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14 MAY 2022View in browser
 
 
 

Good morning,

 

What led up to the demolition of a house in Khargone, built under PM Awas Yojana; Congress discusses drastic changes at the Chintan Shivir in Udaipur; What’s in the 22 locked rooms in the Taj Mahal — here are the top stories from today’s edition. 

 

The Big Story

 

A month since Hasina Fakhroo’s house, built under the Prime Minister Awas Yojna (Urban), was demolished in Khargone, the claims of “due procedure” do not match what played out on the ground, reveals an investigation by The Indian Express. It shows that Hasina’s house was geotagged five times as per PMAY guidelines; its photos were uploaded at every key stage of construction, two featured the beneficiary (she and her son) standing at the door. Bank records show that Rs 2.5 lakh was paid, in instalments, into Hasina’s bank account at regular intervals over a year.

 

Only in the Express 

 

Air India may have been sold to the Tata Group but, at least, in one aspect, it seems, its disinvestment isn’t complete — upgrading seats and “special handling” of a Government officer. Records reviewed by The Indian Express show that Rajiv Bansal, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, who left for the United States May 7 on a personal trip with his wife Aparna Bansal bought Air India Economy Class tickets at a rate cheaper than other passengers on their booking dates. After boarding, their seating was upgraded to Business Class.

 

From the Front Page

In one of the worst fire tragedies in the national capital’s recent history, at least 27 people died inside a four-storey commercial building near Mundka Metro station, in Outer Delhi, on Friday. With firefighting and rescue operations on until late Friday night, officials feared the toll could go up.

 

Extraordinary situations call for extraordinary measures, Congress President Sonia Gandhi said on Friday, indicating that the party is planning to roll out some drastic changes in its organisational set-up. “Every organisation, not just for being alive but to surge ahead, will have to make changes within it from time to time,” she said in the inaugural speech at the three-day Chintan Shivir in Udaipur. 

 

Meanwhile, police fired tear gas shells to disperse protesters marching towards the Srinagar airport on Friday over the killing of a Kashmiri Pandit government employee by suspected militants even as protests by the community continued in the Sheikhpora area of Budgam in central Kashmir where the attack took place. The victim, Rahul Bhat, was shot inside the Chadoora Tehsil office on Thursday evening.

 

Must Read

 

Shamika Ravi writes on the controversy over India’s Covid death numbers and what we can learn from it: “The pandemic has provided a window of opportunity to invest heavily in building a robust and reliable infrastructure that collects timely data on vital statistics, such as births, deaths and migrations. This should be a project of national importance and deemed an urgent priority requiring complete cooperation of central and state governments. Such an infrastructure would become the cornerstone of public health in India.”

 

The Allahabad High Court dismissed a petition that sought direction to open the sealed doors inside the Taj Mahal and the appointment of a “facts finding committee to study and publish the real History” of the monument. But Archaeological Survey of India  officials who have seen the so-called “22 rooms” in the basement of the Taj Mahal say they are not really rooms, rather a long arched corridor along which doors were fixed so the space could be utilised better. 

 

Shubhra Gupta reviews the Ranveer Singh-Shalini Pandey film ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’: “The intentions in ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’ may have been noble, but the film comes off as a babble of characters flailing about in a plot which makes you grit your teeth. Imagine having a film which has a main character responsible for the death of several unborn children, without the deed leaving a discernible scar on his soul: he just tosses it out in a line, sheds a tear, and that’s the end of that.”

 

And Finally...  

They dug so deep individually in their quiet, personal journeys and at other times together noisily on training courts, that in the end, the Indian team found the depth to win its first Thomas Cup medal. The golden generation of male shuttlers – some of whom first took to the international courts a decade ago – elevated Indian badminton into the ultimate realm of shuttle royalty on Thursday, medalling at the prestigious team championships, edging out Malaysia 3-2 in a thrilling quarterfinal tie at Bangkok.

 

Until tomorrow, 
Rahel Philipose 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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