U T Khader demands probe into misuse of food and safety kits for labourers

News Network
September 13, 2021

Mangaluru, Sept 13: Former minister and incumbent Mangalore MLA U T Khader alleged that food, immunity and safety kits being distributed to construction labourers through the labour department by the government were being misused.

"There is a need to conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged misuse of kits," he demanded while addressing media persons at Circuit house on Sunday. 

"The rice, which was part of the food kit, had worms. The other two kits were not much beneficial. According to the available information, the government had spent Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 per kit. Fund from Karnataka Building and Other Construction Workers' Welfare Board was misappropriated," he charged.

"The cost per immunity kit was Rs 700. An amount of Rs 600 was spent on each safety kit containing sanitiser, soap, masks and others," Khader said. In the Mangalore constituency, only 5,000 such kits were distributed. While in other constituencies, 10,000 to 15,000 such kits had been distributed. Crores of rupees have been misappropriated in the name of kits for labourers," he alleged.

Khader said that fishermen are not getting subsidies for diesel on time. "I will raise the issue of Udupi-Konaje health corridor, metro rail survey and other issues in the session."

Khader claimed that no houses for the poor had been sanctioned in Karnataka after the BJP government came to power. The MLA said that the government had directed to conduct the survey of the homeless before the election. 

"But, the poor are still waiting for a roof over their head. The issue of housing projects will also be raised in the session," he added.

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News Network
October 18,2021

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Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 18: As the death toll in Kerala floods and heavy rainfall reached 35, the Congress-led opposition on Monday accused the Pinarayi Vijayan government of not acting on time. However, the government quickly denied the charges.

Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan, who on Sunday visited the worst-affected areas in Idukki and Kottayam districts, raised questions as to why, despite the IMD warning, the state government failed to act.

"Wish to know why and what happened and it has now proved that the State government failed to act on warnings. We are told it took several hours for the team of government officials to reach certain spots with men and material to do the rescue act. Something has gone wrong and we want answers," said Satheesan.

State Revenue Minister K. Rajan, however, said there has been no wrong on the part of the State government.

"We rely on the reports and act on the basis of the Centre and we have done just that. Strict action will be taken against those who misuse social media when the state is passing through tough times," said Rajan.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is chairing a meeting to discuss the floods and the strategy to be adopted to open dams in the state which are full. The one decision that was taken is that dam shutters will only be opened during the daytime.

On Wednesday, when the Assembly session resumes, the opposition is going to raise the issue in the House.

Meanwhile, around 4,000 people are now lodged at various camps that have been opened in Idukki, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts of the state.

The latest weather forecast, which has now come out predicts heavy rains to lash the state starting Wednesday.

It all started with the century's biggest floods in 2018 and since then every year, Kerala has seen heavy rains and flash floods.

This time the worst-affected have been the Kottayam and Idukki districts and though the rains have slowed down since Saturday evening and on Monday morning, authorities have issued an alert in eight of the 14 districts of the state.

However, on Monday in Pathanamthitta district in Central Kerala, things appear not very encouraging.

Meanwhile, social media has also termed the recurring natural disasters as nothing but man-made and numerous trolls have highlighted the statement of noted environmentalist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel and in 2013 warned that if Kerala does not stop tampering with the Western Ghats, a huge disaster would be round the corner. 

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News Network
October 19,2021

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Bengaluru, Oct 19: Karnataka Congress president D K Shivakumar, who retracted an "uncivil" tweet made by his party on Monday, has demanded an apology from his BJP counterpart Nalin Kumar Kateel for calling former AICC chief Rahul Gandhi a "drug addict and peddler". 

While speaking at an event in Hubballi, Kateel claimed his remarks on Rahul were based on media reports. Congress leaders, however, condemned the statement, asking the BJP to sack Kateel. 

"Yesterday I said I believe we should be civil and respectful in politics, even to our opponents. I hope the BJP agrees with me and will apologise for their state president’s abusive and unparliamentary remarks against Shri Rahul Gandhi," Shivakumar said in a tweet. 

Kateel's remarks came as an apparent strike against Congress for calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi "#HebbettuGiraakiModi" which translates into the belittling Hindi expression ‘angootha chhaap’ for an illiterate person. 

Shivakumar regretted the tweet and said it was posted by a "novice social media manager". Shivakumar added that he always believed that civil and parliamentary language was non-negotiable in political discourse and that the tweet was "regretted and withdrawn."

Meanwhile, condemning Kateel's statement, AICC general secretary Dinesh Gundu Rao demanded that BJP remove Kateel from the post.

"Being a party president, he should not make such baseless statements and stoop to this level. It is shameful that a person with such a mentality is the state president of a national party," Rao said, calling Kateel "senseless" and as someone who had lost his "mental balance". 

Lashing out at the ruling party, Rao further alleged that BJP was a corrupt party both financially and morally. "They have no principles. They take God's name for ulterior political motives," he said. 

He urged Chief Minister Bommai to take control of what his party leaders were speaking. 

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News Network
October 25,2021

Bengaluru, Oct 25: Schools in Karnataka re-opened for students of classes 1 to 5 from Monday, strictly adhering to Covid-19 related precautions and guidelines. However, several private schools in the city and in different places across the state, have decided to reopen schools for these students only after Deepavali, official sources said.

Several schools had made special arrangements by decorating premises and classrooms to welcome students. "I'm happy to come back to school. I had missed meeting friends, as I could rarely come out of home and there was no school. All these days I used to see teachers teaching on mobile or laptop, now I can see directly," a student of class 4 said with joy.

A teacher said the school has made all the necessary arrangements by following the SOPs issued by the government, and felt happy welcoming children back. With Covid-19 cases declining, Karnataka government in consultation with Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on October 18 had decided to permit re-opening of schools for students of classes 1 to 5 from October 25, by strictly adhering to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and SOPs issued by the Department of Primary and Secondary Education.

Parental consent letter for physical classes is mandatory. The government has laid down certain rules such as screening for Covid-19 symptoms on entry, 50 per cent of the capacity in a classroom, provision of hand sanitizers, physical distancing of a minimum of one meter as practically feasible, no crowding, particularly at school entry and exit, and disinfecting classrooms and restrooms daily using 1 per cent sodium hypochlorite solution.

Only teachers and staff who have been vaccinated with two doses of Covid-19 vaccines would be allowed in classes 1 to 5, it had said, there shall be additional use of face shield by teachers who are over 50 years of age.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister B C Nagesh recently said classes will be held for half a day during the first week and had asked parents to send children to school without any fear. The government had reopened schools for students of classes 6 to 8 from September 6 and for students of classes 9 to 12 from August 23.

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