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130 People Dead In UP And Bihar Due To Lightning Strikes

Most of the casualties are farmers who were doing agriculture-related works in fields.



LUCKNOW/PATNA: In Bihar, the death toll in lightning and rain-related incidents in 25 districts of the state during the last 24 hours has reached 106 while 56  others have been injured. Most of the casualties are farmers who were doing agriculture-related works in fields.

Thirteen people died in Gopalganj, eight each lost their lives in Madhubani and Nawada, six each in Siwan and Bhagalpur, five each in East Champaran, Darbhanga and Banka, three each in Khagaria and Aurangabad, two each in West Champaran, Kishanganj, Jehanabad, Jamui, Purnia, Supaul, Buxar and Kaimur and one each in Samastipur, Sheohar, Saran, Sitamarhi and Madhepura,” state Principal Secretary (Disaster Management) Pratyaya Amrit said.

In Gopalganj district, the deceased were residents of Barauli, Manjha, Vijaipur, Uchkagaon and Kateya areas. The lightning struck when they were working in their farms. Gopalganj Sadar Hospital, where the injured were brought for treatment, had a flooded emergency ward. District Magistrate Arshad Aziz said seven people were admitted to the hospital, and added that compensation will be provided to the kin of the deceased.

In Madhubani, eight of a family were killed in villages under Phulparas and Benipatti police station limits. In East Champaran district, among other deaths was a 14-year-old girl killed in a lightning strike in Surendra village under Raxaul police station limits.

The Met department has forecast heavy rain and lightning in the next three days in different parts of the state. The people have been advised to remain indoors during this period. The state government has appealed to people to take all necessary precautions during turbulent weather.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed grief over the loss of lives and announced an ex-gratia of four lakh rupees to the next of kin of the deceased. He has ordered free treatment to injured people.

Similarly, in the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, at least 24 persons were killed and 12 others injured due to lightning yesterday. AIR Correspondent reports that as per the report of the Relief Commissioner of the state, 9 casualties were reported from Deoria district where 6 persons were also injured in incidents of lightning.

Six persons lost their lives in Prayagraj while there are reports of 3 deaths in Ambedkarnagar, 2 in Barabanki and one each death in Kushinagar, Fatehpur, Balrampur and Unnao districts. Those who lost their lives were either working in their farms or had taken shelter under trees during the lightning strike.

Nine of them died in Deoria district. “Amid rain and thunderstorms, 24 people have died due to lightning strikes in various districts of the state today – one in Kushinagar, one in Fatehpur, one in Unnao, nine in Deoria, two in Barabanki, six in Prayagraj, three in Ambedkar Nagar and one in Balrampur,” Uttar Pradesh Relief Commissioner Sanjay Goyal said.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has expressed grief over the deaths and has announced ex-gratia of 4 lakhs for the families of the deceased. He also ordered officials to provide proper medical care to the injured and help the families of victims of this natural calamity immediately.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives due to heavy rains and lightning strikes in some districts of Bihar and UP.

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Rajnath Singh In Moscow At A Crucial Hour; Expected To Talk S-400, Other Equipment

Moscow is likely to not take sides in the ongoing India-China faceoff.



NEW DELHI/MOSCOW: Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh left for Moscow, Russia on Monday morning. He will be on a three-day visit. In a tweet, RM Singh said that during his visit, he will hold talks on ways to further deepen the India-Russia defence and strategic partnership.

The Victory Parade will be held on Wednesday to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the victory in the Second World War. The Parade is organized to honour the heroism and sacrifices made by the Russian and other friendly people.

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu had invited RM Singh to the Victory Parade, which was originally scheduled on the 9th of May but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Separately, a Tri-Service 75- Member Indian Military Contingent has already reached Moscow to participate in the Victory Parade along with Russian contingent and other invited contingents. The marching contingent taking part in the Victory Day Parade is led by a major rank officer of the gallant Sikh Light Infantry Regiment.

The Regiment had fought with valour in World War II and has a proud distinction of earning four Battle Honours and two Military Crosses amongst other gallantry awards.

The Indian participation in the Victory Day parade will be a mark of tribute to the great sacrifices made by Russia and other nations in the Second World War, in which Indian soldiers also participated and made supreme sacrifice. The visit of  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to strengthen the long-standing special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia.

Russia, India, China Trilateral Too:

Interestingly — interesting because of the circumstances elsewhere — the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China will be holding a virtual meeting on Tuesday.

With India and China going hard at each other — quite literally — at the LAC, it remains to be seen which way is Russia going to lean.

Will Moscow back its old friend India, or will it support China?

It is not going to be an easy choice for Russia.

China is Russia’s top trading partner. In 2018, the bilateral trade between the two countries stood at 108.3 billion dollars. To give a context to that statistic, it has to be noted that Germany, which is Russia’s second-biggest trade partner accounted for a trade worth 59.6 billion dollars — almost half.

When it comes to India, bilateral trade with Russia has been between 7 to 8 billion dollars for almost a decade now — just about a 12th of the China-Russia trade.

Moreover, Russia is also a part of China’s Belt and Road Project.

On the other hand, Russia is India’s largest defence supplier. Among the big-ticket deal is the USD 5.2 billion deal for S-400 missile defence systems.

In 2019, India also signed a deal worth 2 billion dollars for the T-90 tanks. The Akula class nuclear-powered submarine deal was worth 3 billion dollars. These are just a few examples.

India has historically been one of the closest allies of Russia. But Russia’s annexation of Crimea (originally a territory of Ukraine) led to international sanctions on Russia, which forced India too to adhere to many of the sanctions. Russia then began leaning ever more towards China.

Russia On Galwan:

Russia has assured its support to New Delhi when it comes to resolving issues with China. Russia’s Deputy Chief of Mission to India, Roman Babushkin, said, “we hope that the tensions will soon de-escalate.”

Russian media recent quoted presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov as saying “China and India are Russia’s close partners and allies, and have close and mutually beneficial relations built on mutual respect.”

Moscow believes in a multi-vector foreign policy. It has tried to stay out of the US-China trade war, and when it comes to India-China stand-off too, Moscow is likely to play safe.

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India Dismisses China’s Claims On Galwan As “Untenable, Unacceptable”

All infrastructure built by the Indian side is naturally on its own side of the LAC: MEA



NEW DELHI:  In a terse, precise and categorical message to China, India has once again reiterated that Galwan Valley is historically its territory and New Delhi will not accept “untenable and exaggerated” claims by China with regard to Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The position with regard to the Galwan Valley area has been historically clear. Attempts by the Chinese side to now advance exaggerated and untenable claims with regard to Line of Actual Control (LAC) there are not acceptable. They are not in accordance with China’s own position in the past,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on Saturday.

He said that the Indian troops are fully familiar with the alignment of the LAC in all sectors of the India-China border areas, including in the Galwan Valley. They abide by it scrupulously and the Indian side has never undertaken any actions across the LAC. In fact, they have been patrolling this area for a long time without any incident.

On Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian released a statement that gave Beijing’s “step by step” version of the events which led to the Galwan valley face-off of June 15. India has said that 20 of its soldiers were killed, while around 76 were injured in the physical hand-to-hand fight with Chinese troops on Monday night.

The Chinese document reiterated China’s recent claim over the whole Galwan valley, but it also accused India of violating the understanding reached on June 6 among senior commanders that Indian patrols “would not cross the estuary of the Galwan river”.

Responding sharply to the statement by the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Friday on the events in the Galwan Valley area, Srivastava gave a detailed account of the incident.

The MEA official said that since early May 2020, the Chinese side has been hindering India’s normal, traditional patrolling pattern in this area which had resulted in a face-off that was addressed by the ground commanders as per the provisions of the bilateral agreements and protocols.

Subsequently in mid-May, the Chinese side attempted to transgress the LAC in other areas of the Western Sector of the India-China border areas. These attempts were invariably met with an appropriate response from us. Thereafter, the two sides were engaged in discussions through established diplomatic and military channels to address the situation arising out of Chinese activities on the LAC…We do not accept the contention that India was unilaterally changing the status quo. On the contrary, we were maintaining it,” the MEA spokesperson said.

He added that the senior commanders met on June 6, 2020, and agreed on a process for de-escalation and disengagement along the LAC that involved reciprocal actions.

However, the Chinese side departed from these understandings in respect of the LAC in the Galwan Valley area and sought to erect structures just across the LAC. When this attempt was foiled, Chinese troops took violent actions on June 15, 2020, that directly resulted in casualties,” he added.

The Spokesman said, the two sides are in regular touch and early meetings of military and diplomatic mechanisms are currently being discussed.

Referring to telephone conversation between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on June 17, Srivastava said the EAM conveyed India’s protest “in the strongest terms on the events leading up to and on the violent face-off on June 15, 2020“.

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Cyclone NISARG To Make Landfall In Mumbai Today; NDRF Teams Ready

11 teams of NDRF have been deployed in Gujarat and 10 teams in Maharashtra.



NEW DELHI: Tropical storm ‘Nisarga’, which is headed towards the coast in Gujarat and Maharashtra is expected to make landfall close to Mumbai TODAY (June 3). Mumbai and the neighbouring districts have been placed on high alert by the government.

Nisarga is a severe cyclone and the deployed team has been expecting a wind speed of 90-100 kmph. As a precautionary measure, the NDRF has started the evacuation of people from the coastal area of both the states.

Director-General of NDRF S N Pradhan has said that 11 teams of NDRF have been deployed in Gujarat and 10 teams in Maharashtra in view of Cyclone Nisarga.

Gujarat had asked for five more teams, which were then airlifted from Punjab and reached the state yesterday evening.

Two teams are in standby for Gujarat and six teams in standby for Maharashtra.

The NDRF DG informed that the evacuation process and awareness drive has started. He said, although the Cyclone is not in the extremely Severe category, all precautions are being taken.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray, Chief Minister of Gujarat, Vijay Rupani and Administrator of Daman Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Praful K Patel regarding the cyclonic storm situation. He assured all possible support and assistance from the Centre.

As per the CMO Maharashtra,  Union Home Minister Amit Shah had spoken to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackrey through a video conference to review the state’s preparedness. 31 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have already been deployed to both the states.

As per IMD, the depression over the east-central Arabian Sea is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm. It will likely move near northwards during the next 06 hours and will recurve north-northeastwards thereafter and cross north Maharashtra and adjoining South Gujarat Coast between Harihareshwar (Raigad, Maharashtra) and Daman at the afternoon of June 3.

Fishermen have also been asked to come back from the sea and the district collectors of the concerned areas in both states have been asked to ensure that there is no loss of life.

The storm may also cause major damage to thatched houses, power and communication lines, huts, and coastal crops.

• NDRF also mentioned that steps are being taken to ensure that there will be no disruption of the power supply when the states have already been battling the COVID-19 crisis and thousands of patients have been undergoing treatment.

Maharashtra Anxious But Prepared:

It will be the first cyclonic storm that will impact the financial capital of the country.

A storm surge as high as two meters above the astronomical tide will reach the low lying coastal areas of Mumbai, Raigad, and Thane districts during the landfall.

Maharashtra Chief Minister’s office informed that fishermen have been asked to come back from the sea and district collectors are asked to ensure that there is no loss of life in the respective regions.

It was also informed that the hospitals that have not been treating Coronavirus patients will be available for those needing medical assistance during the storm.

Gujarat On A High Alert Too:

Gujarat Chief Minister, Vijay Rupani held a high-level meeting on June 1 to review the measures that will be taken to handle the cyclone.

He informed his team that the formation will cause wind speeds of 90-100 km/hr with heavy rain across Navsari, Surat, Daman, Dang, Valsad, and Bharuch in South Gujarat and Bhavnagar and Amreli in Coastal Saurashtra region.

As per the CM of Gujarat, the government has already deployed 10 NDRF and 5 SDRF to handle the cyclone crisis. As the districts have been put on high alert, the hospitals treating COVID-19 patients have been asked to ensure that there are adequate alternative electricity supply arrangements.

A 24- hour control room to monitor the cyclone situation has already been set up in Gandhinagar.

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