QBullet: 6 Killed in Mumbai Bridge Collapse; China on Masood Azhar

1. One More Mumbai Civic Tragedy: 6 Killed in Bridge Collapse at CST

Six people were killed and at least 31 injured when a portion of the foot overbridge at the iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station in south Mumbai collapsed on Thursday, 14 March. Passengers in a taxi had a lucky escape after parts of debris crushed its roof and bonnet.

The roughly 50-m structure, which is also known as Himalaya bridge, was built in the 1980s by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and is one of the three points of entry to the station. Officials claimed this bridge sees a daily footfall over 10,000.

(Source: Indian Express)

Also Read: Mumbai Bridge Collapse: Death toll Rises to 6, Police Register FIR

2. Pilgrim Corridor: India, Pakistan Start Talking, Put Differences on Table

Key differences on major aspects have emerged between India and Pakistan over the Kartarpur corridor as officials from both sides met for the first time at Attari Thursday, 14 March.

From who should be allowed access to when and how, both sides had divergent views at the meeting to discuss modalities for pilgrims to pay obeisance at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan through the proposed Kartarpur Sahib corridor.

Both sides will meet again on 2 April at Wagah on the Pakistani side. On 19 March, group of technical experts from both sides will meet at zero line to finalise the alignment of the corridor approaching from Indian and Pakistani side.

(Source: Indian Express)

Also Read: Kartarpur Talk Not Resumption of Bilateral Dialogue with Pak: MEA

3. Rafale Plea: SC to First Settle Row over Documents

Information relating to alleged corruption and human rights violations cannot be deemed to be privileged or protected, the Supreme Court observed on Thursday, 14 March, responding to the government’s request that the top court not consider secret documents that form part of petitions seeking a review of its own December judgment dismissing pleas for a probe of the Rs 59,000 crore Rafale jet fighter deal.

A government affidavit filed on Wednesday, 13 March, argued that the petitioners relied on photocopies of confidential documents that could jeopardise national security and impair India’s relations with other countries. It also claimed privilege with respect to the documents under the Evidence Act, saying the court cannot take cognisance of the papers.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Rafale Deal: SC Reserves Order on ‘Secrecy’ of Leaked Documents

4. 15 BSP Leaders Cross Over, BJP Chipping Away at UP Alliance

With less than a month to go for the Lok Sabha polls, and just two months after the BSP announced a seat-sharing tie-up with the SP in UP, at least 15 prominent leaders of the Mayawati-led party has switched to the BJP, including 11 who have contested on its symbol in state and general elections.

Across the state, which goes to polls in seven phases starting April 11, 28 leaders from different Opposition parties, also including the SP, RLD and Congress, have joined the BJP over the last month. But BSP leaders form a clear majority in that group, with at least one admitting that his move was aimed at securing a ticket from his constituency.

(Source: Indian Express)

Also Read: Mayawati meets BSP leaders, warns about EVMs

5. Rahul to Take Final Call on AAP Pact

The Congress on Thursday, 14 March, completed its internal survey in which it asked boothlevel workers in Delhi what they felt about a possible alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The results will be analysed by Saturday, 16 March, and sent to party chief Rahul Gandhi, who will take a decision on whether to contest the seven Lok Sabha seats in the capital alone or in a pre-poll pact with the AAP , according to people familiar with the matter.

But the move has again brought to the fore the division within the Delhi Congress over the proposed alliance.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read: Kejriwal asks Congress, JJP to tie up with AAP in Haryana

6. Beijing Claims It Needs More Time, Delhi More Cautious Than Before

A day after China put a technical hold on a proposal to list Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist at the United Nations Security Council, New Delhi was cautious in its response to what it sees as a deeply complex relationship with China.

Mindful of the consensus evolved from Astana to Xiamen to Wuhan that “differences cannot become disputes”, sources said that Delhi’s calibrated response to China’s technical hold was a “carefully thought-out response.”

(Source: Indian Express)

Also Read: China Saves Masood Azhar: Fighting Terror Needs Action, Not the UN

7. Vadakkan, Once a Key Sonia Aide, Joins BJP

In an embarrassment to Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, longtime Gandhi family loyalist and an old hand in the Congress media department, Tom Vadakkan sprung a surprise by joining BJP on Thursday, 14 March, saying he was hurt by his former party’s stand on the Balakot airstrikes.

“I am deeply hurt and that is why I am here,” Vadakkan said after joining BJP in the presence of law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. He later met party president Amit Shah.

Though he did not currently have a prominent role in the Congress organisation, Vadakkan’s lengthy association with Sonia Gandhi and his role as an “insider” at 10 Janpath made his switch significant.

(Source: Times of India)

Also Read: Gandhi family loyalist Tom Vadakkan joins BJP

8. Stop Concealing Uncomfortable Data, Appeal 108 Academics

Expressing concerns over “political interference” in statistical data in India, as many as 108 economists and social scientists on Thursday, 14 March, called for restoration of “institutional independence” and integrity of statistical organisations.

Their appeal comes against the backdrop of controversy over revision of gross domestic product (GDP) numbers and withholding employment data by the NSSO.

They said that for decades, India’s statistical machinery enjoyed a high-level of reputation for the integrity of the data it produced on a range of economic and social parameters.

(Source: Times of India)

9. All-Clear for 6 US Nuclear-Power Reactors in Coastal Andhra

With the United States and India agreeing to set up six American nuclear power reactors in India, the decks have been cleared for Westinghouse Electric (WEC), which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last August, to initiate the sale of six AP-1000 reactors for a proposed project in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

The agreement follows two days of talks in Washington and comes in the backdrop of simmering trade tensions between the US and India.

In a joint statement Wednesday, 13 March, the US and India said they had agreed to strengthen security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the proposal for building six US nuclear reactor units in India. The talks involved Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and Andrea Thompson, US Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security.

(Source: Indian Express)

Also Read: US affirms plan for 6 nuclear plants in India

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