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Visakhapatnam

Chief of Naval Staff honours award winners at Naval Investiture Ceremony

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Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), conferred gallantry and non-gallantry awards on several recipients at the Naval Investiture Ceremony here today.
 
The annual event for the Indian Navy was held at Command Parade Ground, Eastern Naval Command (ENC).
 
Admiral Lanba was received at the parade ground by Vice-Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command. The CNS inspected a 50-man Armed Guard and reviewed the platoons of Naval and DSC personnel drawn from various ships and establishments of the ENC.
 
Admiral Lanba said that the occasion was of special significance as it formally acknowledged the commendable gallantry as well as devotion to duty of fellow shipmates. He also thanked the family members of the award winners for their support to the service personnel in their performance of duty. 
 
The core values -- Duty, Honour and Courage -- form the fundamental traits expected from all naval personnel. The award winners have displayed these and many more qualities such as patriotism, courage, fighting spirit, integrity sincerity, perseverance, discipline humility and selflessness that have come to define the service.
 
He also said that he firmly believed that it is the team work and never-say-die attitude of naval personnel that has made the Indian Navy a strong and capable maritime force in the world today. The leadership, foresight and devotion to duty displayed by naval personnel has enabled a steady growth of the service and transformed it into a blue water navy.
 
Lt Cdr Vikash Kumar Narwal, Lt Cdr Neeraj Kumar, Veer Singh Chief Petty Officer Clearance Diver I and Rakesh Kumar Hull Artificer-4 (posthumously) were awarded Nao Sena Medals (Gallantry) for their indomitable courage, conspicuous gallantry and outstanding professionalism.
 
Other awards presented included eight Nao Sena Medals for Devotion to Duty, sixteen Vishisht Seva Medals, Sarvottam Jeeven Rakshak Padak awarded to Cdr Shishir Kumar Yadavannavar (posthumous), Jeeven Rakshak Padak to Lt Cdr Kapil Kumar Shishodia and Mr. Neelkant Ramesh Harikantra LASCAR-1. Captain Ravi Dhir Medal was awarded to Aravind Marisamy Master Chief Air Artificer II and Lieutenant VK Jain Memorial Gold Medal was awarded to Commander Ravi Kumar Singh.
 
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The CNS also presented unit citation to two afloat units and six shore establishments who have delivered exceptional performance over the past one year. These include IN Ships Trikand, Sunayna, IN Air Squadron 312A, Command Clearance Diving Team, Mumbai, INS Eksila at Visakhapatnam, Naval Ship Repair Yard, Karwar, Base Victualling Yard, Kochi and INS Kardip in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Naval Dockyard, Mumbai and INS Shivaji at Lonavala, Maharastra were awarded the ‘CNS Trophy for Best Green Practices’ for the environment friendly / green initiatives.
 
Apart from the relatives of the award winners, the ceremonial parade was also attended by Flag Officers, Commanding Officers of various ships, submarines and establishments and a large number of service and civilian personnel and their families.
 
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Prabhu launches Vistadome coach, mechanised laundry and Lifeline Express

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Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu laid the foundation stone for and launched various railway initiatives, including the new Vistadome coach, at Rail Sadan here yesterday through video-conferencing.
 
He also inaugurated the Lifeline Express at Sindhudurg, Maharastra, an official press release said.
 
While flagging off a train with the new Vistadome coach between Visakhaptnam and Araku,  Mr. Prabhu said the coach, which features such as glass roof, LED lights, rotatable seats and GPS based info system, would help tourists enjoy the scenic beauty along the route.
 
He said the mechanised laundry at Visakhapatnam under the BOOT (Build, Own, Operate, Transfer) model  would help improve the quality of linen provided to passengers on trains.
 
Inaugurating the Lifeline Express of Konkan Railway, he said it would be a great boon for poor patients.
 
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Cabinet nod for setting up Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy at Visakhapatnam

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The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for the setting up of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy (IIPE) at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh as "an Institute of National Importance" through an Act of Parliament.
 
The institute will have the governance structure as well as legal mandate to grant degrees in a manner similar to that enjoyed by Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), an official press release said. 
 
A separate Act will also impart the required status to the institute to become a "Centre of Excellence" in petroleum and energy studies, it said.
 
The Cabinet also approved Rs. 655.46 crore as capital expenditure to set up IIPE and contribution of Rs. 200 crore towards its Endowment Fund (in addition to a contribution of Rs 200 crore from oil companies towards the Endowment Fund). 
 
The decision to set up the institute has been taken up under Schedule 13 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014. The objective is to meet the quantitative and qualitative gap in the supply of skilled manpower for the petroleum sector and to promote research activities needed for the growth of the sector. The academic and research activities of IIPE will derive strength from the Institute's proximity to sector-related activities such as KG Basin, Visakhapatnam refinery and the planned petrochemical complex at Kakinada. 
 
The Andhra Pradesh Government has allocated 200 acres of land, free of cost, for setting up of IIPE at Sabbavaram in Visakhapatnam district.
 
IIPE has been registered as a society under the AP Society Registration Act, 2001 on April 18, 2016. A temporary campus of IIPE has been set up from academic session 2016-17 from the Andhra University campus with two undergraduate programmes namely, Petroleum Engineering and Chemical Engineering (with capacity of 50 students each). IIT, Kharagpur has taken up the responsibility of mentoring the institute.
 
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TU-142M receives formal welcome as it lands at INS Dega for last time

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu welcomed the TU-142M Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft of the Indian Navy which landed at INS Dega for the last time this morning.
 
A special ceremony organised at INS Dega to formally welcome the aircraft was attended by Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Vice- Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, MPs, MLAs and host of other civil dignitaries. The Chief Minister also interacted with the crew members and exchanged mementos.
 
Andhra Pradesh had earlier requested the Ministry of Defence for allotment of one de-inducted TU-142M for converting into a museum. The request is being processed at the Ministry. Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) would be coordinating all activities related to aircraft museum on the state government's behalf.
 
The TU is likely to be dismantled and transported by road on trailers and reassembled on the Beach Road near Kursura Submarine Museum, an official press release said.
 
With imposing looks and a lethal punch to match, the TU-142M aircraft which have been nothing short of a ‘Flying Destroyer’, was given an impressive welcome as it landed for the last time at Visakhapatnam by a flypast of three Chetak helicopters, two Kamov helicopters, two Dorniers, and one P-8I Aircraft.
 
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After having served the Indian Navy with pride and élan for 29 years, during which it accomplished 30,000 hours of accident free flying, the TU-142M aircraft were given a befitting farewell on March 29 at INS Rajali Naval Air Station in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu.
 
Over the years, the TU-142M has rendered yeoman service to the nation and has taken part in all major exercises and operations including Operation Cactus in Maldives, Op Vijay in 1998, Op Parakram in 2002 and Anti-piracy Operations.
 
The squadron was awarded Unit Citation by the Chief of Naval Staff in the year 2002 for outstanding professionalism and momentous contribution to the Service and adjudged the Best Frontline Squadron on numerous occasions over the years.
 
Earlier, the Chief Minister interacted with the family members of B Sambha Murthy, Chargeman, P Nagendra Rao, RV Prasad Babu (both Highly Skilled (HSK) Grade II), N Chinna Rao and G Srinivas (both Tradesman Mate (TMM) of NAD) who went missing in Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft last July and distributed cheques of Rs. 5 lakh as ex-gratia amounts.
 
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300 participants attend Fintech Valley Spring Conference in Visakhapatnam

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More than 300 participants from India and abroad attended the maiden edition of Fintech Valley Spring Conference 2017, the Andhra Pradesh's flagship initiative that brought together industry, academia and investors to innovate, create and build the fintech ecosystem in the state.
 
The two-day event, which ended here today, was a "spectacular success", with the presence of global corporations, government representatives, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, artists and visionaries who gathered in this valley to to build capacity, infrastructure, market access, connectivity, funding channels, and incentive mechanisms, a press release from the organisers said.
 
The aim of the discussions was to nurture a "fintectonic" culture that disrupts traditional models of business and sets a platform for innovation and growth, it said.
 
Prize money of Rs.  5 lakh and one-year free office space was provided in the Fintech Tower in Vizag to Start-up challenge winners.
 
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu interacted with the delegates for an hour through video-conferencing and took inputs from the fintech community. He will chair The Fintech Valley Forum set up to focus on various aspects of the ecosystem creation. 
 
Mr. Naidu told the gathering that the conference was a step towards joining the "Fourth Industrial Revolution which is a spectacular combination of technology and Internet of Things (IoT)".
 
"In recent times, technology has started influencing our lives in a comprehensive manner. The demand for Fintech is growing each day. To meet this demand, we would need the support from Fintech and Cyber security companies. We also need the academic institutions to adapt curriculum that trains individuals to contribute to fintech sector," he said.
 
Special Chief Secretary and IT Adviser to the AP Chief Minister, Mr. J. A. Chowdary, thanked the gathering for reposing their faith in this initiative. “This two-day conference was a success in encouraging the spirit of the fintectonic culture. We intend to build on this momentum and leverage it to generate employment that meets new demands of the global economy," he said.
 
An informative workshop segment was led by Mr. Balasubramaniam, Chief Executive Officer - E-Pragati on e-governance and sandbox opportunities with the government. 
 
Addressing the gathering over video conference, Mr. J Satyanarayana, Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and former IT Secretary, “Though our current ecosystem is well established having our welfare programs linked to Aadhar, we are trying to expand our current portfolio consisting of 72 projects. The Andhra Pradesh – E-pragati portfolio is a strong foundation for fintech and I am convinced that Vizag will vibrate with the fintech mantra in the months to come.”
 
Andhra Pradesh Technology Services (APTS) Managing Director Premchand spoke about creating joint ventures and special purpose vehicles with innovative start-ups. “We are actively looking to collaborate with start-ups to open doors and conduct business with Government of Andhra Pradesh and also with other state governments," he said.
 
“In India, there isn’t a problem with talent but with having the right attitude. Culture tends to eat strategy for breakfast. There is a need to create a shift in the mindset and to look at things differently. For this, I would propose the 3D’s - Digitalization, Differentiation and Disruption,” said Ms. Latha Ayyar, Special Representative for IT and Innovation to Government of Andhra Pradesh and COO, Bharti AXA at a panel discussion titled ‘Disruption in Insurance Value Chain - Role of Insurtech.’ 
 
Also contributing to this panel discussion on making insurance relevant to millennials and widening the insurance consumer market were Mr. Thomson Thomas, Chief Distribution Officer, HDFC Life; Mr. Girish Nayak, Chief of Operations and Technology, ICICI Lombard; Mr. Shwetank Verma, Director Collab (Open Innovation), MetLife; Mr. Shashwal Sharma, Partner KPMG and Mr. Varun Dua, Co-founder, Coverfox. KPMG is the knowledge partner for Fintech Valley Vizag Spring Conference 2017.
 
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There were three insurance challenges by corporate partners HDFC Life, ICICI Lombard and Bharti AXA. The overall winner in insurance category was declared as iProov. In the Banking Category, for the ICICI Bank Start-up Challenge 2017, Kyriba and Nimbuzz won relating to payments and remittances. In the Capital Market Category, the Angel Broking Start-up Challenge 2017, involving real-time social profiling of customers, was won by Hello Soda and Blueocean.
 
Contemplating ways in which Blockchain is transforming the future of Financial Services infrastructure, an interactive panel comprising Mr Akshay Dhanak, Vice President, Business System & Technology, HDFC Life; Sudin Baraokar, Head of Innovation, SBI; Ms Rachna Nath, Partner, KPMG; Mr Vinay Agarwal, CEO, Angel Broking; Mr Paul Kitti, Co-founder, TenX and Mr Hitesh Sarda, Director, Value Labs, discussed the issue threadbare. The speakers pondered on actions that can be initiated by institutions for reinventing themselves and jointly agreed that industry start-ups that develop the sentiment of trust would instigate disruption. The panelists also took questions asked by the audience and shared their excitement for the fintech valley hackathon to be held later in the year. 
 
To encourage multi-disciplinary thinking that adds greater expressiveness and meaning to the fintech culture, the ‘finteract’ series - comprising of interlinking dialogues that connect to fintech and innovation - was launched. Mr. Nitin Saluja Founder, Chaayos; Dharmil Sheth, Founder, PharmEasy and Ms. Priyanka Agrawal, renowned design thinking UI-UX were the key presenters of ‘Finteract, March 2017.’ Finteract is curated and created by Adfactors XD.
 
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Gateway Distriparks Ltd. commences operations of Container Freight Station at Krishnapatnam Port

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Gateway Distriparks Ltd. (GDL) has commenced operations of its Logistics Park & Container Freight Station (CFS) next to the Krishnapuram Port Container Terminal following the completion of construction of the first phase of the facility and all statutory approvals from the Customs Department.
 
A press release from the company said it had invested Rs. 90 crore in the first phase to develop capacity of 60,000 TEUs in bonded container yard and 50,000 sq. ft. of bonded warehousing, as well as 100,000 TEUs in domestic container yard and 100,000 sq. ft. of domestic warehousing. 
 
The total land bank available is 48 acres which can be further utilised to expand capacity in the future, it said.
 
Targeting the trade and business growth in the Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Karnataka and northern Tamil Nadu region, the Logistics Park will offer comprehensive supply chain solutions through a Container Freight Station (CFS), Bonded & Domestic Warehousing, Temperature Controlled Storage along with first/last mile transportation facilities, the release said.
 
"The company sees this region as playing a key role for its growth plans, and we are happy to announce our fourth CFS in this region to support the local trade. We will continue to invest here further, through both GDL and Snowman Logistics, to maintain a high quality offering and increase capacities in the future," Ishaan Gupta, Joint Managing Director, GDL said.
 
The CFS at Krishnapatnam port, which is strategically located between Chennai and Visakhapatnam ports, is the company's 7th CFS in India. The GDL Logistics Park is the first of its kind in this region and drawing on its experience as a market leader in the industry, the company has developed the facility with world class infrastructure tailored to the trade's requirements and state-of-the-art technology to maximize efficiency, the release said.
 
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Snowman Logistics signs MoU with Government of Andhra Pradesh to set up temperature controlled warehouse

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Snowman Logistics Limited has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to set up a temperature controlled warehouse at Sri City, a special economic zone located in Chittoor district of the state.
 
Snowman will invest approximately Rs. 30 crore in this project which will mainly cater to existing and upcoming food processing units in Sri City, a press release from the company said.
 
The release said Snowman plans to build a 10,000 pallet position multi-temperature cold storage in a phased manner, starting with 5,000 pallet positions in phase-I. The project will be financed mostly from internal accruals.
 
Sri City – an integrated business city, as it is called, has become one of the most attractive manufacturing locations for food brands. With a well laid out industrial park, many multinational and national food brands have already occupied land portions to set up manufacturing plants. Sri City is well connected with road, rail and sea network. 
 
Located just 55 km from Chennai, it is also an attractive location for exports and imports.
"With the focus on food and import/export, Sri City emerges as an upcoming location for FMCG and agri based volume for Snowman. Availability of water and power is another attraction to this location. With GST, round the corner, Sri City can become a major point of consolidation," the release said.
 
“We are excited about this project. This aligns with our strategy to provide pan India network to our clients from source to stores," Mr.  Sunil Nair, Chief Executive Officer, Snowman Logistics Limited, said.
 
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39 dead, 50 injured as nine coaches of Hirakhand Express derail in Andhra Pradesh

At least 39 passengers died and 50 others suffered injuries when nine coaches and the engine of the 18438 Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar link train portion of 18448 Jagdalpur-Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late Saturday night, official sources said.

 
36 dead, 50 injured in train mishap in Andhra Pradesh
At least 39 passengers died and 50 others suffered injuries when nine coaches and the engine of the 18438 Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar link train portion of 18448 Jagdalpur-Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late last night, official sources said.
 
The mishap  occurred at about 2315 hours yesterday near Koneru station, about 24 kms from Rayagada in Odisha, in Vizianagaram district under the Waltair Division of East Coast Railway (ECR).
 
The injured have been admitted to nearby hospitals for treatment, East Coast Railway spokesman J. P. Mishra told NetIndian. He said seven of the injured had suffered grievous injuries while some with minor injuries had been discharged after first-aid.
 
According to him, the derailed coaches included the guard-cum-luggage van, two General second class, four Sleeper class,one 2nd-cum-3rd AC and one 3rd AC coaches, apart from the engine.
 
ECR officials said Railway doctors at the scene of the accident had confirmed 39 deaths.
 
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu and Railway Board Chairman A K Mital are rushing to the scene of the tragedy. Senior Railway officials, including ECR General Manager Umesh singh and Waltair Divisional Railway Manager Chandralekha Mukherjee have reached the spot and are overseeing the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Mr. Prabhu expressed profound grief over the loss of lives in the accident. He announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 2 lakh for the next-of-kin of the deceased passengers, Rs. 50,000 for those with grievous injuries and Rs. 25,000 for those who had suffered simple injuries.
 
The Railways have ordered a statutory inquiry by Mr. Ram Kripal, the Commissioner of Railway Safety (South Central Circle), under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, into the accident.
 
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A special train with 13 coaches left with the stranded passengers of the train from Kuneru to Bhubaneswar via Rayagada-Titilagarh-Sambalpur-Angul. Buses were provided for the relief of stranded passengers to carry them to various nearby places like Brahmapur, Bhawanipatna, and so on.
 
Senior district administration officials from Vizianagaram and Rayagada and police officials also reached the scene of the mishap to oversee the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Medical relief trains with doctors and paramedical staff had also reached the site. Ambulances and personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) also rushed to the spot.
 
Railway officials said Mr. Prabhu was personally monitoring the situation and had directed senior officials to reach the scene of the accident immediately and ensure prompt rescue and relief operations.
 
The Railways have set up the following helpline numbers at various places for the benefit of the passengers and their relatives:
 
Vizianagaram: 08922-221202,  08922-221206
Rayagada: 06856-223400,  06856-223500, 09439741181, 09439741071, 07681878777
Visakhapatnam: 0891-2746344, 0891-2746330
Khurda: 0674 2490670
Bhubaneswar: 0674 2543360
Behrampur: 0680 2229632
 
With traffic on the Rayagada-Vizianagaram section affected, the Railways have cancelled, short-terminated or diverted several trains.
 
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36 dead, 50 injured as nine coaches of Hirakhand Express derail in Andhra Pradesh

At least 36 passengers died and 50 others suffered injuries when nine coaches and the engine of the 18438 Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar link train portion of 18448 Jagdalpur-Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late last night, official sources said.

 
36 dead, 50 injured in train mishap in Andhra Pradesh
At least 36 passengers died and 50 others suffered injuries when nine coaches and the engine of the 18438 Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar link train portion of 18448 Jagdalpur-Jungarh Road-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late last night, official sources said.
 
The mishap  occurred at about 2315 hours yesterday near Koneru station, about 24 kms from Rayagada in Vizianagaram district under the Waltair Division of East Coast Railway (ECR).
 
The injured have been admitted to nearby hospitals for treatment, East Coast Railway spokesman J. P. Mishra told NetIndian. He said seven of the injured had suffered grievous injuries while some with minor injuries had been discharged after first-aid.
 
According to him, the derailed coaches included the guard-cum-luggage van, two General second class, four Sleeper class,one 2nd-cum-3rd AC and one 3rd AC coaches, apart from the engine.
 
"As per the latest information, death of 36 passengers has been confirmed by the Railway doctors. 50 passengers are injured in this accident. 07 of the passengers have grievous injuries," an ECR press release said.
 
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu and Railway Board Chairman A K Mital are rushing to the scene of the tragedy. Senior Railway officials, including ECR General Manager Umesh singh and Waltair Divisional Railway Manager Chandralekha Mukherjee have reached the spot and are overseeing the rescue and relief efforts.
 
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The Railways have ordered an inquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety under the Ministry of Civil Aviation into the accident.
 
A special train with 13 coaches left with the stranded passengers of the train from Kuneru to Bhubaneswar via Rayagada-Titilagarh-Sambalpur-Angul. Buses were provided for the relief of stranded passengers to carry them to various nearby places like Brahmapur, Bhawanipatna, and so on.
 
Senior district administration officials from Vizianagaram and Rayagada and police officials also reached the scene of the mishap to oversee the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Medical relief trains with doctors and paramedical staff had also reached the site.
 
Railway officials said Mr. Prabhu was personally monitoring the situation and had directed senior officials to reach the scene of the accident immediately and ensure prompt rescue and relief operations.
 
The Railways have set up the following helpline numbers at various places for the benefit of the passengers and their relatives:
 
Vizianagaram: 08922-221202,  08922-221206
Rayagada: 06856-223400,  06856-223500, 09439741181, 09439741071, 07681878777
Visakhapatnam: 0891-2746344, 0891-2746330
Khurda: 0674 2490670
Bhubaneswar: 0674 2543360
Behrampur: 0680 2229632
 
With traffic on the section affected, the Railways have cancelled, short-terminated or diverted several trains.
 
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29 dead, 50 injured as eight coaches of Hirakhand Express derail near Vizianagaram

At least 29 passengers died and 50 others suffered injuries when seven coaches and the engine of the 18448 Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed near Kuleri in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late on Saturday night.

 
29 dead, 54 injured in train mishap in Andhra Pradesh
At least 29 passengers died and 50 others suffered injuries when seven coaches and the engine of the 18448 Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed near Kuneru in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh late last night.
 
The injured have been admitted to nearby hospitals for treatment, East Coast Railway spokesman J. P. Mishra told NetIndian.
 
He said seven of the injured had suffered grievous injuries while some with minor injuries had been discharged after first-aid.
 
The mishap occurred around 11 pm yesterday when the train was on its way to Bhubaneswar, the capital of Odisha, from Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh.
 
Railway officials said that besides the engine and the luggage van, two general coaches, two sleeper coaches, an AC 3-tier coach and an AC 2-tier coach were derailed.
 
Senior district administration officials from Vizianagaram and Rayagada, police officials and railway officials reached the scene of the mishap to oversee the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Medical relief trains with doctors and paramedical staff had also reached the site.
 
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The officials said Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu was personally monitoring the situation and had directed senior officials to reach the scene of the accident immediately and ensure prompt rescue and relief operations.
 
 
The officials said the 13 unaffected coaches left the accident site with the passengers via Sambalpur and Angul. The Railways had also arranged bus services free of cost.
 
With traffic on the section affected, the Railways have cancelled, short-terminated or diverted several trains.
 
The Railways have set up the following helpline numbers at various places for the benefit of the passengers and their relatives:
 
Vizianagaram: 08922-221202,  08922-221206
Rayagada: 06856-223400,  06856-223500, 09439741181, 09439741071, 07681878777
Visakhapatnam: 0891-2746344, 0891-2746330
Khurda: 0674 2490670
Bhubaneswar: 0674 2543360
Behrampur: 0680 2229632
 
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Singapore naval ship Formidable arrives at Visakhapatnam

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Republic of Singapore Naval ship RSS Formidable arrived here today on a five-day visit to the Eastern Naval Command as a part of SIMBEX-16, the ongoing bilateral naval exercise between Singapore and India.
 
Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Khoo Aik Leong Albert, RSS Formidable is the first of the six multi-role stealth frigates which forms part of the 185 Squadron based at Changi. 
 
A senior Singapore Navy delegation headed by Colonel Aaron Beng, Commanding Officer, 185 Squadron, RSN is also visiting ENC during the period, an official press release said.
 
The visit will encompass interaction between personnel of both the navies in various professional, cultural, social and sports events. Colonel Aaron Beng, Commanding Officer, 185 Squadron, RSN and Lieutenant Colonel Albert will call-on Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief ENC and Rear Admiral  B Dasgupta, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet.
 
SIMBEX is an acronym for ‘Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercises’. Bilateral cooperation between Singapore and India was first formalized when RSN ships began training with the Indian Navy in 1994. This year’s edition of SIMBEX, being held in the Bay of Bengal region, would be the 23rd in the series and is aimed to increase interoperability amongst the RSN and IN as well as develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations. 
 
The scope this exercise includes wide-ranging professional interactions during the Harbour Phase scheduled from 31 October to 2 November and a diverse range of operational activities at sea during the Sea Phase to be held from 3 to 5 November. The thrust of exercises at sea this year would be on Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Integrated operations with Surface, Air and Sub-surface forces, Air Defence and Surface Encounter Exercises.
 
During SIMBEX-16, the Singapore Navy is represented by RSS Formidable and Maritime Patrol Aircraft Fokker 50 operating from Port Blair.  Indian Navy will be represented by INS Ranvijay, a guided missile destroyer, INS Kamorta, an indigenous ASW stealth Corvette, one Sindhugosh class submarine, in addition to Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft P8I, Maritime Patrol Aircraft Dornier, Advanced Jet Trainer Hawk and integral rotary wing helicopters are also scheduled to participate in the exercise.
 
The two navies share a long standing relationship with regular professional interactions that include exchange programs, staff talks and training courses. Singapore Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Lai Chung Han had earlier visited ENC and participated in IFR-16 held in February this year in the City of Destiny. RSS Formidable is scheduled to depart Visakhapatnam on 3 November.
 
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Fast attack craft INS Tihayu joins Indian Navy

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The Indian Navy commissioned the highly manoeuvrable fast attack craft INS Tihayu at the Eastern Naval Command here today.
 
The ship was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command at a formal ceremony held at the Naval Dockyard.
 
INS Tihayu would be based here under the Naval Officer-in-Charge (Andhra Pradesh) and would be deployed for coastal patrol and surveillance operations along the Eastern Coast.
 
INS Tihayu is the second ship of the four follow-on Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (FO-WJFAC), being built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE). The ship is an improved version of WJFAC, earlier constructed by GRSE. 
 
"Conceived, designed and built indigenously, the commissioning of this ship completes the addition of another chapter to the nation’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and indigenisation efforts in the field of warship design and construction," an official press release said.
 
Named after Tihayu island (presently known as Katchal island) in the Nicobar group, the 320-tonne INS Tihayu, measuring 49 meters can achieve speeds in excess of 35 knots. The ship is manned by a team comprising four officers and 41 sailors with Commander Ajay Kashov appointed as her commissioning Commanding Officer. The ship is capable of operating in shallow waters at high speeds and is equipped with enhanced fire power. Built for extended coastal and offshore surveillance and patrol the warship is fitted with advanced MTU engines, water jet propulsion and the latest communication equipment. 
 
The ship’s armament consists of a 30 mm CRN 91 gun manufactured by Ordnance Factory, Medak. An electronic day-night fire control system --  Stabilised Optronic Pedestal (SOP) -- manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) controls the gun. The ship is also equipped with two 12.7 mm heavy machine guns (HMG) and multiple medium machine guns, besides shoulder-launched Igla surface-to-air missiles to combat aerial threats, the release added.
 
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BRICS countries for ‘zero waste’ approach in water & sanitation management

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Placing water and sanitation management in urban areas among the most daunting challenges in the context of rapid urbanisation, BRICS countries have called for a ‘zero waste’ policy through reuse and recycling in a focussed manner.
 
Participating in a discussion on ‘Resilient Water and Sanitation Management’ at the BRICS Urbanisation Forum here on Friday, policy makers and experts stressed on waste reduction and reuse.
 
China showcased the city of Shenzen where only 6% of municipal solid waste is being dumped in the open. Mr.Xu Hayun, Chief Engineer, China Construction Group said that daily 2,10,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste is being recycled to generate 4,300 MW of electricity.
 
The waste-to-energy conversion of the city has been substantially enhanced since 1988 when only 150 tonnes of such waste was converted into power. At present, 94% of solid waste being generated in Chinese cities is being recycled, he added.
 
Experts stressed the need to step up the capacities of cities to ensure such zero waste approach. Dr. B. Chandra Mohan, Revenue Secretary of Tamil Naidu said Chennai is a leading example of resilience in water management being the first city in the country to set up a desalination plant enabling use of 200 million litres of sea water per day.
 
Rain water harvesting is ensured in all the buildings in the city to meet water needs of citizens. Tamil Nadu Government was taking measures to supply 240 million litres of Treated Reusable Water per day to industrial units which could give more revenues than the income from supply of regular water, he added.
 
Ms. Ruth Jurberg of Brazil called for proper data generation by cities to ensure effective water and sanitation management besides involvement of people in these critical areas.
 
Noting that only 1% of readily usable water was available for use of humanity with 97% of water being in seas and another 2% being locked up in deep acquifers, Ms. N. A. Buthelegi of South Africa called for adoption of appropriate technologies and response mechanisms to meet water needs of people.
 
She called for a holistic approach to water management given the linkages with various other utilities. In South Africa, 15,000 water ambassadors are pressed into service to educate people about proper water use.
 
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Ms. Karuna Gopal, President, Foundation for Futuristic Cities said the Government, under different new urban missions has launched concerted efforts to ensure proper water supply and management in urban areas.
 
During a discussion on ‘New Towns and Regional Planning’, the experts called for developing new urban habitations based on sound economic logic so that the inhabitants of such new locations are not pushed into ‘poverty traps’.
 
This needs to be ensured through necessary linkages with other centres of production and consumption for employment generation on a sustainable basis. Experts from Brazil, China, India and South Africa voiced concern over unplanned and unanticipated urban expansion resulting in social and economic inequalities.
 
Some of the experts called for ‘extended urbanism’ based on the principle of effective regional planning.
 
The experts unanimously called for augmenting the capacities of cities to promote effective urban planning and management besides ensuring wider participation of people in urban affairs.
 
Ms. Zou-Kota Fredericks, South Africa’s Deputy Minister for Settlements, while expressing concern over the growing slums and informal settlements in urban areas called for ensuring liveable and sustainable human settlements in urban areas.
 
The BRICS nations during the deliberations stressed on ensuring urban renaissance to stimulate economic growth besides enabling decent living for all sections of the society.
 
Dr. Jagan Shah, Director, National Institute of Urban Affairs, Ministry of Urban Development said urban renaissance in India was based on the five pillars of empowering urban local bodies, citizen participation, capacity building of stakeholders, effective urban planning and augmenting financial resources of cities and towns.
 
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BRICS countries call for new ‘social contract’ to address urban transition challenges

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BRICS member-countries have called for a new ‘Social Contract’ among the governments at all the three levels, people and other stakeholders to mount collective efforts to address various challenges associated with urban transition and enable urban renaissance.
 
The group, comprising Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa, stressed the need for an integrated approach during the three-day Urbanisation Forum on ‘Urban Transition in BRICS’ that concluded here yesterday.
 
Ministers, policy makers, experts and members of academia from member-countries, during detailed discussions on challenges of rapid urban transformationm stressed the need for inclusive and sustainable urban development approaches based on people’s participation in managing urban affairs.
 
Expressing concern over the consequences of unplanned and unanticipated urban expansion in member countries, delegates called for enhancing planning, technical and financial capacities of city governments.
 
They stressed the need for coordination of policies of federal, provincial and city governments for an integrated approach to urban development and for forging effective partnerships with private sector for resource mobilisation in an enabling environment.
 
BRICS countries, who are at different levels of urbanization, shared their experiences and approaches to emerging challenges and agreed on the need to enable planned and guided urbanisation.
 
They took stock of deficiencies in urban structure, various aspects of smart city development, expanding slums and the need for ensuring liveable and sustainable human settlements, financing urban infrastructure and reforms required to enable urban renaissance in member countries.
 
Addressing the closing session of the three-day conference, Union Minister of State for Urban Development Rao Inderjit Singh urged them to step up cooperation to effectively address the new urban agenda focussing on inclusive urban development.
 
Member-countries should ensure effective follow-up actions in pursuance of new urban agenda to be finalised at the HABITAT-III Conference to be held in Quito, Eucador next month, he added.
 
Mr. Inderjit Singh said that there was immense scope for cooperation among BRICS members on matters of urbanisation based on respective experiences and shared goals. Appreciating the intense three-day deliberations, he stressed on the need to enhance capacities of urban local bodies.
 
Dr. P. Narayana, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Urban Development, Government of Andhra Pradesh gave an account of the initiatives of the State Government to enable transparent urban governance and better service delivery.
 
Perspectives of member-countries on various issues concerning urban transition, common concerns and positions thereon would be placed for consideration by leaders at the BRICS Summit to be held in Goa next month.
 
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BRICS experts suggest people’s involvement in smart city development

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Policy makers and experts from BRICS countries have emphasised the need to focus more on bringing people in urban areas together by ending social exclusion while developing smart cities using technology only as a tool.
 
Participating in the plenary session at the BRICS Smart Cities Conclave here yesterday, they stressed that adoption of technology cannot be the ultimate goal of smart city development. It should be used as a tool to meet the aspirations of the people.
 
Expressing concern over growing social exclusion in cities, Prof. D Alvaro de Oliveira, representing Brazil, pointed to the need to give primacy to the human aspect of smart city development. 
 
He cited the examples of initiatives taken in Brazil to end social conflicts by creating integrated neighbourhoods in the capital Rio de Janiero and the Portugese city of Lisbon.
 
Prof. Oliveira suggested setting up a ‘BRICS Human Smart Cities Institute’ to mount collective efforts for socially and economically integrated urban development.
 
Prof. Pradipta Banerjee, Director, IIT, Roorkie said smart city development is not all about technology but it is about meeting the needs of people. Urban development approaches should address trust deficit between the people and governance institutions.
 
He favoured development of ‘connected smart city regions’ rather than smart cities including improvement in quality of life in rural areas.
 
South Africa’s Philip Harrison called for ensuring that urban development with focus on smart cities should not further increase existing inequalities in urban areas. Governance should not be allowed to become more technocratic and less responsive, he added.
 
Mr Karikal Valaven, Principal Secretary (Urban Development), Andhra Pradesh who chaired the session said under the Smart City Mission well considered efforts were being made to integrate physical, digital and human systems to enable economically productive, inclusive and prosperous urban areas.
 
He stressed that technology is being used to serve the objective of improving governance and enhancing the efficiency of use of urban infrastructure.
 
Representative of China Lie Tie said that given huge mobile and internet penetration in his country, the government is making ‘internet’ the corner stone of enhancing the efficacy of municipal governance and employment generation.
 
Georgy Antsev of Russia gave an account of the technology based initiatives being taken in the country  to effectively respond to the consequences of natural disasters to provide immediate relief to the people in quick time.
 
Stating that about 80% of the world’s population lives along the coast, he said that efforts are on to make water vessels that can travel at a speed of over 500 km per hour to provide relief to disaster victims.
 
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During a discussion on ‘Financing Urban Infrastructure’, the experts referred to the strong correlation between inequality in access to infrastructure and inequality in incomes in urban areas.
 
They stressed the need to ensure effective urban governance supported by a strong political leadership and vision to enable cities attract huge investments required for building infrastructure.
 
The participants stressed on the need to make urban local bodies self-reliant through enhanced resource streams including issuing of Municipal Bonds for which cities have to become creditworthy.
They expressed concern over investments in urban infrastructure not resulting in adequate returns to ensure repayment and called for effective measures in this regard.
 
It was noted that in South Africa, the leading eight metropolitan cities mobilise 45% of required finances through Municipal Bonds.
 
Emphasising the need for effective municipal governance, representatives of member countries urged the New Development Bank set up by BRICS to support development of governance institutions.
 
Mr  Prakash Gaur, CEO of Andhra Pradesh Urban Infrastructure and Asset Management Limited said a per capita investment of Rs.10,000 per year in urban areas is required in the State to improve infrastructure and an investment of Rs. 53,000 crore is required over the next four years.
 
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Political class more sensitised now to urban sector challenges: Naidu

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Minister for Urban Development, Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation M.Venkaiah Naidu yesterday said that the political class of the country was now more sensitised than ever before to the challenges in the urban sector and the need to fix them at the earliest in the interest of rapid economic growth and decent quality of life.  
 
Inaugurating a three-day conference on ‘Urban Transition in BRICS’,        Mr Naidu said this much desired awareness was a result of the initiatives taken by the Central government to enable urban revival during the last two years.
 
After detailed consultations with all stakeholders including citizens, urban local bodies, State Governments and others, the Central Government has set in motion a 10-point strategy for urban renaissance and this paradigm shift has begun to yield results, he said.
 
Stating that resources were key to addressing huge infrastructure deficit in urban areas, Mr Naidu said  measures were being taken to enable increased flow of resources to urban local bodies (ULBs) and States, which includes enhanced Central assistance.
 
Under Smart City Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), the Central Government has committed to provide an assistance of Rs.1.13 lakh crore to improve basic urban infrastructure, till 2018-19, he said.
 
 “This is a quantum jump from Central assistance of Rs. 33,902 crore committed during 2004-14 under JNNURM for basic infrastructure,” the Minister said.
 
“The pace and scale of project and investment approvals have increased manifold since 2015 with the central government approving an assistance of Rs. 1.84 lakh crore. This includes Rs. 78,292 crore under smart city plans of 33 mission cities, Rs.45,293 crore under Atal Mission and another Rs.56,231 crore for building affordable houses for urban poor. These are the early gains of urban renaissance in the country,” he added.
 
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Mr Naidu said urban revival was being sought to be realised based on citizens’ participation, autonomy to urban local bodies and States in project formulation and their appraisal and approval, promotion of a healthy spirit of competition among urban local bodies, area based development, capacity building and enhanced resource flows to urban local bodies and States.
 
Giving an illustration of increased investments and scale of central assistance, he said an investment of Rs.15,827 crore has been approved over the last one year with Central assistance of Rs. 4,571 crore for Andhra Pradesh.
 
This includes Rs. 10,579 crore for constructing affordable houses for urban poor, Rs. 3,595 crore for developing Visakhapatnam and Kakinada as smart cities and another Rs. 1,540 crore for improving water supply and sewerage systems in AMRUT cities.
 
Stating that Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), with a population of over 3 billion account for over 53% of world’s population and about one fourth of global GDP, Mr Naidu urged them to step up cooperation in addressing the challenges associated with urban transition based on sharing of experiences and knowledge.
 
He said given the size of the economies of BRICS countries and the potential still to be realised, member countries need  to collectively address urban challenges so that they could drive global economic recovery.
 
Ministers from BRICS, experts, members of academia and representatives of industry are attending the three-day conference.
 
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Leaders of BRICS countries to discuss urban transition

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Ministers and experts from BRICS countries will discuss urban transition and the attendant challenges in the member-countries over three days from September 14 in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
 
Minister of Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation M. Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate the three-day conference on ‘Urban Transition in BRICS’ which seeks to promote cooperation among member countries in the urban sector.
 
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.Chandrababu Naidu, Ministers from other BRICS nations besides a large number of urban planners, experts and members of academia will attend the conference.
 
The conference will discuss and evolve a common agenda for BRICS (Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa) countries to be presented at the HABITAT-III Conference to be held in Quito, Eucador.
 
Other issues to be discussed are development of smart cities, financing urban infrastructure, inclusive housing, climate change, regional planning, water and sanitation management and new reforms for urban renaissance.
 
The Visakhapatnam conference is being organized as a part of the Government’s efforts to take cooperation among BRICS group on various issues to the people for which several such meetings are being organized across the country.
 
India currently holds the chairmanship of BRICS and has chosen ‘Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions’ as the theme for this year and the BRICS Summit will be held in Goa in October this year.
 
In his message to the conference, Mr Naidu said, “The underlying rationale of cooperation on urbanization between BRICS countries is to share urban knowledge, develop mechanisms for peer to peer exchange, promote evidence based policy making and learn useful lessons from individual experience of urban transition.”
 
BRICS nations account for over 3 billon population constituting 53.40% of world’s population, 23.10% of global GDP and 26.70% of world’s geographical area, spread over four continents.
 
Range of urbanization varies from 84% in Brazil, 73% in Russia, 64% in South Africa, 57% in China and 32% in India.
 
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CONCOR inaugurates port side container facility at Krishnapatnam Port

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The Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) has set up a port side container facility at Krishnapatnam Port, an all-weather; deep water port on the east coast in Andhra Pradesh.
 
The facility will help in the expansion and growth of the container terminal at the port, a press release from Krishnapatnam Port said.
 
It will also help keep the quality of the cargo intact and help in safe and efficient transportation, it said.
 
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the facility as well as the construction of the grade separator and the crew running room at the port in the presence of Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu.
 
CONCOR has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the government of Andhra Pradesh for the development of three Multi-Modal Logistics Parks (MMLPs) at Visakhapatnam, Krishnapatnam and Kakinada.
 
The release said CONCOR has regular train services to and from Krishnapatnam Port. The port has already acquired 140.58 acres of land at Krishnapatnam for setting up the MMLP and is in the process of acquisition of another 24.03 acres. The construction work of the Phase-1 will commence soon at Krishnapatnam, it said.
 
The dignitaries also inaugurated the state-of-the-art Golf Course in the premises of Krishnapatnam Port.
 
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Chief of Naval Staff commissions new Marine Commandos base at Visakhapatnam

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Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff, commissioned a Marine Commandos unit as ‘INS Karna’ at a solemn ceremony held at the Naval Base at Bheemunipatanam here today.
 
Vice-Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command and senior naval dignitaries were also present on the occasion. 
 
The Marine Commando Force (MCF), also called as the MARCOS, was raised in February 1987 as the Indian Marine Special Force (IMSF), capable of operating in all three dimensions, at sea, in air and on land. 
 
The event commenced with a parade which was reviewed by the Chief of the Naval Staff. Vice-Admiral Bisht addressed the gathering which was followed by reading out of the Commissioning Warrant by Commanding Officer (Designate), Captain Varun Singh. The ceremony was solemnised by an invocation in Sanskrit. 
 
Mrs. Reena Lanba, wife of Admiral Lanba, unveiled the Commissioning Plaque and named the Special Forces Unit as ‘INS Karna’. This was followed by hoisting of the Naval Ensign and playing of the national anthem, in accordance with the customs and traditions of the Indian Navy.
 
Conveying his best wishes to the newly commissioned unit, the Chief of the Naval Staff said that MARCOS had established themselves as a Special Operations Force of international repute in a short span and had won well deserved gallantry awards for their acts of courage and valour.  He added that MARCOS proved their excellence wherever they had been deployed in various operations. 
 
Over the years, the Special Force has conducted numerous independent missions of direct action, reconnaissance and surveillance, and recovery operations, he added.
 
Admiral Lanba emphasised the need for all Marine Commandos to keep their “steel sharp and powder dry” as they would be the first into the battle and the need to be ‘Mission Ready and a Winner’ always. As the roles and responsibilities of the Indian Navy have expanded in the Indian Ocean Region and beyond, Special Operations Force would be required to be deployed in future combat at the strategic and operational level, he said.
 
"The commissioning of INS Karna, has added a new base to the Special Forces of the Indian Navy as they deploy to safeguard our nation’s vast maritime interests," an official press release added.
 
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Fast attack craft INS Tarmugli joins Indian Navy

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Vice-Admiral H. C. S. Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, commissioned the highly maneuverable Fast Attack Craft INS Tarmugli at a formal ceremony at the Naval Dockyard here today.
 
INS Tarmugli will be based in Visakhapatnam under the Naval Officer-in-Charge (Andhra Pradesh) and would be deployed for coastal patrol and surveillance operations along the east coast of India. 
 
Built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE), INS Tarmugli is the first Follow-on Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (WJFAC). It is an improved version of the WJFAC constructed earlier by GRSE.
 
"Conceived, designed and built indigenously, the commissioning of the ship completes the addition of another chapter to the nation’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and indigenisation efforts in the field of warship design and construction," an official press release said.
 
Named after a picturesque island in the Andaman group, the 320-tonne INS Tarmugli, measuring 48 meters in length, can achieve speeds in excess of 30 knots. The ship is manned by a team comprising four officers and 41 sailors with Commander Sreejith S Nair at the helm as Commanding Officer. The ship is capable of operating in shallow waters at high speeds and is equipped with enhanced fire power. Built for extended coastal and offshore surveillance and patrol, the warship is fitted with advanced MTU engines, water jet propulsion and the latest communication equipment. 
 
The ships armament consists of a 30 mm CRN 91 gun manufactured by Ordnance Factory Medak. An electronic day-night fire control system, te Stabilised Optronic Pedestal (SOP), manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) controls the gun. The ship is also equipped with two 12.7 mm heavy machine guns (HMG) and multiple medium machine guns, besides shoulder-launched Igla surface-to-air missiles to combat aerial threats, the release added.
 
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Wi-fi services at Patna, Ranchi, Visakhapatnam railway stations

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Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu today inaugurated high speed wi-fi services at Patna, Ranchi and Visakhapatnam railway stations through video conferencing.
 
The wi-fi facility for visitors and rail users at these stations has been commissioned by RailTel in association with Google for providing high speed state-of-the-art world class internet experience to the commuters, an official press release siad.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Prabhu said as India was heading towards digitalization, Internet had become the basic need of every individual for which they are entitled to. In order to bring the railway stations to world standard and to keep pace with the latest technology, provision of high speed wi-fi is the first step in this direction.
 
So far this facility has been provided at 19 railway stations which will be extended to 100 stations in the next one year.
 
He said after completion of this project of providing wi-fi facility at 400 stations, it would be the biggest wi-fi service in the world.
 
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Andhra Pradesh set to become Open Defecation Free state in urban areas

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Andhra Pradesh is set to become the first state in the country to make all of its urban areas ‘Open Defecation Free’ by October 2, which will mark the second anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
State officials gave this assurance during a review of progress of the Swachh Bharat Mission in all the 110 municipalities of Andhra Pradesh by Mr. Rajiv Gauba, Secretary (Urban Development) here today.
 
Mr. Gauba had come to the port city for a review of the progress of urban missions like Smart City Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Swachh Bharat Mission. He held extensive discussions with the Collectors of all the 13 districts and Municipal Commissioners of all the 110 urban local bodies in Andhra Pradesh on their action plans for ensuring sanitation, an official press release said.
 
The release said that, during the review, it emerged that Andhra Pradesh, which has been in the forefront of construction of toilets in urban areas, could make all 110 municipalities Open Defecation Free by October 2 this year as per the action plans in progress. 
 
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As against the Mission target of construction of 1,94,336 individual household toilets in urban areas of Andhra Pradesh, work has started in respect of 1,53,779 and construction of 1,04,732 toilets has already been completed, it said.
 
In addition to the Central assistance of Rs. 4,000 per toilet, the Andhra Pradesh Government is extending assistance of an additional Rs. 11,000 per toilet.
 
Regarding community and public toilet seats, as against the mission target of 4,614 seats, work has started on 3,887 seats and 1,952 seats have already been constructed, the release said.
 
In respect of solid waste management, out of the total wards of 3,458 in 110 municipalities, 100% door-to-door collection and transportation of such waste is being done in 3,072 wards -- 89% of total urban wards in the state. 
 
The State Government has also awarded works for construction of 10 waste-to-energy plants for generating 63 MW of power from the 6,440 tonnes of municipal waste being generated per day in the state. Mr. Gauba was informed that these plants would be commissioned during 2017-18. 
 
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Vice Adm H C S Bisht takes over as FOC-in-C, Eastern Naval Command

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Vice-Admiral H C S Bisht took over as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C), Eastern Naval Command from Vice-Admiral Satish Soni at an impressive ceremonial parade at the naval base here today.
 
Admiral Bisht inspected the ceremonial guard and reviewed platoons of naval personnel drawn from various ships and establishments of the Eastern Naval Command.
 
Vice-Admiral Soni, who has retired from naval service on completion of 40 years of illustrious career, was accorded a farewell by the traditional ‘Pulling Out’ ceremony. He was ceremonially pulled out in a jeep by Flag Officers and Commanding Officers of Ships and Naval establishments, to resounding ‘Teen Jais’  from the men to the outgoing Commander-in-Chief.
 
Commissioned on July 1, 1979, Vice-Admiral Bisht is an alumnus of Sainik School (Ghorakhal, Nainital), the National Defence Academy (Pune), Royal Naval Staff College (Greenwich, UK), College of Naval Warfare (Mumbai) and the National Defence College (New Delhi). 
 
In the course of his distinguished career, the Flag Officer has held various operational, staff, training and command appointments.
          
Vice-Admiral Bisht's important afloat appointments include Executive Officer of the ASW Corvette INS Ajay, Commander Work Up in the Indian Naval Work Up Team (INWT) at Kochi, Fleet Gunnery Officer of the Eastern Fleet at Visakhapatnam, commissioning Commanding Officer of the Missile Corvette INS Kora and Command of the stealth frigate, INS Tabar.
 
Among his other important Training/Staff appointments, the Flag Officer has been the Training Commander, Naval Gunnery School, INS Dronacharya at Kochi; Director, Naval Intelligence at Naval Headquarters and has also served as Defence Attaché at the High Commission of India, Singapore.  
 
On promotion to Flag rank on January 28, 2008, the Admiral has served as Assistant Controller of Carrier Projects at Naval Headquarters, Chief of Staff, Southern Naval Command; Flag Officer Sea Training at Kochi, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, at Visakhapatnam and Asst Chief of Personnel (HRD) at Naval Headquarters. 
 
On promotion to the rank of Vice Admiral on September 1, 2012, the Flag Officer held appointments as the Controller Personnel Services (CPS) at Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy) and as Director General of Indian Coast Guard (DGICG).
 
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International Fleet Review 2016 concludes with Passage Exercise

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The International Fleet Review 2016 has culminated with Indian and foreign naval ships undertaking a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) in the Bay of Bengal.
 
All the 54 ships that had participated in IFR-16 sailed out from Visakhapatnam in the first ever Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with combined participation of foreign and Indian warships yesterday.
 
The IFR 2016 was conducted from February 4-8.
 
As per the maritime traditions, visiting foreign ships are generally escorted to the open seas on their way home (on completion of the visit).
 
The PASSEX was aimed at fostering greater cooperation and camaraderie with friendly foreign navies, increasing interoperability, providing the requisite operational element to IFR as also to mark the culmination of IFR 16, an event that saw the largest scale participation of foreign ships ever in a Fleet Review in India.
 
As many as 34 Indian Naval ships and 20 foreign warships from across 14 countries participated in the exercise. The US Navy, Peoples Liberation Army (Navy) and the Royal Navy of Oman deployed two ships each for the exercise.
 
The Passage Exercise was conducted in two groups, centred on Indian Naval aircraft carriers INS.Vikramaditya and INS Viraat. The ships sailed out in two groups of 27 each.
 
The first group under the command of Rear Admiral Ravneet Singh, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, embarked onboard aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and the second group under the command of Rear Admiral SV Bhokare, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet embarked onboard the aircraft carrier INS Viraat.
 
The exercises included manoeuvres and flying operations. A ceremonial steam-past, with Indian and foreign warships sailing past each other in formation, provided an opportunity for participants to bid adieu to fellow seafarers and marked the finale of the exercise.
 
Notably, the flying operations also included landing of a helicopter from Royal Navy ship HMS Defender onboard INS Viraat to commemorate the historic association of the aircraft carrier with the Royal Navy.
 
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Maritime stability must be shared responsibility of all seafaring nations: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that, given the scale and complexity of modern day challenges, international maritime stability could not be the preserve of a single nation but the shared goal and responsibility of all seafaring countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi witnessing the fly-past at the International Fleet Review-2016, at Visakhapatnam on February 7, 2016.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi witnessing the fly-past at the International Fleet Review-2016, at Visakhapatnam on February 7, 2016.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that, given the scale and complexity of modern day challenges, international maritime stability could not be the preserve of a single nation but the shared goal and responsibility of all seafaring countries. 
 
"To this end, the Navies and maritime agencies of the world need to work together, and engineer virtuous cycles of cooperation," he said in his address at the International Fleet Review (IFR) - 2016, the largest international event hosted by the Indian Navy on the eastern seaboard here.
 
Mr. Modi said oceans were lifelines of global prosperity, presenting the world with great economic opportunities to build nations. 
 
"Over 90% of global merchandise trade is carried on the oceans. 
Over the last 15 years, its value has grown from about 6 trillion dollars to about 20 trillion dollars. Oceans are critical for the global energy security as over 60% of world’s oil production moves through sea routes," he said.
 
He said the world's ability to reap economic benefits from the oceans rested on the capacity to respond to the challenges in the maritime domain. 
 
"The threat of sea borne terror, of which India has been a direct victim, continues to endanger the regional and global peace and stability. Piracy too remains a strong challenge. The threat of natural disasters like tsunamis and cyclones is ever present. Manmade problems such as oil spills, climate change continue to risk the stability of the maritime domain. 
 
"A peaceful and stable maritime environment is, therefore, critical for the regional and global security. It is also a must to harvest the riches of the oceanic ecosystems," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said navies must, where necessary, act to secure the international sea lanes of communication. 
 
"I believe that if oceans were to propel our economies, then we must use seas to build peace, friendship and trust, and curb conflict; respect and ensure freedom of navigation; and cooperate, not compete in responding to the challenges in the seas," he said.
 
He said the large presence of foreign navies at this fleet review was a confirmation of their shared urge to walk the pathways of peace and cooperation to keep the maritime domain safe and secure. 
 
"India is, and has always been, a maritime nation...Surrounded by sea from three sides, India has a long coastline of over 7500 kilometres," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said India’s central location in the Indian Ocean had connected it with other cultures, shaped its maritime trade routes, influenced India’s strategic thought, and defined its maritime character. 
 
"Since the days of the Indus Valley Civilization, India has maintained an extensive network of maritime links, including with Africa, Western Asia, the Mediterranean region, the West, South East Asia and the Far East. We are delighted that the Navies from all these regions have joined in this Fleet Review," he said.
 
"In modern times too, the oceans, especially the Indian Ocean, occupy a vital place in India’s national security and economic prosperity.The waters of the Indian Ocean touch the shores of over 40 countries. 
 
"About half of world's container traffic; and close to one-third of world's cargo traffic passes through this region. Ninety percent of our trade by volume and 90% of our oil imports are carried on the seas. 
 
"India’s 1200 island territories, and our huge Exclusive Economic Zone of 2.4 million square kilometers makes clear the economic significance of the Indian Ocean. For us, it also serves as a strategic bridge with the nations in our immediate and extended maritime neighbourhood," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said the Indian Ocean Region was one of his foremost policy priorities. He said India would continue to actively pursue and promote its geo-political, strategic and economic interests on the seas, in particular the Indian Ocean. 
 
"To this end, India's modern and multi-dimensional Navy leads from the front. It is a force for peace and good. A network of growing political and economic maritime partnerships, and strengthening of regional framework salso helps us pursue our goals," he said.
 
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Mr. Modi said India's quest for economic prosperity through oceans is a part of our larger efforts to transform India. 
 
"We are not just a bright spot in the global economy. Regionally and internationally, we are a pillar of stability and an important growth centre. India's rise is in harmony with the goal of maintaining the regional and global peace and security," he said.
 
He said that, within the country, there was great optimism, enthusiasm and a "can do" mindset.
 
"This optimism comes from the energy and enterprise of our confident youth. It also comes from our bold and sustained measures to transform our country, improve our laws, processes and institutions. We are launching new initiatives and creating opportunities to empower people, and give them a sense of ownership in nation's progress. 
 
"'Make in India', which has re-ignited our manufacturing sector is one such initiative. Defence manufacturing and ship building are among its focus areas. 
 
"In a week from now, on 13 February, we would hold seven days of global engagement under 'Make in India' in Mumbai. During this time, the best in the global industry would link up with the innovation, design and manufacturing opportunities of India- the world's fastest growing economy. We want to invite the world to Make in India, Make for India, and Make for the World," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said India was proud of the fact that, of the Indian naval ships participating in the fleet review, at least 37 are Mde in India.
 
"Our Skill India program is building institutions that train, support, encourage and guide our 800 million youth on the path of entrepreneurship. Our skilled youth are ready to respond to the national and global manpower demands of the 21st century," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said an important part of India’s transformation was his vision of “Blue Economy” in its widest sense. 
 
"An essential part of this pursuit is the development of India's coastal and island territories: but, not just for tourism. We want to build new pillars of economic activity in the coastal areas and in linked hinterlands through sustainable tapping of oceanic resources. Strengthening our marine research, development of eco-friendly, marine industrial and technology base, and fisheries are other elements of our goal. 
 
"In this endeavour, I see youth in the coastal areas as our true assets. They have a natural and deep understanding of the Oceans. They could lead the way in the development of blue economy in India. In partnership with all the coastal states of India, I want to shape a special program of skilling India's youth in the coastal areas of the country," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said that, to build on the gains from today's gathering, India would host the first ever Global Maritime Summit in April this year. 
 
"Its priority would be to scale up and strengthen the vibrant trade,  investment, technology and commercial linkages between India and other maritime nations," he added.
 
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