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Pawan Kalyan, Lokesh among 81 new faces in Andhra Pradesh Assembly



Amaravati, June 6 (IANS) Jana Sena Party chief and actor Pawan Kalyan and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) General Secretary Nara Lokesh are among 81 fresh faces in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly.

Nearly half of the newly-elected MLAs in Andhra Pradesh are first-timers.

Former Union ministers Kotla Surya Prakash Reddy and Sujana Chowdary are also among first-time MLAs in the 175-member House.

Majority of the fresh faces are from Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which bagged 135 seats.

Fifteen out of 21 newly-elected MLAs of Jana Sena are also new faces.

After suffering defeat from both the Assembly seats he contested in 2019, Pawan Kalyan finally made it to the Assembly by winning the Pithapuram seat in Kakinada District.

Lokesh, who is son of TDP President, N Chandrababu Naidu, has been elected from Mangalagiri constituency. He too had to face a debacle from the same constituency in the previous election.

Lokesh had served as a minister in the TDP government between 2014 and 2019 when he was a member of the Legislative Council.

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Four of the eight BJP MLAs are also new faces. They include Sujana Chowdary, a former Union minister, who has been elected from Vijayawada West.

Another former Union minister Kotla Jaya Surya Prakash Reddy was elected on a TDP ticket. Son of former chief minister late Kotla Vijayabhaskar Reddy, Prakash Reddy won the Dhone seat in Nandyal District.

Gouthu Sireesha, granddaughter of freedom fighter Sardar Gouthu Latchanna and daughter of former minister Gouthu Sivaji, has also entered the Assembly for the first time.

She was elected from the Palasa constituency in Srikakulam District.

Former Union minister and senior TDP leader Ashok P Gapatahi Raju’s daughter Aditi Vijayalakshmi Gajapathi Raju has finally made it to the Assembly from Vizianagaram after suffering defeat in the previous election.

Former YSRCP MP, K Raghu Rama Krishna Raju has also been elected to the Assembly.

He was elected from Undi constituency on a TDP ticket.

Earlier, he was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2019 on a YSRCP ticket from Narsapuram but later revolted against the party leadership.

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He joined the TDP just before the General Elections.

Former chief minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s brother N. Kishan Kumar Reddy has also been elected to the Assembly for the first time.

He successfully contested as TDP candidate from Pileru constituency in Chittoor District.

Kiran Kumar Reddy, the last chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh and a BJP leader, suffered defeat from Rajampet Lok Sabha constituency.

Lokam Naga Madhavi (Nellimarla), S. Vijaykumar (Yelamanchili), Pantam Nanaji (Kakinada Rural), Deva Varaprasad (Razole) Giddi Satyanarayana (Gannavaram), Bathula Balaramakrishna (Rajanagaram), Kandula Durgesh (Nidadavole), Bommidi Narayana Nayakar (Narspuram) are among the debutants from the Jana Sena.

Two of the 11 MLAs of the YSRCP are also first-timers.



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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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Odisha CM Majhi chairs meeting on annual Rath Yatra




Bhubaneswar, June 16 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Mohan Charan Majhi on Sunday took stock of the arrangements for the annual Rath Yatra celebrations going to be held in July.

The state Law Minister Prithiviraj Harichandan, State Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena, Director General of Police Arun Kumar Sarangi, and Director Intelligence, Saumendra Priyadarsi briefed CM Majhi about the arrangements, the rituals of the Snana Yatra and Rath Yatra and preparations made so far for the smooth conduct of the festivals.

Snana Yatra, also known as ‘Devasnana Purnima’, is the auspicious bathing ritual of Lord Jagannath and the sibling deities.

“The Chief Minister was briefed about the detailed procedure of the rituals and arrangements for the grand annual festival of Rath Yatra by Chief Secretary Jena, DGP Sarangi, and Director Intelligence Priyadarsi. The government will hold meetings with the sevayats and other stakeholders in the coming days for the smooth conduct of the festival this year,” said Harichandan.

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Speaking on a large number of devotees following the reopening of four entrance gates at the Jagannath Temple, Harichandan added that no major trouble has been reported at the 12th-century shrine due to the large crowd.

He said that the rush was witnessed due to the consecutive holidays.

He assured that all the arrangements at the shrine would be soon streamlined.



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TRP Gamezone fire: Two officials from Rajkot Municipal Corporation arrested




Rajkot, June 16 (IANS) Two officials from the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) have been arrested in connection with the TRP Gamezone fire which claimed 27 lives.

The Crime Branch has sought a seven-day remand from a court for both accused officials — assistant town planning officer (ATPO) of RMC, Rajesh Makwana and Jaydish Chaudhary.

“The investigation has revealed that these officials played crucial roles in destroying the original register and creating a fraudulent one, leading to their arrests. The Crime Branch’s demand for a remand period aims to investigate their involvement further and uncover more details related to the incident,” sources said.

In a parallel development, a formal complaint has been lodged against the manager of Rajkot TRP Gamezone, Nitin Jain, at the Shapar police station. The complaint stems from a tragic incident in 2019, where Jain allegedly took Rs 1.6 million from a young man named Satish Vasjalia. When the money was not returned, Vasjalia reportedly committed suicide, leaving behind a note that mentioned Jain and the unpaid loan.

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The suicide note has led to renewed scrutiny of Jain’s actions, with the deceased’s family filing an official complaint against him. The Crime Branch is expected to pursue this case as part of the broader investigation into the fire incident.



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Amit Shah advises security forces to crush terrorism in J&K at all cost (Ld)




New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Union Home Minister Amit Shah, on Sunday, directed security forces to crush growing terrorism in Jammu division, wipe it out from Jammu & Kashmir and ensure complete security for the upcoming annual Amarnath Yatra.

The Union Minister chaired a high-level security review meeting in New Delhi today which was attended by J&K Lt Governor Manoj Singh, NSA Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, Army Chief General Manoj Pande, designate Army Chief, Lt General Upendra Dwivedi, IB Director Tapan Deka, Chief Secretary J&K Atal Dulloo, DG CRPF Anish Dayal Singh, DGP J&K R. R.Swain, ADGP (Law & Order) J&K Vijay Kumar and senior Army and Intelligence officers.

Shah directed security forces to crush the emerging terrorism in the Jammu division of the Union Territory and prevent its revival in J&K while ensuring complete security for the upcoming Amarnath Yatra which begins on June 29 and ends on August 19.

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Shah also received a report on the prevailing law and order situation in J&K.

Top sources said that the Home Minister directed hard action against the supporters of terrorism. He also advised 24X7 vigil and surveillance of highways, sensitive installations and vulnerable places so that the Amarnath Yatra, Mata Vaishno Devi and Shiv Khori temple pilgrimages are safe.

He advised sealing of all infiltration routes through which foreign terrorists manage to enter the UT.

He commended the security forces for ensuring a safe environment for the poll process during the Lok Sabha elections, which made participation of a large number of voters possible.

Shah assured all resources both material and in terms of manpower to the UT administration to deal a hard blow to terrorism and its supporters.



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BRS demands thorough probe into NEET exam fiasco




Hyderabad, June 16 (IANS) Slamming the Centre over its handling of the NEET exam, Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) Working President K.T. Rama Rao on Sunday demanded a thorough investigation into the incident.

He said the confusion surrounding the examination has dashed the hopes of students and parents who dream of seeing their children become doctors.

He condemned the Union government for its inaction despite reports that NEET question papers were sold in Bihar for up to 30 lakh each, with several arrests already made.

He accused the Union government of neglecting its responsibility and adopting a lackadaisical attitude towards the NEET entrance exam from the start.

KTR said that despite numerous allegations and suspicions surrounding the prestigious NEET exam, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has not yet responded, which he found unacceptable.

He questioned why the Prime Minister, who frequently holds discussions with students about exams, has remained silent on the critical issue of NEET.

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In his open letter to the NDA government, KTR demanded a thorough investigation into the entire matter and strict action against those found responsible.

He also called for reassurance to be given to students and their parents.

KTR highlighted the unprecedented scenario of 67 students achieving the first rank in NEET, which raised numerous suspicions.

He noted that eight students from the same centre scored 720 marks each, suggesting a significant level of paper leakage.

He reminded that even a single mark difference can change students’ rankings and result in many losing opportunities.

KTR questioned how so many students from one centre could score such high marks and criticised the announcement of results 10 days early, coinciding with the election results day, which added to the suspicion.

He demanded an explanation from the Union government for not taking action despite the gravity of the situation coming to light.

He also criticised Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan for attempting to cover up the issue by claiming everything was in order.

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The BRS leader emphasised that despite numerous complaints from students, the Union government has not responded.

Even prominent individuals filing cases in the Supreme Court did not prompt a clarification from the Centre.

He expressed surprise that the Union government ignored the issue until the Supreme Court intervened and noted that the National Testing Agency (NTA) provided unusual responses when questioned.

The awarding of grace marks in NEET this year to 1,563 students was also criticised by KTR, who pointed out that the practice of grace marks is not typically applied in exams like NEET.

He demanded clarity on the criteria used for awarding these marks and questioned the NTA’s handling of the matter.

KTR called for a comprehensive investigation into the allegations of paper leakage and demanded strict action against those involved.

He emphasised that the issue is not limited to NEET but affects several competitive exams conducted under the NTA’s supervision, which could lead to a loss of trust among students.

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KTR called for stringent measures to prevent such incidents in the future and reassured that the BRS would fight for the rights of students affected by these irregularities.



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