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Goa CM reviews status of auctioned mining blocks

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Panaji, June 11 (IANS) Chairing a meeting of the state geological programming board, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday reviewed the status of all the nine auctioned mining blocks to ensure speedy clearances and resumption of mining activities in the state.

The geological and mineral map of Goa, along with the district resource maps for North and South Goa were also unveiled at the meeting.

The meeting discussions entailed that the profile of existing dumps will be studied by Directorate of Mines and Geology (DMG) empanelled agencies utilising National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) funds.

“The Geological Survey of India (GSI) will extend its support to the DMG, Goa, in preparing proposals to tap NMET funds. Additionally, the GSI will assist in the preparation of geological reports for mineral blocks slated for upcoming auctions,” Chief Minister Sawant said.

He said that the Goa government is committed to adopting advanced technology and scientific methods to ensure the efficient and environmentally responsible utilization of the state’s mineral resources. “I reviewed the status of all the nine auctioned mining blocks to ensure speedy clearances and resumption of mining activities,” he said.

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The meeting was attended by the representatives of all nine auction holders and the officers of the Pollution Control Board, Environment Department, and Forest Department, among others.

The Chief Minister said that the state Environment Impact Assessment Authority has been directed to complete the process of granting environmental clearances expeditiously. Also, other officials have been directed to grant the permissions as soon as possible.

“Based on the review, it is concluded that around 3-4 mines will be operational by September-October 2024,” he said.

The agenda of the meeting included discussions on several crucial topics including exploration of mining leases to be funded through the NMET.

–IANS

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Brothers in arms: Pawan Kalyan’s swearing-in makes Chiranjeevi proud

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Vijayawada, June 12 (IANS) It was a moment Jana Sena leader and actor Konidala Pawan Kalyan had been waiting for years.

Taking oath as a minister in the presence of his elder brother and megastar Konidala Chiranjeevi in front of thousands of people was a big achievement for the actor-politician.

‘Power star’, as Pawan Kalyan is popularly known in film circles, was the first minister to take oath after Nara Chandrababu Naidu was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday.

There were loud cheers from his fans and supporters as the Jana Sena leader took oath.

Chiranjeevi, who was seated with superstar Rajinikanth and actor-politician N. Balakrishna on the adjacent dais, was seen clapping while his wife Konidala Lezhneva, who was present in one of the VIP galleries, was delighted.

Chiranjeevi, whose political tryst ended in a disaster 15 years ago, was proud to see his younger brother taking oath, and the centre stage of Andhra Pradesh politics.

After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chandrababu Naidu, and Governor Abdul Nazeer, Pawan Kalyan headed to the adjacent dais to take the blessings of Chiranjeevi by touching his feet, as the megastar hugged his brother to congratulate him.

Pawan Kalyan, after the completion of the swearing-in, went to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested him to meet his elder brother. The PM obliged and held the hands of the siblings and raised them in a show of bonhomie.

Pawan Kalyan in a way gifted his win to Chiranjeevi. The victory came after his hard work of the last 10 years and the big setback of 2019 when he lost both the Assembly seats he contested.

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Jana Sena, which had fought the elections in alliance with the BSP and the Left parties, could win just one seat in the 175-member Assembly and even the lone MLA had later defected to the ruling YSR Congress Party.

This time, Jana Sena changed its strategy to strike an alliance with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). By winning all 21 Assembly and both Lok Sabha seats it contested, Jana Sena had a 100 per cent strike rate in the polls.

Pawan Kalyan was elected from the Pithapuram constituency in Kakinada district with a margin of 70,000 votes to finally make it to the Assembly.

The Jana Sena led by Pawan achieved what the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) floated by Chiranjeevi could not in 2008.

The superstar had launched PRP amid much fanfare in 2008 when it was compared to legendary actor N. T. Rama Rao’s political plunge with the formation of TDP in 1982, which changed the course of Andhra Pradesh politics.

Pawan Kalyan was then the leader of the youth wing of PRP. The duo along with their brother and actor Naga Babu and other family members had actively campaigned during the 2009 elections. However, the party came a cropper, winning just 18 seats in the 294-member Assembly of united Andhra Pradesh.

Chiranjeevi himself suffered defeat from Palakollu in his home district of West Godavari, but was elected from Tirupati.

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The death of then Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash in 2009, a few months after retaining power, and the subsequent developments altered the political scene in the state.

In 2011, Chiranjeevi merged PRP with Congress and the latter rewarded him with nomination to the Rajya Sabha and induction into the Union Cabinet as Minister of State for Tourism (independent charge).

The bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 triggered huge public anger against the Congress in the Andhra and Rayalaseema region as the party drew a blank in simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

The elections also saw the two brothers in rival camps. While Chiranjeevi was leading the Congress campaign, Pawan Kalyan had vowed to finish off the party which ‘divided’ the state. He did not contest the elections but campaigned for the TDP-BJP alliance, which stormed to power in bifurcated Andhra Pradesh.

After the Congress’ complete rout, Chiranjeevi distanced himself from politics and started focusing on films once again. However, Pawan Kalyan was determined to play a long innings.

The Jana Sena leader later parted ways with both the BJP and TDP for failing to deliver on the promise to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

The maverick star vowed to continue his fight for new-age politics and took up campaigns on some major public issues. He, however, came under criticism from rivals for being a part-time politician. Unfazed by this criticism, he continued his efforts.

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After the disaster of 2019, he revived the alliance with the BJP. He became active about two years ago and started working to bring together the TDP and the BJP, which had snapped ties in 2018 on the issue of special category status.

This time, he vowed to end the ‘misrule’ of YSRCP and took the initiative to align with the TDP. He finally succeeded in bringing the BJP on board and even sacrificed a few seats to avoid a split of anti-incumbency votes.

He made it clear to his supporters that he is not in a hurry and that he remained committed to bringing about a change and achieving his goal of new-age politics.

As someone who does not fear defeat, the ‘Power Star’ was determined to carry on his fight. The actor-politician, who connects well with people, especially the youth, started gaining acceptance.

His strategy paid rich dividends not only for the Jana Sena, but also for the alliance which stormed to power with a landslide victory.

Pawan, who made his film debut in 1996 with ‘Akkada Ammayi, Ikkada Abbayi’ and has a string of hits under his belt, is seen as a person yearning for some higher purpose in life.

He admitted on several occasions that sometimes, he used to feel completely out of place in the movies.

Now with his entry into the Assembly and as the Deputy Chief Minister, he is set to play a new real-life role.

–IANS

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Joshimath is now 'Jyotirmath', Uttarakhand government renames teshil in Chamoli

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New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) Joshimath tehsil in Chamoli district will now be known by a new name ‘Jyotirmath’, the Uttarakhand chief minister office announced on Wednesday.

Jyotirmath is the ancient name of Joshimath and the state government’s proposal to effect a name change for the tehsil was approved by the Centre on Wednesday.

The move is being hailed by the local residents of Joshimath as they believe that the restoration of tehsil after its original name will not just showcase its ancient roots but will also honour its rich cultural and historical heritage.

Notably, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami publicly announced his government’s decision to rename the tehsil and restore its ancient glory at an event in Chamoli district last year.

The locals had been demanding the name change for a long time. Taking into consideration the sentiments of people, Dhami government moved a proposal to the Centre to rename the tehsil.

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This was approved by the Centre on Wednesday.

Locals believe that Adi Guru Shankaracharya visited this place in 8th century. He is understood to have practiced penance under Amar Kalpa tree and attained divine knowledge and light here.

The place was then known as Jyotirmath but as time passed by, it became popular by another name, Joshimath.

–IANS

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Amaravati farmers end four-year-long protest as Naidu govt sworn-in

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Amaravati, June 12 (IANS) With the formation of the Chandrababu Naidu-led government in Andhra Pradesh, farmers of Amaravati on Wednesday called off their four-year-long protest against three capitals move of the previous YSR Congress government.

Hours after Naidu and his Council of Ministers took oath at a ceremony at Vijayawada, the farmers removed their protest camps in villages.

The farmers, including women, had been protesting for 1,631 days, demanding the YSR Congress government to develop Amaravati as the sole capital.

The protest started in December 2019 after Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy announced that his government would develop three state capitals, reversing the decision of the previous TDP government to develop Amaravati as the only state capital.

The Jagan Mohan Reddy government planned to develop Visakhapatnam as the administrative capital, Kurnool as the judicial capital, and keep Amaravati only as a legislative capital.

The farmers of 29 villages, who had given 33,000 acres of their land under a land pooling system when the TDP was in power, came out on the streets. They had been continuing the protest in different forms.

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The Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi (APS), which was spearheading the movement against three capitals, undertook two padyatras during the last two years to mobilise public support for their demand.

Earlier in the day, the farmers watched on specially installed screens the live telecast of the swearing-in of Chandrababu Naidu and his Cabinet colleagues. At the meeting of newly-elected MLAs of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Tuesday, Naidu declared that Amaravati will be developed as the sole state capital. He said Visakhapatnam will be developed as a financial capital and Kurnool will also be developed in all respects.

TDP’s allies Jana Sena and BJP are also for developing Amaravati as the sole state capital.

The return of Naidu to power has given new hopes to farmers and others, who were fighting for justice. The TDP chief had envisioned Amaravati on the banks of the Krishna river as a dream capital and a world-class city about a decade ago. The works on residential quarters and other components of the mega project had come to an abrupt halt in 2019 a few months after the YSRCP came to power.

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The foundation stone for Amaravati was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2015 when TDP was part of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre. Naidu had got the master plan for Amaravati prepared by Singapore. With nine theme cities and 27 townships, it was planned in an area of 217 square kilometres with the development in three phases – seed area or core capital, capital city, and capital region.

–IANS

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UP govt to turn Ranipur Tiger Reserve into eco-tourism hub

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Lucknow, June 12 (IANS) The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh will transform the Ranipur Tiger Reserve in Chitrakoot into a premier eco-tourism destination.

A detailed action plan has been devised to realise this vision, and the Forest Department has already commenced project implementation.

According to a government spokesman, the plan includes allocating an estimated Rs 38 lakh for upgrading tourist facilities within the reserve and enhancing infrastructure in the surrounding buffer zone.

To facilitate these efforts, directives have been issued by the office of the Deputy Director of the Ranipur Tiger Reserve/Divisional Officer in Chitrakoot.

Spanning over a 230 sq km area, Ranipur Tiger Reserve is the fourth tiger reserve in Uttar Pradesh and the 53rd nationwide.

Situated 150 km from Madhya Pradesh’s Panna Tiger Reserve, it serves as a haven for tigers and a diverse array of wildlife, including leopards, bears, sambar deer, and chinkara.

Recognising the significant tourism potential of this region, the Yogi Adityanath government has intensified development efforts in the tiger reserve.

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Adhering to stringent environmental standards, the area is being meticulously developed to ensure sustainable growth.

The primary focus of tourist amenities, currently under development in the Ranipur Tiger Reserve, is the luxury tent area. This space aims to allow visitors to immerse themselves in the unparalleled beauty of nature while enjoying top-notch amenities.

In addition to upgrading civic amenities within the forest, the plan entails developing lawn areas and designated parking spaces.

–IANS

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Cong accuses Centre of bias in funds' disbursal to Maha compared to other states

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Mumbai, June 12 (IANS) The Maharashtra Congress has accused the Centre of ‘discrimination’ in the allocation of central funds to the state compared with other states, here on Wednesday.

Congress state President Nana Patole said that Maharashtra accounts for the highest share of collection to the Centre by way of GST and other taxes, but when it comes to ploughing back to the state, the government displays bias towards this state.

“After the new NDA government took office, the Centre has distributed funds to states out of which Maharashtra has been allocated only around Rs 8,000 crore. In contrast, other Bharatiya Janata Party ruled states, or its allies have been allocated the lion’s share,” said Patole.

Patole mentioned how Uttar Pradesh has been given the maximum Rs 25,000 crore, Madhya Pradesh Rs 10,970 crore, besides Bihar, led by NDA ally and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar getting Rs 14,000 crore, compared with just Rs 8,000 crore for Maharashtra.

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“The BJP at the Centre has consistently discriminated against Maharashtra when it comes to funds allocations. Even other states ruled by the Opposition parties have been given small amounts, like Congress-headed Karnataka got Rs 5,000 crore, and Aam Aadmi Party-helmed Delhi getting Rs 2,525 crore. However, NDA ally Andhra Pradesh headed by CM Chandrababu Naidu was given Rs 5,622 crore,” Patole pointed out.

He reiterated that the money belongs to the common taxpayers and is intended for use for development activities for the masses but the BJP regime is deliberately giving step-motherly treatment to the opposition-ruled states.

Patole said that Maharashtra faced a similar predicament when the erstwhile Maha Vikas Aghadi government headed by ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray was in power (2019-2022) here.

Slamming the MahaYuti government, Patole said that Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar “lack the courage to demand more funds as deserved from the centre”, and are content with whatever is doled out, which is against the interests of the people of Maharashtra.

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He warned that the people of the state are observing this and will take note of such injustice meted out by the BJP by teaching them a lesson in the upcoming October state Assembly elections, akin to the drubbing given in the recent Lok Sabha polls.

–IANS

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