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Helipads for parched people

Jaipur: Ashok Gehlot’s Rajasthan is parched for the fourth year running but its Congress chief minister proposes to use drought relief funds to build a network of helipads in the state, reports our special correspondent.

Rajasthan High Court yesterday questioned the “wisdom” of Gehlot’s move after reports were splashed in a local daily.

“Prima facie such expenditure from the drought relief funds does not appear to be more than providing a facility to political leaders,” the court said.

Taking suo motu cognisance of the reports as writ petition, Justice S.K. Keshote issued show cause notices to the chief secretary, additional chief secretary (finance) and relief secretary.

About Rs 60,000 would be needed to pay the wages of labourers employed on each helipad. The cost of construction materials would be additional. As of now, the government proposes to complete the network by June 30 before the onset of the monsoon.

The helipads would be constructed at the panchayat samiti level. Jaipur district alone would have 54 helipads.

Directing that the matter be enlisted before June 19, the court observed that the government felt the need for helipads when the state was reeling under drought for the fourth consecutive year and people, especially in rural areas, were facing paucity of water and food.

The court conceded that the project would provide jobs to people in rural areas but saw “no future or present benefit of them for the villagers”.

It said the government needed to spend the funds on such works where even small spending would result in permanent constructions like roads, wells, ponds or buildings. These would provide long-term benefits both to the villagers and the state government. The court advised that the government envisage projects that would ensure two square meals to the people.

Jalandhar peace plan after clash

Jalandhar (PTI): As curfew continued in Talhan village, which witnessed caste clashes over the control of a gurdwara, the warring Dalit and Jat Sikhs have hammered out a peace plan to resolve differences.

More than 100 Dalit devotees had holed themselves up in the gurdwara on Friday. The devotees, however, left the gurdwara later in the evening, ending the standoff with the government. According to the plan, two keshdhari Dalits will initially be enrolled as members of the managing committee of the Gurdwara Shahid Babab Nihal Singh in Talhan. Later, one of them will be given membership of the maryada committee.

CM stand on poet’s death

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayavati today said she had no objection to handing over the Madhumita Shukla case to the CBI in an attempt to silence the Opposition which is accusing her government of shielding former minister Amarmani Tripathi, reports our special correspondent.

“I had transferred the case to the state CID because her (Madhumita’s) family members had made a written request for this to the director-general of police. If they give another request for its transfer to the CBI, I have no problem,” the Uttar Pradesh chief minister said.

Cattle run over

Jaipur (PTI): More than a dozen cattleheads were run over by the Udaipur-Delhi Chetak Express in Chittoregarh. Over 11 cows and six calves, trapped on a bridge while crossing, were killed.

Militants killed

Jammu (PTI): Seven top Pakistani militants belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba were gunned down by security forces in an encounter on Saturday in Poonch. A joint operation of the army and police was launched in the Hardi mountains in the morning on information being received about the presence of mercenaries from Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Train derails

Agra (PTI): Two persons were killed and 25 injured when the Mathura-bound Gokul Express derailed near Raya, some 19 km from Mathura, railway sources said. The derailment occurred at an unmanned level crossing when the train driver applied brakes to save a cyclist.

Rescue mission

Muzaffarnagar (PTI): Twenty three Nepali girls rescued from Apollo circus recently were handed over to officials of the Nepali embassy. The girls were handed over to embassy staff to be reunited with their families in Nepal.

Airport death

Calcutta: Sheikh Ramzan (20), a labourer, was run over by a lorry of a construction contractor inside Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Airport on Saturday night. Ramzan was engaged in the construction of a road on the airport premises.

Tick

A Bangalore hospital claims to have “successfully” treated a man affected by Budd Chiari syndrome, “an uncommon, often fatal illness from hepatic venous outflow obstruction,” a hospital doctor said. One in a million suffer from it and mortality rate is high.


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