Hinduja brothers have been named as the wealthiest people in the UK for the third time.The billionaire Hinduja brothers have been named as the wealthiest people in the UK for a third time, according to the Sunday Times Rich List. Sri and Gopi Hinduja saw their fortune increase by 1.356 billion pounds ($1.7 billion) in the last year to 22 billion pounds, the BBC quoted the list as saying.The Hinduja Group, a family business, was founded in Mumbai in 1914, and now it has interests around the world including in oil and gas, banking, IT and property.British citizens Sri, 83, and Gopi, 79, who are based in London, are two of the four brothers controlling the empire. The two moved to London in 1979 to develop the export business.The third brother Prakash manages the group’s finances in Geneva, Switzerland while the youngest, Ashok, oversees the Indian interests.Among the properties they own is the Old War Office in Whitehall, which they plan to reopen as a luxury hotel.The two brothers topped the newspaper list in 2014 and in 2017.The list, which estimates the 1,000 richest people in the UK, is based on identifiable wealth including land, property, other assets such as art, and shares in companies, according to the Sunday Times.It does not include the amount contained in people’s bank accounts.Meanwhile, chemicals firm founder Jim Ratcliffe, who topped last year’s list, has slipped to third place.His net worth dropped by 2.9 billion pounds since last year, the paper says.For the sixth year in a row, Scotland’s richest person was named as Glenn Gordon and his family, the Jersey-based tycoon behind distillers William Grant & Sons. The group produces whiskey including Grant’s, Glenfiddich and The Balvenie, as well as Hendrick’s gin.Cardiff-born venture capitalist Sir Michael Moritz remained Wales’ richest person with a 3 billion pounds fortune.Top of the Music Rich List in the UK – which includes writers and performers – was Andrew Lloyd Webber with a fortune of 820 million pounds.
Congress celebrates victory over BJPgettyimagesCongress leaders have divided opinions on the government’s historic decision to revoke the controversial Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and to bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories. While senior Congress leaders, including former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, disapproved with the abrogation of Article 370 and called Monday a black day in the nation’s history, some appreciated the move.In a setback for Congress, a party leader from Assam, Bhubaneshwar Kalita, resigned over the party’s attitude towards the scrapping of Article 370. He said that the party has taken the path of self-destruction and he cannot be a part of it.Senior Congress leader Janardan Dwivedi supported the abrogation, stating that the nation has corrected a historical mistake which was made during the time of independence.The national spokesperson of Congress, Jaiveer Shergill, also supported the move. “I support abrogation of Art 370 (as opening words say its temporary) but Only & Only in accordance with provisions & methodology provided by the Constitution of India which mandates consent of J&K State Assembly -any other way is Unconstitutional,” he said.Congress leader and Rohtak MP Deepender Singh Hooda also differed from his party’s view. He said that revoking Article 370 is needed for the unity of India as well as the people of J&K, who are an integral part of the nation. But the government must ensure that this is implemented in a peaceful atmosphere.The Congress legislator from Raebareli Sadar, Aditi Singh, has supported the revocation stating that the move will help in J&K’s integration into the mainstream. “It’s a historic decision. It should not be politicised. As an MLA, in my capacity, I welcome this decision,” she said.Former Congress MP Milind Deora took a neutral stand on the issue. “Parties should put aside ideological fixations and debate what’s best for India’s sovereignty and federalism, peace in K, jobs for Kashmiri youth & justice for Kashmiri Pandits,” he tweeted. Rahul Gandhi, who quit as Congress president in May, finally voiced his opinion over the issue saying that the central government has abused its executive power. “National integration isn’t furthered by unilaterally tearing apart J&K, imprisoning elected representatives and violating our Constitution. This nation is made by its people, not plots of land. This abuse of executive power has grave implications for our national security,” he wrote on Twitter.
.The government has approved a project for setting up a oil terminal on 192 acres of land of a reserved forest in Maheskhali, defying objections from the forest department and environmentalists.If this project is implemented, some 25,000 trees will be cut down, the department has expressed apprehensions.”The construction work (as part of project impelentation) will cause soil erosion, water pollution, release of chemical wastes and a variety of natural disasters,” the forest department said in a letter sent to the environment and forest ministry last year.The ministry sent a proposal to the cabinet division on 27 March, seeking permission for felling thousands of trees at Maheshkhali reserved forest to construct the oil terminal.The government gave Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) the permission on 1 March for construction of an unrefined fuel terminal, Maheshkhali in Cox’s Bazar, the country’s only hilly island. It will cost around Tk 45 billion.Environmental experts said implementation of such a project would result in damage to the forest and wildlife in Maheshkhali as well as a natural disaster.A fuel terminal, if set up, will affect biodiversity and ecosystem of Maheshkhali reserved forest, a home to endangered species such as Maya deer and python. Water in surrounding areas will be contaminated, the environmentalists pointed out.The environment and forest ministry said, a total of 1,701 old trees and another 1,250 trees of different types will be cut down for implementing the project. For the loss of forest resources, the BPC is set to pay Tk 13.6 million as compensation.The forest department initially estimated the value of overall loss at Tk 2.77 billion, but later refixed it downwardly — at Tk 470 million.Unrefined fuels, imported from abroad, will be brought to the Maheshkhali terminal directly from mother vessels in deep sea. The fuels will then be taken to Eastern Refinery in Anwara, Chattogram.The forest ministry’s acting secretary Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury told Prothom Alo recently that such project has to be allowed for the sake of development.“We will, however, try to minimise the damage,” he said.The official added that the ministry has asked the BPC to plant saplings five times higher than the number of trees to be cut down, and nurture them for the subsequent 10 years.The ministry has already received the prime minister’s nod in favour of these activities, he claimed.The BPC had in 2016 sought the permission to acquire 192 acres of lands on the basis of lease from the forest ministry.A six-member expert committee was also formed to assess the value of biodiversity.A member of the committee and also professor at Chattogram University’s forestry and rnvironmental science department Kamal Hossain told Prothom Alo that they recommended not giving permission for using the forest land.”We attend meetings and seminars and make commitments to protecting forests. Returning home, we forget and give permissions to use forests. Such decisions will cause disasters in the coastal areas,” he expressed his views.Nature and wildlife expert Anisuzzaman, who is working for big government and UN projects, observed that forests and hills can easily be destroyed only after getting permission from the ministries.He said reserved forests have been the targets for implementing big projects and making infrastructures.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam and Farjana Liakat.