Modi poised for huge win in Gujarat, Congress wrests Himachal from BJP

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi appeared set for a third straight term in office as the Bharatiya Janata Party headed towards a huge win in the state but it lost Himachal Pradesh to the Congress as counting of votes progressed in the Assembly elections in both States today.

Counting begins in Gujarat, BJP secures early lead

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi appeared set for a third straight term in office as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headed towards a huge win in the state but it lost Himachal Pradesh to the Congress as counting of votes progressed in the Assembly elections in both states today.

As results and counting trends became available for all the 182 seats in the Gujarat Assembly, the BJP had won 52 and was leading in 65 others, making for a total of 117 seats, the same number that it has in the outgoing house.
The Congress had won 27 seats and was leading in 32 others. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), an ally of the Congress, had won two seats while the Janata Dal (United), an ally of the BJP, was leading in one constituency. Other parties were ahead in three seats.
Adding to the Congress' misery in Gujarat, its state unit chief Arjun Modhwadia and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Shaktisinh Gohil lost their seats.
In Himachal Pradesh, the ruling BJP conceded defeat as the Congress won 34 seats in the 68-member Assembly and was leading in two others. The BJP had won 23 and was ahead in another three, while others had won four and were leading in two more.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal admitted his party had lost and congratulated the winners. He said the reasons for the BJP's defeat, despite his government's good record of governance, would be analysed at party fora in due course.
In Gujarat, Mr Modi retained his own seat, Maninagar, bagging 120440 votes against 34097 secured by his nearest rival, Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt.
The controversial former Minister of State for Home, Mr Amit Shah of the BJP, won from Naranpura, garnering 103988 votes against the 40653 secured by his rival Jitubhai B Patel of the Congress.
In the Ellis Bridge constituency in Ahmedabad, Ms Jagruti Pandya, widow of assassinated former Minister of State for Home Haren Pandya, ended up in the third place. Ms Pandya, a candidate of the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) floated by former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, could muster only 9075 votes against Mr Raesh Shah of BJP, who got 106631 votes. Mr Kamleshkumar Shah of the Congress got 29959 votes.
Mr Modhwadia lost in Porbandar, getting only 60458 votes against the 77604 votes secured by Mr Babubhai Bokhiria of the BJP. Mr Gohil lost from Bhavnagar (Rural) to Mr Purshottam Solanki of the BJP. Mr Solanki got 83980 votes as against 65426 secured by Mr Gohil.
The BJP had won 117 seats in the Gujarat Assembly in the last elections in 2007, while the Congress had 59 seats.
Counting of votes began in both states at 0800 hours today and all the results are expected by this evening.
Elections to the 182-member Gujarat assembly were held in two phases on December 13 and 17, when a record 71.3 per cent of the 38 million voters had exercised their franchise.
Polling for the 68 seats in the Himachal Pradesh assembly was held in a single phase on November 4, and about 74.7 per cent of the 4.60 million voters had cast their votes.
The supporters of Mr Modi, who has been in office since 2001, are hoping that, with yet another big win, he would be propelled to the centrestage of national politics and become the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Exit polls had predicted a huge win for Mr Modi again this year, while they had given a slight edge in a close contest in Himachal Pradesh.

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30 dead, 45 injured as truck carrying wedding party crashes off bridge in Gujarat

30 dead as truck falls from bridge in Gujarat
At least 30 people died and 45 others suffered injuries when a truck carrying a wedding party veered off a bridge and plunged about 20 feet below onto a dry river bed in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat this morning, official sources said.
The mishap occurred at around 7 am near Ranghola on the Bhavnagar-Rajkot highway, about 55 km from Bhavnagar, as the group of about 75 people was headed for a wedding, District Collector Harshad Patel told NetIndian over the telephone.
Mr. Patel said 25 of the victims died on the spot, while five succumbed to their injuries while on their way to hospital or during treatment. The deceased included 14 men, eight women and eight children, he said.
The injured, who were taken to hospitals in Sihor and Bhavnagar, included 17 men, 16 women and 12 children. The condition of four men, four women and three children was stated to be serious. 
According to various sources, the driver of the speeding truck appeared to have lost control over the vehicle while it was on the bridge and it crashed through  the railing and fell upside down on the river bed, crushing many of the people under it.
Local people were the first to reach the scene and were followed shortly afterwards by the police, fire brigade and other emergency personnel. Ambulances and private vehicles were used to rush the injured to hospitals.
Mr. Patel and other senior district administration and police officials also reached the spot to oversee rescue and relief efforts.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed expressed his grief and condoled the loss of lives in the accident.
"My condolences to all those who lost their loved ones due to an accident near Ranghola in Gujarat. The accident was extremely unfortunate and anguishing. May those who have been injured recover at the earliest," he said on Twitter.
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IIMA ties up with NTPC to create world class research institute

Public sector power producer NTPC and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), the country's top business school, today announced a joint initiative to create a world class research institute at NTPC School of Business for policy prescription and churn out management graduates with focus on energy sector.
"We are proud to have entered an agreement, under which India's marquee business school -- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - will hand hold NTPC School of Business to replicate its management degree courses beginning this year with special focus on energy verticals not only for NTPC but for the entire power sector," Mr Saptarshi Roy, Human Resource Director, NTPC, said.
"This is the first time we are tying up with a leading academic institution for degree and other specialised courses on the lines of IIM-A. We were blessed with handholding from IIM-A for five years and we are proud of it. We will be doing the same with NTPC School of Business (NSB) and hand hold it for five years, create a top class faculty like our own and offer a host of specialised electives for various aspects related to energy and power sectors," IIM-A's HRM Area Chair and Strategic Management Professor Sunil Kumar Maheshwari said.
"We wish to create a strong research and policy centre. To create manpower for this centre, NSB shall be ideal institute to take lead and this will become Centre of excellence for policy research and policy documentation," Mr Maheshwari said.
Under the scheme of arrangement, NSB, guided and shepherded by IIM-A specialists, will seek applications from aspirants for MBA degree from April this year for a two-year degree course with specialisation in energy sector.
IIM, apart from bringing professionals from the parent organisation, will gradually create NSB's own faculty by the end of the fifth year.
Mr Roy, who also holds additional charge as Director Finance, said that NTPC is focused on creating robust leadership for the future of the organisation that accounts for 16 per cent of the country's total power generation capacity. He added that NTPC's budget for learning and development has significantly gone up this year.
"The NSB tie-up is the latest in the series of learning and development initiatives at NTPC. We also have tied up with Harvard Business School and other Ivy League institutions under which a total of 180 senior executives are being given global exposure for the first hand learning of leadership modules and best business practices as part of efforts to create future leadership for the organisation that is supplementing the national economic growth by way of meeting electricity requirement," he said.
“We have the entire infrastructure at our NSB’s Noida campus ready to start the courses from the academic year including residential facility for the students.  We intend to enrol 120 students in the first year,” said Mr. A.K. Bhatnagar, Executive Director, Head of Power Management Institute & NSB, Noida.
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25 dead, several injured as truck carrying wedding party skids off bridge in Gujarat

25 dead as truck falls from bridge in Gujarat
At least 25 people died and several others suffered injuries when a truck carrying a wedding party veered off a bridge and plunged about 25  feet below in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat this morning.
The mishap occurred at around 7.30 am near Ranghola on the Bhavnagar-Rajkot highway, about 55 km from Bhavnagar, as the group of about 60 people was headed for a wedding, police sources said.
The sources said 25 people, including 15 men and 10 women, had died on the spot.
The injured were rushed by the police, fire brigade and other emergency services personnel and local people to nearby hospitals. Their numbers could not be immediately ascertained.
Senior district administration and police officials were at the spot to oversee rescue and relief efforts, the sources added.
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Harappans had knowledge of hydraulic engineering, Dholavira reveals

Indian researchers have found buried archeological features at Dholavira, one of the important sites of Harappan civilisation in India.
A team of archeologists at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar, conducted a survey of an unexplored area of around 12,276 square meter at Dholavira using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) technique which helps scanning of the ground and reveals objects buried underground.
The GPR data suggests existence of a set of small and shallow reservoirs possibly connected with the existing Eastern Reservoir. The depth of these reservoirs has been estimated to be around 2.5 meters below the present ground level. In addition, some structures have been found containing rubble with some features. These findings suggest the possible existence of check dams in the past, which may have collapsed due to flash floods in Manhar river.
The studied area is surrounded by Manhar river flowing from east to west. The overall site is gently sloping towards west, thus during floods the overflow water could have only flowed towards the area which may have caused damage in some of the structures, researchers have pointed out. 
“The presence of the grand East Reservoir and a series of reservoirs excavated earlier suggests that the Harappans had a good water-harvesting system.The studied area is expected to have similar kinds of reservoirs, bunds, check dams, channels, drains and water tanks,” the study has noted. Moreover, the observed features in the GPR data are of large dimension and resemble reservoir-type of structures, unlike residential structures of smaller size.
The present study provides evidence that the Harappans had an excellent knowledge of hydraulic engineering. Check dams were built to control flow of water during floods while small reservoirs protected the East Reservoir. This investigation suggests that check dams and small reservoirs may have sustained partial damage due to a major flood at some point of time, but most of the East reservoir could still survive. Therefore, the study says, the purpose of engineering design behind these structures was well served under extreme conditions too.
Dholavira is one of the largest and the most prominent archaeological sites of Harappan civilization in India situated at Khadirbet in Bhachau taluka, Kutch district, Gujarat. The site is surrounded by salt pans of the Great Rann of Kutch and consists of the ruins of an ancient Indus Valley Civilization. The city existed from about 3000 to 1700 BCE, in an area of around 100 ha with 48 ha under fortification. There were several unexplored areas inside the city space which may contain ruins of the ancient city.
“The buried structures in Dholavira are probably made of stones and bricks, which is why there is low contrast between objects and medium. Such weak radar signals were analyzed using special processing tool developed by us. This tool can pinpoint objects better by magnifying the signals at local level by looking at it in time-frequency domain. The structures are mostly broken and therefore resulted into indistinct or uncommon reflection patterns. We then correlated our findings with the structures seen in exposed part of the site," Dr. Amit Prashant, who led the study team, told India Science Wire.
The radar data will assist archaeologists to plan further excavations without damaging the underground structures. The study has been published in journal Current Science. The research team included Silky Agrawal, Mantu Majumder, Ravindra Singh Bisht and Amit Prashant. 
(India Science Wire)
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Modi to visit two States, two UTs over the next two days

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit two States  -- Gujarat and Tamil Nadu -- and two Union Territories -- Daman & Diu and Puducherry -- in the next two days.
An official press release said Mr. Modi would reach Daman tomorrow and launch various development projects, and hand over certificates to beneficiaries of various official schemes. He will address a public meeting.
The Prime Minister will then travel to Tamil Nadu. In Chennai, he will attend an event to mark the inauguration of the Amma Two Wheeler Scheme – a welfare scheme of the State Government.
On Sunday, the Prime Minister will visit Puducherry. At Aurobindo Ashram, he will offer floral tributes to Shri Aurobindo, and interact with students of Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. 
Mr. Modi will also visit Auroville. He will release a commemorative postage stamp on the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Auroville. He will deliver an address on the occasion. He will also address a public meeting in Puducherry.
On Sunday evening, Mr. Modi will be in Surat in South Gujarat, to flag off the “Run for New India Marathon".
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Minor earthquake recorded in Junagadh district of Gujarat

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Junagadh district of Gujarat this evening.
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which  had its epicentre at latitude 21.0°N and longitude 70.6°E, occurred at 1832 hours a focal depth of 10 km.
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Sayajirao Gaikwad supported talented people from underprivileged sections: Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind today said Maharaja Sayajirao Gaikwad, who founded the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda for promoting high-quality education, had supported and encouraged talented people from the underprivileged sections of society, including Dr B R Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution.
Addressing the 66th convocation of the University here, Mr Kovind said at that time, there were very few people with such an expansive vision as the Maharaja.
He appreciated the efforts of the University for institutionalising fellowships for students from economically weaker sections. Contributions of the students towards the development of those from a deprived and underprivileged background would be consistent with the ideals of Sayajirao, he added.
Later in the day, the President attended the 150th anniversary of Akshar Deri, a major site of pilgrimage for the Swaminarayan sect in Gondal.
Mr Kovind noted that the Swaminarayan Sanstha is engaged in providing assistance to spread education among weaker sections. Similarly, it is providing health services for the welfare of people. He praised the humanitarian work of the organisation.
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Kovind says students must help those deprived of opportunities for education

Universities must prepare students for self-employment: Kovind
President Ram Nath Kovind today said students must think of how they must pay back, especially to society, and urged them to think of those who had been deprived of opportunities for education and try and help their process of development.
Addressing the 66th convocation of Gujarat University here, Mr. Kovind reminded the students that whatever they have received in life is not only due to their own efforts but also due to contributions from their family, well-wishers, teachers, society and the government.
He said good education should not only make students skilled but also sensitive. He said that it was natural to expect that students from Gujarat, the state of Narsinh Mehta and Mahatma Gandhi, would contribute to compassion, morality and human well-being.
Mr. Kovind noted that Gujarat University is supporting many entrepreneurs through its “Start-up and Entrepreneurship Council”. The creation of the “Council of Skill Development” is also a welcome step towards empowering students. He stated that today’s universities should give top priority to preparing their students for employability, and for self-employment and entrepreneurship.
The President said that there are many good institutions in Ahmedabad that promote a start-up culture. Recently, the Prime Ministers of India and Israel inaugurated the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology – or iCreate – in Ahmedabad. This will provide world-class facilities to young Indian entrepreneurs, he said.
The President urged students of Gujarat University to take advantage of these facilities.
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Kovind to pay two-day visit to Gujarat on January 21-22

President Ram Nath Kovind will pay a two-day visit to Gujarat from tomorrow, when he will attend the 66th annual convocation of Gujarat University in Ahmedabad.
On January 22, the President will address the 66th annual convocation of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda.  
On the same day, the President will grace the 150th anniversary celebrations of Akshar Deri at Gondal, before returning to Delhi, an official press release added.
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Anandiben Patel appointed as Governor of Madhya Pradesh

Anandiben Patel
Anandiben Patel
President Ram Nath Kovind today appointed former Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel as the new Governor of Madhya Pradesh.
A press communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan said the appointment would be with effect from the date she assumes charge of her office.
Gujarat Governor Om Prakash Kohli is currently holding charge of the post of the Governor of Madhya Pradesh after Mr. Ram Naresh Yadav completed his tenure on September 7, 2016.
Ms. Patel, 76, had become the first woman Chief Minister of Gujarat in May, 2014, succeeding Mr. Narendra Modi, who moved to Delhi as the Prime Minister after ruling the state for more than 12 years. She had earlier served as Revenue Minister in Mr. Modi's cabinet.
On August 1, 2016, Ms. Patel sprang a surprise by offering to resign from her position, citing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) "tradition" of leaders quitting their posts when they attain the age of 75.
In a letter to BJP President Amit Shah, which she posted on her Facebook and Twitter pages, she said she had always abided by the party's ideology, principles and discipline. She said many leaders had established the tradition of voluntarily giving up their positions when they reached 75 years of age, which had set an example for everyone in the party.
She said this tradition had provided opportunities for younger leaders to work for the party and the country.
The offer of resignation served to end months of speculation about whether Ms. Patel would be able to complete her term, especially in the wake of criticism of the way her Government had handled the agitation by members of the influential Patidar community in the state as well the protests by Dalits.
Her resignation had been accepted by the party's leadership and Mr. Vijay Rupani was chosen to succeed her as Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Born on November 21, 1941, Ms. Patel has been a member of the BJP since 1987.
She studied as the only girl in a school with some 700 boys because there was no other school nearby. She went on to complete her M.Sc. and M.Ed. degrees. She joined a school in Ahmedabad as a teacher and went on to become its principal.
She came into prominence when, during a school excursion, she jumped into the Narmada river to save two of her girl students who had fallen into it, a feat for which she received a bravery award from the President. Following this, the BJP invited her to join the party and she went on to become the head of its women's wing in Gujarat.
She was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1994 and has been elected as a member of the State legislative assembly for four consecutive terms since 1998 and served as a Minister in the State Cabinet since then till she resigned as Chief Minister in 2016.
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IndiGo announces new flights on Ahmedabad-Kochi sector

Low-cost carrier IndiGo today said it would launch new flights on the Ahmedabad-Kochi sector with effect from March 12.
A press release from the airline said it would also introduce additional flights on the Kochi-Hyderabad and Hyderabad-Ahmedabad sectors from that date, underscoring the tourism potential of Tier-II markets.
"Commencing on March 12, 2018, these new services will further consolidate IndiGo’s position as the fastest growing airline in India, with over 1000 daily flights connecting 48 destinations," it said.
IndiGo had recently announced its ATR operations and inaugural flights from Tirupati and Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh.
In March 2018, the carrier will also commence Vijayawada operations to Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, the airline said.
Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Chief Commercial Officer, IndiGo said, “We are delighted to introduce new connections between Kochi, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. IndiGo has established itself as the fastest growing carrier with its extensive domestic network and we are hopeful that the introduction of the new service will further cement our place in the Indian skies.”
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SC stays ban by three States on screening of film "Padmaavat"

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a stay of the operation of the notifications and orders issued by three States against the screening of the film "Padmaavat" and also restrained other States from issuing similar orders in any manner prohibiting the exhibition of the movie.

A poster of the film Padmaavat
A poster of the film Padmaavat
The Supreme Court today ordered a stay of the operation of the notifications and orders issued by four States against the screening of the film "Padmaavat" and also restrained other States from issuing similar orders in any manner prohibiting the exhibition of the movie.
"We are sure, the concerned State authorities shall keep paragraph 27 of the judgment in the case of Prakash Jha (supra) in mind which clearly lays down that it is the paramount obligation of the State to maintain law and order," a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A. M. Khanwilkar and D. Y. Chandrachud said in an interim order on a petition filed by Viacom 18 Media Private Limited, the producers of the film, and others against the ban imposed by Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana.
"It should always be remembered that if intellectual prowess and natural or cultivated power of creation is interfered without the permissible facet of law, the concept of creativity paves the path of extinction; and when creativity dies, values of civilization corrode.
"Keeping in view the fact situation, we have no hesitation in stating by way of repetition and without any fear of contradiction that it is the duty of the State to sustain the law and order situation whenever the film is exhibited, which would also include providing police protection to the persons who are involved in the film / in the exhibition of the film and the audience watching the film, whenever sought for or necessary," the judges said, listing the matter for March 26 for final disposal.
Appearing for the petitioners, senior counsel Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgri, submitted that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had issued a certificate under the Cinematograph Act, 1952 after constituting an Expert Committee which had seen the movie, critically examined it and suggested few excisions which had been carried out. The CBFC also directed the producer to file two disclaimers, which he had filed.
The CBFC had certified that the film is fit for public exhibition with an  endorsement of caution that the question as to whether any child below the age of 12 years may be allowed to see the film should be considered by the parents or guardian of such child, and also subject to excision and modification sought.
Directed by Sanjay Leela Bansali, Padmaavat has actors Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in the lead roles. The film is due for worldwide release on January 25. Apart from Hindi, the film will also be released in Tamil and Telugu.
The court noted that the notification issued by the Gujarat Government had said the ban was necessary in the public interest and to maintain the law and order situation in the state. The Rajasthan Government's order also said similar things, while the Haryana Government was yet to issue formal orders in this regard.
The court noted that the disclaimers made by the producers said that the film was inspired from the epic poem Padmavat, written by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, which is considered a work of fiction. They said the film does not infer or claim historical authenticity or accuracy in terms of the names of the places, characters, sequence of events, locations, spoken languages, dance forms, costumes and/or such other details. They also said they did not intend to disrespect, impair or disparage the beliefs, feelings, sentiments of any person(s), community(ies) and their culture(s), custom(s), practice(s) and tradition(s).
The second disclaimer said the film did not intend to encourage or support "sati" or such other practices.
Counsel for the petitioners argued that, once a certificate had been issued by the CBFC, the States could not issue notifications or orders prohibiting the exhibition of the film in theaters. Citing the judgement in the case of Prakash Jha Productions & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors. (2011), they said it was obligatory on the part of the State to maintain the law and order situation effectively because it is the responsibility of the State to maintain law and order as was laid down in the case of  Union of India v. K.M. Shankarappa (2001).
Mr. Salve and Mr. Rohatgi contended that the Act is a parliamentary legislation and the CBFC has been constituted under the said Act and once the CBFC exercises the power and suggests certain excisions and the producers without appealing against the said directions, accept the same and certificate is issued, the States, taking recourse to law and order, cannot prohibit the film from being exhibited. It was also contended by them, the term "being publicly exhibited" as has been interpreted in the case of Prakash Jha (supra) has to be appositely understood by the authorities. They said that the freedom of speech and expression and the creative potentiality through any medium including the medium of celluloid cannot be curtailed in this manner.'
Mr. Tushar Mehta, Additional Solicitor General, appearing for Gujarat and Rajasthan, submitted that  the grant of Certificate by the CBFC cannot denude the the State of the power to prohibit the exhibition of a film. He also argued that State Governments could suspend the public exhibition of a film if they are of the opinion that it was likely to cause breach of the peace. He also said the CBFC was not in a position to take all aspects into consideration as it does not have the inputs regarding the law and order situation in the concerned States.
Stating that they were, for the present, considering the prayer for grant of interim relief, the judges said creative content was an insegregable aspect of Article 19(1) of the Constitution. 
"Needless to emphasise, this right is not absolute. There can be regulatory measures. Regulatory measures are reflectible from the language employed under Section 5B of the Act and the guidelines issued by the Central Government. Once the parliamentary legislation confers the responsibility and the power on a statutory Board and the Board grants certification, non-exhibition of the film by the States would be contrary to the statutory provisions and infringe the fundamental right of the petitioners. That apart, as we understand at present from paragraph 27 of the judgment in the case of Prakash Jha (supra), it is the duty and obligation of the State to maintain law and order in the State. We may also note here with profit that the guidelines are to be kept in mind by CBFC. 
"For the sake of completeness, we reproduce the relevant part of the guidelines :
“2. In pursuance of the above objectives, the Board of Film Certification shall ensure that...
... ...
(vii) human sensibilities are not offended by vulgarity, obscenity or depravity;
... ... ...
(ix) scenes degrading or denigrating women in any manner are not presented;
... ... ...
(xii) visuals or words contemptuous of racial, religious or other groups are not presented;
(xiii) visuals or words which promote communal, obscurantist, anti-scientific and anti-national attitudes are not presented;
... ... ...
(xvii) public order is not endangered;'
"It has to be borne in mind, expression of an idea by any one through the medium of cinema which is a public medium has its own status under the Constitution and the Statute. There is a Censor Board under the Act which allows grant of certificate for screening of the movies. As we scan the language of the Act and the guidelines framed thereunder it prohibits use and presentation of visuals or words contemptuous of racial, religious or other groups.
"Be that as it may. As advised at present once the Certificate has been issued, there is prima facie a presumption that the concerned authority has taken into account all the guidelines including public order," they said.
They disagreed with Mr. Mehta's contention that grant of an interim order would tantamount to final expression of an opinion on the merits of the case. 
"We do not think so. If a substantial ground is established in law by the States, there may be a different perception, for we are passing an interim order, considering the prima facie case and having due regard to the fundamental conception of right of freedom of speech and expression," they added.
Originally, the movie, then called Padmavati, was due for release on December 1 but the producers announced on November 20 that they had decided to defer the release in the face of continuing protests by Rajput and other groups against the period drama for allegedly distorting history.
The film has become the subject of a major controversy, with various groups accusing its makers of distorting Rajput history and the story of Rani Padmini. While some say that Padmini was only  a fictional character, there are others who insist she was a historical figure. In any case, she is widely revered in Rajasthan.
Fringe elements have issued death  and violence threats against Bhansali and actress Deepika Padukone, who plays the title role in the film. 
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Two injured, 26 rescued as fire breaks out on oil tanker near Kandla Port

Indian Coast Guard ships and tugs fighting a major fire that broke out on an oil tanker near Kandla Port in Gujarat, on January 18, 2018. Photo: Indian Coast Guard
Indian Coast Guard ships and tugs fighting a major fire that broke out on an oil tanker near Kandla Port in Gujarat, on January 18, 2018. Photo: Indian Coast Guard
At least two members of crew suffered serious burns and 26 others were rescued after a major fire broke out on board an oil tanker, M T Genessa, anchored 14 nautical miles off Kandla Port in Gujarat, today.
The injured persons were shifted to a hospital in Mundra, said sources in the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), which is fighting the fire with four ships at the scene and 11 tugs.
The Coast Guard said smoke was observed from the accommodation deck of Genessa and the fire was suspected to have broken out in the accommodation area or engine room. 
"Hot spots temperature of 68 degree Celsius on port & 25 degree Celsius on starboard side observed...Hot spots temperature brought down to 40 & 25 degree Celsius on port/stbd side respectively. Boundary cooling in progress," the ICG said on microblogging site Twitter.
It said an ICG hovercraft had been deployed for shoreline assessment for oil traces, if any.
The 183-metre long tanker is said to be carrying about 30,000 tonnes of high speed diesel.

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Modi hosts Netanyahu in home state Gujarat; the two PMs dedicate iCreate to nation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday told young Indians that Israel wanted to form partnerships with them in technology, water, agriculture, cyber space, drones, health, life scienes and many other fields.

Netanyahu visits Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today told young Indians that Israel wanted to form partnerships with them in technology, water, agriculture, cyber space, drones, health, life scienes and many other fields.
"I want young Israelis to come to India not just with a backpack but with a laptop," he said at a function at which he and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the iCreate facilitated on the outskirts of the city to the nation.
"This is a century of boundless potential and that's why I've come here – to encourage young innovators from our two countries to work together," he said.
iCreate is an independent centre set up with the objective of facilitating entrepreneurship through a blend of creativity, innovation, engineering, product design and leveraging emerging technologies to deal with major issues such as food security, water, connectivity, cybersecurity, IT and electronics, energy, bio-medical equipment and devices etc. iCreate aims to develop an ecosystem in India to generate quality entrepreneurs.
The two leaders visited various stalls that highlighted technologies and innovations across diverse fields.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Modi said that innovation has a key role to play in bringing the people of India and Israel closer to each other. He said the entire world had taken note of the technological prowess and creativity of Israel.
He said the youth of India had energy and enthusiasm. What they needed is a bit of encouragement and institutional support, he added.
The Prime Minister said that the Government is working to make the entire system innovation-friendly, so that intent can generate ideas; ideas lead to innovation; and innovation helps create a New India.
He said that the first pre-requisite of success is courage. He congratulated the courageous youth who are engaged in innovative activities at iCreate.
He urged the youth of India to innovate to overcome the challenges facing the nation today, and to improve the quality of life of the common man at lowest possible cost.
The Prime Minister spoke of cooperation between India and Israel for innovation in areas such as food, water, health and energy. He said this cooperation between the two countries would write a new chapter in the history of mankind in the 21st century. 
Also at iCreate are 36 startups, 18 from each country, that were chosen to find joint responses to global water, agriculture and health challenges. The plan is pursuant to an Israeli government decision that was made approximately two weeks before Indian Prime Minister Modi's visit in July last year to Israel.
Mr. Netanyahu issued certificates to the 18 Indian startups and Mr. Modi to the 18 Israeli startups.
Mr. Netanyahu also presented Mr. Modi with a Galmobile water purification vehicle via videoconference from the Rann of Kutch.
The Israeli Prime Minister said Mr. Modi was changing India "by the force and vision of his leadership. He is revolutionizing India, he is catapulting it into the future as one of the world's great powers. And he is doing it through the power of innovation."
"As you all know, I'm sure you know this – Prime Minister Modi and I are both very young and very optimistic. We're young in our thinking and we're optimistic about the future," he said.
"Today, the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Israel, a historic visit, and my visit to India mark a new era of Israel-India cooperation. One of the areas we're most excited about is cooperation in technology and innovation. Prime Minister Modi is right when he says technology is central to development. He also rightly stresses – inclusive development. Inclusive development because all of us rise and fall together. 
"Half a year ago we launched the Israel-India innovation dream. The idea was simple: unite brilliant young Indians and brilliant young Israelis to help solve pressing global problems. Many entrepreneurs immediately recognized the potential of this idea. Over 600 companies applied to be part of the incubator. Several dozen were chosen but this is just a small sample of the scope of our cooperation," he said.
Earlier in the morning, Mr. Netanyahu and Mrs. Sara Netanyahu were received at the airport here by Mr. Modi. Hundreds of people, including music bands and dance troupes, lined the streets on the route from the airport to Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram, where the visitors spent some time. Among other things, Mr. Netanyahu tried his hand on the charkha, the spinning wheel.
Later, the two Prime Ministers visited the Centre of Excellence for Vegetables in Vadrad in Sabarkantha district of the state.
They were briefed on various achievements of the Centre. They also inaugurated, through a video link, the Centre of Excellence for date palms at Kukama in Kutch district. They interacted with farmers from Kutch district.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Modi said that Israel has shown the way on how to transform a nation with the agriculture sector at the core. He said it is important to use technology in the agriculture sector. He outlined how India is working towards doubling farmers' incomes by 2022. He said it is important to devote attention to irrigation and innovative methods of farming.
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Modi to receive Netanyahu in Gujarat on Wednesday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu when they reach Ahmedabad tomorrow on a visit to Gujarat.
The city of Ahmedabad will greet Mrs. and Mr. Netanyahu with a reception, as they proceed to Sabarmati Ashram from Ahmedabad Airport. They will pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram, an official press release said.
The two Prime Ministers will inaugurate the iCreate Center at Deo Dholera village in Ahmedabad. They will visit a Start-up Exhibition and interact with innovators and Start-up CEOs. They will dedicate a mobile water desalination van to Suigam taluka, of Banaskantha district, through a video link. Both leaders will also address a gathering there.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Prime Minister Modi will also visit the Centre of Excellence for Vegetables at Vadrad in Banaskantha district. They will be briefed on the work plan of the Centre. They will inaugurate the Centre of Excellence for Date Palms at Kukama, Bhuj District, through a video link. The two Prime Ministers will also interact with farmers.
Prime Minister Netanyahu will later depart for Mumbai, the release added.
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Pravin Togadia found unconscious in Ahmedabad park: VHP

VHP leader Pravin Togadia found unconscious in park in Ahmedabad
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) said tonight that its international president Pravin Togadia was found in an unconscious state in a park here after he had been reported missing from the city since this morning when a team from the Rajasthan Police came to arrest him in connection with an old case.
A statement from the VHP said that Dr. Togadia was found lying unconscious in the park in the Shahibaug area of the city, because of hypoglycemia, and was rushed to the Chandramani Hospital in the city, where he was under treatment.
Dr. Roop Kumar Agrawal, who is treating him, told television channels that Dr. Togadia had been brought to the hospital around 9.15 pm in an unconscious state. He said his condition was better now, though he continued be in a "confused" state.
Dr. Agrawal said Dr. Togadia was suffering from hypoglycemia and had been given sugar to help stabilise his condition. "He is in a confused state, he cannot talk properly, cannot recognise," he said. He said Dr. Togadia was brought to the hospital in an 108 ambulance. His personal doctor and son were with him at the hospital now, he added.
Earlier, in the day, the Ahmedabad Police had launched a massive search to locate Dr. Togadia, who was last seen leaving in an autorickshaw from outside the VHP office at Paldi here in the company of an unidentified person. He had told his security personnel that they need not accompany him and that he would return in about half an hour.
Meanwhile, there were reports that he had been placed under arrest by either the Rajasthan Police or the Gujarat Police but this was denied by them.
Police officials said that a team from Rajasthan Police did reach the Sola Police Station here with a warrant for Dr. Togadia's arrest but they did not find him at his residence in the Thaltej locality.
VHP workers, who thought their leader had been arrested, staged protests in the city.
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Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu arrives on six-day state visit to India

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Delhi on Sunday on a six-day state visit to India during which he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold discussions on shaping bilateral relations between the two countries for the next 25 years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi receiving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Delhi airport on January 14, 2018
Prime Minister Narendra Modi receiving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Delhi airport on January 14, 2018
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived here today on a six-day state visit to India during which he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold discussions on shaping bilateral relations between the two countries for the next 25 years.
In a special gesture, Mr. Modi drove to the Delhi Airport to receive Mr. Netanyahu, who is accompanied by his wife Sara Netanyahu.
The two Prime Ministers greeted each other with a warm hug and a shakehand.
Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Modi drove from the airport to Teen Murti Chowk to attend a ceremony at which it was renamed as Teen Murti Haifa Chowk in memory of the supreme sacrifice by Indian soldiers to liberate Haifa in Israel in 1918. The two Prime Ministers laid wreaths at the memorial.
The three bronze statues at Teen Murti represent the Hyderabad, Jodhpur and Mysore Lancers who were part of the 15 Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade that carried out the victorious assault on the city of Haifa on September 23, 1918 during World War I. 
Later, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on the Israeli Prime Minister, when they discussed various aspects of the bilateral ties and ways of strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries.
During his stay in India, Mr. Netanyahu will also travel to Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal, Gujarat and Mumbai before flying back home.
This is Mr. Netanyahu's first visit to India. The two countries had, on the  occasion of commemoration of 25 years of establishing diplomatic relations, it was decided to exchange the visits of both the Prime Ministers. Accordingly, Mr. Modi had visited Israel in July 2017, and during that visit, India's relations with Israel were upgraded to a strategic partnership with special focus on agriculture and water. 
Both the sides are expected to conclude memoranda of understanding (MoUs) and agreements in the aeas of cyber security, space, film production and energy, a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs added.
In Delhi, apart from holding bilateral talks with Mr. Modi tomorrow, Mr. Netanyahu will call on President Ram Nath Kovind. The two Prime Ministers will attend the 2nd India-Israel CEOs Forum. The first CEOs Forum was held during Mr. Modi's visit to Israel.
Modi, Netanyahu visit Teen Murti Chowk
Mr. Netanyahu will also inaugurate the Raisina Dialogue, organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
Both the sides are expected to conclude MoUs/Agreements in the area of cyber, space, film production and energy.
In Gujarat, the two Prime Ministers will visit the Center of Excellence in Vadrad and inaugurate a Center of Excellence for date palms in Bhuj via video conference. They will also visit the iCreate innovation campus and center.
In Mumbai, Mr. Netanyahu will meet with Jewish community leaders and select members of the Indian business community. He will also reach out to Bollywood in an exclusive “Shalom Bollywood” event.
Ahead of the visit, the Israeli Ambassador to India, Mr. Daniel Carmon said, “The Prime Minister’s visit to India is the grand finale to the celebrations of 25 years of growing partnership between India and Israel. The visit will focus on the progress made between India and Israel since Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Israel last summer, and on shaping the next 25 years of relations between our countries and our peoples.”

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Three girls dead, 15 injured in fire during Rashtriya Katha Shibir near Rajkot

Three girls dead, 15 injured in fire near Rajkot
Three girls died and at least 15 others suffered injuries in a major fire that broke out at the Rashtriya Katha Shibir organised by Swami Dharambandhu at Pransla in Upleta area of Rajkot district in Gujarat late last night.
Rajkot District Collector Vikrant Pandey told NetIndian over the telephone that the injured girls were admitted to a local hospital for treatment.
The fire broke out around 11.40 pm yesterday on the last day of the week-long camp, which  had begun on January 6. More than 15,000 students -- boys and girls as well as their teachers and officials -- from all over the country had participated in the event.
The fire, which appeared to have been caused by an electrical short-circuit, quickly spread and destroyed more than 50 tents at the camp, which was located about 100 km from Rajkot city.
Dr. Pandey, the District Superintendent of Police and other senior officials rushed to the scene immediately.
Dr. Pandey said fire brigade men, posted at the camp as a precautionary measure, as well as reinforcements and other emergency personnel saved more than 300 girls from the affected tents.
The students had attended a cultural programme at the camp and finished dinner before retiring for the day when the fire suddenly broke out, he said.
He said the victims were in the 12-15 years age group.
Dr. Pandey said most of the students attending the camp had left for their homes and the rest would be leaving shortly. He said arrangements were also made for those who were rescued from the flames, because some of them appeared to have been scared by the experience.
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Four of family die in fire in grocery store in Ahmedabad

Four die in fire at grocery store in Ahmedabad
Four members of a family died of asphyxiation after a fire broke out in a grocery store located on the ground floor of a residential tower in the Shastrinagar of the city early this morning.
The family, which hailed from Rajasthan, was living in the tiny store, which they owned, and did not have a chance to escape as the flames and smoke quickly engulfed the premises.
A seven-year-old daughter of the family escaped the fire because she had left for school before it broke out.
Fire brigade personnel who rushed to the scene had to break open the shutters of the store to get inside and control the flames.
The cause of the fire could not be immediately ascertained and will be investigated, sources said.
Fire brigade officials said the store had only a single entry and exit and did not have any ventilation.
The victims were identified as Sunil Chaudhary, 40, Mohan Chaudhary, 32, Leela Chaudhary, 27, and 3-year-old Arjun Chaudhary.
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CCI imposes penalties on two druggists associations in Gujarat

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed penalties on the Chemists and Druggists Association of Baroda (CDAB) and Federation of Gujarat State Chemists and Druggists Association (FGSCDA) after finding them to be in contravention of the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002.
An official press release said the Commission had imposed a monetary penalty of Rs. 1,08,588 and Rs. 11,11,549, calculated at the rate of 10% of their average income, on CDAB and FGSCDA, respectively, under the provisions of Section 27 of the Act. 
Penalties of Rs. 34,048 and Rs. 62,144, calculated at the rate of 10% of their respective average incomes, have also been imposed upon Mr. V.T. Shah (President, CDAB) and Mr. Jashvant Patel (President, FGSCDA).
The release said that one of the stockists based in Vadodara (Baroda) had filed an information alleging that despite an earlier order of the Commission in the year 2012, CDAB, through its practices, had continued to limit and control the supply of drugs and medicines in the market by mandating ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC/LOC) prior to appointment of stockists and payment of Product Information Service (PIS) charges prior to introduction of new products in the market by pharmaceutical companies.
The Commission said that investigations carried out by its Director General (DG) revealed involvement of the State Level Association, FGSCDA, besides CDAB, in the alleged conduct. After detailed enquiry, the Commission has found that CDAB and the Gujarat Federation were indulging in the anti-competitive practice of insisting NOC prior to the appointment of new stockists by pharmaceutical companies. Further, the Gujarat Federation was found to be carrying on the practice of making introduction of new products in the market subject to payment of PIS charge and its approval. 
These practices were held to be limiting and controlling supplies of drugs/medicines in the market, in contravention of Section 3 (3) (b) read with Section 3 (1) of the Act. Further, the Commission has held Mr. Shah and Mr. Patel to be responsible under Section 48 of the Act, for their involvement in the anti-competitive practices.
Accordingly, CDAB, Gujarat Federation and their office bearers, have been directed to cease and desist from indulging in the aforesaid anti-competitive practice.
"This case is yet another example of how competitive markets and fair-play in the distribution of drugs/medicines are being compromised by the persisting anti-competitive behaviour of the chemist and druggist associations at the Regional as well as State level. It is indeed a serious matter that despite various orders by the Commission in similar cases and specific directions through a press notice, chemist and druggist associations have not mended their ways and have continued to indulge in such anti-competitive conduct. Considering the larger public interest involved in the distribution of drugs/medicines, the Commission deprecates such a conduct and its perpetration in any form by those responsible, be it the Associations, Stockists/ Distributor/ Wholesaler/ Retailer and the Pharmaceutical Companies. Given the widespread and continuing indulgence in the anti-competitive practices, the Competition Commission of India will be keeping a close watch on the conduct by all such entities in various parts of the country and would not hesitate to take action, wherever deemed necessary," the release added.
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RIL commissions world’s largest refinery off-gas cracker at Jamnagar

Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) today said it had successfully commissioned and achieved design throughput of the world’s first ever and largest Refinery Off-Gas Cracker (ROGC) complex of 1.5 MMTPA capacity along with downstream plants and utilities. 
The ROGC complex is a core component of RIL’s most innovative and world-scale J3 project at its integrated Refinery-Petrochemicals complex at Jamnagar in Gujarat, a press release from the company said.
"With the commissioning of ROGC complex, the largest ever expansion of RIL’s petrochemicals portfolio comes to a flawless completion. This is one of the largest capital expenditure programmes globally in the sector in recent times. It epitomises RIL’s core strategy of continuously pursuing opportunities for cost optimisation and efficiency enhancement through vertical integration across the value chain," the release said.
The ROGC complex has a unique configuration as it uses off-gases from RIL’s two refineries at Jamnagar as feedstock, the release said.
"This innovative approach of integration with refineries provides a sustainable cost advantage, making ROGC competitive with respect to the crackers in Middle-East and North America which have feedstock cost advantage," the release said.
"ROGC design is highly flexible and energy efficient. Given the complexities of such a plant, the start-up has been flawless adhering to the most stringent safety and technical integrity standards globally.
"ROGC is the latest addition to RIL’s existing cracker portfolio, consisting of cracker facilities at Nagothane in Maharashtra and Hazira, Dahej and Vadodara in Gujarat," it said.
There are nearly 270 ethylene plants globally with a combined capacity of over 170 MMTPA. RIL’s combined ethylene capacity is now close to 4 MMTPA at five of its manufacturing sites. With ROGC and imported Ethane, RIL has one of the most competitive and flexible cracker portfolios.
Ethylene from ROGC is used in downstream plants to produce Mono-Ethylene Glycol (MEG) and Polyethylene (LLDPE and LDPE). Similarly, Propylene from ROGC has enhanced output of the existing Polypropylene (PP) plants at Jamnagar complex to produce high-value co-polymers.
"The commissioning of MEG plant marks completion of all-round expansion of the polyester value chain post successful commissioning of Para-Xylene (PX), Purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA), Polyester filament and Poly Ethylene Terephthalate (PET) plants over last three years.
"With the commissioning of LLDPE and LDPE plants at Jamnagar along with its existing PE plants at other manufacturing sites, RIL has capability to produce entire range of PE grades covering all end-uses in the Indian market.
"The ROGC complex is built in a record time with approximately 40% lower capital cost compared to the similar projects globally. The unique configuration with sustainable cost advantage, competitive project schedule, lower capital cost and incident-free flawless start-up makes ROGC complex as one of the best executed project globally from concept to commissioning," the release said.
Mr. Mukesh D. Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries Limited said: “The world’s first ROGC and downstream plants mark a paradigm shift in the profitability and sustainability of RIL’s petrochemicals business. The ROGC complex is built on our core philosophy of deep feedstock integration to establish industry leading cost and efficiency benchmarks. This world scale petrochemicals expansion, once again showcases RIL’s unique competitive advantage in efficient execution of complex projects and flawless commissioning capabilities, adding yet another jewel to its crown. This is a fitting tribute to RIL’s visionary Founder Chairman Shri Dhirubhai H. Ambani."
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Ahmedabad Space Application Centre developing new remote sensor camera

The Space Application Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad, is all set to develop a new advanced hi-tech remote sensor camera with a capacity to capture images/pictures from a height of over 300 km.
This was disclosed by the Union Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh after a visit to the Remote Sensor Unit of the SAC here yesterday.
An official press release said Dr Jitendra Singh held a detailed update meeting with Director, SAC, Dr Tapan Misra and other members of the scientific fraternity at the Centre. He also went around different sections of the Instrument Manufacturing and Upgrading Unit.
The Minister was informed that the new remote sensor camera will be fully indigenous, living up to the Make in India concept and could be available by early next year. The new gadget will be an improvement on the existing application used for infrastructure development works, soil management and even security-related tasks.
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Essar Oilfields commences drilling in Cambay Basin on contract with Mercator Petroleum

Essar Oilfields Services (India) Limited (EOSIL), a part of the Essar Group, today said it had commenced a contract awarded by Mercator Petroleum to drill two firm oil wells plus one optional oil well in the Cambay Basin in Gujarat.
With the company commencing a few other drilling contracts in this fiscal, EOSIL is expecting to clock revenues of $ 48 million in this financial year, a press release from Essar said. 
Mr Rajeev Nayyer, CEO, EOSIL, said: “This contract bears testimony to Essar’s 25-year expertise in the contract drilling business that is backed by world-class assets. Along with the other drilling contracts that we have commenced this fiscal, the Mercator contract will add substantially to our topline growth. We are well placed to capitalise on the upswing that we see in the oil & gas exploration sector and drive sustainable growth.”
Essar Rig MR01 (1000 HP), the latest addition to the EOSIL fleet of rigs, has started drilling the first well for Mercator. A trailer-mounted mechanical rig that is capable of drilling up to a depth of 11,000 ft, it has proved to be an outstanding performer during its six exploratory well contracts with Bharat Petro Resources Limited, which were part of its previous assignment, the release said.
In addition to its 15 land rigs, EOSIL also operates the offshore rig, Essar Wildcat, which is a semi-submersible rig capable of drilling in water depths of up to 1,600 feet and drilling depth of up to 25,000 feet. Since May 2017, this rig has been deployed on a three-year contract with ONGC on the east coast of India. After completing its work programme in the first location, it is currently at ONGC’s second location and is drilling a deeper exploratory well.
Essar said the Oilfields Services business provides contract drilling services to oil and gas companies across the globe. The company was incorporated in 2006 with a focus on providing quality onshore and offshore drilling services to domestic, as well as international clients. 
"With a diverse mix of rigs in its fleet, EOSIL continues to win and execute projects for prestigious clients, such as ONGC, Oil India, HOEC, IOC and GAIL. All EOSIL rigs are equipped with advanced equipment and have a proven track record of achieving high drilling efficiencies. The company also has a pool of talented engineers and managers who have earned the confidence of clients through their ability to find solutions to problems during every stage of the well drilling process," the release added.
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Rupani sworn in for second term as Gujarat CM, Patel continues as Deputy CM

Vijay Rupani takes oath as Gujarat CM
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vijay Rupani was today sworn in as the Chief Minister of Gujarat for a second consecutive term after his party was returned to power in the recent elections to the state legislative assembly, though with reduced numbers.
Mr. Rupani was administered the oaths of office and secrecy by Governor O. P. Kohli at a ceremony here.
Mr. Nitin Patel, who was Deputy Chief Minister in the previous Rupani Cabinet, was the next to take oath and he will hold the same position.
Along with them, 18 other Ministers -- eight of Cabinet rank and ten Ministers of State -- were also sworn in today.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled States, former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, former Gujarat Chief Ministers Keshubhai Patel, Shankarsinh Vaghela and Anandiben Patel and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
Mr. Rupani, 61, and Mr. Nitin Patel, also 61, were elected as the leader and deputy leader of the BJP Legislature Party at a meeting in Ahmedabad on December 22.
In the two-phase polling held on December 9 and 14, the BJP retained power for the sixth consecutive time, winning 99 seats in the 182-member legislative assembly. This was lower than the 115 it had won in the 2012 Assembly elections. The party has since also received support from one independent MLA, Ratansinh Rathod.
The opposition Congress won 77 seats, a significant improvement from its 2012 tally of 61.
Mr. Rupani became the Chief Minister of Gujarat for the first time on August 7, 2016 after the resignation of Ms. Anandiben Patel, who had succeeded Mr. Narendra Modi in 2014 after he became the Prime Minister and moved to Delhi. 
He was until then the Minister for Transport, Water Supply, Labour and Employment in the Anandiben Patel government.
Mr. Patel, who was widely tipped to be chosen as the successor to Ms. Anandiben Patel, served as Deputy Chief Minister in Mr. Rupani's Cabinet.
Mr. Rupani is a prominent Jain leader and is considered to be close to both Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah. He was re-elected from the Rajkot West constituency in the recent elections.
Born on August 2, 1956, in Yangon, Myanmar (then Burma), Mr. Rupani started his political career as a student activist and later joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Jana Sangh, the precursor of the BJP, in 1971.
He has served as a municipal corporator in Rajkot and as mayor of the city. He also served one term as member of the Rajya Sabha from 2006 to 2012. He was elected to Gujarat Assembly in August 2014 in a bye-election. He was inducted as a Minister by Ms. Patel when she expanded her Cabinet.
Mr. Rupani has a B.A. and an LL. B. from the Saurashtra University.
Mr. Patel, who was involved with his family business for some time, was first elected to the Gujarat Legislative Assembly in 1990 and has handled various portfolios, including Finance, Urban Development, Urban Housing, Roads and Buildings, Narmada and Petrochemicals, as a Minister since 1995-96. 
Earlier, he served as a member of the Kadi Municipality for 15 years and as its  president during 1988-90. He was president of Mehsana district BJP during 1997-98. He was re-elected to the legislative assembly from Mehsana in the recent elections.

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