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COA chief Vinod Rai welcomes “excellent” SC order on Lodha reforms

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Vinod Rai

New Delhi | The Committee of Administrators chief Vinod Rai today welcomed the Supreme Court order on mandatory cooling off period for BCCI office-bearers after two consecutive terms and for putting a roadmap in place for the Board’s elections.

The original Lodha Committee reforms suggested only one term of three years before mandatory cooling off but today’s order allows office-bearers two consecutive terms before the mandatory cooling off.

The new judgement effectively means that current acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary and acting treasurer Aniruddh Chaudhry can contest for another term.

”This is an excellent order by the Honourable Court. I have absolutely no problem with office-bearers having two consecutive terms. Even I had originally wanted a six year term before cooling off period but couldn’t get consensus,” Rai told PTI on what is being seen as the most significant aspect of today’s order.

Rai said another positive to come out today is the timeline set by the apex court for the adoption of the approved BCCI constitution, which will also pave the way for the Board’s elections provided there is 100 per cent compliance by the state associations. The state units have been today warned by the SC to either comply or face action.

”Now we finally have a roadmap in place which will lead to adoption of the new constitution and subsequently elections. Now there is a time-line in place,” Rai said.

He also expressed satisfaction that all the original members have retained their voting rights.

The SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, restored the permanent membership of Railways, Services and Universities and granted membership to Mumbai, Saurashtra, Vadodara and Vidarbha.

”We had maintained that legacy units like Mumbai should retain their voting rights. The draft constitution also mentions that. Every member unit should have voting rights,” the former CAG said.

“Now the SC ruling will ensure that state units will have to comply with the order by deadlines or else COA can move court,” Rai signed off. Another COA member Diana Edulji also welcomed the latest order.

“We are happy with the judgement. We were appointed by the Supreme Court in the first place to oversee reforms. Now that SC has modified its order, we will have to see that it is implemented properly. I hope everybody will comply and cricket will move on,” she said.

“We did not having anything personal (against any BCCI official). We were nominated by the SC to do a job and our focus has always been on that,” she added.

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Centre trying to implement ₹900 cr sericulture projects in North East

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Itanagar | The Centre is trying to implement Rs 900 crore sericulture projects in the North East to empower farmers and weavers, Union Minister for Textile Smriti Irani on Friday said.

Launching the Integrated Large Scale Eri Farming in Arunachal Pradesh under North East Region Textile Promotion Scheme (NERTPS) at the state assembly here, Irani said the government has decided to provide financial assistance to 4000 beneficiaries under the scheme in the state.

Irani also assured to impart skill training to seri farmers and weavers under the Samarth Scheme, which was launched for capacity building in the textile sector.

There are 27000 looms and 33000 hand-loom weavers in Arunachal Pradesh.

Initially, the project would cover five districts of the state – namely Papumpare, East Kameng, Siang, East Siang and West Siang.

The union minister said that Eri silk farming would be held in about 1000 acres in the chosen districts.

If any registered weaver wants to upgrade their old looms then the government would give 90 percent financial assistance in buying a new one, she added.

“If the children of poor weaver families want to pursue higher studies either through National Institute of Open Schooling or Indira Gandhi National Open University, the government will bear 75 percent of their fees,” she said.

Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju said the traditional weaving culture in the state provides vast opportunity for textile sector and NERTPS is a scheme for women empowerment and employment generation.

Later interacting with the weavers, Irani suggested registration and branding of the loin loom products of every tribe in the state, a Raj Bhawan communique informed.

“This will facilitate access of the loin loom products to international markets,” she added.

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204 lions died in Gir in last two years: Gujarat government

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Gandhinagar | Over 200 lions died in the Gir forest region in the last two years, the Gujarat government told the legislative Assembly on Friday.

Only 27 of these deaths were because of “unnatural” causes such as getting hit by a train or falling into a well, it said.

To a query by Congress’ Bhagabhai Barad, forest minister Ganpat Vasava, in a written reply, said 110 lions and 94 cubs died in 2017 and 2018.

Of the 110 adult lions, 43 died in 2017 and 67 in 2018. Thirty-eight cubs died in 2017 and 56 in 2018, the reply said.

Of the 204 deaths, 27 (21 lions and six cubs) were because of “unnatural causes” such as falling into a well or being run over by a train, the minister said.

Vasava also said that 331 leopards, including 75 cubs, died in Gujarat forests in the last two years, adding the state government was taking various steps to prevent deaths due to unnatural causes.

Some of these preventive measures are building parapets around wells, fencing railway tracks, construction of speed breakers on roads passing through sanctuaries and continuous patrolling, the reply said.

To a question by Congress MLA Pratap Dudhat about the viral infection among lions last year, Vasava said 34 lions died in the last one year due to diseases including Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) infection.

Babesia, Streptococcal bacteria and Gram-negative bacilli infections were also responsible for some of these deaths, the minister said.

The government allocated Rs 21.96 crore for lion conservation in Gir in 2017 and Rs 27.89 crore in 2018, while the contribution of the Union government was Rs 1.92 crore and 1.06 crore for the last two years, he said.

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Rahul offers condolences over spurious liquor deaths in Assam’s Golaghat

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New Delhi | Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday offered condolences to the families of those who died after consuming spurious liquor in Assam’s Golaghat district.

At least 30 people, including seven women, died allegedly after consuming the liquor at a tea garden. Fifty others are undergoing treatment at various hospitals, a district official said.

“I am saddened by the incident which occurred in Assam’s Golaghat area. My deepest condolences to the families of the victims. I hope that those undergoing treatment get well soon,” Gandhi said in a Facebok post.

It is believed that more than 100 people — labourers at Salimira tea garden — consumed the spurious liquor on Thursday night, BJP MLA Mrinal Saikia said.

Police have arrested two people in connection with the deaths.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has ordered an inquiry into the incident. Two excise officials of the district have been suspended.

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