Not just inside Karnataka, Siddu govt guarantees free bus travel for women in neighboring states too – but only up to 20 km

News Network
June 10, 2023

Bengaluru, June 10: As the stage is set for the launch of first of the five poll guarantees, ‘Shakti’, offering free travel in government buses for women in Karnataka, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday clarified that they can travel up to 20 km inside the states that share border with Karnataka free of cost and not beyond that.

The Chief Minister said he along with Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar and Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy will launch the scheme from Vidhana Soudha on Sunday.

"We are launching one of the five guarantees at Vidhana Soudha at 11 AM. All women will be entitled to travel within the state free of cost in all the (state-owned) buses other than AC and Volvo including express bus services," Siddaramaiah told reporters.

If women want to travel in inter-state bus then the service is not free, the Chief Minister said adding, if a woman wishes to go to Tirupati, she cannot travel free of cost. She can go up to Mulbagal (Kolar district bordering Andhra Pradesh) and after that it’s not available, he explained.

However those travelling up to 20 km inside the neighbouring states will not be charged.

"For example, from Ballari to 20 km inside Andhra Pradesh, they (women) can go free of cost," Siddaramaiah said.

Explaining about the launch of four other guarantees, the Chief Minister said 'Gruha Jyoti' offering 200 free units of electricity to domestic consumers will be launched from Kalaburagi from July 1.

The same day, 'Anna Bhagya' scheme offering 10 kg free rice or food grain to the BPL families will be launched from Mysuru.

Regarding ‘Gruha Lakshmi’ scheme (Providing monthly financial assistance of Rs.2,000 to the head woman of a house), the Chief Minister said it will be launched on August 16 from the district headquarter town of Belagavi.

"We will call for applications for Gruha Lakshmi scheme from July 15, which will be processed till August 15. After that, we will launch it from August 16, most likely in Belagavi,” he said.

About 'Yuva Nidhi' scheme offering unemployment allowance of ₹3,000 to the graduates and ₹1,500 to the diploma holders, Siddaramaiah said those graduates and diploma holders who passed the exams in 2022-23 will get the allowance for 24 months if they do not get job within six months of passing their exam.

"We will give them allowance for 24 months. They have to find a job within the time. If they get a job either in government or private sector, then the allowance will be stopped," the Chief Minister clarified.

When asked how the government will ascertain that the beneficiary has got the job, he said, "Do you think government will not know? We will gather all the information. We will take action against those making false declaration."

To a question on the financial health of the state to implement these schemes, Siddaramaiah counter posed the reporter, "Why do you bother about government’s headache? We will definitely do it."

About the BJP’s allegation that the state’s treasury will be empty to fulfill these guarantees, the Chief Minister charged that the BJP did not do anything when in power and now it was simply issuing statements.

"Did they (BJP) do anything? I am the Finance Minister. Who are they (BJP) to say?" he said.

Regarding people complaining that they were getting hefty electricity bills, Siddaramaiah clarified that the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission revises the electricity tariff in March or April every year and implements it in June.

This year too it was hiked even before the Congress came to power. Due to model code of conduct for the 2023 assembly elections, which came into effect from March 29, the revision of power tariff was put on hold. Now it will be implemented from June.

Replying to a query on 'Gruha Jyoti' scheme, Siddaramaiah said it was not mandatory to avail free electricity as some people may opt for it and others give it up.

"If you say that you don’t want it then why should I insist for it?" he explained.

According to Siddaramaiah, the electricity is free up to 200 units but everyone does not use 200 units of power because average domestic electricity consumption in the state is 53 units only.

"Some may spend 65 units, 70 units or 80 units. Whatever average power you consume, we will give 10 per cent extra unit. People are saying 200 units free power is being given. But your consumption is 80 units. Why will you take 200 units? If we give 200 units free, then people will misuse it. So, it should not happen," the Chief Minister pointed out.


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News Network
September 21,2023


New Delhi, Sept 21: Stepping up its crackdown on Khalistani terrorists, the NIA on Wednesday announced cash rewards for information leading to the arrest of five Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) operatives, including Harwinder Singh Sandhu alias 'Rinda' and Lakhbir Singh Sandhu alias 'Landa'.

The federal agency announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh each for Rinda and Landa and Rs 5 lakh each for Parminder Singh Kaira alias “Pattu”, Satnam Singh alias “Satbir Singh” alias “Satta” and Yadvinder Singh alias “Yadda”.

A spokesperson of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said these five terrorists are wanted in a case registered early this year related to the BKI's terrorist activities aimed at disturbing India's peace and communal harmony and spreading terror in the state of Punjab.

'The wanted terrorists are accused of commission of terror acts and activities, besides raising funds for the BKI, a banned terror outfit, through smuggling of terrorist hardware and narcotics into Punjab and also through extensive extortion from businessmen and other prominent individuals.

'They are also wanted in cases relating to commissioning of targeted killings as well as targeting of law enforcement agencies in order to create an environment of terror in the state of Punjab,' the spokesperson said.

The official said investigations have shown that the five terrorists have been engaged in recruiting new members of the BKI by promising them monetary benefits.

'They have also established a network of operatives in various countries to further their terror activities in different parts of India,” the official said.

Rinda, originally a resident of Maharashtra, is a Pakistan-based 'listed individual terrorist' and member of the BKI, while Landa, Khaira, Satnam and Yadvinder are residents of Punjab.

'Any specific information leading to the arrest of the five wanted terrorists can be shared with the NIA headquarters in New Delhi or the NIA Branch Office in Chandigarh,' the spokesperson said, sharing the telephone and WhatsApp numbers.

Meanwhile, the NIA released two lists of 54 individuals with their photographs who are wanted in the investigation of two cases, registered last year, to dismantle terror-gangster networks in the country.

The lists, one naming 11 persons and the other 43 persons, were shared by the NIA on its official account on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The list included several wanted gangsters, including Goldy Brar, Lawrence Bishnoi, Anmol Bishnoi and Arshdeep Singh Gill.

'If you have any information about properties/assets/business owned by them in their name or in name of their associates, friends and relatives, please WhatsApp,” the agency said, sharing the mobile number. 


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News Network
September 20,2023


Gaza City, Sept 20: Israeli occupation forces have killed three Palestinians during a raid in the occupied West Bank, and another Palestinian in a separate incident in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Palestinian health officials said the West Bank assault took place on Tuesday in the Jenin refugee camp, with some 20 others also injured.

The officials did not identify the martyred Palestinians.

The 25-year-old Palestinian man killed in Gaza was identified as Yousef Salem Radwan.

He was shot dead by Israeli forces at the border fence east of Khan Yunis, in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The victim was shot in the head. At least nine others were injured, one of them critically.

Separately, two others were injured from live bullets east of Jabalya in the north of Gaza and many others suffered from suffocation after inhaling tear gas fired by the Israeli soldiers.

Protests at the Gaza border have been taking place for several days against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian prisoners incarcerated in Israeli jails and the repeated desecration of al-Aqsa Mosque by extremist Israeli settlers.

This came as Israeli forces brutally assaulted Muslim worshipers at one of the main entrances to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds.

The assault took place as the occupation soldiers beat up three worshipers, including an elderly man and an elderly woman, near Bab as-Silsila (the Chain Gate) on Sunday morning.

Earlier in the day, Israeli occupation troops intensified their presence around the al-Aqsa Mosque complex, restricting the access of Muslim worshipers to the sacred site and preventing the entry of Palestinian citizens.

They also allowed scores of Israeli settlers to enter the compound in separate groups.

The Jordan-run Islamic Waqf Department, which is in charge of al-Aqsa Mosque affairs, said in a statement that Israeli forces had permitted the provocative settler incursion.

The regime soldiers also assaulted Muslim worshipers and tried to forcibly evacuate them from the al-Aqsa Mosque courtyard, it noted.

Israeli settler incursions into al-Aqsa Mosque and violence against Palestinians have been on the rise since the far-right extremist cabinet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office last December.

This is while only Muslims are allowed to pray in the al-Aqsa Mosque complex under a status quo arrangement originally reached more than a century ago. Non-Muslim visitors are allowed visits at certain times and only to certain areas.

Mohammad Hamadeh, the spokesman for Hamas in occupied al-Quds, recently emphasized that the break-ins into the al-Aqsa are a continuation of the occupiers’ acts of aggression.

He also stressed that the Palestinian resistance would go on until the decline and elimination of the usurping regime.


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News Network
September 17,2023


A Mohammed Siraj magical spell demolished Sri Lanka in the big-ticket final as India clinched the Asia Cup 2023 title with a commanding one-sided 10-wicket win in Colombo on Sunday, Sept 17.

With the easiest of wins that came in just about 2 and a half hours of play, India grabbed their 8th Asia Cup title.

The win also meant India broke their five-year title drought -- their last title was won in 2018 in Asia Cup as well, by beating Bangladesh in Dubai.

Wreaking havoc with the new ball, Siraj bowled a spell of a lifetime as Sri Lanka skittled out for a lowly 50 in 15.2 overs. Breaking a plethora of records, Siraj singlehandedly decided the outcome of the match right at the start of the contest itself.

After the Lankans folded for 50 in just 15.2 overs, India openers Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan went all guns blazing as they chased down the 51 target in just 6.1 overs.

Here's a look at the key moments of the India-Sri Lanka final at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo:

Sri Lanka's wrong call at the toss

When Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first, despite heavily overcast conditions, it came as a surprise to many. Soon after the toss, heavens opened up and the match start was delayed by 40 minutes. Although there wasn't much rain, the conditions became almost perfect for the Indian seam attack. Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah gave India the start they wanted as he got rid of opener Kusal Perera for a 2-ball duck third-ball of the first over. As Perera chased a wide one from Bumrah outside off, KL Rahul grabbed the easiest of catches as Lanka suffered an early blow.

Siraj show

Under pressure Sri Lanka, who lost their first wicket in the very first over of the final, had absolutely no idea that a Mohammed Siraj storm was on its way. The lanky pacer started off beautifully with a maiden first over and then went completely berserk in his second. Siraj grabbed four wickets in the fourth over, putting Sri Lanka out of the game then and there. Pathum Nissanka (2) became Siraj's first victim off the first ball of the fourth over when he hit a length ball outside off straight to Ravindra Jadeja at backward point. 

A ball later, Sadeera Samarawickrama was trapped in front for a two-ball duck. Then the very next ball saw Charith Asalanka playing a horrendous shot straight to Ishan Kishan at covers for a golden duck. With 3 wickets in 4 balls and two in a row, Siraj was on a hat-trick. Dhananjaya de Silva did hit the hat-trick ball to the fence but on the last ball of the over, edged it straight to KL Rahul behind the stumps. The 4-wicket fourth over from Siraj meant, Lankans found themselves reeling at 12 for 5.

Lankans narrowly avoided lowest ever ODI total

With 4 wickets in an over, Siraj had his tail up and when he came out for his next over, he bowled a dream ball to skipper Dasun Shanaka. A length ball on off that just darted enough away, it missed the outside edge of Shanaka's bat and hit his off stump. As Shanaka took the long walk back for a 4-ball duck, it became clear that there was no bouncing back for the Lankans from the unprecedented collapse. 

Kusal Mendis became Siraj's next victim in the 12th over when he went for an expansive drive and missed the ball completely as it crashed onto his stumps. But before departing, Kusal's 17-run knock did allow Lanka to go past the lowest ever total of 35 in ODIs. Dushan Hemantha added 13 runs to the scoreboard but Hardik Pandya joined the party just in time, ensuring that the Lankans folded pretty quickly. With wickets of Dunith Wellalage, Pramod Madushan and Matheesha Pathirana, Hardik helped India to bundle out Lanka in just 15.2 overs and their lowest ODI total against India.


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