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Gujarat

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.
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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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SIT opposes Zakia's plea against clean chit to then Gujarat CM Modi, others

File photo of Zakia Jafri
File photo of Zakia Jafri
The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on Monday opposed the plea of Zakia Jafri -- the widow of Congress leader Ahsan Jafri -- challenging the Gujarat High Court order upholding the clean chit to then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others in a 2002 riots case.
 
The case pertains to the alleged inaction in the 2002 post-Godhra riots including the attack on Gulberg Housing Society.
 
Ahsan Jafri, a Congress leader and a former MP, was killed in the mob violence on Gulberg Society.
 
Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Special Investigation Team (SIT), told the bench of Justice A. M. Khanwilkar and Justice Deepak Gupta "it is an issue of facts and for how long it can go on".
 
He raised preliminary objections to the petition by Zakia Jafri.
 
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court there were concurrent findings of the subordinate court and the High Court as well rejecting the plea of petitioner Zakia.
 
Appearing for Zakia, senior counsel Chandra Uday Singh wondered how the SIT had come here to oppose the plea. 
 
Objecting to both SIT and the Solicitor General Mehta opposing Zakia's plea, Uday Singh said the petitioner was Zakia Jafri and none of the two who were objecting were even in caveat.
 
However, since the court had another special bench hearing in the post lunch session and felt the hearing of Jafri's plea would require some time, it adjourned the hearing directing its listing to Monday (November 26).
 
Zakia has challenged the October 5, 2017 order of Gujarat High Court upholding the magistrate court order rejecting her protest petition challenging the SIT report giving clean chit to top political leaders and state functionaries for the alleged larger conspiracy.
 
The SIT was set up by the top court, and it had come to the conclusion that no case was made out and the same was accepted by the Magistrate and the finding was "erroneously" reiterated by the High Court, says the petition by Zakia.
 
The petition further says the High Court refused to interfere with the Magistrate's order "despite large amount of documentation and contemporaneous evidence that existed which made out a triable case against all the accused".
 
The petition by Zakia says she in her case had levelled allegations against various bureaucrats, police officers and political leaders for alleged "conspiracy, abetment and hate speech" culminating in the 2002 violence.
 
She referred to the burning of the S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express on February 27, 2002 resulting in the death of 59 'kar sevaks' at the Godhra railway station. 
 
She said this was "presumed to be communal attack against the Hindus and this culminated into a reprisal against the Muslim community leading to orchestrated violence and targeted killings".
 
Zakia says in her petition that "as contemporaneous official data began to be released, including the intelligence collected by the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB), it transpired that the SIB had information about systematic movements of 'kar sevaks' and accumulation of arms, which was ignored and facilitated by inaction".
 
IANS
 

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Cow vigilantes attack two in Gujarat

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Two persons were attacked by alleged cow vigilantes when they were transporting cattle near Ahmedabad early on Sunday, leaving one of them with a stab wound, police said.
 
Zaheer, 23, was rushed to the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital with a stab wound and was injected several units of blood.
 
His accomplice, Mustafa, ran away from the spot and hid behind a police van nearby, Danish Khan, an activist attending on Zaheer at the hospital, told IANS.
 
Zaheer and Mustafa were travelling in a tempo van with eight buffalo calves from Deesa in North Gujarat when they were intercepted near Ramol in Ahmedabad by six people believed to be cow vigilantes and attacked by knives and batons.
 
Ahmedabad Deputy Commissioner Himkar Singh told IANS: "The two persons were intercepted by six people, including two motorcycle-borne youths, from the nearby Rabari colony, and attacked around 12.30 a.m."
 
Zaheer is out of danger, he said, adding he sustained one stab wound.
 
The police officer said an FIR had been registered against unidentified accused under Section 326 of the Indian Penal Code for causing grievous injuries. 
 
Himkar Singh said: "We have rounded up some persons and finding out more details. We will soon get the assailants."
 
IANS
 

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IRSDC makes progress in developing Surat railway station as multi-modal transport hub

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Indian Railways Station Development Corporation (IRSDC) was making swift progress in developing Surat Railway Station as Multi-Modal Transport Hub, an official press release has said.
 
The Indian Railways, Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation and Surat Municipal Corporation have come together to pool their lands and also form an SPV named SITCO for this purpose. 
 
The initiative is being spearheaded by IRSDC. The project, once completed, will transform the face of Surat, the release said.
 
Request for Qualification cum Request for Proposal  (RFQ cum RFP) for the appointment of Developer to take up the development of Multi-Modal Transportation Hub (MMTH) along with Commercial Development on DBFOT-PPP mode was invited on April 17 so that in addition to the originally qualified developers, new developers could also participate.  
 
After interaction with the probable bidders at GOG level, a number of steps have been taken to make this project more attractive and risk-free to the developers. The various steps already taken and incorporated in the bidding document as corrigendum are as under:
 
As part of increasing project viability, proposed commercial development of increased Built-up Area (BUA)-Proposed Commercial Development BUA was increased from 5.07 lakh sq. m. to 8.40 lakh sq. m.
 
BUA definition was modified to exclude basement(s) or any upper floor(s) for satisfying the parking/ fire requirements as per local bye-laws. The estimated Cost of Mandatory project was reduced from Rs 1,008 crore to Rs 895 crore.
 
The commercial area at the ground level was increased from 3,54,864 sq. m. to 7,84,596 sq. m., considering the local demand.
 
The commercial area was increased on the west side by shifting the proposed Railway Quarters to Udhna. Flexibility has been given to the developer to modify the Commercial Development Plan without disturbing the area requirements and intent of Mandatory Project. The Master Plan has been revised to provide more commercial area on the ground.
 
IRSDC being declared the nodal agency by Union Cabinet for Railway Station Redevelopment has been given full powers for plan approvals over railway land and no change in land use required.
 
MoU between Railways, Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) and Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) for joint development was signed on July 17, 2016, the release added.
 
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Gujarat CM for renaming Ahmedabad as Karnavati

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Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has re-opened the issue of renaming Ahmedabad as 'Karnavati', days after his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath renamed Allahabad as Prayagraj and mooted the idea of changing Faizabad to Ayodhya.
 
Soon after offering 'darshan' at the Bhadkrakali Temple on the Hindu new year on Thursday, Rupani said his government was committed to rename Ahmedabad as Karnavati. The task would be accomplished and the renaming would happen before the 2019 parliamentary elections.
 
The Chief Minister said all legal hurdles would be tackled for this purpose as "millions of Hindus in Ahmedabad and most parts of Gujarat wished" that the city was renamed as Karnavati.
 
The BJP has been using this name in all its official functions, events and publicity paraphernalia.
 
"My government is committed to the cause and we will ensure the the process is completed ahead of the Lok Sabha elections," he told reporters.
 
In 2002 the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government with party veteran L.K. Advani as the Union Home Minister had rejected a 1990 proposal of the then BJP-ruled Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to rename Ahmedabad as Karnavati. 
 
Later, the subsequent Congress-ruled local civic body overturned the proposal and retained the original name.
 
The Gujarat Congress asserted that Rupani's idea to re-open the renaming issue was provoked by political motivation. 
 
"The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation is under the BJP without a break for the last 13 years, the State Government for more than two decades and the Centre for the last four and a half years.
 
"Why was this not initiated all these years and being brought up again, just when the Lok Sabha elections are around the corner?" former state Congress president Arjun Modhvadia asked.
 
He asserted that the ruling BJP wanted to distract the distract public attention from the failures of the Modi government across all spheres and keep people bogged down in non-issues.
 
The BJP, meanwhile, stated that "Karnavati" was Ahmedabad's original ancient after King Karnadev who had set up his kingdom here in 12th century. Ahmed Shah had conquered it in 1411 and the city was renamed after him as Ahmedabad.
 
A party spokesperson said, "The people of Ahmedabad have already embraced Karnavati, it is only a matter of legal process to be completed. It should be noted that this has nothing to do with the 2019 elections."
 
IANS
 

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IIMA’s RTERC to conduct Winter School from December 13-16

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The Right to Education Resource Centre (RTERC) of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA), will host the fifth edition of its annual flagship event, Winter School, here from December 13-16.
 
The programme aims to orient students towards public policy and social change, a press release from the organisers said.
 
Participants of Winter School go through an orientation programme for four days on IIMA Campus. Professors of the institute and other dignitaries from all over India take orientation classes for the participants. The purpose of the orientation programme is to give the participants a basic set of tools for understanding the social equations surrounding them.
 
The theme of Winter School this year is citizenship to imbibe a feeling of bonding with the nation and act to create a better future for young people across India. Post the orientation programme, participants pick a policy of their choice and do a practicum at a place of their choice. The practicum would ideally take 10 days. Participants are expected to send a report to the RTERC, detailing the work they have done, to earn a certificate.
 
Participants of the previous years have mentioned that the sessions at winter school have led them to understand some problems faced by society, and, more importantly, enabled them to find solutions and bring about social change. Also, the final policy-related work has led to an understanding of how things actually work at the grass-root level.
 
Ankur Sarin, Professor and Faculty Coordinator - RTERC at IIMA, said, “RTERC's Winter School provides a platform for participants to engage with ideas in education and public policy and enact their roles as citizens towards the creation of a socially just society.”
 
The deadline for applying to the programme is November 10, 2018.
 
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Statue of Unity ends questions on India's existence: Modi

Dedicating the Statue of Unity to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said it is India's reply to all those who question her existence and asked all citizens to remain united in countering efforts made by divisive forces.

The 'Statue of Unity' that was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in honour of country's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Kevadia, Gujarat on October 31, 2018. (Photo: IANS/BJP)
The 'Statue of Unity' that was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in honour of country's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Kevadia, Gujarat on October 31, 2018. (Photo: IANS/BJP)
Dedicating the Statue of Unity to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said it is India's reply to all those who question her existence and asked all citizens to remain united in countering efforts made by divisive forces.
 
Unveiling the 182-metre Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue here, Modi also hit out at his critics for politicising the mission for erecting the tallest monument. 
 
"Statue of Unity is to remind all those who question India's existence and its integrity. This country was, is and will always be eternal," Modi said. 
 
He said that the height of the statue is to remind the youth that the future of the country is in their aspirations and is as huge as this statue. 
 
"The only mantra to fulfil these aspirations are 'Ek Bharat-Shresth Bharat' (One India, Best India). Statue of Unity is also symbolic of our engineering and technological affordability," he added.
 
Keeping the nation's unity, diversity and sovereignty intact is one such responsibility which Patel has given to the countrymen, Modi said.
 
"It's our responsibility to give reply to every effort of dividing the country. We will have to remain vigilant and united as a society," he said.
 
The Prime Minister also launched an attack on those opposing his mission of reviving contributions of historical figures like Sardar Patel, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Bhimrao Ambedkar and others.
 
"I am amazed that our efforts are seen with political spectacles. Praising great icons has also brought us criticism. It seems like we have committed a big crime," he said.
 
Modi said that there were many who thought that a diverse country like India can never remain united after it got independence. But Sardar Patel proved them wrong and it was his contribution that the country now meets the world on its own terms and is moving towards becoming an economic and military superpower.
 
"They considered our diversity our biggest weakness but Sardar Patel converted this into our biggest strength. India is moving ahead on the path shown by him," he said. 
 
"If today we are connected from Rajasthan's Kutch to Nagaland's Kohima and Jammu and Kashmir's Kargil to Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari, it is because of Patel's strong resolve and determination.
 
"Had Sardar Patel not done it, the country would have needed visas for offering prayers at Somnath and visiting Charminar in Hyderabad," he said recalling Patel's effort in integrating over 550 princely states into the Indian Union after the Partition of 1947.
 
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Unveiling the statue of the former Deputy Prime Minister built on Sadhu Bet Island on the Narmada river at a cost of Rs 2,389 crore, Modi touted it to be the world's tallest -- surpassing China's Spring Temple Buddha that stands at 153 metres by 29 metres and nearly double of the 93-metre Statue of Liberty in New York.
 
Three Indian Air Force planes flew past the statue and created the tricolour in the sky following the inauguration. 
 
The Gujarat government expects the statue to boost tourism, with one estimate putting the daily numbers at 15,000.
 
Apart from the Patel bronze figure, other major attractions include a 17-km-long Valley of Flowers, a Tent City for tourists near the statue and a museum dedicated to the life and times of Patel. 
 
The Tent City, located around four km from the Statue of Unity can house more than 500 tourists at a time.
 
A viewing gallery at a height of 153 metres has been created inside the statue to enable tourists to have a view of the 1,210 metre long concrete Sardar Sarovar Dam, 3.2 km upstream as well as the nearby Satpura and Vindhya mountain ranges. 
 
As per a government statement, the statue has been built using over 70,000 tonne of cement, 18,500 tonne of reinforced steel, 6,000 tonne of structural steel and 1,700 tonne of bronze, which was used for the outer cladding of the structure.
 
Gujarat Governor O.P. Kohli, Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and BJP President Amit Shah were also present on the occasion.
 
IANS

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Modi unveils 'Statue of Unity' in Gujarat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday unveiled the 182-metre high 'Statue of Unity' in honour of country's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and dedicated it to the nation.

The 'Statue of Unity' that was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in honour of country's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Kevadia, Gujarat on October 31, 2018. (Photo: IANS/BJP)
The 'Statue of Unity' that was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in honour of country's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Kevadia, Gujarat on October 31, 2018. (Photo: IANS/BJP)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday unveiled the 182-metre high 'Statue of Unity' in honour of country's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and dedicated it to the nation.
 
Built on Sadhu Bet Island on Narmada river, the imposing statue is touted to be the world's tallest. 
 
The Rs 2,389 crore monument is a tribute to Patel who played a major role in integrating the princely states into the Indian Union after the partition of 1947. 
 
It is almost 29 metres taller than China's Spring Temple Buddha that stands at 153 metres, and almost twice as high as the 93-metre Statue of Liberty in New York.
 
Three Indian Air Force planes flew past the Patel figure and created the tricolour in the sky after Modi inaugurated the giant. 
 
The Gujarat government expects the statue to boost tourism, with one estimate putting the daily numbers at 15,000.
 
Apart from the Patel bronze figure, other major attractions include inauguration of a 17-km-long Valley of flowers, a Tent City for tourists near the statue and a museum dedicated to the life and times of Patel. 
 
The Tent City, located around four km from the Statue of Unity can house more than 500 tourists in one go.
 
A viewing gallery at a height of 153 metres has been created inside the statue to enable tourists to have a view of 1,210 metre long concrete Sardar Sarovar Dam, 3.2 km upstream as well as the nearby Satpura and Vindhya mountain ranges. 
 
As per a government statement, the statue has been built using over 70,000 tonnes of cement, 18,500 tonnes of reinforced steel, 6,000 tonnes of structural steel and 1,700 tonnes of bronze, which was used for the outer cladding of the structure.
 
Modi was accompanied by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. 
 
IANS
 

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Gujarat police detain tribal activists ahead of Sardar Patel's statue inauguration

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Apprehending protests, the Gujarat police on Tuesday detained several tribal leaders and activists in the Narmada district ahead of the inauguration of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's statue on October 31-- the birth anniversary of India's 'Iron Man'.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the 'Statue of Unity', touted as the world's tallest statue, to the nation on Wednesday.
 
It is twice the height of Statue of Liberty and is built on an islet, Sadhu Bet, near the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Narmada district. 
 
The police went knocking on the doors of several tribal activists and leaders in Kevadia, Rajpipla and Dediapada talukas (blocks), detaining them under IPC 68, fearing disruption of the government programmes on Wednesday.
 
"The police came to my house in Kevadia and arrested me and is now taking me to some place. There are 8 to 10 other tribals with me. Most probably they will take us to Jeetnagar, Rajpipla. We will be detained for 24 hours and then they will release us when Wednesday's programes get over," said Lakhan Musaafir from Kevadia.
 
"Tribals in entire eastern Gujarat are angry at this show of pomp (unveiling of the statue). Their anger is also expressed in a peacceful manner as they have announced boycott, fast, and shutdown of the whole tribal belt. They have done so in the face of extreme pressure and intimidation," said Anand Mazgaonkar, a social activist working for the tribals.
 
"What is shocking is that they were detained in an unconstitutional manner. The detention was carried out after 6 in the evening and there were also two females in the raid at Kevadia. We have heard that around five thousand police personnel are going to detain around fifty tribal leaders by midnight. Why are they so terrified of tribals?" asked Anand.
 
IANS
 
 

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Modi to dedicate Statue of Unity to the nation

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the world’s tallest statue, the “Statue of Unity”, to the Nation, at Kevadiya in Gujarat on Wednesday.
 
The 182-metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel will be dedicated to the nation on his birth anniversary.
 
At the launch ceremony, the Prime Minister and other dignitaries will pour soil and Narmada water into a "kalash" to mark the dedication of the “Statue of Unity” to the nation. He will press a lever to commence a virtual "abhishek" of the statue and address the gathering.
 
Mr Modi will then proceed to the Wall of Unity for its inauguration. At the feet of the Statue of Unity, the Prime Minister will perform a special prayer. He will also visit the Museum and Exhibition, and the Viewers’ Gallery.
 
This gallery, at 153 metres height, can accommodate up to 200 visitors at one time. It offers a spectacular view of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, its reservoir and the Satpura and Vindhya mountain ranges.
 
The dedication ceremony will be punctuated by a flypast by the IAF and performances of cultural troupes.
 
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Gujarat: Gogha-Dahej Ro-Pax Ferry service ready to start after trial run with 12 trucks

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The Gogha- Dahej Ro-Pax Ferry service in Gujarat is all ready to start under the Sagarmala programme of the Ministry of Shipping.
 
In a successful trial run conducted recently, 12 loaded trucks were transported by the Ro- Pax ferry from Dahej in South Gujarat to Gogha in Saurashtra across the Gulf of Cambay, via the sea route, an official press release said. 
 
The land route between the two places involves a 294 km or 8-hour drive.
 
The Ro-Pax service reduces this distance to just 31 km through the sea route by crossing the Gulf in Cambay in 17 Nautical Miles.  The travel time gets reduced to just 1.5 hours. This is an important development for diamond and textiles traders and workers in Surat to travel via coastal shipping and save the travel time by almost half, the release said.
 
The fully operational Ro Pax service with a carrying capacity of 100 vehicles and 500 passengers will be opened on October 27.
 
Speaking after the trial run, Union Minister of Shipping Nitin Gadkari said, “The Sagarmala programme is touching the lives of people. Gogha-Dahej Ro-Pax Ferry service is all set to connect Saurashtra and South Gujarat.”
 
The total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 615 crore of which Rs. 117 crore has been funded by Central Government under the Sagarmala programme with the main objective of promoting coastal shipping and reducing logistics costs.
 
The initiative would not only reduce the travel time but also result in savings in fuel, reduction in CO2 emission and reduction in road congestion.
 
The project is the first of its kind in India and being executed in the area of world’s second highest tidal range. The project would open up new avenues in coastal shipping & tourism and help in the socio-economic development of proximate areas, the release added.
 
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Gujarat: Six killed in Kutch, security tightened

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Six people were killed in a clash that broke out between two OBC communities in Chasra village in Mundra taluka (tehsil) late on Tuesday night, police said today, adding security had been beefed up in the desert district of Kutch.
 
Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said on Wednesday that one company each of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) has been deployed at Mundra and Anjar, while Gandhidham and Bhachau are being overseen by a deputy superintendent of police and his team.
 
"Besides this, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) (Law & Order) Sanjay Shrivastav has been rushed to Bhuj (district headquarters of Kutch)," he said. 
 
The minister said the cause of the clashes was some old election-related rivalry.
 
Jadeja added, "Due to the prompt police action, the situation has been in control at Chasra village in Kutch district, where six murders took place in a clash between Ahir and Kumbhar communities on Tuesday night."
 
The last rites of the dead on both the sides were performed peacefully after intervention of the IGP and his talks with leaders of both communities. He said Chief Minister Vijay Rupani expressed his concern over the incident at the Wednesday's Cabinet meeting.
 
Jadeja said: "Polce have registered FIRs from both the sides, collected the necessary evidences and sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL). The Range IG has also appealed to the communities to maintain peace and cooperate with the police," he said.
 
The police have registered cases of murder and rioting. The situation is being monitored by the Border Range IG Police D B Vaghela.
 
IANS
 

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Gujarat: Shankersinh Vaghela's son Mahendrasinh quits BJP

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Less than four months after joining the BJP, Mahendrasinh Vaghela, the son of former Gujarat Chief Minister Shankersinh Vaghela, on Thursday quit the saffron party on personal grounds.
 
Mahendrasinh Vaghela, a former Congress MLA from Bayad, quit the Congress following his father's exit from the grand old party prior to the Gujarat Assembly elections in 2017. 
 
The senior Vaghela had quit the Congress and voted against the party veteran Ahmed Patel during the Rajya Sabha elections in August last year.
 
Vaghela later formed the Jan Vikalp Morcha, a third front in Gujarat and even had the front contesting for the 2017 elections. The front failed miserably, with all its candidates losing their deposits.
 
Sensing his political aspirations going for a toss, Mahendrasinh thought it better to join the saffron bandwagon. 
 
This infuriated the senior Vaghela and in a press briefing he had given an ultimatum to him to quit the saffron party, failing which he would sever all political ties with Mahendrasinh.
 
Despite the threat, Mahendrasinh did not budge and continued with the saffron party. But on Thursday, Mahendrasinh tendered his resignation to the BJP, citing personal reasons for the decision.
 
Mahendrasinh could not be contacted for comments. A source in the Shankersinh Vaghela camp said Mahendrasinh would join hands with his father against the BJP.
 
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2002 Gujarat riots: SIT report a blatant lie, reiterates Lt. General Shah

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Lt. General Zameer Uddin Shah (Retd) reiterated on Saturday that the Army was delayed transport for over a day despite a request made to the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi during the 2002 Gujarat riots. 
 
He was speaking at the launch of 'The Sarkari Mussalman', unveiled by former VIce President Hamid Ansari.
 
Shah said he has written the 'Gospel truth', adding that the sequence of events has been recorded in the "war diaries" of the Army.
 
"When the time comes, these diaries will be provided. What I have reported is the Gospel truth," he said.
 
The memoir is published by Konark Publishers.
 
The book has courted much controversy over its portions relating to the 2002 Gujarat riots. Shah, who led the Army in quelling the riots, has said in his memoir that after about 3,000 troops landed at the Ahmedabad airfield by 7 am on March 1, they had to wait for over a day to receive transport and other logistical support from the state government in order to fan out to the cities and towns which were engulfed in violence.
 
This delay, according to him, happened despite a request by the Lt. General to then Chief Minister Narendra Modi at 2 a.m. on March 1 in Ahmedabad, in the presence of Union Defence Minister George Fernandes.
 
The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigative Team (SIT) report, that had cleared Modi's name, had concluded that there was no delay "in requisition and deployment of the Army", based on testimony of Ashok Narayan, Additional Chief Secretary (Home).
 
"I was not aware of the SIT report until a few days ago when this was pointed out to me. Let me say again, it is a blatant lie. I have told the truth. I don't think there's a better qualified person than me to talk about it," he said.
 
General S. Padmanabhan, the then Chief of Army Staff, speaking to IANS earlier, had backed the assertions of Shah. Shah says he "could not be surer" about the events leading to the deployment of Army in Gujarat as he had mentioned every detail in the After Action Report on Operation Aman.
 
The SIT never called the Lt General for questioning. It looks apparent from its report that the SIT did not look at Shah's After Action Report submitted to Gen Padmanabhan, which was subsequently forwarded to the central government.
 
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According to Shah, the Army put an end to the mayhem during the 2002 Gujarat riots within 48 hours (March 4) by "resolute, firm and fair action", but he holds the "bias" and "politicisation" of the police responsible for the uncontrolled violence.
 
Although Shah does not make any political statements and calls the delay in the deployment of the Army "an administrative failure", Ansari, during his brief address at the book launch, asked "where does the responsibility lie if the civil administration failed to respond?"
 
Ansari praised the book and pointed out portions that appealed to him personally. The evening also witnessed a brief reading about the life of wives of men in service.
 
The SIT was headed by former CBI Director R.K. Raghavan (present Ambassador to Cyprus). When contacted by IANS on the phone, Raghavan said he is "not prepared to talk".
 
Questions sent to him and his attache at the Indian High Commission in Nicosia seeking his views on whether the Army or it's After Action Report was considered before reaching to the conclusion that there was "no delay in requisition and deployment of the Army" have not been answered.
 
A panel comprising former Indian envoy to Saudi Arabia Talmiz Ahmad; actor Naseeruddin Shah; Jamia Hansard Vice Chancellor, Syed Ehtesham Hasnain; senior journalists Seema Mustafa, Satish Jacob and Vinod Dua later participated in a panel discussion on the book.
 
IANS
 

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35 FIRs against attackers on migrants in Gujarat, 450 detained

 
Rape of infant triggers attack on migrants
Police have filed 35 complaints and detained around 450 persons for attacking the migrant community residing in Gujarat, Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said on Monday.
 
After the rape of a toddler, there were widespread attacks on migrant labourer residents, especially from north India, believing that some from the community were responsible for the ghastly crime.
 
"We have registered 35 FIRs for the violence on the north Indian migrants in the state. We have detained 450 persons and further interrogations are on," said Jadeja.
 
"We have apprised the central government regarding the steps we have taken to stabilize the situation," Jadeja told reporters here.
 
"Elements rejected by the Gujarat public can go to any lengths to achieve their political aspirations. The Gujarat Police is also trying to find who is behind this outrage," he added.
 
"I appeal to people not to be misled by those who are inciting people for their political gains," Jadeja said.
 
Although the Minister could not provide any data regarding the exact figures of migrants returning to their states, he assured that all those still in Gujarat would be safe. 
 
"We have asked the police personnel to inquire about the regular traffic to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya pradesh and Bihar and also the numbr of people travelling to such places during this week," Jadeja told IANS. 
 
The government deployed additional forces in industrial areas for the security of the migrants. 
 
The incidents of attacks on migrant labourers from north India followed the rape of a 14-month-old girl in a village near Himmatnagar town, around 100 km from Ahmedabad. 
 
The police arrested a labourer originally from Bihar, Ravindra Sahu, for the crime. Sahu is working in a local ceramic factory. 
 
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said the situation was now under control. 
 
"No untoward incident has happened in the last 48 hours. The situation is under control. We are committed to maintaining law and order. We request people not to indulge in violence," he said in Rajkot.
 
Jadeja added: "Migrant labourers and non Gujaratis working in the state need not fear. Your safety and security are our concern. We will not let the peace and sanctity be disturbed by a handful of elements who want to tarnish the state's image."
 
IANS

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India crush West Indies by innings and 272 runs in Rajkot Test

India's Ravichandran Ashwin in action on Day 2 of the First Test match between India and West Indies at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on October 5, 2018. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
India's Ravichandran Ashwin in action on Day 2 of the First Test match between India and West Indies at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on October 5, 2018. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
India outclassed the West Indies by an innings and 272 runs in the first Test to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
 
The visiting side failed to put up a show against the No. 1 Test side as India dominated the entire contest and registered their biggest innings win at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
 
After putting a massive 649/9 on the board, India rode on its disciplined bowling attack to skittle out West Indies for the second time within two days.
 
The visiting batsmen had no answer to the Indian bowling as they succumbed and fell for 181 and 196 runs in their first and second innings respectively.
 
Resuming their first innings at 94/6 on Saturday, West Indies were all out after an hour and 10 minutes in the morning session.
 
Roston Chase (53) and Keemo Paul (47) stitched together a 73-run stand. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin ran through the tail, ending with 4/37 in 11 overs.
 
Ashwin first removed Chase with a beauty, a flighted ball that turned in to create a big gap between bat and pad before crashing into the stumps.
 
Number 10 and 11 were easy meat for Aswhin, who sent them back with the away turning ball.
 
Asked to follow-on, the visitors lost skipper Kraigg Brathwaite (10) as Ashwin struck again as West Indies' scorecard read 32/1.
 
Later, chinaman Kuldeep Yadav ran through the West Indian middle order as he scalped five wickets to leave the visitors at 151/6. 
 
It was also Kuldeep's maiden five-wicket haul in Test as he returned with career best figures of 5/57.
 
Other than opener Kieran Powell, who showed some resistence with his knock 83 runs, no visiting batsman showed a fight and fell cheaply. After his fall, Ravindra Jadeja and Ashwin struck once each to pack back Keemo Paul (15) and Devendra Bishoo (9) as West Indies were 185/8 when lunch was taken.
 
In the third and final session, Jadeja dismissed Shannon Gabriel (4) and Sherman Lewis (4) as India registered a comfortable victory.
 
Earlier, India rode on debutant opener Prithvi Shaw's 134, skipper Virat Kohli's 139 and Jadeja's unbeaten 100 to put up a huge 649/9 on board.
 
The second and final Test of the series will be held from October 12 in Hyderabad.
 
Brief Scores: India 1st Innings 649 for 9 in 149.5 overs (Virat Kohli 139, Prithvi Shaw 134, Ravindra Jadeja 100; Devendra Bishoo 4/217) beat West Indies 181 all out (Roston Chase 53, Keemo Paul 47; Ravichandran Ashwin 4/37, Mohammed Shami 2/22) & 196 all out (Kieran Powell 83; Kuldeep Yadav 5/57). 
 
IANS

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First Test: India in driver's seat against West Indies on Day 2

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli (Photo: IANS)
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli (Photo: IANS)
India put themselves in the driver's seat in the first cricket Test through a good all-round display as the West Indies were reeling at 94/6 in their first innings at stumps on the second day in response to a mammoth 649 for nine declared.
 
Roston Chase (27) and Keemo Paul (13) were at the crease when the umpires dislodged the bails for the day, with the visitors trailing the hosts by 555 runs.
 
The second day saw India dominating all the three sessions, making the West Indies' players struggle throughout.
 
In the first session, skipper Virat Kohli brought up his 24th Test century while wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant missed out on one after a blistering 92 as India raced to 506/5.
 
Kohli, who was 72 not out overnight, became the second fastest to get 24 Test hundreds behind only Donald Bradman, who took 66 innings to Kohli's 123.
 
The right-hander took time to get to the milestone as the aggressive Pant (92 off 84), went all guns blazing after resuming at 17.
 
A second Test hundred in his fourth Test was for the taking but Pant tried to hit a six and failed to pick the googly to top-edge the ball for a simple catch to Keemo Paul at backward point.
 
Pant's innings was studded with eight fours and four sixes. He played his usual attacking game from ball one, which he flicked through square leg to get going.
 
Kohli enjoyed his teammate's fluent strokeplay from the other end as Pant raced to his half century with a four and six off pacer Paul.
 
Pant was on 87 when Kohli brought up his ton but the wicket-keeper batsman ended up throwing it away as he went for another six.
 
The second session saw Ravindra Jadeja's unbeaten ton guide India to the imposing total. The hosts declared their first innings at 649/9.
 
Jadeja (100 not out) batted with the tail-enders and completed his brilliant ton which contained five boundaries and as many sixes. This is his first Test hundred.
 
Continuing the second session from 506/5, skipper Virat Kohli (139) was dismissed after adding 19 runs more to his score. He was dismissed by Sherman Lewis. His 230 balls innings was laced with 10 boundaries.
 
Jadeja then played with lower-order batters -- Ravichandran Ashwin (7), Kuldeep Yadav (12), Umesh Yadav (22) and Mohammed Shami (2)-- and completed his first ton in Tests which was highlighted by blitzkrieg hitting towards the end.
 
The West Indian bowlers were thrashed all around the park by the left-hander. For a brief period, Jadeja was joined by Umesh who also slammed two huge sixes.
 
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For the West Indies, Devendra Bishoo picked up four wickets while Sherman Lewis chipped in with two wickets.
 
In the final session, India came out to bowl and were right on the money from the first ball.
 
Apart from Chase (27), no other batter stood up to the occasion and all of them went back cheaply.
 
Opener Kraigg Brathwaite (2) was the first one to go in the third over. An over later, Kieran Powell (1) was also dismissed. The duo was packed up by pacer Mohammad Shami.
 
Middle-order batsmen Shai Hope (10), Shimron Hetmyer, (10) and Sunil Ambris (12) also failed and were dismissed with just 49 runs on the board.
 
With scoreboard reading 49/5, Shane Dowrich (10) tried to spend some time in the middle but after playing 35 balls he was dismissed by chinaman Kuldeep Yadav.
 
For India, Shami took two wickets while Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja took one wicket each.
 
Brief scores: India 1st innings: 649/9 (Virat Kohli 139; Prithvi Shaw 134; Devendra Bishoo 4/217) against West Indies: 94/6 ( Roston Chase 27 not out; Mohammad Shami 2/11) at stumps on Day 2.
 
IANS

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Kohli completes ton as India amass 506/5 at lunch on Day 2

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli (Photo: IANS)
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli (Photo: IANS)
Skipper Virat Kohli brought up his 24th Test century while wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant missed out on one after a blistering 92 as India put up 506/5 at lunch on day two of the first Test against the West Indies here on Friday.
 
Kohli, who was 72 not out overnight, became the second fastest to 24 Test hundreds behind only Donald Bradman, who took 66 innings to Kohli's 123.
 
The right-hander took time to get to the milestone as the aggressive Pant (92 off 84), who resumed at 17, went all guns blazing.
 
A second Test hundred in his fourth Test was for the taking but Pant tried to hit a six and failed to pick the googly to top-edge the ball for a simple catch to Keemo Paul at backward point.
 
Pant's innings was studded with eight fours and four sixes.
 
Kohli (120 not out) had the company of Ravindra Jadeja (19 not out off 33) when lunch was taken.
 
Pant played his usual attacking game from ball one, flicking the ball through square leg to get going.
 
Kohli enjoyed his teammates' fluent strokeplay from the other end as Pant raced to his half century with a four and six off pacer Paul.
 
Pant was on 87 when Kohli brought up his ton but the wicket-keeper batsmen ended up throwing it away as he went for another six.
 
Brief Scores:
 
India 1st Innings: 506/5 in 118 overs (Virat Kohli 120 batting, Rishabh Pant 92, Prithvi Shaw 134, Devendra Bishoo 2/154).
 
IANS
 

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Prithvi slams ton on debut as India dominate opening day vs West Indies

India's Prithvi Shaw celebrates his century during the 1st Test match between India and West Indies at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on October 4, 2018. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
India's Prithvi Shaw celebrates his century during the 1st Test match between India and West Indies at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot on October 4, 2018. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Opener Prithvi Shaw became the youngest Indian to score a century on debut as  India dominated the proceedings and reached 364/4 at stumps on the opening day of the first Test against the West Indies here on Thursday.
 
Rishabh Pant (17) and skipper Virat Kohli (72) were at the crease when the umpires dislodged the bails for the day.
 
Winning the toss and opting to bat first on a batting-friendly track, India got off to a bad start as they lost their opener Lokesh Rahul with just three runs on the board but went on to finish the first session at 133/1.
 
Debutant opener Prithvi and Cheteshwar Pujara's half-centuries helped India recover from the early blow.
 
Rahul was gone for a golden duck when Caribbean pacer Shannon Gabriel trapped the Indian opener in front of the wickets.
 
Shaw and Pujara, who came one down, however, maintained their calm and punished the bad deliveries to complete their respective half centuries.
 
At the end of the first session, Shaw was unbeaten on 75 and Pujara was on 56 as they posted 130 runs in 25 overs.
 
In the second session, Shaw (134) slammed a brilliant ton as he became the youngest Indian to score a Test century on debut as India took their total to 232/3 by tea.
 
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Shaw, at 18 years and 329 days, reached the historic three-figure mark off just 99 balls at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium.
 
Shaw is also the second youngest Indian ever to score a Test century after Sachin Tendulkar who cracked a ton at 17 years and 107 days in 1990 vs England in Manchester. His innings was laced with 15 boundaries.
 
Pujara scored a good looking 86 in his own backyard, but missed out on a hundred.
 
Kohli was all smiles when young Shaw raised his bat after reaching the milestone. Subsequently, Shaw offered an easy return catch to leggie Devendra Bishoo trying to play against the turn.
 
Shaw and Pujara added 206 runs for the second wicket as the tourists were sent on a leatherhunt for large parts of the second session.
 
Shaw's innings was studded with 19 fours while Pujara hit 14 boundaries before poking at a length ball half-heartedly to be taken by wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich off pacer Sherman Lewis, who bagged his first Test scalp.
 
The last session saw India maintain a good run rate with Kohli and Rahane (41) stitching a 105-run partnership and helping India get past the 300-run mark.
 
But at 337 in 84 overs, Roston Chase dismissed Rahane. Rahane played 92 balls and slammed five boundaries. 
 
Scoreboard:
India (1st innings)
Prithvi Shaw c & b Devendra Bishoo 134
KL Rahul lbw b Shannon Gabriel 0
Cheteshwar Pujara c Shane Dowrich b Sherman Lewis 86
Virat Kohli not out 72
A Rahane c Shane Dowrich b Roston Chase 41
Rishabh Pant not out 17
Extras 14 (b 9, lb 1, nb 4)
TOTAL 364/4 (89 Overs)
Fall of wickets: 1-3 (KL Rahul, 0.6 ov), 2-209 (CA Pujara, 42.6 ov), 3-232 (PP Shaw, 50.2 ov), 4-337 (AM Rahane, 83.3 ov)
Bowling
Shannon Gabriel 18-1-66-1
Keemo Paul 10-1-41-0
Sherman Lewis 12-0-56-1
Devendra Bishoo 30-1-113-1
Roston Chase 16-0-67-1
Kraigg Brathwaite 3-0-11-0
 
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Global Sanitation Ministers go on ‘Gandhi Trail’ field visit to Gujarat

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As many as 116 foreign delegates, including Sanitation Ministers, visited select sites in Gujarat related to the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi on the "Gandhi Trail" on the second day of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention (MGISC) here on Sunday.
 
The delegation was led by the Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Ramesh Jigajinagi. 
 
The four-day convention, organized by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and  being attended by more than 160 international representatives from 68 countries, was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi on Saturday.
 
The delegation first visited Punsari village, an example of the success of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). For the 5,100 residents, each home has a functional toilet with a water facility. Since it was declared open defecation free, not a single child has dropped out of school. 
 
The delegation showed keen interest in the twin pit toilet technology used in India, which is a low-cost, eco-friendly and easy to use toilet technology, suitable for large parts of rural India, an official press release said.
 
The visitors viewed the local health facility and took note that the infant and maternal mortality rates are zero. They also visited the school, anganwadi and interacted with villagers about the toilets they had built in their homes. They also undertook tree plantation, visited a micro compost pit and drainage as part of SLWM work in the village and said that they were inspired to see such high quality service delivery and behaviour change on the ground.
 
Later, the delegation visited Dandi Kutir at the Mahatma Mandir complex and paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad. They also attended a lunch hosted by Gujarat Governor Om Prakash Kohli.
 
Speaking about the visit, Ms. Siriwan Chandanachulaka, delegate from Thailand, noted that it was evident that the national- and state level political investment in health and sanitation was paying off. “It is clear that the achievement is the result of hard work, community participation, and strong leadership. Everybody looks happy and healthy," the release quoted her as saying.
 
Mr. Amidou Sani, delegate from Togo, said that he was sending observations and findings in real time directly to 400 colleagues back home from his experience of Gujarat.
 
The MGISC will culminate tomorrow with the launch of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi. It will also mark the beginning of the final year of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) or Clean India Mission. 
 
Tomrrow's session will be presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
"India is close to becoming open defecation free. The rural sanitation coverage of India has increased significantly, from 39% in October 2014 to 94.44% as of 30 September 2018. Nearly 86.5 million household toilets have been constructed under the Mission. 25 States/Union Territories, 509 districts, and 500,000 villages have declared themselves free from open defecation. The number of people practicing open defecation in rural India has gone down from 550 million in 2014, to less than 150 million till date," the release added.
 
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Modi inaugurates Mahatma Gandhi Museum at Rajkot

 
Modi inaugurates Mahatma Gandhi Museum in Rajkot
 
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi Museum here on Sunday.
 
The museum has been set up at the Alfred High School, which was an important part of the formative years of Mahatma Gandhi. It will help spread awareness about Gandhian culture, values and philosophy, an official press release said.
 
The Prime Minister also unveiled a plaque to mark the inauguration of a public housing project of 624 houses. He witnessed the e-Gruh Pravesh of 240 beneficiary families.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Modi said there was so much to learn from Mahatma Gandhi. Gujarat was blessed in being the land that is so closely associated with Bapu, as Gandhi was called, he added.
 
Noting that Bapu was concerned about the environment, he said, “Inspired by Gandhiji, we have to work for a cleaner and greener tomorrow.
 
“Bapu always taught us to think of the last person in the queue, the poorest person and serve the underprivileged. Inspired by this ideal we are serving the poor,” he added.
 
“Through our initiatives, we want to transform their lives; we want to build homes for the poor,’ Mr Modi said.
 
“It has been over 70 years since Independence, but Bapu's dream of a Swachh Bharat remains unfulfilled, the Prime Minister said. “Together, we have to fulfil this dream,” the Prime Minister exhorted the people.
 
“In the last four years we have covered significant ground in the Swachh Bharat Mission but we must continue to do more, he said.  The Prime Minister later visited the Mahatma Gandhi Museum.
 
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Modi inaugurates LNG terminal, pipeline projects in Anjar, chocolate plant in Anand

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the Mundra LNG terminal, the Anjar-Mundra pipeline project and the Palanpur-Pali-Barmer pipeline project at Anjar. In a separate function in Anand, he inaugurated modern food processing facilities, including Amul’s ultra-modern chocolate plant.  
 
At the inauguration of the LNG terminal, the Prime Minister said Gujarat was emerging as an LNG hub of India. Asserting that a strong energy sector was needed for the growth of any country, he said, “We cannot alleviate poverty if we are energy poor.”
 
When the first LNG terminal came up in Gujarat, the people were surprised. Now, the State was poised to get a fourth LNG terminal, he added.
 
The Prime Minister said the aspirations of people were rising. They want i-ways, gas grids, water grids, and optical fibre networks in addition to conventional infrastructure.
 
“There are ample opportunities in the tourism sector and the world is keen to come to India. We have seen in Kutch too, how the White Rann has become the cynosure of all eyes from across the world," he said.
 
He also spoke of the steps taken by the Union Government to make flying more affordable and improve air connectivity.
 
Referring to the efforts made to ensure electrification of villages and the work being done towards electrifying every single household, he said, “We want to bring qualitative changes in the lives of the common citizen of India.”
 
At Anand, Mr Modi said the development projects inaugurated today augur well for the cooperative sector. “The Amul brand is known globally and has become an inspiration worldwide. Amul is not only about milk processing, but an excellent model of empowerment.”
 
The Prime Minister said that, through cooperatives, Sardar Patel showed a way where neither Government nor industrialists call the shots. It is a unique model, where the people matter. Endeavours in the cooperative sector in Gujarat have helped the people, especially the farmers. He also referred to Sardar Patel's emphasis on urban development.
 
Referring to India's 75th anniversary of independence in 2022, the Prime Minister said, “India is doing well in milk processing but can do even better. The time has come to give importance to innovation and value addition. In this context, he also spoke of the production of honey.”
 
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CBI asks Interpol Nigeria to help trace Sterling Biotech directors

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The CBI has written to the Interpol in Nigeria seeking the whereabouts of Chetan and Nitin Sandesara, directors of the Gujarat-based pharma company Sterling Biotech. in connection with an over Rs 5,000-crore bank fraud case.
 
A senior official of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told IANS that it has written to the Interpol unit in Nigeria to share details on whereabouts of Nitin and Chetan Sandesara and his family members in that country. 
 
According to the agency source, the CBI wrote to the Interpol in Nigeria late on Monday.
 
The CBI official made the revelation amid media reports that Nitin and Chetan Sandesara, along with his family members, had fled to the African nation.
 
The CBI had booked Sterling Biotech, its directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, chartered accountant Hemant Hathi, former Director of Andhra Bank Anup Prakash Garg and some unidentified persons in connection with the alleged bank fraud in October 2017.
 
According to the CBI FIR, Sterling Biotech had taken over Rs 5,000 crore loans from a consortium of banks led by Andhra Bank during the years 2004 to 2012, which had turned into non-performing assets. The total pending dues of the group companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016. 
 
Meanwhile, a source in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said the agency is set to file a chargesheet against the accused soon under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The source also said that the agency would also write to the Interpol seeking a red corner notice (RCN) against the accused. 
 
The ED had initiated a money laundering probe into the case taking cognizance of the CBI FIR.
 
On January 13, the ED had arrested Garg. The agency also arrested a Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan in connection with the case in November last year. Besides, the Directorate also attached properties worth Rs 4,703 crore.
 
The ED had issued lookout circulars against the accused in August 2017. 
 
IANS
 

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Six of 11 lions in Gir die in infighting: Forest Department

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As many as six of the 11 Asiatic lions found dead during the last eleven days in their only abode, Gir Forests, died fighting among themselves, according to Gujarat Forest Department officials. The cause of death of the other five is yet to be ascertained.
 
Five other lions, who were injured in the in-fighting, were rescued and moved away from the others.
 
All the carcasses were found in Dalkhania and Jasadhar range in the heart of the Gir lion sanctuary in a decomposed state. It took time for a team of forest officials, who rushed to the spot, to even identify their gender.
 
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) G.K. Sinha said: "A male lion carcass was found on September 12. It died following respiratory and hepatic failure, caused during infighting. The next day, a lioness was found which too had died from the same cause."
 
He said carcasses of three lion cubs were found on September 15 and the injury marks on their bodies suggest they were killed by a male lion belonging to another pride.
 
Another lioness was found dead on September 17 and officials believe the death was a result of respiratory failure, again caused during in-fighting. 
 
On the very next day, two cubs, a lion and a lioness, were found dead. The cause of death of cubs was yet to be ascertained, Sinha said. 
 
Another body of a lion was also found in a decomposed state on September 19 and the cause of death was not known.
 
"We are waiting for the post-mortem reports of the lion and lioness, which we should get by Friday. These bodies were found in the Dalkhania range (nine) as well as Jasadhar range," Sinha said.
 
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"We have rescued five lions hurt in infighting and have placed them under observation in Sarasia Vidi (grassland). This will curb the in-flighting," the official said.
 
Sinha said the entire area would be screened for any infection or traces of epidemic. The forest staff would be checking the cattle too in the area for infection, " said Sinha.
 
The forest department found micro chip embedded in only one of the lions found dead. "While from the rescued lions, we found chips in a male and a female. The other two rescued lionesses and a lion did not have a chip," the PCCF said. 
 
The forest department tags the animals with micro chips whenever they are rescued to keep a tab on them through the GPS system.
 
The state forest department carries out a census of lions every five years. The 2005 survey counted 359 lions in the Gir sanctuary and adjoining areas, while the number grew to 411 in 2010. The latest census in 2015 found 523 lions, 109 of which were male, 201 female, 140 were cubs and 73 sub-adults.
 
According to the forest department, lions produce around 210 cubs every year, out of which 140 die of natural and unnatural causes and the remaining one third attain adulthood.
 
IANS
 

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Renovated Unit-2 of Kakrapar Atomic Power Station attains criticality

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The 220 MW second unit of Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS-2) attained criticality (initiation of controlled self-sustaining nuclear fission chain reaction in the reactor) at 0222 hours today after completion of renovation and modernisation (R&M) works.
 
The R&M works included En Masse Coolant Channel Replacement (EMCCR), En Masse Feeder Replacement (EMFR) and other safety upgrades. 
 
"This task was completed about three and half months ahead of schedule," an official press release said here.
 
"In this endeavor, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), Nuclear Fuel Complex (manufacturer of coolant channels), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and various vendors/contractors rose to the occasion for this achievement," it said.
 
According to the release, the approach to criticality was undertaken after meeting all the stipulated regulatory requirements. This will be followed by conduct of various tests, connection to the grid and increase in power level to full power as per laid down procedures and regulatory clearances.
 
KAPS, located in Surat district of Gujarat, comprises two units of indigenous 220 MW pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) (KAPS-1&2) which commenced commercial operation in 1993 and 1995, respectively.
 
Two more units of 700 MW PHWRs (KAPP-3&4) are under construction at the site.
 
NPCIL operates twenty two nuclear power reactors (including RAPS-1 of 100 MW owned by DAE) with a capacity of 6780 MW and has eight reactors with a capacity of 6200 MW under construction. Work has also been initiated on twelve more reactors (9000 MW) accorded administrative approval and financial sanction by the Government.
 
NNN
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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