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Andhra Pradesh

CCEA approves third railway line between Vizianagaram, Titlagarh

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday gave its approval for the construction of a third line between Vizianagaram and Titlagarh on the East Coast Railway at an estimated cost of Rs.2,335.68 crore. 
 
The length of the railway line will be 264.6 km. The completion period of the project will be five years, an official press release said.
 
The release said the third line is an alternative route to the over-burdened existing line. This link also opens an alternative route to the oversaturated Kharagpur-Jharsuguda section on the Howrah-Mumbai Grand Trunk Route and Howrah-Chennai main line. 
 
Rayagada and Kalahandi districts of Odisha and Vizianagaram and Babbili districts of Andhra Pradesh would be benefitted through this project, the release said.
 
Vizianagaram-Titlagarh is a double line non-electrified section of the Jharsuguda-Vizianagaram line. The section is oversaturated with present capacity utilization of 106% and there is a huge detention to rolling stock. Average number of trains handled per day is 47 trains each way which includes 27 pairs of passenger trains and 20 pairs of goods train. 
 
After industrialization between Jharsuguda-Rengali and Talcher-Angul-Dhenkanal, a third line between Vizianagaram and Titlagarh had become necessary to cater to the increased goods traffic, the 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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Cyclone Roanu over Bay of Bengal likely to cause heavy rainfall on east coast

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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) today said that cyclone "Roanu" over westcentral Bay of Bengal was likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm by tonight and, continuing to move northeastwards, would cross south Bangladesh coast between Khepupara and Cox’s Bazar in the night of May 21 and early morning of May 22 as a cyclonic storm.
 
A bulletin from IMD said Roanu remained practically stationary and lay centred at 1430 hrs IST of today near latitude 15.6º N and longitude 81.6 ºE, about 80 km southsoutheast of Machilipatnam, about 290 km south-southwest of Visakhapatnam and 160 km south-southwest of Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh.
 
The system is likely to move initially north-northeastwards along and off Andhra Pradesh coast during the next 12 hours, thereafter northeastwards, it said.
 
The bulletin said that, under the influence of the system, rainfall was likely at most places over coastal Andhra Pradesh during the next 24 hours, with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and
isolated extremely heavy falls. It said there could be heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places in the area during the subsequent 24 hours.
 
Rainfall was very likely at many places over coastal Odisha during the next 24 hours, with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places, and heavy to very heavy falls at few places on May 20 and isolated heavy rainfall on May 21.
 
The bulletin said rainfall was also likely at many places over coastal Gangetic West Bengal on May 20, with isolated heavy falls, and heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places on May 21.
 
It said rainfall was also very likely over Telangana and Rayalaseema during the next 24 hours, with isolated heavy falls.
 
The bulletin said wind speed reaching 90-100 kmph, gusting to 110 kmph, was very likely to prevail along and off North Andhra Pradesh coasts during the next 12 hours and speed reaching 100-110, gusting to 120 kmph, during the next 36 hours.
 
Squally wind speed reaching 60-70 kmph, gusting to 80 kmph, was  very likely to commence over south Odisha coast tonight and wind speed reaching 90-100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph from tomorrow morning.
 
Squally wind speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph is very likely to prevail along and off north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during the next 24 hours. Squally wind speed reaching 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph is likely to prevail along and off West
Bengal coast from the morning of May 20.
 
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Sea conditions are very likely to be high to very high along and off Andhra Pradesh and South Odisha coasts during the next 48 hours. They are very likely to be rough to very rough along and off North Tamil Nadu coast during the next 24 hours.
 
Sea conditions are very likely to be high to very high along and off West Bengal coast on May 20 and 21.
 
Storm surge of about 0.5 to 1.0 metre is likely to inundate coastal Andhra Pradesh during the next 24 hours.
 
Damage to thatched huts, minor damage to power and communication lines and major damage to kutcha and minor damage to pucca roads in coastal Andhra Pradesh are likely during the next 48 hours; in south coastal Odisha from tonight onwards and in coastal West Bengal on May 20 and 21.
 
The bulletin advised fishermen not to venture into sea along and off Andhra Pradesh coast during the next 48 hours, along and off North Tamil Nadu coast during the next 24 hours and along and off Odisha coast from tonight and along and off West Bengal coast on May 20 and 21.
 
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IMD issues cyclone alert for Andhra Pradesh, Odisha coasts

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The deep depression over westcentral and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal is likely to move north-northeastwards along and off the Andhra Pradesh coasts and intensify into a cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said today.
 
Thereafter it is likely to move northeastwards along and off north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coasts during the subsequent 48 hours, a bulletin from the IMD said.
 
The bulletin said that the depression had moved nearly northwards at a speed of 10 kmph during the past six hours and lay centred at 1130 hours IST of today near latitude 13.8º N and longitude 81.0 ºE, about 130 km south-southeast of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh.
 
Under the influence of the system, rainfall is likely at many places over northTamil Nadu and Puducherry during the next 24 hours, with isolated heavy to very heavy falls.
 
Rainfall is also likely at most places over coastal Andhra Pradesh during the next 48 hours, with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and isolated extremely heavy falls.
 
The bulletin said rainfall was also likely at many places over coastal Odisha on May 19 and 20, with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places.
 
Rainfall is also likely at many places over Rayalaseema during the next 24 hours, with isolated heavy to very heavy falls.
 
The bulletin said squally winds, with speed reaching 55-65 kmph, gusting to 75 kmph, are very likely to prevail along and off north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during the next 24 hours.
 
Wind speed reaching 55-65 kmph, gusting to 75 kmph, is very likely to prevail along and off Andhra Pradesh coast during the next 12 hours and speed reaching 65-75 kmph gusting to 85 kmph is very likely to prevail over the same region during the subsequent 24 hours.
 
Sea conditions along and off north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts are very likely to be rough to very rough during the next 24 hours. They are likely to be high to very high along and off the Andhra Pradesh coast during the next 48 hours. They are very likely to be high to very high along and off Odisha coast on May 19 and 20.
 
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into sea along and off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during the next 24 hours, along and off Andhra Pradesh coast during the next 48 hours and along and off Odisha coast on May 19 and 20.
 
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Andhra Pradesh: Seven workers killed in landslip at construction site in Guntur

 
Wall collapse kills seven in Guntur city of Andhra Pradesh
Seven workers died when a mound of earth caved in at the construction site of a commercial complex in this city of Andhra Pradesh yesterday evening, officials said.
 
District Collector Kantilal Dande told NetIndian over the telephone that, in all, eight workers were trapped under the mud and slush when the landslip occurred around 6.30 pm yesterday.
 
He said rescue teams managed to extricate one of them alive, while others could not be saved.
 
He said the mishap occurred when work was going on for constructing the basement of the proposed building complex.
 
He said an old building had been demolished at the site, located near Harihar Mahal on Lakshmipuram Road, and the developers had permission to build a new building with two cellars and four floors.
 
Nine workers in all had gone down to help lay the foundation of the structure when a mound of earth suddenly gave way even as they were preparing to end the day's work.
 
Mr. Dande said the Andhra Pradesh government had announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 20 lakh for the next-of-kin of those killed in the mishap.
 
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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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Sunrisers Hyderabad players Yuvraj, Williamson, Nehra nursing injuries

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Indian Premier League (IPL) franchisee Sunrisers Hyderabad today said three of its players -- Yuvraj Singh, Kane Williamson and Ashish Nehra -- are currently nursing injuries but expected to be back in the near future to compete in the tournament.
 
Yuvraj Singh suffered a fracture in his ankle against Australia during the ICC World T20. His condition will be reviewed by the specialist within the next 10 days, a press release from the tea said.
 
Nehra suffered a minor groin strain in the team's first match against Royal Challengers Bangalore. "We are hopeful that he will commence full training within the next week and soon after be available for selection," the release said.
 
Williamson suffered a hamstring strain during the ICC World T20 and is making good progress; he is expected to be fully fit and available for selection by early next week, it added.
 
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Krishnapatnam Port ties up with Mearsk for new service from Salalah, Oman

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Krishnapatnam Port, an all-weather; deep water port on the east coast has tied up with Mearsk Line India for starting a new service from Salalah, Oman to Krishnapatnam Port. 
 
It will be a weekly service, starting from April 17, a press release from the company said.
 
The release said the new service would connect customers in the surrounding area of Andhra Pradesh, northern Tamil Nadu and eastern Karnataka directly to Oman and neighboring region. It will offer fast transit time between the eastern coast of India, Sri Lanka and Oman.
 
The ports of rotation for the services are: Salalah -- Colombo  --Krishnapatnam Port -- Kattupalli -- Salalah.
 
Mr. Chinta Sasidhar, Managing Director, Krishnapatnam Port Company Ltd (KPCL), said, “We are very pleased to welcome Mearsk Line and look forward to a rewarding professional relationship. The new service will substantially reduce transit time in these areas and will also minimise the cost, which will be of a huge benefit to our customers."
 
The shipping lines service coupled with the Chennai Express which has been calling at Krishnapatnam Port for almost two years will benefit a large number of exporters and importers. Faster transit time and weekly fixed cut-off will benefit ensure a smooth supply chain for customers, the release said.
 
The privately built and owned Krishnapatnam Port has been promoted by the Hyderabad-based C.V.R. Group and is located in the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.
 
With a transit storage area of 6800 acres, the has the country’s largest waterfront area of 161 sq. km, and a depth of 20.5 metres. Its current draft of 18.5 metres can accommodate full-sized cape vessel of 200,000-tonne capacity, the release.
 
Krishnapatnam Port Company Ltd. (KPCL), which was formed by winning the mandate from the Government of Andhra Pradesh on BOST (Build–Operate-Share-Transfer) concession basis for 50 years, is being built in three phases and currently the second phase is underway, the release added.
 
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Govt. launches two new energy efficiency schemes

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The Centre today launched two new energy efficiency schemes, National Energy Efficient Agriculture Pumps Programme and National Energy Efficient Fan Programme.
 
The programmes were launched by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu during the inaugural session of the two-day international workshop on energy efficient lighting. 
 
These schemes will be implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of public sector undertakings (PSUs) under the Ministry of Power.
 
Under the National Energy Efficient Agriculture Pumps Programme, farmers can replace their inefficient pumps free of cost with the new BEE star rated energy efficient agricultural pump-sets. These pumps will come enabled with smart control panel and a SIM card, giving farmers the flexibility to remotely control these pumps from their mobile phones and from the comfort of their homes, an official press release said.
 
EESL will distribute 200,000 BEE star rated pump-sets to the farmers under this programme, which will lead to 30% of energy savings by 2019. This translates into an annual savings of approximately Rs 20,000 crore on agricultural subsidies or a saving of 50 billion units of energy every year, it said.
 
The release said that, with the usage of the 50 Watts BEE 5 Star rated ceiling fans, to be distributed under the National Energy Efficient Fan Programme, it is estimated that consumer’s electricity bills will come down by about Rs. 700-730 per year. Thus, the cost recovery of purchasing these fans would be less than two years.
 
These fans are 30% more energy efficient as compared to conventional fans, which range from 75-80 watts. At present, two energy efficient fans will be provided to each consumer at Rs 60 a month per fan on EMI basis. The EMI amount will be added to the consumers’ electricity bills for two years. This scheme will be available to the consumer on providing a copy of latest electricity bill along with a copy of residence proof at the designated distribution centre. The consumer can also purchase the fan by paying Rs. 1250 upfront.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Naidu called upon the people to feel responsibility of saving energy which is a big challenge the nation is facing. He said the State government is moving ahead with innovative ideas in saving energy. When Visakhapatnam was hit by Hudhud cyclone last year, the government replaced all the incandescent bulbs with LED which saved 21,000 mw of power and also saved money of the State exchequer, he added.
 
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“Andhra Pradesh is the first state in India to adopt more than 1.8 crore LED bulbs under the UJALA scheme which has helped the state government to save Rs 2.6  crore daily. It has always been a pioneer in adopting energy efficiency programmes. To add to the success of UJALA in the state we will now implement energy efficient fan programme and the energy efficient agriculture pumps programme. This will help us to manage our peak demand and in-turn help the state become energy sufficient,” he said.
 
Earlier, the Chief Minister inaugurated the workshop on Energy Efficient Lighting by unveiling the Energy Efficient Fan and by switching on Energy Efficient Agriculture Pump installed in Rajamundry, 150 km from Vijayawada, through remote control. He also distributed the first lot of LED bulbs and fans to the consumers at the function.
 
Andhra Pradesh Principal Secretary, Energy, Ajay Jain, welcomed the gathering. Dr Ashok Sarkar, World Bank Group, Zhinguiang Xu, Deputy Director General, National Energy Conservation Cetre, China, TERI Director General Ajay Mathur, EESL Chairman Rajeev Sharma and EESL Managing Director Saurabh Kumar were among those present. In all, representatives of 15 countries across the globe and State governments are attending the conference.
 
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Infosys Foundation to give Rs. 5 crore grant to Sahakara Mitra Samstha

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Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic arm of IT services major Infosys, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sahakara Mitra Samstha (Center for Collective Development), to enhance the livelihood of the farming community in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
 
As part of this three year MoU, the foundation will make a grant of Rs. 5 crore to the Center for Collective Development, thereby providing it an impetus to work on increasing revenue and profits of the farmers in the two states by adopting efficient business models. 
 
A press release from the foundation said the MoU would also aim to create awareness about sustainable agricultural practices amongst the farmers.
 
Through the MoU, the Center for Collective Development will also aim to build sustainable farmer co-operative societies and facilitate pool, process as well as the sale of produce in two districts of Andhra Pradesh (Anantapur and Chittoor) and one district in Telangana (Adilabad). It will also work towards bringing in new co-operatives from different areas to strengthen the federation activities of its association, set up new processing units and enable the creation of a district level forum where farmers can voice their issues.
 
As part of its ongoing efforts towards rural development, the Foundation intends to influence the livelihood of more than 15,000 small and marginal farmers through the work done by co-operatives under the Center for Collective Development.
 
The Center for Collective Development (CCD) also called “Sahakara Mitra Samstha” is an NGO, working to make farmers and other primary producers prosperous. It also focuses on significantly enhancing incomes of all small farmers in the regions where they work by using innovative business models, and extend these business models all over the country to benefit farmers and other primary producers.
 
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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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Higher coal production saves Rs 22,000 crore in foreign exchange: Govt.

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Higher production of coal during the current financial year has resulted in about 16 percent decrease in import of coal, leading to savings of about Rs 22,000 crore in foreign exchange, according to Minister of State for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal.
 
Addressing the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Coal here yesterday, Mr Goyal said coal production at mines operated by Coal India Limited (CIL) went up by nine percent and that of  Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) by 23 percent.
 
An official press release said the committee reviewed the status of implementation of coal washeries and measures being taken for improvement of quality of coal by CIL and its subsidiaries.
 
Mr D N Prasad, Adviser (Projects), gave a detailed presentation highlighting long-term plan of washing and crushing of coal by setting up new coal washeries.
 
Members were informed that CIL had 15 washeries with capacity of 38 million tonns per year. As part of future plan, CIL proposed to build 15 new washeries for augmenting the demand of washed coal for energy needs and compliance of environmental regulations.
 
These washeries will be built in two phases on Build-Own-Maintain and EPC contract on turnkey basis and would be operational by September 2017, he said.
 
Regarding new initiatives taken for quality improvement of coal , the members were informed that from January 1 this year, it has been made mandatory to supply 100 percent crushed coal of (-) 100 mm size to power sector consumers having FSA, excluding pit -head power plants of NCL and ECL.
 
During 2015-16 a total of 63.8 MT crushing capacity has been added with installation of mobile crushers and feeder breakers.
 
Giving details of further improvement of third party sampling introduced on November 26, 2015, it was stated that an independent Third Party Agency was to be empanelled by Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research at the loading end on behalf of both the power plant and coal companies.
 
The new system started from January 1 in Northern Coalfields Limited.
 
During discussions, members gave several suggestions for mitigating water scarcity problem in the villages surrounding mining areas, using fly ash as a soil nutrient, setting up of washeries and crushers at same location, utilisation of washeries wastage and reducing coal thefts.
 
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In his response, Mr Goyal said directions had already been given to all companies to process the extracted water from the coal mines for supplying to nearby villages. 
 
Regarding utilisation of washeries wastage, he said efforts will be made to set up small power plants to supply power in nearby localities in consultation with State Governments.
 
In order to resolve issues concerning coal mining areas faster, he directed CMDs of coal companies to interact with Members of Parliament from coal-bearing States on the last Saturday, every three months.
 
The meeting, chaired by Mr Goyal, was attended by Lok Sabha Members Dalpat Singh Paraste, Hari Manjhi, Kaushlendra Kumar,  Midhun Reddy, Santosh Kumar , Laxmi Narayan Yadav, Ramchandra Paswan, Ravindra Kumar Pandey and Vijay Kumar Handsdak. Members of the Rajya Sabha present were Dr. Bhushan Lal Jangde and Dhiraj Prasad Sahu and Ms Renuka Chowdhary.
 
Mr Anil Swarup, Coal Secretary, CMDs and Directors of CIL and NLC Ltd and senior officers of the Ministry of Coal also attended the meeting.
 
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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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Mukherjee says navies of the world must counter non-traditional maritime challenges

President Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday that navies across the world must re-focus their efforts to counter the rising tide of non-traditional maritime challenges in the brown, green and blue waters across all oceans.

 
Indian Navy displays might at International Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam
 
President Pranab Mukherjee today said that, considering the globalised nature of today's political and economic environment, India believed that the present-day maritime domain required navies across the world to re-focus their efforts to counter the rising tide of non-traditional maritime challenges in the brown, green and blue waters across all oceans. 
 
"India’s geographical location, astride the major shipping routes of the Indian Ocean, gives it a pivotal maritime role," 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 at Visakhapatnam.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said the Indian Navy had re-aligned its maritime strategy, to reflect the changes in the evolving global environment, and had established a credible record of cooperative initiatives to promote stability of the oceans, and played a central role in ensuring safety of the vital sea lines of communication, across the Indian Ocean. 
 
"It is indeed a privilege for me to have the splendid sight of majestic warships anchored in these waters of Bay of Bengal. The fluttering pennants and flags on the dressing lines, happy and proud men in white manning their ships is indeed heartwarming. I am privileged to be here today with all of you and review this imposing international parade of ships," he said.
 
He noted that 50 friendly navies had sailed across oceans and sent naval ships and/or delegations to participate in the first International Fleet Review on the east coast of India.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and several other dignitaries from India and abroad were present on the occasion.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said navies world over had conducted Fleet Reviews to symbolise their loyalty, allegiance to the nation, and strengthen bonds between the sailors and the state. 
 
"The International Fleet Review 2016 does that and much more. IFR 2016, while showcasing the prowess of the Indian Navy, has brought together navies from across the globe here on Indian shores, signifying our common desire to use the seas to promote peace, cooperation and friendship, as also to develop partnerships for a secure maritime future. 
 
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"Your presence in such large numbers has made this international event spectacular and truly reflects the spirit of this IFR, we are indeed ‘United through Oceans’. The waters that lap our coast also wash your shores, these great blue ‘commons' indeed link us to each other. IFR 2016 has enabled us to join hands and work together to secure our seas for the greater good of humanity and the world," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said the navies of the world had a unique role in promoting goodwill, nurturing peace and tranquility of the oceans. 
 
"Your ships and all personnel participating at this momentous fleet review are ambassadors of great nations that you represent. The message of friendship and goodwill of your people strengthens our belief in promoting peace, prosperity and stability for mutual co-existence and ensuring secure seas. I understand that your interactions during the past few days of your stay here have been exciting and you all are keenly looking forward to take part in passage exercises and will ‘sail together’ on completion of IFR," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee paid special compliments to the Indian Navy, especially the Eastern Naval Command, for the meticulous planning and flawless conduct of the Fleet Review. 
 
"An event of such magnitude could be organised only by the involvement and support of the people. May I thank and congratulate the Government of Andhra Pradesh and all citizens of Visakhapatnam for their cooperation. 
 
"I thank all naval ships and delegations assembled here for the Fleet Review to mark this historic occasion. I am confident that our guests from far and wide, will carry with them pleasant memories of the warmth and traditional hospitality shown by the people of India. I would urge that as you sail back to your homelands, carry with you our message of global peace and brotherhood, so that we can strengthen our bonds of friendship and secure a better maritime environment for future generations," he added.
 
As the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the President reviews the Indian Naval Fleet once in his or her term as part of the ‘President’s Fleet Review’. This review aims at assuring the country of the Indian Navy’s preparedness, high morale and discipline. 
 
The International Fleet Review allows the host nation an occasion to display its maritime capabilities and the "bridges of friendship" it has built with other maritime nations. The last IFR was conducted in January 2001, off Mumbai with participation from 29 countries. 
 
This year's IFR has been organized on a much larger scale, with the participation of about 50 countries.
 
The Fleet Review is one of the important ways used by navies to enhance cooperation and promote friendship amongst the seafaring community.
 
The leading nations of the world use the opportunity provided by the Fleet Review to enhance mutual trust and confidence with their maritime neighbours by inviting their ships to participate in the Review. The event also provides the host nation an occasion to display its own naval prowess and maritime capabilities whilst simultaneously generating goodwill amongst other maritime nations. 
 
The visiting navies will also have the opportunity to display their professional skills as they sail together for exercises to increase mutual cooperation and interoperability, with the underlying theme of keeping the global commons safe and secure in the 21st century.
 
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Centre approves heritage development projects in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana

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The Union Ministry of Urban Development yesterday approved projects worth more than Rs. 12 crore for improving tourist infrastructure in heritage locations in Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh and Warangal in Telangana.
 
An official press release said an Inter-Ministerial National Empowered Committee for the Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) approved the projects, which include a heritage park in Amaravati and developmental works at the 1000 Pillar Temple and Kazipet Durgah and rejuvenation of pondat Padmakshi Temple in Warangal city.
 
In Amaravati, the heritage park will be developed over an area of 3.50 acres opposite Dhyan Buddha Statue at a total cost of Rs.7.36 crore. The park will have an exhibition complex with four halls to be developed at a cost of Rs. 92 lakh, 22 statues at a cost of Rs. 2 crore, more than 20 shops at a cost of over Rs.1 crore, four food courts at a cost of Rs. 95 lakhs, parking area at a cost of Rs.60 lakh, pathways at a cost of Rs. 44 lakh and landscaping at a cost of Rs. 76 lakh. Other facilities to be provided include seating benches, pergolas, and so on, an official press release said.
 
The exhibition halls and shops will be used to promote to local art and handicrafts and other products. 
 
For Warangal, an expenditure of Rs. 4.85 crore has been approved for undertaking development works at 1000 Pillar Temple at a cost of Rs. 94 lakh, at Kazipet Durgah at a cost of Rs. 1.78 crore and rejuvenation of pond at Padmakshi Temple with an investment of Rs. 2.13 crore, the release said.
 
At the 1000 Pillar Temple, illumination works will be taken up at a cost of Rs. 28 lakh, development of parking area at a cost of Rs. 27 lakh, e-toilets at a cost of Rs. 16 lakhs, and landscaping at a cost of Rs. 9 lakh. Other facilities to be provided are seating spaces, information signages, solar lightings, dustbins, and so on.
 
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Keeping in view the tradition of cooking food at the Kazipet dargah, a dormitory will be developed at a cost of Rs. 60 lakh and a kitchen at a cost of Rs. 2 lakhs. Other facilities to be provided are toilets – Rs. 26 lakh, parking – Rs. 13 lakh, pavements – Rs.18 lakhs and illumination – Rs.13 lakh.
 
For rejuvenation of pond at Padmakshi Temple, civil works including approach road will be taken up at a cost of Rs. 1 crore,  toilets -- Rs.26 lakhs, illumination -- Rs. 22 lakh, landscaping --Rs. 20 lakhs, paving -- Rs.11 lakh and parking facilities at a cost of Rs. 11 lakhs. Facilities like seating spaces, information signages and dustbins will also be provided. 
 
Amaravati and Warangal are among the 12 cities included in the HRIDAY scheme for improving the social, cultural and economic ecosystems by augmenting necessary infrastructure with the objective of conserving the rich cultural heritage and enabling better facilities for tourists and pilgrims. More projects will be approved for Amaravati and Warangal in the near future. 
 
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Modi to visit Assam, Odisha; attend International Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay a three-day visit to Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha from tomorrow.
 
In Assam, he will inaugurate the Brahmaputra Cracker and Polymer Ltd at Lepetkata, which is the first ever petro-chemical project in the entire North-East, tomorrow.
 
As part of the same event, the Prime Minister will also dedicate to the nation India's highest wax producing unit using indigenous technology in Numaligarh Refinery Ltd. 
 
He will address tea workers at Moran, near Dibrugarh. He will also address the 85th Annual Conference of Srimanta Sankaradeva Sangha at Sibsagar. 
 
In Guwahati, he will inaugurate the 12th South Asian Games, in which Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are participating, apart from India.
 
On February 6, Mr. Modi will attend the International Fleet Review at Visakhapatnam. He will also visit a maritime exhibition. 
 
The Prime Minister will reach Bhubaneswar on February 7, and will dedicate to the nation the National Institute of Science Education and Research. He will also visit the Shri Jagannath Temple in Puri. 
 
Mr. Modi will dedicate to the nation the state-of-the-art Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Refinery at Paradip. 
 
The refinery will have a total capacity of 15 MMTPA. The Indane Maximization unit at the refinery has been set up using indigenous technology to produce a higher quantity of LPG. The refinery is expected to unleash a new wave of industrialization in the hydrocarbon sector, and accelerate economic development in Eastern India. 
 
The Prime Minister will reach Visakhapatnam on the afternoon of February 7 and witness the operational demonstration and the International City Parade at the International Fleet Review. The Prime Minister will also deliver an address, an official press release added.
 
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Justice R. Subhash Reddy named Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court

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Mr. Justice Ramayyagari Subhash Reddy, Judge of the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for the State of Telangana and the State of Andhra Pradesh, has been appointed as the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court.
 
An official press release said here today that the appointment would be with effect from the date he assumed charge of his office. 
 
Born in 1957 in Medak district, Mr. Justice Reddy graduated from the Andhra Vidyalaya College (AV College), Hyderabad and obtained a degree in law from the University College of Law, Osmania University, Hyderabad. 
 
He enrolled as an advocate on the rolls of the Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh on October 30, 1980.
 
He actively practised in civil, criminal, Constitutional and almost a other branchesof law. He was Standing Counsel for institutions like S.V.University and Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University. 
 
He was elevated as Additional Judge of High Court of Andhra Pradesh on December 2, 2002 and sworn in as Judge in that court on June 24, 2004.
 
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Krishnapatnam Port to set up LNG Regasification Terminal in Andhra Pradesh

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Krishnapatnam, India’s largest; all weather, deep water port on the east coast of the country in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, said yesterday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Petrogas Pvt. Ltd. and the Government of Andhra Pradesh for setting up a liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification terminal.
 
Petrogas will commit a direct investment of Rs. 3,000 crore at Krishnapatnam in the fields of LNG regasification terminal and allied industries, a press release from the company said.
 
The MoU, which is between Krishnapatnam Port (represented by C. Sasidhar – Managing Director), the Andhra Pradesh government (represented by V Ravi Kumar – Director of Ports) and Petrogas which is a JV of Isomeric Holdings Sdn Berhad and Vijayawada-based LEPL Ventures Private Limited (represented by SDV Krishna Kumar), was signed in the presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
 
The release said the LNG terminal will use a state-of-the-art Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) with a minimum capacity of 5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) which shall be doubled to 10 million MT in another three years.
 
The commercial operations for the project will commence within three years and it is expected to create more than 500 job opportunities, it said.
 
“The project is ambitious and we are proud to contribute to this opportunity along with our esteemed partners. The infrastructure story of Andhra Pradesh is set on a promising horizon and projects of such scale will only provide significant boost to the country’s trade potential apart from creating immense job opportunities," Mr. Sasidhar said.
 
“We are extremely grateful to the Government of Andhra Pradesh  for the tremendous support and co-operation towards relevant clearances, permits and licenses, and support from allied industries,” he  added.
 
Krishnapatnam Port, promoted by the Hyderabad-based C.V.R. Group, is a privately built and owned all weather, deep water port.
 
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AAI's land at Vizag to be exchanged with land offered by Visakhapatnam Port Trust

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The Union Cabinet today approved the exchange of Airports Authority of India's (AAI) land measuring 11.45 acres at Visakhapatnam Airport with an equivalent area of land offered by Visakhapatnam Port Trust for setting up of Multi Modal Logistics Park (MMLP) by the public sector Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) at Visakhapatnam. 
 
An official press release said the exchange of land will be beneficial to both AAI and VPT. 
 
The land offered for exchange by VPT is in continuation to existing AAI land and will be useful for AAI, in view of future developmental plans for Visakhapatnam Airport. The setting up of Multi Modal Logistics Park and other customer related facilities by CONCOR will also help in substantial development of Andhra Pradesh by enhancing the cargo handling capacity and development of an integrated rail-road logistics hub, thereby facilitating a boost in the economy and trade of the State, it said.
 
CONCOR is setting up the MMLP on 98 acres of land, taken on lease from VPT.
 
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NHAI okays substitution of concessionare in Vijayawada-Gundugolanu highway project

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The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has approved the harmonious substitution of Gammon Infrastructure Private Limited by Brookfield India Holding Pvt. Ltd. for the Vijayawada-Gundugolanu highway project in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, which was stalled. 
 
An official press release said the substitution was possible due to the recent policy initiative of the Government wherein the concessionaires who are facing difficulties in implementing public private partnership (PPP) projects can be substituted in harmonious manner by a new investor. 
 
The project was approved at a total cost of Rs 1684 crore. Later, NHAI observed that the concessionaire was facing financial stress and was unable to meet its obligations under the Concession Agreement. 
 
"This initiative of NHAI and the Government will help in salvaging this prestigious project by bringing in fresh investment from M/s. Brookfield India Holding Pvt. Ltd. (a subsidiary of M/s Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP, an international infrastructure fund), who will bring in $ 100 million as equity investment," the release added.
 
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Additional Judges appointed to Telangana & AP, Kerala and Jharkhand High Courts

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The President has appointed Mr. Asapu Ramalingeswara Rao to be an Additional Judge of the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for the States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, for a period of three months with effect from December 21.
 
Nine others -- Mr. Bulusu Siva Sankara Rao, Mr. Mandhata Seetharama Murti, Mr. Saripella Ravi Kumar, Mr. Upmaka Durga Prasad Rao, Mr. Talluri Sunil Chowdary, Mr. Mallavolu Satyanarayana Murthy, Mr. Misrilal Sunil Kishore Jaiswal,  Mr. Ambati Shankar Narayana, and Ms. Anis -- have been appointed as Additional Judges of the same High Court for a period of three months with effect from January 23, 2016.
 
An official press release said that Mr. Dama Seshadri Naidu had been appointed as an Additional Judge of the Kerala High Court, for a period of three months with effect from December 21.
 
Mr. Amitav Kumar Gupta has been appointed as an Additional Judhe in Jharkhand High Court for a period of three onths with effect from December 18, the release added.
 
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Rajnath to chair 26th Meeting of Southern Zonal Council in Vijayawada on Saturday

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will chair the 26th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council to be held in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh tomorrow. 
 
The Southern Zonal Council comprises the States of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana and Puducherry. 
 
The Chief Ministers of all these states and senior officers from both Central and State Governments are expected to participate in this meeting, an official press release said.
 
The 8th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Southern Zonal Council was held at Hyderabad on November 19 to scrutinize the agenda for deliberation and resolution for this meeting. 
 
Issues of Inter-State and Centre-State cooperation and coordination have been flagged for this meeting, such as coastal security, peninsular region industrial corridor, introduction of peninsular tourism trains, finalization of inter-state reciprocal transport agreement, curbing the use of unacceptable levels of pesticides in fruits and vegetables, maintaining uniform standards of nursing courses, and so on.
 
Some other substantial issues of Centre State and Inter-State matters are also likely to be raised by Member States in the Council, the release said.
 
The Zonal Councils, created under the State Reorganization Act, 1956, are advisory bodies that discuss and advise the Central and State Governments on matters of common interest pertaining to a gamut of subjects such as infrastructures, health, security, social welfare, linguistic minorities and border disputes, and on the action to be taken on them.
 
There are five Councils, one for each Zone viz., Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern, and Central. The secretarial functions of the Zonal Councils have been transferred to the Inter State Council Secretariat with effect from 1 April, 2011. The North-East Council set up under a separate Act of 1971 is under the administrative ambit of the Ministry of Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER). 
 
The meeting of each Zonal Council needs to be held once in a year to iron out the differences between the governments on issues of development concerning regional interest and national programmes. However, meetings of most of the zonal councils were quite infrequent during the past. 
 
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"Given the great potential of these institutions in resolving regional and interstate issues through their consultative mechanism, the present Government immediately after coming to power decided to revive and further strengthen these fora. Inter State Council Secretariat, which looks after the work of Zonal Council since 2011, was instructed to take on the preparatory work to complete meetings of all Zonal Councils, pending for years, by the end of 2015," the release said.
 
"It was a challenging task as it mandatorily required holding of all the meetings of Standing Committees of these Zonal Councils prior to the Councils’ meetings. It called for immense coordination and networking to have all the states to meet on the table under the Chairmanship of Union Home Minister for each of these Zonal Councils. 
 
"State elections, natural calamities, law and order problems and such other pressing situations, more often than not, stymied the execution of this task but the government machinery rose to the occasion and pulled it off. With completion of this meeting of Southern Zonal Council which is last in the series of the Councils’ meetings this year, all the meetings of the Zonal Councils will be completed as committed by the Government," it added.
 
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Heavy rains likely over south coastal AP, Rayalaseema, TN, Puducherry, Kerala over next four days

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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) today said a low pressure area was expected to form over southeast Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood by tomorrow and heavy rains were likely at isolated places over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala today. 
 
An official press release said heavy rains would occur tomorrow at isolated places over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
 
Heavy to very heavy rains are expected on Sunday at a few places over Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and heavy rains at isolated places over coastal Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. 
 
The IMD said that heavy to very heavy rains would occur at a few places over Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Monday, with extremely heavy falls at isolated places.
 
Heavy to very heavy rain at isolated places are also expected over coastal Andhra Pradesh and heavy rains over Rayalaseema, south interior Karnataka and Kerala, it said.
 
On November 17, too, heavy to very heavy rain could occur at a few places over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and coastal Andhra Pradesh, with extremely heavy falls at isolated places, it said.
 
Heavy to very heavy rains are expected at isolated places over Rayalaseema and heavy rains over south interior Karnataka and Kerala, the release added.
 
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Tobacco Board Chairman K. Gopal relieved of his post, put on compulsory wait

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The Government has placed Tobacco Board Chairman K. Gopal, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1992 batch (Tamil Nadu cadre) on compulsory wait in the Department of Personnel and Training with immediate effect and until further orders.
 
An official press release said Dr. Gopal had been releived of his duties with effect from this afternoon with the directions to report to the Department of Personnel and Training. 
 
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