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Kerala floods: 42 dead, over one lakh in relief camps

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Thiruvananthapuram: As Kerala continues to battle the torrential downpour lashing its shores, death toll has risen to 42 in rain related incidents, including flooding and landslides, with over one lakh people moved to relief camps, officials said on Saturday.

Twenty people have been killed in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, and nine have died in Wayanad in rain related incidents since August 8, officials said quoting reports received till 7 am. In 988 relief camps across the state, 1,07,699 persons have been shifted.

In the worst affected Wayanad, 24,990 persons are in such camps, they said. Many people are still feared trapped under debris following major landslides that hit the Wayanad and Malappuram districts and the rescue operations, which were suspended Friday night, have restarted as the day broke, the officials said.

Heavy rain is continuing in Wayanad, hampering the rescue efforts, the officials said. Over 1,000 people have been rescued from the tea plantation village of Puthumala at Meppadi in Wayanad, which was rocked by landslides as portion of a hill came crashing down on several homes and other structures, including a mosque and a temple.

According to Wayanad Sub Collector N S K Umesh, seven bodies have been recovered so far and over 1,000 people have been moved to safer locations. “The area is dangerous. What we understand is that 15 people are still missing,” he said, adding search operations by Army and National Disaster Response Force personnel are underway. With water levels rising, there is a possibility of opening the shutters of Banasurasagar dam, officials have indicated.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said on Friday that the dam could be opened any time. The district administration is likely to take a decision in this regard after reviewing the situation this morning. Besides Wayanad, the continuous rains have triggered multiple landslides and overflowing rivers have caused flooding in several parts of Malappuram, Kannur and Idukki in north and central Kerala.

Several areas in Thrissur and Kannur districts are waterlogged with many having been moved to relief camps. Train services have also been disrupted due to flooding and trees falling on rail tracks. Southern Railways has cancelled several trains, including the Kannur-Alapuzha Express, on Saturday. Many trains have been partially cancelled with routes cut short to avoid the flooded areas.

Mangaluru–Nagercoil Parasuram Express has been cancelled between Mangaluru and Wadakkanchery, Mangaluru–Nagercoil Ernad Express has been cancelled between Mangaluru and Thrisur, Thiruvananthapuram–Hyderabad Sabari Express has been cancelled between Thiruvananthapuram and Coimbatore. The Kannur–Thiruvananthapuram Jan Shatabdi Express has been cancelled between Kannur and Shoranur. For the day, the Met department has issued a red alert for Ernakulam, Idukki, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Kannur. The deluge continues in the state even as it grapples to fully recover from the extensive damage caused by the floods of August, 2018 that claimed over 400 lives and left lakhs of people homeless.

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National

India To Grant Tourist Visas To Foreigners From Nov 15

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Due to the dangerous coronavirus pandemic, tourists are not going anywhere and even if they book for any place, they have to follow strict protocols. In a recent development, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that India is going to grant tourist visas to foreigners who are coming to the country via chartered flights with effect from October 15. The foreigner tourists who are coming to India from other flights can get visas from November 15. “All Covid-19 protocols and norms notified by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to be adhered to by foreign tourists, carriers bringing them into India, and other stakeholders at landing stations,” an official statement said.

All the visas that have been granted were suspended in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The central government has imposed many restrictions on the travellers to control the spread of coronavirus. It is said that many state governments, as well as stakeholders in the tourism sector, have been sending requests for the approval of tourists visas also so that foreign tourists can come to India. The MHA consulted all major stakeholders like the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Tourism, and various State Governments where foreign tourists are expected to arrive.

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What Is Captain Amarinder Singh’s Next Move!

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Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh met Union Minister Amit Shah. Today, he made it clear that he is not going to join the Bharatiya Janata Party and also stated that he had no intention of continuing in the Congress as well. He changed his Twitter bio on Thursday and it reads, “Army Veteran; Former Chief Minister Punjab; Continuing to serve the State”. Everyone wants to know what is Punjab CM’s next move.
Amarinder Singh
In an interview with news channel, he said that, “So far I am in the Congress but I will not remain in the Congress. I have already made my position very clear. I will not be treated in this manner. I have made my stand very clear to the Congress. I will not stand for it. I have not resigned from the Congress yet, but how can one continue in a place where there is a trust deficit? When there is no trust, one cannot continue.”

To a question that whether he would resign, then he answered, “I have not resigned from the Congress but I will resign. I am not a person who takes split-second decisions. But I am not joining the BJP.”

He called Sidhu as an immature person and said that he is not a stable man. He further stated that, “He is not a team player. He is a loner. How will he handle the Punjab Congress as its chief? For that you need to be a team player, which Sidhu is not.”

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UP Cabinet Expansion: New Minister Take Oath Today

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Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s cabinet expansion took place this evening. A total of seven ministers took oath today.  Jitin Prasada, who joined BJP in June this year, takes oath as a minister in the Yogi Adityanath’s cabinet. MLA Chhatarpal Gangwar takes oath as a Minister of State (MoS).

Paltu Ram, MoS SC, Balrampur; Sangeeta Balwant Bind MoS Bind, Ghazipur; Dharamveer Prajapati MoS, Agra; Sanjeev Kumar Gaur ST Sonbhadra; and Dinesh Khatik MoS SC, Meerut also took the oath of office. The oath-taking ceremony was conducted at 5:30 pm in the Raj Bhavan. There are a total of 14 Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs as ministers and Uttar Pradesh has more cabinet ministers. The Cabinet expansion appears to be an attempt to balance caste and regional aspiration, months ahead of the assembly polls.

At the Centre, the BJP has 84 MPs from Uttar Pradesh-62 in the Lok Sabha and 22 in the Rajya Sabha. For the first time, the state of Uttar Pradesh has a large representation in the central government. Winning of 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly election is very important for the saffron party as its outcome is likely to decide the result of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

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