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Golf: Shamim Khan coasts to three-shot win in Kensville Open

Shamim Khan
Shamim Khan
Delhi’s Shamim Khan coasted to a comfortable three-shot win in the Rs. 40-lakh Kensville Open at the Kensville Golf & Country Club near here on Sunday.
 
The experienced Shamim, the overnight leader by two shots, posted a tenacious two-under-70 in the final round to emerge as the wire-to-wire champion with a winning total of 13-under 275. Khan thus lifted his 15th trophy on the Tata Steel PGTI which also accounted for his overall 17th professional win.
 
Pune-based Udayan Mane, the only player besides Shamim to return four sub-par rounds during the tournament, came up with a last round of 71 to secure the runner-up spot at 10-under 278.
 
Khan (66-68-71-70), who held the lead in all the three previous rounds, enjoyed his best day with the putter as he sank five birdies at the cost of three bogeys. The 41-year-old stretched his lead to three shots at the turn having made two 20-feet birdie conversions on the front-nine. He dropped two bogeys on the back-nine after finding a tree on one hole and a hazard on the other, but he still managed to close out the match with two birdies even as the others were unable to catch up with him.
 
Shamim’s first title after a one-year gap earned him prize money worth Rs. 6,46,600 that pushed him up from 30th place to 14th position in the Tata Steel PGTI Order of Merit.
 
Khan, known to have one of the most smooth golf swings in Indian golf, said, “I putted the best today as compared to the last three rounds and that set up my win. I also recovered well from tough positions on a couple of holes to make good bogeys. I knew I had it in the bag after I birdied the 14th and Udayan bogeyed the 15th. At that stage, my lead grew to four shots with three holes left to play. I knew I could play safe from there on and win."
 
“This win really raises my confidence as it was achieved with a double-digit total score on a difficult course. In fact, only two players, Udayan and me, had a double-digit total this week. That reflects the tough scoring conditions at Kensville.  
 
“I wasn’t having a great season until I arrived in Ahmedabad. But I feel that I can now carry this form into the last three events of the season,” added Shamim, the only man with career earnings in excess of Rs. 4 crore on the PGTI.
 
Udayan Mane (69-67-71-71), lying two off the lead in tied-second after round three, shot a 71 on day four that featured three birdies and two bogeys. Mane had a poor start as he bogeyed the first hole. However, Udayan was looking good for a late surge when he picked up birdies on the eighth, ninth and 11th. He drained a 25-footer on the eighth and tapped-in on the 11th.
 
But missing the fairway with his drive on the 15th put paid to Mane’s hopes as he bogeyed that hole to concede an almost unassailable four-shot lead to Shamim.
 
The 28-year-old Udayan, said, “My opening hole bogey and Shamim’s two early birdies gave him the advantage. Shamim then matched me birdie for birdie so I didn’t really have too many opportunities. Nonetheless, I’m happy with the overall quality of my game this week.” 
 
Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha shot the day’s joint-lowest round of 68 to claim tied-third place at six-under282 along with Om Prakash Chouhan (71) of Mhow. Gurugram’s Veer Ahlawat, the winner on the PGTI last week, took a share of fifth place along with Kolkata’s Sunit Chowrasia at five-under 283.
 
Ahmedabad’s Jay Pandya ended the tournament as the best amateur in tied-21st with a total of even-par 288. Last year’s champion Tapy Ghai of Gurugram took tied 29th place at three-over 291. Anshul Patel, the other Ahmedabad-based amateur who made the cut, finished 50th at 12-over 200.
 
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Golf: Shamim Khan opens up two-shot lead in round three to emerge as title favourite

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Delhi’s Shamim Khan opened up a two-shot lead at 11-under 205 to emerge as the title favourite after round three of the Kensville Open 2019 Presented by Tata Steel PGTI, a Rs. 40 lakh event, at the Kensville Golf & Country Club near here on Saturday.
 
Shamim struck a steady one-under 71 in windy conditions not ideal for scoring and  thus continued at the top of the leaderboard for the third consecutive day.
 
Pune-based Udayan Mane, a winner on the Tata Steel PGTI earlier this year, too, fired a 71 to move up one spot into tied-second place at nine-under 207. Kolkata’s Sunit Chowrasia, the overnight joint leader, dropped to tied second after a round of 73 on Saturday.
 
Khan (66-68-71), the joint half-way leader, raced into the sole lead after a determined effort in tough conditions. A 14-time winner on the Tata Steel PGTI, Khan made a couple of quality chip-putts for par on the front-nine before earning his first birdie of the day with a 35-feet conversion on the 11th.
 
Khan then set-up a tap-in birdie on the 15th but conceded his only bogey of the day on the very next hole after finding the bunker.
 
The 41-year-old Khan said, “I played percentage golf today. The wind made it difficult to score birdies but I was in control of my round thanks to some good hitting. A couple of accurate chip shots on the front-nine made sure that I did not leave myself any tough par-saves."
 
“It’s not been the best of seasons as per my standards so I’m looking to turn the tide with a win now,” added Khan, who won his last title one year back.
 
Udayan Mane (69-67-71) also made two birdies and a bogey on day three. Mane and Khan are only among five players who have shot three sub-par rounds so far this week. Udayan’s resolute effort saw him find 13 out of 14 fairways and 17 greens in regulation out of 18. Mane struggled with his putting though as he had 35 putts.
 
The 28-year-old Mane said, “I created a number of chances with my clean hitting but it was a day of missed opportunities on the greens. A better putting performance on the final day will definitely put me in contention.”  
 
Sunit Chowrasia (67-67-73), like Mane, had a forgettable day with the putter, following two brilliant rounds of 67. A nephew of Indian golf legend SSP Chawrasia, he mixed three birdies with four bogeys on a day he made three three-putts. The 25-year-old, searching for his maiden title, also made his third chip-in of the week, for par on the 13th.
 
Bangladesh’s Md Zamal Hossain Mollah fired four straight birdies during his round of 70 that placed him tied fourth at six-under 210 along with Delhi’s Arjun Prasad who turned in a card of 74 on Saturday.
 
Chennai youngster Shivnaren Srinivasan shot the third day’s best score of four-under 68 to move into tied ninth place at three-under 213.
 
Ahmedabad-based amateur Jay Pandya closed the day in tied-26th at one-over217 while his city mate Anshul Patel ended round three in tied-37th at four-over 220 along with defending champion Tapy Ghai of Gurugram.
 
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Golf: Sunit Chowrasia fires second straight 67 to join Shamim Khan at the top in round two

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Kolkata’s Sunit Chowrasia shot a second straight five-under 67 to join Delhi’s Shamim Khan in the half-way lead at the Kensville Open 2019 presented by Tata Steel PGTI, a Rs. 40 lakh event, being played at the Kensville Golf & Country Club near Ahmedabad.
 
Sunit and Shamim, who carded a 68 on Friday, had identical totals of 10-under 134 after 36 holes. Pune-based Udayan Mane (67) and Delhi’s Arjun Prasad (70) were two shots off the lead in tied-third place.
 
The cut fell at two-over 146. Fifty professionals and two amateurs made the cut. PGTI Order of Merit leader Rashid Khan (Delhi) missed the cut by one shot as he totaled three-over 147.
 
Chowrasia (67-67), who was in third place and one shot off the lead after round one, was exceptional around the greens on day two as he produced a second straight 67. Chowrasia enjoyed a solid start as he made a chip-in for par on the 12th followed by a tough two-putt for par on the 13th and an eagle chip-in on the 14th.
 
The 25-year-old Sunit, the nephew of  veteran  S S P Chawrasia, added four more birdies and a bogey thereafter which included a 12-feet birdie conversion on the third to end up with the day’s joint lowest round.
 
Sunit, who turned professional in 2018, said, “I didn’t strike the ball as well today as compared to round one. Nonetheless, I managed to get a good start thanks to my short-game as I made two chip-ins early on that lifted my confidence. I played well on the par-5s today having made an eagle and two birdies.
 
“I had not been finishing my rounds well earlier in the year and that affected my results. But I’ve fared much better on that front recently and that reflects in my top-20 finishes at the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational and the IndianOil Servo Masters Golf.
 
“The experience of having done reasonably well at Kensville last year with a tied 11th finish, has given me the confidence to perform well at this venue once again. My course management has been good so far this week.”
 
Khan (66-68), the round one joint leader, continued in the lead on day two after draining six birdies at the expense of two bogeys. Khan was four-under and error-free through his first 11 holes thus staring at an outright lead. But two birdies and bogeys each over the next five holes slowed down his progress.
 
Shamim said, “I did not finish the round as per my expectations so I’m a little disappointed. But I’m still well-placed and have a good platform to build on for the last two rounds.”
 
Prasad, the round one joint leader, slipped to tied third at eight-under-136 after a flawless 70 on Friday. Udayan Mane fired a 67, the day’s joint lowest score, to join Prasad in tied third place.
 
Delhi-based Naman Dawar made an eagle-two on the 12th during his round of 68 that placed him fifth and seven-under137. 
 
Amateur Jay Pandya was the highest-placed among the Ahmedabad-based golfers. Pandya was in tied 13th at three-under 141. Defending champion Tapy Ghai of Gurugram was a further shot back in tied 18th. 
 
Amateur Anshul Patel was only the second Ahmedabad-based golfer after Jay Pandya to have made the cut. Patel’s total of two-over 146 placed him tied 43rd.
 
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Golf: Shamim Khan, Arjun Prasad take early lead at Kensville Open

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Delhi-based golfers, the seasoned Shamim Khan and youngster Arjun Prasad, took the early lead at the third edition of the Rs 40-lakh prize money Kensville Open at the  Kensville Golf & Country Club near here on Thursday.
 
PGTI Order of Merit leader Rashid Khan ( Delhi) and defending champion Tapy Ghai of Gurugram carded scores of 74 to be placed tied 62nd.
 
The 41-year-old Shamim and the 20-year-old Arjun returned scores of six-under-66 in the first round to establish a one-shot advantage over Kolkata’s Sunit Chowrasia (67) who was placed third.
 
After an opening-hole birdie, Shamim Khan got his round going with two 20-feet birdie conversions on the sixth and ninth. Shamim’s much-improved putting display this week saw him pick up three more birdies from a range of seven to eight feet on the 12th, 14th and 15th.
 
Shamim, a 14-time winner on the PGTI, then pushed his tee shot to the right on the par-3 16th that resulted in his only bogey of the day. Khan finally sank his third 20-footer of the day for a birdie on the closing 18th.
 
Shamim said, “I’ve not played up to my expectations this season. My hitting has been consistent but my putting average has been poor most of this year and that has affected my results especially at some of the bigger events. I’ve not putted well from a range of seven to eight feet recently.
 
“However, today my putting was much better and that helped me score well. I did drain some crucial putts from a range of seven to eight feet. That is exactly what is required on this course along with good driving.
 
"I’ve done well at this venue in the past having finished tied third at the Kensville Open 2017 so I’m hopeful of turning around my form this week,” added Khan, currently placed 30th in the Tata Steel PGTI Order of Merit.
 
Arjun Prasad, who finished a creditable tied 11th at the Asian Tour’s Panasonic Open India earlier this month, continued to impress with another top-notch effort. Prasad, like co-leader Shamim, fired seven birdies at the cost of a lone bogey.
 
Arjun, who was driving the ball well, got his first birdie on his fifth hole, the 14th, but then there was no looking back for him as he collected four more birdies over the next six holes. Prasad had an eventful final stretch as he found the hazard and dropped a shot on the sixth before converting a 30-footer for birdie on the next hole. He added a final birdie to his card on the eighth.
 
Prasad said, “I kept the errors out today and managed to get myself out of some tough situations. I had a good game-plan and saved par whenever I missed the fairway. My driving and putting were solid. I feel I’ve been in good rhythm since the Panasonic Open India, my last event.”
 
Sunit Chowrasia with five birdies and a bogey was placed third while the trio consisting of Bangladesh’s Md Zamal Hossain Mollah, Chandigarh’s Abhijit Singh Chadha and Kolkata’s Raju Ali Mollah were a further shot back at four-under-68 in tied fourth.
 
Among the Ahmedabad-based players, amateur Jay Pandya was the highest-placed. Pandya occupied tied 13th as he shot a 70. 
 
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Ahmedabad–Kandla daily direct flight starts under UDAN/RCS

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Alliance Air, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, has flagged off its first direct flight between Ahmedabad and the port town Kandla in Gujarat, making it the 228th route under the UDAN, the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS).
 
Kandla is Alliance Air’s 55th destination under UDAN. The flight will operate from Monday to Friday.
 
This is the third flight to operate from Kandla airport. Currently, Spicejet and Truejet operate a daily flight for Mumbai and Ahmedabad. It also provides better connectivity for Kutch commercial hub Gandhidham and the country’s major port, Deendayal Port.
 
"Under the UDAN scheme, there has been a commendable increase of 242% in air traffic on RCS routes which has efficiently strengthened the overall aviation network while providing the services at a modest market-discovered price to the common man," an official press release said.
 
Alliance Air is now operating on 50 routes allotted to it under the UDAN-RCS scheme and has also begun operations to and from Chandigarh-Dharamshala from November 16 that it bagged in the UDAN 2 & UDAN 3.1 of UDAN-RCS route.
 
Through its codeshare with Air India, Alliance Air not only provides regional connectivity within the country but also offers seamless connectivity to regional passengers on Air India’s network in India and abroad, the release said.
 
UDAN will connect all the States and UTs of the country with around 700 routes laying the foundation of a new regional segment in India’s aviation market, it added.
 
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Modi to pay tributes to Sardar Patel at Statue of Unity on Thursday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here this evening on a visit to his home state during which he will, among other things, pay tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary at the Statue of Unity near Kevadia tomorrow.
 
He was  welcomed on arrival at the airport here by Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, among others.
 
The Prime Minister will also participate at the ‘Ekta Diwas’ Parade, visit the Technology Demonstration site and later interact with Civil Service Probationers at Kevadiya.
 
Since 2014, October 31 is observed as National Unity Day and people from all walks of life participate in the "Run For Unity".
 
In his Mann Ki Baat Programme on the October 27, Modi had urged people to participate in large numbers in the Run For Unity towards One Goal – “Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat.”
 
Stressing the importance of a Fit India, the Prime Minister said Run for Unity is one such unique event which is beneficial for the mind, body and soul.
 
A web portal runforunity.gov.in has also been launched carrying details about various venues for the Run For Unity, that is being organised across the country.
 
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Adani Transmission signs agreement to execute WRSS XXI (A) transmission project

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Adani Transmission Ltd (ATL), India’s largest private sector power transmission company, has signed a share purchase agreement and completed the acquisition of special purpose vehicle WRSS XXI (A) Transco Limited, incorporated by REC Transmission Projects Company Ltd. 
 
ATL had won this project through a Tariff Based Competitive Bidding process, and received the Letter of Intent (LoI) in July 2019. ATL will build, own, operate and maintain the transmission project in the state of Gujarat for a period of 35 years, a press release from the company said.
 
WRSS XXI (A) Transco Limited consists of approximately 272 ckt km of 765kV line along with associated transmission system, it said.
 
"This project is primarily being constructed to strengthen the transmission system for relieving overloadings observed in Gujarat Intra-State System due to renewable energy injections in Bhuj PS.
 
"With this project, the cumulative transmission network of ATL will reach more than 14,000 ckt km of transmission line and more than 23,000 MVA transformation capacity, out of which more than 11,000 ckt km and more than 18,000 MVA are under steady-state operation. 
 
"ATL also operates a distribution business serving about 3 million customers in Mumbai," the release said.
 
 Anil Sardana, MD & CEO, Adani Transmission Ltd said, “With the signing of the Share Purchase Agreement of WRSS XXI (A) Transco Limited for the execution of transmission project in the state of Gujarat, ATL’s position as the largest private sector transmission company operating in India is consolidated further. It will also allow the company to contribute towards the Government of India’s quest of achieving generation of 175 GW renewable energy by 2022.”
 
"The win also takes the company closer to its target of setting up 20,000 ckt km of transmission lines by 2022. The project will bolster the pan-India presence of the company while supporting the sustainable development of renewable energy infrastructure development in the country," the release added.
 
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IIM Ahmedabad to introduce Post-Graduate Programme in Advanced Business Analytics

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The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) today said it would offer a Post Graduate Programme in Advanced Business Analytics (PGP-ABA), a 16-month post-graduate diploma, from the academic year 2020.
 
The institute, generally regarded as India's top business school, said this was being done  at a time when, with the deluge of digital data, data-driven decision making has now become an integral part of the efficient functioning of every organization, and more generally of society at large. 
 
Prof. Errol D’Souza, Director, IIMA said, “Along with the growth in processing power we are witnessing the growth of large pools of unstructured data which have embedded information that can be beneficially used for the good of organizations and societies. This course enables those who take it to deploy appropriate methodologies so as to extricate significant information from data and enrich decision-making that unlocks value for all stakeholders.”
 
A press release from the institute said the PGP-ABA is designed to help working professionals to acquire essential skills and knowledge for asking the right questions, addressing it with analysis of the right kind of data, and finally drive the decisions with the insights gained from the analysis to drive decisions. The programme thus provides a framework for transforming data into insights that are coupled into an effective business decision making process. 
 
"In a nutshell, the programme will focus on building blended expertise in data 'literacy', data processing and business acumen. We strongly believe that this unique blended competency is the requirement in the Analytics profession today," it said.
 
"The PGP-ABA curriculum is designed to give the participants in-depth exposure to the analytics tools and techniques, and prepare them to solve business problems across industry verticals and functional domains using data. The course is geared towards enhancing the analytical problem-solving ability of the students through structured coursework. The students will be exposed to state-of-the-art data handling tools and techniques, followed by a rigorous and comprehensive coverage of analytical methods and model development techniques, which are immediately applicable to cutting-edge business problems," it said.
 
Prof. Tathagata Bandyopadhyay, Chairperson, PGP-ABA, IIMA, added, “IIMA believes in delivering high-quality programmes, with emphasis on experiential learning and this programme is no exception. Besides explaining the theoretical underpinning of the tools and techniques, emphasis will be given on hands-on learning using a variety of data sets from various domains of applications. Finally, you will be exposed to the domain-specific application of analytics in two chosen domains from different business vertical and Public Policy.”
 
The objective of PGP-ABA programme is to upskill and prepare students for future in taking up leadership positions and shouldering more significant responsibilities in the organization. The programme delivery is through a thoughtful mix of online, and on-campus sessions, the release added.
 
More details about the course are available here.
 
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Modi pays homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in remembering Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary by paying homage to the Father of the Nation at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in remembering Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary by paying homage to the Father of the Nation at the Sabarmati Ashram here today.
 
He also inaugurated the Swachh Bharat Diwas 2019 in the city and released a postage stamp and a silver coin to commemorate the occasion.
 
At the Sabarmati Ashram, which was home to Mahatma Gandhi from 1917 to 1930 and served as one of the main centres of the Indian freedom struggle, Modi visited the Magan Niwas (Charkha Gallery) and interacted with children there.
 
Addressing a gathering of Sarpanches at the 'Swachh Bharat Diwas’ programme said that the entire world is commemorating 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and the event has been made more memorable after the United Nations released a postal stamp on Gandhiji a few days back. 
 
He said that he had the opportunity to visit Sabarmati Ashram many times in his  lifetime and today like every other time got new energy there as well.
 
Modi said that, today, villages in India had declared themselves free from open defecation and he congratulated every countryman, especially those living in villages, Sarpanches and all those who have worked for 'Swachata'. 
 
He added that, irrespective of age, social and economic status, everyone has contributed in this pledge of cleanliness, dignity and respect. He said that  today the world is amazed by this success of the country and they are rewarding it. The entire world is amazed that India has provided toilet facilities to more than 60 crore population in 60 months by constructing more than 11 crore toilets, he added.
 
Public participation and voluntarism has been the hallmark of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the reason for its success, Modi said. He thanked the entire country for the wholehearted support provided for the mission. 
 
Stressing on the importance of public participation, he said that collective efforts are essential for the success of important government initiatives like Jal Jeevan Mission and the elimination of single-use plastic by 2022.
 
The Prime Minister said that his Government was committed to realizing the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi. In this context, he mentioned about the initiatives of the government to ensure self-reliance, provide Ease of Living, and taking development to the last mile.
 
 He urged the public to take a resolution for the betterment of the nation and strive hard to make it successful. He added that if all the 130 crore people of India made such resolutions, it could bring about a massive transformation in the country.
 
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Ginger opens its first Lean Luxe hotel in Sanand, Gujarat

Ginger, operated by Roots Corporation Limited which is a subsidiary of The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL), has opened a Lean Luxe hotel in Sanand, Gujarat.
 
With this, the brand has a total of nine operating hotels in Gujarat, with two more in the pipeline, a press release from the company said.
 
Deepika Rao, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ginger, said, “We are excited to announce the opening of Ginger Sanand. Built around our Lean Luxe design philosophy of seamlessness, this hotel facilitates the ‘never stop’ lifestyle of the millennial travellers.”
 
"The hotel presents re-imagined spaces that blur the lines of work and play and creates experiences that are vibrant, quirky, intuitive and smart. Café Et Cetera, the all-day diner, will serve select Japanese cuisine and ‘glocal’ comfort food, doubling up as a personal workstation. With 104 well-appointed rooms, complimentary WiFi, a conference room and fitness centre, the hotel will offer guests a memorable stay," the release said.
 
Located 35 km from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, Ginger Sanand is based in the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation area which houses major industries such as Automobile, Pharma and FMCG. The National Highway-17 connects the city to a network of roadways, railways and ports, thus, making it highly accessible, the release said.
 
With the opening of this hotel, The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) will have fifteen hotels across its brands in the state of Gujarat, the release added.
 
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Rain brings relief to water-starved Gujarat

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After playing truant for most of July, it rained in almost all the 33 districts of Gujarat in the last 24 hours with the water-starved northern areas recording heavy showers. The rest of the state received light to moderate rainfall.
 
According to the Meteorological Department, all 198 talukas witnessed rainfall till 6 p.m. on Monday due to three atmospheric systems. The state is likely to witness rain for the next four days, which will be a huge relief to farmers.
 
While Vav in the Banaskatha district recorded the highest 230 mm rain in the past 24 hours, Tharad received 171 mm, Deodar 102 mm and Umerpada in the Surat district 100 mm. As many as 168 talukas received rain till Monday morning.
 
Kaprada in Valsad recorded 128 mm, followed by Mangrol in Surat at 110 mm, Umerpada 103 mm, Dharampur in the Vaslad district 96 mm, Waghai 92 mm, Ahwa 90 mm, Ankleshwar 89 mm, Walai 85 mm and Netrang 82 mm. All these are in South Gujarat, which traditionally receives good rainfall.
 
Bavla in the Ahmedabad district recorded 75 mm and Abdasa in the water-starved Kutch district 30 mm. Ahmedabad city recorded 9 mm rain.
 
Dams and rivers have been receiving fresh water inflows.
 
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BJP captures eighth municipal corporation in Gujarat

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The ruling BJP on Tuesday romped home with a thumping majority in the elections to Junagadh Municipal Corporation, thus continuing its rule over all the eight city corporations in Gujarat.
 
The BJP retained its rule, capturing as many as 54 seats in the 59-member Junagadh Municipal Corporation in the politically important Saurashtra region. The opposition Congress could manage only one seat, while the Nationalist Congress Party picked up four seats.
 
The State Election Commission announced the results on Tuesday.
 
After the Congress' Lok Sabha debacle when it lost all the 26 seats from the state to the ruling BJP for the second time in a row, the Junagadh result on Tuesday was the party's worst-ever performance in Gujarat.
 
Jubilant over the party's victory in the Junagadh Municipal Corporation, Gujarat BJP President Jitu Vaghani said it was the "beginning of the end of the Congress in Gujarat."
 
He claimed that the outcome in the Saurashtra city was a harbinger of yet another rout of the Congress in the 2022 Assembly election. "The Congress will be wiped out of Gujarat in the next few years," he asserted.
 
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Syria hold India to 1-1 draw in final Intercontinental Cup match

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India were held to a 1-1 draw by Syria in their final Intercontinental Cup match in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. Narinder Gahlot (18) scored in the 51st minute while Syria struck back with skipper Firas Al-Khatib converting a penalty in the 78th minute.
 
Having lost both their previous matches to Tajikistan and North Korea, India were already out of contention for a spot in the final while Syria needed a win to get there. 
 
India played much of the game with more cohesion than they showed in the previous two matches, both of which exposed defensive frailties for new coach Igor Stimac to solve. The two sides traded blows for what turned out to be a goalless first half. 
 
In the 51st minute, Anirudh Thapa sent in a corner kick from the right. Gahlot rose above the rest and headed the ball in and scored his first goal in his second international outing. 
 
India looked to be on top after that. While chances were few and far between, India dominated possession in midfield and kept the pressure on the Syrians. However, this changed after a rather rash tackle by Jerry Lalrinzuala, who had replaced Mandaro Rao Desai only a few minutes earlier, forced the referee to give Syria a penalty. Firas stepped up and made no mistake with the spot kick. 
 
India lived dangerously after that and saw off waves of Syrian attack to win a point at the end of the game. 
 
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Freak roller-coaster ride collapse claims three lives in Ahmedabad

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In a freak accident, at least three people were killed and 30 others injured when a roller-coaster ride collapsed at the public park around the sprawling Kankaria Lake here on Sunday evening.
 
Officials said there were around 40 persons on the 'Discovery' ride in Kankaria Adventure Park when it collapsed, minutes after it went up. The park is in the Maninagar area of the city.
 
The 65-feet high joy ride, which swings up to 30 feet on two sides, came unstuck from its hinges and heavily hit the ground with three people dying on the spot by the impact. Municipal officials, who rushed to the spot, denied that the ride collapsed because of overloading.
 
Officials said at least 15 of the over 25 people who were admitted to the nearby Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation LG Hospital, were reported to be critical.
 
Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra, who reached the spot immediately on knowing about the incident, told reporters that the injured persons would be provided the best possible treatment.
 
He, as well as Mayor Bijal Patel, said a detailed investigation would be carried to ascertain the reason for the accident and strict action would be initiated the private company, which operated the joy ride if necessary. 
 
Nehra added that it would be inquired if the cause of the accident was poor maintenance of the amusement ride.
 
Police officials, led by Ahmedabad Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 6, Bipin Ahire, who reached the spot, said it was not immediately clear if the welded part that held the ride from its hinges on the top gave away or its nuts and bolts were loose leading to the roller coaster come crashing on the ground.
 
IANS
 

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Rahul Gandhi granted bail in Gujarat defamation case

File photo of Rahul Gandhi
File photo of Rahul Gandhi
A court in Ahmedabad on Friday granted bail to Congress President Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case filed by the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank in which Union Home Minister Amit Shah is a director.
 
The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for September 7.
 
The defamation suit relates to Gandhi's Twitter message last year which was then reposted several times during the April-May Lok Sabha election, alleging that the bank had swapped Rs 750 crore worth of old currency notes with valid tender within five days of demonetisation on November 8, 2016.
 
Gandhi appeared in the court of Ahmedabad Metropolitan Court Judge Nirali Munshi and pleaded not guilty on charges of defamation.
 
The counsel for the bank contended that Gandhi must seek bail, while the Congress leader's advocate Pankaj Champaneri argued that no bail was required since he had appeared promptly on the court's summons.
 
After the court rejected this plea, Gandhi moved the bail application, which was granted on a personal bond of Rs 15,000 with Gujarat Congress chief Amit Chavda standing as his guarantor.
 
Gandhi is facing a slew of defamation cases for his statements against the BJP and its leaders in several states, including Bihar, Maharashtra and three in Gujarat.
 
He told reporters outside the court premises, "I am thankful to my opponents in the RSS and the BJP for providing me with opportunities to take my ideological battle against them to the public."
 
He added that the more severe the attacks against him, the more resolute would be his fight. "I am not going to be cowed down by such attacks that may make me run from pillar to post. I will fight it out," he asserted.
 
After landing in Ahmedabad, Gandhi tweeted, "I'm in Ahmedabad today, to appear in another case filed against me by my political opponents in the RSS/BJP. I thank them for providing me these platforms & opportunities to take my ideological battle against them to the public. Satyameva Jayate."
 
He was accompanied by veteran Congress leader Ahmed Patel, the Congress' Gujarat affairs in-charge Rajiv Satav, former state president Arjun Modhvadia, and others.
 
The small courtroom with a capacity to accommodate just about 30 people was crammed with around 100 people standing on their toes to hear Gandhi.
 
When he landed, Gandhi was welcomed by scores of Congress workers at the Ahmedabad airport. Many others waited on the route and near the court premises.
 
Later, he had several meetings with Gujarat Congress leaders as well as an interaction with the party's legislators. He is learnt to have told the leaders to try and check party MLAs from leaving to join the BJP.
 
In Gujarat, eight legislators have deserted the Congress since the December 2017 Assembly election.
 
IANS
 

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Rahul Gandhi to appear before Ahmedabad court on Friday

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Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will travel to Ahmedabad on Friday to appear before a court in a defamation case filed by the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank and its chairperson.
 
Gandhi last week appeared before a court in Mumbai in response to a defamation suit regarding the murder of journalist and writer Gauri Lankesh for which he had blamed "BJP-RSS ideology".
 
On July 6, he was at a Patna court in connection with a defamation case filed by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi for his comment "why all thieves" were called Modi.
 
According to Congress leaders, over 20 cases have been filed against Gandhi in various courts around India by RSS or BJP workers.
 
IANS

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Gujarat law to prevent transfer of properties in communally sensitive areas made stricter

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The Gujarat Assembly on Monday passed a bill on amendments to the Disturbed Areas Act with the ruling BJP introducing more stringent provisions in it against the transfer of properties in communally sensitive areas, contending that this was needed to plug loopholes in the law.
 
The bill was passed by the BJP majority in the House while the Congress MLAs opposed it, arguing that the ruling party was targeting a certain community.
 
The Gujarat Prohibition of Transfer of Immovable Property and Provision for Protection of Tenants from Eviction from Premises in Disturbed Areas Act, 1991, better known as Disturbed Areas Act, bans the sale of property by the member of one religious community to that of another without the approval of the district collector.
 
This Act is in force in places notified as communally sensitive areas in the state, including in Ahmedabad and Vadodara.
 
The amendment bill, moved by in-charge Revenue Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, provides for expanding the word "transfer" to include sale, gift, exchange, lease or taking possession of the property by way of power of attorney.
 
Chudasama insisted that there was no political motive behind this amendment bill. He said many people with "mala fide intentions" were found to be unlawfully acquiring properties in disturbed areas through power of attorney or by adding their names in the revenue records without taking consent of the collector as mandated by the Act.
 
"By adopting illegal methods, many people were found to be forcibly getting lawful residents to sell properties out of fear or pressure. We want to stop this," he said.
 
The Minister said besides ensuring that transfer of property was fair and with proper consents, the District Collector could also check if there was any "likelihood of polarisation", "disturbance in demographic equilibrium" or any "likelihood of improper clustering of persons of a community" if the transfer took place.
 
According to the amendment bill, the collector can reject the application of transfer after making assessment on these grounds and the aggrieved person can now file an appeal with the state government against the collector's order. This provision was not there in the existing Act.
 
The bill proposes imprisonment between three and five years along with a fine of Rs 1 lakh or 10 per cent of the value of the property, whichever is higher, to prevent the illegal acquisition of properties in such areas. 
 
Besides, the government could constitute a Monitoring and Advisory Committee to keep a check on the demographic structure in the disturbed areas.
 
The committee can also advise the collector about various issues regarding the implementation of the Act.
 
"The bill allows forming a special investigation team (SIT) to assist the state government in deciding any area to be notified a disturbed one. It will also assist the Monitoring and Advisory Committee in gathering necessary information," Chudasama added.
 
Congress MLAs, led by Imran Khedawala from Ahmedabad, opposed the amendment bill alleging that it aimed at targeting people from a certain religion.
 
"The Disturbed Areas Act is similar to Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir where outsiders could not buy property. On the one hand, the BJP is keen to repeal Article 370, but here it makes it more stringent. Why this double standard," Khedawala asked.
 
The Congress lawmaker went on to assert that this legislation was made out of fear that the population of one particular religious community will outgrow the others.
 
"This Act violates our constitutional right to buy property anywhere we want," he added.
 
IANS
 

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Football: Tajikistan beat India 4-2 in Intercontinental Cup opener

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India squandered a 2-0 first-half lead to lose 2-4 against Tajikistan in the opening match of the four-nation Intercontinental Cup here on Sunday.
 
In what was a game of two halves, Sunil Chhetri's brace put India in the driver's seat in the first half before Tajikistan scored four goals after the breather to win the game. 
 
After Tajikistan squandered a number of chances in the first half, Komron Tursunov opened the scoring for the visitors in the 56th minute after his initial shot was blocked by Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. 
 
India could have restored their two-goal lead in the very next minute if it wasn't for an uncharacteristic miss by skipper Chhetri. Udanta Singh made a low cross from the right and set up a tap-in for Chhetri but the 34-year-old ended up hitting it over the cross bar. 
 
Tajikstan levelled the score in the minute after that. Mandaro Rao Desai squandered possession in a dangerous area and young Narender Gahlot could not anticipate the cross that ended with Sheriddin Boboev scoring the goal. 
 
Tajikstan dominated play after that and in the 71st minute, Muhammadjon Rahimov raced past Adil Khan and put the ball between Sandhu's legs into the goal. Three minutes later, Samiev scored the fourth. India were completely out of the match after that as Tajikistan saw off the game. 
 
The first half was quite a different story though. Though Tajikistan enjoyed more possession and took more shots at the goal, six as opposed to India's three, only one of those was on target. That was a free-kick by Ehson Panjshanbe in the 28th minute which went straight into the hands of Sandhu. 
 
On the other hand, all of India's three attempts were on target and two of them led to goals. Lalianzuala Chhangte earned India a penalty in the third minute when he was fouled by Siyovush Asrorov at the end of a nicely built counter-attack involving Mandar and Sahal Abdul Samad. Chhetri stepped up and chipped the ball into the goal as the Tajikistan goalkeeper went the other way. It was Chhetri's 69th goal for India. 
 
His 70th came in the 41st minute when he managed to get to the end of a cross from Udanta Singh. Some loose defending from Tajikistan gave Chhetri enough time inside the box to find his spot and he made no mistake with the shot. 
 
The visitors could have restored parity just a couple of minutes after Chhetri converted the penalty had it not been for some poor finishing by Sheriddin Boboev. Muhammadjon Rahimov sent in a cross from the left and Narender Gahlot seemed to have arrived in time to nip the ball away before Boboev got to it. But he was too early and Boboev only had the keeper to beat. However, his shot however rolled past the far post and India were let off. 
 
Syria will clash with North Korea in the second match of the tournament on Monday.
 
IANS
 

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Cabinet nod for leasing out of Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru airports to Adani Enterprises

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The Union Cabinet today approved a proposal for leasing out of three airports -- Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru -- of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) through public private partnership (PPP) to the highest bidder -- Adani Enterprises Ltd.
 
The company had quoted the highest bid for these airports for operation, management and development under PPP for a lease period of 50 years as per the terms and conditions of the bid documents, an official press release said.
 
"These projects will bring efficiency in delivery, expertise, enterprise and professionalism apart from harnessing the needed investments in the public sector. This will also result in enhanced revenues to the AAI, which may lead to further investment by AAI at Tier II and Tier III cities and economic development in these areas in terms of job creation and related infrastructure," the release added.
 
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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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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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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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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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