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Guwahati

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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1 killed, 9 hurt in twin blasts on Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai station

 
1 dead, 9 injured in twin blasts on train at Chennai Central station
One woman was killed and nine others suffered injuries in twin blasts that occurred in two coaches of the Bangalore-Guwahati Express after it pulled into the Chennai Central station here this morning.
 
Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Mishra told reporters on the spot that two of the injured had suffered grievous injuries while the others had minor injuries.
 
He said the "minor intensity" blasts occurred in sleeper coaches S4 and S5 at about 7.15 am, some ten minutes after the train had arrived on platform number 9.
 
The deceased passenger was identified as Ms Swati, 22, who was travelling from Bangalore to Vijayawada on her way to her home town of Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, he said.
 
Official sources said the blasts appeared to have been caused by some devices placed under the seats.
 
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 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 those with grievous injuries and Rs 5,000 for 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.
 
Mr Mishra said the entire train was being checked and the train would continue its journey after about an hour 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 said.
 
A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from Hyderabad will arrive here later today to probe the incident, sources added.
 
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45 hurt as engine, 9 coaches of Dimapur-Kamakhya Express derail in Assam

 
Train derailment in Assam injures over 50 passengers
As many as 45 passengers suffered injuries when the engine and nine coaches of the 15666 DN Dimapur – Kamakhya BG Express derailed in Assam in the early hours of today.
 
North-East Frontier Railway (NFR) sources said the mishap occurred between Aujuri and Jagiroad stations of Lumding Division at about 2.15 am today. The train had left Aujuri at 2.05 am.
 
The engine and five coaches derailed in the incident, while four coaches had overturned, they said.
 
The sources said 32 of the injured had been discharged after first aid, while 13 others had "simple injuries". Four of the injured have been referred to the Gauhati Medical College & Hospital at Guwahati, while one was taken to the NFR Central Hospital at Maligaon.
 
A special train with about 170 passengers of the train involved in the accident left Jagiroad for Guwahati at 8.10 hours.
 
As a result of the accident, the NFR cancelled several trains for today. These are:
 
1.12067 / 12068 Guwahati – Jorhat Town– Guwahati Jan Shatabdi Express.
2.55601 / 55602 Lumding – Kamakhya Passenger
3.55604 / 55603 Guwahati – Mairabari Passenger
4.55608 / 55607 Silghat Town– Guwahati – Silghat Town Passenger
5.55815 / 55816 Guwahati – Haibargaon – Guwahati Passenger
6.15717 Guwahati – Mariani Inter City Express.
7.15665 / 15666 Kamakhya – Dimapur – Kamakhya Inter City Express
8.15927 UP Rangiya – Dibrugarh Express
 
The following trains will be partially cancelled:
 
1.15469 / 15470 Alipurduar Jn. – Lumding – Alipurduar Jn. Intercity Express would remain partially cancelled between Guwahati – Lumding.
2.15718 Mariani – Guwahati Intercity Express will short terminate at Furkating and would remain cancelled between Furkating and Guwahati.
3.05968 Dibrugarh – Rangiya Express special will short terminate at Furkating and would remain cancelled between Furkating and Rangiya.
4.15817 Dhubri – Silghat Town Rajyarani Express Journey commencing o­n 15.04.14 and 15818 Silghat Town– Dhubri Rajya Rani Express of 16.04.14 would remain cancelled between Guwahati and Silghat Town.
 
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In addition, the running of some trains will be controlled as follows:
 
12423 Dibrugarh – New Delhi Rajdhani Express which left Dibrugarh o­n 15.04.14 has been controlled at Lumding.
15960 Dibrugarh – Howrah Kamrup Express which left Dibrugarh o­n 15.04.14 has been controlled at Lumding.
14055 Dibrugarh – Delhi Brahmaputra Mail which left Dibrugarh o­n 15.04.14 has been controlled at Dimapur.
15604 Ledo – Kamakhya Intercity Express which left Ledo o­n 15.04.14 has been controlled at Chaparmukh.
05968 Special will be controlled at Furkating.
 
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Modi says Hindu migrants from Bangladesh must be accommodated in India

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, has said that Hindu migrants from Bangladesh must be accommodated in India and promised to disband detention camps housing them in Assam if he were voted to power in the coming 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi addressing a rally at Silchar in Assam on February 22, 2014.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi addressing a rally at Silchar in Assam on February 22, 2014.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has said that Hindu migrants from Bangladesh must be accommodated in India and promised to disband detention camps housing them in Assam if he were voted to power in the coming 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Addressing a rally in Silchar yesterday, Mr Modi dwelt at length on the problem of influx of people from Bangladesh into the state.
 
“Some people have come to fulfill people’s aspirations of votebank politics, while others who have come are those whose lives have been ruined there in Bangladesh," he said.
 
He said many Hindus faced a threat in Bangladesh because of the lack of proper security and developed and urged the people of Assam to show their support for such people whose lives had been ruined and who had sought refuge in India.
 
"If a Hindu faces problems in any part of the world, there is only one place where he will come, and that is India. Should they be treated in the same way as they are treated elsewhere? No, we cannot do that," he said.
 
Mr Modi said senior BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee had, during his tenure as Prime Minister, initiated comprehensive schemes for Hindus who had returned from Pakistan and relocated them to different parts of India instead of putting the entire burden on Gujarat or Rajasthan.
 
Similarly, he said, Assam should not be expected to bear the burden of looking after the Hindu refugees from Bangladesh and they should be relocated to different states. "All states must contribute and they must get treated well,” he said.
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Mr Modi accused the Central Government of lack of vision and playing votebank politics and dividing people.
 
He said Assam had been a victim of such policies and cited the example of tea cultivators in different regions of the state.
 
“Why is the Congress dividing Brahmaputra and Barak valley" Why are there different prices for the labourers working on tea cultivation in both these regions? The government in Assam cannot do any good for you,” he said.
 
He said tea cultivators, who gave the state its identity, were living in woeful conditions and their children were deprived of good education and job opportunities.
 
Mr Modi stressed the need to send back those infiltrators who had entered Assam for political purposes, saying their continuance in the state would rob its people of growth opportunities.
 
“The infiltrators who have come for political purposes must be sent back there. The right of people cannot be snatched like this,” he said.
 
He was critical of the Tarun Gogoi government in the state and said the future of the people was not safe in such hands. He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who represented Assam in the Rajya Sabha, did not know the state as well as he did.
 
He said the state was blessed with abundant natural resources but it was looted by the votebank politics of the Central government.
 
“The Assam Government cannot rise over votebank politics. The way they have abused human rights in the name of detention camps is appalling,” he said.
 
"Why cannot we have institutions like All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in the state?" he asked, calling for better infrastructure in the state.
 
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Gauhati HC Chief Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel transferred to Orissa HC

Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel
Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel
 
The President has, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, transferred Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court, as the Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court.
 
An official press release said Mr Justice Goel had been directed to assume charge of the office of the Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court on or before October 24.
 
He will be succeed Mr Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, currently the Chief Justice of the High Court of Manipur. Mr Justice Sapre has also been directed to take charge of his new assignment by October 24, the release said.
 
The President has also transferred Mr Justice Karanam Sreedhar Rao, Judge of the High Court of Karnataka, to the Gauhati High Court.
 
Similarly, Mr Justice Laxmi Kanta Mohapatra, Judge of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, as been transferred to the High Court of Manipur.
 
The President has appointed Mr Justice Prasanta Kumar Saikia, Additional Judge of the Gauhati High Court, to be a Judge of that High Court with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office, the release added.
 
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Azad launches new initiatives under NRHM in Assam

 
Union Health Minister of Health & Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad launched several new health initiatives worth Rs.500 crores under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in Assam here today.
 
The new initiatives include Free Generic Drug Service, Rashtriya Bal Swasthya karyakram (RBSK), National Iron Plus Initiative and a fleet of 359 new ambulances for National Ambulance Service. 
 
Mr Azad also inaugurated Mother & Child Tracking System Call Centre and Tele-Radiology Project under NRHM. 
 
In addition, he laid the foundation stone of 14 Maternal and Child Health (MCH) wings of various district hospitals which are being constructed at a cost of more than Rs. 320 crores to cater to the increased demand of institutional deliveries, as also improve the maternal & child health. 

Fernandes dedicates flyover in Guwahati to nation

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Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Oscar Fernandes yesterday dedicated the recently-completed two-lane flyover on National Highway (NH)-37 near the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport near VIP Chowk here to the nation.
 
Union Ministers Paban Singh Ghatowar and Sarvey Sathyanarayana and Assam Ministers Ajanta Neog and Akon Bora were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
An official press release said the flyover is expected to ease the traffic congestion at the Airport Junction to a great extent because it would facilitate uninterrupted movement of vehicles from Goalpara side towards Guwahati.
 
This will result in lesser vehicle operating cost and considerable saving in travel time along the highway, it said.
 
Adequate arrangements have been made for entry and exit of traffic to the LGBI airport by provision of ways below the flyover viaduct and other service roads alongside the structure, it said.
 
The 4-laning of existing NH-37 from km 134 to km 140 including the construction of the flyover was sanctioned for a total estimated cost of Rs. 46.16 crore in October 2008. 
 
The revised sanction of the project was accorded in September 2011 for a total estimated cost of Rs. 55.58 crore on account of change in scope. 
 
The entire highway from LGBI airport junction point to Jalukbari has been taken up for 4-laning by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways including a 2.5 km bypass to Guwahati University. 
 
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Work on the latter part from Dharapur (km 140.00 of NH 37) to Jalukbari (Km 146.300 of NH 37), is also gaining momentum and is expected to be completed by March 2014.
 
The commissioning of this project along with the recently completed flyover and the 4-laning of km 134 – 140 of NH-37 would give a major fillip to development of highway infrastructure of Assam, the release added.
 
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Mukherjee presents Asom Ratna, Srimanta Shankardeva Awards

President Pranab Mukherjee presenting the Srimanta Sankaradeva Award, 2008 to actress Sharmila Tagore, in Guwahati on May 13, 2013. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is also seen.
President Pranab Mukherjee presenting the Srimanta Sankaradeva Award, 2008 to actress Sharmila Tagore, in Guwahati on May 13, 2013. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is also seen.

President Pranab Muherjee presented the Asom Ratna Award (posthumous) to late Assamese writer Indira Goswami and the Srimanta Shankardeva Award for 2008 to well-known actress Sharmila Tagore at a function in Guwahati yesterday.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mukherjee said he was happy that his first visit as President to Assam was to confer distinction on two outstanding women of India.
 
He described the late Ms Goswami and Ms Tagore as social leaders who had contributed to the development and empowerment of women. 
 
The President congratulated Ms Tagore for her rich contribution to India’s cultural life. He said as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF and Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Ms Tagore had used her influence to promote initiatives aimed at bringing positive change in our society. 
 
He also welcomed the recognition by the Government of Assam of the contribution of late Ms Goswami by awarding her the Asom Ratna Award posthumously. 
 
Mr Mukherjee said Ms Goswami was a legendary story teller and prolific novelist who courageously advocated social change in a very volatile period in Assam’s history. She would be particularly remembered for her role as a mediator in talks between armed militants in Assam and the Government of India. 
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"In all her works, ‘Mamoni’ as she was known, had focused on women, the disadvantaged and the oppressed in society. By creating a consciousness about these problems, she was able to sow the seeds of change," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee said these were difficult times and referred to the December 16 gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi which had shaken the national consciousness.
 
"We must ponder where we are and where we are going. We must reset our moral compass. Women are a symbol of power, peace, love, humanity and divinity," he said.
 
The President congratulated the Government of Assam for instituting the Srimanta Sankardeva Award. He said that this award would propagate the teachings of Swami Srimanta Shankardeva, an Assamese saint, scholar and social reformer who lived in the 15th and 16th centuries. 
 
"His neo-Vaishnava movement repudiated caste barriers and sought to create an egalitarian civil society based on the shared values of fraternity, equity, humanism and democracy," he added.
 
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CBI arrests engineer of Border Road Task Force for possession of Rs 15 lakhs in cash

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had arrested a civil engineer posted as the commander of a Border Road Task Force (BRTF) unit at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh from the Guwahati railway station while he was travelling to New Delhi with allegedly unaccounted cash worth about Rs 15 lakhs.

A press release from the CBI said the official was detained while he was travelling by the Guwahati-Delhi Rajdhani Express. It said he could not give any reasonable explanation for the cash.
 
The release said documents relating to five bank accounts and two flats at Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh, near Delhi, were recovered from him.
 
A case was registered under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act for possession of the unaccounted cash and assets beyond his known sources o income.
 
Searches are being carried out at his Noida houses and ancestral village at Sultanpur in Uttar Pradesh, the release said, adding that he was due to be produced today in the Court of Special Judge, CBI Cases, Guwahati.
 
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CBI arrests Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives, Guwahati in bribery case

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested a Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives in Guwahati for allegedly demanding a accepting a bribe of Rs.35,000 from a local businessman.

According to a complaint filed with the CBI by the businessman, the official had demanded the bribe for issuing him an explosives licence.
 
The agency registered a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act and laid a trap in which he was allegedly caught red-handed while demanding and accepting the bribe from the complainant.
 
Searches were conducted by the CBI in his office and residential premises and he was producted yesterday before the designated court in Guwahati, which remanded him to a day in police custody, the release added.
 
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India aims to increase world tourist arrivals share from 0.6 to 1%: Chiranjeevi

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Union Minister for Tourism K Chiranjeevi today said the Government had set a target of increasing its share in world tourist arrivals from the current 0.6 per cent to 1 per cent in the next five years.

Speaking at the International Tourism Mart here, Mr Chiranjeevi said foreign tourist arrivals to the country had been increasing over the past few years, but there was need to accelerate the rate of growth.
 
The three-day event was inaugurated by Assam Governor Janaki Ballabh Patnaik earlier in the day and is being attended by 85 delegates from 23 countries. It is the first ever international tourism event to be organized in the North-Eastern region.
 
Mr Chiranjeevi said the overwhelming response to the mart showed the growing interest for travel to the unexplored destinations of the North East. He also listed the various initiatives taken by his Ministry for the promotion of tourism in the region.
 
The overseas delegates include the Laos Deputy Tourism Minister, heads of national tourism organizations from Cambodia, Singapore, Bangladesh and Bhutan, 55 tour operators and nine hoteliers.
 
The delegates from abroad will engage in one-to-one meetings with sellers from the North Eastern Region and West Bengal. This will enable tourism  product  suppliers from the region  to  reach out to international and domestic buyers and promote tourism in the region. Besides foreign delegates, there are 70 domestic buyers from other parts of the country and 108 sellers from the nine participating States.
 
In addition to the business meetings, the event will include presentations, cultural evenings and press meets with the media from India and overseas. 
 
Post-mart familiarisation tours to the states in the region have been arranged by the State Governments for the overseas delegates, from the 21st to 28th January 2013 to create awareness about the rich and varied tourism products of the states of the North Eastern region and give them first-hand knowledge and experience of the destination.
 
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Former GM of Brahmaputra Board gets two years' RI in bribery case

The Special Judge for CBI Cases, Guwahati has convicted Dr Amarjyoti Baruah then General Manager of Brahmaputra Board, Guwahati and sentenced him to undergo two years' rigorous imprisonment with fine of Rs 25,000 in a bribery case.

A press release from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said a case was registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act against Dr Baruah for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 1 lakh from a contractor.
 
He had demanded the bribe for having sanctioned a construction contract, pending execution of tender agreement and issuance of formal work order and for awarding works in the future to the contractor, the release said.
 
He was caught red handed while demanding and accepting the bribe of Rs. 1 lakh from the complainant. On completion of investigation, chargesheet was filed on 21.09.2010 before the court, which found him guilt and convicted him, the release added.
 
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Army continues flood relief operations in Assam

Army personnel rescue flood-hit people in Assam.Read story.

Army personnel rescue flood-hit people in Assam.
Read story.Army personnel rescue flood-hit people in Assam.

Ajit Singh calls up Alliance Air pilots, thanks them for averting major mishap

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Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh today called up Captain Urmila Yadav and co-pilot Yashoo Pereira, as well Guwahati airport director Manvinder Singh, and personally thanked them for ensuring the safe landing of an Alliance Air ATR 42 aircraft after one of its wheels had fallen off while taking off from Silchar.

The aircraft, VT ABD, was operating from Silchar to Guwahati and had 48 assengers on board.
 
Mr Singh, in particular, appreciated the courage and grit of Capt Yadav and her co-pilot Pereira, who maintained calm and ensured the safety of all the passengers on board without letting panic spread.
 
Mr Singh's personal call was meant not only as an appreciation of the incident but also to send a strong message that the services of staff and employees of the company, a subsiiary of Air India, would not go unnoticed and unrecognised by the Minister and the Government, an official press release said.
 
The aircraft managed to land safely under emergency conditions at Guwahati airport after circling the city for about an hour to dump fuel.
 
Air Traffic Control (ATC) staff at Silchar had noticed an object falling to the ground after the aircraft took off around 9 am. After finding that it was a nose wheel, the pilot was alerted, who then sought clearance for landing under emergency conditions.
 
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Singapore Foreign Minister K Shanmugam arrives on India visit

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Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam arrived here yesterday on a four-day introductory official visit to India.

Mr Shanmugam and External Affairs Minister S M Krishna will co-chair the 2nd India-Singapore Joint Ministerial Committee Meeting on Bilateral Cooperation here today.
 
During his stay in Delhi, Mr Shanmugam, who also handles the Law portfolio, will call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. He will also meet Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, a official press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said.
 
Mr Shanmugam will also visit Guwahati where he will meet Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Ahmedabad, where he will meet Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. In both places, he is also slated to interact with the business community, the release added.
 
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Ferry carrying 300 people sinks in Assam, several feared killed

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Several people were feared killed after a ferry carring about 300 people capsized in the Brahmaputra river near Dhubri in Assam during stormy wather today, official sources said.

Police officials said details about the incident were sketchy because it happened in a very remote location and also because the bad weather had disrupted communication links with the area.
 
They said at least 15 bodies had been recovered but many people were said to be missing. There were also reports about some people having managed to swinm to safety.
 
The boat was said to be on its way from Dhubri town to Hatsinghiamari when it got caught in the storm and capsized near the southern bank of the river around 5.30 pm, reports reaching here said. The passengers included many women and children, they added.
 
Meanwhile, in Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed his shock and grief over the loss of lives in the boat tragedy and conveyed his deepest condolenes to the near and dear ones of those who died.
 
Dr Singh, who is a member of the Rajya Sabha from Assam, has given instructions for all possible assistance to the government of Assam in relief operations and also for assistance from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund to the families of the deceased. 
 
The Prime Minister spoke to the Chief Minister of Assam to convey his condolences and express solidarity with the people of Assam, an official press release added.
 
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PM says better infrastructure key to development in North-East

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Friday the key to development in the North-Eastern region was better educational and services infrastructure and transport connectivity.

Prime Minister  Manmohan Singh addressing at the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of Assam Legislative Assembly, in Guwahati on April 20, 2012.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh addressing at the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations of Assam Legislative Assembly, in Guwahati on April 20, 2012.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the key to development in the North-Eastern region was better educational and services infrastructure and transport connectivity.
 
"As connectivity improves and capabilities expand, so will commerce and employment opportunities," he said in his inaugural address at the platinum jubilee celebrations of the Assam Legislative Assembly in Guwahati.
 
"The rapid improvement in the Assam’s human development indicators gives us hope and reason to believe that the progress Assam has recently experienced can be sustained over the long term. I see tremendous potential in this beautiful state for the growth of new industries that will generate employment for its young people and new avenues for local enterprises and professionals to flourish," he said.
 
Singh said the new wave of development in Assam had been made possible by a period of social peace and political stability. He said there was a general realisation today that violence provided no answers and that diverse groups could fulfill their aspirations only through engagement in the democratic processes. 
 
"This feeling has in no small measure resulted from the fact that the government of Assam is working for the people and for their all-round betterment. I am sure that the few insurgent groups that continue to remain outside the democratic process will understand the sentiments of the people of Assam and come forward to create an atmosphere that is conducive for accelerating the pace of social and economic development in this great beautiful State of our Republic. Assam’s development can be the engine of growth for the entire north-eastern region as a whole," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said that, in recent years, the Government had taken new initiatives to strengthen the country's relations with Bangladesh and Myanmar. He recalled that last year he had visited Bangladesh. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had accompanied him and the two countries were able to agree on a number of steps for mutual benefit, he said.
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He said he was scheduled to visit Myanmar next month and discuss with the leadership of that country how they could increase opportunities for expansion of trade, economic cooperation and connectivity to the larger ASEAN region. 
 
"Assam and the other states of the North East can and should play leading roles in our efforts to Look East-wards," he said.
 
Singh said he was originally scheduled to attend the function on April 7, which was the anniversary date of the Assam State Legislature but he had to reschedule the trip because of the visit to Delhi by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.
 
He recalled the contribution of leaders such as Gopinath Bordoloi and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to Assam and India and all the legislators who were elected to the Assembly over the decades, incuding former Chief Minister Hiteshwar Saikia.
 
"This legislative assembly is a temple of our democracy. It is a sacred place for us to reaffirm our Constitutional commitment to pluralism, to human rights, to secularism and to the dignity of every citizen. 
 
Our freedom and our democracy are the proud inheritance of our national movement. To do justice to this inheritance, we, the elected representatives of our people, are obliged to provide honest, effective and capable leadership and government," he said.
 
Singh said Assam had been the beneficiary of over a decade of sustained progress, economic and social development. 
 
"As an adopted son of this great State, I feel happy that Assam is now on the cusp of emerging as one of our frontline States. This august Assembly has also much to be proud about its past decade. It has been witness to many pro-people legislation and development-oriented initiatives," he said. Singh is a Rajya Sabha member from Assam.
 
"I compliment the state government for taking Assam to new heights of development. In the 9th Five year Plan period the state economy of Assam grew at the rate of just 1.51 percent. This increased to about 5.7 percent during the 10th plan period. Due to the special emphasis given to development by the governments in the State and at the Centre, Assam achieved an annual average growth rate of 6.8 percent during the first four years of the 11th Five year plan. I am delighted to learn that in the last year of the 11th Plan Assam is expected to record a growth rate of 7.18 percent. Assam is catching up with the national average. This is good news but more needs to be done," he said.
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Singh said he would like to see Assam emerge as a new engine of growth for the North Eastern region and the country as a whole in the 12th Plan period (2012-17).
 
"I am confident that in the 12th Plan Assam will be able to record a rate of growth of over 9.0 percent! I assure the people of Assam that the Central government will do whatever is possible to help Assam to achieve this goal," he said.
 
He said that in the past eight years the Centre had tried its very best to extend a helping hand to the government and people of Assam.
 
"The annual plan outlay for the State has increased from Rs 3000 crore in 2005-06 to Rs 9,000 crore in 2011-2012. The total transfers to Assam for the period 2010-2015 as per the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission would be about Rs 58,000 crore against the total of Rs 24,000 crore estimated for the period 2005-2010," he said.
 
He said the Assam Gas Cracker project, approved in April 2006 with an estimated cost of about Rs 8,000 crore, was progressing well and was likely to be completed in December 2013. 
 
"A new 750 MW Bongaigaon Thermal Power Project at an estimated cost of about Rs 4400 crore was approved in January 2008. The project is likely to be completed in October 2013. 
 
"During the 11th Plan period over 8000 km pucca roads have been constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana. More that 6 lakh rural houses have been constructed under the Indira Awas Yojana. 
 
"Several externally-aided projects have been taken up in roads, flood management, power and urban development. 
 
"A Centre of Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology has been set up at Sibsagar and a National Institute of Design is being set up at Jorhat," he said.
 
Singh expressed happiness that the state government had decided to build a new complex at Dispur to house both the Assam Legislative Assembly and the proposed Assam Legislative Council.
 
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PM to inaugurate Linear Accelerator at B Borooah Cancer Institute in Guwahati on Friday

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the state-of-the-art Linear Accelerator with Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) and SRS/SRT facilities at the Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) in Guwahati tomorrow.

The facilities have been commissioned with grants-in-aid from the North Eastern Council (NEC) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), an official press release said here today.
 
Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (DONER) and NEC Chairman Paban Singh Ghatowar will be amongst those present on the occasion.
 
During the visit, Singh will also be briefed about the Revitalization Project Phase-IV (RPP-IV) for upgradation of the BBCI to a centre of excellence at a total cost of Rs.197.49 crore.
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ADB to provide $ 81m for urban development projects in Assam

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The Government of India, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Assam today signed an $ 81 million loan agreement for Tranche 1 of the Assam Urban Infrastructure Investment Program (AUIIP) which aims to bring clean, piped water to about 350,000 residents of Guwahati, as well as upgrade wastewater treatment and urban transport.

In Dibrugarh, solid waste management and drainage infrastructure will also be improved, an official press release said.

The signatories were Venu Rajamony, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India, and Hun Kim, ADB Country Director for India.

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Revitalization plan finalized for Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati

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The Board of Directors of the Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI), Guwahati under the Chairmanship of Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region ( DoNER) Paban Singh Ghatowar, has finalized a five-year revitalization plan for the institution.

The decision was taken at the Board's meeting here on January 30 and the total cost is estimated to be Rs 197 crore.
 
The major part of the funding will be through the North Eastern Council (NEC) of the Ministry of DoNER and the rest through the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India and the Government of Assam.
 
Ghatowar underlined the need to bring the institution on par with international standards to meet the future needs of patients.

3 killed, 50 injured in Assam train mishap

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At least three people were killed and about 50 others suffered injuries when the engine and nine coaches of a passenger train derailed after hitting a bulldozer at an unmanned level crossing near Guwahati in Assam this morning, official sources said.

They said the mishap occurred around 9.15 am today when the Bongaigaon-Guwahati Chilarai passenger train crashed into the JCB machine at the crossing at Gossainghati between Azara and Mirza railway stations.
 
Rescue teams from the North-East Frontier Railway, the district administration and the National Disaster Response Force rushed to the spot and moved the injured to hospitals at Azara, Mirza and Guwahati, the sources said,
 
Assam Agriculture Minister Nilmani Sen Deka visited the scene of the accident on the directions of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and oversaw the rescue and relief efforts. He also visited the health centres at Azara and Mirza.
 
Assam Governor J B Patnaik has also extended his condolences to the victims and sympathy for those who suffered injuries.
 
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16 people injured as earth-moving vehicle hits train in Assam

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At least 16 passengers were injured when the engine and nine coaches of a passenger train derailed after hitting an earth-moving vehicle at an unmanned level crossing near Guwhati in Assam this morning, railway officials said.
 
They said the mishap occurred around 9.15 am today when the Bongaigaon-Guwahati Chilarai passenger train crashed into the JCB machine at the crossing at Gossainghati between Azara and Mirza railway stations.
 
Rescue teams from the North-East Frontier Railway, the district administration and the National Disaster Response Force rushed to the spot and moved the injured to hospitals in Guwahati, the sources said.
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Winter harvest festival dance

Tribal women participating in community fishing at Tamulidhafa Lake, at Sonapur, some 65 Kms away from Guwahati on Friday. UNI PHOTO

Tribal women  participating  in community fishing at Tamulidhafa Lake, at Sonapur, some 65 Kms away from Guwahati on Friday.  As per tradition people participate in community fishing to mark the winter harvest festival. UNI PHOTO
Tribal women participating in community fishing at Tamulidhafa Lake, at Sonapur, some 65 Kms away from Guwahati on Friday. As per tradition people participate in community fishing to mark the winter harvest festival. UNI PHOTO

9 militant outfits in Assam to lay down arms before Jan 26: Gogoi

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As many as nine militant outfits of Assam, who have already entered into peace treaties with the government, will formally lay down their arms before Republic Day on January 26.

Announcing this at a press conference here today, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said these outfits had been in ceasefire for long and peace pacts had also been signed with them.
 
"They are yet to lay down the arms, which will be completed before January 26 (Republic Day)," he added.
 
The nine outfits include the Adivasi Cobra Military of Assam, Adivasi Commando Force, Santhal Tiger Force, Adivasi People’s Army and Adivasi National Liberation Army.

NTPC Foundation sets up ICT Centre for disabled students at Gauhati University

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The public sector power major NTPC has set up an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Cenre at the Department of Disability Studies in Gauhati University in Assam.

The centre, which was inaugurated by Assam Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi yesterday, is aimed at encouraging students with disability to pursue higher education in the field of science and technology.
 
"It is a memorable day as this centre shall help differently abled students to pursue higher education in science and technology," Bordoloi said.
 
He said the ICT centre would serve physically challenged students of society by helping them in capacity building by offering vocational courses through latest software and equipment.
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