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CHANDIGARH: The 28th meeting of the Northern Zonal Council consisting of the States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Union Territory of Chandigarh was held at Chandigarh today under the Chairmanship of Shri Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister. 

The Zonal Council discussed and deliberated upon 18 items of common interest among the member states. The major items discussed were ‘Need for fiscal and infrastructural harmony in Northern States; Joint efforts for export of fruits, flowers and vegetables from the States; Sharing of Water of various rivers of the region and also hydropower among States; controlling pollution in the region by setting up Common Effluent Treatment Plants and Treatment, Storage & Disposal Facility (TSDF) for disposal of hazardous waste, contamination of water in canals of Rajasthan off-taking from Harike Barrage and setting up of mini hydel projects on Bhakra Main Line Canal at 27 Sites with total 63.75 MW of power in Punjab. Out of the 18 items discussed today, 7 were resolved in the meeting. 

There are interstate problem of effluents generated from industrial areas as well as from sewage from towns draining in River Yamuna and Ghaggar as well as canals of Rajasthan. In a major step forward all the member states unanimously agreed to jointly tackle the problem of water pollution under the guidance of Central Pollution Control Board. For export promotion of fruits, flowers and vegetables APEDA has sanctioned projects to Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan. The States were urged to try to settle the contentious matters of sharing water and hydropower amicably through the mediation of the concerned Union Ministries of Water Resources and Power. This will help harnessing potential hydel power at very low cost. 

The five Zonal Councils were set up under the States Reorganisation Act, 1956 to foster Inter-state cooperation and coordination among the States. They are mandated to discuss and make recommendations on any matter as a cooperative endeavor for States linked with each other economically, politically and culturally. Being compact high level bodies, they are capable of focusing attention on specific issues taking into account regional factors, while keeping national perspective in view. 

The present central government revitalized the zonal councils. Nine meetings of various zonal councils and 11 meetings of their Standing Committees have been held since 2015. Overall 699 issues were discussed in these meetings and 345 have been resolved. 

In the end of the meeting, Union Home Minister advised all the Chief Ministers, Ministers and Chief Secretaries present in the meeting that students and youth of Kashmir wherever they are in the country should be treated nicely and decently and provided comfortable environment. He stressed that all youth of India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari are our own children and should be treated accordingly 

Today’s meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers of Haryana and Punjab, Administrator of Union Territory of Chandigarh, Lt Governor of UT of Delhi, Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Ministers of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi as well as the senior officers from Central and State Governments. The deliberations of the Council were warm and cordial in the true spirit of cooperative federalism and ended with the decision to host the next meeting in Rajasthan. 

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KOCHI: five days National cartoonists’ camp held under the realms of Cartoon and Caricature Festival organized by the Kerala Cartoon Academy in association with Kerala Lalithakala Akademi, Kerala Social Security Mission and Information and Public Relations Department concluded here on 6th May.  Around 80 cartoonists from across India participated in this event comprising live cartoon drawing and various other activities. The cartoon and caricature festival was organized to commemorate the celebration of 100 year and 60th year of formation of Kerala 


Sharing their experience, the participants said that beyond any doubt, Kerala is the Mecca of Cartoonists. They said whosoever came to camp site was a perfect cartoonist, whether he was an educationist, politician, social worker or student, everyone seems to have perfection in skillfully showcasing thoughts through their cartoons. Besides Chandrashekhar from Jammu and Kashmir, Cartoonists Mahboob Raja ‘Elham’ from Ranchi, Manoj Kureel from New Delhi, Major K. Sinha from Faridabad, Paresh Nath from New Delhi, Subhani from Secunderabad, Prashant Kulkarni from Mumbai, Mrithunjai from Telengana and Sudheer Nath from New Delhi were part of the inaugural functions. They were joined by Yesudasan, M.M. Monaye, Elyas John, T.K. Sujith, Madhu Omalloor, Thomas Antony, K.V.M. Unni, Sajjive B., Baiju Paulose, Renjith M.S., Joshy A.M. and Tensigh.


Several prominent political, social, and intellectual personalities besides students, scholars and general public visited the camp site to quench the desire of going through cream of cartoons from across the nation.  Speaking on the occasion, former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Saturday said cartoons had become nightmare for politicians. Terming cartoons a highly effective form of criticism and well known art form, Chandy said cartoons can act both as a corrective force and make people introspect on various social and political subjects. 



Chandy also recalled several cartoons which had attracted his attention over the years. According to him, when the Congress opted for the ‘hand’ as the party symbol, the cartoonists had a field day. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan and Sebastian Paul also graced the occasion.

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NEW DELHI: Newly appointed Chairperson of the Waqf Development Committee of the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs Dr Darakhshan Andrabi today took charge of her new assignment and convened the meeting of the full committee in Deen Dayal Upadhyay Antodaya Bhavan office at New Delhi. Secretary of Central Waqf Council B M Jamal was also present on the occasion.

A status report of all the Waqf properties of all the states was put up for discussion on the meeting. Dr Andrabi was apprised of the Waqf assets of all the states and the issues related to the assets. Speaking on the occasion Dr Darakhshan Andrabi said that it was heartening to know that waqf has been used in India for sixty years by the political class to use it for personal ends. He said that precious Waqf properties have been encroached and grabbled with the support of so-called Muslim friendly politicians who looted Waqf for personal benefits.

 “Minister Mukhtsr Abbas Naqvi is keen to deal very hard with the encroachers of Waqf properties. I will fight for the restoration of the Waqf properties in the country and see that those who have looted and helped in the loot of these assets be dealt sternly as per law,” said Dr Darakhshan.     

She requested the committee members to work for the transparency in the Waqf throughout the country. “We will devise a mechanism through which all the state Waqf boards are thoroughly audited and the supervision of the State Waqf Management and Implementation of Central initiatives is done regularly so that the Prime Minister’s mission of clean administration is implemented in Waqf,” said Chairperson of Waqf Development Committee.


Dr Darakhshan Andrabi said that the Union Minister for Minority Affairs has initiated action against the embezzlement of Waqf assets in the country and she will struggle hard to take this initiative to its logical end.