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‘Great News!’, PM Modi hails rise in country's leopard population

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New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) The rise in leopard population in India has drawn applause and appreciation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Sharing his happiness over this on Thursday, PM Modi wrote on X, “Great news! This significant increase in leopard numbers is a testament to India’s unwavering dedication to biodiversity. I compliment all those who are part of the various collective efforts towards wildlife protection, paving the way for a sustainable coexistence.”

PM Modi’s words assume significance in the light of the fact that he has always pitched for international cooperation/alliance for the protection of biodiversity.

At every global forum, he has been batting for global efforts for the same. He also used the occasion to send out the message that the spike in leopard population reaffirms the fact that India is sincerely working for the protection of biodiversity.

Earlier on Thursday, the Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav, released a report which said that the country’s leopard population has risen to 13,874 (Range: 12,616 – 15,132) .

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“Central India shows a stable or slightly growing population of leopards (2018: 8,071, 2022: 8,820); Shivalik hills and Gangetic plains experienced decline (2018: 1,253, 2022: 1,109),” said the report titled ‘Status of Leopards’.

It said that “if we look at the area which was sampled both in 2018 and 2022 across India, there is a 1.08 per cent per annum growth”.

“In Shivalik hills and Gangetic plains, there is a 3.4 per cent decline per annum, while the largest growth rate was seen in Central India and Eastern Ghats at 1.5 per cent,” the report said.

The report also said that the fifth cycle of leopard population estimation (2022) in India focused on forested habitats within 18 tiger states, covering four major tiger conservation landscapes.

‘Project Tiger’s’ conservation legacy expands beyond tigers, which is evident in the leopard status report, showcasing broader species’ protection efforts.

–IANS

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Additional central forces deployed in Manipur's violence-hit Jiribam district, relief material distributed

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Imphal, June 16 (IANS) As tension still prevails in Manipur’s mixed-population Jiribam district, additional CRPF troopers have been deployed in the interior areas of its Borobekra subdivision to maintain peace and tranquillity, officials said on Sunday.

The Borobekra subdivision of Jiribam, adjoining southern Assam, had been badly affected after the killing of 59-year-old farmer Soibam Saratkumar Singh on June 6.

Around 900 tribals belonging to the Kuki and Hmar communities took shelter at the homes of relatives and friends in two villages – Haokippunji and Hmarkhawlienin – in the Cachar district of southern Assam, after violence broke out.

The Jiribam district administration on Sunday distributed cooking gas cylinders and other necessary items in the seven relief camps, where around 1,000 people, mostly belonging to the Meitei community, have taken shelter after the violence.

Officials in Imphal said that the district health officials have been providing healthcare services round the clock to the villagers.

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The Education Department has also started lessons from Classes one to eight for around 100 children taking shelter in the camps at the Bidyanagar Multipurpose Sports Complex in the district headquarters. A headmaster and 23 teachers were posted in the temporary school. Textbooks and notebooks have already been provided to the students.

Similar temporary schools will also be set up in nearby relief camps as and when necessary.

Movement of goods trucks and LPG-carrying vehicles has commenced along the Imphal-Jiribam National Highway (NH-37) from Saturday under the protection of a CRPF convoy.

Tension still prevails in Jiribam, inhabited by Meiteis, Nagas, Kukis, Muslims and non-Manipuris, where a wave of violence broke out after the killing of Saratkumar Singh, who belonged to the Meitei community. A senior police official said that two police checkposts, a forest beat office, and at least 100 houses were set afire in Jiribam by attackers on June 7 and 8.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress has demanded an immediate end to the ethnic crisis in Jiribam, which has led to the displacement of about 1,600 people. A meeting of the state unit’s Political Affairs Committee, chaired by state chief K. Meghachandra Singh, was held at Congress Bhawan on Saturday and resolved to appeal to the Central and state governments to control the situation in Jiribam district immediately, a Congress leader said on Sunday.

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–IANS

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

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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.

–IANS

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

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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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–IANS

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Dharavi Redevelopment Project: Debunking myths vs revealing reality

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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.

–IANS

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

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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.

–IANS

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