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Need infrastructure, but can’t deforest our way to prosperity: Jairam Ramesh

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New Delhi | Deforestation is the wrong way to prosperity and it would haunt the people in the form of ecological imbalance, former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Thursday. He claimed that eight per cent deaths during 2000-2015 were due to pollution-related ailments, but did not comment on the current pollution crisis in Delhi and the measures taken by the government to combat the effect.

In his inaugural address at an environmental film festival here, Ramesh, who held the environment portfolio during the UPA rule, said, “We have to grow. We need infrastructure. But we cannot deforest our way to prosperity. That is a wrong path that we have started walking upon and it will come to haunt us soon in form of ecological imbalance.We should aim for economic growth but not at the cost of ecological imbalance,” he said.

Ramesh said very frequently, the proponents of big-ticket projects are the governments, centre or state, and not the private sector. “It is a tough call that those in power have to take and they must evaluate that what the exact issues are. What can be the short term implications, what can be the long term implications whether it is a national highway or a railway project,” he said. Asserting that the substance and style of India’s climate diplomacy needs a change, Ramesh said that he had suggested several measures. “Tried to implement them, was heavily criticised too and the positions I had taken during 2009-2011, for which I was attacked in my own country by many politicians, NGOs and the media, have now become part of the mainstream. We need not be an obstructionist and make India a constructive part of the solution,” he said.

‘Quotes from the Earth’, the three-day environmental film festival by environmental research and advocacy group Toxics Link, with support from the Swedish Society For Nature Conservation, was kicked off in the national capital on Thursday.The festival aims to sensitise people towards the critical environmental issues plaguing the world today. Apart from thought-provoking films by renowned Indian environmental filmmakers like S Nallamuthu, Gautam Pandey, Doe Trivedy and Jalal Ud Din Baba, viewers will also get to watch internationally acclaimed films from countries such as Russia and Turkey.

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India invited as ‘Guest of Honour’ to OIC meet, Sushma Swaraj to attend

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Official sources said it was for the first time, India has been invited to an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting as a guest of honour.

 

New Delhi| In a significant move, India has been invited to the inaugural plenary of the foreign ministers’ conclave of the OIC, a powerful grouping of Muslim majority nations, and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will attend it in Abu Dhabi next month as the ‘guest of honour’.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) called the invitation a “welcome recognition” of the presence of 185 million Muslims in India and of their contribution to its pluralistic ethos, and of India’s contribution to the Islamic world.

Official sources said it was for the first time, India has been invited to an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting as a guest of honour. The 46th Session of the OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers will be held in Abu Dhabi from March 1 to 2.

The invitation to India by the OIC comes at a time when India has been mounting a diplomatic offensive against Pakistan to isolate it internationally following the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

The OIC has usually been supportive of Pakistan and, often sided with Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.

The MEA said Foreign Minister of United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan invited Swaraj as the ‘guest of honour’ to address the inaugural plenary and that India was happy to accept the invitation.

“We see this invitation as the desire of the enlightened leadership of the UAE to go beyond our rapidly growing close bilateral ties and forge a true multifaceted partnership at the multilateral and international level,” the MEA said in a release.

“We see this invitation as a milestone in our comprehensive strategic partnership with the UAE. We also see this invitation as a welcome recognition of the presence of 185 million Muslims in India and of their contribution to its pluralistic ethos, and of India’s contribution to the Islamic world,” it said.

India is, therefore, happy to accept the invitation and thanked the leadership of the UAE for it, the ministry said.

Last year, Bangladesh proposed a restructuring of the charter of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to pave way for the inclusion of non-Muslim countries like India as an “observer state” of the 50-year old grouping.

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Assam hooch tragedy death toll mounts to 59, 200 taken ill

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Jorhat| At least 59 people have died and over 200 taken ill after consuming spurious liquor in tea gardens in Assam‘s Golaghat and Jorhat since Thursday night, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday.

The death toll is rising every minute, the minister said after visiting Jorhat Medical College Hospital (JMCH) here.

“This morning the death toll in Golaghat and Jorhat districts was 59 and 200 people have been admitted to hospitals. The death toll and the number of people admitted are changing minute by minute,” Sarma told reporters after meeting some patients at the hospital.

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100 cars gutted in fire at Aero India 2019 show in Bengaluru

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Bengaluru | More than 100 cars have been gutted in to fire at the parking lot near the Aero India Show held at the Yelahankha air base in Bengaluru.

According to a local eye witness, a grass fire spread to parking area number 5 and some vehicles which were parked there have also caught fire. The fire department has stated that around 80-100 cars gutted in fire near the venue of the Aero India Show in Bengaluru.

 

Officials stated that around 10 fire engines have rushed to the spot. Responding on the incident Senior police official MNReddi tweeted, “Fire in the open field parking lot of aero show. Nearly 20 cars burnt. Fire fighting operations by Chief Fire Officer and 10 water tenders staff underway.”

Earlier on Tuesday, one fighter pilot was killed after two Surya Kiran Aircraft crashed during the rehearsal of the Aero India Show.

 

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