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Assam

13 killed, 15 injured as terrorists open fire near Kokrajhar in Assam

At least 13 people were killed and more than 15 others suffered injuries when a group of terrorists opened fire at a crowded weekly market near Kokrajhar town in Assam on Friday afternoon.

 
13 kiled in terror attack at Kokrajhar in Assam
At least 13 people were killed and more than 15 others suffered injuries when a group of terrorists opened fire at a crowded weekly market near Kokrajhar town in Assam this afternoon.
 
Sources said the three or four masked gunmen, wearing Army-style fatigues, struck at Balajan Tiniali near the town, about 220 km west of Guwahati, around noon, leaving at least 12 civilians dead.
 
The gunmen arrived in an autorickshaw, hurled grenades and then opened fire indiscriminately in the market before fleeing from the scene.
 
Security forces managed to shoot down one of the militants and have launched a manhunt for the remaining men, who are believed to have escaped into a nearby forest.
 
The attack has taken the security forces as well as the Assam Government and the Centre by surprise. Media reports quoted top police officials as saying that they suspected the militants were part of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Songbijit (NDFB-S) faction.
 
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who was in Delhi, told journalists that both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Narendra Modi had been in touch with him and had promised all help from the Centre to tackle the situation. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval met Mr. Sonowal to discuss the latest developments.
 
Condemning the attack, Mr. Sonowal said the state government was committed to ensuring protection of the lives and property of the people of Assam. He said the security forces would deal strictly with the situation.
 
He said the Director General of Police (DGP) of Assam and other senior officials were rushing to the scene of the incident.
 
Mr. Sonowal announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 5 lakh for the next-of-kin of those killed in the attack and Rs. 1 lakh each for those who suffered injuries. He also appealed to the people of Assam to maintain peace and harmony. 
 
The Chief Minister said senior Minister Hemanta Biswa Sarma had left for Kokrajhar.
 
Reports said additional columns of the Army and teams of para-military forces had been moved to the area. Police officials said an AK-56 rifle and some grenades were recovered from the scene.
 
The injured persons were rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment even as security forces cordoned off the area and launched a combing operation.
 
In Delhi, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju described the incident as "unfortunate" and said it had taken place at a time when peace was returning to the state. 
 
“This incident has given us a shock and it is unfortunate so many people have lost their lives," he said, adding that the elements behind the "dastardly" attack would have to be identified.
 
This is the first major incident of violence in Assam since Mr. Sonowal assumed office as the head of the first Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the stte on May 24 this year.
 
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Heavy turnout of voters in first phase of Assembly polls in West Bengal, Assam

More than 80.92 percent of the voters exercised their franchise in the first phase of polling in the elections to the legislative assembly of West Bengal and 78 percent in Assam amidst tight security on Monday.

More than 80.92 percent of the voters exercised their franchise in the first phase of polling in the elections to the legislative assembly of West Bengal and 78 percent in Assam amidst tight security today.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful in both the states, with no major untoward incident reported from anywhere, official osurces said.
 
In West Bengal, voting was held today in 18 constituencies in Phase IA of polling. They include six seats in Paschim Medinipur, nine in Purulia and three in Bankura district.
 
These constituencies have a total electorate of 40,09,171 voters, including 20,47,202 men and 19,57,453 women. There are 4500 service electors in these constituencies.
 
There were a total of 133 candidates in these constituencies, including 11 women.
 
The Election Commission had set up 4945 polling stations and made elaborate arrangements to ensure a smooth poll in these constituencies.
 
As many as 65 constituencies went to the polls in the first phase of voting in Assam. There were 566 candidates in all, including 44 women. Prominent candidates in the fray included Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi of the Congress, who is seeking a fourth conseccutive term, and Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the chief ministerial candidate of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
 
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Five killed as magnitude 6.7 earthquake hits Manipur, other NE states

At least five people were killed when a strong earthquake, measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale, hit Manipur and other North-Eastern states of India and neighbouring countries like Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan in the early hours of Monday.

 
Massive 6.7 quake strikes northeast India
 
At least five people were killed when a strong earthquake, measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale, hit Manipur and other North-Eastern states of India and neighbouring countries like Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan in the early hours of today.
 
Official sources in Imphal said more than 45 people had been reported injured in the quake.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.8°N and longitude  93.5°E, occured at 0435 hours at a focal depth of 17 km.
 
According to IMD, the epicentre of the earthquake was in Tamenglong district of Manipur, about 35 km from Imphal, the state capital.
 
The tremors were also felt in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar, among other places.
 
Initial reports from Manipur spoke of damages to many buildings and houses. People in many places ran out of their homes to safety as a precautionary measure. Many people posted pictures of damaged buildings and walls with cracks on social media sites. Some government offices and a six-storeyed building in Imphal were among those affected.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke over the telephone to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is on an official visit to Assam, and asked him to oversee the situation.
 
Mr. Modi also spoke to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki on the situation.
 
The Manipur Government has sought the assistance of the Army and the Assam Rifles in the rescue and relief efforts.
 
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said Mr. Modi was continuously monitoring the situation.
 
Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been instructed to move from Guwahati to the areas affected by the earthquake.
 
Mr. Rajnath Singh said he had spoken to Mr. Gogoi and the Manipur Chief Secretary about the situation and assured them of all possible help from the Centre.
 
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"I'm also contacting other North Eastern states to know the extent of damage caused by the earthquake," he added.
 
In New Delhi, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is coordinating with the State Governments concerned, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Defence (Mod), NDRF, Ministry of Communications and other Departments and agencies for seach, rescue and relief efforts.
 
NDMA officials have spoken to the Control Rooms and Relief Commisioners of all the States in the North-East and West Bengal.
 
Communication systems are functioning, particularly those of state-owned BSNL, in the affected areas.
 
The National Crisis Management Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary held a meeting here this morning to assess the situation and provide all necessary help from the Government of India.
 
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1 dead, 14 hurt in twin blasts on Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai station

A 24-year-old woman was killed and 14 others suffered injuries in twin blasts which occurred in two coaches of the 12509 Bangalore-Guwahati tri-weekly express train minutes after it pulled into the Chennai Central station on Thursday morning.

 
Chennai train blasts: 14 injured passengers stable
A 24-year-old woman was killed and 14 others suffered injuries in twin blasts which occurred in two coaches of the 12509 Bangalore-Guwahati tri-weekly express train minutes after it pulled into the Chennai Central station here this morning.
 
Southern Railway sources said two of the injured had suffered serious grievous injuries while the others had received minor injuries.
 
Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Mishra told reporters at the scene that the "minor intensity" blasts occurred in sleeper coaches S4 and S5 at about 7.15 am, some ten minutes after the train arrived on platform number 9.
 
Three coaches of the train -- S3, S4 and S5 -- were affected by the two explosions, the sources said.
 
The deceased passenger was identified as Ms Swati who was travelling from Bangalore to Vijayawada on her way to her home town of Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, he said. Media reports said she was an employee of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
 
Sources said the blasts appeared to have been caused by some devices placed under seat 70 of coach S4 and seat 30 of coach S5.
 
Mr Mishra said the train was running slightly late and had arrived at the station at 7.05 am instead of its scheduled time of 5.45 am.
 
The injured were rushed immediately to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital near the station.
 
Minister of Railways Mallikarjun Kharge has sanctioned an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh for the next-of-kin of the deceased passenger, Rs 25,000 for each of those with grievous injuries and Rs 5,000 for each of those with minor injuries.
 
Police officials, accompanied by dog squads and bomb disposal squads, rushed to the scene of the blasts immediately and platform number 9 was cordoned off.
 
The entire train was checked by the police and it later resumed its journey to Guwahati, Assam after the affected coaches were detached and replaced with new coaches.
 
Mr Mishra said the entire train was being checked and it would resume its journey to Guwahati, Assam an hour later after the two affected coaches are detached.
 
The Railways have set up a helpline at Chennai on telephone number 044-25357398 to provide information to relatives of the passengers of the affected train.
 
Operations on other platforms as well as on the nearby suburban section continued to remain normal, Mr Mishra added.
 
A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from Hyderabad will reach Chennai later today to probe the incident.
 
Security was intensified at Chennai Central railway station after the incidents.
 
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Among the seriously injured passengers, one was identified as Sumantho Devnath (37, Male), while the other was an unidentified male.
 
Those with minor injuries were identified as follows:
 
1. Shaiful Haque – 27 years Male
2. Anjanedu– 29 years Male
3. Vimal Kumar Das – 43 years Male
4. Shagun Kumar Rai– 23 years Male
5. Altaf Khan – 17 years Male
6. Uma – 35 years Female
7. Jitendra Mohanto Deka – 58 years Male
8. Sari – 21 years Male
9. Murali – 27 years Male
10. Bijoy Kumar – 14 years Male
11. Sudanchand Debnath – 64 years Male
12. Surendra Varma– 31 years Male
 
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At least 40 drowned, scores missing after ferry carrying 300 people sinks in Assam

Rescue teams continued to search for survivors on Tuesday after a ferry carrying about 300 passengers, capsized in the Brahmaputra river in the western Assam district of Dhubri Monday evening, killing scores of people and leaving many more missing.

Map of Dhubri district
Map of Dhubri district

Rescue teams continued to search for survivors today after a ferry carrying about 300 passengers,  capsized in the Brahmaputra river in the western Assam district of Dhubri yesterday evening, killing scores of people and leaving many more missing.

Official sources said at least 40 bodies had been fished out, but scores of people were missing and they felt the toll could be much higher. The sources also said about 60 people had managed to swim to safety.
 
Rescue efforts by personnel of the Army, the Border Security Force, the National Disaster Response Force, the state police and the district administration were hampered overnight because of the bad weather and darkness. 
 
Details about the tragedy remained sketchy because it happened in a very remote location and also because the bad weather had disrupted communication links with the area.
The ferry was filled with passengers far beyond its capacity, many of them returning from a weekly market, and they included several women and children. People of the area are known to be good swimmers, but, given the weather conditions at the time of the mishap and the strong undercurrents in the river, there are fears that not many would have survived, the officials said.
 
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The boat was said to be on its way from Dhubri town to Medertari ghat when it got caught in the storm. It was tossed around and finally broke into three parts around 5 pm, the sources said.
 
The weather had cleared considerably by this morning and more rescue teams were being rushed to the area and helicopters were being pressed into service to help them.
 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced an ex-gratia assistance to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragedy.
 
An official press release said an assistance of Rs 2 lakh would be given to the next-of-kin of each of the deceased from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund. 
 
Dr Singh had earlier spoken to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and offered all possible help to the state government in the relief operations.
 
By late this evening, official sources said the final toll could be much lower than initially estimated.
 
They said the capsized ferry had been brought to the river bank and, contrary to fears, no bodies were found in it.
 
They also said that divers scoured the area where the ferry was found for hours today and did not find any body.
 
The officials said the entire downstream of the river was being searched for victims. At this stage, it would appear that many more people than initially thought had managed to swim to safety, on the one hand, and that the number of people on the boat could have been lower than given out yesterday, they added.
 
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Chidambaram welcomes ULFA ceasfire; says it wil lead to peace, normalcy in Assam

The Centre on wednesday welcomed the announcement made by ULFA on Tuesday to cease all forms of armed campaign for an indefinite period to create a conducive atmosphere for the peace talks with the government.

File photo of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram
File photo of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram
The Government of India today welcomed the announcement made by the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) yesterday to cease all forms of armed campaign for an indefinite period to create a conducive atmosphere for the peace talks with the government and expressed confidence that it would contribute to peace and normalcy in Assam.

"It is expected that a Suspension of Operation (SoO) Agreement will be signed and ground rules for observing the agreement will be finalised in the near future. Government of India, in consultation with Government of Assam, will facilitate an early start to the talks," Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said in a statement here.

He recalled that, in February 2011, the leaders of ULFA, including its Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, had called on the Assam Chief Minister, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and him and expressed their desire to seek a political solution to their demands.

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"Subsequently, the government of Assam and the Government of India have been in touch with the leaders of the organisation. Government has always expressed its willingness to hold a dialogue with any militant group that will abjure violence, lay down arms and seek a solution through peaceful and democratic means.

"Government of India is confident that the announcement by ULFA will contribute to peace and normalcy in Assam," Mr Chidambaram added.

In a statement yesterday, Mr Rajkhowa had said that the ceasefire shall be with immediate effect and binding on all its cadres.

"The ULFA, with a view to explore a lasting peaceful resolution of the ongoing conflict, resolves to cease all forms of armed campaign for an indefinite period,'' he said.

''All members of the organisation are commanded hereby to scrupulously implement the decision in letter and spirit and any infringement thereof will be considered as an anti-organisational act and shall be dealt with accordingly," he said.

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The ULFA leader said he had declared the ceasefire in accordance with a decision in the 5th general council of the outfit on February 22, which had authorized him to make the announcement, whenever needed.

Mr Rajkhowa said the decision to declare the ceasefire was in keeping with the desire by all to create a conducive atmosphere for political dialogue.

Referring to the ULFA leadership’s meeting with the Prime Minister, the Union Home Minister and the Assam Chief Minister, among others, he said, ''In the course of such exchanges, everybody has expressed their earnest desire that an honourable, meaningful discussion should continue in a peaceful atmosphere conducive for political negotiations.''

Mr Rajkhowa is leading the ULFA faction that is engaged in formal talks with the government, though a section of the outfit, led by its elusive ‘c-in-c’ Paresh Barua, has stayed out of the peace process.

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37 killed, over 270 injured in two train accidents in UP, Assam

At least 37 people were killed and over 270 injured today when over a dozen coaches of two superfast Express trains got derailed in Uttar Pradesh and Assam.

A TV grab of Kalka mail, which derailed at Fatehpur-Kanpur (UP) on July 10, 2011. UNI PHOTO
A TV grab of Kalka mail, which derailed at Fatehpur-Kanpur (UP) on July 10, 2011. UNI PHOTO
At least 37 people were killed and over 270 injured today when over a dozen coaches of two superfast Express trains got derailed in Uttar Pradesh and Assam.

At least 37 people were killed and over 200 injured when 12 coaches of the 12311 Up Howrah-Kalka Mail derailed near Malwan railway station on the Howrah-Delhi route of the North-Central railway in Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh.

In another mishap, at least 70 people were injured, 30 of them critically, when a suspected blast derailed four coaches and overturned four others of the Guwahati-Puri Express in lower Assam's Nalbari district this evening.

Police sources here said 37 passengers have been killed in Kalka Mail accident and the death toll could rise as many passengers were still trapped inside two derailed coaches.  However, unconfirmed report put the death toll at over 50.

More than 250 injured are undergoing treatment in different hospitals. As many as 190 of them were admitted to the district hospital here and 54 were admitted to private nursing homes in Kanpur and Fatehpur.

Four helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) were deployed to help in the rescue operations. Several seriously injured passengers were rushed to hospital by army jawans.

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Passengers of the ill-fated train complained of delay in the rescue and relief efforts by the Railways.

A special train has been made available from Kanpur for the passengers of the Kalka Mail for their onward journey. Besides, food packets and water bottles have been provided to the passengers, railway officials said.

NCR spokesman Sandeep Mathur told UNI from Allahabad that the derailed coaches included two AC three-tier, one AC two-tier, two general, five sleeper, one pantry and an SLR coach.

He said 11 coaches had been totally damaged and gas cutters were being used to bring out the passengers from the derailed coaches. The train was running at a speed of 108 kms per hour when the accident occurred.

"A medical relief train with seven doctors and medical equipment has reached from Allahabad. A similar train from Kanpur has also reached the spot," Mr Mathur said.

All the derailed coaches either had overturned or climbed onto other coaches, he said.

Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal, along with some of the members of the Board and the Director General of Railway Protection Force (RPF), has rushed to the spot.

The Railways announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of those killed in the mishap, Rs 1 lakh for the critically injured and Rs 25,000 for those with minor injuries.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has expressed her grief over the accident and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh for the kin of the deceased, Rs 50,000 for the critically injured and Rs 25,000 for victims with minor injuries.

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State Cooperative Minister and Bahujan Samaj Party state president Swami Prasad Maurya, along with UP Chief Secretary Anoop Mishra, have reached the spot and were supervising the relief and rescue operations.

Rescue efforts had picked up with Army jawans taking full control of the operation. A 150-member team from National Disaster Response Force had also reached the scene. Railway officials said the rescue work would continue overnight. Official said the restoration of the route would take at least 48 hours.

The railway officials were yet to establish the cause of the derailment.

In the district hospital, there was a shortage of beds and many of the injured were forced to lie on the floor. Most of the deceased were yet to be identified except for one Kallo Devi (35) of Kanpur. A woman died with her infant child on her lap.

The railways have asked Commissioner Railway Safety P K Vajpayee to inquire into the accident.

Regarding the second incident, Northeast Frontier Railway sources said it occurred at Bhatkuchi, between Rangiya and Ghograpar railway stations.

The train had left Guwahati railway station at 1915 hours on its way to Puri and the accident occurred at about 2020 hours, the sources said.

Four coaches of the train derailed and fell into a paddy field, while four more overturned. All the coaches involved were those immediately behind the engine.

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The sources said preliminary findings pointed towards a blast on the tracks, though confirmation is yet to be received. Passengers of the ill-fated train as well as people of nearby villages also claimed that they had heard a loud explosion just before the accident.

The injured were being rushed to Rangiya and Guwahati, where the state government has issued orders for treatment of the victims on a priority basis. The condition of at least 30 injured was stated to be critical.

Rescue and relief teams have reached the spot and were trying to ensure that no person was trapped in the coaches as well as providing medical aid to those injured.

The main railway line through the section has been blocked following the incident and trains were being diverted via Goalpara, the sources said.

The NFR has set up following helpline numbers after the accident: 0361-2737154/2737155/2731621/622/623 and 9957554804.

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Australian tourist falls to death from Assam hotel

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An Australian tourist fell to his death from a hotel in Assam capital Guwahati, police said on Sunday.
 
William Marinus fell from the third floor of the hotel around 11.20 p.m. on Saturday.
 
"Four Australians and an Indian, including William, were staying in our hotel. They checked in around 3 p.m. on Saturday after returning from Shillong," said a hotel staff.
 
"They were having a room party when we got a call around 11.20 about an accident. Hotel staff called emergency service personnel, who said William had already died."
 
Police said that a case of unnatural death was registered and an investigation launched to find out the circumstances leading to his death.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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CCEA okays expansion, upgrading of integrated terminals at Chennai, Guwahati, Lucknow airports

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today gave its approval for the expansion and upgrading of integrated terminals at Chennai, Guwahati and Lucknow Airports, at a cost of Rs 2467 crore, Rs 1383 crore and Rs 1232 crore, respectively.
 
An official press release said the new integrated terminal at Lucknow airport will have an area of 88,000 sq.m, along with the existing terminal building with 16292 sq.m, with an annual capacity to handle 2.6 million international and 11 million domestic passengers.
 
The new terminal building will cater to passenger growth up to the year 2030-31, the release said.
 
Total built-up area of the proposed terminal building at Chennai airport, including the present proposal measuring 197000 sq.m, will be 336000 sq.m with an annual capacity to handle 35 million passengers per annum (MPPA). The new terminal building incorporates green building features with an aim to achieve GRIHA-4 Star rating. The building will cater to the requirement of passenger growth up to the year 2026-27, it said.
 
The new terminal building at Guwahati airport will have an area of 102500 sqm to handle combined annual capacity (old and new terminals) of 9 MPPA. The building would cater to the requirement of passenger growth up to the year 2026-27. This will encourage investment and tourism in North East Region with thrust on ‘Act East’ Policy, it said.
 
According to the release, India has witnessed phenomenal growth rate in the range of 18 to 20% in the last three years in the aviation sector. According to IATA Traffic Study, India, at 7th position as of now, is likely to take the 3rd position by 2023-24 by overtaking the UK, Japan, Spain and Germany. The current rate of the growth in the domestic aviation sector of India is the highest globally.
 
To meet the growing demand, the Government has launched a new initiative of NABH Nirman (NextGen Airports for Bharat), wherein systems and processes are geared to provide enhanced airport capacity to handle 1 billion trips in the next 10 to 15 years.
 
Airport capacity upgrading and expansion require both the development of new greenfield airports and expansion of existing brownfield airports and same will be funded by the Indian private sector and Airports Authority of India by leveraging its balance sheet.
 
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Airports Authority of India is in the process of implementing plans for development of infrastructure to meet growing aviation demand by creating additional capacity at AAI Airports including Chennai, Guwahati, Lucknow, Agartala, Patna, Srinagar, Pune, Trichy, Vijayawada, Port Blair, Jaipur, Mangalore, Dehradun, Jabalpur, Kolhapur, Goa, Rupsi, Leh, Calicut, Imphal, Varanasi and Bhubaneswar with a capex of Rs 20,178 crore in the next 4 to 5 years.
 
AAI has already awarded the works at Agartala, Calicut and Port Blair towards construction of new state-of-the-art integrated terminals and is in the process of awarding the works for upgrading and expansion of capacity at Chennai, Lucknow and Guwahati Airports.
 
Similarly, upgrading of airside capacity by way of strengthening and extension of runways, construction of new apron bays has been taken up to cater to the demand from airline operators who have placed confirmed orders for almost 900 aircraft in the coming 10 years.
 
Under New Greenfield Airport Policy, many major cities are expected to have multiple airports. The government has granted approval for Noida International Airport (Jewar), Mopa (Goa), Purandar Airport (Pune), Bhogapuram Airport (Visakhapatnam), Dholera Airport (Ahmedabad) and Hirasar Airport (Rajkot).
 
Capex outlay of Rs 50,000 crore is expected in the development of New Greenfield Airports, wherein approval of Government of India has been given. In the private sector also, upgrading and expansion are in the offing for Delhi and Bengaluru, Hyderabad Airports at a cost of Rs 25,000 crore in the next five years, the release added.
 
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CCEA okays revised cost estimates of updation of National Register of Citizens, 1951 in Assam

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday approved the revised cost estimates (RCE) of the scheme of Updation of National Register of Citizens (NRC), 1951 in Assam at a cost of Rs. 1220.93 crore upto December 31, 2018.
 
The scheme of NRC, 1951 is specific to the state of Assam covering about 3.29 crore applicants.
 
An official press release said the exercise would help in preparation of National Register of Citizens in Assam. The proposed date for publication of final NRC is December 31, 2018.
 
A part Draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), Assam covering 1.90 crore persons out of 3.29 crore applicants was published on December 31, 2017 including names of those applicants in respect of whom the entire process of verification has been completed.
 
The verification of remaining applicants is at various stages of scrutiny and the complete draft NRC will be published by June 30, 2018, whereafter claims and objections will be received and disposed of, leading to the publication of the final NRC, the release said.
 
The NRC Assam is being updated as per the provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003. It will include persons whose names appear in any of the electoral rolls upto the midnight of 24th March, 1971 or National Register of Citizens, 1951 and their descendants.
 
The release said 3.29 crore persons have applied along with 6.63 crore documents in 2015 for inclusion of their names in NRC. Thereafter extensive field and document verification has been done in respect of each applicant.
 
The actual implementation of NRC update is done by the Statutory Authorities i.e.Local Registrars and District Magistrates appointed by the State Government. A senior official of the State Government functions as State Coordinator and coordinates with the RGI/Government of India in regard to various activities.
 
The NRC update work is done under the supervision and control of the Registrar General of Citizen Registration (RGI). The administrative and operational matters are handled by the State Government as per their extant rules.
 
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The preparation of NRC is the most extensive citizen engaging exercise, which touches the life of every resident of Assam. It is part of the action for the fulfilment of Assam Accord and understanding arrived in a tripartite meeting held in 2005 at the level of Prime Minister. The National Register of Citizens, Assam will contain the names of genuine Indian citizens and will help the government to check illegal immigration in India, the release said.
 
The NRC Assam, the Register containing names of Indian Citizens in Assam, was prepared in 1951 as a non-statutory process by recording particulars of all the persons enumerated during 1951 Census. The Assam agitation (1979-85) against the illegal foreigners led to the signing of Assam Accord on 15th August 1985 between the Central Government, State Government, All India Students' Union (AASU) and All Assam Gan Sangram Parishad (AAGSP), which stipulated 24th March, 1971 as the cut-off date for identification and deportation of illegal migrants from East Pakistan (Bangladesh). Accordingly, the Citizenship Act, 1955 was amended by inserting section 6A as special provisions for Assam.
 
In a tripartite meeting of the Central Government, State Government and AASU chaired by the Prime Minister in May, 2005, it was agreed to update NRC, 1951. The modalities were approved by the Government of India in consultation with the Government of Assam.
 
In pursuance of the Supreme Court's direction, the exercise of NRC update in Assam commenced in December 2013 to be completed over a period of three years. The Supreme Court is continuously monitoring the progress of NRC update and has given various directions from time to time, the release added.
 
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Union Home Secretary holds meeting with Chief Secretaries of Assam, Mizoram on inter-State border issue

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Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba held a meeting of the Chief Secretaries of Assam and Mizoram on the inter-State border issue in the context of recent incidents at Bairabi on March 8 and 10.
 
The Chief Secretary of Assam, Ms. T. Y. Das and the Chief Secretary of Mizoram, Mr. Arvind Ray stated the position of their respective State Governments on the issue of construction of a shed at Kachurtal near Bairabi. 
 
Both State Governments reiterated their commitment to maintain peace and resolve the issues amicably, an official press release said.
 
"It was decided in the meeting to maintain status quo at the spot. Assembly of people at the site will not be allowed. Both the Governments of Assam and Mizoram will take all measures to maintain peace in their respective areas," the release said.
 
It was unanimously decided that a team comprising Joint Secretary (North-East), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Principal Secretaries (Home) of Mizoram and Assam will visit the area within a week. This team will be assisted by officials of Survey of India in its work. The team will submit its findings to the Union Home Secretary which will be discussed in a follow-up meeting with the Chief Secretaries of the two States. 
 
Thereafter, a meeting will be convened by the Union Home Minister with the Chief Ministers of Assam and Mizoram, the release added.
 
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Union Home Secretary convenes meeting of Assam, Mizoram Chief Secretaries on March 20 on border issue

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has stated that a meeting of the Chief Secretaries of Assam and Mizoram will be held here next week to discuss the inter-State border issue.
 
The meeting of Chief Secretaries of the two States has been convened by the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba on March 20.
 
Mr. Rajnath Singh also wrote a letter to Mizoram Chief Minister Lalthanhawla, in response to a communication from him regarding the Bairabi incident of March 9. 
 
The State Governments of Mizoram and Assam must take all possible measures to maintain peace and public order. The outstanding issues between both the States need to be resolved mutually and amicably, he added.
 
The Union Home Minister has expressed the hope that the State Governments of Mizoram and Assam will take all steps to defuse the situation and prevent assembly of people at Bairabi.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Karbi Anglong region of Assam

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Karbi Anglong region of Assam in the early hours of today.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.5 N and longitude 93.4 E, occurred at 0211 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, a bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Sonitpur region of Assam

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Sonitpur region of Assam today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The  quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.8°N and longitude 92.7°E, occurred at 1524 hours at a focal depth of 18 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Karbi Anglong region of Assam

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Karbi Anglong region of Assam today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.2°N and longitude 92.9°E, occurred at 1512 hours at a focal depth of 25 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Two pilots die as IAF's microlight aircraft crashes in Assam

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Two pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF) died when an IAF Microlight Virus SW-80 crashed around noon today, after getting airborne from Air Force Station Jorhat in Assam for a routine sortie.
 
"Two pilots, Wg Cdr J James and Wg Cdr D Vats, sustained fatal injuries," a press release from the Ministry of Defence said.
 
A court of inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident, the release added.
 
Reports  reaching here said the aircraft crashed at Somoimari in Majuli, one of the largest river islands in the world, in Assam.
 
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Modi says North-East at heart of India's Act East Policy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asserted that the North-East was at the heart of India's Act East Policy, which envisions increased people-to-people contacts, trade ties and other relations with ASEAN countries.

 
North East is at heart of Act East Policy: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asserted that the North-East was at the heart of India's Act East Policy, which envisions increased people-to-people contacts, trade ties and other relations with ASEAN countries.
 
Inaugurating Advantage Assam - Global Investors Summit 2018 here, he recalled the recent ASEAN India Commemorative Summit celebrating 25 years of partnership between ASEAN and India. 
 
He added that ties between India and the ASEAN countries go back thousands of years. He said it was a privilege for India to host the heads of state or government of 10 ASEAN countries as honoured guests at the Republic Day function in New Delhi on January 26.
 
Mr. Modi said India's growth story would be further energised through balanced and fast-paced growth of the North-Eastern region. He said all the schemes of the Union Government are oriented towards bringing about a qualitative change in the lives of the people. He said the aim is to improve "Ease of Living".
 
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The Prime Minister said that the "Ayushman Bharat" scheme announced in the Union Budget on February 1 is the largest scheme of its kind in the world. He said this healthcare scheme would benefit about 45 to 50 crore people. He also mentioned other steps that had been taken by the Union Government for healthcare for the poor.
 
Mr. Modi said the Government was working towards the target of doubling farmers' incomes, by lowering input costs and enabling appropriate price for their produce. He outlined other steps being taken by the Union Government for the welfare of farmers.
 
He mentioned the steps taken to provide affordable housing to people. He spoke of the Ujala Yojana for distribution of LED bulbs, which is resulting in significant savings on household electricity bills. He mentioned the restructuring of the National Bamboo Mission, which he said, is especially significant for the North-East.
 
The Prime Minister said that a revamp of administrative structures within the Union Government has greatly speeded up the implementation of projects.
 
He spoke of steps taken for providing collateral free loans to entrepreneurs, under the Mudra Yojana. He spoke of steps taken in the Union Budget to provide tax relief to MSMEs.
 
Mr. Modi reiterated the commitment of the Union Government to curb corruption and black money. He said Government had taken up many path breaking economic reforms in last three years, which have simplified procedures for doing business. It is a result of these reforms that India today ranks 100 among 190 countries in the Doing Business Report of the World Bank, after climbing up 42 ranks, he added.
 
Quoting the great Assamese musician Bhupen Hazarika, the Prime Minister said it is our collective responsibility to achieve the vision and dreams of our freedom fighters, and create a New India by 2022.
 
He outlined the work done to create new transportation infrastructure in the North-East. He congratulated Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal for creating a business friendly and development friendly environment in Assam.
 
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MoU signed for Twin Tower Trade Centre in Guwahati

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A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed for a Twin Tower Trade Centre between Assam Government and the National Building Construction Corporation here today.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep S Puri said it was part of the Government's “Act East Policy” to elevate and harness the strengths of North-East India and reduce the isolation of the region by improving all-round connectivity and civic infrastructure. 
 
The Union Government has planned an investment to the tune of approximately Rs. 45,000 crore for the development of India's North-Eastern regions bordering China, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. 
 
Mr. Puri pointed out that Guwahati is one of the 100 smart cities chosen in a determined bid to recast the urban landscape of the country. It is being established as a Regional Hub for North East India and a world-class city by anchoring and reorienting it towards its natural assets. The proposed Twin Tower Trade Centre will definitively add to this transformational plan, he said.
 
“I am truly excited by the prospects and possibilities this trade centre will generate once established and made operational, by connecting us with South East Nations and being a major trading hub thereby increasing economic interlinkages,” he added.
 
“I do realize, that a vision can only be realized when we have the determination to do our very best, take the right decisions and pursue a mix of policies that create the most appropriate environment to facilitate the realisation of that vision. 
 
“I am aware that NBCC, which comes under my Ministry, is fully equipped with technology, technical capacity, design and intuition to implement this illustrious project and shall proactively work along the lines of sustainable and quality development and deliver the project to Assam on schedule,” he added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Karbi Anglong region of Assam

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale, shook the Karbi Anglong region of Assam in the early hours of today, about 13 hours after another earthquake hit the same region yesterday.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.0°N and longitude 92.3°E, occurred at 0153 hours today at a focal depth of 10 km, a bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
Earlier, an earthquake measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale, had been recorded in the same region yesterday.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.1°N and longitude 92.1°E, occurred at 1241 hours yesterday at a focal depth of 20 km.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Karbi Anglong region of Assam

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale, shook the Karbi Anglong region of Assam today.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.1°N and longitude 92.1°E, occurred at 1241 hours at a focal depth of 20 km, a bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
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Gadkari to visit Majuli Island in Assam on December 29

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Union Minister for Water Resources & River Development Nitin Gadkari will visit Assam on December 29 to lay the foundation stone of protection work of Majuli Island from floods and erosion and construction of the Brahmaputra Board Complex.
 
The Brahmaputra Board under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation was entrusted the work of protection of Majuli Island from floods and erosion in 2004.
 
Since then, the Board has completed execution of Immediate Measures, Phase-I and Emergent Works. About 22.08 sq.km of land has been reclaimed and secured by Brahmaputra Board during the period 2004 to 2016. Phase - II & III are on the verge of completion during 2017-18, an official press release said.
 
To address the issues of erosion in vulnerable reaches and reclaim more land by pro-siltation and other measures in the east-west reach length of about 80 km on south bank, a detailed project report (DPR) was formulated for “Protection of Majuli Island from flood and erosion of river Brahmaputra” as per the recommendations of the Standing Committee of Experts for Majuli Island and Technical Advisory Committee of Brahmaputra Board (TAC- BB).
 
An SFC of Rs 233.57 crore for the work has been approved by the Union Government. The Ministry of DoNER will fund an amount of Rs 207.00 crore under NLCPR mode. The work is under implementation for which the work order has been issued.
 
On the request of the Assam Government, Brahmaputra Board has approved the establishment of an office-cum-residential complex at Majuli. The complex will also include a godown and a skill development centre.
 
The Brahmaputra Board, in its meeting, decided that this work should be executed by NPCC Ltd., a PSU under this Ministry. Consequently, the work of construction of Brahmaputra Board office-cum-residential complex at Majuli has been assigned to NPCC Ltd. The work will be executed in a period of 24 months.
 
During 2016, Majuli was upgraded from a Civil Sub-Division to the status of a District. Protection of Majuli Island from the menace of floods and erosion by Brahmaputra River is thus one of the prime objectives of the State Government, with support from the Centre.
 
The average elevation of the Island is 87 m (at Bessamara) above mean sea level as against the High Flood Level of 88.32 m. The present area of Main Island is about 524 sq-km with a population of 1.68 lakh as per 2011 Census.
 
Majuli Island has been under severe threat of bank erosion by the flow of river Brahmaputra since the formation of the Island and particularly after the Assam earthquake of August 15, 1950.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Dhemaji region of Assam

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale, shook the Dhemaji region of Assam today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 27.6°N and longitude 94.3°E, occurred at 1150 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Karbi Anglong region of Assam

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Karbi Anglong region of Assam in the early hours of today.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.4°N and longitude 93.7°E, occurred at 0255 hours at a focal depth of 30 km, a bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) added.
 
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Naidu asks media to shun sensationalism and slanted reporting

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Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu has asked the media to avoid sensationalism and report news without colouring it with views.
 
Addressing a gathering after giving away Pratidin Achievers Awards 2017, instituted by Sadin Pratidin Group here yesterday, Mr Naidu said such awards will not only motivate the recipients to scale greater heights but also inspire others to excel in their respective fields.
 
“Conferring awards and lauding the achievements of individuals or organizations will create a competitive spirit and help in promoting excellence,” he added.
 
Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal were present at the ceremony. 
 
Mr Naidu complimented the Pratidin Group for instituting the awards to recognize the achievements of individuals from different professions. He said he was happy that the media group has not confined the awards to Assam alone but has conferred them upon achievers from across the North East.
 
 Assam and the other North Eastern States are known for their rich culture, traditions, literature, folk arts and the breathtaking scenic locales. Representing diverse fields, the awardees have not only done themselves proud but the entire North Eastern region and the country also with their achievements, he added.
 
The Vice-President also appealed to such media houses to conduct campaigns and competitions on issues such as ‘Swachh Bharat’ to promote awareness of cleanliness and sanitation.
 
Awareness should also be created on fighting various challenges confronting the nation such as growing atrocities on women, dangers of drug and alcohol addiction, casteism, religious fundamentalism, corruption, illiteracy and terrorism, he added.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in North Cachar Hills region of Assam

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.1 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the North Cachar Hills region of Assam in the early hours of today.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the  quake, which  had its epicentre at laitude  25.2°N and longitude 93.3°E, occurred at 0155 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
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