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Maharashtra farmer’s march demanding loan waive reaches Mumbai

Anusha Bhattacharya

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Demanding compensation for drought and the transfer of forest rights to tribals, thousands of farmers and tribals began a two-day march from Thane to Mumbai today. The farmers are demanding implementation of the Swaminathan Committee report, which suggested that farmers must have assured access and control over resources such as land and water. They are also demanding an increase in the Minimum Support Price and a judicial system to ensure its implementation

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Delhi High Court to hear National Herald publisher AJL’s plea on Jan 28

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National Herald; AJL

New Delhi | The Delhi High Court Wednesday said it will hear the appeal of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), publisher of National Herald newspaper, on January 28 challenging the single judge order asking it to vacate its premises here.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Rajendra Menon cited health issues and asked if the matter could be heard some other day.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for AJL, agreed that the matter be heard some other day. The Chief Justice said he has to undergo a surgery and can take up the matter any day after January 24.

The bench also comprising Justice V K Rao listed the appeal for hearing on January 28.

A single judge had on December 21 dismissed AJL’s plea challenging the Centre’s order to vacate its premises. The court also asked it to vacate the building at central Delhi’s ITO within two weeks after which eviction proceedings under the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971, would be initiated.

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Meghalaya mine disaster: Navy, NDRF divers to go down to measure afresh water level

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Meghalaya Miners

Shillong | Navy and NDRF divers are preparing to enter a Meghalaya coal mine, where 15 miners are trapped, to gauge the water level, even as efforts continue on Wednesday to install high-powered submersible pumps to drain out water from interconnected shafts, officials said.

They divers will measure the water level again to take a call on resuming search and rescue operation for the trapped diggers, they said.

Operation spokesperson R Susngi told PTI that so far only one of the 10 pumps brought by a team from Odisha is in use in a nearby abandoned mine.

“We expect a high powered pump from Coal India be put to use later today. Till now, a lot of preparation is going on,” Susngi said.

Divers from Navy and the NDRF will go inside the main shaft, where the disaster occurred on December 13, to measure afresh the water level to take a call on resuming search and rescue operation, Susngi said giving details of the operation on the 21st day of the disaster.

The exercise is to find out if the abandoned mine is connected with the 370-foot-deep mine in which the 15 miners were trapped, Susngi said.

Other five pumps with similar power and functions from Coal India Ltd are on the way by road from their various centres across the country.

On Tuesday, water level had gone down by six inches in a nearby shaft but when Navy and NDRF divers went inside the main shaft they found that it was not connected with the rat-hole mine and hence water level remained unchanged to conduct the search and rescue operation.

Till Tuesday only one pump was operational. After three hours pumping the water in the old shaft nearby, it was found that the water level in the nearby old shaft descended upto 6 inches, operation spokesperson R Susngi had said.

He said that the same pump will work for more number of hours on Wednesday than it did on Tuesday.

With search and the rescue operation not making much headway, no contact has been established with the trapped miners even after 21 days of the disaster.

Fifteen miners are trapped inside a 370-foot-deep illegal coal mine in East Jaintia Hills district since December 13 after water from a nearby river gushed in, puncturing the mine wall.

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Tourism to further improve Bangladesh-Assam ties: Minister

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Bangladesh

Guwahati | Tourism can play a pivotal role in further improving ties with Bangladesh, and Assam will roll out the red carpet to welcome visitors from the neighbouring country, Assam Tourism Minister Chandan Brahma has said. Tour operators can come to the state to explore the possibilities and all arrangements will be made by the state government, Brahma said.

“People of Assam and Bangladesh have ties that date back to long ago and we are keen to increase people to people and cultural interaction between the duo,” he added.

The minister was addressing a gathering on the occasion of Bangladesh Victory Day Festival, organized here by the Assistant High Commission office here on Wednesday night.

The proposed opening of the Chittagong port for trade and direct flights between Guwahati and Dhaka will also lead to increase in the volume of trade from the North East not only to the neighbouring country but also to other South East Asian countries, the minister added.

Bangladesh Assistant High Commissioner in Guwahati Dr Shah Mohammad Tanvir Monsur also highlighted the possibilities increased collaboration between his country and Assam in the areas of trade, commerce, education, medical tourism, art, literature, and culture.

He also announced that, for the first time, 10 publishing houses from Bangladesh will participate in the Guwahati Book Fair scheduled to begin from December 22.

Monsur offered his tributes to the freedom fighters along with extending deep gratitude to the supporters of the liberation war, particularly those Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives to make Bangladesh free from the occupation force.

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