Fight Over Rohtang Tunnel’s Foundation & Inauguration Stones

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the all-weather 9.2-km-long Rohtang tunnel, linking Manali with Lahaul-Spiti Valley, in Himachal Pradesh on 3 October, Congress leaders discovered that the foundation stone that was laid by the party president Sonia Gandhi a decade ago was missing.

After many days’ suspense and counter-allegations by the Congress and BJP-ruled state’s leaders, Kullu Superintendent of Police Gaurav Singh told The Sunday Guardian that the tunnel’s foundation stone was “secure” and that the Border Road Organisation had kept the stone in the mechanical workshop of the tunnel’s construction company SAJV so that it could not get damaged during the construction.

In a letter to CM Jai Ram Thakur, state Congress president Kuldeep Singh Rathore on Monday said Sonia Gandhi had laid the foundation stone at the south portal of the tunnel in Manali’s Dhoondi on 28 June 2010 in the presence of the then BJP CM Prem Kumar Dhumal and Union Minister Virbhadra Singh.

Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, after whom the tunnel has been named, had announced the project during a public meeting at Lahaul-Spiti’s Keylong in June 2000. He had laid the foundation stone for an approach road to the tunnel in 2002. The Congress has warned that if the stone is not reinstalled within a fortnight, the party will launch a state-wide agitation. Built at an altitude of 10,040 feet, the tunnel reduces the travel between Manali and Leh by 46 km, saving four to five hours.

Woman migrant worker in puja pandal

A famous Durga Puja Club in a Kolkata neighbourhood has gone for a bold theme. It has decided to pay tribute to the women migrant workers who have been struggling to survive the coronavirus pandemic. As the migrant workers faced immense hardships after sudden nation-wide coronavirus lockdown, Barisha Club Durga Puja committee in Behala has replaced the traditional idol of Durga with an idol of a migrant worker and mother with a child on her hip. The other deities, Saraswati and Lakshmi, have also been replaced. The Goddesses will be represented by two migrant worker’s daughters, one with an owl representing Lakshmi and the other with a swan, Saraswati’s chosen vaahan (transport). The four are accompanied by a cute little child with an elephant’s head, signifying Ganesha. The artist of the migrant mother’s statue, Rintu Das, told The Sunday Guardian that “the Goddess is the woman who braved the scorching sun and hunger and penury along with her children. She is looking for food, water and some relief for her children.”

RS TV’s YouTube Channel soaring

Rajya Sabha Television’s YouTube channel on Wednesday crossed the five-million (50 lakh) mark in terms of subscribers, emerging as one of the fastest expanding channels on YouTube in the news space, leaving several other channels behind. RSTV has added a million organic subscribers in just over 10 months. Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu took to Twitter to compliment the channel.

America Secures Artwork 87 Years After Nazis Looted it in Berlin

A painting looted by the Nazis in 1933 from a Jewish family in Berlin was returned to the family’s heirs, represented by the Mosse Foundation, on Thursday.

Rudolf Mosse was a prominent publisher and philanthropist in the early twentieth century in Berlin. He and his family published newspapers including the Berliner Tageblatt, which criticized the Nazi party. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, the Jewish Mosse family became subject to “Aryanization measures”, which sought to remove them from the German economy. When the Mosses fled Germany, the Nazis seized their assets, including an extensive art collection.

The Mosse art collection included a painting known as “Winter” by American artist Gari Melchers. After the Nazis seized “Winter”, it went through a series of intermediaries, ultimately purchased by Bartlett Arkell, co-founder and president of Imperial Packing Company, which became Beech-Nut Packing Company. Bartlett Arkell’s art collection is now housed at the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, New York. In September 2019, the FBI recovered “Winter” from the Arkell Museum on the basis that it is stolen property that travelled in interstate commerce. There is no evidence suggesting that Bartlett Arkell knew that “Winter” had been unlawfully taken.

Man Mohan can be contacted at rovingeditor@gmail.com