Andhra Pradesh

Andhra techie strangled to death in "honour killing", parents held

In an apparent case of "honour killing", a 26-year-old software engineer who got married three days to a colleague belonging to another caste was found strangled to death at her residence in Guntur yesterday morning, and police today arrested her parents as suspects in the case.
The girl was found dead in the house, strangled to death with a "chunni" (stole), police said.
Her parents, who were missing yesterday, were arrested from a nearby village today, they said.
The girl had got married herenon March 21 to her colleague, also a software engineer with a local firm.
According to her husband, her parents, on learning about the marriage, came here and persuaded the two of them to go with them to Guntur, along with his parents.
The youth and his parents checked into a hotel there, while the girl went with her parents.
When there was no answer to his calls to her mobile telephone, the youth got worried and informed the police, who went to her house and found her dead in one of the rooms.The girl's parents were not there.

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Shikhar Dhawan to lead SunRisers Hyderabad in IPL

Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan
Batsman Shikhar Dhawan has been named the captain of SunRisers Hyderabad and Darren Sammy the vice-captain for the seventh season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) beginning April 16.
"Shikhar Dhawan, with his significant contribution as a batsman in the previous season, has retained his position in the team not just as a crucial opener in the batting order but as the appropriate choice to extend his captaincy role in Champions League to the upcoming IPL as well," a press release from the team said.
"Shikhar Dhawan with his reputation for a mesmerising stroke-maker, who mixes power and panache in equal measure, is sure to lead the pack with his team-building leadership streak," it said.
The release said Sammy was an integral part of the team’s success in the last season and will now support Dhawan "with his impressive contribution with both the bat and the ball".
"In top form as a right-handed batsman and a fast-medium bowler, Darren Sammy’s experience in the sport as an all-rounder, as West Indies Captain of the ongoing T20 World cricket and his consecutive association with the franchise promises to lead the players as a team all the way up to the playoffs as in the previous season," the release added.

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Battle against forest fire in Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh continues

The major forest fire in Tirumala area, near the famousTirupati Temple, in Andhra Pradesh has been brought under control by the combined ground and air operations of Army and Air Force which are likely to continue till tomorrow, an official press release said here today.
The Air Force and Army continued with the fire fighting operations for the second day today to contain the raging fires in Seshachalam Forests that were inching closer to the Tirupati Temple, it said.
Two MI-17 V5 helicopters continued dousing the fire ferrying water using Bambi buckets. These helicopters were pressed into operations since early morning and flew 16 shuttles throughout the day. Aerial recce was conducted with District Commissioner and representative of the Temple Trust onboard a light Air Force helicopter. 
Meanwhile the C-130 continued scanning the areas for any remnants of the fire in the nearby jungles, the release from the Ministry of Defence said.
"HQ Integrated Defence Staff is in touch with the authorities of the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam and continuously monitoring the Armed Forces response," it added.

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Army, Air Force launch joint action to control forest fire in Tirumala

A coordinated effort by the Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) helped to control a huge forest fire in the Tirumala area of Andhra Pradesh, near the Tirupati temple, yesterday.
An official press release said here that the Ministry of Defence had received a message from the State Government around 1500 hours yesterday, informing it that a fire had broken out in the area and was inching towards the famous temple.
The Defence Crisis Management Group, an apex level body of Defence Forces for managing disaster situations, chaired by the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, immediately swung into action and within 15 minutes, a coordinated and integrated response was undertaken by the Army and the Air Force, it said.
Continuous aerial recces were launched by the Air Force to ascertain the extent of damage and spread of fire.
Initially an AN-32 aircraft carried out a recce of the area at 1800 hrs yesterday to provide full overview of the problem.
Another light helicopter based recce was launched an hour later. In the night, a C-130 aircraft got airborne at 2330 hrs and with its sophisticated gadgetry, recced the affected areas for fire spread that could affect the temple.
Two MI-17 V5 helicopters with Bambi buckets, with a capacity of 4000 litres of water each, reached Renigunta Airport and commenced the task of fire fighting. The helicopters carried out four sorties wherein all forest fires burning near the temple were extinguished. 
Two Army columns have also been moved from Chennai and reached Tirupati at 0400 hrs today. These are deployed to assist the State Administration in dealing with the crisis. 
"HQ Integrated Defence Staff is in touch with the authorities of the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam and continuously monitoring the Armed Forces response. The helicopter operations are likely to continue till tomorrow," the release added.

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BJP names Hari Babu as head of Seemandhra unit, Kishan Reddy for Telangana

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Rajnath Singh today appointed Mr K Hari Babu as the president of the Andhra Pradesh (Seemandhra) unit of the party.
Mr G Kishan Reddy has been appointed as the president of the party's unit in the new state of Telangana, a press release from the BJP said.
Mr Somu Veeraju has been appointed as the Convener of the Election Management Committee of Andhra Pradesh (Seemandhra), the release added.

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SpiceJet places $4.4 billion order for 42 B737 MAX 8s

Boeing B737 Max. Image: Boeing
Boeing B737 Max. Image: Boeing
Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet announced it had placed an order valued at $ 4.4 billion for 42 Boeing B737 MAX 8 aircraft.
The announcement was made jointly by SpiceJet and aircraft manufacturer Boeing at the India Aviation 2014 air show here. 
The order, previously listed as unidentified on the Boeing Orders & Deliveries website, is valued at $4.4 billion at list prices, a press release from Boeing said.
"SpiceJet greatly values the ties we have built over the years with Boeing. The Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft, the mainstay of the fleet ever since SpiceJet started operations, have vindicated our choice by their endurance, reliability and cost effectiveness," said Mr S.L. Narayanan, Group CFO for The Sun Group, which owns SpiceJet.
"The induction of Boeing 737 MAX will further modernize our fleet, improve customer experience, and ensure that we operate the most efficient fleet well into the future," he said.
According to the release, the 737 MAX brings the most advanced engine technologies to the world's best-selling airplane, building on the strengths of today's Next-Generation 737. 
"The 737 MAX incorporates the latest-technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market," it said.
"The order is a tremendous endorsement of the 737 MAX's unsurpassed fuel efficiency," said Mr Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president of Asia Pacific and India Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The capabilities of the 737 MAX supports SpiceJet's mission to become India's preferred low-cost airline. We are very proud to be partners with SpiceJet and a part of the airline's continued success with the addition of the 737 MAX."
The release said development of the 737 MAX was on schedule with firm configuration of the airplane achieved in July 2013. First flight is scheduled in 2016 with deliveries to customers beginning in 2017. 
"Already a market success, the 737 MAX has accumulated more than 1,800 orders to date and will have 8 percent lower per-seat operating costs than the future competition," it said.
With today's announcement, SpiceJet has ordered 90 airplanes directly from Boeing, which includes the 737-800, 737-900ER and now the 737 MAX. To date, SpiceJet has taken delivery of 31 of the airplanes, the release added.

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India Aviation 2014 to begin in Hyderabad on Wednesday

The 4th International Exhibition and Conference on Civil Aviation, India Aviation 2014, will be organised jointly by the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) at Begumpet Airport, Hyderabad for from tomorrow.
This year, the theme of the five-day event, the country’s largest civil aviation exhibition, will be ‘Enhancing Air Connectivity’. 
Minister for Civil Aviation Ajit Singh will formally inaugurate the show tomorrow and Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L Narasimhan will be the chief guest at the opening ceremony. 
Karnataka will be the state in focus at India Aviation, while the United States will be the partner country. France will be the guest country.
More than 250 exhibitors including Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Dassault and Rolls Royce are participating in the event. 
The biggest aircraft in the world, Airbus A-380 and Dreamliner Boeing 787, will be special attractions at the air show. 
The show will be open for general public on March 15 and 16. The initial three days are reserved exclusively for business community in which big deals are expected to be signed. At present, India ranks ninth with nearly 400 functional aircrafts and by 2020 the country will be in third position, with the number of aircrafts expected to go up to 1000. 
To mark the occasion, aerobatics flying display will be presented by two teams from London. There will be two shows every day.
The Ambassador of France, Mr Francois Richier, Director of US Trade and Development Agency, Ms Leocadia I. Zak and Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Mr Ashok Lavasa are among those who will attend the exhibition.
CEOs Forum Conference, static displays and demonstration flights will be the other highlights of the event, an official press release added.

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Defence Ministry orders inquiry into mishap at Vizag ship building centre

The Ministry of Defence today said it had ordered an inquiry into the incident at the Ship Building Centre in Visakhapatnam in which a worker was killed and two others suffered injuries.
An official statement said here that the accident occurred last evening while construction major Larsen & Toubro, an industrial partner, was undertaking preparatory activities of Hydro Pressure Test of a tank inside a building at the centre.
"The test of the component was part of the standard industrial process being carried out by the industrial partner at the facility. 
"The accident led to the unfortunate death of a worker and injury to two other workers of M/s Larsen & Toubro. Immediate medical attention was provided and the injured workers are now stable," it said.
The statement said no defence personnel were involved in the accident and it was in no way related with any nuclear-related activity.
"The submarines are safe and the accident does not adversely affect the project activities or the activities of Indian Navy or DRDO," it said.
"Work related to the pressure system involved in accident has been suspended till the cause is established and mitigating measures are put in place. 
"An inquiry has been ordered by the Department of Defence R&D to investigate the accident," the statement added.

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Former Union Minister D Purandeswari joins BJP

D Purandeswari decided to join BJP over AP bifurcation
Former Union Minister Daggubati Purandeswari, who had quit the Congress last month in protest against the move to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh to carve out a new state of Telangana, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here yesterday.
Ms Purandeswari, 54, is the daughter of late Telugu film star and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N T Rama Rao.
Before formally joining the BJP in the presence of its president Rajnath Singh, she had called on party leaders L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley here yesterday.
Talking to newspersons, she said that she had been hurt by the manner in which the Telangana Bill had been pushed through Parliament
She said that the Bill, when introduced in the Lok Sabha, did not contain the many assurances that had been given by the Congress earlier to take care of the concerns expressed by people of the Seemandhra region.
Talking to mediapersons in the presence of senior party leader M Venkaiah Naidu here yesterday, Ms Purandeswari recalled that she had sent in her resignation from the party to Congress President Sonia Gandhi as soon as the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha.
She said she had decided to join the BJP because she had been assured by it that the promises made by it to protect the interests of the Seemandhra region would be kept.

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Kiran Kumar Reddy announces plans for new party

Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who had quit office and the Congress on February 19 to protest against the decision to bifurcate the state to carve out a new state of Telangana, has announced his decision to form a new party ahead of the coming elections.

Kiran Kumar Reddy announces plans to float new political party
Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who had quit office and the Congress on February 19 to protest against the decision to bifurcate the state to carve out a new state of Telangana, has announced his decision to form a new party ahead of the coming elections to the Lok Sabha as well as the state legislative assembly.
"We are starting a new party to uphold the dignity and prestige of the Telugu people, not only in the state but wherever they are living," he told newspersons here yesterday.
Mr Reddy had resigned from office a day after, amid noisy schenes, the Lok Sabha passed the Andhra Pradesh Reorganizatin Bill, which sought to bifurcate the state to create Telangana as the 29th state of the Union.
He said the Government had violated rules, conventions and procedures while getting the Bill passed hastily and the manner in which it was done was insulting to the Telugu people.
He said the name, symbol, polices and programmes of the new party would be announced at a public meeting at Rajahmundry in coastal Andhra Pradesh on March 12.
He was flanked by some of the members of Parliament (MPs) who were expelled by the Congress for disrupting proceedings in the House on the Telangana issue.

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Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill receives assent of President

The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014, which seeks to carve out a new state of Telangana from the existing state of Andhra Pradesh and was passed by Parliament during the recently-concluded winter session, has received the assent of President Pranab Mukherjee.
It has now been published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part-II, Section-1, dated the 1st March 2014 as Act No. 6 of 2014, an official press release from the Ministry of Law & Justice, said here today.

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Former BJP President Bangaru Laxman passes away in Hyderabad

Bangaru Laxman
Bangaru Laxman
Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Bangaru Laxman, who was caught on camera, in a sting operation by investigative news website Tehelka, accepting money in his room at the party's headquarters in 2001, passed away in a private hospital here this evening after a prolonged illness.
He would have turned 75 on March 17. He is survived by his wife, three daughters and a son. His wife Sushila was a member of the 14th Lok Sabha, representing Jalore in Rajasthan.
Mr Laxman, who was a former Union Minister, had been under treatment for a kidney ailment for some time and had been admitted to the Yashodha Hospital in Secunderabad on February 3. He breathed his last around 5.45 pm today after suffering a cardio-pulmonary arrest, hospital sources said.
Laxman was born on March 17, 1939. He joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the age of 12. He completed his B.A. and LL.B. and worked for some time in the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Department, the Railways and the Accountant General's Office before resigning in 1969 to join the Jana Sangh, the predecessor of the BJP, to begin a full-time career in politics.
He was associated with several trade unions and was detained during the Emergency for more than 16 months.
He was the president of the Andhra Pradesh unit of the BJP between 1986 and 1988. He was a member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council from 1985 until it was abolished in 1986. 
He was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat in April 1996 and in October 1999 was inducted into the Union Council of Ministers as Minister of State in the Ministry of Planning and Programme Implementation. In November 1999, he was made Minister of State in the Ministry of Railways.

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AP, MP jointly win National Award for Comprehensive Development of Tourism

Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have jointly won the first prize in the category of Best State/Union Territory: Comprehensive Development of Tourism" at the National Tourism Awards for 2012-13 announced here yesterday.
The second and third prizes in this category went to Kerala and Gujarat, respectively. 
The awards were presented by Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor.
Jammu & Kashmir was awarded in the category of Best State/UT under the North-East and J&K Region. 
Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh won the prize for the Best Civic Management of a tourist destination in Category ‘A’ City. 
The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Mr.Hugh & Ms. Colleen Gantzer, who are an Indian, writer-photographer, husband-and-wife team. They launched the first travel column in a national daily in India in August, 1977. 
The Lifetime Achievement Award in the Hospitality Sector was given to the historians Mr. Aman Nath and Mr. Francis Wacziarg for their pioneering work in creating international consciousness on the heritage of Shekhavati and also restoring some 30 properties across 10 States in India. 
The best Tourism Film Award went to M.P.State Tourism Development Corporation's television commercial “Rang Hai”.
The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad was awarded for the Best Airport (Class ‘X’ cities). 
The Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala was awarded for Most Innovative use of Information Technology/Website/Portal.
Bangalore city Railway Station was awarded for Best Tourist Friendly Railway Station. Andhra Pradesh won the prize for best Film Promotion-friendly State. 
Yatra Online Pvt. Ltd was awarded as the Best Domestic Tour Operator (Rest of India) category. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, won the award for the Best Hotel in Five-Star Deluxe Category while the Best Heritage Hotel in Grand category went to Fateh Prakash Palace, Udaipur.
ITC Maurya, New Delhi, won the award for Best Eco-friendly hotel. Ms. Arti Thapa, Food Craft Institute, Hoshiarpur, won the award for Best Lady Chef. 
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Tharoor said that tourism was a vital segment to leverage the culture and progress of the country and earn precious foreign exchange. He said that the huge variety of tourism opportunities in India as well as the variety of cuisine and cultural experience that India offered made the country “truly incredible”. 
He said that increasing the tourist inflow was a challenge, considering the fact that a small country like France with a population of just around 5% of India’s population was able to attract 83 million tourists which is almost 12 times of the foreign tourist inflow in India. He outlined the number of steps that have been taken to facilitate the entry of tourists to India. He expressed the hope that this would enable the share of India in the global tourism to increase from the present 0.6% to 1% in the year 2016. 
The National Tourism Awards are given annually by the Ministry of Tourism to felicitate outstanding work both in the public sector and the private sector under different fields associated with tourism. 
The following is the list of awardees: 
1.    Best State/Union Territory Comprehensive Development of Tourism (Rest of India) First Prize (Joint Winner): Andhra Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh
2.    Best State/Union Territory Comprehensive Development of Tourism (Rest of India) Second Prize: Kerala
3.    Best State/Union Territory Comprehensive Development of Tourism (Rest of India): Third Prize: Gujarat
4.    Best State Comprehensive Development of Tourism (North-East and J&K): Jammu & Kashmir
5.    Best Civic Management of a Tourist Destination (Category A City):  
Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, UP
6.    Best Civic Management of a Tourist Destination (Category B City):  
Pachmarhi, Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh
7.    Best Civic Management of a Tourist Destination (Category C City):  
Kumarakom Grama Panchayat, Kerala
8.    Best Heritage City: Tirupati City, Andhra Pradesh
9.    Best Heritage Walk: Pune Heritage Walk
10...Excellence in Publishing - English: Outlook Group for
Outlook Traveller Getaways-Heritage holidays in India.
11.  Excellence in Publishing – Hindi: Department of Information & Public Relations (Soochna Evam Jan Sampark Vibhag), Government of Uttar Pradesh
12.  Excellence in Publishing – International Languages other than English: Chhattisgarh Tourism Board  
13.  Lifetime Achievement Award: Ms. Colleen & Mr. Hugh Gantzer
14.  Lifetime Achievement Award in the Hospitality Sector: Mr. Francis Wacziarg & Mr. Aman Nath, Neemrana Hotel
15.  Atithidevo Bhava Award: Md. Sardar  & Srinivasa Raju, HMV Drivers of AP Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC)
16.   Award of Excellence –Best Tourism Promotion Material (Private Stakeholder) –Joint Winners:: Le Passage to India Tours & Travels Pvt Ltd 2. Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.
17.   Award of Excellence – Best Tourism Promotion Material (State Government/UT Administration): Department of Tourism, Government of Karnataka
18.   Award of Excellence – Best Film on Tourism: Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation Ltd for ‘Malang’
19.   Most Innovative use of Information Technology: Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala
20.   Best Airport (Class X cities): Rajiv Gandhi Airport, Hyderabad
21.   Best Airport (Rest of India): Swami Vivekananda Airport, Raipur, Chhattisgarh
22.   Tourism Friendly Railway Station: Bangalore City Railway Station
23.   Best Maintained and Disabled Friendly Monument: Golconda Fort, Hyderabad
24.   Best Responsible Tourism Project, ‘The Ladakh Eco - Tourism Initiatives’
25.   Best Rural Tourism Project: Rural Tourism Projects in Sikkim
26.   Most Innovative and Unique Tourism Project: Kochi Muziris Biennale Project, Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala
27.   Best Film Promotion Friendly State: Andhra Pradesh
28.   Best Tour Operator Promoting Niche Segments Other than Adventure and MICE: Thomas Cook (India) Ltd
29.   Best Overseas Tour Operator to India from United Kingdom: Kuoni, UK
30.   Best Overseas Tour Operator to India from North America: SITA World Tours, USA & Canada
31.   Best Overseas Tour Operator to India from Latin America – Joint Winner: Worldview Tours, USA 2.  RAIDHO Tour Operator, Brazil
32.   Best Overseas Tour Operator to India from Europe: TUI Travel PLC, Spain
33.   Best Overseas Tour Operator to India from East Asia: H.I.S. Company Ltd, Tokyo, Japan
34.   Best Overseas Tour Operator to India from Australasia: Adventure World, Sydney, Australia
35.  Best Overseas Charter Operator to India from Central Asia including Russia: Tour Operator Kompas LLP, Kazakhstan
36:  Best International Charter Operator for India: Pegas Touristik, Russia
37.  Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category I) – First Prize:  
Le Passage to India Tours & Travels Pvt Ltd, New Delhi
38.  Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category I) – Second Prize:  
Kuoni Travels (India) Pvt Ltd, Gurgaon
39.  1. Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category I) – Third Prize:        
M/s Thomas Cook India Ltd & its subsidiaries
40.  Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category II) – First Prize: SDU Travels Pvt Ltd, New Delhi
41.  Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category II) – Second Prize:      
Caper Travel Company (P) Ltd, New Delhi
42.   Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category II) – Third Prize: Minar Travels (India) Pvt Ltd, New Delhi
43.   Travel Agents Inbound Tour Operator – (Category III) – First Prize: 
Yatra Online Pvt Ltd, Gurgaon
44.   Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category III) – Second Prize:  
GB Morrison Travels Pvt Ltd, New Delhi
45.   Travel Agents Inbound Tour Operator – (Category III) – Third Prize: 
Top Travel & Tours Pvt Ltd, New Delhi
46.   Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category IV) – First Prize:        
Travelite (India), New Delhi
47.   Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category IV) – Second Prize: 6. Midtown Travels Pvt Ltd, New Delhi
48.  Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category IV) – Third Prize: Erco Travels Pvt Ltd, New Delhi
49.  Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category V) – First Prize:       
Uni Crystal Holidays, New Delhi
50.  Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category V) – Second Prize:        
Adventure World (India) Pvt Ltd, New Delhi
51.  Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category V) – Third Prize: 
Razdan Holidays, New Delhi
52.  Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category VI) – First Prize:  
Great India Tour Company, Thiruvananthapuram
53.  Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category VI) – Second Prize:
First Tour India Pvt Ltd, Gurgaon
54.  Travel Agents / Inbound Tour Operator – (Category VI) – Third Prize:  
Hi-Life tour & Travels Pvt Ltd, New Delhi
55.  1. Tourist Transport Operator – (Category I) – First Prize: Parveen Travels Pvt Ltd, Chennai
56.  Tourist Transport Operator – (Category II) – Second Prize: KTC (India) Pvt Ltd
57.   Tourist Transport Operator – (Category I) – Third Prize: Bakshi Transport Services Pvt Ltd
58.   Tourist Transport Operator – (Category II) – First Prize: Ex Soldier Tourist Taxi Service, New Delhi
59.   Tourist Transport Operator – (Category II) – Second Prize: Alwar Tourist Transport Service, New Delhi
60.   Tourist Transport Operator – (Category III) – First Prize: Bal Tourist Transport Service, New Delhi
61.   Tourist Transport Operator – (Category III) – Second Prize: Shreya Travels, Nagpur, Maharashtra
62.   Domestic Tour Operators (Rest of India) – First Prize: Yatra Online Pvt Ltd, Gurgaon
63.   Domestic Tour Operators (Rest of India) – Second Prize: Southern Travels Pvt Ltd, New Delhi
64.   Domestic Tour Operators (Rest of India) – Third Prize: Heat Travels & Tours, Siliguri
65.   Domestic Tour Operators (North East Region including Sikkim): Heat Travels & Tours, Siliguri
66.   Domestic Tour Operators (Jammu and Kashmir): Yatra Online Pvt Ltd
67.   Adventure Tour Operator: Kash’ Venture Travels Pvt Ltd (KVT), New Delhi
68.   Best MICE Operator: Creative Travel Pvt Ltd, New Delhi
69.   Best Hotel (Five Star Deluxe): Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur
70.   Best Hotel (Five Star): Kumarakom Lake Resort, Kottayam
71.   Best Hotel (Four Star): Vivanta by Taj – Kumarakom
72.   Best Hotel (Three Star): Brunton Boatyard, Kochi
73.   Best Hotel (Two Star): Red Fox Hotel, Delhi
74.   Best Heritage Hotel (Heritage Grand): Fateh Prakash Palace - Heritage Grand
75.   Best Heritage Hotel (Basic): Gajner Palace, Bikaner
76.   Best Eco Friendly Hotel: ITC Maurya, New Delhi
77.   Hotel providing best facilities for the differently- abled guests: The Lalit, New Delhi
78.   Best Standalone Convention Centre: Leonia International Centre for Exhibition & Convention, Hyderabad
79.   Best Hotel Based Convention/Meeting Venue: Jaypee Palace Hotel & International Convention Centre, Agra
80.   Best Chef (4 to 5 Star Deluxe Hotels and Heritage Grand and Classic Hotels) – Joint Winner: Ramasamy Selvaraju, Rajan Loomba
81.   Best Chef (1 to 3 Star, Heritage Basic & Standalone Restaurant): Suman Sharma,, Corporate Chef – Eagle Group
82.   Best Lady Chef - Joint Winner: Ms. Arti Thapa

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Site clearance given for greenfield airport at Ongole in Andhra Pradesh

Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation K C Venugupal told informed Parliament that the Government had granted "site clearance" to Prakasham Airport Pvt Ltd for setting up of a greenfield airport at Ongole in Prakasham district of Andhra Pradesh.
In written replies to questions in the Rajya Sabha, he also said that the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad was among the airports identified for development as an international hub.
An `international airport` is an airport designated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Contracting State in whose territory it is situated as an airport of entry and departure for international air traffic. 
At such airports, formalities relating to Customs, immigration, public health, agricultural quarantine and similar procedures are carried out. On the other hand, a hub is an `international airport’ where facilities are planned to handle large volume of transfer/connecting passengers along with one or more carriers having a base at the airport with ability to provide wide network on domestic to domestic, domestic to international, international to domestic and international to international sectors. 
Besides Hyderabad Airport, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai International Airports have been identified for development as international hubs. 
As per the decision of the Union Cabinet in its meeting held on 9th May, 2013, a standing Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG) has been constituted to remove the bottlenecks and to provide the right coordination mechanism for the development of aviation hubs in India. 
Mr Venugopal said that, in the last three years, the Government had granted `in principle` approval to three greenfield airport projects: Karaikal in Pudducherry (2011), Shirdi in Ahmednagar district, Maharashtra (2011) and Aranmula in Kerala (2012). 
The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad is a greenfield that has already been made functional, he added.

LS passes Telangana Bill amid noisy scenes; Jagan calls for Andhra strike

The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill, which seeks to carve out a new state of Telangana out of the existing state of Andhra Pradesh, by a voice vote amid noisy scenes.

Telangana Bill passed in Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha today passed the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill, which seeks to carve out a new state of Telangana out of the existing state of Andhra Pradesh, by a voice vote amid noisy scenes.
The brief debate on the Bill was marked by a blackout of the live telecast of the proceedings and a walkout by members of the Janata Dal (United) and Trinamool Congress (TMC).
The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was amongst the parties which supported the Bill.
While the JD (U) objected to the manner in which the discussion was rushed through in the House, the TMC members were angered by the fact that there was no telecast of the debate.
Government sources said the blackout was caused by a technical hitch, but its detractors said it was a tactical move.
An amendment moved by Hyderabad MP Asauddin Owaisi, seeking to make the city the capital of only Telangana and not of both states for ten years as proposed in the Bill, was defeated.
YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy, who was among the Seemandhra members suspended from the House on February 13 for unruly behaviour during the introduction of the Bill, said today was a "black day" in the history of the country and called for a general strike in Andhra Pradesh tomorrow.
"We saw democracy being killed in broad daylight. The issue was taken up undemocratically against the will of the people of Andhra,” he told journalists.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who moved the Bill for consideration amid the din the House, said the Seemandhra region, consisting of the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh, would get a special financial package.
The Bill is now expected to be taken up for consideration by the Rajya Sabha tomorrow.
There was some commotion when some of the suspended members attempted to enter the House while the Bill was being debated and were stopped by marshals.
There was unusually tight security in the Parliament House complex today after last week's incident in which expelled Congress member from Vijayawada used pepper spray in the House to disrupt the proceedings. Ambulances and fire tenders were on standby. Barricades were set up on the roads leading to Parliament.
Before the Bill was taken up for consideration and passage, the Speaker informed the House that she had received notices of a lack of confidence in the Governent and requested for order so that she could ascertain if they were backed by 50 MPs. The notices were given by Seemandhra MPs.
When the din continued, with some members in the well of the House, she allowed Mr Shinde to move the Telangana Bil for consideration.

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Telangana: Congress MP uses pepper spray amid unprecedented ugly scenes in LS

It was clearly one of the darkest days for Parliamentary democracy in India when, amidst unprecedented ugly scenes, a member, Lagadapati Rajagopal, used pepper spray and others indulged in unruly behaviour as the Government introduced the controversial Bill for the creation of Telangana in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

It was clearly one of the darkest days for Parliamentary democracy in India when, amidst unprecedented ugly scenes, a member, Lagadapati Rajagopal, used pepper spray and others indulged in unruly behaviour as the Government introduced the controversial Bill for the creation of Telangana in the Lok Sabha today.
Members resorted to fisticuffs and broke microphones as they sought to prevent Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde from introducing the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Bill which seeks to carve out a new state of Telangana out of the existing state of Andhra Pradesh.
Both Houses of Parliament have been unable to transact any substantial business for the past many days, thanks to disruption caused by members from Andhra Pradesh, including from the Congress, for and against the creation of Telangana.
While members from the Telangana region want the new state to be formed at the earliest, those from Seemandhra and Rayalaseema are strongly opposed to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
Unprecedented scenes were seen today, as in the melee caused by some members trying to prevent the introduction of the Bill, with Mr Rajagopal using a small bottle of what appeared to be pepper spray to disrupt the proceedings.
Several members began coughing and complaining of a burning sensation in their eyes as Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House till 2 pm. There was some pushing and jostling and papers were snatched, and doctors on duty in Parliament rushed into the House to treat the affected members.
Meira Kumar suspends L Rajagopal, other Seemandhra MPs
At least three members were rushed to hospital for treatment of the effects of the gas. Several members were seen leaving the House with watery eyes and coughing.
Mr Rajagopal and five other MPs from Andhra Pradesh were expelled from the Congress just two days ago for persistently disrupting proceedings in Parliament and even giving notices of a no-confidence motion against the Manmohan Singh government.
Security officials do not frisk Members of Parliament before they enter the complex. But security was unusually tight for visitors and journalists today and security staff were especially on the alert because an MP had threatened self-immolation to protest introduction of the Telangana Bill.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson were not present in the House when today's incidents happened.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, Leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj and Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav were amongst those present.
"This has shamed us," Speaker Meira Kumar told journalists later. "Our Parliamentary democracy is admired throughout the world. What has happened today is a blot," she said.
Mr Kamal Nath said the Speaker should take strict action against those responsible for today's incidents. "This kind of attempted violence is a very big tragedy," he said.
He said leaders of several parties had condemned the incident and sought tough action against the members responsible. "I feel ashamed that such an incident has taken place," he told reporters, adding that the parties would urge the Speaker to take the strongest possible action in the matter.
Meanwhile, a Telugu Desam Party (TDP) member Venugopal Reddy, who allegedly brandished a knife during the melee, denied media reports to this effect. "I pulled a mike, it was not a knife," he said.
He is among those who are opposed to the move to create Telangana as the 29th state of India.

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Aditya Rao redesignated as VC and MD of Pennar Industries

Pennar Industries today said its Board of Directors had redesignated Its Vice-Chairman Aditya Rao as Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the company.
A press release from the company said he would be responsible for managing its operations and implementation of its strategic growth plans.
Mr Rao has previously established two of the fastest growing subsidiaries of Pennar Industries -- Pennar Engineered Building Systems and Pennar Enviro, the release added.

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SKS Microfinance completes securitisation deal of Rs 55.56 crore

SKS Microfinance Limited, India's only listed micro-lender, has said that it has completed a securitisation deal of Rs 55.56 crore -- its fifth  -- with a private sector bank.
The company said in a press release here yesterday that, with this, the total sum of securitizations completed during FY14 is Rs. 727.37 crore. 
The first four substantial securitizations were: Rs. 321 crore (on September 30),   Rs. 80.81 crore (on December 11), Rs. 215 crore (on December 19) and Rs. 55 crore (on December 30).
"SKS Microfinance Limited has downloaded the receivables from micro loans extended to more than 60,000 rural women entrepreneurs to a Special Purpose Vehicle, and Pass Through Certificates (PTCs) have been purchased by a private sector bank. The entire pool qualifies for priority sector treatment as per RBI's priority sector lending guidelines," the release said.
"The pool is rated A1 + (SO) by a leading rating agency signifying ‘a very strong degree of safety regarding timely servicing of financial obligation’.  Such instruments carry the lowest credit risk," the release added.

GVK Biosciences to acquire US-based Aragen Bioscience

Small-molecule contract research organization (CRO) GVK Biosciences today said it would acquire the capital stock of the United States-based privately-held pre-clinical CRO Aragen Bioscience, which specialises in high-value biologics services.
The acquisition will provide GVK Bio with world-class expertise in large molecule R&D services and a unique and extensive set of high-content biological services, a press release from the company said.
"Combined with GVK Bio’s established small molecule discovery and development capabilities, this expansion will uniquely position GVK Bio as a leading provider of integrated R&D services across both large and small molecule platforms and provides a base for further expansion," it said.
The release said the deal would enable GVK Bio to expand its service offering to a broader base of organizations and gives it expertise in biologics services and a significant US presence.  
The acquisition provides Aragen with the ability to expand its service offerings, access to GVK Bio's global sales force and access to new markets.   
"As an increasing number of biotech and pharmaceutical companies focus on protein based therapeutics and bio-similars, the acquisition of Aragen Bioscience will strategically enhance GVK Bio’s ability to offer high quality R&D services to the industry from a seamless integrated platform," Mr D. S. Brar, Chairman, GVK Bio, said.
"Aragen’s scientific excellence and expertise in large-molecule R&D services combined with GVK Bio's scale, resources, and global reach will create significant synergies for both companies," Mr Rick Srigley, President & CEO, Aragen Bioscience, said.
This is GVK Bio’s first international acquisition; the financial details were not disclosed. 

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High performance computing system Dhruva-3 inaugurated

Dhruva-3, the latest in a series of indigenous high-performance computing systems, designed and set up by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), was inaugurated in Hyderabad yesterday by DRDO Director General Avinash Chander, who is also the Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister.
The new system was inaugurated at the Advanced Numerical Research and Analysis Group (ANURAG) in Hyderabad.
Mr Chander said Dhruva-3 is a high-end facility and very useful for the design of aircraft, particularly Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) and other such aircraft where analysis of aerodynamics at high speed and under different conditions is required.
“It is one of the fastest computing facilities in the country and will also play a very good role in cyber security and information processing," he said.
Mr Chander appreciated the multi-dimensional capabilities acquired by ANURAG while retaining its core strength. He also visited various Work Centres in ANURAG and saw the indigenous microprocessors, System-on-Chips and Trusted Computing Systems developed by ANURAG. 
Dr K D Nayak, Distinguished Scientist & DG (Microelectronic Devices and Computational Systems), Mr C  VS Sastry, Outstanding Scientist & Director ANURAG and other senior DRDO officials were present during the event.
Mr Sastry said Dhruva-3 would be used for designing aero-frame structures, stress analysis of materials and simulation of complex systems. 

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Legendary Telugu film actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao passes away

Legendary Telugu film actor, producer and writer Akkineni Nageswara Rao, popularly known as ANR, passed away at a private hospital in Hyderabad on Wednesay morning.

Akkineni Nageswara Rao
Akkineni Nageswara Rao
Legendary Telugu film actor, producer and writer Akkineni Nageswara Rao, popularly known as ANR, passed away at a private hospital here this morning.
He was 90. He is survived by three daughters and two sons, one of whom is actor Nagarjuna. His wife Annapurna had predeceased him in 2011.
The actor, who was suffering from cancer, was rushed to the Care Hospital here around 2 am today after his condition worsened.
Sources at the hospital told NetIndian that he breathed his last at 2.45 am today.
His body was shifted to his residence and will be later kept at his Annapurna Studio here for his fans and admirers to pay their last respects.
Nageswara Rao had acted in 256 films during a long and distinguished career that lasted nearly 75 years. He had also appeared in several Tamil films.
Nageswara Rao was honoured by the Government with the Padma Vibhushan, the nation's second highest civilian honour, in 2011 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the top honour in Indian cinema, in 1990.
Born on September 20, 1923, Nageswara Rao was the youngest of five brothers in a poor farming family. His formal education was limited to primary schooling because of his parents' poor economic condition.
He started out as a stage actor, specialising in playing female characters because women, at that time, were not allowed to act.
Akkineni Nageswara Rao Passes Away
He had acquired quite a bit of fame as a stage artiste when a chance meeting with well-known producer Ghantasala Balaramaiah at the Vijayawada railway station led to a role in Dharmapatni, his first film, at the age of 17.
Over the next seven decades, he built an unparalleled career, winning three Filmfare Best Telugu Actor Awards along the way and travelling all over the world.
He is also credited with helping Telugu films move out of Chennai by building a base for them in Hyderabad. He established his own 22 acre production house, named Annapurna Studios after his wife, to facilitate this process.
During his career, Nageswara Rao played  a variety of roles, from a charming prince to a frustrated alcoholic lover, from a brave soldier to a saint, and from a college student to a government official. He did many mythological roles, including as Abhimanyu, Lord Vishnu, Narada and Arjuna. He also appeared in several comic roles as he emerged as the first Telugu superstar.
Some of the films in which he appeared are Maya Bazaar, Chenchu Lakshmi,  Bhookailash, Sri Krishnarjuna Yuddham, Balaraju, Rojulu Maraayi, Namminabantu, Missamma, Chakrapani, Preminchi Choodu, Laila Majnu, Anarkali, Batasari, Prem Nagar, Premabhishekam and Meghasandesham.
Premabhishekam, directed by Dasari Narayana Rao, is one of the biggest hits in Tollywood with an amazing 533-day run in Hyderabad.
Nageswara Rao was the first to do a double role in Telugu films and also played nine roles in Navarathri. He won acclaim for his portrayal of an alcoholic jilted lover in Devadasu, based on Sarat Chandra's famous Bengali character Devadas.
Other notable films done by him included Samsaram, Bratuku Teruvu, Aradhana, Donga Ramudu, Dr. Chakravarthi, Ardhaangi, Mangalya Balam, Illarikam, Shantinivasam, Velugu Needalu, Dasara Bullodu, Bharya Bhartalu, Dharmadata, Batasari, and College Bullodu.
Sitaramayyagari Manavaralu was released in 1991, 50 years after his debut, and was a huge success at the box office, though newer and younger stars had arrived on the scene.
ANR had enacted the roles of literary and cultural icons of different regions in India such as the great Sanskrit poet Mahakavi Kalidas of Ujjain; the celebrated musician saint  Bhakta Jayadeva of Odisha; the temple sculptor, Amarasilpi Jakkanna of Karnataka; the devotee saint Vipranarayana of Tamil Nadu; and the singer Bhakta Tukaram.
In October 2013, Nageswara Rao had held a press conference at which he announed that he had been diagnosed with intestinal cancer. He had recently undergone surgery and was reported to be recovering well.
Nageswara Rao had plans to appear in a Telugu family drama, Manam, with his son Nagarjuna and grandson Naga Chaitanya.
He was also a prolific writer and his books include an autobiogaphical work,  Nenu Na Jeevitham, an account of his first visit to the United States, Nenu Choosina America, and the recent Manasuloni Maata, a reflective work.
He established the ANR National Award in 2005, which is given annually to a person for his or her lifetime achievement in the Indian film industry.

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Dr. Reddy’s, Galena Biopharma announce partnership for NeuVax in India

Pharmaceutical major Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. today said it had entered into a strategic partnership with Galena Biopharma of the United States to develop and commercialize NeuVax (nelipepimut-S) in India. 
NeuVax is a vaccine aimed at preventing the recurrence of breast cancer in patients under remission, a press release from the company said.
According to it, under the terms of the agreement, Galena, which is based in Portland, Oregon, will license commercial rights of NeuVax to Dr. Reddy’s for breast and gastric cancers. 
Dr. Reddy’s will lead the development of NeuVax in gastric cancer, and help significantly expand the scope of therapy by addressing a new patient population. 
"Galena will receive development and sales milestones, as well as double-digit royalties on net sales. The licensing and development terms are conditioned to an agreement on ancillary activities," the release said.
“NeuVax promises to meet significant unmet need in breast cancer and gastric cancer patients especially due to late diagnosis for majority of the patients in India and therefore may have high probability of relapse of the disease," Mr Alok Sonig, Senior Vice President and Head of India Business (Generics), said.
“NeuVax potentially will reduce the risk of relapse significantly as demonstrated in successful phase 2 trials” he added.
“This partnership with Dr. Reddy’s is consistent with our strategy to expand the clinical utility of NeuVax in unmet medical needs while simultaneously increasing the commercial footprint of this innovative cancer immunotherapy,” said Mr Mark J. Ahn, Ph.D., President and CEO of Galena Biopharma.  
“Dr. Reddy’s is a global pharmaceutical company with significant commercialization and development expertise. The gastric cancer trial will add a significant indication to our pipeline for NeuVax, while doubling our potential patient population if approved," he added.

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Volvo bus fire: AP police arrest 4 employees of Bangalore travel firm

The Andhra Padesh Police's Crime Investigation Department (CID) today said it had arrested four employees of Jabbar Travels, a private firm in Bangalore, in connection with the fire on one of its Volvo buses which killed 45 people, including an infant, on October 30 last year.
Additional Director General of Police (CID) T Krishna Prasad said that, during the course of investigations, a CID team had visited Bangaloe and arrested the four employees -- Syed Akram Ahmad, Shabbir Khan, Amanulah Khan and Mohammed Rafeeq -- who are being forwarded to judicial custody.
The bus was on a journey from Bangalore to Hyderabad when it hit a culvert in the median near Palem village in Mahabubnagar district of Andhra Pradesh around 5 am on October 30 and burst into flames when its diesel tank was ruptured in the impact of the crash.
The bus, which belonged to Jabbar Travels, was said to be carrying about 52 people, including its driver and cleaner. There were six survivors, including the driver and the cleaner.
On the next day, the driver of the bus, Fairoz Basha, and Shakeen Jabbar, owner of the firm, were arrested and sent to judicial custody.
Mr Prasad said the CID investigation was based on a multi-disciplinary approach to examine the criminal culpability of, among others, Volvo, the manufacturers of the bus, and its distributors, the owners of the bus, the RTA authorities in Bangalore who gave the permit, the RTA authorities in Hyderabad, the bus operator, the National Highway authorities, and the National Highway contractors.
From the available evidence, the CID will slap relevant sections of the Motor Vehicle Act and the Indian Penal Code against the accused, he added.

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Dr. Reddy’s to launch Optidoz for treatment of hypertension

Pharmaceuticals major Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories today said that its Optidoz, a drug for the treatment of hypertension had been approved and woud be made available in the Indian market.
A press release from the company said Optidoz is a single pill combination of three anti-hypertensive drugs (Amlodipine 2.5mg, Telmisartan 20mg and Hydrochlorothiazide 6.25mg) with optimal (half of standard) dose of individual drugs.
It said the efficacy and safety of Optidoz had been established through a clinical study approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). 
The release said Optidoz would simplify the traditional, complicated step-care treatment approach for hypertension management. The prolonged blood pressure control with minimal adverse effects is expected to improve efficacy response in normalizing the blood pressure due to good tolerability with Optidoz and enhanced compliance in patients.
According to it, hypertension is the most prevalent chronic disease in India. Approximately 32% of the adult Indian population suffers from high blood pressure. Over the last six decades, the prevalence has increased twelve-fold in urban areas and seven-fold in rural areas. 
"While over 125 anti-hypertensive drugs are available in the Indian market, 76% cases of blood pressure still remain uncontrolled. Such a paradox is attributed to ineffective drug doses and non-adherence to therapy, which may lead to disease progression of co-morbid conditions like heart disease, heart failure, stroke and kidney diseases," the release added.

Telugu film actor Uday Kiran commits suicide: police

Telugu actor Uday Kiran allegedly commits suicide
Young Telugu film actor Uday Kiran allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself with a rope from the ceiling of his his house in the posh Banjara Hills area here last night, police said today.
He was 33.
Police said the actor's wife Vishita had gone out to attend a function and he was alone in the house when he allegedly killed himself.
His wife and some neighbours rushed him to the Jubilee Hills Apollo Hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival.
Police are investigating the reasons for the extreme step, but they said he appeared to have been in financial difficulties, with not many acting assignments in hand. He had returned recently from a visit to Chennai, they said.

No suicide note was found in the room, but police have recovered his mobile telephone, they said.
Police have registered a case of death under mysterious circumstances. Investigators conducted a preliminary examination in the room where Uday Kiran took the extreme step.
Born on June 26, 1980, Uday Kiran Vajapeyajula was a graduate in commerce from Wesley College in Secunderabad. He began his career with a stint in modeling before taking up acting.
He made his Tollywood debut under director Teja in Chitram in 2000, in which he played the lead character of a 17-year-old. That and his next two films -- Nuvvu Nenu and Manasantha Nuvve -- were big successes at the box office and earned him the title "Hat-trick Hero".
He later did romantic roles in films like Nee Sneham and Kalusukovalani. In 2001, he won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor - Telugu for his role as a hot-blooded youngster in the film Nuvvu Nenu. In the process, he became the youngest winner of the Filmfare best actor award after Kamal Haasan.
In 2006, He made his Tamil debut with the film Poi, directed by veteran K. Balachander. 
Some of his other movies include Sreeram, Avunanna Kaadanna, Nuvvekaddunte Nenakkadunta and Jai Sriram. In all, he had acted in 19 Telugu and Tamil films and won several awards.
He was engaged to actor Chiranjeevi's daughter Sushmitha in 2003, but it was called off later. Media reports of that time quoted Chiranjeevi as saying in a statement that the decision to call off the proposed wedding was taken by the two families due to "lack of compatibility" between the couple and "variation between their hopes and aspirations for the future".
Uday Kiran married Vishitha on October 24, 2012.

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