Andhra Pradesh

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.
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.

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.
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

Rajnath lays foundation stone for NDRF campus in Andhra Pradesh

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday laid the foundation stone for the new National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) campus at Konda Pavuluru, Gannavaram, Krishna in Andhra Pradesh.
Union Minister for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information & Broadcasting M. Venkaiah Naidu, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and senior officers were also present on the occasion.
The campus will come up on 50 acres of land provided by the Andhra Pradesh Government and the expenditure for construction will be borne by the Central government. The campus will be completed in two years. 
The 10th Battalion of NDRF is responsible for looking after the areas of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka for disaster response.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Rajnath Singh applauded the NDRF for combating disasters within the country and beyond and committed himself to the modernisation of the force.
He said the NDRF today had the competence to handle radiological, nuclear and biological disasters. Its efforts have been appreciated not only in India but also in countries like Nepal and Japan where it has provided disaster relief. 
Recalling a conversation with the Mayor of a Japanese city, the Union Home Minister said that the mayor was particularly impressed by the way in which NDRF teams have not only rescued the survivors but also recovered the bodies of victims with full dignity.
Appreciating NDRF for being effective, efficient and responsive, the Minister said that people wanted more NDRF Centres and the Ministry was working on it. The personnel of this unique force will be provided with world class accommodation, he promised.
Referring to the request made earlier by Mr. Chandrababu Naidu, Mr Rajnath Singh said the issue of setting up of a Grey Hounds Battalion Centre and CRPF Battalion Centres in Andhra Pradesh is being seriously examined by the MHA.
Earlier, Mr Venkaiah Naidu in his speech said that the Union Government is fully aware of the needs of the people while fighting disasters, whether natural or manmade. The government has increased compensation for loss of life from Rs. 1.2 lakhs to Rs. 4 lakhs and the parameter of 50% crop loss for considering in giving relief has been reduced to 33% crop loss.
Mr Chandrababu Naidu also appreciated the NDRF for its prompt and effective response during disasters, specially Hudhud and Wardha cyclones. He announced that the new NDRF campus will be connected to Vijayawada bypass (4KM) with a metal road very soon and water supply for the campus will be provided form Pollavaram canal. He also requested the Union Home Minister to speed up the implementation of the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.

Modi calls for inculcating Scientific Social Responsibility on the lines of CSR

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called for the inculcation of the concept of Scientific Social Responsibility on the lines of Corporate Social Responsibility to connect India's leading scientific institutions to all stakeholders, including schools and colleges.

India to be among top 3 countries in science and technology by 2030: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called for the inculcation of the concept of Scientific Social Responsibility on the lines of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to connect India's leading scientific institutions to all stakeholders, including schools and colleges.
Inaugurating the 104th session of the Indian Science Congress at Sri Venkateswara University here, Mr Modi said, “We must create an environment for sharing of ideas and resources. The brightest and best in every corner of India should have the opportunity to excel in science. This will ensure that our youth get high-end training exposure to the best of science and technology to make them job-ready in a competitive world."
“To this end, I would exhort the National Laboratories to connect with schools and colleges to develop appropriate training programs. This will also help with the effective use and maintenance of our vast scientific and technological infrastructure,” he added.
Mr. Modi said laboratories, research institutions and universities in each major city region should be interlinked to function on a hub and spoke model. The hubs will share major infrastructure, drive our national science missions and be the engines that link discovery to application, he said.
“College teachers with background in research can be connected to the neighbouring universities and R&D institutions. Outreach activities from the institutions of eminence to schools, colleges and polytechnics will activate the latent science and technology manpower from the educational institutions in your neighbourhoods,” he added.
Referring to the theme chosen for this years session, “Science & Technology for National Development”, he said the government was committed to supporting different streams of scientific knowledge, ranging from fundamental science to applied science with emphasis on innovations.
Noting that speed and scale of changes we encounter today are unprecedented, he said tomorrow’s experts will come from investments we make today in our people and infrastructure. “I have been told that the Technology Vision 2035 document released in last year’s Science Congress, is now developing into a detailed roadmap for twelve key technology sectors. Further, NITI Aayog is evolving a holistic science and technology vision for the country,” he added.
“One important area that needs to be addressed is the rapid global rise of Cyber-Physical Systems. This has the potential to pose unprecedented challenges and stresses to our demographic dividend. But we can turn it into a huge opportunity by research, training and skilling in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, deep learning, quantum communication and Internet-of-Things,” the Prime Minister said.
There is a need to develop and exploit these technologies in services and manufacturing sectors; in agriculture, water, energy & traffic management; health, environment, infrastructure and Geo Information Systems; security; financial systems and in combating crime, he added.
“We need to develop an Inter-Ministerial National Mission in the Cyber-Physical Systems to secure our future by creation of basic R&D infrastructure, manpower and skills,” Mr Modi said.
“The oceans that surround the Indian peninsula have over 1300 of our islands. They also give us a seven and a half thousand kilometre coastline and 2.4 million square kilometres of Exclusive Economic Zone. They contain enormous opportunities in energy, food, medicine and a host of other natural resources. The ocean economy should be a significant dimension of our sustainable future,” he added.
“I am told, that the Ministry of Earth Sciences is working to launch a Deep Ocean Mission to explore, understand and harness this resource in a responsible way. This could be a transformative step for the prosperity and security of the nation,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister said the country's best science and technology institutions should further strengthen their basic research in line with leading global standards. Translating this basic knowledge into innovations, start-ups and industry will help us achieve inclusive and sustainable growth.
“SCOPUS database indicates that India now ranks sixth in the world with respect to scientific publications, growing at a rate of about 14% as against the world average growth rate of about 4%. I am sure that our scientists will further meet the challenges of enhanced quality of basic research, its technology translation and its societal connect.
“By 2030, India will be among the top three countries in science and technology and will be among the most attractive destinations for the best talent in the world. The wheels we set in motion today will achieve this goal,” he added.
The Prime Minister said science must meet the rising aspirations of the people. India fully appreciates the strong role science and technology plays in meeting the societal needs. “We must address the problems of urban-rural divide and work for inclusive development, economic growth and employment generation. To enable this, there is a need for a new overarching structure that will coordinate with all the relevant stakeholders,” he added.
“Our ability to mount and execute large, transformational national missions requires effective partnerships that integrate with a large stakeholder base. The effectiveness of these missions can be ensured only by getting out of our deep rooted silos, and adopting a collaborative approach, which is essential to address our multifarious development challenges rapidly and effectively. Our ministries, our scientists, R&D institutions, industries, start-ups, universities and IITs, all should work together seamlessly. In particular, our infrastructure and socio-economic ministries must make appropriate use of science and technology.
“Our Institutions could consider inviting outstanding scientists from abroad including NRIs for long term research associations. We should involve foreign and NRI PhD students in post-doctoral research in our projects,” the Prime Minister said.
“Another empowering factor for scientific delivery is the Ease of Doing Science. If we want science to deliver, we must not constrain it. Building a strong Science and Technology infrastructure that is accessible to academia, start-ups, industry and R&D labs is a priority of the government. We need to address the problems of ease of access, maintenance, redundancy and duplication of expensive equipments in our Scientific Institutions. The desirability of establishing professionally managed, large regional centers in PPP mode housing high value scientific equipment should be examined,” he added.
Mr. Modi said seeding the power of ideas and innovation in schoolchildren woldu broaden the base of the innovation pyramid and secure the future of the nation. As a step in this direction, the Ministry of Science & Technology will initiate a programme focused on students of classes 6 to 10. The programme will scout, mentor, reward and showcase ten lakh top innovative ideas focused on local needs from 5 lakh schools.
“We must provide equal opportunities to the girl child to enrol and excel in the under-represented disciplines of science and engineering and ensure continued participation of trained women scientists in nation building,” he added.
The Prime Minister said that, for a large and diverse country like India, technology needed to span a wide range from advanced space, nuclear and defence technologies to rural development needs in providing clean water, sanitation, renewable energy, community health, and so on.
“While we excel globally, we also need to develop local solutions that fit our unique context. There is a need to develop appropriate micro-Industry models for the rural areas that use local resources and skills to meet the local needs and generate local enterprise and employment.
“For example, we should develop a host of technologies based on efficient co-generation for clusters of villages and semi-urban areas. These technologies should aim to convert agri and bio-waste to satisfy multiple needs of electricity, clean water, crop-processing and cold storage,” he added.
Stressing the role of science in planning, decision making and governance, Geo-information Systems needed to be developed and deployed to meet the development goals of the citizens, Gram Panchayats, Districts and States. A coordinated effort by the Survey of India, ISRO and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology can be transformative, the Prime Minister said.
“For sustainable development, we must take strong measures to focus on Waste to Wealth Management in the critical areas of electronic waste, biomedical and plastic wastes, and solid waste and waste water solutions.
“We are scaling up R&D on clean carbon technologies, technologies for enhancement of energy efficiency and increased and efficient use of renewable energy. Focus on environment and climate remains our priority to ensure sustainable development. Our strong scientific community can also effectively address our unique challenges. For example, can we find farmer-centric solutions to the problem of crop burning? Can we redesign our brick kilns for reduced emissions and greater energy efficiency?
“Science and technology is a key factor in the Startup India Programme launched in January 2016. Two other strong initiatives are Atal Innovation Mission and NIDHI - the National Initiative for Development and Harnessing Innovations. These programmes focus on building an innovation driven enterprise ecosystem. Further, Public-Private partnerships with CII, FICCI and high technology private companies are being pursued to strengthen the innovation ecosystem,” he added.
Andhra Pradesh Governor E. S. L. Narasimhan, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Union Minister for Science & Technology, and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of State for Science & Technology, and Earth Sciences Y. S. Chowdary, General President of the Indian Science Congress Association Professor D. Narayana Rao and Sri Venkateswara University Vice Chancellor Prof. A. Damodaram were present at the function.

Cyclone Vardah likely to cross north TN, south AP coast by Monday afternoon

Vardah, the very severe cyclonic storm over the Bay of Bengal, is likely to weaken gradually and is expected to cross north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coast, close to Chennai, by tomorrow afternoon.
A bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) at 0830 hours today said the cyclone had moved further westwards in the past six hours with a speed of 11 kmph and lay centred at 0530 hrs IST over west central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal near latitude 13.3ºN and longitude 84.7ºE, about 520 km east-southeast of Nellore, 490 km eastsoutheast of Machilipatnam and 480 km east-northeast of Chennai. 
"The system is very likely to move nearly west-southwestwards and maintain its intensity upto the evening of today, the 11th December, 2016. Thereafter, it is likely to weaken gradually while moving towards south Andhra Pradesh coast and adjoining north Tamil Nadu coast. It is very likely to cross north Tamilnadu and south Andhra Pradesh coast, close to Chennai by 12th December 2016 afternoon," the bulletin said.
Under the influence of the system, light to moderate rainfall would occur at many places over south coastal Andhra Pradesh and north coastal Tamil Nadu from today evening for the subsequent 36 hours, with isolated heavy to very heavy falls, it said.
Light to moderate rainfall was very likely over north coastal Andhra Pradesh during the same period, it said.
The IMD warned that squally winds with speed reaching 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, would prevail along and off Andhra Pradesh and adjoining north Tamil Nadu coasts from tonight. They will gradually increase becoming 70-80 kmph, gusting to 90 kmph at the time of landfall, the bulletin said.
Sea condition would be rough to very rough along and off Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu coasts commencing from tonight. Sea condition along and off these coasts will become high from tomorrow morning.
The cyclone is expected to cause damage to thatched huts, minor damage to power & communication lines due to breaking of branches, major damage to kutcha and minor damage to pucca roads and some damage to paddy crops, banana, papaya trees and orchards.
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into sea along and off south Andhra Pradesh, north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts during the next 48 hrs.

Singapore naval ship Formidable arrives at Visakhapatnam

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.

Cyclone Kyant over west-central Bay of Bengal to weaken into depresssion

The cyclonic storm Kyant over west-central Bay of Bengal has weakened into a deep depression and is likely to weaken further into a depression during the next 12 hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said this morning.
In a bulletin issued at 0630 hours today, the IMD said the system had moved further west-south-westwards in the past six hours with speed 12 kmph and lay centred at 0230 hrs IST today over west-central Bay of Bengal, near latitude 15.9º N and longitude 85.9º E, about 390 km south-southeast of Gopalpur, 340 km southeast of Vishakhapatnam and 500 km east of Machilipatnam. 
"It is most likely to move west-southwestwards during next 24 hours. It will weaken further into a depression during next 12 hours," it said.
The bulletin said squally winds, with speed reaching 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, is very likely to prevail along and off Andhra Pradesh coast from October 27-29.
It said sea condition would be rough to very rough along and off the Andhra Pradesh coast during this period. It advised fishermen not to venture into sea along and off Andhra Pradesh coasts from October 27-28.
The IMD said light to moderate rainfall was very likely to occur at many places over south Odisha and north coastal Andhra Pradesh on October 27-28.
Light to moderate rainfall was very likely at many places over south coastal Andhra Pradesh on October 28-30 and over north coastal Tamil Nadu on October 29-31, with heavy rainfall at isolated places.

Cyclonic storm Kyant likely to cause heavy rains, strong winds along Odisha, Andhra, TN coasts

The cyclonic storm Kyant over central Bay of Bengal is most likely to move west=southwestwards towards west-central Bay of Bengal during the next 72 hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The cyclone had moved further west-southwestwards in the past six hours with speed 18 kmph and lay centred at 1730 hrs IST of today near latitude 16.3º N and longitude 87.0º E, about 400 km southeast of Gopalpur, 430 km east-southeast of Vishakhapatnam and 620 km east of Machilipatnam.
"It is most likely to move west-southwestwards towards westcentral Bay of Bengal during next 72 hours," a bulletin issued at 2030 hours today by the IMD said.
The bulletin said squally winds, with speed reaching 45-55 kmph, gusting to 65 kmph, were likely along and off south Odisha coast on October 27 and along and off Andhra Pradesh coast from October 27-30.
It said sea condition would be rough to very rough along and off south Odisha coast on October 27 and along and off Andhra Pradesh coast during October 27-30. Fishermen were advised not to venture into sea along and off Andhra Pradesh coast from October 27 onwards, it said.
Under the influence of the system, light to moderate rainfall was very likely to occur at many places over south Odisha and north coastal Andhra Pradesh on October 27-28. Light to moderate rianfall was likely to occur at many places at many places over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, with heavy rainfall at isolated places, on October 28-30 and over north coastal Tamil Nadu on October 29-31, the bulletin added.

Fast attack craft INS Tihayu joins Indian Navy

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.

Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh become Open Defecation Free in urban areas

Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh became the first states to declare all their cities and town as Open Defecation Free (ODF) as the Swachh Bharat Week, that began on September 25, concluded today on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
A few districts, including Porbandar in Gujarat, the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi, also declared their ODF status on the occasion, the second anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission, the national cleanliness campaign.
Porbandar district and all the 180 cities and towns in Gujarat were declared ODF in the presence of Union Minister of Drinking Water & Sanitation Narendra Singh Tomar and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at a special programme in Porbandar.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.Chandrababu Naidu declared all 110 cities and towns in the State as ODF at a programme in Tirupati.
Addressing the participants of the Porbandar programme through a video-link, Minister of Urban Development M.Venkaiah Naidu said, “Declaration of Porbandar district and other areas as Open Defecation Free today is an interim gift to Mahatma on the occasion of his birth anniversary today and the final gift of Swachh Bharat would be presented to Gandhiji on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary on October 2,2019.
"The Mood of Developing India (MODI) being strongly for sanitation, Swachh Bharat Mission is becoming a people’s movement and Swachh Bharat will be realized with people leading the grand India Sanitation Alliance of all stakeholders”.
In a similar address to Tirupati programme, Mr. Naidu urged the people to become ‘Swachhagrahis’ to make the country free from poor hygiene in the spirit of ‘Satyagrahis’ who won political freedom for the country under the leadership of Gandhiji. He said that Rs. 186 crore had been sanctioned today for Andhra Pradesh for focusing on solid waste management in urban areas.
Mr. Naidu complimented Chief Ministers, concerned Ministers, Mayors, Councilors, Municipal Commissioners, the people and all others concerned for making urban areas of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh Open Defecation Free.
Speaking at a Short Film Festival on Sanitation, organized by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and National Film Development Corporation, Mr. Naidu said, “While Prime Minister Narendra Modi triggered interest of the people in Swachh Bharat, the Mission is a people’s movement and the credit for building Swachh Bharat would go to the people and all stakeholders including Chief Ministers, elected representatives of the people and others. Mind and body are inseparable like the Advaita. A clean mind resides only in a clean body. Clean individuals make clean environment. Individual actions result in collective effort needed for Swachh Bharat.”. 
He complimented young filmmakers for making thought provoking short films on sanitation.
Mr. Naidu also released a book ‘In the Footsteps of Mahatma : Gandhi and Sanitation’ published by the Publications Division of the Ministry of I&B. The book was authored by Prof. Sudarshan Iyengar, a veteran Gandhian.
On the last day of Swachh Bharat Week today, Mr. Naidu also flagged off a Swachh Awareness Rally organized by NDMC. At a function, also organized by NDMC, Home Minister Rajnath Singh administered Swachhata Pledge at Connaught Place.
A Postal Stamp on Swachhat was released today by Mr. Naidu and Minister of Communications Manoj Sinha in New Delhi.
As many as 405 cities and towns have so far claimed to have become Open Defecation Free along with 20,000 of the 82,000 urban wards in the country. Another 334 cities and towns would become ODF by March next year.
Maharashtra, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram and other North-Eastern States are on course to declare all urban areas as ODF soon.

Venkaiah Naidu lays foundation stone for BEL Advanced Night Vision Products Factory

Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting M. Venkaiah Naidu yesterday laid the foundation stone for the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) Advanced Night Vision Products Factory at Nimmaluru, Pamarru in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh.
The factory, coming up in 50 acres of land, is likely to be completed by 2018 at a cost of Rs. 300 crore and is expected to provide employment to more than 1200 people. it also has scope for further investment of up to Rs. 1000 crore, an official press release said.
BEL factory is presently operating from a campus of five acres. Once completed the Advanced Night Vision facility will have state-of-the-art infrastructure like assembly hangars, ultra-high clean rooms for assembly of devices, modern optical workshops with precision SPDT, CNC optical fabrication machines and high performance durable thin film.
New products like IR seekers & missile warning systems, tank sights, weapons sights, thermal imager based multi-function sights, EO system for radar and AD guns, Border surveillances system un-cooled TI weapon sights, night sights for CQB carbine, compact multi-purpose stabilized systems for advanced light helicopters will be designed and manufactured in the factory.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu urged the people to be aware of those creating hurdles to the development of the State. He said the Centre has focused on the development of State and was paying special attention to its progress by granting special financial assistance.
“People are more intelligent than the political leaders and they realise what is true and what is not,” he added. He urged the BEL management to provide employment to the locals in the new factory and assured that he would take up the issue with the Defence Minister.
He said the Prime Minister has focussed on “Make in India” products so that people get employment. Of the 28 demands made by the people of the State in the wake of bifurcation, the Centre has already agreed upon 27 demands except the special category status which is not possible as it was not included in the bifurcation Bill. Nine more states are demanding it, he said.
He said Andhra Pradesh is set to become a hub for manufacturing of defence products with over Rs. 6,600 crore worth defence projects sanctioned. He reiterated that the Centre had assured special package to the State which would be more than what special status would give.
He appreciated the efforts of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu for earmarking 50 acres of land to the BEL management for establishing the factory. He also said that another defence project is in final stage of sanction to be set up at Bobbili. 
Mr. Chandrababu Naidu said his government was making all out efforts to develop the State and accelerate growth. He appreciated the efforts of Mr. Venkaiah Naidu for getting the projects although he does not represent Parliament from the State. 
Minister of State for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Sujana Chowdary , Member of Parliament K Narayana and BEL Chairman and Managing Director Sunil Kumar Sharma were also present.

BRICS countries for ‘zero waste’ approach in water & sanitation management

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.
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.

BRICS countries call for new ‘social contract’ to address urban transition challenges

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.

BRICS experts suggest people’s involvement in smart city development

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.
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.

Political class more sensitised now to urban sector challenges: Naidu

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.
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.

Leaders of BRICS countries to discuss urban transition

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.

Nadda launches “My Hospital” initiative for patient feedback on healthcare facilities

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J. P. Nadda launched the “Mera Aspataal /My Hospital” initiative here yesterday that is aimed at empowering patients by seeking their views on the quality of experience in a public healthcare facility.
Speaking on the occasion, he said that, by keeping patient satisfaction as the ultimate test for assessing quality of services provided by a healthcare facility, a paradigm shift was being made to expand the programmes from grassroots upwards to build the continuity of care.
Mr Faggan Singh Kulaste, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, and Mr Kamineni Srinivas, Minister of Health, Medical and Family Welfare, Andhra Pradesh were also present on the occasion, along with other senior officials.
The Health Minister said the ICT-based Patient Satisfaction System (PSS) “Mera Aspataal / My Hospital” will be implemented in public and empanelled private hospitals.
A multi-channel approach will be used to collect patients’ feedback throughweb portal, mobile application, Short Message Service (SMS) and Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS).
“I am sure that ‘Mera Aspataal’, together with the Kayakalp awards, as part of Swacchata Abhiyaan will spur the States in a spirit of friendly competition to get highest ratings for all their facilities," Mr. Nadda said.
He also released the operational framework for management of common cancers, Guidance Note for Outsourced Call Centre for tele-consultation, grievance redressal and providing information about schemes. The Health Minister also gave away awards to the states on the basis of Health Indicators and Service Delivery.
The award for best performing large state in decline in infant mortality rate (IMR) was given to Haryana and West Bengal. In this category, the best performing small states were Nagaland and Tripura. Similarly, for service delivery in public health facilities Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh were awarded amongst large states and Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh were awarded among small states. Best performing Union Territory was Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

Cabinet okays amendments in Central List of OBCs applicable to Andhra Pradesh, Telangana

The Union Cabinet today gave its nod for making suitable amendments in the Central List of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) by way of inclusion/correction/deletion of castes/communities applicable to the State of Andhra Pradesh and the newly formed State of Telangana as per the advice received from the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). 
An official press release said a total of 35 changes recommended by NCBC in respect of Andhra Pradesh and 86 New Entries in respect of Telangana State will be notified.
"The changes will enable the persons belonging to these castes/ communities in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to avail the benefits of reservation in Government services and posts as well as in Central Educational Institutions as per extant policy. They will also become eligible for benefit under the various welfare schemes, scholarships etc. being administered by the Central Government, which are at present available to the persons belonging to the Other Backward Classes," the release added.

CONCOR inaugurates port side container facility at Krishnapatnam Port

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.

Chief of Naval Staff commissions new Marine Commandos base at Visakhapatnam

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.

India, Bhutan agree to sign new agreement on trade, commerce and transit

India and Bhutan agreed here today to sign at the earliest a new Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between the two countries.
This would be done after obtaining of internal approvals by both the sides, and it would be made effective from a mutually agreed date.
The existing Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit between India and Bhutan was signed on 29th July 2006 for a period of ten years. 
Discussions were held between both countries here on July 5-6 to finalise the text of the draft new agreement.
The visiting Bhutanese delegation was led by Secretary, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan. 
Both sides agreed that, in the interim, to prevent disruption of trade, the existing agreement may be extended for a period of one year or till the date of coming into force of the new agreement, whichever is earlier, the release added.

Snowman Logistics to set up new facility at Krishnapatnam

Logistics services provider Snowman Logistics Limited (SLL) today said it was setting up a new facility at the Gateway Distriparks Logistics Park at Krishnapatnam in Andhra Pradesh which will have a capacity of 3,500 pallets of temperature controlled and dry warehousing. 
This facility can be further scaled up to 10,000 pallets in a phased manner within the next two years, a press release from the company said.
The release said the facility would come up at a location seven kilometres from Krishnapatnam port, which currently services the requirements of Southern and Central Andhra Pradesh such as the newly developed Sri City industrial region, Eastern Karnataka, Northern Tamil Nadu and Eastern Maharashtra. 
Furthermore, combined with its existing Chennai, Hyderabad and Vishakhapatnam facilities, Snowman will be in a position to fully cater to both Tamil Nadu and Andhra markets as its locations are close to each market and near all the major ports in the area - Krishnapatnam, Vishakhapatnam, Chennai, Kattupalli and Ennore, it said.
"This will place Snowman with the Gateway Distriparks CFS in a unique position to be able to offer a bundled solution to the EXIM trade through the CFS and temperature controlled storage and distribution facilities," it said.
The facility is scheduled to become operational by March 2017 and will cater to the export-import trade, including sea-food, meat, dairy products, pharmaceutical products, fruits and fruit pulp. 
div>Snowman’s current capacity is 98,500 pallets which will go up to 103,000 pallets once the Cochin warehouse, currently under construction, is operational in the next quarter. With the addition of the Krishnapatnam  facility, Snowman's total capacity will reach 106,500 pallets in this financial year, the release said.
SLL is the largest integrated temperature controlled logistics service provider in India with a pan India footprint. It provides warehousing, distribution, transportation and value added services and it currently has a warehousing capacity of 98,500 pallets (with temperature ranging from ambient to chilled and frozen i.e. +20 °C to -25 °C). The capacity was built over a period of eight years starting from 2006 when Gateway Distriparks Limited became the largest shareholder in the company. 
Gateway Distriparks Limited hold about 40% stake in the company and other major shareholders include Mitsubishi Corporation, IFC and Norwest Venture Partners.

NRDC inks MoA with Andhra Pradesh for agribusiness incubation centres

The Andhra Pradesh government has entered into a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) to strengthen the agribusiness and food processing sector in the state.
Under the agreement, Smart Agribusiness Platform Networks of Andhra Pradesh (SAPNAP) will be set up to focus on creation of an enabling ecosystem for accelerated growth of agribusiness by involving all the stakeholders, an official press release said.
SAPNAP will have two key development platforms – Smart Agribusiness Value-chains and Smart Agribusiness Incubators & Accelerators. 
Smart Agribusiness Value Chains will focus on Intelligence/ Analytics/Big Data, Innovations and Partnerships.
The Smart Agribusiness incubators will focus on establishment of 13 district level incubators with enabling infrastructure and ecosystem for start ups, enterprise development and FPO mentoring.
NRDC will be the knowledge partner in the programme and would provide the required technologies, know-how, IPRs and other value added techno-commercial services to the start-ups of SAPNAP and linkages to national and international stakeholders.
The MOA was signed by Secretary (Food Processing) of Andhra Pradesh Girija Shankar, and CMD, NRDC Dr. H. Purushotham in the presence of the AP Chief Secretary S.P.Tucker, CEO, APFPS Y.S.Prasad, Advisor – Agribusiness Abdul Rahman Ilyas and other founding members of SAPNAP.

Commerce Ministry approves Mega Leather Cluster in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh

The Ministry of Commerce & Industry has given approval to the establishment of a Mega Leather Cluster at Kota in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.
The decision was conveyed by Union Minister of Commerce & Industry Nirmal Sitharaman in a letter to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
She said the project had been approved with a Central government assistance of Rs. 125 crore.
An official press release said the project, sanctoned under Indian Leather Development program, would create state-of-the-art infrastructure for labour intensive units and is expected to generate employment for 20,000 people and leverage an investment of at least Rs. 500 crore in the first phase itself.
The Minister requested the Chief Minister that due process related to award of contract and so on be completed so that the Central government could release the funds to start the project as soon as possible. 

BHEL commissions 520 MW thermal power unit in Andhra Pradesh

The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had successfully commissioned another 520 MW coal-based thermal power generating unit in Andhra Pradesh.
The unit has been commissioned at the 2x520 MW Vizag Thermal Power Project of Hinduja National Power Company Limited (HNPCL), Visakhapatnam, a press release from the company said.
Four 500 MW thermal sets supplied and executed by BHEL are already in successful operation in Visakhapatnam at Simhadri Super Thermal Power Station of NTPC.
The 2x520 MW Vizag Thermal Power Project has been executed by BHEL on EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) basis. Located on the east coast, the project uses single flow condenser and sea water as main cooling water.
Though the project was severely affected by the Hudhud cyclone in 2014 while it was under construction, all out efforts were made by BHEL and HNPCL, resulting in curtailing delays and commissioning both units.
The release said BHEL had also recently secured prestigious orders for setting up two supercritical thermal power projects involving one unit each of the country’s highest rating 800 MW sets, in Andhra Pradesh.
The projects are 1x800 MW Dr. Narla Tata Rao Thermal Power Station (Dr NTTPS) Stage-V of Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation Ltd (APGENCO) and 1x800 MW Sri Damodaram Sanjeevaiah Thermal Power Station (SDSTPS) Stage-II, popularly known as Krishnapatnam Supercritical Thermal Power Project, of Andhra Pradesh Power Development Company Ltd. (APPDCL).
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