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Supreme Court pulls up ASI for failing to take proper care of Taj Mahal

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Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is under threat with even its pristine white turning green and brown, prompting the Supreme Court to pull up the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Wednesday, May 9 for failing to take appropriate steps to protect and preserve the monument that is listed as a world one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage by UNESCO.

Expressing concern over Taj Mahal being infected by insects, the apex court asked the authorities, including the ASI, what steps they have taken to prevent this.

“This situation would not have arisen if the ASI had done its job. We are surprised at the way the ASI is defending itself. You (Central government) please consider if the ASI is needed there or not,” a bench of Justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta told Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, who was appearing for the Centre.

The SC asked the ASI about the status of the directions given by it on the previous hearing and whether it was heeded or not. The SC asked ASI: “According to you, Taj Mahal is fine.”

The ASI replied: “We are doing our best. The photos which were presented before the court were before the cleaning of the Taj and those were of the floors.”

Justice Lokur objected it by saying: “You provide the visitors, shoes to be put up, then how the colours of the floors has been changed. That means you provide dirty shoes to the visitors. You say that all is well. How can you say that? Is this the stand of ASI on Taj?”

“The floor in parts of the Taj is dirty because of people walking there.  We don’t give socks to everyone, only those who don’t have, the rest go in their own socks,” said ASI.

The counsel for ASI told the court that the problem of insects was due to stagnation of water of river Yamuna.

Meanwhile, Nadkarni told the bench that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) was considering the SC’s suggestion to appoint international experts to look into the issue of protection and preservation of the Taj Mahal.

In the previous hearing, the bench had asked the Centre whether Taj was getting discoloured after the petitioner had showed the pictures of Taj having changed its colour. The bench while expressing displeasure had directed the Centre to take the help of Indian experts or from abroad to see the magnitude of damage and if it can be corrected.

The matter was listed for next hearing to July.

India News

Rajya Sabha Election: Congress wins 3 seats in Karnataka, BJP 1

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister CM DK Shivakumar said this shows the unity and integrity of Congress. He thanked all the MLAs, party workers and the media. He said he is very happy that all the candidates from Congress won. He thanked all the voters, chief minister and the party workers and the AICC president also.

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The ruling Congress in Karnataka won three seats and the BJP one in the Rajya Sabha elections in Karnataka on Tuesday. The candidates who were selected to Rajya Sabha are Syed Naseer Hussain, GC Chandrasekhar and Ajay Maken who belong to the Congress, and Narayansa K Bhandage of the BJP.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister CM DK Shivakumar said this shows the unity and integrity of Congress. He thanked all the MLAs, party workers and the media. He said he is very happy that all the candidates from Congress won. He thanked all the voters, chief minister and the party workers and the AICC president also. He said he would like to thank Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge.

Congress candidates Naseer Hussain and former union minster Ajay Maken won with 47 votes, while GC Chandrasekhar secured 45 votes. The BJP won 1 Rajya Sabha seat from Karnataka with candidate Narayansa Bhandage securing 47 votes.

Each Rajya Sabha candidate needed at least 45 votes in the 224-MLA Karnataka Assembly to win a Rajya Sabha seat from the state. With 135 MLAs, the Congress had the exact number to elect its three candidates. The BJP has 66 MLAs, which secured a comfortable win for party worker Narayansa Bhandage.

The Rajya Sabha seats fell vacant following the retirement of 4 members – Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar (BJP) and Congress’s GC Chandrashekhar, Syed Naseer Hussain and L Hanumanthaiah

5 candidates contested for the 4 Rajya Sabha seats in the elections, including JD(S) contestant D Kupendra Reddy. The elections were marred by cross-voting. One of the BJP MLAs, ST Somasekhar voted for the Congress’s Maken, the other, A Shivaram Hebbar, abstained. Leader of Opposition R Ashoka said they would seek action against Somahekhar, and termed the MLA’s decision political suicide. Soon after voting, Somashekhar told the media that he voted as per his conscience.  

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Karan Johar hails Anant Ambani’s Vantara initiative, here’s more about the project

Reliance Industries and Reliance Foundation announced the launch of Vantara on Monday.

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Karan Johar thanked Anant Ambani for his new initiative, Vantara, on his Instagram post today. KJo discussed the program and the Ambani family’s deep-rooted passion for animals in this post.

Taking to Instagram, the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai-director shared a video and said, with its foundation in a profound love for animals and wildlife in general, Anant Ambani’s Vantara effort only serves to confirm his faith in his compassion and commitment for the cause. Karan Johar also said Anant Ambani never dose anything half-hearted as he gave the world a more heart-ful space.

The Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani director said Vantara is not only about saving and caring for animals; it also strives to give them the greatest possible rehabilitation. The Vantara initiative, recently introduced by Reliance Industries and Reliance Foundation, is dedicated to the rescue, medical attention, and rehabilitation of hurt, mistreated, and endangered animals, both domestically and overseas. The filmmaker extended his love and support to the entire Reliance group and also thanked them again for providing a safe space for wildlife.

What is Vantara Initiative?

On Monday, Reliance Industries and Reliance Foundation announced the launch of Vantara, a broad program designed to save, caring for, treat, and rehabilitate wounded abused, and threatened animals both domestically and worldwide.

The project is regarded as the largest animal rescue and rehabilitation center in the world. It was the idea of Anant Ambani,who is on the boards of Reliance Industries and Reliance Foundation.

Located across 3,000 acres, the animal refuge is situated in the Green Belt of Reliance’s Jamnagar Refinery Complex and features a jungle-like environment that mimics the natural, enriching, lush and verdant habitat for the rescued species to thrive in. It is said that more than 2,000 rescued animals have been transported to the facility from all around the world and the country.

Meanwhile, Anant Ambani soon-to-be wife Radhika Merchant is also involved in this initiative.

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India News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi says BJP will win 10 seats or more from Kerala in Lok Sabha elections

The Prime Minister said during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Kerala gave a two digit vote share for the BJP but this time the party will win 2 digit seats from Kerala. He added the opposition parties have realised their defeat in the elections of 2024. PM Modi said they have lost their mental balance. He said the opposition parties do not have a roadmap for the country’s development.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Thiruvanthpuram on Tuesday that the BJP would win double-digit seats from Kerala in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The Prime Minister was addressing a rally of BJP workers to mark the conclusion of a month-long, state-wide padyatra led by party state president K Surendran.

The Prime Minister said during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Kerala gave a two digit vote share for the BJP but this time the party will win 2 digit seats from Kerala. He added the opposition parties have realised their defeat in the elections of 2024. PM Modi said they have lost their mental balance. He said the opposition parties do not have a roadmap for the country’s development.

He said their only agenda is to utter abuses against Modi. He said he is confident that Kerala will stand with him this time. This has been the prime minister’s third visit to Kerala in less than 2 months. The prime minister said the huge crowd that had joined the Surendran-led padyatra has made the BJPs target of 370 seats in the Lok Sabha easier.

The Prime Minister said he is committed to fulfill the expectations of people and this is Modi’s guarantee. He said the BJP-led union government has never shown any discrimination towards Kerala. He said in the last 10 years the BJP-led central government has ensured Kerala’s development and the wise people of the state know this.

PM Modi predicted that in the third term of the BJP government, India will become the largest force in the world and this is Modi’s Guarantee. He said the third Modi government will increase its fight against corruption. He added in the last 10 years, more than 25 crore people have been brought out of poverty. The Prime Minister referred to various development projects and schemes which have been launched during the BJP rule at the centre. 

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