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As many as 27 rescued from the vessel that had no permission to operate

Going all-out: Rescue operation going on in Godavari. Special ArrangementSpecial Arrangement

In a major tragedy in Andhra Pradesh, a private boat carrying tourists to Papikondalu capsized in Godavari River near Katchuluru village of East Godavari district on Sunday, leaving at least eight dead and over 37 missing. As many as 27 were rescued.

The accident occurred post-noon when the boat ‘Vashista’ headed to the tourist destination against an inflow of about five lakh cusecs of floodwater in the Godavari, which has been in spate for the past several days. The boat, which had no permission to operate from the government, began the trip from Singanapalli Revu in Devipatnam mandal.

Alert locals of Katchuluru village rescued about 14 persons. Most of the tourists who survived were wearing life jackets, locals said.

Admitted to hospital

The survivors were initially admitted to the Rampachodavaram Area Hospital and they quickly recovered.

East Godavari Superintendent of Police Adnan Nayeem Asmi said there were 72 persons on board, including about eight boat crew members, at the time of the accident. Eight bodies have been retrieved.

However, the number of persons on board and the number of victims couldn’t be confirmed as different government agencies, including the district administration and the Revenue Department, were giving different figures.

While some of the rescue teams have been withdrawn from the operation, National Disaster Response Force teams will continue the search for survivors through the night.

An Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) chopper has also been pressed into service. More rescue teams will be engaged early on Monday.

Navy deploys aircraft

The Navy has deployed a Dornier aircraft to assist the rescue operations.

Two Naval helicopters would also be deployed from INS Dega at daybreak on Monday, according to an official release.

Deep divers team

A specialised deep divers team with ‘Side Scan Sonar’ equipment from Uttarakhand will join the rescue operations on Monday.

A majority of the tourists were from Hyderabad, Warangal and Visakhapatnam cities in Telangana.

The State government has announced an exgratia of ₹10 lakh each to the kin of the deceased.

Boat services suspended

The government ordered the immediate suspension of boat services in the region.

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who enquired about the accident, directed the officials to carry out the rescue operations on a war footing.

President Ramnath Kovind tweeted that his prayers were with the bereaved families.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a message on Twitter that he was extremely pained by the tragedy.

Mr. Modi said his thoughts were with the bereaved families and that rescue operations were under way at the site of the tragedy. He also asked available Ministers in the district to visit the spot and supervise the rescue and search operations.

Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan offered his condolences to members of the bereaved families.

Comments contrary to spirit of Constitution, says CPI(M)

Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s assertion that Hindi, as the most spoken language, could work to unite the country continued to draw sharp reaction from the Opposition parties on Sunday.

“The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly opposes these efforts, which stem from the RSS conception of one nation, one culture, one language,” the party said in a statement, rejecting the “imposition of Hindi”.

The party said Mr. Shah’s “announcement that Hindi should be treated as the national language runs contrary to the spirit of the Constitution and our country’s linguistic diversity”.

Bid to trigger row

In Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described the move as a planned attempt to trigger a controversy and divert attention from real issues.

Speaking at an event in Bengaluru, Congress Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh said “one nation-one language” would never be a reality. “We may have one nation-one tax, but one nation-one language will never be a reality...,” he said.

“We are one nation, we are many languages, we are one nation-many countries,” Mr. Ramesh was quoted as saying by PTI.

DMK president M.K. Stalin accused the Centre of “autocratic imposition of Hindi”, calling for unity among Opposition parties on the issue.

Speaking at a public meeting organised by ally MDMK on the 111th birth anniversary of former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai in Chennai, Mr Stalin said, “If we close our eyes for a second, they will impose Hindi and completely discard Tamil. We have been protesting against this since 1938. We protested in 1949, 1950, 1953, 1963 and 1965. We have once again arrived at a stage where we have to protest.”

Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy also joined the chorus of protests.

Earlier on Saturday, several Opposition parties — including DMK — had opposed Mr. Shah's pitch for Hindi. The Congress said the three-language formula should not be tinkered with. The remarks also triggered protests in Karnataka.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “My best wishes to all on Hindi Diwas. We should respect all languages and cultures equally. We may learn many languages but we should never forget our mother-language.”

The CPI said the comments smacked of an attack on the very concept of diversity. “The need today is to respect, protect and nurture diversity of our nation so that unity is ensured. The Home Minister’s statement is an attack on federalism extending the politics and ideology of RSS to every sphere of life,” it said.

Manohar Lal Khattar

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday said a National Register of Citizens will be compiled in Haryana. He was speaking to the media after meeting Justice (retired) H.S. Bhalla, former chairman of the Haryana Human Rights Commission. He also met former Admiral J.S. Lamba and Lt. Gen. (retired) Baljit Singh Jaiswal under the BJP’s ‘Maha Sampark Abhiyan’ — an outreach programme to get feedback on the work of the government in the last five years. It concluded on Sunday.

“Under this campaign, we met prominent citizens. We talked about steps for taking the country forward. I spoke to Justice Bhalla on the NRC exercise. He is going on a tour of Assam to study NRC data. His services would be useful for compiling the NRC in Haryana,” said Mr. Khattar.

He said the government was working at a fast pace on the family identity card, and its data would be used in the NRC exercise.

“Constitution of a Law Commission is being considered. A separate department would also be established to utilise the services of intellectuals, professionals and eminent persons in an audit of the development works undertaken,” he said.

Women who were given iron-folic acid tablets and reported unpleasant effects could opt for alternative

Sweet-sour solution: Gooseberry candy adds nutrients to fight anaemia, among women in particular.Special Arrangement The Hindu

A drive for good nutrition among pregnant women and children in a southern Assam district has been given a gooseberry candy twist. This follows a report that the targeted groups find the prescribed iron-folic acid tablets repulsive.

According to the 2015 National Family Health Survey, 47.2% of the women of reproductive age in Hailakandi were anaemic. The district, thus, has the most anaemic children below 5 years, adolescents and women of reproductive age in Assam.

But mothers, pregnant women and children in the district, data reveal, consume only 24.3% of the total iron-folic acid tablets that the district receives and distributes. “The tablets given to these groups are often not consumed as they feel nauseated or have constipation issues. There are also myths that these tablets will kill them or make them incapable of conceiving,” District Deputy Commissioner Keerthi Jalli told The Hindu.

Amla, jaggery combo

To get around the problem while launching Poshan Maah, or nutrition month, a few days ago, the district administration decided to produce roundish amla-gur candies with a dose of salt. Nutritionists involved in the campaign said amla, or gooseberry, is rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants, while gur, or jaggery, is rich in iron, vital vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system.

“The gooseberry candy is a home-made recipe, and is provided alongside iron-folic acid tablets as behavioural change in nutritious eating is a slow process. If women and children avoid the tablet, they can get the required vitamin and mineral inputs through the improvised delicacy of which ingredients are available locally,” Ms. Jalli said. The candy is cost-effective too, she said. Anganwadi workers, supervisors and mothers have been engaged to prepare and distribute the ‘laddoos’ with the ingredients given by the district authorities.

“This is a novel initiative that should go a long way in checking anaemia that increases the risk during pregnancy and at childbirth, besides resulting in low birth weight and malnourished children,” Anganwadi worker Labiba Begum Barlaskar said.

About 32.5% of the children aged below five in Hailakandi are underweight. The average figure for Assam is 30%.

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