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Kerala offers to send 20 lakh litres of water by rail to T.N.

After initially declining to accept it, State says it will take decision today

Bone dry: Workers collecting water from the Puzhal reservoir on the outskirts of Chennai on Thursday. AFPAFP

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami will on Friday take a decision on Kerala’s offer to supply 20 lakh litres of water by train from Thiruvananthapuram to Chennai to tide over the water crisis, Municipal Administration Minister S.P. Velumani said on Thursday evening.

The Minister’s response came after the Kerala Chief Minister’s Office posted a statement on Facebook stating that Tamil Nadu had declined its help to supply water (on a one-time basis).

“Kerala is willing to assist Tamil Nadu in tackling the crisis caused by water scarcity. We could deliver 20 lakh litres of drinking water through the rail network. In response to our offer, we have been informed that at present Tamil Nadu has sufficient supply and doesn’t require additional assistance from Kerala,” the statement said.

Opposition leader and DMK president M.K. Stalin criticised the Tamil Nadu government for “rejecting” the help from the neighbouring State and urged that the water be accepted. Despite rainfall deficit, the storage in Kerala’s reservoirs is much better than in Tamil Nadu.

The Tamil Nadu government in the evening released a statement “tweeted by” Mr. Velumani, in which he confirmed that there was an offer through the Secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister to his counterpart in Tamil Nadu seeking to know whether drinking water in 20 wagons could be sent.

President bats for simultaneous polls

Plan will spur growth, says Kovind

Ram Nath Kovind addressing Parliament. PTIPTI

President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday asked MPs to seriously ponder over the proposal of simultaneous elections, terming it “development-oriented”.

In his hour-long address to both Houses of Parliament, he said the people of the country had “demonstrated their wisdom by delivering a clear verdict” in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Mr. Kovind also flagged the government’s move to push forward with the triple talaq Bill in this session, the decision to implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) on a priority basis and the strong response to terror after the attack in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, on February 14. “‘One nation, simultaneous election’ is the need of the hour, which would facilitate accelerated development, thereby benefiting our countrymen,” he said.

Sanjiv Bhatt gets life term in custodial death case

A court in Gujarat on Thursday sentenced the dismissed IPS officer, Sanjiv Bhatt, to life imprisonment in a custodial death case dating back to 1990 when he was the Additional Superintendent of Police in Jamnagar district.

At present, Mr. Bhatt is in jail in a separate case related to drug planting and falsely implicating a lawyer for alleged possession of drugs that goes back to 1996 when he was the Superintendent of Police in Banaskantha district.

Mr. Bhatt, who filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in 2011 against the role of the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots, was suspended from the Indian Police Service in 2011 and sacked by the Ministry of Home Affairs in August 2015 for “unauthorised absence” from service and on other charges.

D.N. Vyas, judge of the court of sessions in Jamnagar, convicted Mr. Bhatt and constable Pravinsinh Zala under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced them to life in jail. The court also convicted SIs Dipak Shah and Sailesh Pandya and constables Pravinsih Jadeja, Anopsinh Jethva and Keshubha Jadeja and sentenced them to two years in prison.

Infant dies after being shunted between hospital wings in U.P.

Treatment delayed for three hours

A medical superintendent was suspended and departmental action was initiated against another senior doctor for negligence when a critically ill infant died at a hospital in Bareilly after allegedly being shunted from one wing to another without treatment for more than three hours.

‘Negligence of duty’

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered the suspension on charges of “negligence of duty”. Departmental proceedings would also be initiated against the CMS of the women’s wing of the hospital, a government spokesperson said.

The victim was brought to the OPD of the men’s wing of the hospital on Wednesday, where sufficient paediatricians were available, but instead of stabilising the child, her family was turned away to the women’s wing.

However, the CMS of the women's hospital, which has a Sick Newborn Care Unit facility, referred the child back to the men’s wing.

The infant, born on June 15 at a private hospital in Bareilly, was brought to the hospital by her father and grandmother. The child had developed breathing complications. Kusma Devi, the child’s grandmother, said they were made to run around for more than three hours to just get the child admitted.

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