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Andhra Pradesh

Kadapa airport in Andhra Pradesh to be inaugurated on June 7

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The Kadapa airport in Andhra Pradesh will be inaugurated on June 7 by Union Minister of Civil Aviation P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju and state Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. 
 
The first flight at Kadapa will land from Bengaluru at 11.30 a.m. on that day, an official press release said.
 
The Airports Authority of India (AAI), as part of its efforts to promote regional and remote area connectivity in Tier-II and Tier- III cities, has completed the development of Kadapa airport at a cost of Rs. 42 crore. 
 
The release said the airport has a new compact pre-fabricated terminal building with a capacity to handle 100 peak hour passengers at a time. The runway, with dimension 1719m x 45m is capable of handling ATR-72 type of aircraft operations. 
 
The new apron can accommodate three ATR-72 type of aircrafts. Depending upon the growth of passenger traffic at Kadapa Airport, expansion and upgradation of the airport will be done to handle A 320 type of aircraft operations. 
 
To facilitate the development of Kadapa Airport, the government of Andhra Pradesh has made available 520 acres of land, the release said.
 
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China's GIIC to invest $ 500 milion in developing industrial park in Kakinada with GMR

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Kakinada SEZ Pvt. Ltd. (KSEZ), a subsidiary of GMR Infrastructure Limited, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Guizhou International Investment Corporation (GIIC), a consortium of three leading Chinese manufacturing companies, to set up an industrial park for high-end Chinese equipment manufacturing companies.
 
GIIC will invest $ 500 million in developing the infrastructure and various facilities of the industrial park, which would house leading Chinese manufacturing industries. These Chinese companies would additionally invest $ 2-3 billion in setting up their operations over the next five years.
 
The 2000-acre world class industrial park developed by KSEZ and GIIC would bring development across Kakinada, and generate more than 5000 jobs for both skilled and unskilled workers, a press release from GMR said.
 
The agreement was signed by Mr. Challa Prasanna, President Kakinada SEZ in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr.BVN Rao, Business Chairman - Transportation & Urban Infrastructure of GMR Infra and senior officials of GIIC in Shanghai during Mr Modi's visit to China last week.
 
Chinese companies from power equipment, electronics, wind & solar energy, smart technologies and so on are planning to set up their manufacturing units in Kakinada SEZ.
 
Apart from world class infrastructure facilities, these companies will also be able to avail various benefits from the Prime Minister’s "Make in India" campaign and Government of Andhra Pradesh’s investment incentives in the state, the release said.
 
"This is a moment of pride for us. Through this MoU with GIIC, China, we were not only able to attract investments but also provide economic development to the region and the state. As India’s leading infrastructure company, we were able to foster global partnerships through mutual consent and in accordance with the relevant domestic laws and regulations of each country," Mr Rao said.
 
KSEZ is a port-based multi-product SEZ, spread over approximately 10,500 acres. Situated strategically on the eastern coast in an area rich in oil and natural gas deposits, it has logistical linkages to national highways, railway networks, air and sea ports. The SEZ caters to the existing process industries and emerging industries like refinery, renewable energy, ship building, biotech, nanotech, IT/ITES, toys, games and sports goods and so on.
 
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Essar Ports takes over Visakhapatnam Port Trust’s iron ore handling complex

A partial view of Iron Ore Berth at Visakhapatnam Port
A partial view of Iron Ore Berth at Visakhapatnam Port
Essar Ports Ltd. (EPL) today said it had taken over Vishakhapatnam Port Trust’s (VPT) Iron Ore Handling Complex (OHC) on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis for a period of 30 years. 
 
Essar Vizag Terminals Ltd. (EVTL), a wholly owned subsidiary of EPL, will comprise three berths (two outer harbour berths and one inner harbour berth) with a combined capacity of 23 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), which will be developed in two phases.
 
“Enhancing the cargo handling capacity and mechanization of port facilities for efficient management is crucial for long term sustenance. We are very sure that Essar will develop the OHC facility with latest state-of art handling facilities and achieve higher loading rate thereby reducing the overall turn around by at least 50%," Mr M.T. Krishna Babu, Chairman, Visakhapatnam Port Trust, said.
 
A press release from Essar said the project would be developed at a cost of Rs. 1200 crore over a period of three years, and will cover the upgradation of Outer Harbour Berths (OB I & II) in  Phase I and mechanization of inner harbour berth (WQ-I) in Phase II. With the takeover of the outer berths, the operation and upgradation of the terminal will be carried out simultaneously, it said.
 
Mr. Rajiv Agarwal, CEO & Managing Director, Essar Ports, said: “The facility is well placed to cater to both the domestic and international steel Industry.  It will serve major iron ore consuming countries like China, Japan, Korea in addition to coastal movement within India. The facility has dedicated rail connectivity to India’s iron ore mining belt. This, along with the mechanized CQ III facility in Paradip port, will take Essar Port’s total east coast iron ore handling capacity to 39 MTPA.”
 
Mr. C. Satyanand, CEO, EVTL, added: “It is a proud moment for us as we will now be operating the Vizag Port’s prestigious mechanized iron-ore handling complex. We expect to achieve one of the highest cargo-handling capacities across ports in India”
 
EVTL has taken over the ore handling complex of the VPT by paying an upfront payment of Rs. 185 crore. In addition, EVTL will also pay a revenue share to VPT.  VPT had handled close to 14 MT of iron ore during FY14, the highest by any port in the country.
 
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Election Commission to hold election on June 1 to fill vacancies in AP Legislative Council

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The Election Commission today said it would hold an election on June 1 to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council by the members of the state Legislative Assembly to fill up three regular vacancies.
 
These relate to three additional seats of membrs in the council provided under the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization (Amendment) Act, 2015, dated 30.03.2015, read with notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, dated 29.04.2015. 
 
The Commission will also hold a bye-election on the same day to fill a casual vacancy in the council caused by the death of Mr Paladugu Venkata Rao on January 19 this year. His term of office was upto March 29, 2017.
 
The notification for the election and the bye-election will be issued on May 14 and the last date for making nominations will be May 21. Counting of votes will be taken up at 5 pm, after the end of polling, on June 1.
 
The Commission will also hold a bye-election on the same day to fill a casual vacancy in the council caused by the death of Mr Paladugu Venkata Rao on January 19 this year. His term of office was upto March 29, 2017.
 
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Justice Dilip Bhosale to perform duties of Chief Justice of Telengana, AP HC

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The President has appointed Mr Justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale, senior-most Judge of High Court of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, to perform the duties of the office of the Chief Justice of that High Court.
 
An official press release said the appointment would be with effect from today consequent upon the retirement of Mr Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta, Chief Justice of that High Court. 
 
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Top Kerala Maoist couple arrested by AP police from Coimbatore

 
Police arrest top Kerala Maoist couple, three others in Coimbatore
A top Maoist couple from Kerala, Roopesh and his wife Shyna, who had evaded arrest for more than ten years, were arrested along with three others by the Andhra Pradesh police from a bakery near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu late last night, official sources said.
 
Roopesh, a law graduate who is wanted in 20 criminal cases, his wife and the others were tracked down to a bakery at a village near Coimbatore, where they were having coffee when the police surrounded them, the sources said.
 
They were arrested in a joint operation by the police of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
 
Confirming the arrests, Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala told journalists here that it was a major breakthrough in the anti-Maoist operations in the Southern states.
He said the police forces of the four states had been working diligently on the cases for many years.
 
He said the arrested persons were making efforts to create chaos and confusion in the Southern states.
 
Mr Chennithala said the Kerala government would try to get the arrested people to the state because most of the cases against them were registered in Kerala. "The law will take its own course. They will be produced in court. After that, we will try to get them," he said.
 
The sources said Roopesh's wife is a former employee of the Kerala High Court. The other three persons held have been identified as Anoop from Kerala, Veeramani from Karnataka and Kannan from Tamil Nadu.
 
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Sitaram Yechury elected as new General Secretary of CPI (M)

 
Sitaram Yechury elected new CPI (M) general secretary
Rajya Sabha member Sitaram Yechury was elected as the fifth General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) during its 21st Congress here today.
 
His name was proposed at a meeting of the new Central Committee by outgoing General Secretary Prakash Karat and seconded by Mr S Ramachandran Pillai, who was initially in the race for the post but later withdrew.
 
The proposal was approved unanimously by the committee, party sources said.
 
Mr Yechury, 62, is a member of the party's politburo and the leader of its Parliamentary group.
 
Speaking to journalists later, Mr Yechury said the challenge before the party was to safeguard the unity and integrity of the country and protect it against communal and divisive politics. He said the party would continue to struggle against economic policies of the government which were casting a heavy burden on the people.
 
A topper in the higher secondary examination conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education, Mr Yechury did his B. A. (Hons.) in Economics from St Stephen's College, Delhi and his M. A. in Economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. He had joined JNU for a Ph. D. in Economics, but this was aborted because of his arrest during the Emergency.
 
Mr Yechury joined the Students Federation of India (SFI) in 1974 and the CPI (M) a year later.
 
After the Emergency was lifted, he was elected as the President of the JNU Students' Union. He went on to become the President of the SFI. He was elected to the Central Committee of the CPI(M) in 1985, the Central Secretariat in 1988 and to the politburo at the Fourteenth Congress in 1992. He was elected to Rajya Sabha from West Bengal in July 2005.
 
Mr Yechury succeeds Mr Karat, who held the post for three consecutive terms from 2005.
 
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Satyam fraud: Ramalinga Raju, brother, eight others get seven years in jail

 
Satyam case: Raju gets seven years in jail
A court here today convicted and sentenced to seven years of rigorous imprisonment Satyam Computer Services Ltd (SCSL) founder-Chairman B Ramalinga Raju and his brother and then SCSL Managing Director B Rama Raju in the biggest case of corporate fraud in the country.
 
In all, the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM), Hyderabad today convicted 10 accused persons -- Mr Ramalinga Raju, Mr Rama Raju, Mr Vadlamani Srinivas, then CFO, SCSL; Mr  S.Gopalakrishnan, then Auditor, PricewaterhouseCooper; Mr Talluri Srinivas, then Auditor, PricewaterhouseCooper; Mr B. Suryanarayana Raju, then Director, SRSR Advisory Services Ltd.; Mr. G.Ramakrishna, then Vice President (Finance), SCSL; Mr. D. Venkatapati Raju, then Senior Manager (Finance), SCSL; Mr C. Srisailam, then Assistant Manager (Finance), SCSL and Mr. V.S.Prabhakar Gupta, then Global Head, Internal Audit, SCSL in the case.
 
Apart from the Raju brothers, the other eight persons were sentenced to undergo seven years of rigorous imprisonment with fine ranging from Rs. 26 lakhs to Rs 31 lakhs.
 
Mr Ramalinga Raju had been released from the Chanculguda Central Jail here on November 5, 2011 after the Supreme Court granted them bail after he had spent 32 months in jail.
 
He was arrested in January 2009 after he admitted to inflating the financial accounts of Satyam Computer Services, then India's fourth-largest software services provider. He was charged in 2010 on seven counts including forgery, criminal conspiracy and falsification of accounts.
 
He was briefly granted bail in 2010 by the Andhra Pradesh High Court. But the Supreme Court cancelled it in October 2010 after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a petition in the apex court against the order of the High Court.
 
Satyam had plunged into a crisis when Mr Ramalinga Raju resigned on January 7, 2009 after disclosing that profits had been overstated for years and that $ 1 billion of cash and bank balances on the company's books did not exist.
 
The government, in the days that followed, removed the directors of the company and appointed six new directors to look after Satyam's operations. One of the new directors, former NASSCOM president Kiran Karnik, was on February 6, 2009 named as the chairman of the company.
 
In mid-April of that year, Satyam's new Board of Directors, appointed by the Government, selected Venturbay Consultants Private Limited, a subsidiary controlled by outsourcer Tech Mahindra Limited, as the highest bidder to acquire a controlling stake in the company. Tech Mahindra paid Rs 1756 crore to acquire 31 per cent of Satyam at a price of Rs 58 per share and later made an open offer to acquire another 20 per cent of the shares of the company. 
 
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The company was later, in June 2009 rebranded as Mahindra Satyam. In June 2013, Tech Mahindra and Mahindra Satyam completed the process of merger of the two companies.
 
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had, on February 19, 2009, registered a case against Mr Ramalinga Raju and others on the request of the Andhra Pradesh government and further orders of the Government of India.
 
The agency said its investigation proved that the accounts of SCSL were fudged for over a decade and there was a hole to the tune of approximately Rs. 5040 crores in the balance sheet as in September 2008. The institutional investors lost about  Rs 1611crores, there was a mark to market loss of more than Rs 14,000 crores, it said.
 
The CBI said the accused fudged the accounts, overstated the profits and revenues, suppressed the liabilities and availed bank loans to the tune of about Rs. 1220 crores based on forged Board Resolutions. The accused had wrongly projected a false growth of around 25% every quarter, projected a current account balance of Rs 1841 crores as against Rs 128 crores, wrongly reflected fixed deposits of Rs. 3,319 crores as against Rs. 11 crores. FD interest of Rs 375 crore was as against actuals of mere Rs. 7 lakh, it said.
 
According to the CBI, Mr Ramalinga Raju, Mr Rama Raju and Mr Srinivas had perpetrated the fraud for over a decade before it  came to light in 2009. It said employees like Mr Ramakrishna, Mr Venkatapathi Raju and Mr Srisailam had actively assisted the Rajus, while the statutory auditors and the internal auditor had knowingly failed to point out the fraud and actively connived with the brothers in suppressing the fraud.
 
It said the third brother, Mr Suryanarayana Raju, had assisted the other two in offloading the shares during the fraud period and in circulating the proceeds of the crime.
 
Following the verdict, the Rajus and the others were taken into custody by the CBI and later taken to the Cherlapally Central Prison here.
 
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Air India introduces direct flight from Visakhapatnam to Port Blair

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National carrier Air India today introduced a direct flight from the coastal city of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh to Port Blair in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
 
The airline already connects Port Blair to Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bhubaneswar.
 
A press release from the airline said the new flight was in addition to its daily direct flights on the Kolkata - Port Blair sector with an A319; Chennai - Port Blair with A321 aircraft; between Delhi - Visakhapatnam with an A321 aircraft and another flight between Delhi and Port Blair via Bhubaneswar twice a week with a CRJ-700 aircraft.
 
"This flight will help capacity addition to this tourist destination. The direct flight will be a time saver for travel between Visakhapatnam and Port Blair and give a fillip to tourism and industry at both the places," the release said.
 
Earlier passengers wanting to travel between these two places had to either take the sea route or travel through other metros involving a night stay.
 
The flight AI487/488 will operate with an all economy 168 seater A320 aircraft. The flight will operate on the route Delhi - Visakhapatnam - Port Blair and back, two days a week on Mondays and Thursdays. 
 
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Flight AI487 will leave Delhi at 0700 hrs and land at Visakhapatnam at 0915 hrs, depart Visakhapatnam 0955 hrs and arrive Port Blair at 1210 hrs. The return flight AI488 will leave Port Blair at 1250 hrs, land at Visakhapatnam at 1505 hrs, depart Visakhapatnam 1550 hrs and reach Delhi at 1805 hrs.
 
Visakhapatnam, also known as Vizag, is one of the largest cities in Andhra Pradesh and a commercial and financial centre. It is known for its heavy industries, steel plant, seaport, natural harbour and shipyard. The city is also the headquarters to the Eastern Naval Command of the  Indian Navy.
 
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TN announces compensation for those killed in encounter with AP police

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As questions continued to be raised over the gunning down of 20 alleged red sander smugglers by the Andhra Pradesh Police in an encounter in the Chittoor district of the state yesterday, the Tamil Nadu government today announced a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the next-of-kin of those from the state killed in the incident.
 
According to various sources, 12 of the 20 killed were labourers from the Tamil Nadu and the incident is turning into a feud between the two neighbouring states. 
 
Andhra Pradesh police officials said the policemen had opened fire in self-defence after they came under attack by the smugglers and labourers engaged by them in the Seshachalam forest.
 
The encounters took place at two spots within a kilometre of each other in Chandragiri mandal of Chittoor district, about 500 km from state capital Hyderabad, between 5 am and 6 am yesterday.
 
The police and personnel of the forest department had launched a joint operation in the area on Monday night after receiving inputs that a gang of smugglers had entered the forests and started felling trees.
 
The officials said that more than a hundred smugglers and labourers hired by them had attacked the police with sickles, axes, stones and other sharp-edged weapons.
 
According to the sources, 11 men were killed in the encounter at Pacchinodu Banda and nine near Etagunta.
 
Chittoor District Collector Siddharth Jain has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident, official sources said.
 
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam wrote to his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Nara Chandrababu Naidu yesterday, expressing his distress over the incident.
 
"Many of these persons are reportedly from Tiruvannamalai and
Vellore districts of Tamil Nadu. While it is possible that these persons may have been engaged in illegal activities, the occurrence of such high casualties in the operation raises concerns whether the Task Force personnel acted with adequate restraint. Even if the persons had been engaged in illicit tree cutting, efforts could have been made to apprehend them rather than take such drastic action and cause such high casualties," he said.
 
Mr Panneerselvam urged Mr Naidu to order a credible and speedy inquiry into the matter so that the facts are established and responsibility fixed for possible human rights violations.
 
"In case of any human rights violations, it is essential that action is taken against those who caused the deaths and appropriate compensation is paid to the families of the victims," he said.
 
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also issued notices in this regard to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police (DGP) of Andhra Pradesh, taking suo motu cognizance of media reports about the incident.
 
"According to the media reports, the incident took place at Etagunta and Vacchinodu Banda hamlets, in the deep forest in Chandragiri Mandal. From the media reports, it appears that police and forest officials opened fire as the smugglers attacked them with stones, axes and knives," a press release from NHRC said.
 
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"The matter was immediately brought to the notice of NHRC Member Mr. Justice D. Murugesan who is camping in Thiruvananthapuram in connection with the camp sitting of the Commission. He observed that the incident involved a serious violation of human rights of the individuals and the opening of firing cannot be justified on the ground of self defence since it resulted in the loss of lives of 20 persons.
 
"Accordingly, notices have been issued to the Chief Secretary and the DGP of Andhra Pradesh calling for report explaining the act of police and forest officials within two weeks. The matter shall be taken up for hearing in the Camp Sitting of the Commission to be held at Hyderabad on 23rd April, 2015," the release said.
 
The Commission also noted that the incident has taken place at a time when a similar incident was reported from the bordering districts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in the month of December, 2014 wherein Andhra Pradesh forest officials were seen physically torturing and assaulting a man in a naked position and reports are awaited from concerned authorities and the issue is under consideration of the Commission.
 
The gunning down of the 20 men has also attracted sharp criticism from human rights organisations.
 
Amnesty International India said the killings must be investigated in a swift, thorough, and independent manner and, if they are found to be unlawful, those responsible should be brought to justice.
 
“There must be a criminal investigation to determine whether the police used excessive force, and whether the killings amount to ‘fake encounters’, or staged extrajudicial executions”, said Abhirr VP, Senior Campaigner at Amnesty International India. 
 
“In many cases the so-called smugglers are poor woodcutters employed by organized gangs,” said Abhirr. “The curbing of red sandalwood smuggling must not be used as an excuse to ignore human rights.”
 
Red sander (scientific name: Pterocarpus santalinus), also known as red sandalwood, has been placed by the IUCN in its Red List for being an endangered species. It is restricted to be southern parts of the Eastern Ghats in India.
 
Occurring in dry deciduous forest, the tree is commercially valuable for its timber and for the extraction of dye, medicine and cosmetics. It is valued for the rich red colour of its wood, which is not aromatic, unlike the Santalum Sandalwood trees that grow natively in South India.
 
Red sander is a light-demanding small tree, growing to 8 metres in height with a trunk 50–150 cm diameter. It is fast-growing when young, reaching 5 metres tall in three years, even on degraded soils. 
 
Furniture made from red sander is expensive and it has been one of the most prized woods for millenia. It is particlarly valued in China, where it is called zitan, and most of the smuggled wood ends up in that country.
 
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AP police gun down 20 people in action against red sander smugglers

At least 20 people were gunned down by the police in two separate encounters in the early hours of Tuesday during action against red sander smugglers in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.

 
20 red sander smugglers illed in Chittoor encounter
At least 20 people were gunned down by the police in two separate encounters in the early hours of today during action against red sander smugglers in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.
 
Police officials said the policemen opened fire in self-defence after they came under attack by the smugglers in Seshachalam forest in two places within a kilometre of each other in Chandragiri mandal of Chittoor, about 500 km from Hyderabad, between 5 am and 6 am today.
 
The police and personnel of the forest department had launched a joint operation in the area last night after receiving inputs that a gang of smugglers had entered the forests and started felling trees.
 
The officials said that more than a hundred smugglers and labourers hired by them had attacked the police with sickles, axes, stones and other sharp-edged weapons.
 
According to the sources, 11 men were killed in the encounter at Pacchinodu Banda and nine near Etagunta.
 
The police and forest officials have launched a combing operation in the area to track the remaining smugglers and labourers who had escaped into the forest.
 
Efforts were being made to identify those who died in the firing, but many of them are believed to be labourers from neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
 
Meanwhile, Chittoor District Collector Siddharth Jain has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident, official sources said.
 
Some policemen and forest personnel suffered injuries in the encounters, but details were not immediately available, they said.
 
Today's firing has come as the latest episode in a series of clashes between red sanders smugglers and the police. In December 2013, two forest officials were killed and three injured in an attack by the smugglers in the Seshachalam forest.
 
Following that, the state police set up a special task force to deal with the problem. Three smugglers were killed in May last year. Hundreds of smugglers have been arrested and more than 2000 tonnes of red sander seized.
 
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Red sander (scientific name: Pterocarpus santalinus), also known as red sandalwood, has been placed by the IUCN in its Red List for being an endangered species. It is restricted to be southern parts of the Eastern Ghats in India.
 
Occurring in dry deciduous forest, the tree is commercially valuable for its timber and for the extraction of dye, medicine and cosmetics. It is valued for the rich red colour of its wood, which is not aromatic, unlike the Santalum Sandalwood trees that grow natively in South India.
 
Red sander is a light-demanding small tree, growing to 8 metres in height with a trunk 50–150 cm diameter. It is fast-growing when young, reaching 5 metres tall in three years, even on degraded soils. 
 
Furniture made from red sander is expensive and it has been one of the prized woods for millenia. It is particlarly valued in China, where it is called zitan, and most of the smuggled wood ends up in that country.
 
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BHEL commissions second 800 MW supercritical boiler at Krishnapatnam

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had commissioned the second 800 MW supercritical boiler at Sri Damodaram Sanjeevaiah Thermal Power Plant (SDSTPP) at Krishnapatnam in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.  
 
This is the second 800 MW rating and also the highest rating (800 MW) indigenous boiler to be commissioned in the country, a press release from the company said here
 
The first 800 MW boiler was commissioned earlier by BHEL at the same project on August 28, 2014.
 
"The commissioning of the two 800 MW boilers at Krishnapatnam is a  an important development for the country seeking to achieve self-reliance in the field of contemporary, state-of-the-art supercritical technology and demonstrates BHEL's capability in the area of supercritical technology. Supercritical technology is expected to lower coal consumption and eco-friendly and efficient power generation," it said.
 
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Centre provides Rs 2303 crore to AP to bridge resource gap in FY 2014-15

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The Union Ministry of Finance has decided to provide financial support of Rs 2303 crore to the Government of Andhra Pradesh to bridge the resource gap of the financial year 2014-15.
 
This is in pursuance to Section 46(2) of the Andhra Pradesh Re-organisation Act 2014, an official press release said here today.
 
The Ministry of Finance had earlier released an amount of Rs.500 crore as an ad hoc grant to bridge the resource gap. Now, the balance amount of Rs.1803 crore has been released for this purpose on 31st March, 2015, the release added.
 
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Centre okays Rs 1500 crore as budgetary support to AP for new capital

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The Union Ministry of Finance has approved Rs 1500 crore by way of budgetary support for Andhra Pradesh for its new capital, an official press release said here today.
 
This is in consonance with Section 94(3) of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014.
 
The approved amount includes Rs. 1000 crore for support to essential amenities for the new capital for which necessary approval has been given to Ministry of Urban Development. 
 
Another Rs. 500 crore has been approved which would be spent exclusively for construction of Raj Bhavan, State Secretariat, State Assembly and High Court and in the new Capital of Andhra Pradesh. 
 
A letter of approval has also been sent by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India to the Union Ministry of Urban Development in this regard, the release added.
 
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Six charred to death in blast at fire crackers unit in Visakhapatnam

 
Six die in blast at fire cracker unit in Vizag
At least six persons were charred to death and five others suffered injuries in a blast at a fire crackers manufacturing unit at Gokulapadu village in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh yesterday evening, police said.
 
Police said the unit was a licensed fireworks manufacturing facility.
 
Those killed included three men, two women and a child, they said. The victims included workers at the unit, members of their families and at least one bystander, they said.
 
The injured were rushed to hospitals in the city, where they are undergoing treatment.
 
People from the nearby village rushed to the scene when they heard the blast but it was gutted within minutes. They managed to pull out the injured.
 
The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained but preliminary information suggested that the owner of the unit had stocked up on chemicals to execute a large order he had received.
 
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Alstom begins manufacture of coaches for Kochi Metro at Sri City

The car body shell for Kochi Metro unveiled at Alstom Transport India Limited's manufacturing facility at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh on March 21, 2015.
The car body shell for Kochi Metro unveiled at Alstom Transport India Limited's manufacturing facility at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh on March 21, 2015.
Alstom Transport India Limited has commenced the manufacture of coaches for Kochi Metro Rail Limited at its manufacturing unit at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh
 
Union Minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu unveiled the first "made in India" car-body shell for Kochi Metro at a function in Sri City yesterday.
 
Kerala Power And Metro Minister Aryadan Muhammed, Mr Varaprasad Rao Velagapalli, MP of Tirupati, Mr K.V. Thomas, MP of Kochi, Mr François Richier, Ambassador of France in India, Ms. Aude Flogny, Regional Director, South Asia, AFD and Mr. Dominique Pouliquen, Senior Vice President, Alstom Transport were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy jointed the function through teleconferencing from here.
 
Alstom was awarded a contract to supply 25 state-of-the-art Metropolis train sets to Kochi Metro. The first train sets are expected to be delivered in early 2016. 
 
Alstom is in charge of the design, manufacturing, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of 25 standard track gauge trains with an option to supply 25 additional metro sets. Each train will be composed of three cars, about 65 m long and with a capacity to carry up to 975 passengers. 
 
Recently, Alstom was awarded two more contracts for Kochi Metro Project to supply signalling, telecom and electrification solutions.
 
“KMRL expects that our rolling stock will be one of the fastest delivered coaches for any metro project in this country with the most modern design and advanced technology while also being cost effective. Efforts have been taken to enhance the customer experience to all possible aspects in the train," KMRL Managing Director Elias George said on the occasion.
 
Mr. Bharat Salhotra, Managing Director, Alstom Transport India, said: “With the commencement of production at Sri City for Kochi Metro, Alstom Transport in India has added yet another feather in its cap. These trains will be manufactured end-to-end at our world class manufacturing facility at Sri City, which is a manifestation of the government's ‘Make in India’ vision. The order from Kochi is our second metro contract in the country after Chennai and reaffirms our commitment to provide 100% localised, competitive, innovative and high value products for our customers to serve the ever growing urban and mainline transportation market in India".
 
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KG-D6 gas being supplied to RCF units in Maharashtra to be swapped with RLNG

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The Department of Fertilizers has allowed swapping of gas from Reliance Industries Limited's (RIL) Krishna Godavari (KG) D6 fields being supplied to Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers (RCF) units located in Maharashtra with regasified liquid natural gas (RLNG).
 
This will facilitate supply of additional gas volume to the tune of 2.2 MMSCMD to Andhra Pradesh(AP) and Telangana states, which can be used by independent power producers (IPPs) in the two states to produce 450 MW of power.
 
Of this, Telangana will have a share of 242 MW (53.89%) and Andhra Pradesh share will be about 208 MW, an official press release said.
 
IPPs located in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have pipeline connectivity with Reliance Gas Transportation Infrstructure Limited's(RGTIL) east-west pipeline.
 
RLNG terminals operational in the country as of now are located on the western coast and it is not possibe at present for it to flow from the western coast to Andhra Pradesh or Telangana.
 
"Therefore, direct RLNG supply to customers in AP and Telangana is not possible and can only be achieved through swapping of gas," the release pointed out.
 
According to it, GAIL (India) Ltd will enter into necessary contractual arrangements with RCF, RGTIL and AP IPPs and Telangana IPPs for supply of RLNG. 
 
"This will help in mitigating the power shortage in Telangana state, which would benefit the farmers having 18.62 lakh pump sets in saving rabi crops. Further, the unscheduled power cuts in Telangana state can be minimized to a great extent, which will also help the consumers of Telangana state and public at large. This will also help AP state to mitigate the power deficit and benefit the farmers of the state," the release added.
 
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Biennial election to fill five seats in AP Legislative Council on March 27

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The Election Commission today said it would hold biennial elections on March 27 to elect five membrs to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council by the members of the State Legislative Assembly.
 
At the same time, it said elections for several other seats in the Legislative Councils of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been held up because of inconsistencies in the number of seats allocated to the two councils after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
 
The five seats in the AP Legislative Council, for which elections would be held, include the four seats that would fall vacant because of the retirement of sitting members on March 29. The members are R. Padma Raju, Singam Basava Punnaiah, Gundumala Thippe Swamy and Nannapaneni Rajakumari.
 
An official press release from the Commission said that, as per Section 23 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014, the number of seats in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council to be filled through election by the Members of the Legislative Assembly has been being fixed as 17, but under Fourth Schedule read with Section 22(2) of the said Act, the number of Members in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council elected by the members of Legislative Assembly have been allocated as 16. 
 
In terms of Section 108 of the said Act, this inconsistency was referred by the Election Commission to the Central Government (Ministry of Home Affairs) for removing the said inconsistency. The Ministry of Home Affairs has advised that the said vacant seat may be filled up now. That is to say, election may be held to fill five vacancies instead of the four vacancies arising due to the retirement of four members.
 
The notification for the elections will be issued on March 10 and the last date for making nominations is March 17. Counting of votes will be taken up at 5 pm on March 27 after polling hours.
 
The release also said that seven members of the Legislative Council of Telangana, elected by the Members of the Legislative Assembly, are also retiring on March 29. It pointed out that there is inconsistency in the number of seats fixed for this category of seats under Section 23 of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014, which is 14, and the number of members allocated under the Fourth Schedule of the Act, which is 15.
 
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"In view of this, matter was referred to the Central Government (Ministry of Home Affairs), under Section 108 of the Act to remove the inconsistency. The response from the Central Government is still awaited. Once the matter is resolved by the Central Government, action will be taken by the Commission for the filling up of these seats in accordance with the law," it said.
 
Similarly, three and eight members of the Legislative Councils of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, respectively, elected by the members of the Local Authorities’ Constituencies of the respective States are also retiring on March 29 and May 1 on the completion of their term. In addition to these, eight seats in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council and one seat in the Telangana Legislative Council, of members elected by the members of the Local Authorities’ Constituencies of the respective States, are lying vacant on the retirement of the members during 2013 as elections could not be held to fill up these seats in time because the Local Authorities were not in existence at the relevant time.
 
"Now the Local Authorities are in existence and elections have to be held to fill up these seats also. However, as there are inconsistencies in the AP Reorganization Act, 2014 pertaining to the number of seats fixed under Section 23 of the Act and the number of seats allocated under Third Schedule of the Act. for this category of seats, the matter was referred to the Central Government (Ministry of Home Affairs) for removal of the inconsistencies. The response from the Central Government is still awaited. 
 
"As soon as the inconsistency is resolved by the Central Government, action will be taken by the Commission to fill up these seats, in accordance with the law," the release added.
 
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Govt. to set up Indian Culinary Institute at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh

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The Union Ministry of Tourism is setting up an Indian Culinary Institute (ICI) at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh with a Northern Region Centre at Noida, Uttar Pradesh. 
 
Minister of State for Tourism Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha yesterday that the institute would offer programmes such as B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Culinary Arts; Diploma in Food & Beverage Service Management; short-term skill and knowledge upgradation programmes and skill and competency certification for practising chefs.
 
Mr Sharma said a technical committee was being constituted, with academic and industry experts, to plan and design course structure for basic and advanced culinary studies. An international collaboration is also being explored with a renowned culinary school, he said.
 
Among other things, the ICIs will promote research and innovation, document and create data base specific to Indian cuisine, commission studies and survey on Indian traditional cuisine, help trans-boundary propagation of Indian cuisine, as part of strategy for tourism promotion, develop cuisine tourism and provide trained manpower support in the form of speciaised faculty to the existing institutes of hotel management and to the hotel industry.
 
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Minor earthquake jolts Guntur region of Andhra Pradesh

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale, shook the Guntur region of Andhra Pradesh this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 16.7°N and longitude 80.1°E, occurred at 0609 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Renowned film producer Daggubati Ramanaidu passes away

File photo of D Ramanaidu.
File photo of D Ramanaidu.
Well-known film producer Daggubati Ramanaidu, who had been honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest honour in Indian cinema, in 2009, passed away at a hospital here today after a prolonged illness.
 
He was 78. The funeral will be held tomorrow.
 
Ramanaidu had been battling prostate cancer for the past few months and breathed his last this afternoon.
 
During a long and illustrious career, Ramanaidu produced about 150 films in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and other languages under his banner, Suresh Productions, now headed by his elder son, D. Suresh. Popular actor D. Venkatesh is also his son. Upcoming actor Rana Daggubati is his grandson. 
 
Ramanaidu's death was announced by Venkatesh, who came out of their residence to say that his father had died at 2.30 pm. He said the body would be kept at Ramanaidu Studios here tomorrow morning before the funeral.
 
Ramanaidu was a doyen of the film industry and had introduced several actors, directors, music directors and technicians through his production house. He also holds the world record for producing the highest number of films. He had made guest appearances in some of his films.
 
The government had honoured him with the Padma Bhushan, the country's third highest civilian honour, in 2012.
 
Some of his successful films include Prem Nagar, Mundadugu, Soggadu, Jeevana Tarangalu, Devatha, Sangharshana, Prathidwani, Aha Na Pellanta, Prema, Indrudu Chandrudu. His latest film was Gopala Gopala, starring Venkatesh and Pawan Kalyan. His Hindi movies include Tohfa, Insaf Ki Awaz and Prem Qaidi.
 
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Governor E S L Narasimhan condoled the passing away of Ramanaidu, saying it had created a vacuum in the country's film industry.
 
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao said Ramanaidu had been instrumental in getting the Telugu film industry to relocate to Hyderabad from Chennai.
 
"He was a great man who worked hard to churn out several blockbusters in Telugu cinema industry. His contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema is immeasurable. He was also a great philanthropist," Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said.
 
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Ramanaidu had dabbled for some time in politics and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Bapatla constituency in Andhra Pradesh in 1999 as a candidate of the Telugu Desam Party. He failed, however, in his bid to get re-elected in 2004.
 
Born on June 6, 1936 in an agricultural family, Ramanaidu was always interested in activities like theatre, and became a partner in a film production agency. During this period, he came in contact with well-known actors of the time, including Akkineni Nageshwara Rao.
 
He played some minor roles in films and, in between, worked in the tobacco industry and later in the brickmaking business. 
 
He produced his first film, Anuragam, under the banner of Anuroopa, a production company set up by one of his relatives.
 
He went on to set up Suresh Productions with some of his friends and produced Raamudu Bheemudu in 1964, which turned out to be a big hit and he never looked back.
 
In 1988 he set up Ramanaidu Studios, with all kinds of facilities to enable people to walk in with a script and walk out with the final copy of their film, ready for release.
 
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Centre to provide Rs 350 crore to backward districts of AP during 2014-15

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The Centre has decided that funds amounting to Rs 350 crore, at the rate of Rs 50 per district, will be provided to the Andhra Pradesh government for development activities in seven backward districts of the state in 2014-15.
 
An official press release said that, in terms of Section 46 (2) and Section 46 (3) of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, the Union Government is committed to support Andhra Pradesh by providing a special development package to backward areas and Rayalaseema and North coastal region of the state. 
 
The release said that, besides this, an inter-ministerial Joint Committee, constituted by Ministry of Home Affairs, is also taking stock of the situation of Government of Andhra Pradesh to make recommendations to bridge the likely resource gap in the Central Budget 2014-15. 
 
However, an adhoc support of Rs. 500 crore for the current financial year will be provided to Andhra Pradesh, pending recommendations of the committee, it said.
 
In terms of Section 94(1) of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, the Union Government has to provide appropriate fiscal measures, including offer of tax incentives, to the successor States, to promote industrialisation and economic growth in both the States.
 
The release said that, in this regard, the following decisions have been taken:  
 
i. The manufacturing industries set up in the backward region, as notified, would be given 15% additional depreciation on new plant and machinery in the first year of installation. 
 
ii. An additional investment allowance of 15% would be given to industries set up in the backward regions, as notified, for investments made in new plant and machinery in any of the 5 years for which additional concession would be notified. Even if the investment is made in the 5th year, the investment allowance would be available. 
 
iii. The additional depreciation allowance, and investment allowance will be provided without insisting on an investment of above Rs. 25 crore. 
 
Several other proposals including proposals of Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) are under examination, the release added.
 
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Justice Lingala Narasimha Reddy appointed Chief Justice of Patna High Court

Justice Lingala Narasimha Reddy
Justice Lingala Narasimha Reddy
The President has appointed Mr Justice Lingala Narasimha Reddy, Judge, High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for the State of Telangana and the State of Andhra Pradesh, to be the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court.
 
An official press release said the appointment would be with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office. 
 
Mr Justice Reddy, 61, who has already taken up his new assignment on January 2, completed his B. Sc. degree in the C K M College, Warangal before obtaining a Bachelor's as well as Master's degree in Law from the Osmania University in Hyderabad.
 
He was enrolled with the Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh in February 1979. He served as the Senior Central Government Standing Counsel for the Government of India in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh for some time. 
 
He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the High Court on September 10, 2001 and as a permanent judge on July 31, 2002.
 
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14 killed, 40 injured as bus falls into gorge in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh

 
14 killed, 40 injured as bus falls into gorge in Andhra Pradesh
At least 14 people, mainly students of an engineering college, were killed and 40 others suffered injuries when a bus carrying them veered off the road and fell into a deep gorge on the Penukonda-Madakasira road in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh today.
 
District officials told NetIndian that those killed in the mishap included a girl. While 13 of them, including the girl, were students returning to their college, one person was a forest guard.
 
Eight of the injured, who were in a serious condition, were rushed to Bangalore, about 175 km away, while the rest were admitted to nearby hospitals in Anantapur and other places.
 
The officials said the mishap occurred around 0745 hours, at a spot about 450 km from here, when the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) bus, carrying about 60 passengers, swerved suddenly near a culvert, that was under repairs, to avoid hitting an oncoming autorickshaw.
 
Senior district and police officials rushed to the spot to supervise the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu deputed three state ministers to the scene of the accident. He also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh for the next-of-kin of those killed and Rs 2 lakh for those who have suffered serious injuries.
 
In Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the accident and extended his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. He also wished a speedy recovery to those injured in the accident. 
 
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Cabinet okays amendment to increase seats in AP Legislative Council

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The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for amending section 23(1) and section 23(2)(i)(a) of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 to rectify the anomaly in allocating the number of seats in Andhra Pradesh State Legislative Council and to enhance the total number of seats to 58 as per the provisions of the Constitution. 
 
Since the existing strength of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly is 175 and 1/3rd of its strength is constitutionally permissible, it is proposed to increase the strength to 58 MLCs from current strength of 50 MLCs, an official press release said.
 
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