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Cyclone Vayu likely to cross Gujarat coast early Thursday morning

Cyclone Vayu over the Arabian Sea is very likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm and cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva early in the morning of Thursday, June 13, the India Meteorological Department said on Tuesday.
(Image: IMD)
(Image: IMD)
Cyclone Vayu over the Arabian Sea is very likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm and cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva early in the morning of Thursday, June 13, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said today.
 
A bulletin issued by IMD at 0410 hours today said the cyclonic storm over Eastcentral and adjoining Southeast Arabian Sea had moved north-northwestwards with a speed of about 11 kmph in the last six hours.
 
It lay centred at 0230 hrs IST of today near latitude 14.2°N and longitude 70.6°E, about 410 km north-northwest of Aminidivi (Lakshadweep), 600 km south-southwest of Mumbai (Maharashtra) and 740 km nearly south of Veraval (Gujarat). 
 
"It is very likely to intensify further into a Severe Cyclonic Storm during the next 24 hours. It is very likely to move nearly northward and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva around Veraval & Diu region as a Severe Cyclonic Storm with wind speed 110-120 kmph gusting to 135 kmph during early morning of 13th June 2019," the bulletin said.
 
Under the influence of the system, widespread rainfall, with heavy falls at isolated places, was likely over Kerala, coastal Karnataka and Konkan & Goa in the next two or three days.
 
In Gujarat, the IMD forecast rainfall at isolated places today; fairly widespread rainfall with heavy falls at isolated places tomorrow; widespread rainfall with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places over Saurashtra and Kutch on June 13; and widespread rainfall with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places on June 14.
 
In South Gujarat, there could be rainfall at isolated places today, fairly widespread rainfall with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places tomorrow; fairly widespread with heavy falls at isolated places on June 13; and rainfall at a few places on June 14.
 
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The IMD said wind speed is very likely to increase gradually and become gale wind speed reaching 90-100 kmph, gusting to 115 kmph, over Eastcentral & adjoining Southeast Arabian Sea by today evening. It is very likely to be 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph over Lakshadweep area, Kerala, Karnataka & south Maharashtra coasts.
 
Tomorrow, wind speed is very likely to increase further becoming gale wind speed reaching 110-120 kmph gusting to 135 kmph over eastcentral & adjoining northeast Arabian Sea by night. It is very likely to be 60-70 kmph gusting to 80 kmph over Gujarat coast from tomorrow morning and become gale wind speed reaching 110-120 kmph gusting to 135 kmph by 12th night. It is very likely to be 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph over Maharashtra coast.
 
Wind speed is very likely to decrease and become 100-110 kmph gusting to 125 kmph over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast in morning hours of June 13 and decrease gradually thereafter. It is very likely to be 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph over north Maharashtra coasts & northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea. 
 
The sea condition is very likely to be high to very high over eastcentral & adjoining southeast Arabian Sea today. It is very likely to become very high to phenomenal over eastcentral & adjoining northeast Arabian Sea & Gujarat coast from tomorrow evening and over north Arabian Sea on June 13.
 
"The sea condition is very likely to be rough over Lakshadweep area, along & off Kerala, Karnataka & south Maharashtra coasts today; rough to very rough along & off Maharashtra Coast on 12th; very rough to high along & off Gujarat, north Maharashtra coasts & northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea on 13th June.
 
Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea in these areas and those out in deep sea were advised to return to the coast.
 
Storm surge of height of about 0.5 m above the astronomical tides was likely to inundate the low lying coastal areas of Porbandar, Junagadh, Gir Somnath and Amreli districts of Gujarat at the time of landfall, the bulletin said.
 
The IMD warned of possible major damage to thatched houses and huts in  Porbandar, Junagadh, Gir Somnath and Amreli districts, minor damage to power and communication lines, major damage to "Kutcha" and some damage to "Pucca roads", breaking of tree branches and uprooting of large avenue trees. 
 
Apart from total suspension of fishing operations, the bulletin said coastal hutment dwellers should be moved to safer places. People in affected areas should remain indoors, it added.
 
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Modi inaugurates Global Trade Show in run-up to Vibrant Gujarat Summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Global Trade Show at the Mahatma Mandir Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre in Gandhinagar on Thursday ahead of the 9th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit that he will open at the same venue on Friday.
 
Modi inaugurates Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Global Trade Show at the Mahatma Mandir Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre here today ahead of the 9th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit that he will open at the same venue tomorrow.
 
Mr. Modi will address the inaugural session of the summit aimed at giving a fillip to investments in Gujarat.
 
At the Global Trade Show, Mr. Modi went around the various pavilions and evinced keen interest in the stalls set up by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) and Khadi weavers, among others.
 
The stalls bring to the fore the Prime Minister's "vision of Make in India with an apt tagline- From Charkha to Chandrayaan," an official press release said.
 
He was accompanied by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and other dignitaries. 
 
The Global Trade Show is spread over an area of 200,000 sq. mts, with more than 25 industrial and business sectors showcasing their ideas, products and designs under one roof.
 
A series of events and programs have been organized alongside the summit. 
 
One of the major attractions today is the Ahmedabad Shopping Festival– 2019 which will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister later this evening. 
 
The mascot of the Vibrant Gujarat Ahmedabad Shopping Festival will be unveiled by Mr. Modi on this occasion. 
 
"Ahmedabad Shopping Festival 2019 is the first event of its kind in India and provides an opportunity for the enterprises from the city to showcase their products," it said.
 
In addition to the flagship events organized as part of Vibrant Gujarat, the 9th edition of the Summit will also witness the launch of a completely new set of forums aimed at diversifying the nature of knowledge sharing at the Summit, and intensifying the level of networking between participants.
 
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Vibrant Gujarat Summit was conceptualized in 2003 by Mr. Modi, who was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat, to re-establish the state as a preferred investment destination. The Summit will provide a platform for brainstorming on agendas of global socio-economic development, knowledge sharing and forging effective partnerships.
 
Vibrant Gujarat 2019 will include a roundtable for opportunities in  Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education & Research in India. It will be attended by eminent educationists and key policy makers to prepare the “Roadmap for opportunities in STEM Education & Research in India”.
 
There will be an international conference on STEM,  an exhibition on Futuristic Technologies and Space Exploration which offers a vision of the future of space travel, a seminar on Port Led Development & Strategies to establish India as the Trans-shipment Hub of Asia, a seminar on Make in India to showcase the Success Stories of Make in India program and key interventions by the Government, and a seminar on Opportunities for Industry in Defence & Aerospace to sensitize participants about opportunities in defence and aeronautics in Gujarat, and to deliberate on a way forward for India and Gujarat to emerge as a manufacturing hub for defence and aeronautics.
 
"Since its inception in 2003, Vibrant Gujarat Summit has played the role as a catalyst spurring several other states to come forward with such summits to promote trade and investments there," the release added.
 
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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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Ex-Gujarat cop Sanjiv Bhatt gets life in 1990 custodial death case

Sanjiv Bhatt
Sanjiv Bhatt
A Gujarat court on Thursday sentenced sacked IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt to life imprisonment in a three-decade-old custodial death case, finding him guilty of murder.
 
Jamnagar District and Sessions Court Judge D. M. Vyas also awarded similar penalty to police constable Pravinsinh Jhala.
 
The verdict came after the Supreme Court last week rejected Bhatt's application seeking fresh examination of witnesses in the case, contending that this was key to arrive at a proper judgment.
 
The ex-officer had challenged a decision of the Gujarat High Court against this plea. The state government had meanwhile submitted in the Supreme Court that the trial court had reserved its verdict for June 20.
 
Bhatt was an additional superintendent of police in Jamnagar district when the incident occurred in 1990 in Jamjodhpur. He had detained one Prabhudas Vaishnani along with 133 others for rioting and other offences during a bandh call given by the BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the wake of arrest of BJP leader L. K. Advani during his Ayodhya Rath Yatra.
 
Vaishnani, who was allegedly severely beaten up in police custody, later succumbed to his injuries days after his release. His brother Amrit Vaishnani had lodged a complaint against Bhatt and five other policemen. The trial started in 2016.
 
The former police officer is at present lodged at Palanpur sub-jail in North Gujarat in connection with an alleged case of framing a lawyer for possession of drugs when he was Superintendent of Police in Banaskantha district.
 
Bhatt was arrested in September 2018.
 
Bhatt, who has always been at loggerheads with the BJP government in Gujarat, had deposed before various inquiry commissions after the post-Godhra riots of 2002 against then Chief Minister Narendra Modi. However, a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had given a clean chit to Modi.
 
The controversial officer was first suspended in 2011 for remaining absent from duty without proper permissions and subsequently sacked in 2015. Before his arrest last year, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation had demolished a portion of his house in Ahmedabad declaring it illegal.
 
His wife Shweta Bhatt had contested the 2012 Assembly election against Modi from Maninagar constituency in Ahmedabad and lost.
 
IANS

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SC to hear on Wednesday Congress plea on Rajya Sabha bye-elections

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a plea by the Gujarat Congress seeking direction to the Election Commission (EC) to hold simultaneous polls for two Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat. The court has listed the matter for a hearing on Wednesday.
 
Pareshbhai Dhanani, Congress MLA from Amreli and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, had moved the top court against the EC decision to conduct separate bye-elections for the two Rajya Sabha seats.
 
Filed through advocate Varun K. Chopra, the petition sought an early hearing on the matter as the EC has already scheduled the elections for the two seats on July 5.
 
The notifications will be issued on Tuesday and elections and counting of votes will be held on July 5, the Commission said on Saturday.
 
The seats fell vacant after BJP leaders Amit Shah and Smriti Irani were elected to the Lok Sabha in the recently-held general elections.
 
In the 182-member Gujarat Assembly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 100 MLAs, Congress has 71 while seven seats are vacant.
 
"Separate elections for the two Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat would upset the scheme of proportional representation as mandated under the Representation of People's Act (RPA), 1951," said the petition.
 
It also contended that the representatives of each state in the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) shall be picked by the elected members from the Legislative Assembly of the state "in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote."
 
The petition said the basic principle, both under the Constitution and the RPA, was that the elections be held together so that the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote can be applied.
 
Dhanani urged the apex court to quash the EC order and declare it "unconstitutional, arbitrary and illegal."
 
The EC shall not exercise a free hand on the issue, specifically with respect to vacancies in the Rajya Sabha, urged the petition, claiming that if separate elections were held, it would result in actual abuse of power, as the party in majority would make arrangements to achieve the maximum seats.
 
IANS

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BHEL wins Rs. 800 crore EPC orders for 200 MW solar power plants

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited’s (BHEL) Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) portfolio has surpassed 1 GW with the company winning two EPC orders for setting up SPV plants with a cumulative capacity of 200 MW.
 
Valued at over Rs. 800 crore, the orders have been secured from NTPC Ltd. and Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Ltd (GSECL), reinforcing the company’s position as a leading EPC player in the solar industry, a press release from the company said.
 
The NTPC order envisages setting up India’s largest floating SPV plant of 100 MW capacity at NTPC Ramagundam in Telangana, while the GSECL order involves setting up a 100 MW ground-mounted SPV plant at Raghanesda Ultra Mega Solar Park in Banaskantha district of Gujarat. 
 
The release said BHEL is offering EPC solutions for both off-grid and grid-interactive SPV plants at various locations in India including the Lakshadeep islands and has now established its prowess in contributing significantly towards green energy for the country. 
 
"This is evident from its current portfolio of more than 1 GW of SPV plants, of which nearly 500 MW have already been commissioned," the release added.
 
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7 die while cleaning septic tank in Gujarat hotel

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As many as seven persons were asphyxiated to death in the wee hours of Saturday while cleaning the septic tank of a highway hotel in central Gujarat's Vadodara district.
 
The police said the incident occurred much after midnight at Darshan Hotel in Fartikui village of Dabhoi tehsil, some 30 km from Vadodara city. Those killed included four sanitation workers and three employees of the hotel.
 
The police told reporters that 47-year-old Mahesh Patanwadiya was the first to go inside the septic tank. Others outside got worried when he did not come out for some time despite being called by them. Ashok Harijan, 45, then entered to look for Mahesh, followed by 23-year-old Brijesh Harijan and Mahesh Harijan, 25.
 
When the four sanitation workers didn't come out, the three employees of the hotel, Vijay Chaudhary, Sahadev Vasava and Ajay Vasava, all 22 years old, went inside and reportedly fell unconscious and later died after inhaling toxic fumes. 
 
Their bodies were pulled out after three hours of effort by fire brigade staff of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation who had to go there since the Dabhoi Municipality did not have the equipment to rescue the seven people inside.
 
An offence of negligence has been registered against the owner of the hotel, Hassan Abbas Bhoraniya, who was arrested in the morning.
 
The sanitation workers hailed from the nearby Thuvavi village.
 
The state government has announced financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of the deceased. In an official press release, the government stated that it had asked the police to initiate tough action against the hotel owner.
 
IANS
 

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Cyclone Vayu begins skirting Gujarat coast, brings heavy rainfall: IMD

Moving north-westwards, Cyclone Vayu on Thursday afternoon started skirting the Saurashtra coast in Gujarat while heavy rains which lashed the coastal areas were likely to continue till the evening, the Indian Meteorological Department said.
A view of the Somnath Temple in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat on June 12, 2019, a day before cyclone Vayu over the Arabian Sea was poised to skirt the Saurashtra coast.
A view of the Somnath Temple in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat on June 12, 2019, a day before cyclone Vayu over the Arabian Sea was poised to skirt the Saurashtra coast.
Moving north-westwards, Cyclone Vayu on Thursday afternoon started skirting the Saurashtra coast in Gujarat while heavy rains which lashed the coastal areas were likely to continue till the evening, the Indian Meteorological Department said.
 
The 'severe cyclonic storm' did not make landfall in Gujarat but was passing over the Saurashtra region, affecting Amreli, Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, and Dwarka districts, bringing widespread rainfall with heavy to very heavy rains.
 
Pankaj Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary, said that although the IMD has informed that the cyclone has changed its course, "it may still cause heavy winds and rains, and so we are still on stand-by mode".
 
"Cyclone Vayu is 110 kilometres from Veraval to the south-west and 150 kilometres from Porbandar to the south. The cyclone is moving towards the north and was crossing over Saurashtra," he said.
 
The Chief Minister's Office in Gujarat said Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani immediately after reaching Bishkek for the SCO Summit and inquired about the cyclone preparedness and assured all assistance and support from Centre to mitigate the effects of the storm.
 
Skymet Weather had earlier stated that the 'Very Severe Cyclone' might weaken into a Category 1 Cyclonic Storm from Category 2, though the wind speed will be 135-145 kms per hour gusting up to 175 kms per hour.
 
Gujarat has, meanwhile, already evacuated over 3.1 lakh people and the Union Territory of Diu that touches the Saurashtra coast has moved over 10,000 people to safety.
 
The Coast Guard has stated that the cyclone would take up to Saturday before it completely moves over into the sea at Dwarka.
 
Iqbal Singh Chauhan, DIG of Coast Guard, Porbandar, told reporters that, "The next 50-60 hours will be very important for Gujarat." He said all fishermen and coastal residents were requested to shift to safer places if they had not done so.
 
Those living in 'katcha' (thatched) houses were advised to take shelter at the relief camps set up by the Gujarat government as the sea was expected to surge to about 1-1.5 metres.
 
"I want to inform all the citizens of India that the pre-emptive steps taken by the administration, government agencies and armed forces will ensure that there is no loss of life," Chauhan said.
 
Meanwhile, the Western Railways have cancelled as many as 70 trains from the Saurashtra and Kutch regions, while 28 trains had been short terminated.
 
According to Western Railways PRO Pradeep Sharma, special relief trains had been started to supply essential commodities to the areas that are affected and move people to safer places. Hundreds had been shifted through state transport buses.
 
According to the Airports Authority of India, the impact of the cyclone has been mild at most airports in Gujarat and no damage has been caused to the infrastructure of aerodromes.
 
Flight operations at airports in Porbandar, Diu, Bhavnagar, Keshod and Kandla had already been suspended since midnight of Wednesday.
 
IANS
 

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Cyclone Vayu to skirt Saurashtra coast, affect Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Porbandar and Diu

Cyclone Vayu is expected to skirt the Saurashtra coast from Thursday afternoon with wind speed 135-145 kmph, gusting to 160 kmph, affecting the districts of Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka in Gujarat and the Union Territory of Diu.
A view of the Somnath Temple in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat on June 12, 2019, a day before cyclone Vayu over the Arabian Sea was poised to skirt the Saurashtra coast.
A view of the Somnath Temple in Gir Somnath district of Gujarat on June 12, 2019, a day before cyclone Vayu over the Arabian Sea was poised to skirt the Saurashtra coast.
Vayu, the very severe cyclonic storm over the Arabian Sea, is expected to skirt the Saurashtra coast from this afternoon with wind speed 135-145 kmph, gusting to 160 kmph, affecting the districts of Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka in Gujarat and the Union Territory of Diu.
 
But, even as the cyclone changed its course towards the sea overnight and it appeared that it may not cross the coast, the authorities in Gujarat had evacuated some three lakh people from the coastal areas and the Diu administration had shifted about 10,000 people to safety by yesterday evening.
 
A bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) at 0830 hours today said the cyclone over Eastcentral and adjoining Northeast Arabian Sea had moved north-northwestwards with a speed of about 11 kmph in the previous six hours and lay centred at 0530 hrs IST near latitude 20.3°N and longitude 69.5°E, about 150 km south-southwest of Diu, 110 km southwest of Veraval (Gujarat) and 150 km nearly south of Porbandar (Gujarat).
 
"It is very likely to move north-northwestwards for some time and then northwestwards skirting the Saurashtra coast affecting Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar and Devbhoomi Dwarka with wind speed 135-145 kmph gusting to 160 kmph from afternoon of 13th June 2019," the  bulletin said.
 
The bulletin said widespread rainfall would occur over Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat today and tomorrow, with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places.
 
It also forecast fairly widespread rainfall with heavy falls at isolated places in Konkan and Goa and other parts of Gujarat today.
 
The bulletin said gale wind speed of the order of 135-145 kmph, gusting to 160 kmph, was very likely over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast today. It is very likely to be 50-60 kmph, gusting to 70 kmph, over north Maharashtra coast and northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea.
 
Tomorrow, gale wind speed of the order of 120-130 kmph, gusting to 145 kmph, was very likely over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast in the morning hours, after which it will decrease gradually. It is very likely to be 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, over northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea.
 
On June 15, gale wind speed of the order of 100-110 kmph, gusting to 125 kmph, is very likely over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast till evening and decrease gradually thereafter.
 
The bulletin said the sea condition will be phenomenal over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast till June 15 and over northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea during the next 12 hours.
 
The sea condition is very likely to be very rough to high along and off north Maharashtra coast today, it said.
 
Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea in the affected areas during this period.
 
According to the bulletin, storm surge of height of about 1.6m near Mangrol, Junagadh district above the astronomical tides was likely to inundate the low-lying coastal areas this afternoon.
 
The IMD warned of the possible destruction of thatched houses, extensive damage to kutcha houses and some damage to pucca houses in Gir Somnath, Junagadh, Porbandar, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Diu. It warned of uprooting and bending of power and communication poles, damage to roads, flooding of escape routes, minor disruption of railways, overhead power lines and signalling systems.
 
There could also be widespread damage to standing crops, plantation, orchards, falling of green coconuts and tearing of palm fronds. 
 
The IMD called for regulation of road and rail traffic in  the districts likely to be affected, total suspension of fishing operations and evacuation of people from low-lying areas.
 
People in the areas likely to be hit by the cyclone have been advised to remain indoors.
 
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Cyclone Vayu likely to cross Gujarat coast on Thursday afternoon

The very severe cyclonic storm Vayu over the Arabian Sea is expected to cross the Gujarat coast between Dwarka and Veraval with wind speed 155-165 kmph, gusting to 180 kmph, around Friday afternoon, the India Meteorological Department said on Wednesday evening.
The very severe cyclonic storm Vayu over the Arabian Sea is expected to cross the Gujarat coast between Dwarka and Veraval with wind speed 155-165 kmph, gusting to 180 kmph, around tomorrow afternoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said this evening.
 
"After crossing, the system is likely to move along and parallel to Saurashtra and Kutch coast, affecting Amreli, Gir Somnath, Diu, Junagarh, Porbandar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Kutch," an IMD press release said.
 
Authorities in Gujarat had already evacuated about 1.2 lakh people from low-lying areas to safer places and were due to complete the evacuation of 3 lakh people in all by this evening. Similarly, the administration in the Union Territory of Diu was due to complete the evacuation of more than 10,000 people by evening, official sources said.
 
The IMD release said the cyclone over eastcentral Arabian Sea had moved nearly northwards and had intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm by midnight last night.
 
"Continuing to move nearly north-northwestwards, it lay centred at 1430 hrs IST of 12th June, 2019 near latitude 18.8°N and longitude 69.9°E over eastcentral Arabian Sea, about 310 km nearly west of Mumbai (Maharashtra), 230 km south-southwest of Veraval (Gujarat) and 310 km nearly south of Porbandar (Gujarat).
 
"It is very likely to move nearly northwards and cross Gujarat coast between Dwarka and Veraval as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm with wind speed 155-165 kmph gusting to 180 kmph around afternoon of 13th June 2019," the release said.
 
The IMD said widespread rainfall would occur tomorrow over Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat, with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and extremely heavy falls at isolated places. There would be fairly widespread rainfall with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places in the two regions on Friday, it said.
 
The department also said there would he fairly widespread rainfall with heavy falls at isolated places tomorrow over Konkan and Goa and South Gujarat regions.
 
According to the release, gale wind speed of the order of 155-165 kmph, gusting to 180 kmph, was very likely over north Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast till afternoon tomorrow before decreasing gradually thereafter. 
 
It is very likely to be 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph over north Maharashtra coast and northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea.
 
The sea condition is phenomenal over eastcentral and adjoining northeast Arabian Sea and Gujarat coast today and will be so tomorrow.
 
The sea condition is very likely to very rough to high along and off Maharashtra coast today adn tomorrow, it said.
 
Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea in the affected areas during this period.
 
The release said storm surge of height of about 1.5-2.0 m above the astronomical tides was likely to inundate the low-lying coastal areas of Kutch, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Porbandar, Junagarh, Diu, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts at the time of landfall of the cyclone.
 
It said there could be total destruction of thatched houses, extensive damage to "kutcha" houses and some damage to "pucca" houses in  the above districts. There could be major damage to roads and flooding of escape routes. There could also be minor disruption of railways, overhead power lines and signalling systems as well as widespread damage to standing crops, plantation, orchards, falling of green coconuts and tearing of palm fronds.
 
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Apart from total suspension of fishing operations and regulation of road and rail traffic, the bulletin called for evacuation of people from low-lying areas in the above districts, coastal hutment dwellers, urban slum dwellers and people staying in unsafe houses to safer places.
 
People in the affected areas have been advised to remain indoors.
 
In Delhi, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a high-level meeting here today to review the preparedness of the State and Central Ministries and agencies concerned to deal with the situation arising out of the cyclone.
 
The Department of Telecom (DoT) has issued orders to telecom service providers to allow inter-circle roaming without any extra charge.
 
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has pre-positioned 52 teams equipped with boats, tree-cutters, telecom equipment and so on in the areas likely to be hit by the cyclone.
 
Indian Coast Guard, the Navy, Army and Air Force units have also been put on standby and surveillance aircraft and helicopters are carrying out aerial surveillance.
 
Reviewing the preparedness of the State and Central Agencies, Union Home Secretary directed the concerned officials to take all precautionary measures with a view to ensuring that no human life is lost and minimize damage to infrastructure.
 
He also reviewed arrangements for making available essential food, drinking water and medicines in relief camps and to ensure the maintenance of all essential services such as power, telecommunications and health, besides steps to restore them immediately in the event of any damage.
 
Indian Navy ships operating at sea and aircraft/helicopters on routine sorties have been directed to inform fishing vessels operating at sea and advise them to return to harbour. Indian Navy Diving and Rescue Teams and Relief Material have been kept on standby for rendering assistance to civil authorities, as required, an official press release said.
 
Medical teams and facilities at Indian Naval Hospital Asvini at Mumbai are on standby to handle medical emergencies. P-8I and IL aircraft are on standby to undertake search and rescue (SAR) missions as required.
 
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Very severe cyclone Vayu likely to cross Gujarat coast early Thursday morning

The very severe cyclonic storm Vayu over the Arabian Sea is very likely to cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva early Thursday morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Wednesday.
The very severe cyclonic storm Vayu over the Arabian Sea is very likely to cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva early Thursday morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Wednesday.
 
It will have wind speeds of 140-150 km, gusting to 165 kmph, a bulletin issued at 0330 today by IMD said.
 
The administration in Gujarat and the Union Territory of Diu have drawn up plans to evacuate some three lakh people from low-lying and vulnerable areas in the districts likely to be hit by the cyclone.
 
The IMD bulletin said the cyclone had moved further northwards with a speed of about 18 kmph in the previous six hours, intensified into Very Severe Cyclonic Storm and lay centred at 2330 hrs IST of June 11 near latitude 17.1°N and longitude 70.6°E over eastcentral Arabian Sea, about 420 km west-northwest of Goa, 320 km south-southwest of Mumbai (Maharashtra) and 420 km nearly south of Veraval (Gujarat).
 
"It is very likely to move nearly northwards and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva around Veraval & Diu region as a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm with wind speed 140-150 kmph gusting to 165 kmph around morning of 13th June 2019," the bulletin said.
 
According to it, wind speed is very likely to become gale wind speed reaching 120-130 kmph, gusting to 145 kmphm over eastcentral and adjoining northeast Arabian Sea today.
 
It is very likely to be 60-70 kmph, gusting to 80 kmphm over Gujarat coast from today morning and become gale wind speed reaching 140-150 kmph, gusting to 165 kmph, by midnight tonight.
 
It is very likely to be 50-60 kmph, gusting to 70 kmph, over the Maharashtra coast.
 
The bulletin said gale wind speed of the order of 125-135 kmph, gusting to 145 kmph, was very likely over north Arabian Sea and the Gujarat coast in the morning hours tomorrow and decrease gradually thereafter. It is very likely to be 50-60 kmph, gusting to 70 kmph, over north Maharashtra coast and northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea.
 
According to it, the sea condition is very likely to become very high to phenomenal over eastcentral and adjoining northeast Arabian Sea and the Gujarat coast from today and over north Arabian Sea tomorrow.
 
The sea condition is very likely to be very rough to high along and off Maharashtra coast today and tomorrow.
 
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Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea in the region.
 
The bulletin said storm surge of height of about 1.5-2.0 m above the astronomical tides was likely to inundate the low-lying coastal areas of Kutch, Devbhoomi, Dwarka, Porbandar, Junagadh, Diu, Gir Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts at the time of landfall.
 
It said there could be total destruction of thatched houses, extensive damage to "kutcha" houses and some damage to "pucca" houses in  the above districts. There could be major damage to roads and flooding of escape routes. There could also be minor disruption of railways, overhead power lines and signalling systems as well as widespread damage to standing crops, plantation, orchards, falling of green coconuts and tearing of palm fronds.
 
Apart from total suspension of fishing operations and regulation of road and rail traffic, the bulletin called for evacuation of people from low-lying areas in the above districts, coastal hutment dwellers, urban slum dwellers and people staying in unsafe houses to safer places.
 
People in the affected areas have been advised to remain indoors.
 
Meanwhile, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has issued detailed advisories to Gujarat and the Union Territory of Diu, asking them to take all precautionary measures to ensure that there is no loss of human lives and damage to vital infrastructure is minimised.
 
This followed a high-level review meeting held here on Tuesday by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
 
The advisory also urged them to ensure early recovery of all essential services post-cyclone landfall. State/UT Governments have also been advised for timely evacuation of people from low-lying coastal and vulnerable areas.
 
Gujarat and Diu Administration have planned to evacuate about 3 lakh people from the identified vulnerable areas starting this morning.
 
The evacuated people will be shifted to around 700 cyclone relief shelters. In consultation with State Administration, 39 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are being pre-positioned in Gujarat and Diu to help the local administration in evacuation, search, rescue and relief operations. In addition, 34 teams of Army personnel have also been on stand-by.
 
Indian Coast Guard, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force units have also been put on stand-by and surveillance aircraft and helicopters are carrying out aerial surveillance, an official press release said.
 
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) met in New Delhi on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha and reviewed preparedness relating to the cyclone.
 
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Mumbai businessman gets life, Rs 5 crore fine for creating hijack scare in 2018

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In the first conviction under the amended anti-hijacking law, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Tuesday sentenced a Mumbai-based businessman to a life term and a fine of Rs 5 crore for creating a hijack scare on a Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways flight on October 30, 2017.
 
Convicting Birju Kishor Salla for violating provisions of the Anti-Hijacking Act 2016, the court, in its order, said that the fine amount would be used to compensate each pilot of the Jet Airways' flight no-9W 339 with Rs 1 lakh, each air hostess with Rs 50,000 and each passenger with Rs 25,000 for the misery they underwent.
 
Salla was arrested by the Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) after a letter warning of a hijack and bomb threat was discovered on Mumbai-Delhi bound Jet Airways' flight no-9W 339, which had 122 passengers, including seven crew, on board. 
 
Following the scare, the flight had to be diverted to Ahmedabad and then grounded at the Ahmedabad airport. It was only after all passengers were disembarked and screened at a remote bay there that the flight was cleared for take-off.
 
The NIA took over the probe on November 7. During investigation, the NIA claimed that it found clinching evidence regarding preparation of the threat note and its placement on the plane. 
 
The pilot had alerted the Ahmedabad airport authorities about the threat letter, reported to be in Urdu and English. The NIA said that Salla intentionally put the printed threat letter inside the toilet to disrupt the aircraft operation thus jeopardising the safety of the passengers and the crew members on board. 
 
The NIA filed a charge sheet against Salla on January 23, 2018 in the NIA Court under several sections of Anti-Hijacking Act 2016.
 
IANS

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IMD issues pre-cyclone watch for Gujarat coast

A deep depression over the Arabian Sea is very likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours and into a severe cyclonic storm in the subsequent 24 hours, the India Meteorological Department said on Monday evening.
A deep depression over the Arabian Sea is very likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours and into a severe cyclonic storm in the subsequent 24 hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said this evening.
 
"It is likely to move north-northwestwards during the next 72 hours. It is very likely to cause adverse impact in terms of wind and rainfall over Saurashtra and Kutch mainly on 13th & 14th June, 2019," the IMD said, issuing a pre-cyclone watch for the Gujarat coast.
 
The bulletin issued by the IMD at 1700 hours today said the system lay centered near latitude 12.5°N and longitude 70.9°E over eastcentral and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea and Lakshadweep area, about 250 km northwest of Aminidivi (Lakshadweep), 760 km south-southwest of Mumbai (Maharashtra) and 930 km south-southeast of Veraval (Gujarat).
The bulletin said that, under the influence of the system, there would be widespread rainfall in Kerala, Lakshadweep, Karnataka, Konkan and Goa over the next four days.
 
It said there would be widespread rainfall in Gujarat from June 12-14, with heavy falls at isolated places.
 
On June 12, the wind speed is very likely to increase to 90-100 kmph, gusting to 115 kmph over eastcentral & adjoining northeast Arabian Sea. It is very likely to be 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph over Gujarat coast from 12th morning and become 65-75 kmph gusting to 85 kmph by 12th evening. It is very likely to be 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph over Maharashtra coast.
 
On June 13, the wind speed is very likely to increase further to 110-120 kmph, gusting to 135 kmph, over north Arabian Sea. It is very likely to be 65-75 kmph gusting to 85 kmph over Gujarat coast; and 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph over north Maharashtra coast and northern parts of eastcentral Arabian Sea.
 
The sea condition is very likely to be rough to very rough in this part of Arabian Sea and fishermen have been advised to not venture into the sea during this period. Those out at sea have been advised to return to the coast.
 
"The system is under continuous surveillance and concerned state governments are being informed regularly," the bulletin added.
 
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Low pressure area over Arabian Sea likely to intensify into cyclone: IMD

A low-pressure area has formed over southeast and eastcentral Arabian Sea and Lakshadweep Islands and was likely to intensify into a depression and then into a cyclonic storm in the next two days, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said.
 
"It is very likely to intensify into a depression over Southeast & adjoining Eastcentral Arabian Sea during next 48 hours. It is likely to move north-northwestwards and intensify further into a cyclonic storm during subsequent 24 hours," a bulletin issued by IMD yesterday afternoon said.
 
Under its influence, heavy rains are likely over some parts of Kerala, Lakshadweep, coastal Karnataka, south interior Karnataka and Konkan & Goa during this period.
 
The bulletin also said that strong winds, with speed reaching 40-50 kmph, gusting to 60 kmph, were very likely to prevail over southeast and adjoining Lakshadweep and eastcentral Arabian Sea, Kerala and Karnataka coasts today.
 
"Wind speed is very likely to increase gradually and become squally wind speed reaching 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph over eastcentral & adjoining southeast Arabian Sea on 11th June 2019. It is very likely to be 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph over Lakshadweep area, Kerala, Karnataka & south Maharashtra Coasts on the same day. Sea conditions are likely to be rough over the above areas.
 
"Wind speed is very likely to increase further becoming gale wind speed reaching 70-80 kmph gusting to 90 kmph over eastcentral & adjoining northeast Arabian Sea on 12th June 2019 and become 90-100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph over north Arabian Sea on 13th June 2019. It is very likely to be 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph over Gujarat & Maharashtra coasts on 12th and 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph over entire Gujarat and north Maharashtra coasts on 13th June, 2019," the bulletin said.
 
Sea conditions are likely to be very rough to high over these areas during this period and fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea.
 
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Nine of a family killed in accident in Gujarat

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Nine people of a family, including eight women, were killed and 27 injured near Ambaji temple town in North Gujarat's Banaskantha district on Friday evening when the brakes of the tourist bus they were travelling in failed, official sources said.
 
The injured were rushed to the government hospital in Palanpur. The bus overturned after its brakes failed, the sources added.
 
The accident occurred nearly 200 km from Ahmedabad when they were returning to their village Bhal in Vadgam taluka (tehsil) in Banaskantha district after offering prayers at the popular Ambaji temple.
 
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani expressed shock and grief over the accident and conveyed his sympathies to the family of those killed.
 
Rupani issued instructions to the Banaskantha district administration to ensure the best possible care for the injured. 
 
IANS
 

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BJP issues notice to MLA for kicking woman

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Hours after getting him to issue an apology, the Gujarat BJP on Monday slapped a show cause notice on its Ahmedabad legislator Balram Thawani for kicking a woman and asked him to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.
 
Even as the Naroda MLA, who was caught on camera roughing up and kicking a woman on a street, insisted he did not hit her intentionally, his party strongly condemned his behaviour.
 
State BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said: "We condemn this behaviour which is shameful and unbecoming of a people's representative."
 
He said Gujarat BJP President Jitubhai Vaghani had issued Thawani a show cause notice to "explain in three days why disciplinary action should not be taken against him".
 
This came several hours after Thawani apologized for his behaviour, while in a rapprochement of sorts the woman in question on Monday evening went ahead and tied a rakhi to him.
 
"Vaghani immediately called up Thawani on Sunday night on knowing about the incident and directed him to issue a public apology. He has also sought his explanation," Pandya told IANS earlier.
 
Nitu Tejwani, a municipal ward in-charge of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), had gone to Thawani's office in Naroda as part of a group protesting over water supply.
 
A video that went viral of the lawmaker kicking the woman shows Tejwani fallen to the ground after being roughed up by another man.
 
Witnesses confirmed that Thawani came out of his office when this man was beating her and joined him in kicking her. This only stopped after a passer-by intervened and slapped the MLA.
 
Talking to reporters, Tejwani, who also filed a police complaint against Thawani and others, claimed that she had gone to meet the MLA to represent about the water supply issue in her area.
 
She added: "Without reason and without saying anything, he (legislator) came out and started kicking me and beating me up and even slapped me."
 
She claimed that her husband, who came to her rescue, was beaten up with sticks. Other women protesting over the issue were also roughed up, she said.
 
Thawani admitted that he did kick the woman but insisted that it was in self defence and he did not intend to hit anyone.
 
"I got carried away in a fit of anger. I have apologized for my mistake. I will say sorry to her," the BJP MLA said.
 
The Congress asserted that the ruling party as well as Chief Minister Vijay Rupani should personally apologize.
 
"The BJP must take strict action against the MLA," Congress' Gujarat affairs in-charge Rajeev Satav stated. "It is time women are protected from BJP leaders."
 
NCP's Reshma Patel, who had quit the BJP over six months ago, met Tejwani at the Civil Hospital where she was admitted. Condemning the "MLA's behaviour", she said she would stand by Tejwani's "fight for justice."
 
IANS
 

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Next five years crucial to regain India's global position: Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that the next five years would be crucial for India to regain its global position.
 
He equated his first tenure as the Prime Minister (2014-2019), with the five years from 1942 to 1947 leading to Independence, which were key to laying the foundation for a strong India. 
 
Making his first public address in Gujarat after his landslide victory, Modi said: "If we look at the five years leading to Independence from 1942 to 1947, they were very important to revive the idea of India and galvanise the people to fight the external forces."
 
"This is a similar opportunity to awaken the public consciousness and work hard to scale new heights for the country. We must work as one society with one purpose and in one direction to achieve this goal," he said in his speech outside the old BJP headquarters at JP Chowk, where he took his first steps in politics in the 1980s.
 
Addressing thousands of people, Modi said wherever he went for campaign during the 2014 and the 2019 elections, the stories of Gujarat's development had already reached there.
 
Giving an example, he said: "I watched a social media interview of an elderly woman in Bengal where she kept on repeating Modi-Modi. But when asked who she will vote for, she said she will vote for the Communists.
 
"When she was asked why, since she wanted Gujarat like development, she said this is Bengal, we can't say all this publicly, you never know what happens to you."
 
Modi, along with BJP President Amit Shah, arrived here on a two-day thanksgiving visit to Gujarat, which gave the party all the 26 Lok Sabha once again. Modi later took his nonagenarian mother Hiraba's blessings at Raisin near state capital Gandhinagar. He would spend the night at the Raj Bhawan in the state capital before returning to Delhi on Monday. 
 
IANS
 

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Modi meets mother, seeks blessings

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in his home state Gujarat on Sunday on a two-day visit after the BJP's landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections, called on his mother here today and sought her blessings.
 
Modi, along with BJP President Amit Shah, landed at the Ahmedabad airport and later made a thanksgiving public address to the people of Gujarat, which gave the party all its 26 Lok Sabha seats once again.
 
Even as scores of people waited to have a glimpse of him, the Prime Minister then reached Raisan near here to seek his mother Hiraba's blessings. The nonagenarian stays with Modi's younger brother in Raisan.
 
Modi will halt for the night at Raj Bhavan.
 
IANS
 

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Fire officers suspended for Surat blaze, state govt orders all coaching centres shut

The scene in Surat, Gujarat where a major fire broke out at a commercial complex that housed, among others, a coaching centre, killing 23 students, on May 24, 2019.
The scene in Surat, Gujarat where a major fire broke out at a commercial complex that housed, among others, a coaching centre, killing 23 students, on May 24, 2019.
The Surat Municipal Corporation on Saturday suspended two fire officers for granting a no-objection certificate to the building which was engulfed by a devastating fire here that claimed 22 young lives a day earlier.
 
The move came hours after the manager of the coaching class where the deceased students were studying was arrested and two others booked for the incident.
 
Municipal Commissioner M Thenarasan told reporters that Surat's Deputy Chief Fire Officer S. K. Acharya and Fire Officer Kirti Modh were suspended with immediate effect on charges of not taking action against the Takshashila Arcade where Friday's blaze occurred for violation of fire safety norms.
 
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani stated: "We have constituted an investigation committee. Urban Secretary (Principal Secretary, Urban Development), Mukesh Puri has been asked to file a report based on which we will take action. The manager and builder have been arrested."
 
Surat Assistant Commissioner of Police P. L. Chaudhari late Saturday evening said the death toll in the incident had risen to 22. He informed reporters that "two teenage girls died today, taking the toll to 22, including 18 girls and four boys."
 
Earlier, an official had said the number was 23. Around 12 injured persons were still undergoing treatment at various hospitals.
 
Most of the students who were killed in the fire were aged between 14 and 17. Some were expecting their Class 12 results on Saturday.
 
Shaken by the fire, all of Gujarat's eight municipal corporations and scores of municipalities on Saturday ordered a shutdown of all coaching centres running in commercial complexes.
 
Officials said the coaching centres had been ordered to put all fire safety norms in place, without which they would not be allowed to function.
 
The authorities started investigating fire safety norms in coaching classes, private hospitals and other buildings in various towns and cities of the state. Many of these buildings, including a library in capital Gandhinagar, were sealed, along with 40 coaching centres in Bharuch and many others at several places.
 
The police have arrested Bhargav Butani, who ran the art and drawing classes in Takshashila Arcade building in Surat's Sarthana area, Police Commissioner Satish Sharma said.
 
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Two others, including the builder of the commercial complex, Harsukh Vekaria, were also booked. A search was on for the builder.
 
Sharma told reporters: "We have ordered an investigation into the fire incident by the ACP, Crime Branch. A case under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code for culpable homicide has been lodged against the accused."
 
Official sources revealed there were no proper fire safety norms being followed in the building. Two shops and around a dozen two-wheelers parked below were also gutted in another fire sparked off by the blaze because of the electric wires and poles nearby.
 
The fire broke out late afternoon around 4 p.m. in the Smart Design Studio, which ran illegally on the covered terrace of the Takshashila building that effectively became the fourth storey.
 
Officials said the fire started at the ground floor and reached the top floor. Some students of another class, rushed to the terrace to escape the fire and found themselves stuck there. The only way to the top floor was a three-foot wooden staircase, which had been reduced to ashes.
 
According to witnesses, there must have been around 50 students in the Takshashila Arcade building when it caught fire. Graphic videos on social media showed more than 10 panic-stricken students from the third and fourth storey jumping off to escape the blaze and the billowing smoke.
 
Tragically, hundreds of people watched and many shot videos and pictures while student after student fell off the building like ninepins. Half of the dozen students who jumped in panic were killed.
 
Eyewitnesses alleged the fire brigade staff, which got delayed by half an hour, did not have any nets to hold the students jumping from the building and even their hydraulic ladder could not go beyond a little over the second floor of the building.
 
The cause of the deadly inferno is not yet clear, though officials believe it was sparked off by an electric short circuit in a sweetmeat shop in the building.
 
IANS
 
 

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Surat fire toll rises to 23, two students on ventilator

The scene in Surat, Gujarat where a major fire broke out at a commercial complex that housed, among others, a coaching centre, killing 23 students, on May 24, 2019.
The scene in Surat, Gujarat where a major fire broke out at a commercial complex that housed, among others, a coaching centre, killing 23 students, on May 24, 2019.
The death toll in the Friday's devastating blaze in Surat rose to 23 by Saturday, even as seven students battled for survival in hospitals, officials said.
 
Two of the injured students were on ventilator and five admitted to intensive care units (ICU). The condition of four others was reported to be stable.
 
Most of the students who were killed in the fire at an arts coaching centre on the top floor of a four-storey building were between the age of 14 and 17. Some were expecting their Class 12 results on Saturday.
 
Officials said the fire started at the ground floor and reached the top floor. Some students at another class, rushed to the terrace to escape the fire and found themselves stuck there. 
 
According to witnesses, there must have been around 50 students in the Takshashila Arcade building when it caught fire.
 
Graphic videos on social media showed over 10 students jumping from the third and fourth storeys, which was actually a covered terrace, to escape the blaze and the billowing smoke.
 
IANS
 

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Devastating fire in Surat building claims 20 lives

The scene in Surat, Gujarat where a major fire broke out at a commercial complex that housed, among others, a coaching centre, killing 20 students, on May 24, 2019.
The scene in Surat, Gujarat where a major fire broke out at a commercial complex that housed, among others, a coaching centre, killing 20 students, on May 24, 2019.
With the fire brigade personnel pulling out more bodies from the charred remains of a coaching centre in a Surat building which caught fire on Friday, the death toll in the tragic incident rose to 20, while 16 other students were injured.
 
As many as 13 of the deceased students of were girls while three were boys. Four bodies, which were charred beyond recognition, were yet to be identified. 
 
Four of them died during treatment at a private hospital. 
 
The injured were admitted to four different hospitals, including the Government Civil Hospital.
 
Authorities told reporters that the fire was sparked off in the afternoon  by an short circuit in the electricity transformer of the building. As many as 18 fire tenders took several hours to douse the rising flames in the building.
 
The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) late in the night filed a first information  report (FIR) against three persons, including the builder of Takshashila Arcade in Sarthana area and the person who ran the coaching centre.
 
The SMC authorities were inquiring whether the building had the statutory permissions, including regarding fire safety.
 
The coaching centre was being run on the covered roof-top, which effectively became the fourth storey and there was a three-foot-wide wooden staircase to reach there, witnesses said. This was the only entry and exit at the coaching centre.
 
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who rushed to Surat, ordered an investigation by Mukesh Puri, Principal Secretary, Urban Development, into the incident and announced special assistance of Rs 4 lakh to the families of the deceased children.
 
Shocked by the incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter: "Extremely anguished by the fire tragedy. My thoughts are with bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. Have asked the Gujarat government and local authorities to provide all possible assistance to those affected."
 
Several other leaders, including Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel also condoled the death of the students.
 
IANS
 

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Devastating fire in Surat building kills 17 students

The scene in Surat, Gujarat where a major fire broke out at a commercial complex that housed, among others, a coaching centre, killing 17 students, on May 24, 2019.
The scene in Surat, Gujarat where a major fire broke out at a commercial complex that housed, among others, a coaching centre, killing 17 students, on May 24, 2019.
A devastating fire engulfed a coaching centre in a building in Surat in Gujarat on Friday, killing 17 students.
 
Official sources said some of the students were charred to death while some others jumped off the four-storeyed building in panic and died as they fell.
 
Fire Brigade sources confirmed that 17 students were killed in the incident at the Takshashila Arcade building in Sarthana area. Officials feared that the death toll could go up further.
 
The coaching centre was being run on the covered roof-top, which effectively became the fourth storey, and there was a wooden staircase to reach there, witnesses said. 
 
The authorities of the Surat Municipal Corporation were inquiring whether the building had taken the statutory permission, including regarding fire safety.
 
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who ordered an investigation into the incident by Mukesh Puri, Principal Secretary, Urban Development, himself rushed to Surat.
 
He also announced a financial help of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the students who died.
 
Shocked by the incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted on his tweeter handle: "Extremely anguished by the fire tragedy. My thoughts are with bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. Have asked the Gujarat government and local authorities to provide all possible assistance to those affected."
 
Several other leaders, including Congress President Rahul Gandhi, also condoled the death of the students.
 
IANS
 

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At least 15 students killed in major fire in Surat

The scene in Surat, Gujarat where a major fire broke out at a commercial complex that housed, among others, a coaching centre, kiling 15 students, on May 24, 2019.
The scene in Surat, Gujarat where a major fire broke out at a commercial complex that housed, among others, a coaching centre, kiling 15 students, on May 24, 2019.
At least 15 students were killed and several others injured in a devastating fire at a coaching centre atop a four-storey building in Sarthana area of Surat in Gujarat on Friday evening.
 
Official sources said some of the students were charred to death while some others jumped off the building in panic and died as they fell. 
 
Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma confirmed the death of 15 students. The death toll could increase. 
 
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani ordered an investigation into the tragedy and asked Mukesh Puri, Principal Secretary, Urban Development, to rush to Surat. 
 
He also declared financial help of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the students who died.
 
Shocked by the incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted on his tweeter handle: "Extremely anguished by the fire tragedy in Surat. My thoughts are with bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. Have asked the Gujarat government and local authorities to provide all possible assistance to those affected."
 
IANS

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15 die in fire at Surat coaching centre

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At least 15 students were killed when a fire engulfed a coaching centre in Surat in Gujarat on Friday, police said.
 
Many others were still said to be trapped inside the four-storeyed building. 
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his anguish. 
 
"Extremely anguished by the fire tragedy in Surat. My thoughts are with bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. Have asked the Gujarat government and local authorities to provide all possible assistance to those affected," he tweeted.
 
IANS
 
 

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

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Gujarat: Amit Shah set to win, BJP ahead on all 26 seats

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday appeared all set to capture all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat yet again even as its national President Amit Shah was leading by a hefty margin of over 2.38 lakh votes at the end of the first 10 rounds of counting of votes for the Lok Sabha elections.
 
Shah, contesting from the Gandhinagar parliamentary constituency for the first time, has bagged 3,52,099 votes to establish a lead of more than 2.38 lakh votes over his nearest rival C. J. Chawda of the Congress who has managed 1,13,436 votes.
 
As many as 15 BJP candidates were well ahead of their nearest rivals by more than one lakh votes. Woman candidate Ranjan Bhatt from Vadodara has established a margin of around 2 lakh votes over Congress' Prashant Patel.
 
Another woman candidate of the BJP, Geeta Rathwa, contesting from the tribal seat of Chhota Udepur in central Gujarat, was leading by more than one lakh votes. BJP's Ahmedabad West candidate Kirit Solanki, Mohanbhai Kundaria from Rajkot, Bhartiben Shiyal from Bhavnagar, Mitesh Patel from Anand, Mansukhbhai Vasava from Bharuch, Parbhubhai Vasava from Bardoli, Darshnaben Jardosh from Surat, C. R. Patil from Navsari and K. C. Patel from Valsad were all leading by over one lakh votes after the 10th round of counting.
 
The only saving grace for the Congress appears to be in the Amreli Lok Sabha constituency in Saurashtra where leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani was trailing by a narrow margin against Naran Kachhadiya of the BJP.
 
The BJP had bagged all the 26 seats in the 2014 general elections when as many as 64.7 per cent voters exercised their franchise while this time the polling percentage was 64.11.
 
Besides the Lok Sabha seats, counting of votes was also being held in four Assembly constituencies where bye-elections were conducted on April 23 during the third phase of the seven-phased parliamentary elections. There are 28 counting centres for these seats.
 
IANS
 

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

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