PM unveils India's biggest helicopter manufacturing facility in Karnataka

News Network
February 6, 2023

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Tumakuru, Feb 6: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's helicopter factory -- the country's largest chopper manufacturing facility -- in Tumakuru district of Karnataka. Bengaluru-headquartered HAL plans to produce more than 1,000 helicopters in the range of 3-15 tonne with a total business of more than Rs 4 lakh crore over a period of 20 years at this facility in Gubbi taluk, officials said.

The factory, spread across 615 acres for which the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone in 2016, would initially manufacture Light Utility Helicopters (LUH)). It will enable India to meet its entire requirement of helicopters without import and giving much-needed fillip to the Prime Minister's vision of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' in helicopter design, development, and manufacture, they said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and senior officials of Ministry of Defence were among those present on the occasion. "It is a dedicated new greenfield helicopter factory which will enhance India's capacity and ecosystem to build helicopters," Singh said. Assembly polls in Karnataka are due by May. PM Modi unveiled the LUH, which has been flight tested.

The LUH is an indigenously designed and developed three-tonne class, single-engine multipurpose utility helicopter. Initially, the factory will produce around 30 helicopters per year and can be enhanced to 60 and then 90 every year in a phased manner, according to the Defence Ministry. The factory will be augmented to produce other helicopters such as Light Combat Helicopters (LCHs) and Indian Multirole Helicopters (IMRHs).

It will also be used for maintenance, repair and overhaul of LCH, LUH, Civil Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and IMRH in the future. Potential exports of civil LUH will also be catered to from this factory, which is being equipped with state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 standard tools and techniques for its operations, officials said.

The proximity of the factory, with the existing HAL facilities in Bengaluru, will boost the aerospace manufacturing ecosystem in the region and support skill and infrastructure development such as schools, colleges and residential areas, it was noted. The factory is fully operational after the establishment of facilities like heli-runway, flight hangar, final assembly hangar, structure assembly hangar, air traffic control and various supporting service facilities, officials said.

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News Network
April 9,2024

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More decomposed bodies have been found inside al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, amid operations to recover bodies of the victims of one of the largest massacres committed by Israel against the Palestinians, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor says.

The founder and chairman of the group Ramy Abdu said in a series of social media posts that “operations to discover bodies executed by the Israeli army at al-Shifa Hospital continue.”

He published a “shocking” video that showed rescue teams, civil defense, and forensic evidence finding more decomposed bodies.

“It seems we are witnessing one of the largest massacres committed by Israel against the Palestinian people in history.”

Abdu said the video confirmed the Geneva-based rights group’s report on field execution operations carried out by the Israeli forces during their recent attack on al-Shifa.

“Horror: Doctors, nurses, displaced persons, administrators at the hospital, children, women. This is what is revealed after the Israeli army's withdrawal from al-Shifa Hospital. Dozens of people were executed in the field,” he said.

According to his remarks, the Israeli army placed the bodies inside pits it had dug.

On March 18, Israeli forces started a new wave of attacks on Gaza’s main hospital, al-Shifa, and imposed a two-week siege on it. 

On April 1, the Gaza Health Ministry said Israeli forces withdrew tanks and vehicles from al-Shifa, adding that dozens of bodies, some of them decomposed, had been found at the complex after the Israeli pullout, which also left behind a vast swath of destruction.

Israel first raided the hospital in Gaza City last November.

Al-Shifa, Gaza’s largest hospital, has sheltered thousands of Palestinians who fled Israel’s invasion in the northern parts of the territory.

The Israeli military claimed that the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas is using the facility to “conduct and promote terrorist activity.” Hamas has repeatedly denied operating from Shifa and other health facilities.

The chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said al-Shifa is no longer functional because of months of Israeli siege and attacks on the facility.

Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime’s intensified violence against Palestinians.

Since the start of the offensive, the Tel Aviv regime has killed 33,207 Palestinians and injured nearly 75,933 others.

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News Network
April 5,2024

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New Delhi, Apr 5: In a big relief to about 17 lakh madrassa students in Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court today paused an Allahabad High Court order scrapping the UP Board of Madarsa Education Act, 2004. This allows about 16,000 madrasas in the state to continue functioning under the 2004 law.

A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said that the high court decision was prima facie not correct and issued notices to the UP and central governments, and the Madrassa board.

The high court had last month declared the 2004 law "unconstitutional" for allegedly violating the principle of secularism and directed the government to accommodate the madrasa students in the formal education system.

The Supreme Court put it on hold on Friday, saying that the aims and objectives of the Madrassa Board are regulatory in nature and that the establishment of the board itself will not affect secularism.

"The high court, in striking down the provisions of the Act, directed the relocation of the students. This would affect the 17 lakh students. We are of the view that the direction of relocation of students to other schools was not warranted," said the Chief Justice.

If the purpose of the PIL is to ensure that madrassas provide secular education in core subjects such as mathematics, science, history, and languages, the solution would not be to repeal the provisions of the Madarsa Act 2004, he added.

The central and state governments backed the high court judgment in the Supreme Court, with the centre saying suspected entanglement of religion and other relevant issues must be debated.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the madrassas, said religious education cannot mean religious instruction and that the high court order will leave 10,000 madrassa teachers and 17 lakh students in lurch. But the state government said it has made arrangements for the teachers and students.

Mr Singhvi argued it is wrong to say madrassa education doesn't have quality, isn't universal in nature, and is not broad-based. Singling out the madrassas for a ban is discriminatory and the Supreme Court had said so in the Aruna Roy vs Union of India, 2002 verdict, he pointed out.

The Chief Justice said that the issues that have been raised merit closer reflection and posted the matter for further hearing in the second week of July.

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April 11,2024

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The number of Palestinians arrested by Israeli military forces in the occupied West Bank has surged to 8,165 since October 7, when Israel launched its relentless offensive against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society and the Commission of Detainees and ex-Detainees in a joint statement on Tuesday said that over the past 24 hours, Israeli forces had arrested 20 Palestinians across the West bank.

The statement said that most of the arrests took place in Tulkarm, with additional arrests scattered across other cities, towns and refugee camps in the West Bank such as Beit Lahm, al-Khalil, Ramallah, Nablus, Tubas, and al-Quds.

The arrests were made amidst reports of widespread abuse, severe beatings, threats against detainees and their families, and extensive vandalism in citizens' homes and prisoners' residences in the Israeli prisons.

In the aftermath of the al-Aqsa Storm, over 8,165 arrests were made in the West Bank, with individuals including children being detained from their homes, at military checkpoints, coerced into surrendering, and even taken hostage, the statement revealed.

These figures do not include the thousands of adults and children the Israeli army has detained, tortured and interrogated in makeshift prisons across Gaza, outside any legal or civilian oversight.

Conditions for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails have allegedly worsened considerably, with detainees experiencing extreme overcrowding and limited access to essential rights, including food, water, electricity, medical care, family visits, and legal assistance.

Palestinian prisoner groups have repeatedly reported that Palestinians in Israeli prisons are being denied medical care, which pushes those jailed to the brink of death.

At least 10 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons since Israel’s war on Gaza began, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA. But an investigation by Israeli daily Haaretz revealed that the number was actually at least 27. Rights groups put the number even higher.

Israel has intensified its attacks against Palestinians throughout the West Bank since October 7, when it launched a devastating war on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Since then, the Israeli forces and settlers have killed at least 459 Palestinians from the West Bank, with over 4,750 others sustaining injuries.

In the span of the past six months, at least 33,482 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed in Gaza. The relentless violence has also resulted in the mass displacement of the 2.3 million people inhabitants of the Gaza Strip.

Concerns have been raised regarding the fate of those who have gone missing, as they may be trapped beneath the rubble or confined within makeshift Israeli prisons.

The significant number of Palestinian detainees remaining in Israeli prisons is a crucial role in truce negotiations between Palestinian resistance group Hamas and Israel.

About 130 of the 250 Israeli captives taken during Operation Al-Aqsa Storm are still in Gaza after a provisional truce deal in December saw the exchange of a number of prisoners between the two sides.

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