlantic ferry of Rafale fighter aircraft was enabled by the IL-78 Air to Air Refuellers (AAR), while the transportation of personnel and equipment was undertaken by the C-17 Globemaster aircraft,” the Ministry of Defence said on Sunday.

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The contingent landed at Eielson, USAF base in Alaska on May 29.

Red Flag is an air combat exercise conducted with multiple scenarios designed to provide realistic combat settings. A demarcation of forces is done for simulating the desired environment, with the Red Force simulating Air Defence elements, and the Blue Force simulating the Offensive Composite elements. During this Exercise (Ex), the Red Force was mainly constituted by the USAF Aggressor Sqn flying the F-16 and the F-15 aircraft.

This was the first time the IAF Rafale aircraft participated in Exercise Red Flag, wherein, they operated alongside the RSAF and USAF F-16 and F-15s, and the USAF A-10 aircraft. The missions included Beyond Visual Range (BVR) combat exercises as a part of Large Force Engagements (LFE), in Offensive Counter Air and Air Defence roles. The IAF crew were actively involved in mission planning and also assumed the role of Mission Leaders for designated missions during the exercise, officials said.

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In spite of the challenging weather and almost sub-zero temperatures, the IAF maintenance crew worked diligently to ensure the serviceability of all the aircraft throughout the duration of the exercise and all assigned missions could be undertaken with more than 100 sorties being flown during the exercise.

Key takeaways from the exercise included insight into interoperability with international partners and a collaborative understanding of employment philosophy in a multinational environment. Experience of ferrying long distances, while undertaking Air to Air refuelling en route, was both an enriching and thrilling takeaway, especially for the younger crew.

Undertaking their return journey, the contingent is planned to split en route along with their mutual support elements and participate in exercise with Air Force elements of Greece and Egypt, before landing back in India on June 24. Enriched with the Red Flag exercise experience, the IAF keenly looks forward to hosting the participating contingents from other countries during Ex-Tarang Shakti-2024, which is the first-ever Indian multinational air exercise to be held later this year.

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–IANS

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Amit Malviya slams K'taka Congress over fuel price hike

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Amit Malviya, in-charge of BJP’s national IT cell, on Sunday, came down on Karnataka Congress and Rahul Gandhi over the recent fuel price hike in the state.

Malviya took to X to express his discontent, pointing to Karnataka Minister for Industries and Development M. B. Patil, who justified the hike as necessary to fund Rahul Gandhi’s “guarantees.”

“M. B. Patil, Karnataka State Minister for Industries and Development, has said that the hefty fuel price hike was necessitated to fund Rahul Gandhi’s ‘guarantees’. Rahul has ruined every state he has laid his hands on,” Malviya stated.

On Saturday, M. B. Patil defended the move, explaining that the decision to raise fuel prices was crucial to support the state’s guarantee schemes and other developmental projects. He emphasised that, despite the increase, Karnataka’s fuel prices remain lower than those in many other states.

Highlighting the internal conflicts within the Karnataka Congress, Malviya continued: “There is widespread discontent in Karnataka Congress after they fared poorly in Lok Sabha elections. Earlier, D. K. Shivkumar faction pulled in one direction, and now even the Lingayats in the Congress are upset after B. S. Yediyurappa ji was targeted.”

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He urged Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge to focus on the instability within the Karnataka government, suggesting the administration might be operating “on borrowed time.”

“Kharge ji should worry about the Congress Govt in Karnataka. It seems to be on borrowed time,” he wrote.

The Congress-led Karnataka government increased the retail sales tax on fuels on Saturday, leading to a rise in petrol prices by Rs 3 and diesel by Rs 3.50. The new prices took effect immediately, surprising many vehicle owners.

Nithish K., Joint Secretary of the Finance Department of Karnataka, issued a notification for the immediate implementation of the new rates.

–IANS

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Govt's focus to create robust framework for social inclusion: Minister Virendra Kumar

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) The government’s focus is on creating a robust framework that supports the empowerment and inclusion of all sections of society, Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Virendra Kumar has said.

The Minister convened a pivotal meeting with Ministers of State, Ramdas Athawale and B.L Verma, reviewed the progress of schemes, and strategised on key departmental initiatives for the next 100 days.

During the meeting, the Secretary of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Rajesh Aggarwal gave a comprehensive presentation on the department’s initiatives followed by modernisation efforts of the Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO).

“The modernisation of ALIMCO and the achievements of our various bodies are testaments to our dedication towards this goal,” the Minister said.

The participants also engaged in detailed deliberations on the strategic direction and action plans to enhance the department’s outreach and efficiency.

The modernisation of ALIMCO is set to revolutionise the aids and assistive devices for persons with disabilities, while the achievements of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Rehabilitation Council of India, National Institutes, and the National Divyangjan Finance and Development Corporation stress the department’s commitment to inclusive growth and empowerment, the Ministry noted.

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–IANS

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Nara Lokesh hold Praja Darbar in Mangalagiri

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Amaravati, June 16 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Minister Nara Lokesh held Praja Darbar in his constituency Mangalagiri on Sunday to address the problems that the people were facing.

On the second day, the IT, Electronics, and Education Minister met people and heard their grievances.

Lokesh, who is the son of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, assured people that he will always stand by them.

People from various parts of the constituency gathered in large numbers for the programme and narrated their problems to Lokesh.

Representatives of the Andhra Pradesh Velugu Teachers Association appealed to Lokesh that the services of the 2,193 employees who are now on a contract basis, be regularised.

A student, Jagadeesh, appealed to the Minister to initiate steps to clear the fee reimbursement dues to the Nuzvid College so that he will get back his polytechnic certificate from the college.

The non-teaching staff members of Acharya Nagarjuna University wanted their retirement age to be extended to 62 years while Sheik Nazina of Mangalagiri wanted financial assistance for her five-month-old nephew who is suffering from a rare disease.

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K. Kiran Babu of Tadepalli wanted employment for him and his sister, Mounika, who had completed their MBA.

A differently-abled student B. Srinivasa Rao of Tadepalli told Lokesh that though he is now 40-year-old he did not get any kind of employment till now and wanted some kind of livelihood to be provided to him.

–IANS

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