Adani optimistic on India's aviation market, wants to ‘do more airports’

News Network
March 22, 2023

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New Delhi, Mar 22: Adani Airports chief Arun Bansal on Wednesday said the cost of operating airports has to come down by 30-50 per cent in the coming years as he highlighted the growth potential of the Indian aviation market.

Currently, the company is operating seven airports and is building another one.

Bullish on the Indian market, Bansal said it would like to operate more airports and eventually become a leading airport operator in the world.

Adani Airports is investing in physical and digital segments, and is committed to building the capacity, he added.

Indian aviation had been taken for granted for the last 20-30 years and the cost of operating airports should come down by 30-50 per cent in the coming years, he noted.

Adani Airports is bullish on the country's aviation market and wants to "do more airports", Bansal said, adding that under the first phase, Navi Mumbai airport will start operations by December 2024.

The passenger handling capacity will be 20 million in the first phase of Navi Mumbai airport. Adani Airports is also operating Mumbai airport.

"We are also working on (setting up) an aviation institute," he said while speaking at the CAPA aviation summit here.

India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world and a large number of planes are on order by various Indian carriers. 

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News Network
February 11,2024

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Kolkata, Feb 11: Struggling to gain political traction on issues of corruption, the West Bengal BJP is shifting its focus to emotive topics such as the Ram Temple in Ayodhya and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in a bid to achieve its target of securing 35 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats from the state.

The BJP's strategy is buoyed by the decision of the Trinamool Congress to contest alone in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal, breaking away from the I.N.D.I.A. bloc in the state.

This move has raised hopes within the saffron camp of consolidating anti-TMC votes, a trend evident in the party's surge from a 17 per cent vote share in 2014 to 40 per cent in 2019, resulting in 18 Lok Sabha seats.

Despite facing internal strife and electoral setbacks since its defeat in the 2021 assembly polls, the BJP's attempts to capitalise on corruption allegations against the Mamata Banerjee government have fallen short. With a target of winning 35 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats, the BJP is now banking on emotive issues like the Ram Temple and CAA.

"Both inauguration of Ram Temple and implementation of CAA are core issues of the party," Agnimitra Paul, BJP state general secretary told PTI.

She emphasised the party's resonance with voters in Bengal by saying, "Both the issues are emotive, and people can connect with it."

An idol of the new Ram Lalla was consecrated at the Ayodhya temple on January 22, the event coming just months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and 34 years after BJP veteran L K Advani's iconic 'Mandir Wahin Banayenge' speech during his Rath yatra that shaped Ram Mandir politics.

Echoing this sentiment, BJP MP and former state president Dilip Ghosh underscored the emotive appeal of these issues, asserting their historical significance in uniting Hindu voters and addressing refugee concerns, particularly among the Matua community.

"The promise of implementing the CAA has played a significant role in BJP's electoral successes," said Ghosh.

"The Ram temple issue has benefitted the BJP in the past, and this time too, it will help us to unite the Hindus across the country, including Bengal," the BJP leader said during whose tenure as state president from 2015 to 2021 the party had witnessed a meteoric rise in the state.

The Matuas, a significant portion of the state's Scheduled Caste population, have been migrating to West Bengal since the 1950s, fleeing religious persecution in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.

Their cohesive voting behaviour makes them a valuable voting bloc, particularly in alignment with the BJP's stance on the CAA.

Riding on the promises of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Matua community in 2019 voted en masse for the saffron camp in the state.

The CAA, enacted by the BJP-led central government in 2019, seeks to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim migrants, including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians, from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan who entered India before December 31, 2014.

Union Minister and Matua leader Shantanu Thakur had recently said the CAA will be implemented soon, amidst reports that rules of the legislation would be framed before the Lok Sabha polls.

While the BJP aims for over 35 seats, insiders indicate a more pragmatic goal of 24.

Speaking on the issue of BJP resorting back to Ram Mandir and CAA to win the election in the state, party leaders said it reflects an 'acknowledgement of organisational challenges and a desire to counter the Trinamool's narrative of Bengali sub-nationalism'.

"Organisationally, we are not in a very good situation where we can claim that we will win 35 seats in the state. Second, as this is the Lok Sabha election, the TMC's pitch of Bengali sub-nationalism won't blunt our narrative, unlike the assembly polls," a senior state BJP leader said.

The TMC has fanned the 'Bengali pride' and had created a poll narrative of sub-nationalism to counter BJP's identity politics in the 2021 assembly polls.

The party also pointed out that the break-up of the INDIA bloc in Bengal with TMC deciding to fight alone will further help in consolidation of the anti-TMC votes in BJP's account.

"After the Left and Congress alliance fell apart in West Bengal in 2019, it had led to a four-cornered contest with BJP bagging the entire chunk of the anti-TMC votes in the state. This time too, we are hopeful that despite the Left-Congress alliance, we will gain the most," a BJP leader said.

Responding to the BJP's strategy, the Trinamool Congress remains confident in its appeal to voters, dismissing BJP's communal politics as ineffective.

TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said "voters will support Mamata Banerjee to thwart BJP's divisive tactics in Bengal."

Political analyst Maidul Islam suggested that the BJP's reliance on emotive issues stems from its organisational weaknesses.

"Issues like the Ram Temple, Uniform Civil Code (UCC), and CAA will dominate the narrative in upcoming Lok Sabha polls in Bengal, with polarisation and counter-polarisation at play," he said.

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News Network
February 23,2024

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Mangaluru: A 28-year-old Indian expatriate woman from coastal Karnataka lost her life in a ghastly road mishap in United Arab Emirates on Thursday, February 22. 

The deceased has been identified as Vidisha (28), hailing from Kotekar Beeri Kempumannu on the outskirts of Mangaluru city. 

Vidisha was working an executive at a private firm in Dubai for last six months. Even though she usually commute in the company's cab, on Thursday, she opted to drive her own car. 

Unfortunately, her vehicle lost control and was involved in the accident. She succumbed to her injuries without responding to treatment.

She was only daughter of a former vice president of the Mangaluru taluk panchayat.  

After completing her post-graduation in business administration in a private college in Mangaluru, she had worked in a private organization in Bengaluru. In 2019, she moved to United Arab Emirates.  

It is learnt that Vidisha had obtained a Dubai driving license just six months ago and purchased a new car. 

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News Network
February 11,2024

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Palestinians in Rafah, in which more than half of the Gaza Strip's population have been forced to seek refuge from an ongoing genocidal Israeli war, vow to remain in the city, despite the imminent threat of an all-out Israeli assault.

More than one million people have fled to the southern Gaza city amid the October 7-present war that has so far killed around 28,000 Palestinians, mostly women, children, and adolescents.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli military on Friday to prepare to evacuate civilians from Rafah ahead of a planned ground operation against the city. Aid organizations, however, say such a move will be nearly impossible to fulfill, given the scale of devastation elsewhere in Gaza, and the huge numbers of people trapped in the besieged area.

In a statement on Saturday, Palestinians in the city asserted that "we will not leave Rafah under any circumstances. We have decided to either die here or return to our homes victorious when the war has stopped."

"We will not leave Rafah. And we will die standing tall. Either victory... or martyrdom," they said.

"On behalf of every displaced person and on behalf of the people of Rafah, we call on all world powers to act forcefully to curb the aggression, stop the massacres, and prevent the Rafah catastrophe."

Philippa Greer, head of Legal Office at UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, in the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, posted on X, underlining the appalling humanitarian condition in the city.

"1.4 million people are amassed in deteriorating conditions, many displaced multiple times," she said, underlining that "the population has already endured intolerable pain, suffering, hunger & fear," and noting that the city suffered from "acute shortages of shelter, clean water, food & medicine."

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