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Kangana Embroiled In Another Controversy; Claims Woman CISF Official Hit Her At Chandigarh Airport

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Video grab from Kangana Ranaut's X account
The woman CISF official was reportedly angry over Kangana’s past disparaging remarks against women participants in the longstanding farmers’ agitation

Actor-turned-politician Kangna Ranaut’s keeps getting dragged into controversies because of her social media outbursts on a diverse range of issues and developments, especially her strong personal seemingly nationalistic views.

She got embroiled in another controversy on Thursday when she alleged that a woman constable of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) apparently from Punjab, deployed at the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Chandigarh International Airport, hit her on the face and verbally abused her apparently without any immediate provocation.

Kangana, who recently won the Lok Sabha elections from Mandi constituency in Himachal Pradesh on the BJP ticket, is reported to have arrived at the airport to board a flight for Delhi to attend a party meeting.

In a video shared on her X account, Kangra claimed that the incident reportedly happened when she was coming out of a cabin after a routine security check. She alleged that a woman CISF official from an adjoining cabin moved close to her, hit her on the face and started hurling verbal abuses at her.

She claimed that when she asked the woman CISF official why she did that, the official asserted that she supports the farmers’ protests.

“I am safe, but my concern is that the terrorism and extremism which is breeding in Punjab, how to tackle that,” she remarked.

The woman CISF official, later identified as Kulwinder Kaur, was reportedly angry over Kangana’s past disparaging remarks against women participants in the longstanding farmers’ agitation shared on her X account along with a picture of some women protestors which she later deleted.

The official has reportedly been placed under suspension with immediate effect and a departmental inquiry initiated into Kangana,s claims.

On reaching Delhi, Kangana is reported to have lodged a complaint with CISF director general Nina Singh.

This is a developing story, and the facts of the matter will become clearer after further investigation by the CISF authorities.

Question-Mark Over Functioning Of EVMs: First Hand Account By Polling Agent Of Opposition Candidate

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Greater awareness of digital footprint of vote polled on VVPAT unit raised voter confidence

Manipulation of electronic voting machines (EVMs) to alter the outcome of elections at various levels has been an oft repeated charge by the Opposition parties whenever they lose the battle to win the people’s mandate, and its echo is only getting louder.

So, when an opportunity came to volunteer as a polling agent of Manish Tewari, the joint Congress, AAP and INDIA alliance candidate for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, for one of the polling booths in the southern sectors, I grabbed it with both hands.

Having already had a taste of contesting the 2021 Municipal Corporation Chandigarh (MCC) general elections as a candidate of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which in its very first foray, quite unexpectedly emerged as the largest party in the 35 member House, I was keen to closely observe the proceedings inside of a polling booth and try to figure out how the EVM could be manipulated, at least at the booth level.

So, on D-day (June 1), after collecting my authorisation letter and voters’ lists etc. from the temporary local office of the Congress party, here I was reporting to the presiding officer for the specific polling booth exactly at 5 a.m., as instructed by the local election in-charge of the party.

The presiding officer was ready for duty but other polling officers were still getting ready (there were tell tale signs of the entire four-member polling party having slept the night on the floor in the polling booth itself with only fans to help them beat the oppressive heat wave sweeping the region and the mosquitoes). The presiding officer asked me to come back at 5:30 a.m., which I did. Eventually polling agents of only two candidates reported to the presiding officer (the other representing BJP candidate Sanjay Tandon).

We were both allowed to match the serial numbers of the three machines being used – the control unit, the twin voting machines with 20 voting options, including one for NOTA (none of the above), and the VVPAT (voter verifiable paper audit trail) unit.

Mock voting & paper trail

Following this the entire setup was completed and the mock voting exercise was undertaken with both of us polling agents taking turns to press the button against each of the 20 options to complete the mandatory 50 mock votes. We were witness to the paper trail of each of the mock vote polled dropping into the box compartment of the VVPAT unit.

All these paper slips were also shown to us for further confirmation. The mock polling was then officially closed from the control unit. Thereafter, the total number of mock votes polled (50) flashed on the display screen of the control unit, followed by the number of votes polled against each of the 20 options, including NOTA.

On satisfactory conclusion of the mock voting drill, the control unit and the VVPAT unit were duly sealed under our watchful eyes. The twin voting units were already sealed.

The setup was again readied for the actual voting, which began dot on time at 7 a.m.

I sat in the polling booth right through the entire polling process. My BJP counterpart, however, took a few hours break in-between by availing the services of a ‘relief agent’ only to return late afternoon to oversee closure of voting at 6 p.m.

Thereafter, the polling officers displayed on the control unit the number of total votes polled to match with our own count, which we confirmed. They also gave us a break-up of number of male and female voters before again sealing all the three machines in their respective boxes.

Total number of votes polled, out of 1069 votes assigned to the polling booth, were 670, making it 62.68% voting percentage. Female voters (357) outnumbered their male counterparts (313) by 44.

All nature of voters on sultry day

On an expectedly sultry day, with intermittent clouds and wind providing some respite, we got to meet and interact with all nature of people, men and women, young and old, some very old and frail needing constant assistance, and some very enthusiastic first time voters.

Despite braving the high 40s temperature, there were many optimists who joked and laughed with others to while away their time while waiting in long queues in the first half of the long polling hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. which saw bulk of the polling.

There were also not-so-optimistic people, some blaming the politicians for all the ills of the country and airing their intent to press the ‘NOTA’ button, the last of the 20 options on the twin EVMs, and others rubbishing the entire voting process through EVMs as “farcical”.

An odd angry young man was even heard saying that he will demand of the polling staff to give him a paper trail as proof of him having availed his voting option. There were no voices of support. But when he did vote, and apparently saw the digital trail of his vote on the VVPAT unit before the beep sounded, he left not so angry, though not exactly smiling.

Anger over slow pace of voting, reasons thereof

The voting process was taking its own time, with on an average one minute being spent on each voter, leaving the voters waiting in long queues, separately for ladies and gents, agitated.

After satisfying us two polling agents that a voter bearing a certain voter number had come to the right polling booth and has not already cast his or her vote (this took just a few seconds), each voter subsequently went through two poll officers sitting next to each other to verify antecedents before he or she was allowed to vote.

There were also delays in the process of verification due to various reasons. Voters, especially the elderly and the unfamiliar, were taking time to understand how and when to press their desired button on the EVMs and how to confirm that the vote had indeed been recorded. Watching this happening quite often, an initiative was taken to brief voters inside the booth and those waiting outside about what to expect and do on approaching the voting and VVPAT units. This helped hasten the process a bit.

There were scores of cases of voters being flagged in the voters’ list for not being found at their voter addresses during the process of verification of their residence status by election officials. These cases required intervention by the presiding officer of the polling booth, who cleared them for voting after taking a signed written undertaking from them along with their thumb impression.

A lot of voters were carrying mobiles, despite these being prohibited inside the polling centre/booth, and insisting on showing digital proof of identity, which the poll officers quite obviously declined to accept because of the prohibition on carrying mobiles.

Not carrying voter slips

There were also a few very casual voters, who did not carry their voter slips (mentioning their voter number) to the polling booth. We, as polling agents, were required to verify their voter numbers from the voters’ list with the help of their residential address, again a time consuming exercise.

One senior citizen, who was requested to go get the voter slips which he claimed to have forgotten in his car, started flaunting the high positions held by several of his family members to impress on us to trace their voter numbers from the voter lists. Half a dozen of his family members were voting at the polling booth. Not inclined to oblige the overbearing voter, we still did, considering the oppressive heat, but at the cost of precious time being wasted and holding up others in the queue.

Keeping bubbly little girls happy

Some of the bright and bubbly little girls, mostly accompanying their mothers, insisted on voting too. To make them happy, the obliging polling officers put an indelible ink mark on their finger too and allowed them to accompany their mothers to the twin EVMs to vote.

All in all, despite the heat and the sweat, it indeed was a worthwhile learning and engrossing experience interacting with all nature of people.

Suggested Key Learnings For Election Commission of India

  • Look after the polling staff much better by vastly improving their working and living conditions, which are currently pathetic, to say the least
  • Relook at basic amenities for the voters at polling centres especially in inhospitable weather conditions like the oppressive heat wave this time around
  • Need to further cut down on paperwork and  equip the polling officers with more digital tools to speed up the process of voting
  • Aggressively keep exploring the possibilities of shifting the entire electoral process online, with a view to making it a reality some day in the future

Who Will Win Chandigarh Seat In Lok Sabha 2024? Will ‘Mayorgate’ Sink BJP!

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The infamous 'Mayorgate' image of an anxious presiding officer glancing at a CCTV camera (File photo)

The centrally administered territory has traditionally been going with the party perceived to be winning at the Centre

One would expect that the infamous ‘Mayorgate’ pictures of the ruling BJP-imposed presiding officer anxiously glancing at a CCTV camera while blatantly indulging in cheating to reverse an imminent party defeat during the process of counting of votes in the tense mayoral elections in Chandigarh, which sullied the centrally administered territory’s fair name as a beautiful and well planned city, should be enough grounds for the voting population to reject the saffron party in the June 1 Lok Sabha polls, but the seemingly done thing is not over just yet.

With the window for campaigning officially closing on Thursday (May 30) evening, the fate of the two main candidates in the fray, who have slugged it out in sweltering heat wave conditions, hangs in the balance.

Sanjay Tandon (left) and Manish Tewari

Both candidates – incumbent BJP’s Sanjay Tandon (60) and Congress candidate Manish Tewari (58), who is representing the INDIA alliance and is aggressively being supported by the bloc’s other major constituent, the AAP – are claiming overwhelming support of the electorate.

Amidst the heat wave, campaigning from both sides has largely remained confined to the mornings and evenings. Both sides have had their national heavyweights joining their respective campaigns with well-attended rallies.

While the candidates have remained confined to small neighbourhood get-togethers in the city area, and some larger gatherings in the villages and colonies, it has largely been left to the rank and file of the respective parties to make the door-to-door effort, whatever has been possible in the heat.

Both candidates have faced their fair share of opposition from within their parties. Both sides have also been actively indulging in ‘breaking’ dissatisfied leaders from each others’ camps in an apparent effort to portray their rising acceptability by the electorate. How much of these crossovers actually translate into transfer of votes is anybody’s guess.

Being a centrally administered territory (Union territory), Chandigarh is heavily dependent on the central government for just about everything, including its development financing and framing of laws, which need Parliamentary approvals. No wonder then that barring an odd occasion, the electorate in Chandigarh has voted for the party perceived to be forming the government at the Centre.

The odd exceptions, as per available records, have been Srichand Goyal of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (now BJP) way back in 1967 after Indira Gandhi of the Congress took over as India’s first woman Prime Minister in 1966, and Congress’ Pawan Kumar Bansal, who won a second term in the Lok Sabha in 1999 when the BJP emerged as the largest single party and formed a national government with the support of other parties.

Bansal won two more consecutive elections in 2004 and 2009 (his 3rd and 4th term in the Lok Sabha) when the Congress party led UPA governments with Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister. The Congress stalwart was however swept away by the Modi wave in 2014 and 2019, losing to actor-turned-politician Kirron Kher, who was ‘parachuted’ to Chandigarh by the party in 2014.

‘Outsider’ tag

Though Kirron Kher, grew up and completed her education in Chandigarh, she was branded a ‘parachute’ candidate because of her long absence from Chandigarh while pursuing her acting career in Mumbai.

By the same arguement, the current Congress-INDIA alliance candidate Manish Tewari, although he was born and brought up in Chandigarh and started his political career here, is being attacked by the BJP as an ‘outsider’ since he has been pursuing his higher politics and career as a Supreme Court lawyer largely while being based out of the National capital.

Starting his student politics from a local college and then graduating to a higher level as national president of the students and youth wings of the Congress under the patronage of Rajiv Gandhi after the assassination by terrorists of his father VN Tewari, a Congress Rajya Sabha member, in Chandigarh just before Operation Bluestar in 1984, Manish Tewari had all along been seeking to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Chandigarh, but his efforts were frustrated each time because of the sway Pawan Kumar Bansal has held over the Chandigarh affairs of the party all these years.

But during this period, Tewari, who held various important positions within the party, including that of its National spokesman, and in the government as Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, managed to win the party nominations to contest from Punjab constituencies located around Chandigarh.

He was first fielded from Ludhiana Lok Sabha constituency in 2004, an election he lost to SAD-BJP candidate Sharanjit Singh Dhillon in a three-cornered contest. In his second attempt he won the seat in 2009, skipped the 2014 elections and won from Anandpur Sahib, a constituency which shares a border with Chandigarh, in 2019 (is incumbent MP).

Now that finally the party high command has picked him over the veteran leader Bansal, matching a younger BJP candidate with a younger candidate of its own, Tewari is apparently under pressure to make the opportunity count.

The AAP factor

As a representative of the INDIA bloc, he has the cushion of support from a resurgent AAP, which surprisingly emerged as the largest single party in the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh elections held in 2021 in its very first foray and has since wrested the Mayor’s post from the BJP with the help of the Congress after the Supreme Court overturned a fraudulent election result earlier this year.

After several rounds of floor crossing by councilors from different parties since the 2021 General House elections, the AAP and Congress currently have a collective strength of 20 councillors in the 35-member House. Though the electorate votes differently in a National election compared to a local election, Manish Tewari is banking heavily on these elected representatives to provide him lead from their respective wards.

He also seemingly has the added advantage of BJP’s huge loss of face due to the recent mayoral election misadventure, and the long absences from, and neglect of the constituency by incumbent BJP MP Kirron Kher, resulting in the Union territory plummeting from the top 5 in the national swachhta rankings (though some lost ground has been recovered in the latest assessment).

Debate challenge

Drawing strength from his long years of experience as a parliamentarian, a Union minister and as a National spokesman of his party, Tewari has been persistently challenging his main rival Tandon, a first time Lok Sabha candidate, to a public debate on local, national and international issues from any neutral non-partisan platform.

Tandon, who has headed the Chandigarh unit of the party for 10 long years and run the election campaigns for his party in several states, has steadfastly avoided taking on the challenge and posed a counterchallenge to Tewari to explain his shifting political playgrounds – from Ludhiana to Anandpur Sahib to Chandigarh – and asking him where next after Chandigarh.

Tandon more grounded in Chandigarh

To his advantage, Sanjay Tandon, son of a BJP stalwart Balramji Das Tandon, who started his political innings as a Sangh pracharak and later remained deputy chief minister and minister in several SAD-Jana Sangh/BJP governments in Punjab, and later governor of Chhattisgarh, has been more grounded in Chandigarh as compared to Tewari, who most times was away to Delhi and hence not rooted in the Union territory.

More recently, during the Covid pandemic Tandon, a chartered accountant and cost accountant by training, was at the vanguard of efforts by the party and an NGO run by him to organize food packets for vulnerable sections of the population and blood donation camps for Covid patients.

More organised campaign

The BJP and Sangh cadres also appear to be more organized and coordinated in their campaigning as compared to the largely individualistic efforts of the Congress and AAP leaders and workers at the grassroots level.

Will Modi resonate?

As in the case of previous two Lok Sabha elections, when BJP candidate Kirron Kher was banking heavily on the Modi factor to tilt the scales in favour of the party, Sanjay Tandon is also hoping that Modi will once again resonate in the electorate. The difference this time, however, is that there is no wave in favour of Modi, and his personal charisma is on the wane. Modi has also skipped Chandigarh in Lok Sabha 2024 elections while campaigning for the party in neighbouring Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

With apprehensions rising of a low voter turnout in the highly urban constituency due to the intense heat wave, parties are concerned which way the tide will turn in such an eventuality on D-day (June 1). Voting will take place on June 1, Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Vote we must before proceeding on our planned weekend outings, if any, to maintain the good health of our cherished democracy. It is our right, as well as responsibility.

ENJOY THE VOTING!

 

Next-Gen Manufacturing Must; Prudence Advised At CII Chandigarh Forum

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Mangal Dev, Head - Hitachi Rail Systems (India & South Asia) and Director - Hitachi India Pvt Ltd, delivering the keynote address during the inaugural session of the ‘Next-Gen Manufacturing Forum 2024’, organized by CII Chandigarh on Thursday (23.05.2024)

 

Industry leaders, experts and innovators at ‘Next-Gen Manufacturing Forum 2024’, organized by CII Chandigarh on Thursday (23.05.2024), were one in emphasizing that adoption of Industry 4.0 is absolutely necessary for the industry to survive and thrive, but cautioned that adoption of new technologies and processes should be well thought through and done in critical processes in which technology will make a real difference.

The forum, with the theme ‘Unleashing Manufacturing Potential through Technological Breakthroughs,’ held at the CII Northern Region Headquarters in Chandigarh, highlighted the crucial role of Industry 4.0 technologies in transforming India’s manufacturing sector into a global leader. Keynote speakers and panelists shared valuable insights and experiences on how emerging technologies can drive growth, efficiency, and competitiveness in manufacturing.

 In his keynote address during the inaugural session focused on ‘Exploring the Boundless Potential of Technology in Industry Expansion, Mangal Dev, Head – Hitachi Rail Systems (India & South Asia) and Director – Hitachi India Pvt Ltd, stressed the need for MSMEs to integrate modern technologies and processes to increase efficiencies and global competitiveness. If India is to become a global hub for manufacturing, then MSMEs will have to play a crucial role. They should be able to directly access the global markets without the involvement of middle layers, he added.

Impressing on the need for skilling and re-skilling the work force in the country, he said value addition per capita is very important to drive sustainable growth. Here India is lagging behind countries like China, USA, Japan and Germany, he observed.

Abhijit A Nanoti, Conference Chairman & MD, Indian Steel & Wires Ltd (a subsidiary of Tata Steel), talked about the need to engrain smart manufacturing into the DNA of every organization so that efficiencies and productivity can be improved along with achieving international standards of quality and economies of scale for global competitiveness.

He gave the example of the success of the toy industry in China, where efficient toy-making machines were mass produced and toy-makers were encouraged to scale up leading to economies of scale and reasonably affordable price of toys.

 V Ramachandran, Conference Co-Chairman and Director & Chief Operating Officer, V Guard Industries Ltd, focussed on the need for developing and strengthening digital supply chains and standardising operating systems on the shop floor for optimum outcomes.

Moderating Session I with the theme ‘From Legacy Systems to Smart Factories: Implementing Industry 4.0 Solutions in Manufacturing’, Pallab Kumar Dutta, Managing Director, Accenture Consulting, said the world is transitioning from instant decision making to data-driven decision making. He informed that a recent study undertaken by Accenture had revealed that the maturity level in adoption of Industry 4.0 received a big push during the pandemic, increasing from 40% to 50%. But, at the say time, the study also highlighted the large gap in its adoption between the MSMEs and the big companies.

Yatinder Nath, Plant Head, Mahindra & Mahindra (Swaraj Tractor Division), participating in the session on the theme ‘From Legacy Systems to Smart Factories: Implementing Industry 4.0 Solutions in Manufacturing’ in the Next-Gen Manufacturing Forum 2024’, organized by CII Chandigarh on Thursday (23.05.2024)

Participating in the session, Yatinder Nath, Plant Head, Mahindra & Mahindra (Swaraj Tractor Division) shared his company’s own experience to say that as volumes increase and various variants within tractor models increase, the complexities of managing the hundreds of components on the shop floor also increase substantially, necessitating assisted manufacturing.

Ashok Kumar, Director, Deloitte Touche Tomatsu India LLP, highlighted the track and trace process to keep a tab of the thousands of components which go into the making of electronic products to keep costs involved in fulfilling the warranties under check. If such track and trace processes are not employed, false warranty claims and litigations can play havoc with the warranty off takes of the manufacturing companies, he added.

Another panelist, Karan Vasa, Director, Contech Power Products Pvt Ltd, an energy efficiency start-up, gave the example of a chemical plant client, which achieved a 9 % reduction in energy consumption with the deployment of a machine learning algorithm and use of sensors and energy management system.

Sharing an experience of a large automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEM), Nishant Kumar, Pre-sales Head – Digital Manufacturing, Siemens Digital Industries Software, said with the integration of a planning & scheduling system, the materials manager of the large factory was able to more efficiently manage the inventory of various materials, which otherwise was a chaotic exercise.

Dwelled on issues of maintenance of machinery raised during the session, the panelists informed the audience about the availability of affordable predictive sensors which can detect in advance when a machine is expected to go sick so that proactively measures can be initiated for its maintenance. Then there are also sensors which can monitor the quality of parts, components being manufactured.

Addressing the various concerns of the audience regarding modernization of processes, automation, induction of technology etc, the panelists informed that technology adoption is not as expensive any more, as is generally apprehended. The only consideration for success is that technology adoption has to be well thought out, whole-hearted and executed within defined tight timelines. Getting stuck in pilot projects is not an option, they added.

Among other points highlighted by the panelists were that MSMEs should not be afraid of failures in the process of upgradation of technologies, but rather be prepared to learnt lessons in midway appraisals and make course corrections.

Regarding the concerns of the workforce in the adoption of modern technology, the panelists suggested that the workforce likely to be rendered redundant should be reassured that it will be re-skilled and suitably redeployed.

In Session II, on the topic ‘Charting the Path of Excellence: Overcoming Challenges, Building Capabilities in Smart Manufacturing and Cyber Security’, moderated by Shabal Goel, Vice President, Avalon Consulting, reference was made to a recent study which has estimated that India needs to create 115 million jobs by 2030 to be able to accommodate the rapidly growing new entrants into the job market. A large part of this huge ask has to be fulfilled by the services and manufacturing sector, it was highlighted.

In the process of technology induction, the panelists advised the MSMEs to draw up a clear short, medium and long term roadmap. In the implementation stage, feedback needs to be taken at regular intervals for any corrective actions that may be required.

The MSMEs were also given tips like initiating small and simple steps with focused business objectives in the modernization process, and not attempt too much too soon. Since these small and medium enterprises are very conscious about the costs involved and possible hidden expenditure, these manufacturing units would be well advised to identify critical processes in which technology will make a real difference.

The panelists in this session included Pradeep Naik, Head – Business Strategy (Oil & Gas) Tata Communication Ltd; Taranjeet Bhamra, Vice Chairman, CII Chandigarh and CEO & Founder, Agnext Technologies Pvt Ltd; Rakesh Atre, Associate Vice President, Munjal Showa; Kunal Mehta, Global Product Owner Digital & Data Platforms, Kimberly Clark; Dr Pushpendra P Singh, Dean (R&D), Project Director (iHub –AWaDH), IIT Ropar; Ashit Saxena, Partner – Supply Chain & Operations, PwC India; and Raghav Grover, Director of Strategy, JREW Engineering Ltd.

 

Chopper Crash, Which Killed Iranian President Raisi, Kicks Up Intriguing Questions

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Rescuers at the site of the Bell 212 helicopter crash which killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi
The American made civilian Bell 212 helicopter was several decades old; Company discontinued production in late 1990s; long list of Heads of State/Govt to perish in air crashes

The crash of the decades old twin-rotor blade twin-engine Bell 212 helicopter, in which the Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was killed along with the country’s foreign minister and six others, has thrown up some intriguing questions which have become the subject for a worldwide debate among experts.

The actual facts would emerge only after a time-consuming high-level commission of inquiry ordered by the Iranian authorities. But among the most glaring observations is how the authorities in the Islamic state could risk ferrying two of the highest ranking politicians in the country together in a decades old civilian aircraft, which stopped commercial production as early as in the late 1990s. As per protocols followed worldwide, heads of state and government travel by military aircraft.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who died in a helicopter crash

According to the Iranian state media, others travelling with the President, apart from Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, were Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province Governor Malek Rahmati, Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s representative to East Azerbaijan, a couple of security officials, besides the pilots.

Raisi’s helicopter in a convoy with two other choppers was flying back to the Iranian provincial capital of Tabriz, the largest city in the mountainous northwestern region of Iran, from the Iranian-Azerbaijanian border, where a cooperative dam project between the two countries was inaugurated jointly by Raisi and his Azerbaijanian counterpart Ilham Aliyev.

The convoy is reported to have hit foggy and rainy weather, which unexpectedly developed around the mountain range. While the other two helicopters landed safely in Tabriz, the Iranian President’s aircraft went missing, and after several hours of search and rescue operations, hampered by extreme bad weather, the wreckage of the helicopter and all eight bodies, including of the pilots, were located and recovered.

The several hours taken to locate the site of the crash has also raised questions over the Iranian government’s preparedness and lack of technology to undertake search and rescue missions in remote and rugged terrain and in extreme bad weather conditions.

Eventually, as per the Turkish Defence Ministry, the site of the crash was first located with the help of an Akinci UAV and a Cougar-type helicopter with night vision and heat-sensing capability sent by the Turkish government on receiving a request from the Iranian authorities.

According to a report by CNN, even before the Iranian authorities ordered a high level commission of inquiry into the crash, Iran’s former Foreign Minister Javad Zarif laid the blame at America’s door. The channel quoted the former minister as having told Iran’s state TV that, “One of the causes of this heart-breaking incident is the United States, which by sanctioning the sale of the aviation industry to Iran caused the martyrdom of the president and his companions.”

Representative picture of Bell 212 helicopter

The aging American-made Bell 212 is a twin rotor blade helicopter, the commercial production of which was stopped towards the late 1990s. While human error of judgment in the dense fog and rainy conditions appear to be the most likely cause of the crash, poor maintenance and lack of spares as reasons cannot be ruled out, according to experts.

American broadcaster ABC quoting its contributor Col. Steve Ganyard, a former fighter pilot and a former State Department official, said that it a “fairly classic mishap that occurs when helicopter pilots try to skirt underneath weather in very mountainous terrain.”

The ABC report further quoted him as saying, “And when you’re flying in the mountains and you have very low visibility, there’s a natural tendency for helicopter pilots to begin to sort of descend and try to get lower and try to get underneath either the fog or the cloud layer. And they know that they can set the aircraft down if they need to. But often times it leads to tragedy.”

Some of the previous Heads of Sate/Govt Who Perished In Air Crashes

1936: then-Swedish Prime Minister Arvid Lindman died in an air crash just after taking off in dense fog.

1940: Paraguayan President Marshal Jose Felix Estigarribia died in a plane crash.

1958: Interim President of Brazil, Nereu Ramos, died in a plane crash.

1959: Barthelemy Boganda, president of the Central African Republic, died after his plane crashed.

1966: Iraqi President Abdul Salam Arif died in a helicopter crash.

1969: Bolivian President Rene Barrientos died when his helicopter crashed.

1977: Yugoslavian Prime Minister Dzemal Bijedic and his wife died in a plane crash.

1979: Mauritanian Prime Minister Ahmed Ould Bouceif died in a plane crash.

1980: Portuguese Prime Minister Francisco Sa Carneiro and Defence Minister Adelino Amaro da Costa died when their plane crashed after takeoff.

1981: Ecuadorian President Jaime Roldos Aguilera and Defense Minister Maj. Gen. Marco Subia Martinez lost their lives in a plane crash.

1981: Panamanian President Omar Torrijos died when the small plane he was flying crashed.

1986: Mozambican President Samora Machel, some of his ministers and others died in a plane crash.

1987: Lebanese Prime Minister Rashid Karami was killed in a bomb blast in his helicopter.

1988: Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq, his five generals and then US Ambassador to Pakistan were killed in a plane crash suspected to be due to sabotage.

1994: Burundi President Cyprien Ntaryamira and Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana were killed when their plane was shot down.

2010: Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski, his wife and several others were killed when a plane carrying them to a Russian city crashed into a forest area.

Chandigarh Skin Clinic: Hi-Tech, No-Frills For A Win-Win Affordable Experience

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The top-of-the-line dermatology and cosmetology machines at the no-frills Chandigarh Skin Clinic

 

A highly experienced, committed and ethical consultant dermatologist-cosmetologist, state-of-the-art technologies and machines, many of them US FDA approved, and a simple, no-frills clinic, that is the  formula the newly opened Chandigarh Skin Clinic in Industrial Area Phase II has adopted to give customers the best of services at most affordable rates.

Frankly, at first sight, the clinic looks just too simple for a place offering high-end medical cosmetology and dermatology services. But a brief interaction with Dr Jatinder Kaur, consultant dermatologist-cosmetologist with 34 years of government and private practice, and the promoters, who themselves are in the business of medical technologies and equipment, is enough to convince us that the formula adopted is very practical and tailor-made for providing what is claimed as “absolutely safe and affordable services” to large sections of people, for whom these have so far remained a far cry, going beyond their means.

So, first thing first, as Dr Jatinder Kaur lists out, among the treatments available at the clinic are unwanted hair growth, acne treatment, scars treatment, skin infections, psoriasis, freckles treatment, pigmentation, hair fall & dandruff, warts & skin tags, nail diseases, ageing skin & wrinkles, vitiligo, moles and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Among the high-end equipments the clinic boasts of are US FDA approved Diode Laser Machine, Microneedling Radio Frequency, US FDA approved ND Yag Q switched Laser Machine, Optimum Pulse Light System,  Hydrafacial System and Co2 Fractional Laser &  High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU).

Explaining some of the treatments offered, Dr Jatinder Kaur says laser hair reduction provides the ultimate solution for unwanted hair. It works because lasers are able to target melanin in the hair follicle, disabling it from further growth and putting an end to routine shaving, irritation and waxing.

Hydrafacial treatment has emerged as a revolutionary and highly sought after solution for individuals looking to rejuvenate their skin, and Carbon facial is a non-invasive, non-surgical procedure which utilizes the power of laser technology, combined with a carbon-based serum, to rejuvenate the skin, address various skin concerns, and promote a radiant complexion.

She further shares that Micro Needling and MNRF are non-surgical skin rejuvenation techniques using tiny needles to stimulate collagen production, reducing fine lines, scars, and improving skin texture.

Also available is Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, which uses the patient’s own blood to stimulate healing and tissue regeneration.

Then there are Chemical Peels which reduce or improve wrinkles, blemishes (Melasma) and pigment spots. Sun exposure, acne, or just getting older can leave your skin tone uneven, wrinkled, spotted or scarred. A chemical peel is one of the least invasive ways to improve the appearance of your skin, Dr Kaur informs.

Similarly, there is Mesotherapy, a minimally invasive technique that involves injecting a customized blend of vitamins and nutrients into the skin; and High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU), a non-invasive procedure that uses focused ultrasound waves for tissue tightening.

The clinic is assuring customers of providing customized solutions for a healthy skin and a rejuvenated look by combining medical knowledge and skill with the latest technological advancements. The treatments offered, apart from being claimed to be safe and affordable, come with a promise of being long lasting as well.

Qualifying the affordability factor

Giving us a sense of the affordability of the rates the clinic is charging vis-a-vis comparable facilities being offered elsewhere in the market (of course minus the frills), Dr Jatinder Kaur, who also provides her services at charitable institutions and free medical camps, informs that they charge just Rs 2200 for a full face laser hair reduction (market rate Rs 5,000-7,000), Rs 1200 for a hydrafacial (market rate Rs 5,000-8,000), Rs 600-800 for chemical peels (market rate Rs 2,000-3,000).

Care to give it a try!

www.chandigarhskinclinic.com

Can Country Be Held To Ransom! Now Jaipur, Lucknow Schools Get Hoax Bomb Mails

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Picture used for representative purpose only
Security agencies need to quickly find a way to track the culprits and neutralise them

Emboldened by the failure of the Indian security establishment to crack the source of the recent spate of hoax emails threatening to blow up schools, hospitals, airports and other mass gathering venues in various parts of the country, have further emboldened miscreants or anti-India forces in their game of spreading large scale panic.

In this continuing string of emails, dozens of schools in Jaipur and a few in Lucknow were targeted on Monday, which happens to be the 16th anniversary of the synchronized serial bomb blasts in Jaipur in 2008 in which 71 people lost their loves and dozens of others were injured.

As happened on all previous occasions since May 1, when 100+ schools in Delhi and other NCR areas received bomb threats on mail, these threats after thorough searches were found to be hoax. Nevertheless, taking no chances schools evacuated their students and staff, and bomb detection and disposal squads had to be rushed to all the venues.

Despite independent and coordinated efforts, specialized units of various security agencies have so far not been able to trace the source of these emails since these have apparently been sent using virtual private networks (VPNs) or proxy servers, which make it very difficult to trace the IP addresses of the senders.

After the threats in Delhi-NCR, schools in Gujarat were also targeted.

Yesterday (Sunday), several hospitals in Delhi and 12 airports, including IGI Delhi and Jaipur, were targeted with bomb threats through emails.

These threats, coming as they are in the midst of heightened security nationwide in the wake of the ongoing elections, are a cause of worry for the security establishment, which cannot afford to take chances, and panic in the general public.

The security agencies need to quickly find a way to track the culprits. Can they allow the country be held to ransom!

With 10 Poll Promises, AAP Supremo Pitches ‘Kejriwal Ki Guarantee’ Against ‘Modi Ki Guarantee’

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Delhi chief minister and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal announcing his 10 guarantees for LS elections 2024 in a press conference in Delhi. Also seen are Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann and other senior party leaders
‘I don’t want to be the Prime Minister’, he states but his assertive messaging speaks otherwise

By announcing 10 guarantees for the country, which he presented as a vision for new India, without which a country cannot become powerful, and pitching “Kejriwal ki Guarantee” against “Modi ki Guarantee”, Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal has let it be known in no uncertain terms that he is a contender to replace Narendra Modi as Prime Minister should the INDIA bloc outperform the BJP led NDA alliance in the Lok Sabha elections and storm to power.

Announcing these poll promises in the form of guarantees, including 200 units of free and uninterrupted power supply across the country, free education and full statehood for Delhi, in a press conference at the party’s headquarters in New Delhi on Sunday, though Kejriwal clarified that “I don’t want to be Prime Minister,” he at the same time asserted that “it is my guarantee that when the INDIA Alliance forms the government I will ensure that these promises are fulfilled.”

However, in his assertions the intent was more than clear. “BJP has always failed on its promises. My guarantees have a proven track record. Now, people have to take a call whether to go for ‘Kejriwal ki Guarantee’ or ‘Modi ki Guarantee”.

In response to a query, Kejriwal gave further vent to his assertiveness on the issue when he said, “I have not discussed these (guarantees) with my INDIA bloc colleagues. But I’m sure no INDIA bloc leader will have any problem with these.”

The question is, with the INDIA alliance partners failing to agree to a common minimum programme before the polls, and each of its major constituent parties showcasing their own set of poll promises and guarantees, what should the electorate expect from the alliance to convince itself to vote out the BJP led NDA.

The 10 guarantees
• 24-hour electricity supply with the first 200 units of power free across the country
• Promise of making arrangements for free education for all and making government schools better than private schools
• Infrastructue and facility build up at government hospitals at par with private hospitals
• India’s land to be freed from China, Army to be given a free hand
• Agniveer scheme launched by the Narendra Modi government to be scrapped
• Farmers to get guarantee of Minimum Support Price for their crops
• Full statehood to be ensured for Delhi
• Plans to create two crore jobs every year
• Promise to get rid of the policy of giving safe heavens to corrupt people, free the country from corruption
• Plans to simplify Goods and Services Tax (GST), eye on surpassing the trade capacity of China

Kejriwal Says If BJP Retains Power, Amit Shah Will Replace Modi, Yogi Adityanath Will Lose CMship

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Shah debunks claim; asserts Modi will become PM again and complete full term till 2029

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal appears to have sharpened his political skills during his month-and-a-half judicial custody in Tihar Jail, and turned a political pundit, going by his first statements after being granted interim bail till June 1 by the Supreme Court in a money laundering case linked to the alleged Delhi Liquor Policy scam.

While asserting that the BJP is not getting a majority in the Lok Sabha elections, he at the same predicted that if the saffron party were to retain power, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not lead the government after he turns 75 years of age on September 17, 2025 but make way for Union Home Minister Amit Shah, by sidelining Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, widely acknowledged as the second most powerful Hindutva face in the BJP.

Union home minister Amit Shah while addressing a press conference in Hyderabad on Saturday rebunked Kejriwal’s claim and asserted that Narendra Modi will become PM again and complete his full tenure till 2029

Mocking Kejriwal’s assertion that Modi had himself made the rule that BJP leaders will retire after attaining the age of 75 years, as happened to LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, and many others, Shah hit back affirming that there is no such provision in the BJP constitution and that Modi will become Prime Minister again and complete his full term till 2029. BJP national president JP Nadda seconded Shah’s stand in a post on X.

Kejriwal pointed out that “These people ask the INDIA alliance who will be their prime minister. I ask the BJP who will be your prime minister?” He claimed that “PM Modi is seeking votes not for himself but for Amit Shah …. I want to ask Modi Ji, who will fulfill your guarantees?”

He warned that if the BJP forms a government at the Centre again, all main Opposition leaders will be sent to jail. “Our (AAP) ministers, Hemant Soren, ministers of Mamata Banerjee’s party are in jail…If they win again, then Mamata Banerjee, MK Stalin, Tejashwi Yadav, Pinarayi Vijayan, Uddhav Thackeray and other opposition leaders will all be in jail.”

Alleging that BJP is treading the path of “one nation, one leader”, he cautioned the people, “That one ‘taanashah’ (dictator) will destroy democracy in this country.”

 

SC Grants Interim Bail To Kejriwal Till June 1; Lays Down 5 Conditions

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File photo of Delhi CM & AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal

In a major relief for Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal, who is in judicial custody in a money laundering case linked to the alleged Delhi liquor policy scam, the Supreme Court on Friday (May 10, 2024) granted interim bail to him till June 1, the last day of the seven-stage polling, solely for the purpose of electioneering, despite his plea before the court being vehemently opposed by the Enforcement Directorate.

During the hearing of the appeal on May 7, the top court had hinted at granting conditional interim bail to Kejriwal in order to enable him to campaign for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. It had observed that it was dealing with the case of an elected chief minister, not a habitual offender, and the general elections take place only once in 5 years.

Following the court’s suggestion, the ED had on Thursday filed a fresh affidavit vehemently opposing the interim bail plea.

In the affidavit, the ED argued that the “right to campaign for an election is neither a fundamental right nor a constitutional right and not even a legal right”.

The central probe agency also submitted that a politician cannot claim a higher status than an ordinary citizen and is not entitled to differential treatment.

ED has maintained before the court that Kejriwal is the “kingpin” in the scam and directly involved in demanding kickbacks from liquor barons.

Welcoming the verdict of the Supreme Court, the AAP leadership said with it not only had Arvind Kejriwal been granted bail, but truth, constitution and democracy had also won.

Conditions set for the interim bail:

* He shall furnish bail bonds in the sum of Rs.50,000/- with one surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of the Jail Superintendent;

* He shall not visit the Office of the Chief Minister and the Delhi Secretariat;

* He shall be bound by the statement made on his behalf that he shall not sign official files unless it is required and necessary for obtaining clearance/ approval of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi;

* He will not make any comment with regard to his role in the present case; and

* He will not interact with any of the witnesses and/or have access to any official files connected with the case.