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When DDA cuts down trees in Delhi Ridge, the SC says it’s no longer trustworthy.

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NEW DELHI: The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) vice chairman Subhashish Panda’s affidavit, which claimed that 642 trees were felled on the Delhi Ridge without his knowledge, was sharply disapproved by the Supreme Court on Thursday, which stated that it “cannot trust the DDA now.”

The 642 trees—468 on forest land and 175 on DDA or non-forest land—were felled in Satbari over ten days beginning on February 16, according to Panda’s affidavit. This occurred well in advance of the Supreme Court’s March 4 rejection of DDA’s request to clear the trees in order to enlarge the road.

The land has to be repaired wherever trees have been taken down. There must be a deadline for completing it. After reading the affidavit, Justices AS Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan’s bench declared, “We cannot trust DDA now.”

Following a lawsuit alleging that the DDA had chopped trees on the Delhi Ridge without the top court’s authority, Panda filed the affidavit in response to a contempt notice issued by the court on May 9.

Panda stated in his statement that DDA will fence the entire stretch, transplant trees, and refrain from extending the road in order to return the area to its natural state.

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The Attorney General R Venkataramani, who represented Panda, was asked to obtain instructions from the court regarding whether the work of planting and maintaining trees could be delegated to any independent organisation, such as the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), and the court agreed to review the affidavit later in the day.

Panda stated in his statement that he was recovering from surgery at the time the trees were felled.

“I was unaware of the error made by field workers who proceeded with tree-cutting operations based on exemptions and permits received from many agencies. I sincerely apologise for the lack of coordination that occurred during my surgical recovery and medical vacation.

According to the document, tree felling began on February 16, 2024, two days after the forest department gave its clearance in principle for the fall of 422 trees on property that was not forest. DDA was requested to plant 4,220 trees and pay the forest department ₹2.4 crore in compensating afforestation expenses. The trees were chopped down by the contractor hired to expand the road.

Panda stated that he became aware of the situation on March 18 after receiving a contempt notice for tree-cutting from the Delhi High Court. On March 20, Panda issued an order for an investigation and a site inspection, which revealed that 458 trees on forest property and 174 trees on DDA land had been destroyed.

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Junior engineer and assistant engineer both received show-cause notices (civil). They responded to the notification on May 15 by saying they “misunderstood” that the advice of the court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) and the consent from the Delhi Forest Department represented the “final permission to cut trees.”

Panda called this a “mistake,” pointing out that tree-cutting on the Delhi Ridge requires approval from the highest court.

“It was necessary to obtain this court’s final approval before moving forward, and the trees could only have been cut down if the approval had been granted.”

According to the affidavit, on September 18, 2023, the Ridge Management Board (RMB) approved the felling of trees. Subsequently, the central government granted in-principle approval under the Van (Sanrakshan Evam Samvardhan) Adhiniyam, 1980, for the non-forest use of 3.6 hectares of forest land.

According to the affidavit, the purpose of the road widening project was to construct a four-lane approach road for the Central Armed Police Forces Institute of Medical Sciences (CAPFIMS), which was to be located on the current Chattarpur–Satbari route. It was planned to widen the road, which was only 7.5 metres wide already, by an additional 7.5 metres, necessitating the removal of some trees from the ridge region. The document further said that DDA had designated a 55-acre plot of land for development into an urban forest.

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Taking a swipe at the Western media, Jaishankar said, “The International Khan Market gang”

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In response to a query on how India is portrayed in Western media, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar stated on Saturday that, similar to the “Khan Market Gang” in India, there is a “International Khan Market Gang” that operates on a worldwide scale.

“The metaphor of the ‘Khan Market Gang’ is a very excellent description of a certain thought process, or entitlement process, that exists in the country today. In an interview, Jaishankar stated, “I want to let you know that there is also an international Khan Market Gang.”

These individuals are somewhat connected, as it were, to the privileged individuals present. They feel at ease around them socially. They are familiar with them. They seem to promote similar points of view. They basically represent a left-liberal, elite way of thinking. Thus, the two have a symbiotic relationship,” he continued.

He went on to make a jab, saying that the “International Khan Market” provides support when the “domestic Khan Market”‘s sales are declining.

“When the sales are down in the domestic Khan Market, the International Khan Market gang feels like, I need to pep up these guys and give them support and you can actually see which stories they play up, how do they slant things and in previous elections perhaps even in this one they’ve actually openly endorsed parties and will openly endorse leaders and openly said that this party or this leader is bad for India,” said the foreign minister.

Jaishankar further claimed that there is an obvious attempt to sway Indian voters’ decisions and the course of Indian politics.

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There is an obvious attempt to sway Indian voters’ decisions and the course of Indian politics. Election season is when it peaks, but it doesn’t stop there,” he stated.

“What do you think all these ranks that you receive are? They are all attempts to undermine your confidence and your legitimacy, as well as to create the impression that there is something wrong with India since it will provide them with an outcome they don’t like.

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Cyclone Remal: At midnight on May 26, a powerful cyclonic cyclone will traverse the coast of Bengal.

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Cyclone Bad news The India Meteorological Department (IMD) stated on Friday that a depression in the Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify into a strong cyclonic storm and make landfall somewhere between Sagar Island in West Bengal and Khepupara in Bangladesh around Sunday midnight.

When the landfall occurs, the meteorological authority predicts wind speeds of up to 100 to 120 km/h.

According to the IMD, the weather system may bring severe to extremely heavy rain to West Bengal’s coastal areas on May 26 and 27.

These are ten things you should know about Cyclone Remal.

  1. Currently, Cyclone Remal is located 810 km south of Canning (West Bengal) and 800 km south-southwest of Khepupara (Bangladesh) over the central Bay of Bengal.
  2. By May 25th morning, Cyclone Remal is expected to centre into a cyclonic storm. It then moves almost due north, intensifying into a severe cyclonic storm by Saturday night.
  3. The North Indian Ocean is exceptionally warm, and sea surface temperatures of 30 to 31°C have the ability to intensify this cyclone, according to an IMD official.
  4. The official went on, “But monsoon winds have already arrived over the Peninsular region, and this system is still tied to that monsoon flow.”
  5. The Met Office has issued a warning for severe to extremely heavy rainfall in Kolkata, South and North 24 Parganas, Purba Medinipur, and Howrah districts on May 26 and 27, owing to the cyclone.
  6. Additionally, it has issued a warning about gusty winds that could reach speeds of 90 to 100 kmph in South 24 Parganas, 80 to 90 kmph in Purba Medinipur, and 60 to 70 kmph in Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, and Howrah on these days.
  7. Beginning on May 25, light to moderate rain and thundershowers are also anticipated to lash north and south of Odisha due to the cyclone’s effects.
  8. Most of Mizoram, Tripura, and South Manipur are also expected to see light to moderate rainfall on May 26, while Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, andTripura are likely to see light to moderate rainfall on May 27 and 28.
  9. Fishermen in the north Bay of Bengal have been advised by the meteorological office not to go out until early on May 27.
  10. The IMD has also forecast that the cyclone won’t have a negative effect on the sixth round of voting in the Lok Sabha election on May 25.

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Lok Sabha polls: The nation votes tomorrow, intensifying the sixth phase struggle.

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The ongoing Lok Sabha polls are in their penultimate sixth phase, which begins on Saturday. As the election battle heats up, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congressman Rahul Gandhi are leading their respective parties’ campaigns.

Rahul Gandhi’s Metro ride

Gandhi rode the Delhi Metro on Thursday and spoke with other riders. Gandhi posted images from the trip on the social networking site X.

“Delhiites take the metro. He posted a caption for the photo, saying, “I am happy to see that our initiative of building Metro in Delhi has proved so convenient for public transportation. I met fellow passengers and inquired about their well-being.”

Gandhi is also making a lot of appearances in Delhi to promote party candidate Kanhaiya Kumar. This Saturday is Delhi’s election day. On June 4, the results will be made public.

Sonia Gandhi calls for the triumph of the INDIA coalition

“This election is really significant. The nation’s democracy and Constitution are at stake in this election. The issues being fought in this election include attacks on constitutional institutions, inflation, and unemployment. She urged Delhi voters to support the candidates of the Congress and INDIA bloc alliance, saying, “You have to play your part in this fight.”

Gandhi emphasised the urgent concerns the Congress has been raising in its election campaign for the Lok Sabha elections by saying, “Every single vote of yours will create employment, reduce inflation, empower women and build an equitable and equal India in a golden future.”

Kharge: The United Opposition will provide a ten-year stable government

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In an interview with Sunetra Choudhury and Saubhadra Chatterji of HT, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge discusses the campaign of his party, the future of the INDIA bloc alliance, and the possibility of a regime change following the announcement of the results.

Government takes action to revoke Prajwal’s diplomatic pass

As Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah approached Prime Minister Modi a second time to expedite action in the matter, the external affairs ministry was on Thursday in the process of cancelling the diplomatic passport of MP Prajwal Revanna, the suspended Janata Dal (Secular) leader facing allegations of mass sexual abuse.

On Tuesday, the official letter from the Karnataka government cancelling Prajwal’s passport was received by the external affairs ministry, according to sources with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The 33-year-old MP is presently in Germany and is being charged with rape, criminal intimidation, and sexual harassment following the discovery of thousands of films allegedly depicting him engaging in sexual actions with various women.

One of the individuals mentioned above stated, “This is being processed under the provisions of the Passports Act of 1967 and relevant regulations,” without providing any other information. How long it will take to cancel the passport was not immediately apparent.

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