Omicron scare: India decides not to resume scheduled international flights from Dec 15

News Network
December 1, 2021

New Delhi, Dec 1: The government on Wednesday decided not to resume scheduled international flights from December 15, less than a week after announcing the decision in the wake of rising concerns over the Covid variant Omicron.

Aviation watchdog DGCA said the effective date for resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services will be notified in due course. Scheduled international flights remain suspended since March 23, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest move also comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 27 asked officials to review the plans for easing international travel restrictions amid concerns over Omicron.

In a circular on Wednesday, DGCA said that in view of the evolving global scenario with the emergence of new Variants of Concern, the situation is being watched closely in consultation with all stakeholders.

"...an appropriate decision indicating the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passenger services shall be notified in due course," the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.

The watchdog also referred to its circular issued on November 26 wherein it was decided that scheduled international flights will resume from December 15.

On November 28, a day after the Prime Minister's directions regarding the easing of international travel curbs, the government had said the decision to resume the services will be reviewed.

While no cases of Omicron have been reported in India so far, the authorities have put in place stricter norms for international passengers.

On November 29, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said the situation was being closely monitored and reviewed in consultation with other ministries regarding "any further decision" on resuming scheduled international passenger services.

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Scindia had said the decision to resume the flights from December 15 was taken after recognising the increased vaccination coverage across the globe, changing nature of the pandemic and considering the health protocols, which have been put in place for international arrivals.

"However, in view of the evolving global scenario with the emergence of new variants of concern, the situation is being closely monitored and reviewed in consultation with other Ministries, with regard to taking any further decision on the issue," the minister had said.

Currently, international passenger flights are being operated under bilateral air bubble arrangements with various countries in a restricted manner.

As of November 24, India had formalised air bubble arrangements with 31 countries.

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News Network
January 13,2022

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Lucknow, Jan 13: The resignation of three ministers in three days and the subsequent photos being uploaded with Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav has changed the dynamics of Uttar Pradesh politics.

Till a few days back the BJP was confident of winning back the state but the resignations have sent jitters down the spines in the BJP camp. The question is, whether there is an undercurrent in favour of the Samajwadi Party which is perceived to be the biggest gainer from these exits from the saffron party.

The SP is having the last laugh in terms of defections as all roads lead to the party office on Vikramaditya Marg in Lucknow. The rebels from the BJP BSP and the Congress are lining up at Akhilesh Yadav's door, which analysts believe is in favour of the SP, as leaders like Maurya have a strong ground presence and feedback.

Delhi based independent analyst Shakil Akhtar says, "there is a feeling in the defectors that they can't return to their constituency on a BJP symbol so they went to the party which has social justice in it roots while the BJP was dependent on social engineering."

The experts believe that the real issues are inflation, Covid deaths, stray animals, unemployment and the BJP has not been able to gauge the minds of its own MLAs and ministers.

Dharam Singh Saini on Thursday became the third minister after Swami Prasad Maurya and Dara Singh Chauhan quit the Yogi Adityanath led BJP government. Saini was Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ayush, Food Security and Drug Administration.

After sending his resignation to the Governor, he went to meet Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav. Interestingly, in his resignation letter, Saini levelled the same allegation that other legislators had levelled against the Yogi government.

Saini, who represents the Nakud Assembly seat which is in western UP, has returned the security cover and residence allotted to him by the state government. He said he was resigning due to "gross neglect" of Dalits, backwards, farmers, unemployed youth and small traders.

After legislators belonging to the OBC category left the BJP, it is now a Brahmin MLA Bala Prasad Awasthi who has also walked into the Samajwadi Party fold.

Awasthi is a four-term MLA from Lakhimpur Kheri and a known Brahmin face in the Terai region. He also met Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday afternoon.

Earlier, Swami Prasad Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan (both ministers) Roshan Lal Varma, Brijendra Prajapati, Bhagwati Sharan Sagar, Vinay Shakya and Avatar Singh Bhadana left the party in the past two days.

On Thursday, Mukesh Varma from Firozabad sent in his resignation. Then Dharam Singh Saini followed suit.

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News Network
January 13,2022

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Lucknow, Jan 13: Uttar Pradesh minister Dharam Singh Saini on Thursday resigned from the BJP, becoming the ninth MLA to break off ties with the saffron party just days ahead of the state assembly polls.

Earlier in the day, Dharam Singh Saini returned the security cover and residence allotted to him by the state government, which set off speculation that he was going to quit the BJP.

Dharam Singh Saini is the Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ayush, Food Security and Drug Administration.

The BJP’s Uttar Pradesh unit has witnessed a string of defections over the last few days, starting with cabinet minister Swami Prasad Maurya. At the time, Maurya had said that many more legislators would follow suit.

He said he was resigning due to "gross neglect" towards Dalits, backwards, farmers, unemployed youth and small traders. Over the following days, several other BJP MLAs Brajesh Prajapati, Roshan Lal Varma, Bhagwati Sagar, Mukesh Verma, Vinay Shakya among others, quit the party.

OBC leader Dara Singh Chauhan resigned on Wednesday from the Yogi Adityanath cabinet and appeared to be headed towards the Samajwadi Party. Chauhan said he had worked with dedication for the past five year but Dalits, the OBCs and the unemployed did not get justice from the BJP government.

Dharam Singh Saini is said to be a close aide of Maurya.

Earlier, Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP) chief Om Prakash Rajbhar claimed that one to two ministers would quit the Yogi Adityanath Cabinet daily and this figure would go up to 18 by January 20. Rajbhar has struck an alliance with the Samajwadi Party for the 2022 assembly elections.

The Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections will be held in seven phases. Polling will be held from February 10 and the counting of votes will take place on March 10. 

Earlier, Shikohabad MLA and backward caste leader Dr Mukesh Verma has resigned from the party. "Swami Prasad Maurya is our leader. We will support whatever decision he takes. Many other leaders will join us in the coming days," Verma said.

In his letter addressed to the state BJP president, Varma alleged that the Yogi Adityanath government, in the past five years, has failed to address the problems of weaker sections, youth, farmers, Dalits and OBCs.

He said small traders and businessmen had suffered in the regime.

OBC leader Dara Singh Chauhan resigned Wednesday from the Yogi Adityanath cabinet and appeared to be headed towards the Samajwadi Party.

A day earlier, as BJP leaders brainstormed in Delhi on the UP assembly polls, Swami Prasad Maurya, also a prominent Other Backward Class leader, had quit the state cabinet.

Three other BJP MLAs announced their resignation from the party, seemingly in Maurya's support.

Yet another BJP MLA, Avtar Singh Bhadana, quit the party on Wednesday and is joining the Rashtriya Lok Dal, an SP ally.

But two Uttar Pradesh MLAs – Naresh Saini from the Congress and Hari Om Yadav from the SP – joined the BJP on Wednesday, a welcome development for the ruling party as it deals with the sudden defections from its ranks.

Maurya, Dara Singh Chauhan, (both ministers), Roshan Lal Varma, Brijendra Prajapati, Bhagwati Sharan Sagar, Vinay Shakya and Avatar Singh Bhadana resigned in past two days.

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January 10,2022

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Bengaluru, Jan 10: The Cyber Crime Police have arrested a person for allegedly cheating as many as 26 women on the pretext of marriage.

The accused used matrimonial sites to find his victims. He landed in prison after making an attempt to dupe a woman who works in the police department.

The accused has been identified as Jai Bheem Vittal Padukoti (33), a resident of Vijayapur. The police have seized a luxury car from his possession besides freezing his bank accounts.

The accused got a job in Hescom as a lineman after the death of his father. He was married to Kavitha in 2013 and reportedly killed her following a quarrel. He was imprisoned for two years for this.

Coming out of the prison after securing bail, he resorted to cheating women on the pretext of marrying them to lead a luxurious life. The accused had created fake accounts in matrimonial sites, claiming that he was a section officer in Hescom.

He used to send messages to women that he had liked their profile. Later, he would visit their houses to win the trust of the parents and relatives of the victims. He also took lakhs of rupees from the girls' relatives promising them government jobs.

The accused managed to get the details of the bank accounts of the girls who agreed to marry him. Whenever the victims asked him to return the money, he would threaten them.

The police gathered evidence against the accused for cheating three women after developing physical intimacy with them on the pretext of marrying them.

The accused had cheated 26 women in Shivamogga, Haveri, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Dharwad, Hubballi, Yadgiri and Raichur districts. He had also taken Rs 21.30 lakh from the victims.

The accused ran out of luck after sending a similar request to a woman who worked in the police department. After observing his moves, the victim grew suspicious and informed the police.

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