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PM Modi’s New Year’s Eve Speech: Mamata says PM took over FM’s job, Kejriwal calls it ‘disappointing’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Describing Narendra Modi’s address to the nation tonight as a “pre-budget speech”, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged that the Prime Minister deviated from the actual agenda of black money and demonetization. “PM deviated from actual agenda of black money & #DeMonetisation PM just took over post of Finance Minister and made pre-Budget speech (sic),” Banerjee said in a series of tweets.”So the FM was missing from this advance Budget Speech made by PM. Modi babu, empty vessels make the most noise,” she said claiming it was a “heartless, baseless speech”.Banerjee reminded the Prime Minister that he forgot to even pay respect to more than 112 citizens who died in queues to get cash.”Saying Nation Address & doing political vendetta. In the name of addressing the nation, Modi Babu is serving his selfish personal agenda,” she tweeted.”The Nation Address became the Budget Address.Financial Emergency continues in the name of black money cleanup. Money not available in banks. Still no concrete solutions to problems,” Banerjee said.Attacking Modi she said he wanted 50 days to deliver promises but “badly failed”.”PM who runs nation in the name of ‘Suddhikaran’ just underwent ‘Buddhiharan’,” she said adding promises were broken and he has snatched common man’s financial rights.She also asked where are the figures of demonetisation and how much of black money was recovered? “What did the nation gain after 50 days of excruciating pain,” the West Bengal CM asked while claiming that 2017 will mark the end of demonetisation and start of “DeModitisation”.”This will be the New Year Resolution of all 125 crore people of this great country,” she said. Questioning the restrictions imposed on cash withdrawal she said the government cannot simply “snatch away” economic rights of the people. “Modi Babu, public are not beggars. Why are there still restrictions on cash withdrawal?. 50 days are now over. How can you take away the rights of citizens to withdraw their own hard-earned money ? A government just cannot snatch away people’s economic rights,” she said. The Reserve Bank of India said last night that cash withdrawal limit from ATMs would be increased to Rs 4,500 per day from the current Rs 2,500 from January 1. However, there has been no change in the weekly withdrawal limit, which stands at Rs 24,000, including from ATM, for individuals and Rs 50,000 for small traders. Kejriwal calls speech ‘disappointing’ Terming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address as “disappointing”, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today accused him of “cheating” people and claimed that “not a single penny” of black money was recovered and there was no reduction in corruption due to demonetization. He also hit out at the prime minister for “not offering any relief” to the people suffering due to demonetization. In a series of tweets, Kejriwal said, “Modiji sounds so hollow now. People have stopped believing anything that he says. He has become a subject of ridicule internationally.”Modiji has cheated the entire nation. Neither a single penny of black money has been recovered nor has corruption come down. He has lost all credibility.”Prime Minister’s boring speech was heard patiently by the people in the hope that he will announce when can they withdraw their own money without restriction. In the end, they were disappointed.”Senior AAP leader Ashutosh also accused the prime minister of trying to “bribe” the people hit by the currency ban “by offering them sops” and termed his address as an “election speech”.”Modi’s speech was not about demonetization, but about election. He tried to bribe the people of India who are angry with him by giving them sops,” he said. Taking a dig at the prime minister’s address, Delhiminister Kapil Mishra said Modi sounded like “a doctor who has not understood his patient’s ailment”.Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav said the speech had no reference to the number of new currency notes printed or steps taken to curb black money. He described it as “below expectation”.”What happened to black money? How much black money (was) recovered? What are the future plans against black money? What about black money in politics?,” Yadav tweeted.

Mamata so engrossed with chit funds,she can’t think beyond lotteries: Piyush Goyal slams BHIM criticism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hiting back at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for criticising the new BHIM app launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi , Power Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday said she should think beyond her ‘own narrow interests.’Banerjee described the new Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) as a lottery app, named after BR Ambedkar by the Centre. Goyal urged the West Bengal Chief Minister to understand that this is for the benefit of the poor and the deprived section of the society. “I urge her to go beyond her own narrow interests and consider it at the national interest for a change,” he added.The Minister said the app has nothing to do with the Lucky Grahak or DigiDhan Vyapar Yojanas and explained that BHIM app, which was launched by Prime Minister Narenda Modi yesterday, is for digital payments.Banerjee had said that the app is a reflection of crude mentality of the Centre and it insults the backward classes. “This app has nothing to do with the Lucky Grahak or DigiDhan Vyapar Yojanas. Mamataji is so engrossed and involved with lotteries and chit funds that she cannot see beyond lotteries,” Goyal told PTI.The Minister was of the view that the app will strengthen the digital payments infrastructure in the country. The UPI & USSD modes of payment for transacting business, and for paying for goods and services, will be made simpler, more robust and secure through this app, he said. “We are delighted that Bharat Ratna Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar’s name has been associated with this app,” he added. Elaborating further, Goyal said: I do hope that Mamataji will get out of her phobia of attacking everything that Prime Minister does for sensationalising things”.

Demoneization: Why are there restrictions on cash withdrawal? Mamata to Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Questioning the restrictions imposed on cash withdrawal, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said the government cannot simply “snatch away” economic rights of the people.”Modi Babu, public are not beggars. Why are there still restrictions on cash withdrawal?,” Banerjee asked in a statement. “Fifty days are now over. How can you take away the rights of citizens to withdraw their own hard-earned money? A government just cannot snatch away people’s economic rights,” she said. The Reserve Bank of India said last night that cash withdrawal limit from ATMs would be increased to Rs 4,500 per day from the current Rs 2,500 from January 1.There has been no change in the weekly withdrawal limit, which stands at Rs 24,000, including from ATM, for individuals and Rs 50,000 for small traders.

No need to read much into Cong-TMC joint press meet: Shakeel Ahmad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a pointer to the emerging political realignment, the Congress today declined to comment on the Narada and Saradha scams, but said there was no need to read much into TMC chief Mamata Banerjee and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi holding a joint press conference on demonetization.”There is nothing to read much into it. Many political parties have come together on the issue of demonetization. And on this issue, both the TMC and the Congress are on the same page,” Congress general secretary and national spokesperson Shakeel Ahmad said. Ahmad, who had served as the party’s observer during the 2011 West Bengal Assembly polls, said, “We are running a government in Bihar as a coalition partner of the JD(U), but Nitish Kumar had earlier supported demonetization. So, does it mean that our alliance doesn’t exist? The same logic applies to Bengal as regards the relationship between the Congress and the TMC.”On being asked to speak on the Narada and Saradha scandals, Ahmad declined to comment and said he would rather focus on demonetization. He also refused to give a reply to the question on why the Congress was willing to align with the TMC on demonetization and black money when the party’s Bengal unit has accused the TMC of being involved in the Narada and Saradha scams. “Our fight is against the personal corruption of Narendra Modi. There are several chief ministers in India who have corruption cases and allegations against them. We are not here to talk about them,” said the Congress leader.Incidentally, Ahmad at the press conference was seated beside Leader of Opposition in the West Bengal Assembly and senior Congress leader Abdul Mannan whose PIL in the Supreme Court led to the CBI investigation in the Saradha scam. Ahmad said the party had not yet decided to hold any joint protest with the TMC on the issue of demonetization. His comments came only two days after Banerjee, along with Rahul Gandhi and leaders of other regional parties, sought to put up a united face against demonetization by demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The latest thaw in the ties comes as the Congress and the Left Front had struck up an alliance for this year’s West Bengal Assembly election, which Banerjee had termed as “unethical and immoral”.The West Bengal chief minister yesterday extended her warm wishes and greetings to the members of the Congress on the party’s 132nd foundation day.

Congress should introspect its contribution to ills like corruption and black money: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Hitting back at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi over his criticism of demonetization, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the opposition party should “introspect” its contribution towards ills like corruption and black money.Attacking the Congress, the Union Information and Broadcasting minister said the the party which has ruled India for the maximum time should give answers as it has all along “patronised” black money and corruption.He said that as the Congress celebrates its Foundation Day and it is only appropriate that the issue of black money, corruption etc, are “haunting” it.Referring to Rahul’s comments earlier in the day, Naidu said that the Congress Vice president had expressed unwisely his “vicarious pleasure” over what he thought that note withdrawal is a big failure in terms of unearthing black money. “This clearly shows that his party is with those who all along lived by black money and corruption….One of the objectives of note withdrawal has been to see that high value currency notes reach the system.”Whatever does not reach banking system obviously could be taken as unaccounted for money. It does not necessarily mean that all the currency that reached the banking system is white money,” Naidu said.One would have known by now that December 30 is not the last day of efforts for unearthing black money, he added. Claiming that spit and run won’t work, Naidu posed five questions to Rahul and Congress. He asked them to explain whether they believe that there is no black money and corruption in the country and there was no need for any measures to tackle them?If Congress believes that there is a problem of black money and corruption, why did it’s governments not take effective measures against them, he asked. Naidu also asked why Congress government brought the Benami Property law before Parliament in 1988 but did not subsequently notified it? Why some major opposition parties are refusing to join hands with Congress in its anti-note withdrawal campaign? he asked Naidu asked.Why Congress Government didn’t act on Supreme Court s directive for setting up SIT on black money, was Naidu’s fifth question. Referring to Congress Vice President’s remarks earlier, Naidu claimed that “Rahul’s smile and body language today clearly indicated that there is not much of black money in the country.”Then why don’t you muster courage and openly say so if his party’s assessment is that there is not much of black money, Naidu said. Everyone knows the close link between black money and corruption, Naidu said adding that if Congress says there is no black money in our economy, obviously, there is no place for corruption in our system. “Is this the stand of the Congress?” he asked. Naidu said that Congress is in panic and trying to create confusion. He claimed that Congress is worried as nobody was taking Rahul seriously, whether it is the people, opposition leaders or his own partymen. That is why the opposition leaders’ distanced from the meeting, Naidu claimed.Naidu said that Congress and communists are disappointed as the people have continued to support the crackdown on black money. Only some political parties which have been beneficiaries of the loot appear to be shaken, he claimed.When asked about the demand by Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi that the Prime Minister should quit, Naidu said that it was people’s love that had made Modi the Prime Minister and not the pleasure of these opposition leaders. Asked about the criticism by opposition regarding the use of Ordinance route by the Government, Naidu said that Congress has itself issued hundreds of ordinances.Responding to another question about West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Naidu said that she should first set her house in order.He added that secularism has been made to mean talking about only the minority. He said what is happening in Bengal is “disturbing.”In a question related to the happenings at the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Naidu said it was a wrong decision and therefore the government had taken appropriate steps.Attacking the Congress, he said that rather than asking questions to the government, it should explain why it encouraged such people.

CBI summoning TMC MPs is ‘political revenge’: Mamata Banerjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) summoning the Trinamool Congress MPs is nothing but political revenge of the Centre.”This is nothing but political revenge. This can’t stop the Trinamool Congress (TMC). We will stand by our people,” Mamata told the media.The CBI has issued summons to two TMC MPs- Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Tapas Paul, in connection with the alleged Rose Valley scam, one of the cases being probed by the investigating agency as part of the umbrella chit fund scams.Both the TMC MPs have been asked to appear at the CBI office on December 30.The CBI had filed its charge sheet in the Rose Valley Group chit fund scam naming Kundu and three others in a special court in Bhubaneswar on January 7.The firm was charged with defrauding depositors of Rs. 17,000 crore from across the country of which Rs. 450 crore was received by the ponzi firm from Odisha alone.In its charge sheet, CBI had claimed that it was still probing the role of ‘influential people’ in the scam.

Tripura TMC launches movement to ‘restore democracy by ousting Left Front Government’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Tripura Trinamool Congress (TMC) has declared agitation against the ruling Left Front on various issues including investigation against chit funds, duped depositors, involvement of elected members including minister of the state in crime against women, unemployment, state government employees deprived from the Seventh Pay Commission and few other issues. President of the newly formed Tripura unit of the party, Asish Saha told the media that the Trinamool Congress announced that it would launch a continuous movement in the state to “restore democracy” by ousting the Left Front Government in the assembly elections scheduled for 2018.”In this state, 142 chit funds were active and the party in power had made all arrangements and provided them license to do business. The Chief Minister of the state along with various ministers, ruling CPI(M) party MLAs and leaders attended programmes organised by different chit funds which were active in this state and thus encouraged people to deposit money and brought credibility for these chit funds, which duped around 14 lack depositors of the state. Moreover, due to wrong decision of the cabinet these chit funds could flee from the state leading to economic breakdown but the state government did not take any step against them,” said Saha.”The people of the state faced huge monetary loss and there was a repeated demand to take measure against these chit funds but the government did not do anything so that those were duped could get back their money. So very soon the Trinamool Congress will organise state wide protest on behalf of all depositors who had lost their money to these chit funds,” he added.Saha alleged that neither the state nor the Central Government is serious in taking step against the chit fund or the corruption in various block offices by siphoning of fund from central schemes and so the TMC will organise protest against all these. “We have noticed that in all our neighbouring states investigations are taking place against the chit funds by the CBI, ED and the union government is also giving importance to the loss of the depositors in those states. But in our state, despite our repeated demand the centre or the state government is not declaring any investigation. Here the party in power had siphoned depositor’s money in connivance with the chit funds and so no steps are being taken against them. So on coming January 19 we shall organise rally for pressing various demands including investigation against the chit funds,” he said.He also alleged that the state is among those in crime against women and no legal step is taken against those who are involved in such crimes as they are leaders and elected members of the Left Front. Saha said, “Besides protesting against corruption, we shall also protest against the crime against women in the state. We shall also fight for the unemployed youths, the government employees who are deprived by the state government from their 7th Pay Commission scale. For these demands we shall also go for six hours state wide agitation on coming January 19.”He claimed that only TMC can oust the corrupt Marxist government from power like Mamata Banerjee ousted the Marxist government from power in West Bengal. The TMC has formed a 74-member Tripura Pradesh unit with Saha as its president.

Demonetization: Tejaswi Yadav backs Mamata’s ‘super emergency’ assertion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav on Wednesday backed Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s assertion that the present situation in the country after the Centre’s demonetization drive is a ‘super emergency.’Yadav said, “The situation in the entire nation is very bad post this demonetization drive. There is no solution to the problems being faced by the people as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.””The situation is worse in downtrodden areas which are not well connected with the cities, do not have the facilities of ATMs and other modern techniques. Several people have lost their lives due to demonetization. However, the Prime Minister has said nothing over this. So, I think the statements made by Mamata Banerjee that is a super emergency is absolutely correct,” he added.The TMC chief on Tuesday led the attack on the Centre over their demonetization move alleging that the government had completely destroyed the federal structure.”It is not emergency; it’s super emergency. Just that it has not been officially declared,” said Banerjee addressing the media after an anti-demonetization meeting which was attended by all the opposition parties except the Left, Janata Dal (United) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).”Demonetization is a mega scam, biggest one after independence. The government is looting money of the poor and giving it to rich in the form of loans,” she added.The West Bengal Chief Minister further questioned Prime Minister Modi whether he would resign if things don’t get back to normal even after 50 days.”Even if after 50 days, things will not change. Will the Prime Minister resign,” she said.The TMC chief also accused the Modi government of pushing the country 20 years back.”In push for cashless economy, Modi government has become baseless. It’s a total loss of face for them,” she said while describing the situation prevailing in the country as ‘super emergency’.The West Bengal Chief Minister also insisted that all the opposition parties will make a common minimum agenda program.”Modi ji said we will have ‘acche din’. Is this what he meant by acche din? People are troubled. The country has been robbed in the name of acche din. In the name of cashless, Modi Government has gone baseless. It has become totally faceless,” she said.”This is a fearless government. They do not care about anything.”Meanwhile, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi also escalated his attack on Prime Minister Modi, saying the goal of his ambitious demonetization drive has completely failed as people are continuing to suffer.”Demonetisation has done absolutely nothing against corruption. What it has done instead is to leave people without any money,” said Gandhi.”December 30th is about to come and the situation is still the same. The motive of demonetization has failed completely. The Prime Minister should answer the nation as to what was the real motive of demonetization and what will he do for those affected by it,” he added.The Congress vice-president further said that demonetization was an attack on the country’s poor and had only increased unemployment.Claiming that a new black market was created to exchange the demonetized notes, Gandhi said that demonetization was a direct attack on the country’s financial institutions and the poor.”A new market for conversion of money has been set up which has resulted in an attack on financial institutions and poor,” he said.

Rahul-led meeting fake attempt for unity, no wise party can join hands with Congress: Naidu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior BJP leader and Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday dismissed the Congress-led meet of eight parties against demonetization, as a “fake attempt for unity” and said it would never succeed.”This is a fake attempt for unity and it will never succeed. No wise party can join hands with Congress. If they (some political party) are doing it, they are doing so at their own peril,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.Earlier in the day, Congress vice-President Rahul Gandhi and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee along with some regional parties at a meeting in Delhi sought to put up a united face raising the pitch against demonetization by demanding resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Taking a dig at Gandhi, Naidu claimed, “He has failed to bring unity in his own party. The strength of Congress (in Lok Sabha) has declined from 444 seats to 44 seats.”Referring to scams and corruption during the Congress rule, he claimed, “Earlier Opposition parties had to protest against corruption of the government. But now, the government is fighting against corruption and the opposition is fighting against the government.”

Opposition is fighting for its own difficulties and not for public: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Launching a scathing attack on opposition parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party has said that the the former is fighting for their own difficulties and not for the public.”Opposition has not remained opposition anymore. Their coalition has broken as many parties have left, this is their first failure. The opposition has decided to protest after 30th December and no one has stopped them for doing that, they should continue with their protest as they will move away from the people the more protest they will do,” said BJP leader Rahul Sinha.He said the opposition is not finding a way to get out of the loss caused to them because of demonetization and on the pretext of fighting for the people they are making unconstitutional statements.Responding to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement of labelling Modi government as faceless, Sinha said that Mamta herself is becoming faceless as her neat and clean political image was tarnished by the Saradha scam.He said it has also been proved that opposition’s fight against the demonetization is the fight for the black money and for the people who own black money.”The more the opposition will raise their voice, the more BJP will gain,” he said.Sinha said it is unfortunate that opposition has not learnt from the recent election results in which the people have approved that the decision of demonetization was right.He said the Prime Minister will not reply to Rahul Gandhi, he will respond to the people and people till now have supported him.”Prime Minister himself had said that he is ready to face any decision that the people of this country will announce for him. People are giving their verdict that they are with the Prime Minister in this fight against the Black money,” Sinha said.”People don’t have any interest in Rahul Gandhi allegations. Opposition does not have any issue and their protest on the demonetization has also not worked, they don’t have anything and are just making unconstitutional statements.

BJP accuses Rama Mohana Rao of ‘doing politics’ by thanking Rahul and Mamata

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> BJP on Tuesday lashed out at former Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao over his critical remarks on Income Tax raids at his home and office and charged him with “doing politics” by thanking West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.Party’s state unit President Tamilisai Sounderrajan said no one is above the law and sought to know why Rao would talk about the state’s security when an elected Chief Minister was there to take care of it. “By thanking Mamata Banerjee and Rahul Gandhi, his intentions are clear. It is clear that he is brazenly doing politics,” she said in a statement. She asked if he was “challenging” the Chief Minister and Governor by his remarks.”Who is he to say that there is no security for the people of Tamil Nadu? Why is he bothered when there is an elected Chief Minister? (to take care of that),” she said. Further, the Income Tax department can carry out checks anywhere in connection with a probe, she said responding to Rao’s contention that the tax men’s search warrant did not have his name.Tamilisai also slammed Rao for claiming that he continued to be state Chief Secretary and termed it as “arrogant.” “Overall his remarks amount to impeding the peaceful situation in Tamil Nadu. The fact is he has become a wrong precedent by a wrong action (of talking to the media). It is amazing that an official does not have the patience to wait for law to take its own course,” she added.

DNA Evening Must Reads: Rahul & Mamata launch joint attack on PM Modi, ‘Haraamkhor’ trailer released, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Demonetization: Will PM Modi resign if things don’t improve after 50 days, asks MamataWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday launched an attack on Modi government over demonetization and asked would he resign if things don’t improve 50 days after demonetization. Read more hereRs 104 cr deposit | Centre misusing machinery to malign BSP, all deposits as per norms: MayawatiBahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Tuesday hit out at Modi government after the Enforcement Directorate detected cash deposits totalling over Rs. 104 crore in an account belonging to Mayawati-led party. Read more hereTata Sons slaps legal notice on Cyrus Mistry for breaching confidentialityThe boardroom drama that unfolded on October 24 refuses to die down. Read more hereRanji Trophy: Samit Gohel scores unbeaten 359, breaks 117-year-old recordGujarat’s 26-year-old opening batsman Samit Gohel on Tuesday broke a 117-year-old record in first-class cricket by notching up the highest score while carrying his bat through the innings of 359 not out during his team’s Ranji Trophy quarter-final against Odisha. Read more hereWATCH: Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s ‘Haraamkhor’ trailer is finally outHaraamkhor has had a long struggle to make its way finally to the theatres soon. Read more here

Air safety incidents at Delhi and Goa: Is it ‘human’ factor or shortage of staff at ATC?

New Delhi: Two air safety incidents on a single day, at Delhi and Goa airports, have led many of us to once again question India’s air safety record. Remember, India was downgraded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States in 2014 for failing to have enough safety personnel, and a restoration of the rating took several months. Though it won’t be clear till a probe is completed on what lead to incidents this morning at Goa and Delhi, the fact is that manpower shortage in critical air functions could be a factor in frequent air incidents.

Take the critical ATC function – the Air Traffic Control (ATC) is still short staffed. Sources tell us the manpower needed is 3,600 personnel and only about 2,900 have been recruited till now. “These positions are being filled,”said an Airports Authority of India (AAI) official. A short staffed ATC apart, this story from Bloomberg quotes data from India’s safety regulator DGCA to say that air safety incidents, which prompted regulatory action, reached 280 this year till August, beating the 275 all of last year. It went on to predict that “At this pace, the number may rise to more than 400 by the end of 2016, making it the worst in three years for aviation safety”.

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India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets across the globe and any increase in safety-related incidents is obviously a cause for worry. DGCA officials say there is no cause for worry and incidents sometimes happen due to the “human” factor. They also add that the country is following all internationally mandated safety protocols.

Earlier this month, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her party TMC had created a furore by alleging that an IndiGo flight carrying the CM was not allowed priority landing at Kolkata airport despite the pilots seeking emergency landing due to fuel shortage. This was stoutly denied by the airline, which said there was probably a miscommunication between the flight crew and the ATC about how much fuel the flight was left with. Instead of seeking an explanation from the ATC personnel, aviation regulator DGCA grounded IndiGo pilots in this case.

Meanwhile, early this morning, 9W 2374 Goa-Mumbai Jet Airways’ flight “veered off the runway while aligning for takeoff”, the airline tweeted. It later said 12 passengers had sustained injuries and still later, it said all but five have been discharged. This incident made Goa’s Dabolim airport inoperational for a few hours.

A regulatory source told Firstpost that the Goa incident is being treated as an accident and a team from Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) will reach Goa by the evening to begin inquiries. This person also said a preliminary idea about what caused the aircraft to turn 180 degrees will be there only by Thursday.

Civil Aviation Minister A Gajapathi Raju tweeted that “thorough time-bound investigation and corrective action shall be ensured. Action will also be taken in case there is violation of procedures”. The second incident involved a just-landed IndiGo flight and a ready-to-take-off Spicejet aircraft, with some news reports describing the two aircraft coming “Face to face”.

The regulatory source quoted above said as per preliminary findings, the ATC at Delhi allowed the SpiceJet flight to take off from the same taxiway where an IndiGo aircraft had landed minutes earlier. This indicates the possibility of it being an ATC error, though like we said earlier, the final picture will emerge only after the probe by DGCA is completed.

The regulatory source further said it could be a case of human error too. SpiceJet said in a statement that “SpiceJet flight SG 123 operating Delhi-Hyderabad was following ATC instructions at all times at the Delhi airport. While taxiing, the SpiceJet crew observed another aircraft on the same taxiway in the opposite direction. Acting promptly, the SpiceJet crew immediately stopped the aircraft and intimated the ATC. Safety is of utmost and primary concern at SpiceJet. At no stage the safety of passengers, crew and aircraft was compromised. All concerned authorities were immediately informed.”

And IndiGO also said in a statement that flight 6E 769 Lucknow-Delhi observed another aircraft in front of it while taxiing. “The Captain took the decision to switch off the engine and reported the incident to ATC. All 176 passengers and crew are safe…..flight was observing ATC instructions all the time at the Delhi airport”. According to data provided by MoS Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha in Lok Sabha earlier this month, there were 409 safety violations by the crew of scheduled, non-scheduled and general aviation aircraft in the last three years.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 16:59 IST

Gandhi vs Modi: Joint opposition meeting on Monday to discuss charges of ‘personal corruption’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress is striving for uniting the opposition on the issue of Rahul Gandhi’s charges of “personal corruption” against the Prime Minister and plans are afoot for a joint press conference by its President Sonia Gandhi and other opposition leaders on December 27. While there is no formal word from Congress about the initiative or the press conference, reports from Kolkata said West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee will be attending a joint opposition meeting on December 27. She is scheduled to arrive in Delhi on Monday. Leaders of Left parties said they have been approached by Congress but are not aware of the details. They also remained non-committal about their participation in the meeting. Sources said NCP, JD(U) and some other opposition parties have also been approached by Congress for the joint meeting to step up the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government.The sources said NCP leader Tariq Anwar, CPI leader D Raja and Mamata Banerjee have been approached, besides some other leaders. Congress is working towards projecting a united opposition to dispel the impression that cracks developed in the opposition ranks on the last day of the Winter Session of Parliament on December 16 when some parties backed out at the last minute from an opposition delegation to meet the President.Congress’ move comes close on the heels of Rahul Gandhi targeting the Prime Minister on his home turf of Mehsana in Gujarat last week in which he made the allegations against Modi. BJP leaders have dismissed the charges levelled by Rahul. The Prime Minister too had mocked Rahul, who in turn, hit back at Modi saying that the PM could make as much fun of him as he can but he should say whether the charge of corruption is correct or not. The Congress Vice President had also emphasised on an independent probe.A TMC leader said, “Our party supremo will go to Delhi tomorrow and will attend the meeting of opposition parties on December 27. In that meeting, the next line of action will be discussed.”Besides this, Banerjee is likely to hold a separate meeting with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. She will also be meeting some other leaders. The just-concluded Parliament session had seen several opposition parties getting their act together as a united force by holding daily meetings to strategise their plans to target the government. This was for the first time that such meetings to strategise opposition plans took place since Modi took charge as the Prime Minister.Meanwhile, a senior Congress leader, who declined to be identified, has raised doubts over the strategy, saying that the plan to step up attack on Modi might not hold ground as former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s name has also allegedly figured in the same documents. She has junked the charges.

Income Tax Department’s investigation wing: Deployment of CRPF personnel during search operations are as per law

Kolkata: The investigation wing of the Income Tax (IT) Department on Friday said the deployment of CRPF personnel during searches is as per the law, which West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has termed as “unconstitutional and illegal”.

File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee addresses media after her party's win in the Assembly elections at her Kalighat residence in Kolkata on Thursday. PTI Photo by Swapan Mahapatra(PTI5_19_2016_000262B)

File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC Supremo Mamata Banerjee. PTI

“The number of search operations being carried out now have increased manifold and this is why we are taking help of CRPF personnel,” a senior official of the IT investigation wing told PTI.

To a query, he said the investigation wing was also getting cooperation of West Bengal Police.

“As per law, we are authorised to seek the help of paramilitary forces, Customs, PSU banks and CISF personnel during search operations,” the official said.

“This is nothing new and we are doing it everytime.

“It is well known that we are carrying out such action day-in and day-out. So it is necessary to take the help of other central agencies besides the state police,” he said.

Mamata Banerjee on Friday objected to the Centre’s move to deploy CRPF personnel for providing security to Income Tax officials during search operations in the state and has also shot off a letter to Home Minister Rajnath Singh demanding withdrawal of the decision.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 22:35 IST

Centre versus Mamata: Bengal CM calls CRPF deployment for IT raids unconstitutional and illegal

Following the debacle with army deployment in her state earlier this month, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has written a stern letter to the Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh over the presence of 15 CRPF personnel to provide security to income tax officers during raids in the state. Mamata, in the letter, said, “It has come to the notice of the state government that the Ministry of Home Affairs and the central government are making available 15 personnel of the CRPF, for apparently, providing ‘security’ to Income Tax officials and staff deputed for operations in West Bengal.” Here is the copy of the letter

letter-mamata-pradesh18letter-mamata-pradesh18

Mamata said this was never conveyed to the state government, even though the alleged MHA instructions were reported by the media. However, an advisory by the Ministry of Home Affairs dated 20 December to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), mentioned that 15 CRPF personnel would be deployed in the state.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTIWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

“The matter has been considered in this ministry and it has been decided that CRPF shall make available 15 personnel to Income Tax Department, Kolkata, for providing security to officers and staff deputed for search and seizure operations to be carried out by the Income Tax Directorate,” the advisory said.

The letter, addressed to “Dear Rajnath Singhji”, said that the Banerjee government strongly objects to “this decision which is blatantly unconstitutional, illegal and against all principle of constitutional federalism. Stating that the deployment of any central police force of the Union to any state can only be done at the request of the state government, her letter said, “The decision must immediately be revoked. The state government and its police forces will provide all necessary help and protection.”

Mamata had earlier this month accused the BJP government of “deploying the army” along a highway toll plaza at the second Hooghly Bridge, about 500 metres from the secretariat ‘Nabanna’ in neighbouring Howrah district, and said she would not leave till the army was withdrawn. “The state government has not been informed about this deployment by the Centre. This is clearly a violation of the rules and understanding (between the Centre and the state), when the army is deployed without informing a democratically elected government,” Mamata had said a day later at a press conference.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 18:03 IST

Horse manure still a threat to Matheran trees

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the forest department have re-forested the land at Dasturi Naka in Matheran, an eco sensitive zone, where hundreds of trees died due to highly nitrogenous dung from illegally stabled horses, the issue is far from being resolved. Horse owners are now suspected to having moved deeper into the forests.Dasturi Naka had lost most of its green cover, as the soil quality was affected due to horse dung and acidic urine from horses that were illegally stabled under trees.With the area now off-limits for stabling horses, the equines are parked in the deeper parts of Matheran’s forest, said Manoj Khedkar, former councillor. Loss of Matheran’s green cover can be bad news, as the entire Navi Mumbai region depends for its drinking water.The Bombay Environmental Action Group that worked on the re-planting and barricading of the Naka said the Joint Forest Management (JFM) needs to be strengthened for a permanent solution.While only about 460 horses have license to operate, over 1,000 horses ply in peak season. “Most of them are brought from from Neral and Jummapatti. Handlers tie horses to trees that shrivel due to the dung and acidic urine, thus leaving a trail of dead trees,” a local said. In the past, horses brought from outside would be taken back at night.Stables in areas like Indira Nagar and Valmiki Nagar being converted into lodging, as it is more profitable, have compounded the problem. Councillor Prasad Sawant said, “We need to create a facility for horses to be stabled.”Divisional Forest Officer Alibaug Jayoti Banerjee said, “Now that Dasturi Naka has been saved, the department is working on a solution with major stake holders.” In the meanwhile, the officials have been carrying out surprise raids to reduce illegal stabling.

Raid at TN Chief Secretary’s residence: ‘Why not Amit Shah?’ asks Mamata, questions ‘vindictive’ & ‘unethical’ action

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday hit out at the government after the Income Tax (I-T) department raided the residence of Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao and questioned why they don’t raid Amit Shah and others who were collecting money.The I-T department conducted searches at over a dozen locations in connection with its tax evasion probe against the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary’s son and a few other relatives. The searches that began as early as 6 AM are on at various places in the state and in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.The searches, they said, are related to the department’s probe in the biggest haul of cash and gold here post demonetization, in which over Rs 142 crore in unaccounted assets have been recovered so far.The total seizure is over Rs 170 crore in a single case related to action against sand mining operators in the state and few others including S Reddy, who was also on the panel of a religious shrine body.In a series of tweets, Mamata said, “Earlier the Principal Secretary of @ArvindKejriwal was raided and harassed. Now I read Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu also raided. Why this vindictive, unethical, technically improper action? Is it only to disturb the federal structure?”Stating that corruption needs to be condemned strongly, she added, “Raid on TN Chief Secretary by the Central agencies devalues institution of head of civil service.””The proper procedure should have been to take the State leadership into confidence,” she added.(With agency inputs)

CBI calls senior TMC MP, Mamata says ‘vendetta politics’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said her fight against demonetization would continue and accused the Narendra Modi government of resorting to “vendetta politics” after TMC parliamentary party leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay was called by the CBI.”Why is BJP govt doing vendetta politics? Our party LS leader got 3 calls from CBI. Nothing will deter us from fight against #DeMonetization”, the Trinamool Congress supremo said in a statement. She further said, “I read that new rules were announced today also. Every day a decision is changed it means this is an unstable government”. “Imagine the situation in an area where there is no bank! There is cash crunch as well as bank crunch”, she added. Bandopadhyay told PTI that he has received three calls from CBI.”I called them (CBI) back. They said you have to come to our office,” Bandopadhyay, who is also the chairman of Railway Standing Committee, said. Refuting the TMC’s charge of vendetta politics, BJP asked why is TMC afraid of CBI investigation if it has done no wrong and urged it to cooperate.”CBI is an autonomous body. Bandopadhyay should cooperate with CBI investigation. It is TMC’s duty to do so. Instead of crying vendetta politics to gain sympathy, the party should cooperate with the probe,” BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh said.

Demonetization: Mamata Banerjee slams PM Modi, terms govt as ‘deaf and dumb’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee fired fresh salvos at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that all the countrymen except PM Modi have realised that demonetization was a bad move, causing tremendous hardship and eventually lead to a crisis.“By the time the Prime Minister realises the down side of demonetization it will be too late, leaving the country in doldrums,” she said, addressing a public meeting at Fulkusma in Bankura district.Mamata termed the Modi government as “deaf and dumb” and oblivious to the suffering of the common people. “Farmers are in deep trouble. People don’t have cash to buy essential commodities. Businesses are incurring losses. MNREGA workers are being deprived of wages,” she said.She also cited the example of Venezuela and said that it had rolled back its decision of demonetization when it realised that it would spell disaster. “One cannot withdraw one’s own money, even if one’s salary is Rs 15,000. How can the government dictate terms and conditions on the way people should spend their own money? Why should the poor be forced to use Paytm from which the Centre is getting a commission? Before the polls he said he was a chaiwala. Now he has become a Paytm wala,” she said.She also said that there was a divisive force in the country which was trying to create communal tension by even naming a road accident as a clash between members of two communities. “There is peace in Junglemahal and the administration will ensure that it remains like that,” she said.Commenting on Mamata’s comments in Bankura, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said that it was peaceful according to the definition of the TMC. Meanwhile referring to today’s decision of the capping of bank deposits, Bose said, “It has been an economic emergency. Since demonetization, they have been changing their position and decisions. All this indecisiveness is causing problems to the middle class. Those who are part of the mall culture are hardly affected,” he said.

Demonetization will meet fate of Congress’ ‘Nasbandi’: Lalu Prasad Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> RJD president Lalu Prasad on Saturday said demonetization would meet the fate of ‘Nasbandi’ of the Congress rule and announced protest across Bihar on December 28.During a day-long meeting of RJD MPs, ministers, legislators and office-bearers, Prasad and other leaders of the party highlighted people’s woes following the scrapping of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes. Addressing the RJD leaders, Prasad criticised the move and said, “It will meet the fate of ‘nasbandi’ (forced sterilisation) during the Congress rule in the past.” Prasad and his party have been on the forefront of protest against the demonetization decision inside and outside Parliament.Several prominent RJD leaders had shared dais with TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamafta Banerjee during her demonstration against demonetization in Patna on November 30, though Prasad himself was not present. Asked how he saw Nitish Kumar getting praise from Centre on demonetization, Prasad, whose RJD is a partner in the grand alliance government, said, “Nitish Kumar’s approach is similar to our’s…all of us are standing together against hardship caused to masses due to high-value currency invalidation.” Nitish Kumar and his party JD(U), which has supported demonetization, had kept away from Banerjee’s demonstration.Economist Mohan Guruswamy, who was advisor in the NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was also invited to speak on adverse impact of demonetization. Guruswamy gave a detailed slide presentation with the help of data and charts to tell RJD leaders how demonetization would cause a drop of 2.5 per cent in the country’s GDP by the end of the current fiscal. In the meeting Prasad, Tejaswi Yadav, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, who is the finance minister in the Nitish Kumar government, and a host of senior leaders spke on the woes of poor people and farmers standing outside banks and ATMs for withdrawal of cash. Prasad said, “After the December-28 dharna, leaders of all the parties, national as well regional, would be invited to a rally later in Patna.” He said the date of the rally would be announced later.Making a scathing attack at the Prime Minister, the RJD chief said “after seeing that demonetization is failing, the PM has shifted the issue now and is talking about cashless, PayTm.” “On the one hand the PM talks of going ahead of China and on the another hand he is favouring a company (PayTm) in which the Chinese have a major share,” he said. During over half-an-hour of presentation, Guruswamy said though former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had predicted a fall of two per cent in the GDP due to demonetization, his view is that the decline would amount to about 2.5 per cent by the end of the financial year.Guruswamy claimed, “22 crore daily workers have been adversely affected by the demonetization.” He said of the total amount of unaccounted money, only 4 per cent is in the form of cash while major chunk of 46 per cent is invested in land and building, 26 per cent in jewellery and 24 per cent is parked abroad. “Modi is after only this 4 per cent of the black money which is in the form of cash which could not bear any result other than causing miseries to common people, especially the daily wagers,” he added.”Approximately Rs 30 crore of black money is expected to be unearthed through the demonetization. A total of Rs 42,000 crore would be spent in reprinting this volume of scrapped notes,” Guruswamy, who taught Economics at Harvard University, said. Handing over a pamphlet with views of Guruswamy on note scrapping, Prasad told RJD workers to hold “jan jagran” (public awareness meeting) at grassroots level from December 20-26 to make them aware of truth of demonetization.

Mamata Banerjee questions I-T exemption on deposits in old notes by political parties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday questioned the government’s decision to give income tax exemption on deposits by political parties in old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, saying the timing of the announcement shows that there may be “an ulterior motive”.Her statement came a day after Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia stated that political parties depositing old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes in their accounts will be exempt from income tax provided the donations taken are below Rs 20,000 per individual and properly documented. “They need to clarify that #DeMonetisation means it is #DeMonetisation for all. Same rules for everyone. If 500/1000 are illegal tender, then how are they trying to show that there is a division btwn common people & political parties?” Banerjee said in a series of tweets.”Even the timing of these statements show that there may be an ulterior motive. Is there a motive? Are they trying to give a hidden message to cadre of one political party? Why these confusing and misleading statements now? They must clarify,” she said. “It is most unfortunate how there are confusing and misleading statements coming from senior govt officials,” said the Trinamool Congress chief, who has been vociferous in her opposition to the Centre’s demonetisation move.In a press conference yesterday, Adhia had said the government is not tinkering with the tax exemption available to political parties and they are free to deposit old 500 and 1000 rupee notes in their bank accounts. But these deposits will, however, be subject to the condition that individual donations taken in cash do not exceed Rs 20,000 and are properly documented with full identity of the donor.”If it is a deposit in the account of a political party, they are exempt. But if it is deposited in individual’s account then that information will come into our radar. If the individual is putting money in his own account, then we will get information,” he had said.

Mamata Banerjee, black flags and Congress hecklers: Urjit Patel gets fiery reception in Kolkata

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>RBI Governor Urjit Patel met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee under the shadow of continuing protest by her ruling Trinamool Congress against demonetization.Patel told reporters after the hour-long meeting in the chief minister’s chamber in the state secretariat that the “meeting was good”.State Finance Minister Amit Mitra, finance secretary and home secretary were also present during the talks.Banerjee, who is at the forefront of the anti-demonetization protest, said that in the meeting she had expressed concern over people’s hardship and “political discrimination amongst states”.Earlier, Patel attended a meeting of the RBI central board at the bank’s regional office here where the TMC and CPI-M activists staged demonstration.Asked about the meeting, Banerjee told reporters, “I am satisfied with the meeting as I availed the opportunity to express views of the common people who are facing immense hardships”.”The Prime Minister, Parliament, nothing is available. No one is responding. He (Patel) is a direct man who is directly involved in all these… This is my satisfaction that at least I could express the views and explain the situation,” she said.”The RBI is a big institution. We respect it. It should not be politically misused,” Banerjee said adding that though the governor did not answer anything, he had heard her.”There is nothing that could be answered. He was here for an hour and listened to me. And whatever I have said was the problem of the common people. I spoke on the basis of documentation,” she added.Banerjee also asked Patel to give information on the distribution of currencies to different states on RBI’s website “to maintain transparency”.On being asked if during the meeting Patel agreed that the implementation was wrong, the TMC chief said, “look, I don’t think that as a government officer he (Patel) can say that but I think silence is sometimes golden”.Banerjee also said that the meeting with Patel was a “routine one” and that the appointment for it had been sought “before demonetization was announced” by the Centre. The chief minister also handed over a letter to Patel in which she said, “as the Governor of RBI, an autonomous institution with a great history, which issues currencies to the nation, we expect you to stand up against the demonetization onslaught against the common people of the nation at this moment of crisis, rather than falling silent and remaining opaque”.”We would also like to know from you the nature of allocation of new currency to each of the states in a spirit of transparency and accountability, since there are serious concerns of political discrimination amongst states,” the letter said. She said the whole country is going through “unprecedented misery and suffering” due to the “cruel misadventure” of demonetization which has not been seen in any modern democracy.”You are perhaps aware that already five crore workers across the country and across the sectors are facing unemployment and hunger. Unorganised sector of the country which provides 2/3rd jobs in the country has literally collapsed,” the letter read.”The small and medium enterprises are shutting down shops in lakhs. The massive trading sector of the economy has been brought down to its knees due to cash crunch, unable to conduct its business,” it added.”The farmers of our nation are going through a trauma never seen before and that too not due to natural calamity but due to a man-made disaster of massive demonetization. Even the middle and large industries have dropped their production by at least 50 per cent.”Agriculture, food sector, vegetable sector, small traders to shopkeepers, small vendors to 100 day MNREGA workers, small scale to big industry, unorganised to I-T sector, it is everywhere, the common people across the board are deeply suffering. All development work has come to a standstill due to cash crunch. You also know that plastic card is not fool-proof and 92 per cent of the villages in the country have no banks,” she said.Banerjee said that every major economist including Nobel laureates have come out strongly against demonetization, cutting across theoretical leanings.”You are aware that the economy is getting derailed and growth rates of GDP are being revised downwards every other day,” she wrote in the letter. Congress protesters heckles Patel: Chanting slogans like “Urjit Patel go back” and “Urjit Patel hai, hai”, over a dozen protesters tried to block his way when he stepped out of a car at the airport on his way back to Mumbai.The protesters came too close for Patel’s comfort as he started walking towards the entrance of the airport terminal.Policemen accompanying him were seen pushing away the agitators and securing the way for the RBI governor, who earlier in the day attended a meeting of RBI board at the central bank’s office here where TMC and CPI-M staged demonstrations. Even after he had entered the terminal building, the protesters were seen raising slogans.Police said he was also shown black flags by the protesters.He also met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, one of the harshest critics of the demonetisation exercise, who voiced concern over the hardship faced by people and “political discrimination amongst states”.

Demonetization: Mamata meets RBI governor Urjit Patel, complains about ‘political discrimination amongst states’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Amidst protests by Trinamool Congress against demonetization, RBI Governor Urjit Patel met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during which she expressed concern over hardship faced by people and “political discrimination amongst states”. “The meeting was good,” Patel told reporters at the state secretariat after meeting Banerjee. Earlier, Patel attended a meeting of RBI central board at the apex bank’s office here where TMC and CPI-M staged demonstrations. When asked about the meeting, Banerjee told reporters, “I am satisfied with the meeting (with Patel)”.”I availed the opportunity to express views of the common people of the country who are facing immense hardships (due to demonetization)… The Prime Minister, Parliament, nothing is available. No one is responding. He (Patel) is a direct man,” she said.”RBI is a big institution. We respect it. It should not be politically misused,” Banerjee said.The TMC chief also handed over a letter to Patel in which she said, “as the governor of RBI, an autonomous institution with a great history, which issues currencies to the nation, we expect you to stand up against this demonetization onslaught against the common people of the nation at this moment of crisis, rather than falling silent and remaining opaque”.”We would also like to know from you the nature of allocation of new currency to each of the states in a spirit of transparency and accountability, since there are serious concerns of political discrimination amongst States,” the letter said.The whole country, she said, is going through “unprecedented misery and suffering” due to the “cruel misadventure” of demonetization which has not been seen in any modern democracy.”You are perhaps aware that already five crore workers across the country and across the sectors are facing unemployment and hunger. Unorganised sector of the country which provides 2/3rd jobs in the country has literally collapsed,” Banerjee said in the letter.”The small and medium enterprises are shutting down shops in lakhs. The massive trading sector of the economy has been brought down to its knees due to cash crunch, unable to conduct its business.”The farmers of our nation are going through a trauma never seen before and that too not due to natural calamity but due to a man-made disaster of massive demonetization. Even the middle and large industries have dropped their production by at least 50 per cent,” she added. SCH SUN KK ASV

Demonetisation impact: RBI Governor Urjit Patel shown black flags outside Kolkata airport

Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Urjit Patel was on Thursday shown black flags outside Kolkata airport during a protest staged by Congress workers against demonetisation. They also raised slogans “Urjit Patel go back” and “Urjit Patel hai hai“, however,  the security personnel managed to escort the RBI Governor inside the airport.

Earlier in the day, West Bengal Chief  Minister Mamata Banerjee met Patel to express her concerns over demonetisation.  “The meeting was good,” Patel told reporters at the state secretariat.

Earlier, Patel attended a meeting of the RBI central board at the apex bank’s office where Trinamool Congress and CPM workers had staged demonstrations.

When asked about the meeting, Banerjee told reporters, “I am satisfied with the meeting (with Patel)”. “I availed the opportunity to express views of the common man are facing immense hardships due to demonetisation… The prime minister, Parliament, nothing is available. No one is responding. Patel is a direct man,” she said. “RBI is a big institution. We respect it. It should not be politically misused,” she said.

RBI Governor Urjit Patel. PTI

RBI Governor Urjit Patel. PTI

The TMC chief also handed over a letter to Patel in which she said, “as the Governor of RBI, an autonomous institution with a great history, which issues currencies to the nation, we expect you to stand up against this demonetisation onslaught against the common people of the nation at this moment of crisis, rather than falling silent and remaining opaque”. “We would also like to know from you the nature of allocation of new currency to each of the states in a spirit of transparency and accountability, since there are serious concerns of political discrimination amongst States,” the letter said.

The whole country, she said, is going through “unprecedented misery and suffering” due to the “cruel misadventure” of demonetisation which has not been seen in any modern democracy. “You are perhaps aware that already five crore workers across the country and across the sectors are facing unemployment and hunger. Unorganised sector of the country which provides two-third jobs in the country has literally collapsed,” Banerjee said in the letter.

“The small and medium enterprises are shutting down shops in lakhs. The massive trading sector of the economy has been brought down to its knees due to cash crunch, unable to conduct its business.” The farmers of our nation are going through a trauma never seen before and that too not due to natural calamity but due to a man-made disaster of massive demonetisation. Even the middle and large industries have dropped their production by at least 50 percent,” she added.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 19:34 IST

RBI Governor Urjit Patel shown black flags by TMC supporters in Kolkata

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel, who was in Kolkata to conduct the central board meeting following demonetization, was shown black flags by Trinamool Congress supporters outside the regional RBI office in the city. TMC supporters sporting black flags and shouting slogans ‘Go back Urjit’ staged a demonstration outside the RBI office. Later, a procession led by senior TMC leaders reached the office and registered their protest against demonetization. Earlier in the day, the Left had staged a demonstration outside the RBI office. Patel met senior officials of RBI to take stock of the situation prevailing in eastern and north-eastern states post demonetization. However, Patel was seen dodging the media right from his arrival in the city on Wednesday afternoon. Patel did not take the vehicle of the convoy provided by the state government. He took another vehicle from the airport and left for his hotel.On Thursday morning, Patel’s meeting at the RBI regional office was scheduled for 10 am. However, he reached the office much ahead of the scheduled time and entered the office building through the ‘out’ gate to prevent any interaction with the media. Around 3.30 pm on Thursday, Patel is likely to meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to discuss issues faced by banks in the state.

Amidst demonetization row, Mamata Banerjee likely to meet Urjit Patel on Thursday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who recently criticised RBI Governor Urjit Patel for being silent on people’s suffering due to Centre’s demonetization move, is likely to meet him in Kolkata on Thursday.Patel will arrive in the city on Wednesday for some official engagements and his meeting with Banerjee is likely to take place on Thursday afternoon, a top official of the Chief Minister’s Office told PTI today.State Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee will meet Patel and take him to the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ where the meeting will be held, the official said. The meeting assumes significance as Banerjee had criticised Patel on December 8 questioning his ‘silence’ on the suffering of the common people following demonetization.It is a custom for the RBI Governor to meet the Chief Minister whenever he visits a state and there was a formal request from Patel’s office for an appointment of Banerjee. On being asked why Banerjee agreed to meet the RBI boss when she was critical of him, the official said this was an opportunity for the state government to place its views on issues related to demonetization directly before Patel.So, the problems faced by common people of the state would come up for discussion during the meeting, he said.Banerjee is one of the most vocal opposition leaders against demonetization since it was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8. Patel will be here to attend the Central Board meeting of the RBI tomorrow. He will also meet bankers and industry leaders during the visit.

‘New low in politics’: TMC slams BJP’s Dilip Ghosh’s ‘dragged Mamata by hair’ remark

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tearing into West Bengal, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Dilip Ghosh for his remark on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday said the former has stooped to a ‘new low’ of politics. ‘The BJP are desperate to silence the voice of opposition. So, they are indulging in cheap low level politics. This is a new low in politics,’ said TMC leader Derek O’Brien. He further said that Ghosh has spewed deeply dangerous, threatening, abusive and completely false personal allegation against Mamata. ‘The BJP cannot fight Mamata on policy, good governance and principle and her stand on demonetizationon behalf of millions of people who have been affected by the government’s policy,’ he said. Ghosh on Sunday said that TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, has lost her mind after the demonetizationdrive and that was why she recently visited Delhi and Patna. “During the last elections also, she had said she would tie Prime Minister Modi with a rope. When she was staging protests in Delhi, if we wanted we could have thrown her out of Delhi by grabbing her hair as we have our police deployed there, but we didn’t do so. How can a Chief Minister use such words for the prime minister, it’s not right,’ he said.Speaking at a meeting of the party’s youth wing held at Paschim Medinipore district’s Jhargram, Ghosh said Banerjee has lost her mind and is crying for losing thousand of crores of rupees in the recent demonetization of higher currency notes.”…That was why she (Banerjee) is visiting New Delhi and Patna. And failing to achieve anything, she is sitting in Nabanna (Secretariat). We had thought that she will ultimately jump in the Ganges… this person (Banerjee) has lost her mind and we are not ready to see her insanity… the state’s people have realised their mistake of bringing in the change in West Bengal,” Ghosh said.Earlier, Mamata Banerjee had claimed that PM Modi had no solution for the hardships of people due to demonetization. ‘Modi babu knows that #demonetizationnow derailed. Except giving bhashan, he has no solution,’ Mamata tweeted.Prime Minister Modi had made an appeal to the opposition to help inform the masses that they do not need to stand in queue and can use mobile banking for cash transactions.”From the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel I want to share something with my friends in the opposition. Yes, during elections we have a lot of heated debates. But we all call for increased voter turnout. Likewise, yes, you can oppose me but do teach people about banking, using technology for financial transactions,” he said while addressing the farmers at a rally in Gujarat’s Deesa.The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo who from the beginning opposed the demonetization and demanded its roll back, earlier on Thursday sharpened her attack on the Prime Minister and said the latter must resign because the move has led to “economic disaster” in the country and he has “no moral right” to continue.Alleging the country’s growth and business have been hit due to demonetization, she said the Prime Minister “doesn’t trust” anyone and he “doesn’t understand” what is good for the country.She has also questioned the motives behind the government’s move, alleging that nobody but the Prime Minister and his aides have benefited from the scheme.With inputs from agencies

Mamata flays Manohar Parrikar for ‘wild allegations’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The allegations made by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee against the Indian Army “run the risk of impacting the morale of the force,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in a letter to Banerjee on December 8, expressed his displeasure over the controversy triggered by her regarding the deployment of the Army near her office.”Political parties and politicians may have the luxury of making wild and unsubstantiated allegations against each other, but one needs to be extremely careful when referring to the Armed Forces,” Parrikar said in the letter.Parrikar said he did not expect this from a “person of her standing and experience.””As the Defence Minister, I thought it appropriate and necessary to bring to your notice the feeling of our armed forces and the people at large for your consideration.”Mamata Banerjee, who is not one to take things lying down, said, “I take strong exception to your wild assertion that my articulation of the rights of the state government vis-a-vis the Army’s deployment without clearance has impacted the morale of the Armed Forces.””Your general observations that political parties and politicians have the luxury of making unsubstantiated allegations may be apt for your party, but we do not belong to that group,” she said in a two-page reply.The Chief Minister also said the defence ministry has not taken prior permission from the state government before deploying Army personnel in civilian areas.The letter was written in response to allegations made by Mamata on December 1 raising doubts about Army deployment at a toll plaza near the Chief Minister’s secretariat in Kolkata.The state government has also alleged that the Army was denied pernmission to carry out any exercise.

West Bengal: No-trust motion against TMC govt defeated

Fri, 9 Dec 2016-10:47pm , Kolkata , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The no-confidence motion against the TMC government, jointly moved by the Left Front and Congress, was defeated on Friday with 191 votes against it and 50 votes in favour.At the end of a debate over the motion lasting one and a half hours, the opposition demanded a division following which a voice vote was taken. During the debate, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “Those who do not have confidence in their own parties are bringing a no-confidence motion against our government. This is baseless since in the Lok Sabha we are adjusting with your parties on demonetization.”Left Front legislative party leader Sujan Chakraborty said, “We were forced to bring this no-confidence because of the misrule going on all over the state.” Congress’s Abdul Mannan earlier this week had said the no-trust motion was a protest against the way TMC allegedly poached its MLAs, elected representatives in rural bodies and municipalities.

Mamata vs Army: ‘Deeply hurt’ Parrikar writes to Bengal CM, Banerjee hits back

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The political row over the recent Army drill at toll plazas in West Bengal flared up again today with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar dashing off a stinging letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying her allegations can “adversely” impact the morale of the force and the TMC chief hitting back over his “wild assertion”.In the two-page letter, Parrikar told her that he was “deeply pained” over the allegations regarding the deployment of the army personnel and that the same was not expected from a person of her standing and experience in public life. Parrikar said that while political parties and politicians may have the luxury of making “wild and unsubstantiated allegations against each other”, one needs to be extremely careful while referring to the armed forces.”Your allegations in this regard run the risk of adversely impacting the morale of the country’s armed forces and the same were not expected from a person of your standing and experience in public life,” the Minister said.Banerjee, who is a strident opponent of the Centre’s demonetization move, had accused it of deploying the army at toll plazas in West Bengal without informing the state government and described it as “unprecedented” and “a very serious situation worse than Emergency”. The Trinamool Congress stayed put in her office in Kolkata overnight in protest against the deployment and had asked whether it was an “army coup”.Terming it as “avoidable controversy” over the exercise carried out by the Eastern Command in West Bengal and other states under the jurisdiction to collect information about the movement of heavy vehicles at toll gates, Parrikar, in his letter dated December 8, said it is carried out by all formations of the army all across the country for many years. He said the exercises are held as per the dates convenient to the army in consultation with agencies of the state government.”I have been deeply pained by your allegations as reported in the media. If only you had enquired with the agencies concerned of the state government, you would have come to know of the extensive correspondence between the Army and the state agencies including the joint inspection of sites carried out by them,” Parrikar said. Hitting back, Banerjee said, “I take strong exception to your wild assertion that my articulation of the rights of the state government vis-a-vis Army deployment without clearance has impacted the morale of the armed forces.”Your general observations about the political parties and politicians to have the luxury of making wild and unsubstantiated allegations may be apt for your party, but we do not belong to that group,” she said in a two-page reply. The chief minister also maintained that the Ministry of Defence has not taken prior permission of the state government for large deployment of Army personnel in civilian areas.Parrikar said the army authorities were forced to put the record straight in the matter by presenting evidence of their communication with the state agencies concerned including rescheduling of the data collection operations on their response. TMC MP Derek O’ Brien charged the Centre with playing politics on the issue. “Look who is playing politics. The letter has not even reached the chief minister of Bengal and it has already been leaked in the media in Delhi.”

Mamata Banerjee-Manohar Parrikar war of words over army deployment in Bengal intensifies

The political row over the recent army drill at toll plazas in West Bengal flared up again on Friday, with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar dashing off a stinging letter to Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, saying her allegations can “adversely” impact the morale of the force, and Banerjee hitting back over his “wild assertion”.

In the two-page letter, Parrikar told her that he was “deeply pained” over the allegations regarding the deployment of army personnel and the same was not expected from a person of her standing and experience in public life. Parrikar said that while political parties and politicians may have the luxury of making “wild and unsubstantiated allegations against each other”, one needs to be extremely careful while referring to the armed forces.

Mamata Banerjee. PTI file imageMamata Banerjee. PTI file image

Mamata Banerjee. PTI file image

“Your allegations in this regard run the risk of adversely impacting the morale of the country’s armed forces and the same were not expected from a person of your standing and experience in public life,” he said.

Banerjee, who is a strident opponent of the Centre’s demonetisation move, had accused it of deploying the army at toll plazas in West Bengal without informing the state government and described it as “unprecedented” and “a very serious situation, worse than Emergency”.

The Trinamool Congress stayed put in her office in Kolkata overnight on 1 December in protest against the deployment and had asked whether it was an “army coup”.

Terming it as “avoidable controversy” over the exercise carried out by the Eastern Command in West Bengal and other states under the jurisdiction to collect information about the movement of heavy vehicles at toll gates, Parrikar, in his letter dated 8 December, said it is carried out by all formations of the army all across the country for many years. He said the exercises are held as per the dates convenient to the army in consultation with agencies of the state government.

“I have been deeply pained by your allegations as reported in the media. If only you had enquired with the agencies concerned of the state government, you would have come to know of the extensive correspondence between the army and state agencies, including the joint inspection of sites carried out by them,” Parrikar said.

Hitting back, Banerjee said, “I take strong exception to your wild assertion that my articulation of the rights of the state government vis-a-vis army deployment without clearance has impacted the morale of the armed forces. Your general observations about the political parties and politicians to have the luxury of making wild and unsubstantiated allegations may be apt for your party, but we do not belong to that group,” she said in a two-page reply.

The chief minister also maintained that the Ministry of Defence has not taken prior permission of the state government for large deployment of army personnel in civilian areas. Parrikar said the army authorities were forced to put the record straight in the matter by presenting evidence of their communication with the state agencies concerned including rescheduling of the data collection operations on their response.

TMC MP Derek O’ Brien charged the Centre with playing politics on the issue. “Look who is playing politics. The letter has not even reached the chief minister of Bengal and it has already been leaked in the media in Delhi,” he said.

First Published On : Dec 9, 2016 20:05 IST

Manohar Parrikar’s letter to Mamata rubbish: TMC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Responding to a letter written by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee regarding the his expression of pain about painting the army in poor light recently, Trinamool Congress leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy urged the Centre not to politicise the issue.”We have all the respect for the Indian Army as they are safeguarding the territory and integrity of our country. It is better on the part of government not to politicise the army in political interest. “We have also submitted the details as to how, without the concurrence of the state government, the army was deployed on December 1. What the defence minister has stated is rubbish,” he said.Member of Parliament Derek O’ Brien charged the Centre with playing politics on the issue.”Look who is playing politics. The letter has not even reached the chief minister of Bengal and it has already been leaked in the media in Delhi.”Promising a befitting reply from his party, O’ Brien said, “When the letter does reach Bengal, we will give him a befitting reply. Mamata Di will give a strong reply to the defence minister, because, we have a strong case.”Parrikar, in a letter written to Mamata Banerjee expressed his pain over dragging the army into politics and doubting its intentions.Parrikar said had Mamata enquired about it with the state agencies, she would have come to know about the communication that took place between the army and the concerned authorities regarding the exercise carried out by them. “I have been deeply pained by your allegations as reported in the media. If only you had enquired with the concerned agencies of the state government, you would have come to know of the extensive correspondence between the army and the state agencies, including the joint inspection of the sites carried out by them,” Parrikar said.Hinting at the impact it would have on the morale of the armed forces, Parrikar said that such a thing was not expected from a person of her standing and experience in public life.He further said that political parties may take digs at each other, but one needs to be careful while referring to armed forces.On December 1, when the army was deployed at two toll plazas in West Bengal for carrying out a routine exercise, Mamata alleged that the deployment was made without any prior information to the state government.The army, however, in a series of letters, clarified that it was only a routine exercise and that it was in continuous communication with the Kolkata Police.

Manohar Parrikar writes to Mamata Banerjee, says her coup allegations ‘adversely impacting’ armed forces’ morale

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has written a letter to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, expressing pain over dragging of the army into controversy. In his letter, Parrikar said political parties and the politicians may have the luxury of making wild and unsubstantiated allegation against each other but one needs to be extremely careful while referring to the armed forces.”Your allegation, in this regard run the risk of adversely impacting the morale of the country’s armed forces and the same were not expected from a person of your standing and experience in public life,” he said.He further asserted that the army authorities were forces to put the record straight in the matter by presenting evidence of their communication with the concerned state agencies including rescheduling of the date collection, operation on their request.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s letter to CM Mamata Banerjee:”I have been deeply pained by her allegation as reported in the media, if only you had enquired with the concerned agencies of the state government, you would have come to know of the extensive correspondence between the army and the state agencies including the joint inspection of sites carried out by them,” he added.He further said that such exercise is being carried out by all formation of the army throughout the country for many years as par the dates convenient to them in consultation with concerned agencies of the state governments. Banerjee had earlier demanded “withdrawal of the army” from the state, alleging it has been done by keeping her government “in the dark”.Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien said, “Letter has not reached the CM and it’s already leaked to media. We will give a befitting reply when it comes.”On December 2, presence of army personnel at toll plazas in West Bengal triggered a row with Banerjee remaining at the state secretariat overnight in protest, asking was it an “army coup”, drawing a stinging condemnation from the Centre which said the remark showed her “political frustration”.Accusing the central government of “deploying the army” along a highway toll plaza at the second Hooghly Bridge, about 500 metres from the secretariat ‘Nabanna’ in neighbouring Howrah district, Banerjee had said she would not leave the secretariat till the army was withdrawn from there. With inputs from ANI.

Mamata Banerjee flight scare | Pilots cried wolf about low fuel: govt probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has completed its probe in the Mamata Banerjee’s flight delay incident, concluding that pilots of three aircraft cried wolf about low fuel to seek an ‘early landing’ for showing good on-time performance (OTP) to their respective airlines.A row had erupted after the Trinamool Congress alleged that the IndiGo aircraft carrying its chief Banerjee was not accorded priority in landing despite fuel shortage. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had ordered an inquiry to find out how three flights–the IndiGo aircraft, an Air India flight and a SpiceJet aircraft could fly low on fuel into Kolkata at the same time. As a fallout of the incident, the entire cockpit crew of the three flights were taken off duty for a week in connection with the incident that took place on November 30. The air traffic controller, who handled these flights was also directed to undergo “corrective training”.Experts in aviation industry said that pilots of different airlines have been using “fuel shortage” as an excuse to get early landings for achieving good OTPs. Better OTPs result in more incentives and bonuses for flight crew as airlines reward for saving aircraft fuel, a senior official from the Civil Aviation ministry said, on condition of anonymity. A top official from aviation regulator DGCA, which had conducted the probe, justified the action of de-rostering of the pilots and said that their suspension would serve as deterrent for pilots who “cry wolf”. Talking about findings of the probe, the official from DGCA said that there was no shortage of fuel in any of these aircraft, adding that the aircraft had fuel not just to hover around Kolkata but also to fly to its diversionary airport, which in this case was Bhubaneshwar airport. Norms mandate an aircraft to carry enough fuel to enable hovering for 30-40 minutes at both the destined airport and the diversional airport as well as to carry it to the diversional airport.

Mamata flight row: No shortage of fuel, pilots ‘cried wolf’ for early landing

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cockpit crew of the three aircraft reporting short on fuel over Kolkata recently was “crying wolf” and played “naughty” to seek early landing to show good on-time performance, a top DGCA official said today and justified the action of de-rostering them.All the three aircraft had, in fact, “enough” fuel and the pilots wanted “early” landing to show “good on-time performance”, the official said, requesting anonymity. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had ordered an inquiry to find out how three flights, including the IndiGo aircraft which had West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee onboard along with other passengers, could fly low on fuel into Kolkata at the same time.Subsequently, it directed the three airlines — IndiGo, Air India and SpiceJet — to take off duty the entire cockpit crew of the three aircraft. A row had erupted after the Trinamool Congress alleged that the IndiGo aircraft carrying its chief Banerjee was not accorded priority in landing despite fuel shortage.”All three aircraft had enough fuel, enough not only for holding pattern but also to land twice at the diversionary airport, which in this case was Bhubaneswar. In the landing sequence, Air India was on sixth position while IndiGo flight was on eighth slot. SpiceJet aircraft was on the last position of the three. “However, despite, this IndiGo pilot sought early landing from the ATC saying it was short on fuel. Before giving it clearance, the ATC asked Air India pilot since it was ahead in slot, but he also reported low on fuel. Just then, SpiceJet pilot also jumped in and reported short fuel. But none of them sought priority landing as that would have put them under scrutiny,” the official said.”These pilots actually played naughty. It was like cry wolf,” he said. Norms mandate an aircraft to carry enough fuel to enable hovering for 30-40 minutes as well as to carry it to the nearest diversion airport, which in this case was Bhubaneshwar. As a fallout of the entire row, all the six pilots were taken off duty for one week while the air traffic controller, who handled these flights was directed to undergo “corrective training”. “The ATC was instructed to undergo corrective training as he should have taken a decision on his own,” the official said.IndiGo on its part had said that its November 30 flight carrying the Trinamool Congress supremo was delayed due to congestion over Kolkata before making a normal landing and had adequate fuel. In a statement, IndiGo had said the flight made a “normal landing” at Kolkata airport and that its captain did not declare a fuel priority or an emergency, though there was some misunderstanding between ATC and the pilot.

Low fuel controversy: Six pilots taken off duty

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two pilots of the IndiGo flight carrying West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and four others from Air India and SpiceJet who had reported “low fuel” while hovering in Kolkata skies last week, have been taken off duty following a probe into the issue by aviation regulator DGCA.The regulator had ordered an inquiry to find out how three flights at the same time could fly low on fuel into Kolkata when the norms mandate them to carry enough fuel to enable hovering for 30-40 minutes as well as to carry it to the nearest diversion airport, which in this case was Bhubaneshwar.A row had erupted over the Indigo flight carrying Banerjee following Trinamool Congress’ allegations that the aircraft was not accorded priority in landing despite fuel shortage.A senior DGCA official said the six pilots have been taken off duty for “one week” while the air traffic controller, who handled these flights have been told to undergo “corrective training”.The official said the probe into the issue was still going on.Earlier in the day, an IndiGo spokesperson has said that two of its pilots who had operated its Delhi-Kolkata flight, which had the West Bengal Chief Minister onboard along with other passengers, have been taken off duty pending investigation.TMC vice-president Mukul Roy had alleged that a conspiracy was hatched to eliminate Banerjee and dashed off a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju, demanding a thorough inquiry by his ministry to unearth the truth.IndiGo on its part had said that its flight carrying the Trinamool Congress supremo was delayed due to congestion over Kolkata before making a normal landing and had adequate fuel.In a statement, IndiGo had said the flight 6E 342 with 174 passengers on board made a “normal landing” at Kolkata airport and that its captain did not declare a fuel priority or an emergency, though there was some misunderstanding between the Air Traffic Controller and the pilot.TMC had raised the issue in both Houses of Parliament alleging that Banerjee s flight was made to hover over Kolkata airport for about half an hour despite the pilot reporting that the plane was low on fuel.The government had vehemently denied any design, saying just when West Bengal Chief Minister s Patna-Kolkata Indigo flight reported low on fuel, two other flights of Air India and SpiceJet also called in with the same problem.Banerjee’s flight hovered over Kolkata airport for only 13 minutes and it was ensured that the aircraft landed in a safe and orderly manner, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were informed.

IndiGo takes off duty 2 pilots of Mamata Banerjee’s flight

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Budget carrier IndiGo has taken off duty the two pilots of its Kolkata flight, carrying West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, over which a row had erupted following Trinamool Congress’ allegations that the aircraft was not accorded priority in landing despite fuel shortage.Pilots operating flight 6E 342 have been kept off flying duties till investigations and discussions with DGCA are complete, an IndiGo spokesperson said. The two pilots would not be rostered as long as the investigation by the aviation regulator DGCA is completed, the airline said.Following the uproar by the TMC members in Parliament, the government had said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had launched its probe into the issue.The inquiry was conducted by the regulator, supported by IndiGo safety department, the airline said, adding that as an airline it always complies with the DGCA guidelines.IndiGo captain had followed all SOPs as laid by the regulator and at no stage the captain declared a fuel priority or an emergency, it said. “There has been no violation or breach of any regulatory requirement in the above mentioned matter. We are taking up the matter in greater detail with the DGCA,” the spokesperson added.

Six pilots suspended over TMC chief Mamata Banerjee’s flight controversy

Six pilots who had reported fuel shortage when TMC head Mamata Banerjee was on board the flight 6E 342, from IndiGo, SpiceJet and Air India were suspended by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Tuesday, according to a report by The Times of India. However, according to ANI, IndiGo Airlines have said that the pilots operating flight 6E 342 have been kept off flying duties till investigations and discussions with DGCA are complete.

Allegedly, the regulatory action was a ‘strict’ warning to airlines to refrain from cutting any corners, especially in winter when visibility is low, according to the same Times of India report.

The inquiry conducted by the regulator was supported by the IndiGo safety department, the IndiGo airline has said, adding that as an airline it always complies with the DGCA guidelines.  According to the airline, the IndiGo captain had followed all SOPs as laid by the regulator and at no stage the captain declared a fuel priority or an emergency.

A private airline plane carrying the Bengal Chief Minister hovered for over half an hour in the city sky before landing at the NSCBI Airport in Kolkata on 30 November, prompting Trinamool Congress to allege that it was a conspiracy to eliminate the party supremo.

“This is nothing but a conspiracy to kill our chief minister as she has raised voice against demonetisation and is touring the country to organise a mass movement against the anti-people decision,” said Senior Trinamool Congress leader and state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, who was accompanying Banerjee in the flight. The issue was also later raised in the parliament, turning it into a political row.

“The flight took off from Patna at 7.35 pm, an hour behind schedule, and landed in Kolkata shortly before 9 pm, after hovering over 30 minutes in the sky due to technical reasons,” airport officials said, adding that such an incident was nothing new in any airport.

However, Hakim alleged:”The pilot sought permission for landing from the (Air Traffic Control) ATC as the plane was flying short on fuel but the ATC kept the flight on hold,” also claiming that even as the pilot announced 180 km away from Kolkata that the plane would land within five minutes, it ultimately touched down after over half an hour,” seriously inconveniencing the chief minister and other passengers”. But when contacted, a senior ATC official said he was not aware of such incident.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

On 1 December, IndiGo said that the plane was delayed due to congestion before making a normal landing and that the fuel on arrival was more than the minimum diversion fuel and there has been no violation of regulatory requirements.

In a detailed statement, IndiGo said that the flight 6E 342 with 174 passengers on board, made a “normal landing” at Kolkata airport and that its captain did not declare a fuel priority or an emergency, though there was some misunderstanding between the Air Traffic Controller and the pilot. “The flight was kept on hold for landing due to air traffic congestion at Kolkata. The pilot operating 6E 342 had advised the ATC that he has eight minutes of extra holding fuel over Kolkata (destination) before commencing diversion to the planned alternative (airport). However, this information was misunderstood by the Air Traffic Controller who assumed that the aircraft had only eight minutes of total fuel left,” it said. It went on to say that this misinterpretation led the ATC to instruct fire engines and ambulances to be stationed at the airport, clarifying that the IndiGo captain at no stage declared a fuel priority or an emergency.

When TMC raised the issue in both houses of the Parliament, the government denied any designs by saying that at the same time as Banerjee’s flight reported low on fuel, two other flights of Air India and SpiceJet also called in with the same problem. Other opposition members, including Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati, Janata Dal United’s Sharad Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Prem Chand Gupta, Communist Party of India-Marxist’s TK Rangarajan, Trichuri Shiva of AIADMK and Rajiv Shukla of the Congress demanded a thorough inquiry in the matter and tabling of the report in the Rajya Sabha. But Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said as per the “facts”, all laid down procedures and regulations were followed by the ATC and assured the upper house that a probe will be conducted and its report tabled.

Even in the Lok Sabha, TMC leader Sudip Bandopadhyay had raised the issue alleging that the Air Traffic Control (ATC) delayed giving the green signal to land despite the pilot pointing out that the plane was running out of fuel. Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju, however refuted the claim and announced that the DGCA has ordered a probe into the matter to find out how three flights at the same time could fly low on fuel into Kolkata when the norms mandated them to carry enough fuel enabling them to hover for 30-40 minutes, as well as to reach the nearest diversion airport, which in this case would be Bhubaneshwar.

With inputs form agencies

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 13:33 IST

Mamata Banerjee asks West Bengal civil service officers not to act on Centre’s direction

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday asked WBCS officers not to act on any directive by the central government without asking the state government.”Instructions are coming from Delhi these days. Remember that you work for the state (government). You inform us but do not implement things on your own,” Banerjee said addressing an annual general meeting of West Bengal Civil Service (Executive) Officers Association here. She said the state government would tell them what should be done and what not to be. Banerjee has alleged that the Narendra Modi government has been trying to bulldoze the federal structure and giving direct orders to district magistrates.On the issue of demonetization, the Chief Minister said that the state’s revenue had fallen by 25 per cent. “Small sector industries, unorganised sector, salaried class people are all in an unstable condition,” she said.Describing WBCS officers as the “face of the government”, she announced new facilities for the cadre.”IAS officers will now get a special allowance of Rs 1,300 while WBCS will get Rs 1,200,” Banerjee said adding that now the government has allowed WBCS cadre to go on foreign tours and increased facilities for training.

Demonetization has hit those involved in chit fund scams: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday claimed that those involved in chit fund scams were now in trouble due to the Centre’s demonetization decision.”Many people were thinking what will happen to BJP’s plan to hold (Vijay Sankalp) rallies (in Goa) after demonetisation.But we don’t gather people for rallies by paying money,” Parrikar said at Siolim here.Ruling BJP is holding ‘Vijay Sankalp’ rallies in Goa ahead of next year’s Assembly polls.”Mayawati, Mamata, Mulayam might have been in grief but not BJP. Those who have looted crores of rupees through chit funds are feeling the heat of demonetisation,” Parrikar said, hitting out at former Uttar Pradesh chief ministers Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav, and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.”One Chief Minister was so much hurt by the demonetisation that she started accusing Army of taking over the state,” he said, without naming West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.Some members of Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress have faced cases in a chit fund scam case.”My sleep was disturbed (following her allegations). I enquired with Army, they told me that they have communicated with them (West Bengal government). They only recommended where they (Army) should be stationed. Only after that I slept in peace,” Parrikar said.

Don’t behave like a bully: JD(U) to Mamata on ‘gaddar’ jibe at Nitish

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The JD(U) on Sunday hit back at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her ‘gaddar’ (traitor) jibe at party chief Nitish Kumar for backing the Centre’s demonetisation move, and cautioned her against behaving like a ‘dada’ (bully).”Woh didi ke roop mein bahut achchi lagti hain, unhe dada ke rup mein vwyahar nahin karna chahiye (she looks good in the role of didi…she should not behave like a bully,” JD(U) secretary general K C Tyagi told reporters on the sidelines of a function here. Mamata had made the remark on November 30 at a dharna in Patna. Criticising the JD(U) for not opposing the demonetisation of high-value currencies despite being wary of the NDA-led Centre, she had said that the people would not spare the ‘gaddars’ (betrayers), indirectly referring to Nitish Kumar.The JD(U), a constituent of the ruling Grand Alliance in Bihar, had stayed away from Mamata’s dharna on note ban in the Bihar capital while another constituent, RJD, had backed the Trinamool Congress chief’s stir.The local JD(U) leaders had charged the Trinamool Congress with being “a party of scamsters”.Nitish while speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in Delhi yesterday had remarked that too much aggression could spoil the perception of people (about a leader) in an apparent reference to Mamata’s caustic remarks at the Patna dharna.

Man dies in ATM line, family blames it on ignorance of onlookers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The family of Kallol Ray Chowdhury, who on Saturday died while standing in an ATM queue near Bandel station in Hooghly district, has expressed its disgust over the ignorance of the people preferring money over life as none came to his rescue.”How can they be so heartless when someone is lying for 30 minutes and no one noticing that. People were crossing over the dead body,” said Shushoban Ray Chowdhury, the deceased’s son.”People realised importance of money before saving a life. He was under tension regarding the cash crunch. He died not due to lack of money but ignorance of the people,” he added.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also vented her anger on Twitter. “Unfortunate death toll continues… This morning Kallol Roy Chowdhury collapsed and died in front of SBI ATM at Bandel station,” she tweeted. “My condolences to the bereaved family. Is Modi babu listening?” she said in a series of tweets while hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Kallol Ray Chowdhury, an employee with the state government, died while standing in an ATM queue near Bandel station in Hooghly district on Saturday. He was standing in an ATM queue when the incident took place at 10.15 am.This was the third such incident in the state in the last 48 hours.

Mamata is symbol of honesty and simplicity, has credential to become PM: Ramdev

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, considered a close confidant of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Saturday lauded West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, saying that she had enough credential to become Prime Minister.”There should not be any question regarding her credibility in politics. If son of a chai-wala could become Prime Minister, Mamataji could also become Prime Minister,” Ramdev told reporters.”In politics, Mamataji is the symbol of honesty and simplicity. I love her simplicity. She wears chappals and ordinary saris. I believe she does not have black money,” he said. “Once during my visit to West Bengal, when Left Front was in power, I had said the Leftists should go and Mamataji should come to power. And exactly it happened thereafter,” he said.Despite Banerjee’s staunch opposition to demonetization, which he supports, Ramdev appeared soft on her when he said the TMC supremo was actually against the procedure by which the move was being implemented.”I think she is not opposed to the demonetization move per se. But I feel she is not happy the way it was implemented”, Ramdev said at the Infocom seminar here.The yoga guru-cum-entrepreneur said, “I had planted the seeds of demonetization. I continued the movement from 2009 to 2014 and asked the government to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes as it was root cause of corruption, black money generation and terror and militant funding”. Now with demonetization, black money generation, corruption and terror funding had stopped totally, he said at the seminar.”The common people is getting inconvenienced due to cash crisis. But none is complaining against this,” he said. However, Ramdev said he believed that total cashless system could not be possible immediately and it would take time i.e. atleast six months.Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the move, he sarcastically said that former PM Manmohan Singh, who had never spoken a word on any issue, had actually spoken now on the issue.”This is the effect of demonetization you see,” he quipped. Ramdev called on West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi at Raj Bhavan and termed it as ‘a courtesy call’.

Mamata not against demonetization, but its way of implementation: Ramdev

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is not against demonetization per se, but the way it is being implemented, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev said on Saturday. “I praise Mamata Banerjee because she is very simple and stays in a cottage and wears hawai chappals. I think she is not opposed to the demonetization move per se. But I feel she is not happy the way it was implemented,” he said at the Infocom seminar here. Banerjee has been most vocal among opposition parties against demonetization and held protest meetings in Delhi, Patna and Luckhow.The Yoga guru-cum-entrepreneur said, “I had planted the seeds of demonetization. I continued the movement from 2009 to 2014 and asked the government to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes as it was the root cause of corruption, black money, terror and militant funding”. Now with demonetization, black money generation, corruption and terror funding had stopped totally, he claimed.”The common people is getting inconvenienced due to cash crisis. But none is complaining against this,” he said.Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the move, Ramdev sarcastically said former PM Manmohan Singh, who had never spoken a word on any issue, had actually spoken now on the issue.”This is the effect of demonetization you see,” he quipped.

Didi v/s Army: Mamata dubs Bengal governor ‘voice of Centre’ for criticism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi on Saturday virtually disapproved of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s remarks on the deployment of army at toll plazas, saying one should be careful while making allegations against a responsible organisation like the army.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee dubbed Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi’s statement that one should be careful while making any allegation against the Army as ‘unfortunate’ and said he was speaking in the “voice of Central Government”. “The Governor is speaking in the voice of Central Government! He was not in the city for about 8 days,” she said in a statement. “Before making statements, all details should have been checked. It is very unfortunate”, she said.”Every person should be careful while making allegations against a responsible organisation like army,” Tripathi earlier told reporters. Trinamool Congress legislators and ministers had yesterday staged a protest outside the Raj Bhavan here, demanding immediate withdrawal of army from toll plazas but could not meet the Governor as he was away. TMC leaders are scheduled to meet Tripathi today. The presence of army personnel at toll plazas had triggered a row with Banerjee questioning if it was an “army coup”, drawing a stinging condemnation from the Centre which said the remark showed her “political frustration”.Banerjee had claimed that the army personnel were taking money from the vehicles which they are not supposed to do. The army had rebutted her allegations that its personnel were deployed at toll plazas without informing the state government and were collecting money, saying the exercise was being carried out in coordination with Kolkata Police.

Didi hallucinating because of demonetization: BJP on Mamata’s ‘coup’ charge

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lashing out at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee over her “coup” charge at the army, BJP said making such an allegation is the “lowest of the low” and that she has begun “hallucinating” as demonetization has rendered illegally acquired crores of rupees of her party worthless. “No sane politician and certainly not a constitutional head has ever levelled such serious charges against the Indian Army. A routine exercise is being made into a controversy. Such behaviour of Mamata Banerjee cannot be attributed to her maverick nature.”The demonetization has certainly unnerved and rattled her. The reason is simple – she lost crores of rupees of unaccounted money earned through various chit fund companies and illegal activities of TMC-patronised syndicates as they became worthless,” BJP National Secretary Sidharth Nath Singh said. It has unnerved her and now she is hallucinating, he said, terming it “unfortunate” that the army had to come up with a proof that they had informed the state administration much ahead of its routine drill.”BJP condemns outright her accusation that the army was attempting a coup in Bengal. If Mamata Banerjee wishes to be the cheerleader of the anti-demonetization campaign, holding street protests and theatrics we have no issues, but accusing Indian armed forces is highly deplorable and objectionable,” Singh, Bengal co-incharge of the party, said in a statement.”This is the lowest of the low of Mamata for which she must apologise to the army and her MPs to the nation for stalling Parliament,” he said.Referring to her response so far, including calling demonetization a financial emergency, demanding its complete rollback, threatening riots and giving 72-hour deadline to the Modi government, he wondered if she needed medical care. The issue of the army’s presence at toll plazas in the state had kicked up a storm with the Chief Minister remaining at the state secretariat overnight in protest, asking was it an “army coup”. TMC MLAs and ministers protest army deployment As Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stayed put overnight at the state secretariat over army’s presence at toll plazas in West Bengal, her TMC MLAs and ministers staged a dharna outside the Raj Bhavan protesting the “dictatorial tendencies” of the central government.More than 150 MLAs and ministers marched to the Raj Bhavan from state assembly to submit to Governor K N Tripathi a memorandum against the “ill motives of the central government” and demanding immediate withdrawal of the army personnel.They sat outside the Raj Bhavan with placards and posters criticising the Narendra Modi government besides raising slogans like ‘Modi haaye haaye’ and ‘Modi should go’.The group could not, however, meet Governor K N Tripathi as he is in New Delhi.Alleging that the Centre is trying to topple the state government as TMC has raised its voice against demonetisation, Bengal Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said, “Today we came here to protest against the dictatorial tendencies of the central government, which is trying to finish off the federal structure in the country. The state government in Bengal has been democratically-elected and that too with a huge mandate.”The people of this country will give a befitting reply to the dictatorial tendencies. A conspiracy is being hatched to topple a democratically-elected government. People will give the reply whether they want an army coup or federally- elected government,” he said.TMC, he said, would go to Raj Bhavan again tomorrow to meet the governor and lodge its complaints. “We contacted him (Tripathi) over telephone. He told us that he has read about the incident in newspapers. He has asked us to come tomorrow.” After a high drama over “deployment of army” at certain toll plazas in West Bengal without informing the state government, Banerjee stayed put at the state secretariat overnight.Army on its part strongly rebutted Banerjee’s allegations and said the exercise was being carried out in coordination with Kolkata Police.Asked to comment on the Army’s statement, Chatterjee quipped, “There is difference between informing and getting permission.”Earlier in the day, Tripathi told PTI when contacted, “I have read about it newspapers. Army has already given a clarification. I have nothing more to say.” Asked to comment on Banerjee’s allegation of “army coup”, Tripathi said, “It is the chief minister’s view. I have nothing more to say.”Today was the first day of winter session of the state assembly and Chatterjee had wanted to raise and discuss the issue in the house. However, Speaker Biman Banerjee stopped him, saying that in order to raise and discuss an issue on the floor of the assembly it has to be first discussed in the Business Advisory committee of the house.Reports from Jalpaiguri said TMC workers held day-long protest outside the Army camp at Binnaguri too.

Mamata vs army: TMC MLAs protest outside Raj Bhavan; raise ‘Modi should go’ slogan

Kolkata: As Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stayed put overnight at the state secretariat over army’s presence at toll plazas in West Bengal, her TMC MLAs and ministers staged a dharna outside the Raj Bhavan protesting the “dictatorial tendencies” of the central government.

More than 150 MLAs and ministers marched to the Raj Bhavan from state assembly to submit to Governor K N Tripathi a memorandum against the “ill motives of the central government” and demanding immediate withdrawal of the army personnel.

TMCReuters

Reuters

They sat outside the Raj Bhavan with placards and posters criticising the Narendra Modi government besides raising slogans like ‘Modi haaye haaye’ and ‘Modi should go’.

The group could not, however, meet Governor K N Tripathi as he is in New Delhi.

Alleging that the Centre is trying to topple the state government as TMC has raised its voice against demonetisation, Bengal Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said, “Today we came here to protest against the dictatorial tendencies of the central government, which is trying to finish off the federal structure in the country. The state government in Bengal has been democratically-elected and that too with a huge mandate.

“The people of this country will give a befitting reply to the dictatorial tendencies. A conspiracy is being hatched to topple a democratically-elected government. People will give the reply whether they want an army coup or federally-elected government,” he said.

TMC, he said, would go to Raj Bhavan again on Saturday to meet the governor and lodge its complaints. “We contacted him (Tripathi) over telephone. He told us that he has read about the incident in newspapers. He has asked us to come tomorrow.”

After a high drama over “deployment of army” at certain toll plazas in West Bengal without informing the state government, Banerjee stayed put at the state secretariat overnight.

Army on its part strongly rebutted Banerjee’s allegations and said the exercise was being carried out in coordination with Kolkata Police.

Asked to comment on the army’s statement, Chatterjee quipped, “There is difference between informing and getting permission.”

Earlier in the day, Tripathi told PTI when contacted, “I have read about it newspapers. Army has already given a clarification. I have nothing more to say.”

Asked to comment on Banerjee’s allegation of “army coup”, Tripathi said, “It is the chief minister’s view. I have nothing more to say.”

Today was the first day of winter session of the state assembly and Chatterjee had wanted to raise and discuss the issue in the house. However, Speaker Biman Banerjee stopped him, saying that in order to raise and discuss an issue on the floor of the assembly it has to be first discussed in the Business Advisory committee of the house.

Reports from Jalpaiguri said TMC workers held day-long protest outside the army camp at Binnaguri too.

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 18:50 IST

TMC dares Centre to show documents proving WB Govt gave permission for Army deployment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Friday threw an open challenge to the Centre to come forth with the documents proving that the West Bengal Government gave the green signal for the deployment of Army troops in certain areas in the state. Speaking to ANI here, TMC spokesperson Derek O’Brien asserted that no such document existed, adding that he would hang his head in shame if the government could prove him otherwise.‘It’s on open challenge. Has the state government of West Bengal given permission to the government of India to deploy the Army’ There is no such letter of permission. In fact the MoS Defence has laid on the table of the Rajya Sabha that the Kolkata police refused to give permission. I challenge you to show me a document where the state government has given the permission,’ he said.He further thanked BSP Supremo Mayawati, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and other political leaders who supported the TMC’s stand in the House over the matter. O’Brien further clarified that the only letter received in response is the Additional Police Commissioner of Kolkata on Monday morning. ‘When Mamata Banerjee takes up something, she does because she believes in it. Show us a document where the state government has given permission and I will hang my head in shame,’ he added.Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lashed out at Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for dragging the Indian armed forces into politics‘It’s very unfortunate, the kind of politics Mamata Banerjee has been doing after demonetisation. BJP is of the opinion that the issue of army deployment in Bengal has been politicised. We can understand you want to be the cheerleader of the anti-demonetisation group, you’re welcome to do that. But, you drag the Indian Army to prove your point, shows the lowest of the low that Mamata Banerjee in politics can get to,’ he said.Earlier today, Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar said that Mamata’s allegation that the state’s rights are being impinged upon by the Centre, was a clear sign of her political frustration, and added that it is saddening to see her and other opposition parties questioning the credibility of the Indian Army while it was performing a routine annual military exercise.Addressing the lower house of the Parliament, Parrkiar asserted that the deployment of army is a routine exercise being carried out since many years.‘It is army’s routine exercise being carried out since many years. It also took place on 19th and 21st November last year too. Saddening that a routine exercise has been made a controversy now,’ he said.‘Concerned officials were intimated by Army this year too. Original dates were 28, 29 and 30December but were changed to 1st and 2nd December later,’ he added.However, to prove that it had not made any deployment without informing the West Bengal Police and the state government about the routine exercises it is taking at some toll plazas, including the one off the second Hooghly Bridge near state secretariat Nabanna in Howrah, the Army on Friday released a series of letters. The Army letters show that it was in communication with the West Bengal police on the annual exercise to “gather statistical data about load carriers that could be made available to the army in case of a contingency.”Notwithstanding Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegations that army was deployed at two toll plazas on National Highway 2 in West Bengal without informing the state government “which is unprecedented and serious matter”, Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC), (Headquarters), Bengal Area, Major General Sunil Yadav said army formations in the Eastern Command at local levels are carrying out routine annual data collection exercises on availability of load carriers at all major entry points in various states in coordination with local police authorities.Hysteria gripped West Bengal Thursday night after chief minister Mamata Banerjee decided not to go home and instead stayed put at the state secretariat Nabanna to protest against the ‘sudden deployment’ of the army in the area. Banerjee camped overnight at her office in the secretariat in Kolkata, objecting to the presence of Army jawans at toll booths, one just 500 metres from where she was.”Is this a military coup’” the Banerjee asked, alleging that the state government had been had not been informed about what the Army said was a routine exercise that it was conducting across eastern states.

Cheap political stunt to defame Govt and Indian Army: BJP hits back at Mamata Banerjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleging that the army has been deployed at two toll plazas in West Bengal without informing the state government, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday dubbed it as a ‘cheap political stunt’ done to defame the government and drag the army into an ‘unnecessary controversy’. Talking to the media, Naidu said it is a mischievous and a dirty campaign launched by some political opponents about a routine army drill in different states of the country. ‘This is an ongoing exercise, collecting data in all the north-eastern states, including Assam, Arunachal, West Bengal, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. This is by eastern command of the army….this is an annual exercise carried out every year. In the same location, and in the same state, last year the exercise was carried out between 19 and 21 November,’ he said.‘Similar exercise is being carried out in Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and in Bihar from 26 October to November 1 under the south western command……… It is a cheap political stunt to defame the govt & drag army into unnecessary controversy with does not exist,’ he added. Launching attack at Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for his ‘TRP politics’ comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Naidu said the grand old party is themselves doing politics as they are becoming ‘irrelevant’. ‘What is TRP’ You people are doing TRPs because you are becoming irrelevant. People have rejected your Bandh call, they have rejected your Akhrosh rally, you are divided badly, you don’t have a common strategy, you have n argument to put forth to the country. That is why you are not allowing the house,’ he added.He said that the Congress Party is held band upon committing contempt of democracy. ‘The Prime Minister is the darling of the masses. He has taken a historic and a bold decision, the entire world is appreciating his movement towards digital transfer….they are making unnecessary absurd allegation. The congress is not constructive they are obstructive,’ he added.Army reject Mamata’s claims Army strongly rebutted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegations that its personnel were deployed at toll plazas without informing the state government and were collecting money, saying the exercise was being carried out in coordination with Kolkata Police. “This is being done in coordination with local police authorities. The exercise was earlier planned for November 27 and 28. The dates were changed to November 30 to December 2 on a specific request by Kolkata Police due to Bharat Bandh called on November 28,” said GOC Bengal area (officiating) Maj Gen Sunil Yadav.Reacting to the Chief Minister’s allegations he said, “We deny all charges with all contempt.” “Allegations of collection of money by Army personnel are also totally baseless,” the officiating GOC Bengal Area said.Mamata had yesterday alleged that the army had been deployed without informing the state government. “This is unprecedented and a very serious matter”, she had said.She had also claimed that the army personnel were collecting money from vehicles, which they were not supposed to. Maj Gen Yadav said a similar exercise in Eastern Command was carried out in November 2015 at the same places. The Maj Gen said that a recce was conducted with two inspectors of the Kolkata Police at toll plaza on November 27 last.”The issues raised by the police were addressed and were telephonically informed to the police,” he said. The exercise will continue as planned earlier and will end tonight, he said.Army tonight said they are conducting routine exercise with full knowledge and coordination with West Bengal police. “Army conducting routine exercise with full knowledge & coord with WB Police. Speculation of army taking over toll plaza incorrect,” a statement by the Eastern command said on Twitter.”Routine exercise in all NE states. In [email protected] places, Arunanchal @13, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], Tripura & [email protected]″, it said. Kolkata Police, however, said they have raised objection to this Army exercise due to security reasons and traffic problem. “Army exercise at Toll Plaza was objected to in writing by Kolkata Police, citing security reasons & traffic inconvenience,” the city police said in a twitter message tonight.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the Army was deployed at toll plazas in different places in the state without informing the state government and termed it as “unprecedented and a very serious matter”. She further said “Whatever reason they are giving is not correct. They are lying. They are changing their reasons time to time. The MHA has the complete data of the vehicles moving in different states in the country”. Earlier, a defence spokesperson said that the Army conducts bi-ennial exercise throughout the country with the aim of getting statistical data about the load carriers that could be made available to the army in case of a contingency.”There is nothing alarming about this and it is carried out as per government orders”, Wing Commander S S Birdi said. The exercise gives an estimate about the number of vehicles passing through a certain area that could be tapped during operations, he said.With inputs from agencies

Army carrying out annual data collection exercise in Bengal, says Maj Gen Sunil Yadav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Army formations in Bengal, GOC (Headquarters), Bengal Area, Major General Sunil YadavNot withstanding Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegations that army was deployed at two toll plazas on National Highway 2 in West Bengal without informing the state government which is unprecedented and a serious matter, General Officer Commanding (GOC), (Headquarters), Bengal Area, Major General Sunil Yadav said army formations in Eastern Command at local levels are carrying out routine annual data collection exercises on availability of load carriers at all major entry points in various states in coordination with local police authorities.”This is an exercise carried out for our operational purposes, which will terminate to its logical end tonight. They are only collecting data of heavy vehicles, which is an annual exercise being carried out every year. Similar exercises are also being carried out in Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from September 26 to October 1 this year”, said Maj. Gen. Yadav.Terming the allegations of money collection from commuters at the toll counters at at Dankuni toll plaza in Hooghly district and Pallsit toll plaza in Burdwan district ‘baseless’, the GoC said, “You must be aware that we have specific targets, specific information and data to be collected. On the completion of data collection at Nabanno, the Bengal State Secretariat, the team was withdrawn last night around 12 o’clock. We were there for almost for 36 hours.””Since it is a major point, we achieved our data and we withdrew. In the entire northeast, 80 search points have been established, and as I said the exercise continuing most of the places including the toll plazas here and Nabanno”, he added.Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegation that the state’s rights are being impinged upon by the Centre was a clear sign of her political frustration, and added that it is saddening to see her and other opposition parties questioning the credibility of the Indian Army while it was performing a routine annual military exercise.Addressing the lower house of the Parliament, Parrkiar asserted that the deployment of army is a routine exercise being carried out since many years. “It is army’s routine exercise being carried out since many years. It also took place on 19th and 21st November last year too. Saddening that a routine exercise has been made a controversy now”, he said. “Concerned officials were intimated by Army this year too. Original dates were 28, 29 and 30 December but were changed to 1st and 2nd December later”, he added.Echoing similar sentiments Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told the Rajya Sabha that West Bengal government was informed about the drill, while urging the Upper House to not drag the Indian Army in to an unwarranted controversy. “It is a sensitive matter as it pertains to the Army, let us not derail from important issues. Bengal was taken into confidence, it happened last year as well and last to last year. Let’s not drag Army into controversy”, said Naidu.Hysteria gripped West Bengal yesterday night after chief minister Mamata Banerjee decided not to go home and instead stayed put at the state secretariat Nabanna to protest against the ‘sudden deployment’ of the army in the area. Banerjee camped overnight at her office in the secretariat in Kolkata, objecting to the presence of Army jawans at toll booths, one just 500 metres from where she was.”Is this a military coup?” the Banerjee asked, alleging that the state government had been had not been informed about what the Army said was a routine exercise that it was conducting across eastern states.

Mamata Banerjee links presence of soldiers in state with ‘coup’; army calls allegation ‘misleading’

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continued to stay put at the state secretariat today protesting against army presence at toll plazas in several parts of the state and asked whether it was an “army coup”.

Army personnel, however, had left the toll plaza near the secretariat on Thursday night. Speaking to reporters late night on Thursday at ‘Nabanna’, the state secretariat, she said, “I will stay at the secretariat to guard our democracy”. “Is this a military coup,” she asked.

mamatabanerjee pti

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

She said that army personnel were there in different districts like Murshidabad, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, North 24 Paragans, Burdwan, Howrah, Hooghly etc. “The army is deployed without informing the state government. This is unprecedented and a very serious matter”, she had said.

The TMC leadership has decided to raise the issue in both the houses of Parliament and also inform President Pranab Mukherjee about the incident.

“We are talking to all political parties. We are planning to raise the issue in Parliament today. Lets see,” TMC national spokesperson Derek O’ Brien told PTI. A senior TMC leader on condition of anonymity said, “We are planning to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and inform him about the incident.

The entire country should know, how BJP is engaged in vindictive politics,”. The senior TMC leader said they have spoken to Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and discussed how to counter this issue jointly. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had called up Banerjee in the morning and inquired about the incident.

A defence spokesperson had said that the army conducts bi-annual exercise throughout the country with an aim of getting statistical data about the load carriers that could be made available to the army in case of a contingency.

“There is nothing alarming about this and it is carried out as per government orders”, Wing Commander S S Birdi had said. The Army had said they were conducting routine exercise with full knowledge and coordination with West Bengal Police.

Derek O’Brien, however, said the army claim that the exercises were conducted in coordination with police was “incorrect”. “All respect for army, but must set record straight 1) Data is already available 2. Cannot do vehicle check, not authorized to do so.

Saying exercise by @easterncomd was coordinated with police is absolutely incorrect. Also, troops were moved into districts even after midnight. Bengal CM kept watch from Secretariat overnight. She is still there,” Brien said on twitter.

Major General Sunil Yadav, while briefing the media said that “The deployment was a routine exercise and is being carried out in nine other states as well, the operation will end tonight.” When asked if the army had informed the state officials about the exercise, he asserted that “It was communicated to the state police on phone that this exercise will be conducted.” Also he added that such an exercise was also conducted last year, from 19 to 21 November with a troop of the same size and strength. He categorically denied the allegations put by TMC.

With inputs from PTI

First Published On : Dec 2, 2016 11:43 IST

Mamata vs army: CM stays at secretariat overnight, TMC to raise issue in Parliament

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continued to stay put at the state secretariat on Friday protesting against army presence at toll plazas in several parts of the state and asked whether it was an “army coup”. Army personnel, however, had left the toll plaza near the secretariat on Thursday night.Speaking to reporters late Thursday night at ‘Nabanna’, the state secretariat, she said, “I will stay at the secretariat to guard our democracy”. “Is this a military coup,” she asked.She said that army personnel were there in different districts like Murshidabad, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, North 24 Paragans, Burdwan, Howrah, Hooghly etc. “The army is deployed without informing the state government. This is unprecedented and a very serious matter”, she had said.The TMC leadership has decided to raise the issue in both the houses of Parliament and also inform President Pranab Mukherjee about the incident. “We are talking to all political parties. We are planning to raise the issue in Parliament today. Lets see,” TMC national spokesperson Derek O’ Brien told PTI.A senior TMC leader on condition of anonymity said, “We are planning to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and inform him about the incident. The entire country should know, how BJP is engaged in vindictive politics,”.The senior TMC leader said they have spoken to Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and discussed how to counter this issue jointly. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel had called up Banerjee in the morning and inquired about the incident.BJP’s Siddharth Nath Singh responded to Mamata’s allegations saying, “Jo paisa unhone (WB CM) gavaaya hai, usse sadma unhe hua hai, uske baad wo apne maansik santulan mein nahin hain (She’s in mental distress about losing money). First WB CM had apprehensions about flight being low on fuel, then she related a regular army exercise to a coup.”A defence spokesperson had said that the army conducts bi-annual exercise throughout the country with an aim of getting statistical data about the load carriers that could be made available to the army in case of a contingency. “There is nothing alarming about this and it is carried out as per government orders”, Wing Commander SS Birdi had said. The Army had said they were conducting routine exercise with full knowledge and coordination with West Bengal Police.Derek O’Brien, however, said the army claim that the exercises were conducted in coordination with police was “incorrect”. “All respect for army, but must set record straight 1) Data is already available 2. Cannot do vehicle check, not authorized to do so. Saying exercise by @easterncomd was coordinated with police is absolutely incorrect. Also, troops were moved into districts even after midnight. Bengal CM kept watch from Secretariat overnight. She is still there,” Brien said on twitter.

‘This is a military coup’: Mamata protests army deployment in state

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a high drama over “deployment of army” at certain toll plazas in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee decided to stay put at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ on Thursday night, even after the force was removed from a toll plaza near it as per her demand. “I am the custodian of common people. So I can’t leave them insecured. I will stay put here for the whole night and observe the situation,” Banerjee told reporters at around 1.30 AM.About her demand that she would leave the office only when Armymen were removed from the second Hooghly bridge toll plaza near Nabanna, she said, “These people may have gone. But they are there in 18 other districts.” TMC will raise the issue in both the houses of the Parliament on Friday.BJP’s Siddharth Nath Singh responded to Mamata’s allegations saying, “Jo paisa unhone (WB CM) gavaaya hai, usse sadma unhe hua hai, uske baad wo apne maansik santulan mein nahin hain (She’s in mental distress about losing money). First WB CM had apprehensions about flight being low on fuel, then she related a regular army exercise to a coup.”Accusing the Centre of deploying the Army at toll plazas in West Bengal without informing the state government, Banerjee had refused to leave the office till the Armymen were withdrawn from the toll plaza at second Hooghly bridge. On Friday night, Mamata said, “This is a military coup. My officials checked with Odisha, Bihar, Kerala, Chattisgarh nowhere such a thing happened. This happened only in Bengal.”The army refuted allegations of conducting exercises without the permission, while the West Bengal police said, “In almost all areas of West Bengal army has been deployed without consent of the state government.” The Army said they were conducting routine exercise with full knowledge and coordination with West Bengal police. “Army conducting routine exercise with full knowledge & coord with WB Police. Speculation of army taking over toll plaza incorrect,” the Eastern command said on Twitter. “Routine exercise in all NE states. In [email protected] places, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], Tripura & [email protected]″, it said.”The requisite data gathered and Army has been asked to withdraw from specific point, would be deployed elsewhere tomorrow,” Defence CPRO said.The Kolkata police, however, said they have raised objection to this Army exercise due to security reasons and traffic problem. “Army exercise at toll plaza was objected to in writing by Kolkata Police, citing security reasons & traffic inconvenience,” the city police said on Twitter. The drama unfolded on Thursday evening when Banerjee alleged that Army deployment was done in toll plazas without informing the state government and described it as “unprecedented” and “a very serious situation worse than Emergency”. She claimed that people got panicky due to deployment of Army at toll plazas.A Defence spokesperson said the Army conducts bi-annual exercise throughout the country with the aim to get statistical data about the load carriers that could be made available to the army in case of a contingency. “There is nothing alarming about this and it is carried out as per government orders”, Wing Commander SS Birdi said. The exercise gives an estimate about the number of vehicles passing through a certain area that could be tapped during operations, he said.The Chief Minister, however, said “The Secretariat is a sensitive zone and toll plaza is a sensitive place. Why is the Army here? Whatever reason they are giving is not correct. They are lying. They are changing their reasons from time to time. The MHA has the complete data of the vehicles moving in different states.” Banerjee said she has checked with other states but nothing such has happened in Maharashtra, Kerala, Odisha and Chattisgarh. “Why is that happening here? I fear that they can shoot. Either I will live or die but I will speak for the common people,” Banerjee said. “I do not have any problem if the Centre behaves like the central government. But they are repeatedly doing mistakes and now they are doing a blunder. It is an attack on the federal structure. We want to know the details,” she said.

Uproar in Parliament over Mamata Banerjee’s flight scare

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A political row erupted in the parliament on Thursday amid allegations that an IndiGo plane with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on board was made to hover over Kolkata airport despite low fuel thereby putting her life and the lives of over 100 other passengers on board at risk. The government, however, attempted to assure both houses of the parliament that there was no conspiracy whatsoever. IndiGo also issued a statement in this regard but denied that its aircraft was running low on fuel. The airline claimed that the Kolkata air traffic control (ATC) “misunderstood” the message given by pilots of its flight 6E 342 and wrongly assumed the plane was running low on fuel.Trinamool Congress (TMC), along with other opposition parties, raised the issue in both houses of parliament alleging that Banerjee’s flight was left circling over Kolkata airport for about half an hour and was not given priority landing despite the pilot reporting about low fuel. The government vehemently denied any design and said Banerjee’s flight hovered over Kolkata airport for only 13 minutes. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were informed by Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju and MoS Jayant Sinha respectively. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered an inquiry to find out how three flights at the same time could fly low on fuel when the norms mandate them to carry enough fuel to enable hovering for 30-40 minutes as well as to carry it to the nearest diversion airport.

Row over Mamata flight incident echoes in Parliament, DGCA orders probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A row erupted on Thursday over West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s IndiGo flight being made to hover over Kolkata after the plane was reportedly low on fuel and it echoed in Parliament where TMC alleged threat to her life while the Centre asserted no one was in danger.Aviation regulator DGCA ordered an inquiry into the incidents of as many as three flights, including one carrying Banerjee, reporting low fuel yesterday at the same time. TMC vice-president Mukul Roy alleged that a conspiracy was hatched to eliminate Banerjee and dashed off a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju, demanding a thorough inquiry by his ministry to unearth the truth. IndiGo on its part said its flight carrying the Trinamool Congress supremo was delayed due to congestion over Kolkata before making a normal landing and had adequate fuel. In a statement, IndiGo said the flight 6E 342 with 174 passengers on board made a “normal landing” at Kolkata airport and that its captain did not declare a fuel priority or an emergency, though there was some misunderstanding between the Air Traffic Controller and the pilot.According to IndiGo, the misinterpretation of information by ATC controller, led the ATC to instruct fire engines and ambulances to be stationed at the airport. TMC raised the issue in both Houses of Parliament alleging that Banerjee’s flight was made to hover over Kolkata airport last evening for about half an hour despite the pilot reporting that the plane was low on fuel. The government vehemently denied any design saying just when West Bengal Chief Minister’s Patna-Kolkata Indigo flight reported low on fuel, two other flights of Air India and SpiceJet also called in with the same problem.Banerjee’s flight hovered over Kolkata airport for only 13 minutes and it was ensured that the aircraft landed in a safe and orderly manner, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were informed by Raju and his deputy Jayant Sinha respectively. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) ordered an inquiry to find out how three flights at the same time could fly low on fuel into Kolkata when the norms mandate them to carry enough fuel to enable hovering for 30-40 minutes as well as to carry it to the nearest diversion airport, which in this case was Bhubaneshwar.Alleging a threat to the life of Banerjee, who is at the forefront of anti-demonetization campaign, TMC leader in Lok Sabha Sudip Bandopadhyay said the government should rise to the occasion and find out whether there was a conspiracy. Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, said that Banerjee has been travelling to various parts of the country protesting against government’s move to ban 500 and 1000 rupee notes causing hardships to common people.”Her life is in danger and ATC should have allowed her flight to land first. The VVIP flight should have been allowed to land in priority,” he said. Raju said it is incorrect to say that the flight was hovering over Kolkata for 30-40 minutes. “The flight was hovering for only 13 minutes. The DGCA has ordered an inquiry how all the three flights were flying low fuel.” In the Rajya Sabha, Sinha said, “At no point was anybody’s life at risk or danger. All safety procedures were fully followed.””Today it is one opposition leader… this opposition leader is at the forefront (of anti-demonetization campaign),” TNC leader Derek O’Brien said, adding questions are being raised if it is a conspiracy to eliminate opposition leaders.

Demonetization: There is discrimination in disbursement of cash between states, says Mamata Banerjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid salary day blues, Mamata Banerjee on Thursday alleged her state West Bengal and some others were being discriminated against in supply of new currency notes and demanded that RBI furnish details of bills distributed to each state.”Rs 500, Rs 100 and smaller currency notes not seen in Bengal and many parts of the country. They have become a rare commodity. Let RBI release all figures as to which state is getting which currency,” Banerjee said in a statement in Kolkata. “There is total discrimination in disbursement of cash between states. These figures need to be released. Totally biased, no planning,” she said.Banerjee alleged the salaries people were not being able to withdraw money from their accounts. “The salaried class is not getting its own money from banks…If those in the organised sector are facing serious problems, you can imagine how grim the situation is in the unorganised sector. Even RBI has not given many state governments critically necessary funds despite making announcements and promises,” she alleged.Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, sought to assuage the concern of common people over demonetisation as also GST, the two big ticket economic reforms initiated by the government, insisting these would be “game changers”. As far as currency changes are concerned, once the demonetisation process is completed and the economy gets back to full steam, the size of the GDP will significantly expand, tax base will expand. “More money will come to the banks which will be used fruitfully for the betterment of the economy,” he told the ‘Make in India’ conclave in Bhubaneshwar.Jaitley said though the Centre’s initiative might appear challenging, its long-term impact on the economy will be beneficial for the country. Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, who had implemented a Voluntary Disclosure Scheme (VDS) to unearth black money during his tenure, said the Modi government had carried out demonetisation in a “haphazard” manner causing “unimaginable sufferings” to the people. “We are not against efforts to curb black money. But in my opinion, the Prime Minister announced demonetisation without any preparation. It was done in a haphazard manner,” Deve Gowda, a Lok Sabha member, told PTI.He said 22 days have already passed since the announcement was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a nationally-televised address but people, particularly the farmers and the labourers, continue to go through “unimaginable sufferings”. Noting that the Prime Minister had asked people to “tolerate” the difficulties for 50 days, he questioned, “How long does this government want the people to suffer?”The government also came in for criticism from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who claimed demonetisation exercise has slowed down growth and it would take six months to a year for the situation to normalise. “December 1 has arrived. Salaries are to come in bank accounts but how much money one will get (withdraw) is not certain. There is no word on when these queues (outside banks) will end. The decision has slowed down the entire economy and it will take over six months to a year to normalise the situation,” he said.”Economy gets a boost when one spends. Stopping one from spending will affect development. This (demonetisation) is to create complications. We have sought details as to how much money banks are getting but we have not got the information,” he said in Lucknow.In the wake of reports that government employees are struggling to withdraw salaries post demonetisation, BSP chief Mayawati that demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi participate in the debate on the issue in Parliament to discuss the “bad” situation triggered by the move.”Even the government employees are now not getting salaries. They have been queuing up (outside banks/ATMs to withdraw money) since yesterday. The situation is really bad. “Therefore, party demands that the Prime Minister take part in the debate inside Rajya Sabha. The views he is expressing outside House on the issue, he should express inside,” Mayawati told reporters outside Parliament.

Demonetization: In Patna, Mamata calls Nitish Kumar a traitor; says country in a state of ‘super emergency’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday called Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar a ‘traitor’ for deserting the anti-demonetization camp. She alleged that the country was in a state of ‘super emergency’ due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy of banning high currency notes. Mamata, who was addressing a rally in Patna to demand rollback of Centre’s decision on demonetization, said financial emergency is worse than any emergency in the country where the government has even snatched the basic “roti, kapda and makaan” from citizens. Apparently miffed at Nitish, who is also the JD (U) president, for not participating in the Opposition’s anti-demonetization protests, Mamata said, “It is better for all parties to fight together. Lekin jo gaddari karega, janata use maaf nahi karegi (those who betray the cause will not be forgiven by the people).” The Bihar CM has supported demonetization since the beginning saying it will help in tackling black money menace. He has asked his party workers to stay away from any protests against demonetizations.In contrast, JD (U)’s ally and senior alliance partner Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) led by Lalu Prasad has opposed the demonetization policy due to the ‘inconvenience being caused to common man.’ RJD’s support was appreciated by Mamata several times during her speech. “I respect Lalu ji, because his party is with us in this fight against demonetization. In UP too, Akhilesh and Mulayam ji were with us. This is people’s battle not my individual one,” she said Mamata said she was happy for those who were with her. “I won’t take names, but I feel unhappy about those who are not with us,” said Mamata.

Mamata’s photo should be kept in every household: TMC MP Idris Ali

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A TMC MP on Wednesday compared party chief Mamata Banerjee to national icons like Rabindranath Tagore, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi and said the West Bengal Chief Minister’s photograph should be kept in every household in the country.TMC MP from West Bengal’s Basirhat, Idris Ali, today came to Parliament sporting an orange kurta, specially created and designed in College Street in Kolkata, with the face of Banerjee drawn on it. Ali told PTI the photograph of the West Bengal Chief Minister is kept in almost all the households of the state nowadays.”Just like people keep the photograph of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, I think, her (Banerjee’s) picture should also be hung in every household across the country,” he said. He said she is a very popular leader who has lead from the front to oppose the government’s demonetisation decision from the very first day. He said Banerjee leads a very simple life and she has also taken up the cause of the poor. Many leaders from various parties also greeted him after they saw the kurta in Parliament, he added.

Akhilesh Yadav outsmarts Mamata Banerjee, stays away from Lucknow demonetisation rally

Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh have a great political allure. Leaders from afar are attracted to this vast state to come here and try their luck. After all, it is said that the path to Delhi goes via Lucknow, and a good show in Lucknow make people in Delhi take notice.

So, it was West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who staged a protest rally in Lucknow on 29 November after a shrill campaign against demonetisation initiated by her in Delhi that attracted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. In Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in an expression of bonhomie went to the airport to receive her, turning it into a great photo opportunity. It was unofficially given out to the media that Akhilesh had given full support to Mamata’s protest show in Lucknow and he might possibly share the stage with her the next day. Incidentally, Mamta did not meet the Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav.

A file image of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

A file image of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

But the next day was a different story. The venue chosen for Mamta’s protest meeting was a busy road intersection, one that is identified with the office of the Women Helpline (1090) started by the Akhilesh government. The area is splashed with hoardings of Akhilesh Yadav smiling down amidst a description of his government’s achievements. And there is a huge LED screen that displays videos of his government’s schemes and their success. The venue is a little more than a kilometre from the Chief Minister’s official residence as well, and the road intersection is very busy throughout the day as it connects the trans-Gomti part of Lucknow through two bridges.

Any disruption on this roundabout causes huge traffic snarls within minutes and it so happened that day also, creating an impression that the huge crowd was there to listen to the fiery Didi.

Her party’s hoardings lined the roads leading to the venue, on which there was a single line: Notebandi wapas lo (Withdraw demonetisation) with a picture of Mamata with her stern face and an outstretched hand and a raised finger which resembled the famed posture in BR Ambedkar statues.

The meeting was scheduled to start at 10.30 am with Mamata expected to be at the venue around 1 pm and the crowd — some that had come on purpose and some that had to perforce stop there because of the traffic jam — waited patiently for her. In fact, the venue very soon looked more like a Samajwadi Party gathering with SP banners, slogans and SP flag-waving supporters swarming the place. Akhilesh supporters were shouting slogans for him and it was announced that he would be coming there soon.

But Mamata was delayed by nearly an hour and Akhilesh decided to stay away. In his place, one of his ministers Arvind Singh Gope and the party’s senior leader Kiranmoy Nanda graced the stage. Mamata spoke in her typical style, asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw demonetisation, but as news of Akhilesh not arriving on the spot spread, SP supporters started moving away in large numbers. Besides accusing Modi of hurting the poor with this move, she said she would continue to oppose the prime minister, and dared him to arrest her.

If Mamata was smart enough to choose a busy road crossing for her meeting so that the traffic disruption could give the impression of a crowd, Akhilesh Yadav proved to be smarter. He not only stayed away from what was essentially a Trinamool Congress and Mamata Banerjee show but also avoided sharing the stage with her, as it would possibly have given a signal that he had accepted her leadership in this anti-BJP movement on the issue of demonetisation. But Akhilesh succeeded in giving a signal that despite reports of him being amenable on the issue he was against demonetisation in principle even though he has so far never called for a rollback as Mamata has been demanding from day one. He has also managed to isolate Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on this issue as no senior opposition leader has sided with Mayawati on her anti-demonetisation stance till now.

Mamata is the second non-BJP and non-Congress chief minister to have marked her political presence in Uttar Pradesh in the last few months. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was the first to stage a series of meetings in the state some months ago on total prohibition alcohol. But he has been with Modi on the issue of demonetisation. Mamata, on the other hand, has been on the forefront this time in the anti-demonetisation campaign, demanding nothing less than a rollback. And, she has left Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati far behind in acquiring national opposition leadership on this issue. So, a splash in Lucknow was quite in order.

Incidentally, no leader of the Samajwadi Party owing allegiance to Mulayam Singh Yadav or Shivpal Yadav was present at the Mamata show. Mulayam is not known to be particularly eager on any alliance with Mamata given the past acrimony between the two since the issue of the previous Presidential election in 2012. It would thus appear that Akhilesh’s token support to Mamata and her rally may not be the Samajwadi Party’s stand as far as future alliances are concerned. But Akhilesh could well use Mamta’s support in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Election 2017 campaign that could begin in the coming weeks even if Trinamool Congress is not going to be in the fray for the game of numbers. Akhilesh would remain the party’s undisputed face for UP, but he could well be won over to support Mamata over Nitish in 2019.

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 13:01 IST

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