Andhra Pradesh

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).

CCEA approves third railway line between Vizianagaram, Titlagarh

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.

Fast attack craft INS Tarmugli joins Indian Navy

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.

Cyclone Roanu over Bay of Bengal likely to cause heavy rainfall on east coast

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.
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.

IMD issues cyclone alert for Andhra Pradesh, Odisha coasts

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.

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.

Andhra Pradesh set to become Open Defecation Free state in urban areas

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. 
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. 

Sunrisers Hyderabad players Yuvraj, Williamson, Nehra nursing injuries

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.

Krishnapatnam Port ties up with Mearsk for new service from Salalah, Oman

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.

Govt. launches two new energy efficiency schemes

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.
“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.

Infosys Foundation to give Rs. 5 crore grant to Sahakara Mitra Samstha

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.

Vice Adm H C S Bisht takes over as FOC-in-C, Eastern Naval Command

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).

Higher coal production saves Rs 22,000 crore in foreign exchange: Govt.

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.
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.

International Fleet Review 2016 concludes with Passage Exercise

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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