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Vijayawada

YSR Congress storms to power in Andhra with landslide win

YSR Congress president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy (File Photo: IANS)
YSR Congress president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy (File Photo: IANS)
The YSR Congress Party, led by Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, on Thursday stormed to power in Andhra Pradesh with a landslide victory, winning 148 seats in the 175-member Assembly.
 
The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) was leading in two other constituencies. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which was in power, bit the dust across the state, only bagging 19 seats so far while being ahead in 5 other seats.
 
On its electoral debut, actor Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena Party (JSP) won just a single seat. The actor himself lost both the seats he contested.
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had four seats in the previous Assembly, drew a blank this time while Congress could not open its account in the second successive election in the truncated state.
 
Dashing all hopes of Chief Minister and TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, the YSRCP wrested power with a massive mandate.
 
Jagan, as the YSR Congress chief is popularly known, will be taking oath as the new Chief Minister on May 30 in Vijayawada. He will be formally elected as leader by the party's newly-elected legislators meeting on Saturday.
 
In the simultaneous elections to 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the YSRCP won 16 seats and was leading in 6 other seats. The TDP was leading in three constituencies.
 
The results came as a huge shock to Naidu, who was not only confident of retaining power in the state but was hoping to play the role of kingmaker at the Centre.
 
As the outcome became clear, Naidu sent his resignation to Governor E. S. L. Narasimhan, who accepted it and asked him to continue till alternate arrangements were made.
 
Jagan said the massive mandate given by the people had increased his responsibility.
 
"This mandate has come out with tremendous amount of responsibility and I will make sure that I will live up to the expectations," he told reporters amid loud cheers by hundreds of his supporters who had gathered at his residence in Amaravati.
 
Jagan, who retained Pulivendula seat, in his home district of Kadapa, with a massive majority of over one lakh votes, said he would balance welfare with development.
 
With this resounding victory, the YSRCP has scripted a new chapter in the history of Andhra Pradesh, he said.
 
"Out of five crore population of the state, God gives one person the opportunity to become the Chief Minister and God and people of my state today have given me that opportunity. I assure and promise that I will bring about that governance that this country would stand and look up," he said.
 
While Chandrababu Naidu retained Kuppam seat in his native Chittoor district, most of his ministers, including his son Nara Lokesh, were defeated.
 
Lokesh, whom Naidu is grooming as his political successor, was humbled by YSRCP's A. Rama Krishna Reddy in Mangalagiri in state capital region Amaravati.
 
In 2014, the TDP had bagged 102 seats while its then ally BJP had won four seats. The YSRCP had won 67 seats while two independents were also elected. In the simultaneous Lok Sabha polls, the TDP had won 15 seats, the YSRCP eight and the BJP two seats.
 
IANS
 

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YSRCP legislators to meet on Saturday to elect Jagan Mohan Reddy as leader

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The newly elected legislators of the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in Andhra Pradesh will meet on Saturday to formally elect party president Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy as their leader, party leaders said.
 
The YSRCP appeared set to storm to power in the state with a landslide victory as the trends show it was leading in 150 seats in the 175-member Assembly.
 
YSRCP leader Y. V. Subba Reddy said the date of Jagan Mohan Reddy's swearing in as the Chief Minister will be decided after a meeting of the YSRCP Legislature Party on Friday.
 
YSRCP was also heading for a clean sweep in the Lok Sabha polls. It was leading in all 25 seats in the state.
 
In 2014, YSRCP had bagged 67 Assembly and 8 Lok Sabha seats.
 
IANS
 

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This is people's victory, says Jagan Mohan Reddy

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With the YSR Congress Party heading for a landslide win to wrest power in Andhra Pradesh, party chief Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday described it as the people's victory.
 
"It is the victory of the people of Andhra Pradesh," Jagan said in his post on Facebook as the trends showed the YSRCP leading in 150 seats in 175-member Assembly.
 
Jagan thanked the people for blessing the YSRCP with their support and votes and said he would try to live up to their expectations.
 
The YSRCP also appeared making a clean sweep in Lok Sabha polls as the party was leading in all 25 seats.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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YSR Congress set to wrest power in Andhra with landslide win

YSR Congress president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy (File Photo: IANS)
YSR Congress president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy (File Photo: IANS)
Dashing all hopes of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) appeared set to wrest power in Andhra Pradesh with a landslide victory on Thursday.
 
YSRCP was leading in 145 seats in the state's 175-member Assembly while the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) was ahead in 28 constituencies.
 
Actor Pawan Kalyan's party Jana Sena was leading in two constituencies, according to information available with the Election Commission.
 
Jagan Mohan Reddy's party was racing ahead across the state from the time the initial trends started emerging.
 
YSRCP also appeared to be making a clean sweep in the Lok Sabha polls as the party was leading in 24 of the 25 constituencies.
 
The results came as a huge shock to TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, who was not only confident of retaining power in the state but was hoping to play the role of kingmaker at the Centre.
 
In 2014, the TDP had bagged 102 seats while its then ally BJP had won four seats. The YSRCP had won 67 seats while two independents were also elected. 
 
In the Lok Sabha elections held simultaneously, the TDP had won 15 and the BJP two seats. The YSRCP bagged the remaining eight seats.
 
The trends so far show that BJP and Congress are not leading in any of the Assembly or Lok Sabha seat. No change in fortune is expected for Congress, which drew a blank in the simultaneous polls in 2014.
 
IANS
 

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Heat wave continues in Telangana, Andhra

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Telangana and Andhra Pradesh remained in the grip of severe heat wave conditions on Monday, with the mercury in some places crossing 45 degree Celsius.
 
Khammam in Telangana was the hottest place in both the states, with a maximum temperature of 45.6 degrees Celsius. Nellore in Andhra Pradesh too sizzled at 45 degrees.
 
Nalgonda was the second hottest place in Telangana at 44.8. Most places in Telangana recorded maximum temperature of nearly 44 degrees or more.
 
Hyderabad had the lowest maximum temperature in Telangana at 41.7 degree Celsius, still 2.5 degree above normal.
 
The severe heat wave conditions affected normal life in both the states. Streets were deserted in many places as people preferred to remain indoors, especially in the afternoon, to escape the blazing sun.
 
Andhra Pradesh has recorded high temperature for the last couple of days following cyclone Fani. 
 
Vijayawada was the hottest place on Sunday with a maximum temperature of 47 degree Celsius, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
 
Real Time Governance Society (RTGS) of Andhra Pradesh has cautioned people to take all precautions to protect themselves from severe heat wave conditions. It asked people, especially the aged and children, to avoid direct exposure to sun.
 
According to RTGS, 210 'mandals' or revenue blocks were reeling under severe heat wave conditions. These conditions are likely to continue to till May 10.
 
IMD has forecast that severe heat wave conditions will continue in both the Telugu states on Tuesday.
 
IANS
 

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Coastal Andhra Pradesh escapes Fani fury

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Coastal Andhra Pradesh escaped the fury of extremely severe cyclonic storm Fani, which hit the Odisha coast near Puri on Friday, officials said.
 
Though the cyclone had an impact on 700 villages in north coastal Andhra, the calamity passed off without causing any loss of life or major property damage.
 
The cyclone triggered heavy rains in parts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts. Srikakulam district bordering Odisha witnessed the maximum impact.
 
The gusty winds speeding up to 140 km per hour uprooted trees and electricity poles, affecting power supply and road transport.
 
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu told reporters after a review meeting in the state capital Amaravati that 733 villages were affected and restoration works were completed in 408 villages by Friday evening.
 
Naidu said the cyclone damaged horticulture crops on 783 hectares. Details of crop losses were being gathered from the affected villages.
 
Naidu said the officials undertook restoration works including clearing of roads on a war-footing in the affected villages. According to initial estimates, the state suffered damages worth Rs 10 crore.
 
The officials so far restored 182 mobile phones towers. Works were on to restore electricity supply in the affected villages.
 
The authorities had opened 232 cyclone relief centres and the medical camps. Naidu said over 1.14 lakh people in affected areas were provided food prepared at the kitchens operating under Mid-Day Meal scheme for schools. The people will be supplied food till total normalcy was restored.
 
Srikakulam district collector J. Nivas said three houses were damaged due to the winds but there was no loss of life. He said people from coastal villages were evacuated to safe places as a precautionary measure.
 
Indian Railways cancelled about 100 trains between Visakhapatnam and Howrah on Friday and Saturday.
 
Authorities have also cancelled 22 flights from Visakhapatnam airport.
 
According to Real Time Governance Society (RTGS) officials, Kanchili mandal in Srikakulam district received highest rainfall of 19 cm.
 
As rains could cause floods in Vamsadhara, Bahuda Nagavali rivers, the officials have alerted those living in villages on the banks of these rivers.
 
Naidu lauded RTGS saying their forecast about the movement of cyclone was accurate and it helped in issuing alerts to the authorities concerned and people from time to time.
 
The Chief Minister said that, since Odisha bore the brunt of Fani, he had spoken to his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik on Thursday and Friday. RTGS also provided cyclone alerts and other related information to Odisha.
 
The Chief Minister said RTGS tracked the cyclone ever since it was formed in Bay of Bengal on April 27. The officials used communication system effectively and with close monitoring and timely alerts, the officials could take necessary steps to prevent losses.
 
IANS
 

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ED seizes gold worth Rs. 82.11 crore from Hyderabad jeweller

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) today said it had seized 145.89 kg of gold jewellery worth Rs. 82.11 crore during searches conducted at the premises of a Hyderabad-based jeweller in a money laundering case.
 
A press release from the ED said the searches were conducted at multiple locations, including the registered office-cum-residence of Kailash Gupta, the jewellery showroom of Musaddilal Jewellers Pvt Ltd (MJPL) at Hyderabad, a jewellery showroom of the company at VIjayawada, the residence and business premises of Pavan Agarwal (partner,  Shri Balaji Gold), residence of Neel Sunder Tharad (proprietor of Ashta Lakshmi Gold), and the office of chartered accountant Sanjay Sarda.
 
The searches were part of an ongoing investigation under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) in a demonetisation case, the release said.
 
The release said the ED initiated investigation under PMLA on the basis of a first information report (FIR) registered by Telangana Police on the basis of a complaint filed by the Income Tax Department against Kailash Gupta, his sons and their companies Musaddilal Gems & Jewellery, Musaddilal Jewellers Pvt Ltd and Vaishnavi Bullion Ltd. for conspiring with certain bullion dealers, chartered accountants and close relatives by blatantly misusing the scheme of demonetisation by illegally depositing huge amounts of unaccounted demonetised cash in their accounts. 
 
"For this purpose they fraudulently created around 5200 back dated fabricated advance sale receipts dated 8th Nov, 2016, each for an amount less than Rs. 2 lakhs to avoid furnishing PAN details. 
 
"During the course of investigation, it was revealed that immediately after announcement of demonetisation scheme the accused had illegally deposited Rs. 110.85 crores in their bank accounts falsely claiming that within a few hours they had received advances of less than Rs 2 lakh each from more than 5200 customers, on the night of 08.11.2016, for purchase of gold/jewellery from their firms. All these invoices were found to be bogus. Further, analysis of CCTV footages of their offices and that of the neighbourhood revealed that no such activity of purchase of gold was carried out during that period. It is further revealed that those more than 5200 invoices dated 8th Nov, 2016 were fraudulently raised on a later date. 
 
"Investigation under PMLA revealed that illegally deposited unaccounted cash to the tune of Rs. 110.85 crores in the bank accounts of the accused & their companies and subsequently Rs. 80 crores (approx) was transferred to the bank accounts of various gold bullion dealers like M/s Ashta Lakshmi Gold, M/s Shri Balaji Gold etc in the guise of purchase of gold. The accused have admitted that they had created fake sale invoices dated 8th Nov 2016.The accused failed to give any satisfactory account of the source of this illegal cash and also failed to provide the details of the accounts regarding the utilization of around 270 kgs of gold so purchased out of this money," the release said.
 
The ED said that, for tracing the proceeds of cime, simultaneous searches were conducted in the premises of the accused persons which resulted in the seizure of 145.89 kg of gold jewellery worth Rs. 82.11 crore.
 
"Further investigation is under progress," the release added.
 
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Gadkari inaugurates, lays foundation stone of 39 National Highway projects in Andhra Pradesh

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Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of 39 National Highway  Projects in Andhra Pradesh at a function at Akidu in West Godavari district on Monday.These include construction of eleven road over-bridges (ROBs) under Setu Bhartam programme. 
 
The projects have in all a length of 1384 kms, and involve investment of Rs 16,878 crore, an official press release said.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Gadkari said the length of National Highways (NHs) in Andhra Pradesh had gone up from 4193 km before May, 2014, when the present government took over at the Centre, to 7246 km (including in-principle NHs) -- an increase of 3053 km length.
 
He said the total likely investment for development of national highways in the state was Rs. 1,00,000 crore.
 
Under the Bharatmala scheme, about 2,520 km of roads amounting to Rs 44,000 crore have been envisaged. Under SethuBhartam, 31 ROBs have been approved with cost of about Rs 2,500 crore. Out of these, 18 ROBs amounting to Rs 1,310 crore have been sanctioned which are at construction/award stage. In addition, 136 CRF works for total length of 1,805 km amounting to Rs 1,769 crore have been sanctioned since May 2014 in Andhra Pradesh. Out of these, 56 works for total length of 835 km amounting to Rs 570 crore have been completed, he said.
 
He said a total of 108 projects costing Rs. 1,64,719 crore were identified for the State. Of these, 19 projects worth Rs. 2242 crore have been completed till October 2018. He said 53 focus projects of Rs 33,042 crore are planned for completion during 2018-20. 
 
As many as 27 projects are under implementation with investment of Rs 83,713 crore and 38 projects with investment of Rs 74,000 crore are under various stages of development. Further, detailed project reports (DPRs) are under preparation for 23 projects worth Rs 4,151 crore, he said.
 
Mr. Gadkari, who also holds the portfolios of Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, said a roadmap had been developed for increasing the capacity of Visakhapatnam Port to 211 MMTPA by 2025 from the existing 152 MMTPA.
 
Eleven port capacity expansion projects costing Rs 2,536 crore have also been identified to add 71 MMTPA capacity.
 
He said 36 road projects are planned for the State under Sagarmala Programme. Of these, 35 are by NHAI/ MoRTH, and one by the Port Trust. He said three projects have been completed and eight projects are under implementation. 
 
He said 19 Railway Projects worth Rs 10,000 crore are also planned, of which nine are by Indian Railways, six by IPRCL and four by Andhra Pradesh Ports department. He said, six projects have been completed, and another six are under implementation.
 
Mr. Gadkari said nine industrial clusters are being developed under Sagarmala programme in the State. These include, port-based mega food processing park in Kakinada-Godavari Mega Aqua Food park costing Rs 373 crore which has already been completed. 
 
APIIC Mega Food Park worth Rs 375.3 crore, Greenfield Electronics manufacturing Cluster in Renigunta and Yerpdeu Mandal- Chittor District- Tirupati costing Rs 9706.75 crore, Greenfield Electronics manufacturing Cluster in Vikruthamala Village - Yerpadu Mandal - Chittor District – Tirupati costing Rs 5719.8 crore, Greenfield Electronics manufacturing Cluster in Cherivi Village - Satyavedu Mandal - Chittor District – Tirupati costing Rs 1604.41 crore, and 6340 MW Power Cluster - Krishnapatnam worth Rs 37428 crore are under implementation. 
 
DPR is to be prepared for Petrochemical cluster worth Rs 4520 crore in Kakinada, Export based apparel cluster in central AP for Rs 3321 crore, and Cement cluster in AP worth Rs 24500 crore.
 
The Minister said, under the coastal community development programme, Center of Excellence for Maritime & Shipbuilding is being set up in Visakhapatnam with total cost of Rs 574 crore. 
 
He said DPR has been prepared for five fishing harbor projects worth 1500 crore under Sagarmala. These include, Fishing Harbour in Juvvaladinne in SPSR Nellore District  for 242 crore, Phase 2 development of existing fishing harbour at Machilipatnam in Krishna district – Rs 252 crore, Phase 2 development of existing fishing harbour at Nizampatnam in Guntur district - Rs 341 crore, Development of fishing harbour at Vodarevu in Prakasam district for Rs 409 crore, and Development of fishing harbour at Uppada -V U. Kotapalli -M in East Godavari district - Rs 289 crore.
 
Under the Coastal Berth Scheme, nine Ro-Ro and tourism jetty projects worth Rs 560 crore have been taken up, in addition to another three projects worth 200 crore.
 
The Minister said, National Waterway-4 with total length of 1078 km was declared in November 2008. These include, River Godavari (Bhadrachalam to Rajahmundry) - 171 kms, River Krishna (Wazirabad to Vijayawada) - 157 kms, Kakinada Canal (Kakinada to Rajahmundry) -  50 kms, Eluru Canal (Rajahmundry to Vijayawada) - 139 Kms, Commamur Canal (Vijayawada to Pedaganjam) - 113 kms, North Buckingham Canal (Pedaganjam to Chennai) - 316 kms, South Buckingham Canal (Chennai to Merkanam) - 110 kms, and Kaluvelly Tank (Markanam to Puducherry) - 22 kms. He said, NW-4 was extended to a revised length of 2890 kms by NW Act-2016 by including River Krishna from Wazirabad to Galagali (628 Km) and River Godavari from Bhadrachalam to Nasik (1184Km).
 
He said, development work on some of these stretches has commenced in 2017-18. Ro-Ro services from Ibrahimpatnam to Lingayapalem are ready for commencement. He said development of this stretch will provide an efficient logistics solution to boost the economic growth of the region and facilitate the development of the capital city Amravati during its early development stage as substantial construction material is expected to be transported on this stretch of NW-4.
 
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Mega irrigation project Polavaram sets two new records

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Navayuga Engineering Company Limited (NECL), which is building the world's largest flood discharge capacity dam at Polavaram in Andhra Pradesh, has claimed that it has entered the Guinness World Records for the most concrete continuously poured in 24 hours and the largest continuous concrete pour while working on the project.
 
A press release from the company said it had created the world record by pouring 32,315 cubic metres of concrete in 24 hours. The concrete work to make the spillway began at 8 am on Sunday, January 6 and concluded at 8 am on January 7, Monday.
 
"It was the unparalleled planning and engineering skills of NEC that made realize a task of such mammoth proportions," it said.
 
Polavaram witnessed 20 agitator trucks delivering concrete from 10 batching plants and 90 transit mixers that were engaged in this incredible engineering feat. The attempt was monitored by an official adjudicator from Guinness World Records in the presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, the release said.
 
Mr. Naidu, who was on his 30th visit to the Polavaram Irrigation Project site, said, “We congratulate the team at Navayuga and everyone who has been part of the project for achieving the feat and developing such a mammoth project in such a short period of time. For those who say Indians can't perform, Polavaram Irrigation Project is an answer to them. India has not seen a project of this size and scale. We have not just accomplished a colossal infrastructure milestone but have brought India on a global map by breaking the earlier records. Every Monday has been a ‘Polavaram Day’ as we have been reviewing the status of this project every Monday consistently. In the process we have countered and resolved multiple challenges and have been able to accomplish the work in a very short period of time. We aim to complete this project by May this year which will solve the water problems of millions of people."
 
Mr. Sridhar Chinta, Managing Director, Navayuga Engineering Company Limited said, “It is an extremely proud moment for Navayuga to be a part of such an iconic and landmark project in terms of its scale, expanse and impact on livelihood. Taking up the challenge of building this mega project is a perfect showcase of NEC’s superior and world-class engineering capabilities. Working tirelessly round the clock to achieve an epoch-making feat in just 24 hours is a true testament to the hard work, dedication and sincerity of every member of the Navayuga family. This is a significant step towards achieving the real victory, delivering a half-century old dream of the people of Andhra Pradesh, the Polavaram Project, before the start of the next monsoon season. This is indeed a very proud moment not just for NEC, but also for the state of Andhra Pradesh and the nation.”
 
The project once completed will irrigate a total of 42 lakh acres ayacut in two phases and influence the supply of water to all 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh. The project envisages meeting the water supply needs of an aggregate population of 20 million.
 
The project has a total of 48 gates, each of height 20 m and a width of 16 m and spanning a total of 1,119 m. It required pouring of 36.7 lakh cubic meters of concrete, 50,000 tonnes of steel and 9,30,000 tonnes of cement, all in record time to complete the project. 
 
The Polavaram spillway is set to have one of the highest discharge capacities in the world. At 50 lakh cusecs, it is all set to surpass even the 3 Gorges Dam of China, one of the largest dams in the world, which has a discharge capacity of 47 lakh cusecs. The total storage capacity of the water reservoir is 119 TMC, the release added.
 
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Foundation stone laid for Andhra Secretariat Complex in Amaravati

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday laid the foundation stone for the State Secretariat Complex in this upcoming state capital.
 
The launch of the work on the complex at Rayapudi village in Guntur district on the banks of river Krishna comes four-and-half years after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
 
Naidu said the foundation stone for the complex, which comprises five towers, marked a major milestone in the development of the state capital.
 
He thanked the farmers for parting with 33,000 acres of land under the land pooling process for developing the State capital.
 
Naidu said the whole world was looking at Andhra as the Secretariat Complex would be a jewel in the crown.
 
Coming up on a 41-acre site, the complex is expected to be amongst the largest such constructions in the country featuring 50 storeys and built-up area of 6.9 million square feet.
 
The complex, housing the seat of governance, can accommodate 145 departments, over 16,000 employees and 10,000 visitors.
 
Four towers will have 40 floors each, while the fifth will have 50 floors and will also house the Chief Minister's Office and General Administration Department.
 
The complex, to be built at a cost of Rs 4,890 crore, will also have 1.3 million square feet parking facility for 4,000 cars.
 
According to officials, Foster Partners have provided the master design for the Complex. Construction major Shapoorji Pallonji are executing the construction work.
 
The Capital Regional Development Authority (CRDA) and the Amaravati Development Corporation (ADC) will oversee the work.
 
Currently, the State Secretariat is functioning from an interim complex built at Velagapudi village in capital region Amaravati in 2016.
 
IANS
 

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Cyclone Phethai: Over 50 trains cancelled in Andhra

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The South Central Railway has cancelled over 50 trains in coastal Andhra Pradesh in view of severe cyclonic storm Phethai, which is set to hit the coast near Kakinada on Monday afternoon.
 
Many trains from Vijayawada to various destinations in coastal Andhra were suspended as a precautionary measure.
 
The Visakhapatnam-Guntur Simhadri Express, Guntur-Visakhapatnam Simhadri Express, Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada Ratnachalam Express, Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam Ratnachalam Express, Narsapur-Nidadavolu Link Express and Nidadavolu-Narsapu Link Express were among the trains cancelled.
 
Passenger trains between Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Guntur and Bhimavaram were also cancelled.
 
Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) passenger trains between Vijayawada and destinations like Rajahmundry, Kakinada Port, Tenali, Bhimavaram, Guntur and Machilipatnam, MEMU trains between Rajahmundry and Visakhapatnam, Visakhapatnam and Kakinada Port, Tenali and Guntur, Visakhapatnam and Rajahmundry, Rajahmundry and Bhimavaram, Bhimavaram and Nidadavolu, Rajahmundry and Narasapur and Narasapur and Guntur were also cancelled.
 
The other cancelled trains include Kakinada Port-Kotipalli Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) passenger, Kotipalli-Kakinada Port DMU passenger, Machilipatnam-Gudivada, Bhimavaram-Rajahmundry, Nidadavolu-Bhimavaram, Ongole-Guntur passenger trains.
 
Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway directed officials of divisions likely to be affected to be prepared to handle any emergency situation.
 
Helplines were opened at Vijayawada, Guntur and Guntakal station for round-the-clock monitoring of the situation.
 
IANS
 

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ED summons TDP MP after raids at residence, offices

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials on Saturday conducted searches at the residence and offices of former Union Minister and TDP MP Y. S. Chowdary here for alleged financial irregularities and asked him to appear before the agency on November 27.
 
According to ED, searches conducted at seven locations in Hyderabad and one in Delhi revealed that the banks have been defrauded by companies owned by Chowdary to the tune of over Rs 5,700 crore.
 
The ED seized six luxury cars including Ferrari, Range Rover, and Benz from Chowdary's residence. These vehicles, registered in the name of dummy companies, have been seized under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
 
Documents recovered revealed that various FEMA/DRI/CBI cases were existing against the group companies. Similarly documents related to forex transactions were also seized, the ED said in a statement.
 
"Documents recovered indicate that they are controlling over 120 companies and most of them are non-operating or companies on paper only without any genuine business activities," it said.
 
Preliminary investigations indicate that certain loans to group companies were sanctioned against the personal guarantee of Chowdary.
 
Chowdary, a member of the Rajya Sabha, is a close aide of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
 
Chowdary was Minister of Science and Technology in the Narendra Modi Cabinet till March when the TDP pulled out of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.
 
The raids were conducted in connection with three FIRs registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on complaints from three banks stating that the consortium of banks were cheated to the tune of Rs 364 crore by Best & Crompton Engineering Projects Ltd, Chennai (BCEPL), which had obtained loans by falsification of accounts and submission of false statements.
 
Meanwhile, Sujana Group said in a statement that the ED team from Chennai had come to gather some information with regard to a 10-year-old case and the same was provided to it. The group denied that lookout notices were issued for some directors.
 
Saturday's raids came just days after the Andhra Pradesh government withdrew the "general consent" it had earlier given to the CBI to operate within its territory.
 
The CBI now requires the permission of the Andhra Pradesh government to conduct raids in the state.
 
The move had come following a series of raids by the Income Tax authorities against TDP leaders including Naidu's close aide and MP C.M. Ramesh.
 
The party leaders alleged that the Modi government was misusing central agencies to target them.
 
IANS
 

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Four of a family charred to death in Andhra

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Four members of a family were charred to death in Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor district on Sunday, police said.
 
The couple and their children were burnt alive while they were asleep at their home in Rajulakandriga village in the early hours of the day.
 
According to police, charred remains of Srinivas Reddy, 38, an autorickshaw driver, his wife Bujjamma, 33, daughter Bhaviah, 4, and son Nitin, 3, were found on a bed.
 
Senior police officers along with forensic experts rushed to the scene and gathered clues.
 
Police were investigating the cause of fire. They suspect that cooking gas leakage might have led to the tragedy.
 
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Andhra CM inducts two ministers in cabinet

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Sunday expanded his cabinet with the induction of two ministers.
 
Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan administered the oath of office and secrecy to NMD Farooq and Kidari Sravan at a ceremony attended by Naidu, his other cabinet colleagues and senior officials.
 
Farooq, a member of the State Legislative Council, had been serving as the chairman of the Upper House of the state legislature. 
 
He had earlier served as a Minister in the cabinet of N.T. Rama Rao and Chandrababu Naidu in undivided Andhra Pradesh.
 
Sravan is the son of Kidari Sarveswara Rao, who was gunned down by Maoists in Visakhapatnam district in September. Sarvesawara Rao was a member of the State Legislative Assembly from Araku.
 
With this expansion, Naidu has given representation to Muslims and tribals in the cabinet, seven months before the Assembly elections.
 
Farooq, a senior leader of Telugu Desam Party (TDP), is likely to be allotted the minorities welfare portfolio while Sarvan, who is not a member of either house of the state legislature, is expected to get tribal welfare. 
 
The induction of two ministers has taken the strength of the cabinet to 26. 
 
The two cabinet berths were vacant after two ministers belonging to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) resigned from Telugu Desam Party (TDP)-led government in March. 
 
This followed TDP pulling out of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre.
 
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IndiGo to introduce flights from Vijayawada to Singapore in partnership with Andhra Pradesh government

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Low-cost carrier IndiGo today said it would operate two weekly non-stop services between Vijayawada and Singapore from December 4, 2018 as part of a collaborative effort with the Andhra Pradesh government to provide air connectivity between the two cities.
 
"As part of the strategic partnership between the two, the low cost airline will operate two weekly non-stop services between Vijayawada and Singapore effective December, 2018. The first flight will fly out of Vijayawada International Airport on December 04, 2018," a press release from the airline siad.
 
Mr. Ajay Jain, Principal Secretary - Energy, I&I, Andhra Pradesh government, said, “We feel exited to engage IndiGo Airline being a most preferred airline to connect state capital Vijayawada to Singapore. This will fulfil the dreams of Telugu Diaspora in Singapore and great convenience for our investors and business community”. 
 
Mr Virender Singh, CEO- APADCL said “this is just a beginning to add more such flights to many more destinations”.
 
Mr. William Boulter, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We feel absolutely privileged to be the first domestic airline to launch international services from Vijayawada in association with the Government of Andhra Pradesh. These twice weekly non-stop flight services between Vijayawada and Singapore will further augment our regional connectivity that we aspire to provide across domestically and internationally. IndiGo will continue to provide an on-time, courteous and hassle-free service, and affordable fares to our customers, as always.”
 
"The new flights are designed to cater to business and leisure travelers from Vijayawada, who are constantly on the lookout for new and affordable flying options," the release said.
 
IndiGo currently operates five daily non-stop flights between India and Singapore. These include two daily non-stop flights to Chennai and one each to Bengaluru, Tiruchirapalli and Kolkata.
 
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Six of family die in Andhra accident

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Six members of a family were killed and 15 others injured in a road accident in Andhra Pradesh's Kurnool district early on Wednesday, police said.
 
The passengers were travelling in an auto trolley which was hit by a truck from behind near Peddahutur village.
 
The family was on their way to a 'dargah' at Eltari for a tonsuring ceremony of a newborn when the accident occurred.
 
According to the police, 21 people were travelling in the vehicle. The dead included three youth, two children and a woman.
 
The injured were admitted to a government-run hospital in Kurnool.
 
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu directed officials to provide the best possible treatment to the injured.
 
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Man, two children die of electrocution in Andhra Pradesh

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A house warming ceremony turned tragic for a family in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district on Thursday as a man and his two children died of electrocution.
 
The incident occurred in Ganikapudi village in Prathipadu.
 
Yesu (28) was holding a cable wire in his hand when he was electrocuted. As his five-year-old son Solomon Raju and three-year-old daughter Rani were standing close by, they were also electrocuted.
 
Yesu, hailing from Prakasam district, along with his family had come to his brother's house for the ceremony.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Andhra Pradesh cuts petrol, diesel prices by Rs 2

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In a move to provide some relief to people reeling under increasing fuel prices, the Andhra Pradesh government on Monday announced reduction in Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel by Rs 2 per litre in the state.
 
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu announced in the state Assembly that this decision will come into effect from Tuesday.
 
Andhra Pradesh has the third highest percentage of VAT on petrol (35.77 per cent) after Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, and highest 28.08 per cent on diesel.
 
Naidu said that, owing to the reduction in VAT, the state would lose Rs 1,120 crore in revenues annually.
 
He made the announcement on a day when the Congress and the Left parties called for a nation-wide shutdown to protest fuel price hike.
 
The activists of Naidu's Telugu Desam Party (TDP) also took part in the protests against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government across Andhra Pradesh and neighbouring Telangana.
 
Naidu, whose party pulled out of NDA in March, accused the Centre of misleading the people by attributing the steep hike in the prices of petrol and diesel to growing crude oil prices globally.
 
The TDP chief pointed out that the crude oil price during 2013-14 was 105.52 dollars per barrel but even when the price fell to 46 dollars, the NDA government did not pass on the benefit to common man.
 
Naidu said the current price of crude oil is 72.23 dollars but the Narendra Modi government is increasing the prices every day, burdening the common man.
 
He demanded that the Centre, too, provide relief to people by cutting down taxes on fuel prices.
 
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Minor boy chokes on ingested pen cap, dies

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An 8-year-old boy choked to death after swallowing a pen cap at his school in Andhra Pradesh's Nellore district on Thursday, police said.
 
Class 3 student B. Naga Vinay was copying a lesson written on the blackboard in his notebook when he accidentally ingested the pen cap he had put in his mouth. He was rushed to a primary health centre but died of chocking, police added.
 
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Eight workers killed in Andhra quarry blast

 
8 killed, several injured in quarry blast in Kurnool
 
 
At least eight workers were killed in a blast in a quarry in Andhra Pradesh's Kurnool district on Friday, police said.
 
Another eight workers were also injured in the incident that took place in Hathi Belgal village in Alur 'mandal' (block) of Kurnool district.
 
The injured were admitted to the government hospital in Alur, where the condition of three is stated to be critical.
 
About 20 workers belonging to Odisha were believed to be in a shed when the blast occurred. The police suspect that some more workers could be trapped inside.
 
A fire which broke out with the blast engulfed the shed. Three tractors, one lorry and two sheds were destroyed in the fire.
 
The huge blast also damaged a few houses near the quarry. 
 
The blast which was heard at a distance of more than 10 km sent panic among the residents. The cause of the blast could not be known immediately.
 
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Six die in gas leakage in Andhra steel plant

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Six workers died and two others were taken ill in a gas leakage at a multinational steel company in Andhra Pradesh's Anantapur district on Thursday evening, police said.
 
The incident occurred in Gerdau Steel plant on the outskirts of Tadipatri town.
 
The gas leakage occurred in furnace wing of the plant. Eight of the workers collapsed after inhaling the gas while others managed to escape in time.
 
Eye witnesses said two workers died on the spot. Six others were shifted to nearby hospital, where four workers succumbed.
 
The deceased have been identified as B. Ranganath, 21, K. Manoj, 24, S.A. Wasim, 39, U. Gangadhar, 37, Guravaiah, 40, and K Siva Maddileti alias Lingaiah, 26.
 
Gerdau Steel, one of the largest steel companies worldwide, said it had suspended operations at the unit and will resume only after an extensive safety inspection.
 
"Gerdau sadly informs that an accident occurred at its Tadipatri steel plant, in India, this evening, resulting in six causalties. Gerdau immediately provided medical assistance and the workers were sent to the local hospital," the company said in a brief statement.
 
"The company is assisting the family of the victims and is working to determine the cause of the accident. The company is also extending all cooperation to local authorities," it added.
 
Gerdau is the leading producer of long steel in the Americas and one of the largest suppliers of special long steel in the world. It has more than 45,000 employees and industrial operations in 14 countries, according to the information on its website.
 
The plant in Andhra was Gerdau's first in Asia and it has capacity to produce 300,000 tons of special steel per year.
 
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Bodies of three Andhra students recovered from Krishna river

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The bodies of three out of the four engineering students from Andhra Pradesh who were drowned in Krishna river near here on Saturday, were fished out on Sunday, police said.
 
Rescue workers found the bodies of three students while the search was still on for the fourth. The bodies of Praveen, 18, Chaitanya, 18, and Srinath, 19, were shifted to a government hospital in Vijayawada for autopsy.
 
Police said the rescue workers were still searching for Rajkumar, 19. The incident occurred at Pavitra Sangamam, the confluence points of Krishna and Godavari rivers at Ibrahimpatnam.
 
Five students of second year of a private engineering college had gone there for a picnic. When one of them was drowning while taking a bath, three others tried to save him but all of them were washed away in strong currents. The fifth student alerted the police.
 
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and divers joined the rescue operations. The rescue work was called off on late on Saturday and resumed early Sunday.
 
Police said one of the students crossed the safety railing, which led to the tragedy.
 
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Nine killed in road accident in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh

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Nine persons were killed and four others injured when a bus hit an auto-rickshaw in Andhra Pradesh's Kurnool district early on Sunday, police said.
 
The accident occurred near Somayajulapalle on the Kurnool-Nandyal highway.
 
The state-owned Road Transport Corporation bus hit the auto-rickshaw, which was carrying 13 people. While seven died on the spot, two others succumbed to their injuries in a nearby hospital. 
 
The injured were shifted to a government hospital in Kurnool.
 
According to the police, three auto-rickshaws were coming from wrong direction. While two vehicles passed safely, the third was hit by the bus.
 
A group of villagers from Penugondla and Kalapari villages had boarded the auto-rickshaws to go to Mahanandi village near Nandyal town for naturopathy treatment. Most of the deceased were old and ill.
 
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World Cup: Switzerland beat Serbia in Group E clash

A late goal by Xherdan Shaqiri earned Switzerland a 2-1 win over Serbia in a Group E clash of the FIFA World Cup at the Kaliningrad Stadium here.
 
Aleksandar Mitrovic handed Serbia the lead in the fifth minute during the match on Friday.
 
Switzerland equalised in the second half, thanks to a superb long range strike by Granit Xhaka (52nd).
 
Shaqiri (90th) found the winning goal in the final minute of regulation time.
 
Switzerland thus became the first team at this World Cup to clinch a come-from-behind victory after conceding first.
 
They now have four points from two matches, having held title contenders Brazil to a draw in their campaign opener.
 
They are at the same number of points as Brazil, but sit at the second place behind the South Americans due to an inferior goal difference.
 
Serbia are on three points from two games. They are currently third in the group.
 
Serbia enjoyed a promising start when Dusan Tadic won the ball near the corn er flag and sent in a cross which was headed in by Mitrovic.
 
The setback galvanised the Swiss who dominated possession for the rest of the game.
 
But despite being under considerable pressure, the Serbian defence prevented the Swiss from creating too many clear chances in the first half.
 
Switzerland finally made their domination count when Shaqiri's shot was bloc ked by the Serbian defence.
 
Xhaka pounced on the loose ball and unleashed a first time attempt from outside the penalty box which beat Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic with its pace and vicious swing before bulging the net.
 
Xhaka is the third Swiss player to score in more than one World Cup tournament.
 
He follows in the footsteps of former stars Jacques Fatton and Andre Abegglen.
 
Abegglen scored in the 1934 and 1938 World Cups while Fatton scored at the 1950 and 1954 editions.
 
Shaqiri hit the post soon after with a curling attempt from the right edge of the Serbia box.
 
Serbia did have their chances in the second half, not least a square pass across the face of goal by Aleksandar Kolarov which missed the extended leg of a Serbian player at the far post by mere inches.
 
Shaqiri found the winner in the closing stages off the counter.
 
He latched on to a pass out of defence, made a solo run from the half line with the Serbian defence caught off guard, before scoring with a calm finish.
 
IANS
 
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Girl dies as giant wheel crashes in Andhra

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In a tragic incident, an eight-year-old girl died and six others were injured when a cabin of a giant wheel crashed in Andhra Pradesh's Anantapur town on Sunday night, police said.
 
The incident occurred during a fair when one of the cabins of the merry-go-round wheel came crashing after its bolt gave way.
 
The girl, identified as Amrutha, died on the spot while six others including three children suffered injuries and were admitted to a private hospital in the town.
 
The fun time for children during summer holidays turned into tragedy with the crash during the Robo Animals Exhibition on Exhibition Ground in the town.
 
The tragedy struck when Amrutha's parents and relatives of the others were recording the fun ride on their mobile phones. The video of the crash went viral on social media on Monday.
 
After the crash, visitors beat up the wheel operator. Police rescued and arrested him. 
 
Relatives of the deceased and injured alleged that the accident occurred due to the operator's negligence as he did not stop the wheel despite being alerted about the bolt being loose.
 
Police seized the giant wheel and registered a case against the wheel operator.
 
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