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Stairs of Mumbai’s Banganga Tank linked to Lord Ram damaged during desilting works; probe ordered

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Stairs of Mumbai’s Banganga Tank linked to Lord Ram damaged during desilting works; probe ordered

Mumbai, June 25 (IANS) Several stone steps around the historic Banganga Tank at Malabar Hill were damaged while undertaking desilting works for the monsoon season, sparking outrage, here on Tuesday.

The Banganga Tank, estimated to be over eight centuries old, finds mention in the ancient texts of Ramayana and Skanda Purana. It has rich religious and cultural significance associated with Lord Ram.

Following an uproar, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has initiated repairs to the old site.

Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and ex-minister Aditya Thackeray, meanwhile, slammed the BMC’s contractor for the ‘lapses’, as he sought his immediate arrest.

“Is this a kind of revenge by the BJP for every (Lok Sabha) seat lost by them? It is unfortunate that the Banganga Tank has been damaged by the regime and its contractors,” said Thackeray.

Ruling Shiv Sena MP Milind M. Deora also expressed his concerns and said that the civic body has been plundered like an ATM for almost three decades and the BMC’s misgovernance will not be tolerated.

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BJP Minister and local MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha also said that the steps leading to the Banganga Tank were damaged by a bulldozer during the cleaning works.

He assured that the government is committed to preserving and conserving Mumbai’s historical heritage, and the Banganga Tank site would be restored to its former glory within 72 hours.

Lodha said he has spoken with Mumbai Commissioner of Police, Vivek Phansalkar, to direct the cops to file an FIR against the contractor responsible, while the BMC has been ordered to blacklist him.

The civic body has also been asked to set up a committee, investigate the entire incident, and submit its report in five days, the minister said.

According to legend, during his 14-year exile, when Lord Rama was in the region to search for his kidnapped wife Sita, he asked his brother to fetch some water.

Lord Lakshman immediately shot an arrow into the ground, and a tributary of the holy River Ganga – over 1,600 km away from here – sprang out. Hence, the place derived its name from ‘Baan’ (arrow) and ‘Ganga’ (River) – as Banganga.

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–IANS

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BJP appoints TV journalist Pradeep Bhandari as national spokesperson

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BJP appoints TV journalist Pradeep Bhandari as national spokesperson

BJP appoints TV journalist Pradeep Bhandari as national spokesperson

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday appointed TV journalist Pradeep Bhandari as its national spokesperson.

“BJP President J.P. Nadda has appointed Pradeep Bhandari as the party’s national spokesperson with immediate effect,” said the party in a statement.

Pradeep Bhandari also runs a psephology firm named ’Jan Ki Baat’, which has conducted Opinion and Exit polls during Assembly and general elections.

Bhandari joins the list of 30 BJP national spokespersons headed by Lok Sabha MP Anil Baluni, as mentioned on the party website.

Bhandari, in his previous stints, worked with many news organisations including Republic TV, India News, and Zee News.

–IANS

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Encounter starts in J&K’s Kupwara District

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Encounter starts in J&K’s Kupwara District

Encounter starts in J&K’s Kupwara District

Srinagar, July 23 (IANS) A gunfight started in the forest area of Jammu and Kashmir’s (J&K) Kupwara District between the security forces and terrorists on Tuesday.

Officials said that the security forces started a CASO (Cordon & Search Operation) in Trumkhan forests of Kupwara District after receiving Intelligence inputs about the presence of terrorists there.

“As the security forces came closer to the hiding terrorists, they fired at the security personnel triggering an encounter which is now underway”, officials said.

Earlier on Tuesday, one Army soldier was martyred in Battal area of KG sector in Mendhar Tehsil of Poonch District where the Army foiled an infiltration bid by the ultras.

The operation against the militants is still going on in Battal.

Security forces are aggressively carrying out anti-terror operations after the ultras made their presence felt in the mountainous areas of Jammu Division.

Over 4,000 soldiers including those drawn from the elite Para Commandos and those trained in mountain warfare have been deployed in the hilly areas of Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Reasi and Kathua districts of Jammu division.

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–IANS

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Over 4,300 students crossed over to India from B’desh in last 4 days

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Over 4,300 students crossed over to India from B’desh in last 4 days

Over 4,300 students crossed over to India from B’desh in last 4 days

Kolkata, July 23 (IANS) Border Security Force (BSF) on Tuesday said that over 4,300 students, including a Canadian and two Maldivian nationals, have crossed over to India from Bangladesh in the last four days.

“Since Friday, 4,315 students have crossed over the Indo-Bangladesh Border (IBB) and have been provided assistance by the BSF. Of those students who have crossed over, 3,087 are Indians, 41 Bangladeshis, 1,118 Nepalese, 66 Bhutanese, two Maldivians and a Canadian,” an official of the BSF’s Eastern Command said.

He said that these students have undergone medical check-ups and have been provided food.

“Special counters have also been set up for documentation, as and when the need arises. Transportation is also being provided to the students by the BSF to their nearest destinations,” the official said.

Eastern Command ADG BSF Ravi Gandhi has issued an ‘Operation Alert’ – all along the IBB – after nationwide violence erupted in neighbouring Bangladesh.

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“While security has been tightened to prevent any illegal immigration from across the IBB, special care is being taken to ensure the safe return of students from India as well as other countries,” the BSF official said.

BSF’s Eastern Command is entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the IBB passing along 32 districts of five Indian states that adjoin 30 Bangladeshi districts. The IBB stretches for 4096.7 km, 23 per cent of which is riverine and unfenced. This is the fifth-longest land border in the world.

“We are closely monitoring the situation across the IBB while facilitating in safe return of students, in close coordination with sister agencies and the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB),” the official said.

He said that the BSF has made all operational and administrative arrangements at the Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) and Land Customs Stations (LCSs) for refreshments, food packets, transportation and health check-ups.

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–IANS

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Budget to create opportunities, unlock multipliers for economy: BSE MD and CEO

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Budget to create opportunities, unlock multipliers for economy: BSE MD and CEO

Budget to create opportunities, unlock multipliers for economy: BSE MD and CEO

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) Sundararaman Ramamurthy, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) lauded the Union Budget and its nine priorities for thrust on the middle-class and inclusiveness of all segments including poor, youth, women and farmers – the four pillars of ‘Viksit Bharat’, as often underlined in PM Modi’s speeches.

The MD and CEO of the country’s leading stock exchange said that he finds the Budget “forward-looking, equitable, middle class-oriented, all-inclusive budget covering poor, women, youth, and farmers.”

In a video message, Sundararaman Ramamurthy said, “The Finance Minister’s seventh straight budget has its objective ‘Viksit Bharat’. With clear emphasis on nine priorities, it lays down the road map for infrastructure development, startups, SMEs, job creation and skill development, innovation.”

The BSE MD and CEO expressed confidence that the government’s focus on jobs creation across various segments will set new benchmarks and also have multiplier impact on the economy.

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“This will usher in new opportunities, uplift demand, and unlock multipliers for the economy, including long-term capital formation with fiscal products,” he said.

The nine priority areas that were spotlighted in Finance Minister Sitharaman’s Budget included – productivity and resilience in agriculture, employment and skilling, improved human resources, social justice, manufacturing and services, urban development, energy security, infrastructure, innovation, research and development, and next-gen reforms.

–IANS

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Ashok Gehlot slams Union budget for ignoring Rajasthan’s needs

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Ashok Gehlot slams Union budget for ignoring Rajasthan’s needs

Ashok Gehlot slams Union budget for ignoring Rajasthan’s needs

Jaipur, July 23 (IANS) Former chief minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, expressed disappointment with the Union budget presented by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday. Gehlot posted on social media platform X, calling the budget directionless.

Ashok Gehlot posted, “The budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has brought only disappointment to Rajasthan. It seems that the central government, for political reasons, has allocated the entire budget to Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.

“Geographically and socially, our Rajasthan needed a special package, but Rajasthan wasn’t even mentioned in the entire budget speech. During the last assembly elections, the Prime Minister’s speeches never ended without the misleading claims of double development from the so-called double-engine government.

“We had hoped that the central government would grant national project status to Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) and allocate special funds for it in this budget, but the central government did not say anything regarding ERCP. They just neglected Rajasthan.

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“Earlier the BJP government promised 2 crore jobs annually, but now the budget announces 1 crore internships in 5 years with a monthly stipend of 5,000 rupees.

“There are no measures in this budget to control inflation. Neither was any tax reduced on petrol and diesel, nor was LPG made cheaper. Our government in Rajasthan has provided gas cylinders for 500 rupees. If the state of Rajasthan can do this, why can’t the central government?

“After listening to the entire budget speech, the public is disappointed. Such a directionless budget is unlikely to succeed in getting the country’s economy back on track.”

–IANS

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