From the Newsroom: Congress leader Ahmed Patel no more

From the Newsroom: Congress leader Ahmed Patel no more; Centre gives nod to LVB-DBS merger

Late Congress leader Ahmed Patel. Credit: PTI File Photo

In your evening news brief, From The Newsroom, MHA issues Guidelines for Surveillance, Containment and Caution;  government approves merger of Lakshmi Vilas Bank with DBS Bank India Ltd; West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee dares BJP to arrest her; Union Cabinet approves equity infusion of Rs 6,000 crore in NIIF Debt Platform sponsored by National Investment and Infrastructure Fund; Malayalam feature film Jallikattu selected as India's official entry for the International Feature Film category at the Oscars; Cyclone Nivar increased its speed and Congress leader Ahmed Patel no more.

Tracking 80 per cent contacts of a Covid-19 patient in 72 hours and allowing states to implement staggered office timings in cities with higher positivity rate as well as imposing local measures like night curfew are among a slew of measures identified by the Centre in its new guidelines to tackle the surging pandemic.

States are also allowed to reduce the number of people attending social, religious, sports, entertainment, educational, cultural, religious and other gatherings to 100 from the existing ceiling of 200 based on the ground situation.

The 'Guidelines for Surveillance, Containment and Caution', which was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday against the backdrop of rising Covid-19 cases following festival season and onset of winter, will come into effect from December 1 and be in place till the month-end. 

The government on Wednesday approved merger of crisis-ridden Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) with DBS Bank India Ltd (DBIL) and removed restrictions on withdrawal of deposits by depositors.

The Union Cabinet has approved the merger of the LVB with DBS Bank India Limited, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters, adding the decision will provide comfort to 20 lakh depositors and protect the services of 4,000 employees.

Calling the BJP "garbage of lies" and "biggest curse of the nation", West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday dared the saffron party to arrest her and asserted she will ensure TMC victory in the upcoming elections even from the jail.

Election to the 294-member West Bengal Assembly is due in April-May.

Accusing the BJP of trying to poach TMC MLAs by attempting to bribe them, Banerjee, without naming anyone, said some people are acting as fence-sitters who are under the illusion that the saffron party might come to power in the state.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved equity infusion of Rs 6,000 crore in NIIF Debt Platform sponsored by National Investment and Infrastructure Fund.

This was informed by Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar after the Cabinet meeting.

To support the funding of the National Infrastructure Pipeline of Rs 111 lakh crore, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech this year had said that about Rs 22,000 crore has already been provided.

Malayalam feature "Jallikattu", directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, has been selected as India's official entry for the International Feature Film category at the Oscars, the Film Federation of India (FFI) announced.

The film, which was unanimously chosen from 27 entries across Hindi, Odiya, Marathi and other languages, follows a bull that escapes from a slaughterhouse in a hilly remote village and the entire village men gathering to hunt down the animal.

Packing a punch, Cyclone Nivar increased its speed to 11 km per hour on the course to make landfall between Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts by Wednesday night or early Thursday morning packing winds to the speed of 120 to 130 km per hour gushing up to 145 km per hour.

The severe cyclonic storm which is likely to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm increased its speed by 4 kmph in three hours. Chennai and other coastal districts continued to receive heavy to heavy rains since Monday morning submerging many low-lying areas across the metropolis

Senior Congress leader and the party's top strategist Ahmed Patel died in a Gurugram hospital on Wednesday due to multi-organ failure. He was suffering from complications related to Covid-19.

Patel (71), who was critical for a few days, was admitted to the Medanta hospital in Gurugram on November 15 after he developed complications.

Patel will be laid to rest at his native village Piraman in Gujarat's Bharuch district, an aide of the leader said.

Patel was Congress’s master strategist and a trusted lieutenant of three generations of the Gandhi family. Patel, 71, was handpicked by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the age of 28 to contest the Lok Sabha elections in 1977 from Bharuch in Gujarat, which he won bucking the Janata Party wave in the post-Emergency polls.

Patel was considered as the most powerful leader in the Congress, having served as a key aide to then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1985 and later as political secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi from 2001 to 2017.

“I have lost as irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend,” the Congress President said in a condolence message.