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Andhra Pradesh

Extremely severe cyclone Fani to hit Odisha coast on Friday afternoon

The extremely severe cyclonic storm, Fani, over westcentral Bay of Bengal, was very likely to cross the Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali, around Puri, on Friday afternoon, the India Meteorological Department said on Thursday.
The extremely severe cyclonic storm, Fani, over westcentral Bay of Bengal, was very likely to cross the Odisha coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali, around Puri, tomorrow afternoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said here today.
 
The IMD has already issued a cyclone warning for the coastal areas of Odisha and West Bengal and Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram and Visakhapatnam districts of Andhra Pradesh.
 
In a bulletin issued at 1230 hours today, the IMD said Fani had moved further north-northeastwards with a speed of about 16 kmph in the previous six hours and lay centred at 1130 hours IST near latitude 16.7°N and longitude 84.8°E, about 360 km south-southwest of Puri (Odisha), 190 km south-southeast of Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and 550 km south-southwest of Digha (West Bengal). 
 
"It is very likely to move north-northeastwards and cross Odisha Coast between Gopalpur and Chandbali, around Puri by the afternoon of 3rd May with maximum sustained wind speed of 170-180 kmph gusting to 200 kmph," the bulletin said.
 
The cyclone is being tracked by Doppler Weather Radars Vishakhapatnam & Machilipatnam.
 
The bulletin said light to moderate rainfall would occur over most places in North Andhra Pradesh with isolated heavy to very heavy falls over Visakhapatnam and Vijayanagaram districts and isolated heavy to extremely heavy falls (>20 cm) over Srikakulam district today.
 
There could be heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places over Srikakulam district tomorrow, it said.
 
In  south coastal and adjoining interior Odisha, the IMD said there could be light to moderate rainfall at most places today, with heavy to very heavy rainfall and extremely heavy falls over Ganjam & Gajapati districts at isolated places.
 
"It is likely to increase with moderate rainfall at most places and heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places over coastal Odisha and adjoining districts of interior Odisha on 3rd. Light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places over Balasore, Mayurbhanj districts of north Odisha on 4th May," it said.
 
The bulletin also forecast light to light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places very likely over coastal and adjoining districts of West Bengal tomorrow; and heavy to very falls at isolated places over Gangetic West Bengal on May 4.
 
"Light to moderate rainfall at most places with heavy falls at isolated places over sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim on 4th May," it said.
 
The bulletin said Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya would experience light to moderate rainfall at most places, with isolated heavy to very heavy falls on May 4 and 5. There could be isolated extremely heavy falls over Assam and Meghalaya on May 4.
 
There could also light to moderate rainfall at many places over Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura on May 4, with isolated heavy falls.
 
The bulletin said gale winds, with speed reaching 180-190 kmph, gusting to 210 kmph, were very likely to prevail over westcentral Bay of Bengal around the system centre during the next 24 hours and decrease thereafter.
 
It said squally winds, with speed reaching 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, were very likely to prevail along and off north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha Coasts and become gale wind, speed reaching 60-70 kmph gusting to 85 kmph, from tonight. It is very likely to become 170-180 kmph, gusting to 200 kmph, along and off south Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh (Srikakulam district) coasts; and 90-100 kmph gusting to 115 kmph along and off remaining districts of coastal Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh (Visakhapatnam and Vijayanagaram Districts) by tomorrow forenoon for the subsequent 12 hours and decrease thereafter.
 
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"Squally wind speed reaching 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph is very likely along & off West Bengal coast from 2nd May evening. It is very likely become gale wind speed reaching 60-70 kmph gusting to 85 kmph from 3rd May afternoon and become 90-100 kmph gusting to 115 kmph from 4th May early morning for subsequent 12 hours and decrease thereafter," it said.
 
The sea condition will be phenomenal over westcentral Bay of Bengal, off north Andhra Pradesh coasts, till tomorrow and over northwest Bay of Bengal off Odisha and West Bengal till May 4.
 
Sea conditions are very likely to be very rough to high off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, along and off south Andhra Pradesh coasts till May 3.
 
The bulletin warned that storm surge of 1.5 metre height above astronomical tide was very likely to inundate low-lying areas of Ganjam, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha at the time of landfall.
 
Fishermen were advised not to venture into deep sea areas and those out in deep sea in the above aeas were advised to return to the coasts.
 
The bulletin said the cyclone could cause extensive damage to kutcha houses and old pucca and badly managed pucca structures in Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Puri and Jagatsinghpur districts of Odisha.
 
It said there could be extensive uprooting of communication and  power poles. There could also be disruption of rail and road links and extensive damage to standing crops, plantations and orchards. Large boats and ships may get torn from their moorings.
 
The IMD suggested total suspension of fishing operations, extensive evacuation of people from coastal areas, and diversion or suspension of rail and road traffic. People in affected areas have been advised to remain indoors.
 
The cyclone could also cause damage, on a lesser scale, in Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Balasore districts of Odisha and east and west Medinipur, south and north 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hoogli, Kolkata districts of West Bengal and Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and Vijayanagaram districts of Andhra Pradesh, the bulletin added.
 
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8 die as cyclone Titli batters Andhra, Odisha coast

A very severe cyclonic storm, Titli, unleashed havoc in north coastal Andhra Pradesh and south coastal Odisha on Thursday, claiming eight lives in Andhra and causing widespread destruction, officials said.
 
Cyclone Titli makes landfall in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh
A very severe cyclonic storm, Titli, unleashed havoc in north coastal Andhra Pradesh and south coastal Odisha on Thursday, claiming eight lives in Andhra and causing widespread destruction, officials said.
 
The cyclone, which made landfall between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha early on Thursday, triggered widespread rains in the two states, uprooted trees, electricity poles, communication towers, damaged houses and crops and snapped electricity supply.
 
Srikakulam and Vijayanagaram districts of Andhra Pradesh were affected by the cyclone, which hit the coast near Palasa close to the border with Odisha. Srikakulam district bore the brunt as the strong winds uprooted a large number of coconut trees.
 
Officials said five deaths were reported from Srikakulam district while three persons were killed in neighbouring Vijayanagaram district. Six fishermen were among the dead.
 
According to the Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre, Titli crossed between North Andhra and South Odisha coast near Palasa with wind speed of 140-150 km per hour.
 
Parts of the two Andhra districts received heavy rainfall triggered by the cyclone. A few places in Srikakulam district got over 20 cm rainfall, flooding the low-lying areas and roads.
 
Uprooted trees fell on the roads, disrupting vehicular traffic. The state-owned road transport corporation suspended all bus services on the Andhra-Odisha border area.
 
Several trains were cancelled or diverted due to the cyclone.
 
According to East Coast Railway, railway stations were damaged at several places. The station at Palasa suffered massive damage. Teams of railway officials were studying the impact of cyclone between Palasa and Brahmpur.
 
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu reached Visakhapatnam on Thursday evening and left for Srikakulam by road to review the situation.
 
Titli triggered heavy rainfall in eight districts in Odisha. However, there was no loss of life in the state.
 
Heavy rains lashed Ganjam, Gajapati, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore districts as Titli left behind uprooted trees and displaced three lakh people.
 
Odisha is facing a possible flood in its coastal belt on Thursday, an official said.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places were very likely in Odisha in the next 24 hours.
 
"We believe that the entire state, except some western parts, is likely to receive rain throughout the day. Depending upon the rainfall, we may see some flood in coastal Odisha. However, there is no flood-like situation as of now," said Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi.
 
"There may be flooding of the Vansadhara river as Gajapati and Rayagada districts received heavy rainfall due to the cyclone," he added.
 
The officer said that Gajapati district, which was most affected, received more than 200 mm of rainfall while Mohana block in the district received the maximum rainfall of 315 mm.
 
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday reviewed the cyclone situation.
 
Around three lakh people have been evacuated in the coastal state and 1,112 relief camps set up for the evacuees. As many as 105 pregnant women in Ganjam and 18 in Jgatsinghpur were shifted to hospitals.
 
All schools, colleges and anganwadis would remain closed on Thursday and Friday. Trees have been uprooted in large numbers in the coastal belt.
 
The system is very likely to move northwestwards for next 12 hours and then re-curve northeastwards towards Gangetic West Bengal across Odisha.
 
The coastal alert has been put at 10 -- the highest with fishermen prohibited from venturing into the sea for the next few days.
 
IANS
 

Five dead as truck collides with Bangalore-Nanded Express in Anantapur district

Five people, including a member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, died when a truck laden with granite crashed through the gate of a manned level crossing and rammed into the Bangalore City-Nanded Express in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh in the early hours of Monday.
 
Five dead after truck rams into Bangalore-Nanded Express in Anantpur
 
Five people, including a member of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, died when a truck laden with granite crashed through the gate of a manned level crossing and rammed into the Bangalore City-Nanded Express in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh in the early hours of today.
 
Those killed in the incident included three passengers of the train, a railway AC mechanic, who was travelling in the AC I coach which bore the brunt of the collision, and the driver of the truck, South Western Railway and Anantapur police officials told NetIndian.
 
The victims included senior Congress leader A Venkatesh Naik, 79, four-time member of the Lok Sabha from Raichur in Karnataka and the current member of the state legislative assembly from Devadurg constituency, they said.
 
At least three other people suffered injuries in the mishap, which occurred at around 2.23 am when the 16594 Bangalore City – Nanded Express was crossing the level crossing gate number 77 between Rangepalli and Penukonda stations on the Dharmavaram section of Bangalore Division of South Western Railway.
 
The officials said the driver of the truck appeared to have lost control over the vehicle and it crashed through the level crossing gate and hit the train.
 
Four coaches of the train -- an AC I coach (H1), an AC III coach (B1) and two sleeper coaches (S1 and S2) derailed due to the impact of the collision.
 
Top railway officials, police and district administration officials have rushed to the scene of the mishap and efforts were being made to restore normal traffic on the affected station.
 
As a consequence of the accident, the Railways have diverted the following trains to run on alternate routes:
 
1. Train No. 17308 Bagalkot – Mysore Basava Express which left Bagalkot on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Bellary, Raidurg.
2. Train No. 12735 Secunderabad – Yesvantpur Garibrath Express which left Secunderabad on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Bellary, Raidurg.
3. Train No. 18463 Bhubaneswar – Bangalore Prasanthi Express which left Bhubaneswar on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Bellary, Raidurg.
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4. Train No. 12252 Korba - Yesvantpur Express which left Korba on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Bellary, Raidurg.
5. Train No. 16339 Mumbai CSTM – Nagercoil Express which left Mumbai on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Gooty, Renigunta.
6. Train No. 17603 Kacheguda - Yesvantpur Express which left Kacheguda on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Gooty, Renigunta.
7. Train No. 12628 New Delhi – Bangalore Karnataka Express which left New Delhi on 22.08.2015 is diverted to run via Bellary, Raidurg.
8. Train No. 12785 Kacheguda - Bangalore Express which left Kacheguda on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Dharmavaram, Pakala, Katpadi.
9. Train No. 12591 Gorakhpur - Yesvantpur Express which left Gorakhpur on 22.08.2015 is diverted to run via Dharmavaram, Pakala, Katpadi.
10. Train No. 22692 H.Nizamuddin – Bangalore Rajadhani Express which left Hazarat Nizamuddin on 22.08.2015 is diverted to run via Dharmavaram, Pakala, Katpadi.
11. Train No. 11301 Mumbai CSTM - Bangalore Express which left Mumbai on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Dharmavaram, Pakala, Katpadi.
12. Train No. 22133 Solapur - Yesvantpur Express which left Solapur on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Dharmavaram, Pakala, Katpadi.
13. Train No. 16572 Bidar - Yesvantpur Express which left Bidar on 23.08.2015 is diverted to run via Dharmavaram, Pakala, Katpadi.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines:
 
Bangalore City Railway Station: 080 22354108, 09731666751, 080 22156553
Bangalore Cantonment: 080 2333 9163, 
Hindupur Station: 08556220444
Penukonda Station: 0855220244
Dharmavaram Station: 08559224422
Accident spot: 09701374062, 09493548005, 09448090399, 00873-763945549
Anantapur :- 09100992941, 09676903449; 08554-236444
Dharmavaram: - 08559-222555
Guntakal:- 09676903466
Yadgir:- 078999300084; 08473250365
Tandur:- 08411-272010
Vikarabad:- 08416-252013 
Bidar:- 08482-226329
Parli:-02446-222008
Nanded:- 09730471077
 
 
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Kiran Reddy quits as Andhra Pradesh CM day after LS passes Telangana Bill

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy announced his resignation on Wednesday in protest against the decision of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre to go ahead with its decision to carve out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh as the 29th state of the Union.
Andhra Pradesh CM Kiran Reddy resigns, quits Congress
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy announced his resignation today in protest against the decision of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre to go ahead with its decision to carve out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh as the 29th state of the Union.
 
Mr Reddy handed in his papers to Governor E S L Narasimhan a day after, amid noisy schenes, the Lok Sabha passed the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill, which seeks to bifurcate the state to create the new state of Telangana.
 
Before driving down to Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation, Mr Reddy addressed a press conference at which he hit out at his Congress party for allegedly flouting Parliamentary procedures in its haste to get the Bill passed.
 
"I am ashamed. They did it like thieves, blacking out the live telecast. What was the need to do all this?" he asked.
 
Thanking the party for giving him the chance to serve as Chief Minister, he, however, made it clear that he could not continue in the Congress because, according to hi, it had betrayed the Telugu people.
 
He said he would also resign as a member of the Legislative Assembly as well as from the membership of the Congress.
 
Mr Reddy said the Congress and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had got together in the Lok Sabha yesterday to get the Bill passed.
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He was particularly upset that the Bill was passed in the absence of several MPs from Andhra Pradesh, who had been suspended from the House for disrupting proceedings on February 13.
 
There has been media speculation about Mr Reddy planning to launch a new party but he did not touch the topic today. "My future is not important," he said when asked about it.
 
Some of his Cabinet colleagues from the Seemandhra region, who were opposed to the bifurcation of the state, and several legislators were present at the press conference.
 
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Andhra man murdered over Rs 2: Police

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In a shocking incident, a man was killed during an argument for two rupees in Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari district, police said.
 
The incident occurred late Saturday in Valasapakala village under Kakinada rural block.
 
According to police, Suvarnaraju (24), a construction worker, had gone to a cycle shop for inflating his cycle tyres. As he did not have two rupees to pay, there was an argument with shop owner Samba.
 
The worker allegedly manhandled Samba for abusing him. Enraged over this, Samba's friend Appa Rao, who was present nearby, picked up an iron rod and hit Suvarnaraju on his head.
 
Locals rushed Suvarnaraju to Kakinada government general hospital, where he died while undergoing treatment.
 
The police registered a murder case against Samba and Appa Rao. Police picked up Samba while the main accused is on the run.
 
IANS
 

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Jagan scraps order renaming Kalam Awards after furore

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Amid a furore over renaming a state award named after former President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday scrapped the order.
 
A day after a government order (GO) was issued changing the "Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Pratibha Puraskar Awards' to "YSR Vidya Puraskars", the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government came under attack from various quarters.
 
According to officials, Jagan Mohan Reddy ordered scrapping of the order after it came to his notice. "He warned the officials and firmly said that the awards should continue in the name of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam," they said.
 
The awards are to be given to meritorious students on National Education Day on November 11, the birth anniversary of India's first Education Minister Moulana Abul Kalam Azad.
 
The Chief Minister also ordered officials to present awards in the names of Mahatma Gandhi, B. R. Ambedkar, Jyotirao Phule and Babu Jagjivan Ram.
 
The education department had on Monday issued an order renaming the awards after late Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy.
 
Popular as YSR, Rajasekhara Reddy was father of Jagan Mohan Reddy. Ever since YSRCP came to power in May, many welfare schemes were renamed. Most of the schemes are now named after YSR.
 
However, for the latest order the YSRCP government came under criticism from opposition parties, netizens and Abdul Kalam's admirers.
 
Leader of opposition and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu tweeted the controversial order with the hashtag #YSRCPInsultsAbdulKalam.
 
"Dr. Kalam has accomplished much for the nation with his pioneering work and inspiring life. Jagan's government changing 'APJ Abdul Kalam Pratibha Puraskar" to "YSR Vidya Puraskar" is a shocking method of self-aggrandisement at the cost of disrespecting a much venerated man. Shameful!!" tweeted Naidu.
 
This was followed by tweets by many others, criticising the government for the order.
 
IANS
 

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Andhra Chief Secretary shifted amid row with colleague

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In a surprise development, Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary L. V. Subrahmanyam was on Monday transferred amid a row over the show-cause notice issued by him to a senior official last week.
 
Subrahmanyam has been posted as Director General of A. P. Human Resources Development, Bapatla.
 
Interestingly, the transfer orders of Subrahmanyam were issued in the name of Praveen Prakash, Principal Secretary (Political), General Administration Department, who was issued the show-cause notice by the Chief Secretary on October 31 for including a few subjects in the recent cabinet meeting without following due procedure.
 
Subrahmanyam, a 1983 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, was appointed chief secretary by the Election Commission of India after shunting out Anil Chandra Punetha a few days before the elections in the state in April.
 
After the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) came to power, Subrahmanyam continued in the top post. His transfer came at a time when he had only five months of service left. Usually, the official holding the chief secretary's post is not transferred, especially when he has a few months left to reach superannuation.
 
The show-cause notice issued to Praveen Prakash is believed to have led to Subrahmanyam's transfer.
 
It was only last month that Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy brought Praveen Prakash to head the crucial General Administration Department. He was earlier serving as the Resident Commissioner in New Delhi.
 
IANS
 

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Plea dismissed, Jagan to appear in CBI court in DA case

YSR Congress president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy (File Photo: IANS)
YSR Congress president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy (File Photo: IANS)
In a setback to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the Special CBI Court here on Friday dismissed his petition for exemption from personal appearance before the court during the hearings of the alleged illegal assets case.
 
The court, which had reserved its order on his petition on October 18, pronounced it on Friday.
 
Jagan had sought the exemption from personal appearance in the court on the ground that he is holding a constitutional post and needs to attend several important programmes.
 
However, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had opposed the Chief Minister's plea, saying there is a change only in personal capacity of the petitioner and not in the circumstances of the case. The federal agency had also argued that Jagan may influence the witnesses.
 
Jagan now has to be present in CBI court every Friday for hearing related to the cases filed against him in 2011.
 
He has not appeared in the court since he became Chief Minister in May as he was granted exemptions for the same on a week-by-week basis.
 
Andhra Pradesh High Court in 2017 had rejected Jagan's plea to exempt him from appearing in the Special Court. He had pleaded for exemption, citing his duties as a legislator and leader of opposition.
 
The high court, however, had ruled that he could apply for exemption on a week-by-week basis.
 
The CBI, in its counter affidavit, alleged that the petitioner approached the court with 'unclean hands and by suppressing material facts.'
 
It submitted to the court that the exemption from personal appearance would give him 'an unsolicited liberty to do whatever he wants and influence the witnesses behind the iron wall of political, money and muscle powers.'
 
Jagan sought exemption on various grounds including his new status as the Chief Minister, bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and the poor financial condition of the state government.
 
"In all the 11 chargesheets, the petitioner stands accused in his individual capacity and as a representative of his privately owned companies, and therefore should attend the court as such," said the CBI.
 
"Any reference to the revenue and financial condition of the government of Andhra Pradesh is only an attempt to deviate the attention of the court from the real issues and therefore cannot be given any credence," it added.
 
"It is submitted that it is almost six years from date of filing of last chargesheet in the case, but the trial proceedings are yet to start. This is an indication that the accused has been able to procrastinate the proceedings on one pretext or other."
 
In what is called the 'quid-pro-quo' cases, Jagan was accused of getting investments into his businesses by firms and individuals in return for the undue favours by the government headed by his father Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy between 2004 and 2009.
 
However, the YSRCP leader denied all the charges and termed them as political vendetta.
 
The CBI arrested Jagan and sent him to jail on May 27, 2012. After 16 months in jail, he was granted bail.
 
IANS
 

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IT officials conduct search on “wellness group” in AP, Chennai, Bengaluru

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Officials of the Income Tax Department conducted searches on Tuesday at various sprawling residential campuses of a group -- a conglomerate of trusts and companies  -- that run year-round "wellness courses" and training programmes in philosophy and spirituality in Varadaiahpalem in Andhra Pradesh, and also in Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
 
"The group which was founded by a spiritual guru in the 1980s with 'oneness' philosophy has also diversified into several sectors including real estate, construction, sports, etc in India and abroad. The group is presently managed and controlled by the spiritual leader who laid the foundation of the group, and his son," an official press release said.
 
According to it, the courses attract residential customers from abroad and the group earns substantial receipts in foreign exchange. 
 
"There was intelligence that the group has been suppressing its receipts which are ploughed into investment in huge tracts of landed property in AP and Tamil Nadu (TN) and also in investments abroad. The search action which is still in progress has covered about 40 premises located in Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Varadaiahpalem," it said.
 
"During the search proceedings, evidence has been found that the group has been regularly suppressing its receipts at its various centres or ashrams. Evidence has been found with key employees who maintained a record of cash collections that were kept outside the accounts for use in making investments elsewhere and also for paying for properties over and above documented values. It is learnt that the group also earned unaccounted income in receiving cash from property sales over and above documented values. A preliminary estimate of such unaccounted cash receipts is Rs 409 crore from FY 2014-15 onwards. 
 
"Such unaccounted cash receipts are also evidenced by huge quantities of cash and other valuables found at the residences of the founder and his son, and one of the campuses. A total sum of cash of Rs 43.9 crore has been found and seized by the Department at these premises," the release said.
 
The release said substantial sums of foreign currencies were also found and seized during the raids. The total of such foreign exchange found at these premises is about $2.5 million which amounts to approximately Rs 18 crore. Foreign exchange in other currencies has also been found and seized.
 
"Substantial quantities of undisclosed gold in the form of jewellery, about 88 kg approximately valued at over Rs 26 crore, have also been found and seized. Undisclosed diamonds amounting to 1,271 carats valued approximately at about Rs 5 crore were also found and seized. The total value of seizure so far is approximately Rs 93 crore. The undisclosed income of the group detected so far is estimated at more than Rs 500 crore. The search proceedings are still in progress," it said.
 
"An important finding of the search is that the group has been investing in a number of companies in India and abroad, including in tax havens. Some of these companies based in China, USA, Singapore, UAE, etc are found to be receiving payments from foreign clients who attend the various residential 'wellness' courses offered in India. The Department is investigating the diversion of income taxable in India to offshore entities by the group in this process. Further, it is found that one of the group trusts may be providing accommodation entries for other parties by receiving donations from them and then returning the money back under the garb of expenses and receiving a small percentage as a fee. Instances have also been found where the group is not accounting for money received from foreign clients in cash in foreign currency and then exchanging the same in the grey market. All these leads are being pursued and investigation is in progress," the release added.
 
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Former Andhra Speaker commits suicide, TDP blames YSRCP

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Former Andhra Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao on Monday committed suicide at his residence here, triggering allegations by the TDP that harassment by the YSRCP government drove him to end his life.
 
A preliminary autopsy report confirmed that the senior Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader and former minister had hanged himself.
 
Rao took his life by hanging with a cloth tied to the ceiling fan at his residence in posh Banjara Hills around 11 a.m.
 
Rao's daughter with the help of driver and security guard shifted him to Basvatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital, of which he was the founder chairman.
 
Doctors said Rao was unresponsive when brought to hospital around 11.35 a.m. They failed in their efforts to revive him and declared him dead at 12.39 p.m.
 
Police registered a case of death under suspicious circumstances and took up the investigations. Deputy Commissioner of Police A. R. Srinivas said the family members told the police that he was under mental stress.
 
Police shifted Rao's body to the government-run Osmania General Hospital, where a team of forensic experts conducted an autopsy.
 
The body was later shifted to NTR Trust Bhavan, the TDP headquarters here to enable the party leaders to pay their last respects.
 
The TDP blamed the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government for Rao's death. Its leaders termed this as a murder by the government. They said Rao was under tremendous mental pressure due to false cases booked against him.
 
TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu alleged that Rao took the extreme step as he was unable to bear the mental harassment. "I had never imagined that Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, who himself was a doctor, will take his own life in this manner," Naidu told reporters in Guntur.
 
Naidu later rushed to Hyderabad. He along with other leaders will escort the body to Narsaraopet in Guntur district on Tuesday morning.
 
However, the YSRCP rubbished the allegations by TDP. The ruling party suspect that differences in the family led to Rao's suicide.
 
Urban Development Minister Botsa Satyanarayana demanded that the Telangana government conduct a thorough probe into Rao's death. He wondered why a man, who was initially believed to have suffered cardiac arrest, was taken to a cancer hospital.
 
Meanwhile, police in Narsaraopet and surrounding areas imposed prohibitory orders as a precautionary measure to prevent outbreak of violence.
 
A physician by profession, Rao entered politics at the invitation of TDP founder N. T. Rama Rao in 1982. A senior leader from Guntur district, Rao served as a minister in the cabinets of Rama Rao and N. Chandrababu Naidu in undivided Andhra Pradesh.
 
He served as Assembly Speaker from 2014 to 2019. He was defeated in the recent Assembly elections.
 
Rao, a six time MLA, was aTDP strongman from the faction-ridden Palnadu of Guntur district. His rivals used to blame him for the political violence in the region.
 
A bomb blast at his house in Narsaraopet during 1999 elections had killed four of his supporters. He was then a minister in Chandrababu Naidu cabinet. The Congress party had accused him of storing bombs at his house but Rao had blamed Maoists for the blast.
 
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had later given a clean chit to Rao in the case.
 
Rao was injured in the alleged attack by YSRCP workers at a polling station during the elections in April. The YSRCP had accused him of resorting to rigging.
 
Rao and his son Sivarama Krishna were last month booked by Andhra Pradesh Police for allegedly diverting the Assembly furniture to unauthorized premises. Some furniture was recovered from a motorbike showroom of Sivarama Krishna in Guntur.
 
IANS
 

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Ex-Andhra Speaker Kodela Siva Prasada Rao commits suicide

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Former Andhra Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kodela Siva Prasada Rao died allegedly after attempting to commit suicide at his house in Hyderabad on Monday. He was 72.
 
Police rushed to his house in posh Banjara Hills and launched the investigation as the news spread that Rao died at a private hospital.
 
Rao was taken to Basvatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital by his driver and gunman. The doctors have not yet announced the cause of the death.
 
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Buddha Venkanna alleged in Vijayawada that Rao ended his life due to mental harassment by YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government.
 
A senior TDP leader from Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, Rao had served as a minister in the cabinets of N. T. Rama Rao and N. Chandrababu Naidu in undivided Andhra Pradesh.
 
He served as Assembly Speaker from 2014 to 2019. He was defeated in the recent Assembly elections.
 
Rao, a six time MLA, is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.
 
IANS

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Search resumes for missing tourists in Godavari river

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Two helicopters and deep divers of the Indian Navy were pressed into service as rescue and search operations resumed on Monday in the Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh, where a boat with over 60 tourists capsized a day earlier.
 
The rescue operations, also involving the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), fire fighting personnel with eight boats, resumed at around 5.30 a.m. in the swollen river in East Godavari district.
 
The boat, with 61 tourists, nine crew members and three singers, overturned near Kuchuluru village on Sunday afternoon while on its way to picturesque Papikonda hills.
 
Officials said 27 people were rescued, while around 25 were missing. Eight bodies were recovered till Sunday night. Initial reports had put the number at 10.
 
As the bodies were believed to have been washed away, search operations were also being carried out at Dowleswaram barrage. The gates of the barrage were also shut.
 
The private boat was allegedly being operated without permission and survivors have claimed that the negligence by the driver led to the tragedy.
 
As many as 36 tourists were from Telangana, including 22 from Hyderabad. Transport Minister P. Ajay Kumar rushed to Rajamundry and met the survivors and relatives of the missing tourists.
 
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is scheduled to visit Rajahmundry later in the day. He will hold a meeting with officials to review rescue and relief operations.
 
Reddy on Sunday announced Rs 10 lakh ex-gratia each to the families of the deceased while Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao announced financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh each to the victims from his state.
 
IANS
 

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12 killed, 30 missing as boat capsizes in Godavari

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A pleasure trip turned into tragedy for many families as a boat with over 60 tourists capsized in the swollen Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari district on Sunday, killing 12 persons while at least 30 went missing.
 
As many as 27 passengers either swam to safety or were rescued by people from a nearby village.
 
The accident occurred in Katchuluru village near popular tourist spot Papikonda. Rescue workers pulled out 10 bodies.
 
Rescue operations involving a helicopter of the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC), a team of deep divers from the Indian Navy and two teams each of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) were on.
 
Six teams of fire fighting personnel with eight boats were also participating in the rescue work.
 
"A specialized deep divers team with Side Scan Sonar equipment from Uttarakhand is landing at Vijayawada by tomorrow (Monday) for retrieving bodies from the river," said an official statement on Sunday night.
 
The boat was carrying 63 tourists and nine crew members.
 
A majority of those on the boat were from Telangana. Officials said 22 of the tourists were from Hyderabad and 14 from Warangal.
 
Negligence by the private boat operator led to the tragedy as the boat was operated despite floods and in violation of safety guidelines of the Tourism Department.
 
Survivors complained that the driver appeared untrained and the crew had no training in deal with the emergency.
 
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed his shock over the tragedy. He directed the officials to carry out rescue operations on a war-footing.
 
He asked them to use NDRF teams, besides pressing into service Navy and ONGC helicopters in the rescue operations.
 
The Chief Minister also ordered all the available ministers in the district to rush to the scene and supervise the rescue work.
 
He directed the officials to suspend all boating services immediately in the region.
 
Jagan Mohan Reddy announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 10 lakh each for the next-of-kin of the dead.
 
Reports suggested that the boat was being operated without a license. Reddy asked officials to check for the licence of the boats and if adequate training was given to the staff or not.
 
The Chief Minister sought a complete report on the incident and directed framing of safety guidelines by an experts committee.
 
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao also expressed his grief over the tragedy. Since there were people from Telangana among those dead, he instructed officials concerned to take the necessary action.
 
He also announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia for the next-of-kin of the dead.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed his grief over the boat accident.
 
"Extremely pained by the capsizing of a boat in Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. Rescue operations are currently underway at the site of the tragedy," he said in a tweet.
 
Modi posted another tweet in Telugu, calling the incident "traumatic".
 
IANS
 

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Five of a family killed in Andhra road mishap

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Five members of a family were killed and another injured the car in which they were travelling caught fire after it overturned in Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor district on Saturday, police said.
 
The victims comprised three children and two women. The ghastly tragedy occurred near Mamudugu village when the family was on its way from Tirupati to Bengaluru.
 
The driver, Vishnu, apparently lost control of the car, which overturned and fell off the road. Under the impact of the crash, the vehicle caught fire, trapping the occupants.
 
The driver, who survived the accident with burn injuries, was shifted to a hospital in Tirupati.
 
According to the police, Vishnu's wife, a son, a daughter, sister and nephew were killed in the accident.
 
IANS
 

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English to be medium of instruction in Andhra government schools

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All government-run schools in Andhra Pradesh will have English as the medium of instruction from class 1 to 8, Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy announced on Wednesday.
 
The government will impart the necessary training to teachers to meet the changing needs, and as part of this exercise, nearly 70,000 teachers would be trained in District Institutes of Education and Training (DIETs).
 
Introducing English as medium of instruction is part of the sweeping reforms the state government is planning to introduce in the education sector.
 
During a review meeting on education, Reddy said vacant posts of teachers will be filled in January every year and the teacher-student ratio would be maintained at all times. Environment, climate change and road safety would also be included in the curriculum.
 
The Chief Minister asked the officials to prepare an action plan to ensure that every 'mandal' has one junior college and wherever possible high schools should be upgraded to junior colleges. In the same manner, every Assembly constituency should have one degree college, he said.
 
The state government has also decided to refurbish 44,512 schools under 'Then and now' programme and the first phase will cover 15, 410 schools. Every phase will cover Panchayatraj, Municipal, Tribal, Social, BC Welfare and other schools. The first phase should be completed by March 14, 2020 and there will also be a social audit, he said.
 
Reddy asked officials to involve parents in the education of children and quality of mid-day meals.
 
Brushing aside the talk that permissions are not being given to private colleges, Reddy said, if the institutions have the stipulated infrastructure there will not be any problem.
 
IANS
 

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Naidu under house arrest, victims evicted from Guntur camp

Tension gripped Andhra Pradesh capital Amaravati and other parts of Guntur district on Wednesday as former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu was placed under house arrest while police evicted victims of alleged attacks by the ruling YSRCP from a TDP camp.
N Chandrababu Naidu (File photo: IANS)
N Chandrababu Naidu (File photo: IANS)
Tension gripped Andhra Pradesh capital Amaravati and other parts of Guntur district on Wednesday as former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu was placed under house arrest while police evicted victims of alleged attacks by the ruling YSRCP from a TDP camp.
 
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President was kept under house arrest in Amaravati while scores of party leaders and activists heading towards Guntur town for a protest march were arrested by the police.
 
Police did not allow Naidu to come out of his house at Undavalli as he was about to leave for Guntur town to lead the 'Chalo Atamakur' stir.
 
Tension prevailed around Naidu's house as TDP leaders coming to meet him were prevented from entering the house. Naidu's son Nara Lokesh, who came out of the house, lodged his protest over the police action.
 
The police later locked the main gate of Naidu's house from outside after he tried to come out in his car. Naidu, who sat on in his car for half an hour, condemned the police action. "Today is a dark day for democracy," he told reporters.
 
The TDP chief alleged that Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy is murdering democracy by resorting to house arrest and arrests of TDP leaders who wanted to participate in a peaceful rally. Naidu is observing a day-long fast at his house to protest the attacks by the YSRCP and indiscriminate arrests of TDP leaders and workers.
 
Director General of Police Gautam Sawang said Naidu, who is also the Leader of Opposition, was taken into preventive custody as his actions are increasing tension and creating disturbances in Palnadu region of Guntur. The police chief clarified that he was not taken into preventive custody for fighting against the government policies.
 
Police have clamped prohibitory orders in the faction-ridden Palnadu region of Guntur to prevent any showdown as the YSRCP had also called for a counter-protest march.
 
TDP leaders and workers heading to Naidu's house and also to Guntur were stopped at different points and arrested.
 
Tension prevailed in Guntur town as additional police forces were deployed to foil the TDP's march planned to begin from the camp set up by the party for victims of attacks by the ruling party leaders.
 
Meanwhile, the police late Wednesday afternoon evicted all 165 victims from the camp and sent them back to their villages with police escort.
 
The police arrested TDP leaders and workers at the camp before evicting the inmates. Five buses were arranged to send them back to their villages.
 
Before sending them back, police and revenue officials recorded their statements about the problems faced by them in their villages. The officials assured them that all steps would be taken to prevent clashes.
 
Naidu condemned the police "attack" on the camp, arrest of the TDP leaders and forcibly evicting the victims. He said the victims should not have been sent back without creating confidence in them and punishing those involved in the attacks on them.
 
The TDP alleged that its eight workers were killed in the attacks by the YSRCP leaders, most of them in Palnadu region. It claimed that 500 TDP activists and sympathisers were attacked since the announcement of election results in May.
 
The YSRCP too had announced that it will also conduct 'Chalo Atmakur' with victims of the attacks by TDP leaders during the last five years. Its leaders alleged that Naidu is resorting to cheap gimmicks.
 
Home Minister Sucharita dubbed those at TDP camp in Guntur as "paid artistes".
 
IANS
 

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Fire on Coast Guard vessel, one missing, 28 rescued

Rescue operation underway after a major fire broke out on an offshore support vessel of the Indian Coast Guard off Visakhapatnam coast; on August 12, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Rescue operation underway after a major fire broke out on an offshore support vessel of the Indian Coast Guard off Visakhapatnam coast; on August 12, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
One crew member of Coast Guard was missing while 28 were rescued after a major fire broke out on an offshore support vessel off Visakhapatnam coast on Monday.
 
According to a spokesperson of Eastern Naval Command, the crew of offshore support vessel Coastal Jaguar had to abandon their vessel and jump into water to save themselves from fire which engulfed the vessel.
 
"There was reportedly a loud explosion onboard Coastal Jaguar that was followed by thick smoke emanating from the vessel," he said.
 
ICGS Rani Rashmoni which was in area was diverted to coordinate the rescue operation. Rani Rashmoni in coordination with Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) boats rescued the distressed crew.
 
"28 out of the 29 crew present on board have been rescued, search for one missing crew is in progress," the spokesperson said.
 
Dramatic scenes of the crew jumping into the sea to save themselves and the rescue operations by the ships were witnessed.
 
The rescue operations also involved ICGS Samudra Paheredar, ICG Helicopter and ICGS C-432.
 
The exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.
 
IANS

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Andhra man beheads wife, walks with severed head

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In a macabre act, a man beheaded his wife and then carried her severed head through the streets of Vijayawada on Sunday, police said.
 
The shocking incident occurred in Srinagar colony under Satyanarayanapuram police station limits.
 
According to the police, Pradeep Kumar slit his wife Manikranti's (23) throat with a knife near their house. He then beheaded her and was seen walking briskly on the street with her head in one hand and a knife in the other.
 
CCTVs installed in the colony recorded people running in horror on seeing the killer with the severed head.
 
Pradeep threw the head in a nearby canal and then surrendered at Satyanarayanapuram police station.
 
Deputy Commissioner of Police Vijay Rao told reporters that the search was on for the severed head. The headless body was shifted to a government-run hospital for autopsy.
 
According to preliminary investigations by the police, Pradeep had a love marriage with Manikranti five years ago. However, there were frequent quarrels between the couple.
 
Manikranti had filed a case of domestic violence against Pradeep some time ago and he was arrested. Pradeep, who was recently released on bail, resorted to the brutal killing to seek revenge, said the police.
 
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Essar Port’s Vizag Terminal registers 45% cargo growth; triples third-party cargo handling

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Essar Vizag Terminal Limited (EVTL), that operates the 24-million-tonnes (MT) Vizag terminal, which is India’s largest integrated iron ore handling complex located on the outer harbour of Visakhapatnam Port, has announced a 45% growth in overall cargo throughput in the quarter ended June 30, 2019.
 
The significant growth in overall cargo was primarily driven by a sharp rise in third-party cargo, with volume more than tripling when compared with the corresponding quarter in FY 2018-19, a press release from the company said.
 
Cargo volumes from the anchor customer increased by 5.6% over the same period. The share of third-party cargo in the overall cargo volumes grew to 40.6%, it said.
 
According to the release, competitive advantage through the high degree of mechanisation at the terminal and the state-of-the-art cargo handling equipment that helps ensure rapid turnaround times have been the key drivers for attracting new clients.
 
Essar Ports is one of India’s largest private sector port and terminal developers and operators. It has invested Rs 11,000 crore in developing five world-class terminals in three Indian states. Its current operations span four terminals with a combined capacity of 110 MTPA, which is roughly 5 per cent of India’s port capacity. The company is a leader in the non-containerised bulk cargo space. Having clocked a throughput of 40 MT in FY19, Essar Ports is expecting to handle over 60 MT in the current financial year.
 
"All Essar Ports terminals use advanced cargo handling infrastructure and are equipped to double capacity in the near to medium term. The company is, therefore, focused on not only enhancing cargo throughput, but also on ramping up capacity and contributing meaningfully to the Government of India’s ambitious target of developing 3,130 MT of port capacity in the country by 2020," the release said.
 
Outside India, Essar’s port assets include a liquid terminal in the UK and a coal berth in the development stage at Mozambique’s Beira port.
 
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Indian Navy's sixth ship of Landing Craft Utility MK IV class commissioned

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IN LCU L56,  the sixth ship of the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) MK IV class was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Vice-Admiral Atul Kumar Jain, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command (ENC) at a ceremony held at Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam on Monday.
 
Vice-Admiral A K Saxena, Controller of Warship Production & Acquisition IHQ MoD (N), Maj General Biji Mathew, Chief of Staff, Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), Commodore Ashutosh Ridhorkar, Naval Component Commander (NAVCC) ANC, Rear Admiral V K Saxena (Retd) CMD, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) along with all flag officers of ENC and other dignitaries were present during the ceremony.
 
The ceremony commenced with a guard of honour to the Chief guest on arrival. This was followed by addresses by Rear Admiral Saxena (Retd) and Commodore Ridhorkar.
 
Later, the commissioning warrant of the ship was read out by Commanding Officer, Lt Commander Gopinath Narayanan. Subsequently, hoisting of the Naval Ensign onboard for the first time and ‘Breaking of the Commissioning Pennant’ with the national anthem being played marked the completion of the ceremony. 
 
Addressing the gathering, Vice Adm Jain congratulated the GRSE for being the first shipyard in the country to have built the 100th warship.  He stated that the induction of LCU 56 will add to the maritime and HADR capabilities of ANC as the ship will be deployed for multi-role activities such as beaching operations, search and rescue missions, disaster relief operations, coastal patrol, and surveillance operations along the Andaman and Nicobar Group of Islands.  He later unveiled the commissioning plaque and dedicated the ship to the nation. 
 
LCU 56 is an amphibious ship with its primary role being transportation and deployment of main battle tanks, armoured vehicles, troops and equipment from ship to shore. 
 
LCU L56 would be administered and based in Port Blair under the NAVCC in ANC, an official press release said.
 
Designed to accommodate 216 personnel, LCU is equipped with two indigenous CRN 91 guns to provide artillery fire support during landing operations. The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and advanced systems like Integrated Bridge System (IBS) and Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS).
 
The LCU Mk-IV Class of ships are fitted with close to 90% indigenous content in line with the Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative towards achieving self-reliance and indigenisation.
 
The Mk-IV LCU vessels are an improved version of the Mk-III LCU Vessels presently being used by the Indian Navy. The entire design of LCU Mark-IV ship has been developed in-house by GRSE as per requirements specified by Indian Navy, the release said.
 
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Former Andhra minister and Congress leader Mukesh Goud dies

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Former Andhra Pradesh minister and Telangana Congress leader Mukesh Goud died on Monday following prolonged illness. He was 60.
 
Goud, who served as minister in the cabinets of Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and Kiran Kumar Reddy in undivided Andhra Pradesh, was battling cancer. He was admitted to a private hospital on Sunday after his condition turned critical.
 
A three-time member of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, Goud is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.
 
With Goud's death, the Congress lost the second leader in as many days. The news of his death came when Congress leaders were busy in the cremation of former Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy.
 
A backward class leader from Hyderabad, Goud began his political career as a corporator. He was first elected to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly from Maharjgunj constituency in the city in 1989 and was re-elected in 2004. After the delimitation of constituencies in 2009, he was elected from Goshamahal constituency.
 
Goud lost the elections from Goshamahal in 2014 and 2018.
 
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao expressed his condolences on the demise of Goud and recalled his services as a Minister and as an MLA. Rao conveyed his condolences to the members of the bereaved family.
 
State Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy and other party leaders also condoled Goud's death.
 
IANS
 

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Harichandan appointed Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Anusuiya Uikey of Chhattisgarh

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President Ram Nath Kovind today appointed Odisha BJP leader Biswa Bhusan Harichandan as the new Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh BJP leader Anusuiya Uikey as the new Governor of Chhattisgarh.
 
A press communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan said the appointments would take effect from the dates they assume charge of their respective offices.
 
Harichandan replaces E S L Narasimhan, who served as the Governor of Andhra Pradesh since January 2010. A former Director of the Intelligence Bureau, he is also the Governor of Telangana. He was earlier the Governor of Chhattisgarh for three years from January 2007.
 
The post of Chhattisgarh governor was under the additional charge of Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel.
 
Harichandan is a five-time member of the Odisha Legislative Assembly.
 
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Kovind to visit Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh from July 12-15

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President Ram Nath Kovind will be on a four-day visit to Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh from today.
 
Tomorrow, the President will present LL.D. (Honoris Causa) degrees to Justice (Retd) P. Sathasivam, former Chief Justice of India, and currently Governor of Kerala; Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, Judge of the Supreme Court of India; and Justice Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani, Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, at a special convocation of the Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University in Chennai. 
 
On July 14-15, the President will visit the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh and witness the launch of Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission being undertaken by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), an official press release added.
 
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Rajnath Singh visits Eastern Naval Command, has tour of INS Shivalik, INS Sindhukirti

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh receiving the salute from the guard of honour, in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh Delhi on June 29, 2019.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh receiving the salute from the guard of honour, in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh Delhi on June 29, 2019.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh paid his maiden visit to the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) here yesterday and was briefed on the operational readiness of the command and other aspects of maritime and coastal security on the eastern seaboard.
 
Later he visited Indian Navy’s indigenously conceived, designed and constructed frontline stealth frigate INS Shivalik and submarine INS  Sindhukirti  at Visakhapatnam.  During the guided tour of the ship and submarine, he interacted with the crew members.  
 
Addressing the naval personnel and Defence civilians, the Minister  lauded the patriotic fervour of every sailor serving in the Indian Navy in maintaining constant vigil against maritime threat and safeguarding the  nation’s maritime interests.  He also highlighted the Indian Navy’s significant role in implementing India’s Act East Policy.  He later interacted with them during "Barakhana".  
 
The Minister was also briefed about the Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft P8I.
 
Earlier, on arrival at INS Dega, the Minister was received by Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) and Vice-Admiral Atul Kumar Jain, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, ENC and was presented a huard of honour.
 
Rajnath Singh also held a meeting with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and officials of the State and the District Administration last evening. They jointly reviewed the progress of ongoing infrastructure projects and proposals of the Indian Navy in the state and directed concerned officials to continue the proactive civil-military synergies and cooperation between the Indian Navy and the State Government to expedite the progress of the naval issues.
 
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Centre grants 2-year extension for Polavaram project-related construction work

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In a major decision, the Union Environment Ministry has given two years of extension and allowed the construction works related to the Polavaram Multipurpose Project in Andhra Pradesh.
 
Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar told mediapersons here on Wednesday that the order has been signed. 
 
He said the Polavaram project was very important to the people of Andhra Pradesh as it will irrigate nearly 3 lakh hectares of land, generate hydel power with an installed capacity of 960 MW and provide drinking water facilities to 540 villages covering a population of 25 lakh, particularly in Visakhapatnam, East Godavari and West Godavari and Krishna Districts.
 
In the year 2011, the then government had asked Andhra Pradesh to stop construction work of the project. However, in 2014 the NDA government declared the Polavaram project a National Project and the Ministry kept the “Stop Work Order” in abeyance to allow the construction works.
 
The “Stop Work Order” has been kept in abeyance six times for a year each time. Considering the immense importance of the project this time the Ministry is keeping the “Stop Work Order” in abeyance to allow the construction works for two years without permission to impound water.
 
The project envisages construction of an earth-cum-rock fill dam across river Godavari. The maximum height of the dam is 48 metres.
 
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