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Clean India Mission an inspiration to the world, PM tells UN General Assembly

Global call: Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly. APAP

In an address to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly that combined elements of a campaign speech and a call to action, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday showcased his government’s developmental and environmental record, and set out its agenda. He sought unanimity in combating terrorism and said the UN needed to adopt a new direction.

“When a developing country is able to successfully implement the world’s biggest sanitation campaign within the Clean India Mission, building over 110 million toilets in just 5 years for its countrymen, all its achievements and outcomes are an inspirational message for the entire world,” Mr. Modi said.

“The largest number of supreme sacrifices made by soldiers of any country for UN peace keeping missions is from India,” Mr. Modi said, adding, “We belong to a country that has given the world, not war, but Buddha’s message of peace.”

On terrorism, Mr. Modi said, “The lack of unanimity amongst us on the issue of terrorism dents those very principles that are the basis for the creation of the UN. And that is why, for the sake of humanity, I firmly believe that it is absolutely imperative that the world unites against terrorism, and that the world stands as one against terrorism.”

About 30 minutes before Mr. Modi’s speech began, protesters started to gather outside the UN to protest India’s actions in Kashmir.

The crowd included Indian Americans, The Coalition Against Fascism in India, Dalit groups, Kashmiris, Sikh Khalistanis and Pakistanis were present.

The Indian American community had also come out in large numbers to support Mr. Modi.

Through the past week, both the Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar have, at public forums, either explicitly or implicitly, called out Pakistan for its support of cross-border terror.

Saying a fragmented world was in nobody’s interest, Mr. Modi called for a new direction to multilateralism and to the UN, saying it was no longer possible, due to modern technology to be confined within one’s borders.

Kerala to demolish flats and remove debris by Feb. 9, 2020

The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Kerala government to immediately pay an interim compensation of ₹25 lakh each to the residents of the illegal high-rise Maradu blocks facing demolition for violation of coastal zone regulations.

“We do not want Maradu flats’ residents to be left in dire straits. But our primary concern is illegal constructions in CRZ areas and natural disasters that follow. The flats have to be demolished. If you [the government] cannot demolish it, we will ask someone else, at your cost, to do it,” Justice Arun Mishra, leading a Bench comprising Justice Ravindra S. Bhat, clarified to the State.

Perusing the affidavit filed by the Kerala Chief Secretary on the plan for demolition, the court said the demolition and removal of debris would be completed by February 9, 2020. It ordered the State government to file a written undertaking to this effect in seven days.

The court ordered the State to pay the interim compensation within four weeks and recover the sum from the builders and promoters of the apartments.

Issuing notice to the builders and promoters, the Bench sought the details of their properties and assets of the directors and partners of the companies by afternoon.

The court further asked the government to provide it with a panel of retired High Court judges later in the day.

The Bench would choose one of the judges shortlisted for setting up a committee to evaluate each of the flats for further payment of compensation. A lawyer for a builder submitted that the flats were 2,300 sq ft, valued at ₹39 lakh.

“The committee will quantify how much each resident had paid to the builder at the time of purchase of the apartment,” Justice Mishra said.

The committee would also look into fixing liability on authorities like the local panchayat for permitting the construction of the flats in the fragile coastal area.

Babies had died due to lack of oxygen supply at BRD hospital in August 2017

Kafeel Khan

Two years after he was suspended and jailed following the death of infants due to lack of oxygen supply at the State-run BRD Medical College in Gorakhpur, a government-appointed internal inquiry has absolved doctor Kafeel Khan of the major charges against him.

There was no evidence of “medical negligence” against Dr. Khan, the report observed. The doctor was not involved in the process of supply, tender, maintenance, payment or order of oxygen. He was also not the nodal officer of the encephalitis ward at the medical college, the probe report said. However, it notes that he was involved in private practice till August 2016.

The probe was conducted by Himanshu Kumar, who was posted as Principal Secretary (Stamp and Registration).

The report, was made public now by Dr. Khan after he was asked to submit his final reply after checking its findings.

A clean chit to him, however, would depend on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who has the power to approve the findings of the final report, which is yet to be submitted.

HC observations

The report supports several observations made by the Allahabad High Court while granting him bail in April 2018. Dr. Khan served seven months in jail.

The report says Dr. Khan made all efforts to deal with the crisis when the BRD medical college suffered a shortage of oxygen for 54 hours between August 10 and 11, 2017, over non-payment of dues to the supplier. Dr. Khan was posted as a paediatrician at the hospital when several infants died over a period of 48 hours.

“I always knew I have not done anything wrong. On that fateful day, I did what I could do best, as a doctor, father and a common Indian,” Dr. Khan said. “But, for my efforts to save the lives of children, I was thrown behind bars, vilified by the media, my family was put through immense harassment and I was suspended from my job,” said Dr. Khan. He continues to be under suspension.

Dr. Khan said he believed the real culprits of the “completely man-made tragedy” at BRD hospital “are those who received letters of dues from oxygen suppliers, but did not make the payment.”

KC(M) bastion falls; Congress wins in Dantewada

The results of the four Assembly byelections, declared by the Election Commission on Friday, saw an upset win for the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala’s Pala, while the BJP retained Badharghat in Tripura and Hamirpur in Uttar Pradesh, but lost Dantewada to the Congress in Chhattisgarh.

Considered a bastion of the Congress-led UDF and held by the leader of the Kerala Congress (Mani) [KC(M)] K.M. Mani for 54 years, Pala represents a significant victory for the ruling LDF.

The LDF candidate and NCP leader, Mani C. Kappan, bagged 54,137 votes to trounce his nearest rival Jose Tom Pulikkunnel, the UDF’s Independent candidate, by 2,943 votes.

Presence not required now: agency

Sharad Pawar coming out of his home in Mumbai on Friday. Vivek Bendre The Hindu

Two days after announcing that he would voluntarily visit the Enforcement Directorate’s office in to clear the air about an alleged scam at the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank in which he has been named, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Friday cancelled his visit, after the ED conveyed to him that his presence was not required as of now.

In a related development, Mr. Pawar’s nephew and senior party leader Ajit Pawar, also named in the scam, resigned as MLA in the evening.

Mr. Sharad Pawar told the media outside his residence in Mumbai that the ED’s response was to his email informing it of his intended visit to its office.

“Mumbai’s commissioner of police and joint police commissioner met me on behalf of the State government. The commissioner said there was a possibility of law and order getting disturbed. I have been Home Minister in the past and do not want to disturb the peace in the city and affect daily lives of people,” Mr. Pawar said.

He thanked his party workers, ally Congress and its leaders Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi for their support.

Mr. Pawar also thanked Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who had spoken in his favour.

Faxes resignation

Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagde said Mr. Ajit Pawar had faxed his resignation and spoken to him on the phone.

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