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Bhavnagar

TT: Preyesh, Pritha crowned Sub-Junior winners

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Suresh Raj Preyesh added his third Sub-Junior Boys trophy of the season with an emphatic 4-0 win over Tharun Shanmugham in the UTT National Ranking (Central Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the SAG Sports Complex here today.
 
Suhana Saini, too, was in line for her third title but a momentary lapse in concentration in the decider cost her  the trophy as Pritha Vartikar of Maharashtra made one of the finest recoveries in recent times to wear her maiden Sub-Junior Girls crown. The Maharashtra girl won 4-3.
 
Preyesh proved too good in the all-Tamil Nadu left-handers’ final. Preyesh, with his excellent service variations and clever placing, often caught Tharun on the wrong foot. Even otherwise, the latter was unable to cope with the pressure of a final against someone who has a proven record in title-clashes.
 
In the semi-finals, Preyesh had it rather easy against UP’s Divyansh Srivastava, winning 4-1. But Tharun had to fight a bit before subduing Sarth Mishra, also of UP, 4-2. It was unfortunate that Sarth wilted under pressure after levelling the score at 2-2 and after deuce in the decider as the Tamil Nadu boy clinched the last two crucial points.
 
Haryana’s Suhana had a bad opening but managed to level 2-2 and then 3-3 before surging ahead with a 5-0 and 8-5 lead in the decider. But her relaxed play at the crucial moment and a few negatives gave the breathing space to Pritha who levelled at 9-9. On her serve, Suhana fumbled but Pritha collected the last two points, even as Suhana walked smiling cursing her fate.
 
Suhana led 3-1 in her semi-final before dropping another game. Yet, the determined Haryana paddler seized the moment in the sixth to wrap up a 4-2 victory against Prithoki Chakraborty of West Bengal. However, it was a long-drawn battle for Pritha against Tamil Nadu’s Kavyashree Baskar as both matched each other’s guile and were tied 3-3. In the decider, a superior Pritha slammed the door on Kavyashree to win 4-3.
 
In Cadet Boys’ final, it was a Priyanuj Bhattacharrya show as he wound up the season with his second title. Today, he defeated Tamil Nadu’s Abhinand 4-1 to take a further step in his fledgeling career. Extremely quick to adapt, the PSPB paddler had the TN boy in all sorts of trouble and went 2-1 up. But soon after, he finished the match in style.
 
Earlier in the semi-finals, Abhinand had to play extraordinarily to post a 3-2 win against Sudhanshu Maini after trailing 0-2. The Tamil Nadu boy put up a good fight in the first extended game but lost the second tamely. However, he bounced back to take the next three games. In the case of Priyanuj, it was a close call in the third game which would have allowed his rival from Tamil Nadu, Umesh Kumar, some leeway but he sealed it in his favour as well as the next to win 3-1.
 
In Cadet Girls’ final, Sharvani Nagam of Tamil Nadu made up for her final losses twice over, in the East Zone as well as in the West Zone, when she put it across Diya Brahmachary of West Bengal 4-0 to win her maiden title this season. Diya, the title winner at Sonepat and Thiruvananthapuram, came a cropper against the TN girl who showed her intent right from the word go.
 
In the last-four stage matches, Sharvani avenged her title loss in West Zone when she beat the eventual winner, Jennifer Varghese of Maharashtra 3-2. At a precarious 1-3 position, none would have given the TN paddler a grain of chance but she did well to come to stage a comeback and snatch victory by taking the last two games. For Diya Bramhachary, it was even more difficult as she trailed 0-2 but the West Bengal girl beat her state mate Nandini Saha 3-2.
 
In the Boys and Girls finals (U13-U15) categories, Rajveer Shah and Pritha Vartikar, both from Maharashtra, lifted the titles beating state mates Havish Asrani and Taneesha Kotecha, respectively. They registered a laboured 3-2 triumphs.
 
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Table Tennis: Suhana, Preyesh are Sub-Junior top seeds

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Haryana’s Suhana Saini, with maximum ranking points in her kitty, has been given the pride of place, as Delhi’s Lakshita Narang followed her closely at No. 2 spot when the seeding was drawn for the Sub-Junior Girls in the UTT National Ranking (Central Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the SAG Sports Complex here on Tuesday.
 
The other six seeds that follow them in that order include Kavyashree Baskar of Tamil Nadu, Taneesha Kotecha of Maharashtra, Nehal Venkatasamy of Tamil Nadu, Nilishma Sarkar of West Bengal, Pritha Vartikar of Maharashtra and Sneha Bowmick, also of West Bengal.
 
Similarly, Preyesh Raj Suresh of Tamil Nadu, yet again touted as the favourite to win the title, and Sarth Mishra of UP have been given the top billings among Sub-Junior Boys as No. 1 and No. 2 seeds. The others who are behind them include Jash Modi of Maharashtra, Divyansh Srivastava of UP, Ankur Bhattacharjee of West Bengal, Shivam Chandra, also of UP, while Aadil Anand and Rajveer Shah, both of Maharashtra, at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively.
 
Not only the top eight seeds in both sections will enjoy first-round byes, but 16 among the 32 qualifiers will benefit from the largesse as the main draw will be of 64 slots. Indeed, the top group qualifiers will be the first ones to reap the benefits with a few others joining in a random draw.
 
With the Cadet and Sub-Junior Nationals at Dharamsala just four days away, the thin attendance of players, which resulted in several walkovers, is understandable but the pullouts have given a breather to those in the fray as the notable players have preferred to opt out of the last championships.  
 
Maharashtra, expectedly, topped the chart of qualifiers with their sheer number of participants as seven of their girls have made the main draw cut with Tamil Nadu following them with seven qualifiers. With more pullouts from West Bengal, only five of their girls could make it to the second stage with Delhi at fourth place with three players in the main draw.
 
Jeeya Lakhani of Gujarat was the lone representative for the hosts who, too, like many others benefited from walkover in group 13.
 
Among the Sub-Junior Boys, West Bengal lead the list with seven of their paddlers qualifying for the main draw while Maharashtra (5), Tamil Nadu and Gujarat (5 each) have a big say in the qualification rounds.
 
Among the Gujarat qualifiers, Sumith Nair and Harsh Patel figure among the early group toppers even as Mahiraj Jadeja and Dhyey Shah from the latter groups have made the cut.
 
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Table Tennis: Ghosh, Sutirtha make it a grand Haryana affair

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Haryana reigned supreme as Soumyajit Ghosh claimed his first title in three years and Sutirtha Mukherjee her first this season in the UTT National Ranking (Central Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the SAG Sports Complex here today.
 
In the all-Haryana men singles final, Soumyajit defeated Jeet Chandra 4-1 and Sutirtha laboured to a 4-3 win against West Bengal’s Prapti Sen in the women singles title match.
 
With bigger seeds out of the reckoning, things became rather easy for Soumyajit but he had to cross the Jeet hurdle. Fortunately for the former national champion, his rival suffered a side back strain with Soumyajit leading 2-0. Yet, the youngster managed to take a game off him before being subdued.
 
Soumyajit had reached the final of the 2017 Senior Nationals at Ranchi, held in January 2018. Before that, he had made a token appearance in one national ranking event in 2017 without making any impression.
 
If Jeet was in sublime form, Soumyajit was definitely returning to his old self with consistency. It was very much visible throughout when the two deservingly made it to the final, especially Soumyajit, who has been trying to pick up the thread from where he had left it.
 
The PSPB lad, Birdie Boro, who had a roller-coaster ride until the semis found his nemesis in a rampaging Jeet who just allowed his rival the first-game liberty. After that it was Jeet and the PSPB paddler (1-4) slowly faded away. Soumyajit, growing in confidence with every match, beat the tricky Sushmit Sriram 4-1. After winning the first game on his third game-point, the Haryana player dropped the second. But soon he seized the moments to slam the door on his Tamil Nadu opponent.
 
Sutirtha, trailing 1-2, proved a better player in the final when a tired Prapti—she is in the Youth final as well—could not rise to the occasion in the fourth, just about managing a couple of points. Even though she came back in the next, she had lost her tempo which allowed the Haryana woman to claw her way back. In a neck-and-neck decider,  she was able to stop the West Bengal girl two points short of the target to log her first full points.
 
However, in the semi-finals, Sutirtha managed to drag the issue to the decider and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat from a spirited Anusha Kutumbale of Madhya Pradesh. Leading 3-1, she allowed the MP girl to come too close for her comfort, allowing the latter level 3-3. After taking the next game, the top-seed had the upper hand in the decider but let Anusha go 10-8 up.
 
At deuce, Sutirtha’s confidence returned when Anusha, with the serve on, failed to convert and Sutirtha ended her ordeal by clinching the winner soon after. And for the second-seed Ayhika Mukherjee the curtain came down when she went down tamely to promising junior Prapti Sen, who stroked her way using the flanks cleverly to outwit her senior opponent in straight games.
 
In Youth Boys final, brushing aside his troubled back, Jeet blanked out Deepit R. Patil of Maharashtra 4-0 to lift the trophy and the Youth Girls crown went the way of Anusha Kutumbale of Madhya Pradesh who downed her West Bengal opponent, Prapti Sen, also by the same margin.
 
Jeet had the first two games rather easy but then he found it difficult when his back pain increased in the third and fourth. He was unable to receive or return on his backhand and Deepit took advantage in both extended games before Jeet finally clinched the winning point.
 
Of the four Delhi boys in the quarters, only Payas and Parth managed to reach the semi-finals but, in the final, they could not sustain the form and aggression which they showed in earlier rounds.
 
But Payas did pull off a gold medal in the company of Vanshika Bhargava when the Delhi duo beat Railways’ Anirban Ghosh and Shruti Amrute 3-2 in a tight mixed doubles final, after leading 2-0.
 
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TT: Jeet sends top-seed Sanil packing; Sutirtha in semi-finals

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Fifth-seed Haryana boy Jeet Chandra sent top-seeded Sanil Shetty packing to join state mate Somyajit Ghosh in the semi-finals of the UTT National Ranking (Central Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the SAG Sports Complex here today.
 
Ghosh defeated Anirban Nandi of Railways 4-1 while others who joined them in the next round for the title race included Sushmit Sriram of Tamil Nadu who beat Ronit Bhanja of West Bengal 4-1 and Birdie Boro accounted for a fighting Nitin Thiruvengadam of BBSCB 4-2 to book their semi-final spots.
 
Among the other women seeds that followed Archana Kamath’s ouster, included West Zone winner Sreeja Akula and Madhurika Patkar while top-seeded Sutirtha Mukherjee of Haryana survived against a fighting Railways’ Sagarika Mukherjee 4-3. Ayhika Mukehrjee, too, struggled before overcoming Reeth Rishya 4-3.
 
Earlier, third-seeded Sudhanshu Grover went down to Ronit Bhanja 2-4 in the pre-quarters like fifth seed Archana Kamath who was consumed 4-0 by Anusha Kutumbale. Sudhanshu was found wanting as he not only failed to keep the ball on the table but also gave away quite a few negative points to his opponent. Nevertheless, Ronit hit a nice rhythm and had good counters to whatever was sent down by Sudhanshu. The match also witnessed good rallies with several winners coming Ronit’s way.
 
But other seeded players defied the trend in both sections and marched into the quarter-finals, like fifth-seeded Jeet Chandra and Soumyajit Ghosh, both from Haryana, who won in contrasting styles. Ghosh easily defeated his former PSPB mate Subhajit Saha 4-1, while Jeet struggled, taking an extra game to outlast LIC’s Sougata Sarkar. But the interesting match-up was between old warhorse Anirban Nandi of Railways and promising youngster Abimanyu Mitra of West Bengal, which the Railways paddler won 4-1.  Equally difficult it was for Sushmit Srriram who had to play his best to beat Sourav Saha of Haryana 4-2 and Nitin Thiruvengadam making most of the negative points from Ravindra Kotiyan of Railways to register his triumph 4-3.
 
After Archana’s struggle, Madhurika Patkar was almost taken the full distance by Railways Kaushani Nath. It was a real hard-fought win for sixth-seeded Prapti Sen against experienced Pooja Sahasrabudhe. Pooja, trailing 0-2 did well to level the score but it was the West Bengal girl who had the last laugh winning the last three games to progress. Second-seed Ayhika Mukherjee should thank her stars for being let off by the inexperienced young Tamil Nadu paddler, Kowshika Venkatesan, who lost the decider after deuce.
 
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Upsets galore in Central Zone Table Tennis Championships

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Among the top eight men seeds, third-seeded Sudhanshu Grover was denied entry into the men singles quarter-finals when he went down to Ronit Bhanja 2-4 in the UTT National Ranking (Central Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the SAG Sports Complex here today.
 
This followed the exit of second-seed Manush and fourth-seed Siddesh Pande yesterday, even as fifth seed Archana Kamath joined the game as she bowed out of the women singles without a fight when Anusha Kutumbale of Madhya Pradesh thrashed her 4-0.
 
The West Bengal paddler played brilliantly but the PSPB player was found wanting as he not only failed to keep the ball on the table but also gave away quite a few negative points to his opponent. Nevertheless, Ronit hit a nice rhythm and had good counters to whatever was sent down by Sudhanshu. The match also witnessed good rallies with several winners coming Ronit’s way.
 
Other seeded players defied the few upsets in both sections and marched into the quarter-finals, like fifth-seeded Jeet Chandra and Soumyajit Ghosh, both from Haryana, who won in contrasting styles. It was, more or less, an easy outing for Ghosh who defeated his former PSPB mate Subhajit Saha 4-1, while Jeet, who took an extra game to outlast LIC’s Sougata Sarkar, struggled. But the interesting match-up was between old warhorse Anirban Nandi of Railways and promising youngster Abimanyu Mitra of West Bengal. 
 
In the match, Railways paddler defeated his rival 4-1 to secure his place in the quarters.  Equally difficult it was for sixth-seed Sushmit Srriram who had to play out of his skin to beat Sourav Saha of Haryana 4-2 while Nitin Thiruvengadam of BBSCB made most of the negative points from Ravindra Kotiyan of Railways to register his triumph 4-3.
 
Fifth-seeded Archana Kamath, running a low form, yet again became a victim in the pre-quarter-final when Anusha Kutumbale beat her in straight games. Archana, who is struggling of late, could not cope with the mental pressure for a few tournaments now and succumbed. However, there was no further damage as the remaining six seeds advanced to the quarter-finals.
 
Yet, it was not an easy passage for former national champion Madhurika Patkar who was almost taken the full distance by Railways Kaushani Nath. It was a real hard-fought win for sixth-seeded Prapti Sen against experienced Pooja Sahasrabudhe.
 
Pooja, trailing 0-2, did well to level the score but it was the West Bengal girl who had the last laugh winning the last three games to progress. Second-seed Ayhika Mukherjee should thank her stars for being let off by the inexperienced young Tamil Nadu paddler, Kowshika Venkatesan, who lost the decider after deuce.
 
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TT: Manush's injury pullout leaves door ajar for remaining title aspirants

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Second-seeded Manush Shah’s withdrawal in the round of 32 has not only jeopardised his chance of winning a medal but also deprived him of valuable points in the UTT National Ranking (Central Zone) Table Tennis Championships at the SAG Sports Complex here today.
 
The Gujarat lad, who suffered some swelling on his playing hand, was left high and dry in what was a left-handers’ R32 match. In the bargain, Abhimanyu Mitra of West Bengal profited storming into the pre-quarter-finals after Manush conceded the match. But for this one aberration, most of the top seeds advanced to the next round easily but a few did face some hurdles which they had to overcome boldly. Similarly, except for Jubin Kumar all other Haryana paddlers made it to the pre-quarter-finals
 
This has, in a way, left the door ajar for the remaining men's singles players, including top-seed Sanil Shetty, who beat Mani Subhash of IA&AD 4-0.
 
In women's singles, if it was a toil for second-seeded Ayhika Mukherjee against qualifier Frenaz Chipia of Gujarat, fourth-seed Sreeja Akuka, who was also the women's singles winner at Thane, had a tough outing against Manushree Patil of Maharashtra while for fifth-seed Archana Kamath the fight back against Surbhi Patwari of  West Bengal was equally tough.
 
However, all but one seeded player did survive to move into the pre-quarter-finals. Seventh-seed Selenadeepthi Selvakumar of Tamil Nadu was caught on the wrong foot and lost the Round of 32 to Telangana’s Naina 2-4 despite the former having a bad opening. It’s another matter that the Telangana girl soon pooh-poohed any negative thought that might have crossed her mind to go 3-1 up before dropping her second game to Selena. In the sixth, however, she stopped the TN girl with a lot to spare.
 
But Frenaz Chipia of Gujarat must be credited for the way she fought two consecutive rounds—she won 4-3 in a grim first-round battle against Varuni Jaiswal of Telangana—but the experience of the RBI woman held her in good stead as Ayhika upped the ante when it was the need of the hour in the sixth game to disallow any further liberty to Frenaz.
 
Sreeja, after her fantastic comeback win against Takeme Sarkar in women's singles final in the West Zone a few days before, was expected to roll past Maushree. But the lanky Maharashtra girl had other thoughts and fought well to stretch her. But it was curtains for Takeme Sarkar, who had finished runner-up at Thane as she became a victim to Divya Deshpande's guile. Her teammate Pooja Sahasrabudhe, too, struggled before overcoming Monica Manohar of Telangana 4-2.
 
But the match between two qualifiers—Moumita Dutta and Nithyashree Mani—turned out be a marathon which the West Bengal girl won 4-3. In the decider, the Tamil Nadu girl had her chance but was stopped short of two points when experience came in handy for Moumuta. Equally interesting was the match between experienced Mousumi Paul of PSPB and upcoming Tamil Nadu player, Kowshika Venkatesan, who had to win her last three games to progress.
 
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Model building bye-laws amended for establishing EV charging infrastructure

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The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has made amendments to the Model Building Bye-laws 2016 and Urban Regional Development Plans Formulation and Implementation Guidelines 2014, in order to facilitate the availability of Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Infrastructure. 
 
The Ministry of Power has issued guidelines and standards for charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, which have also been considered while making these amendments, an official press release said.
 
The guidelines will act as a guiding document to the State Governments and Union Territories to incorporate the norms and standards of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in their respective Building Bye-Laws. 
 
The guidelines on Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure have been circulated to all the State Governments and UT Administrations with the request to amend their Building Bye-laws and Master Plan Regulations.
 
Cities and towns in the country are facing the problems of environmental pollution thereby severely impacting the health of the urban residents. India is committed to Sustainable Development Goal 13 on Climate Change of the United Nations to take urgent action to combat climate change. 
 
The Government has initiated several steps to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. One of such steps is to encourage Electric Vehicles (EVs), which are environment-friendly. At least 25% of the total vehicles on roads should be EVs by 2030, the Government is hoping.
 
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18 dead as truck overturns near Ahmedabad in Gujarat

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At least 18 labourers died when a cement-laden truck in which they were travelling overturned at Bavalyali village, about 100 km from here, on the Bhavnagar-Ahmedabad highway in the early hours today.
 
Ahmedabad Rural Police officials told NetIndian over the telephone that the truck was on its way from Pipavav port to Ahmedabad when the mishap occurred around 2.30 am today.
 
About five or six others who suffered injuries were rushed to nearby hospitals, they said.
 
The 18 deceased had died on the spot and their bodies were being sent for post-mortem examination, they said.
 
Senior administration and police officials, along with other emergency personnel, have reached the scene to oversee the relief efforts, they added.
 
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30 dead, 45 injured as truck carrying wedding party crashes off bridge in Gujarat

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

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

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that his government had, in the last three years, given a lot of importance to Gujarat and stressed that the state must harness the opportunities offered by its long coastline.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the maiden voyage of Ro-Ro ferry service between Ghogha and Dahej, in Gujarat on October 22, 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the maiden voyage of Ro-Ro ferry service between Ghogha and Dahej, in Gujarat on October 22, 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said his government had, in the last three years, given a lot of importance to Gujarat and stressed that the state must harness the opportunities offered by its long coastline.
 
Addressing a public meeting before inaugurating Phase 1 of the roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro) ferry service between Ghogha in Bhavnagar district in the Saurashtra region of the state and Dahej in Bharuch district of South Gujarat, he said the government had taken steps to develop the country's coastal infrastructure.
 
This ferry service too, he said, would not be restricted to this one route. He said that other places too would be linked through ferries. He said the goal of the Union Government is to make the transport sector integrated, and state-of-the-art. 
 
At present, the 360 km road journey from Dahej to Ghogha takes about seven to eight hours. The two places are only 31 km apart, separated by the Gulf of Cambay, and the ferry service is expected to reduce the travel time to just over an hour.
 
While Phase-1 will enable passenger movement, the service will also enable movement of vehicles when fully operationalised.
 
Mr. Modi also inaugurated the Sarvottam Cattle Feed Plant of Shree Bhavnagar District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd. 
 
He said that he was happy to be in Gujarat to personally convey new year greetings. He said that this programme, for the launch of a ferry between Ghogha and Dahej, is of vital importance for the entire nation. Noting that this ferry service is a first of sorts, the Prime Minister said it is a dream come true for the 6.5 crore people of Gujarat. 
 
He said that the history of human civilisation illustrates the vitality of rivers and maritime trade. "Gujarat is the land of Lothal; how can we forget these aspects of our history," he said.
 
"This programme is to bring back to life our glorious past; and connect Saurashtra with South Gujarat," he said. He pointed out that people from the two regions frequently travel to and fro; and this ferry service will save a lot of time, as well as fuel. 
 
Mr. Modi travelled on the maiden voyage of this service, from Ghogha to Dahej. During this voyage, he was given a briefing about the ship, and the ferry service. He also interacted with a group of differently-abled children on board the ship. 
 
Addressing a gathering in Dahej, the Prime Minister said that the Government's vision is ports for prosperity. India needs better ports and more ports, he added. Without proper connectivity, the economic development of a nation slows down, he asserted, adding that the Government has focused on port infrastructure. 
 
The Prime Minister mentioned the Government's stress on the blue economy, which he said is integral to the vision of a new India. 
 
Later, Mr. Modi travelled to Vadodara, where he dedicated to the nation the Vadodara City Command Control Centre; the Waghodiya Regional Water Supply Scheme; and the new head office building of the Bank of Baroda, at a public meeting in the city.
 
He handed over keys of houses to beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban, as well as Rural). He laid the foundation stones of several infrastructure and development projects, including an integrated transport hub, regional water supply schemes, housing projects, and a flyover. He also laid the foundation stone for the capacity expansion of the Mundra-Delhi petroleum product pipeline, and a greenfield marketing terminal project of HPCL, at Vadodara. 
 
Addressing a gathering, the Prime Minister said that the scale of development works launched in Vadodara today was unprecedented. 
 
He said that the Government is clear about its priority being development, and resources being used for the well-being of the citizens. 
 
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Mr. Modi said that, since the time he was a child, he had been hearing about a ferry service from Ghogha to Dahej. He said that the Government is now focused on all-round development and the ferry had been made operational today. 
 
He said that as in previous years, "Run For Unity," will be organised to mark the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel on October 31. He urged people to take part in this enthusiastically. 
 
This is the fourth visit by Mr. Modi in the past five weeks to Gujarat, his home state, where legislative assembly elections are due to be held later this year.
 
The Election Commission is yet to announce the dates for the elections in Gujarat, but Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti, who announced the schedule for elections in Himachal Pradesh on October 12, told newspersons that day that they would be held before December 18.
 
"Polling in Gujarat will take place before December 18 so that in no way the results of Himachal can affect the voting in Gujarat. We will, in a few days, announce the dates for Gujarat elections, but I can say for sure that voting in Gujarat will happen before December 18," he said.
 
The Commission's decision to not announce the election dates for Gujarat along with the poll schedule for Himachal Pradesh has invited strong criticism from the opposition Congress, which alleged that the BJP would use the interim period to announce sops for the people in Gujarat.
 
Earlier this week, on October 16, Mr. Modi addressed the "Gujarat Gaurav Mahasammelan" near Gandhinagar, a gathering of workers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the culmination of two fortnight-long marches through almost all Assembly constituencies across the state.
 
On October 7-8, Mr. Modi paid a two-day visit to Gujarat, during which he travelled to Dwarka, his home town of Vadnagar, Chotila, Gandhinagar and Bharuch, among other places, and launched several development projects in the state. He also addressed a series of public meetings.
 
Before that, Mr. Modi had paid a visit to the state on September 17, when he had dedicated the Sardar Sarovar Dam, built on the Narmada, to the nation at Kevadia. He also visited Amreli, where he inaugurated a new market yard of the APMC and new plants of the Amar Dairy.
 
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Modi to visit Gujarat, inaugurate Ro Ro ferry service between Dahej, Ghogha

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit his poll-bound home state of Gujarat on Sunday when he will, among other things, inaugurate Phase 1 of the roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro) ferry service between Dahej in South Gujarat and Ghogha in Saurashtra.
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit his poll-bound home state of Gujarat tomorrow when he will, among other things, inaugurate Phase 1 of the roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro) ferry service between Dahej in South Gujarat and Ghogha in Saurashtra.
 
Mr. Modi will launch the service, which he described as his "dream project" earlier this month, at a public meeting at Ghogha, a town in Bhavnagar district.
 
The service is expected to reduce the travel time between Ghogha and Dahej, which now takes about seven to eight hours by road, to just over an hour. Dahej is just 31 km away across the Gulf of Cambay by sea from Ghogha. 
 
When fully operationalized, it will also enable movement of vehicles. On Sunday, the Prime Minister will inaugurate Phase 1, which is passenger movement. He will travel in the maiden voyage of this service, from Ghogha to Dahej. He will also address the gathering at Dahej, after completion of the voyage, the release said.
 
Also at the public meeting in Ghogha, Mr. Modi will inaugurate the Sarvottam Cattle Feed Plant of Shree Bhavnagar District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd. 
 
From Dahej, located in Bharuch district, the Prime Minister will travel to Vadodara. At a public meeting there, he will dedicate to the nation, the Vadodara City Command Control Centre; the Waghodiya Regional Water Supply Scheme; and the New Head Office Building of the Bank of Baroda.
 
He will hand over keys of houses to beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban, as well as Rural). He will lay the foundation stones of several infrastructure and development projects, including an integrated transport hub, regional water supply schemes, housing projects, and a flyover. 
 
He will also lay the foundation stone for the capacity expansion of the Mundra-Delhi petroleum product pipeline, and a greenfield marketing terminal project of HPCL, at Vadodara, the release added.
 
The Prime Minister has been, for the past few weeks, regularly visiting the state, where legislative assembly elections are due to be held later this year.
 
The Election Commission is yet to announce the dates for the elections in Gujarat, but Chief Election Commissioner A K Joti, who announced the schedule for elections in Himachal Pradesh on October 12, told newspersons that day that they would be held before December 18.
 
"Polling in Gujarat will take place before December 18 so that in no way the results of Himachal can affect the voting in Gujarat. We will, in a few days, announce the dates for Gujarat elections, but I can say for sure that voting in Gujarat will happen before December 18," he said.
 
The Commission's decision to not announce the election dates for Gujarat along with the poll schedule for Himachal Pradesh has invited strong criticism from the opposition Congress, which alleged that the BJP would use the interim period to announce sops for the people in Gujarat.
 
Earlier this week, on October 16, Mr. Modi addressed the "Gujarat Gaurav Mahasammelan" near Gandhinagar, a gathering of workers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the culmination of two fortnight-long marches through almost all Assembly constituencies across the state.
 
On October 7-8, Mr. Modi paid a two-day visit to Gujarat, during which he travelled to Dwarka, his home town of Vadnagar, Chotila, Gandhinagar and Bharuch, among other places, and launched several development projects in the state. He also addressed a series of public meetings.
 
Before that, Mr. Modi had paid a visit to the state on September 17, when he had dedicated the Sardar Sarovar Dam, built on the Narmada, to the nation at Kevadia. He also visited Amreli, where he inaugurated a new market yard of the APMC and new plants of the Amar Dairy.
 
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Eleven persons dead after their jeep collides with truck near Dhandhuka in Gujarat

 
11 killed as jeep collides with truck in Gujarat
Eleven persons, including ten members of a Mumbai-based family, died and one suffered serious injuries when a jeep they were travelling in collided head-on with a truck on the Dhandhuka-Barwala state highway in Gujarat, about 110 km from here, early this morning, official sources said.
 
Ahmedabad Rural District Superintendent of Police R V Asari told NetIndian that those killed included six women and five men. The victims included the driver of the jeep, Ahmed Malik, he said.
 
According to him, the family belonged to Mumbai and were in Gujarat on a visit. After spending some time in Vadodara, they hired a vehicle from there to visit Vallabhipur, their native place near Bhavnagar, and were on their way when the mishap occurred.
 
Mr. Asari said the driver of the jeep appeared to have dozed off at the wheel and lost control over the vehicle, which veered off to the opposite lane and crashed into the truck.
 
He said a boy, aged 16, was injured in the accident and has been admitted to a nearby hospital for treatment.
 
Police, fire brigade personnel and other emergency services personnel rushed to the scene and helped extricate the victims from the mangled jeep. All eleven victims died on the spot.
 
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Sugar industry waste turned into next-gen battery material

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Indian scientists have demonstrated that waste water from some of the dirtiest industrial processes can be turned into a carbon source for preparation of energy storage materials.
 
Researchers led by scientists from Bhavnagar-based Central Salt and Marine Research Institute (CSMRI) have used sugar and distillery industry waste to develop functionalized carbon material which has energy storage properties. Such electrochemical material can be used to make electrodes, sensors and supercapacitors which find applications in digital devices.
 
In a two-step process, spent wash from a distillery was acidified to bring its pH down to about 2. The acidified solution was stirred overnight at room temperature, resulting in precipitation of solid mass or sludge. This solid mass was then sun-dried and calcined at elevated temperatures to generate functionalized carbon material which has energy storage properties, scientists explained.
 
Water-intensive industries like sugar and distilleries produce huge amounts of liquid and solid wastes including biomethanated spent wash which was used in the study.
 
“Instead of dumping into landfills and generating leachate, solid sludge can be activated with a metal precursor and calcined at elevated temperatures under inert atmosphere. The inherent presence of sulphur and nitrogen containing impurities in the sludge acts as dopants and in combination with the metal precursor it can provide an alternate charge storage mechanism to the material,” Dr Ramavatar Meena, one of the co-authors of the group told India Science Wire. The study results have been published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials.
 
The sulfur and nitrogen impurities in the sludge in combination with a metal precursor impart ‘pseudocapacitance’ to carbon material. “Electrochemical studies have shown good charge-discharge cycles with almost 100 percent capacitance retention even after 1000 cycles,” Dr Meena added.
 
After recovery of sugar from sugarcane juice in an evaporation process, the residue left is molasses which is fermented in distilleries for bio-ethanol production. For every litre of ethanol produced, 12 to 14 liters of water is consumed. This results in high quantities of waste in the form of spent wash which is an environmental hazard.
 
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The methodology developed can be used for wastewaters with high "total organic carbon" content generated by other polluting industries such as tanneries. Besides extraction of carbon material, a combination of adsorption and low pressure reverse osmosis (RO) can be used to further treat wastewater making it reusable in sugar industries as well as for irrigation purposes.
 
“Our aim is to reduce dependency of sugar industries and distilleries on fresh water by making them self-sufficient in terms of water consumption,” researchers said. Studies are also underway to recover potable water from this highly contaminated wastewater.
 
The research team included Ashesh Mahto, Rajeev Gupta, Krishna Kanta Gharab, Divesh N. Srivastava, Pratyush Maitib, R. Meena (all from CSMRI), D. Kalpana (Central Electrochemical Research Institute -Madras Unit), Paul Zavala-Revirae (Chemical Engineering & Metallurgy Department, Universidad de Sonora, Mexico) and S.K. Nataraja (Centre for Nano and Material Sciences, Jain University). The study was supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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BHEL commissions 250 MW CFBC technology-based lignite power plant in Gujarat

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had successfully commissioned a 250 MW unit based on eco-friendly Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustion (CFBC) technology, using low grade coal (lignite) as the primary fuel, in Gujarat.
 
The 250 MW lignite based thermal unit is the second unit to be commissioned at Bhavnagar Energy Company Limited's (BECL)’s 2x250 MW thermal power project, located at Padva village in Bhavnagar district.
 
The first unit of the project was commissioned earlier in May, 2016. The project is based on CFBC technology – an environment friendly technology to utilize India’s large resource of low grade, high moisture lignite, a press release from the company said.
 
BHEL has the distinction of engineering, supply, erection and commissioning of four units of India’s largest capacity CFBC boilers of 250 MW rating, including the two units at Bhavnagar, it said.
 
BHEL’s scope of work in the contract envisaged design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of Boilers, Steam Turbines and Generators along with associated Auxiliaries and Electricals, state-of-the-art Controls & Instrumentation (C&I) and Electrostatic Precipitators (ESPs), the release said.
 
Earlier in the state of Gujarat, BHEL has executed the 4x125 MW Surat Lignite Power project in Surat district, also involving CFBC technology.
 
CFBC boilers are highly fuel flexible and can burn a wide variety of fuels, including lignite, efficiently and are highly environment friendly with very low pollutant emissions. 
 
"The successful commissioning of CFBC technology-based units has reinforced BHEL’s leadership status in execution of a variety of thermal power projects involving supply of state-of-the-art equipment, suited to Indian fuel and Indian conditions," the release added.
 
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38 dead as heavy rains lash Saurashtra, South Gujarat

A view from an IAF helicopter of the floods in Gujurat after heavy rains on June 24, 2015.
A view from an IAF helicopter of the floods in Gujurat after heavy rains on June 24, 2015.
At least 38 people have died in incidents related to the heavy rains that lashed Saurashtra and South Gujarat regions yesterday, official sources said.
 
Amreli district in Saurashtra bore the brunt, with most of the deaths reported from there, including 13 people who died when two hosues collapsed near Bagasara town.
 
Deaths were also reported from Bhavnagar district, Gondal in Rajkot district as well as from Surat district in South Gujarat.
 
The heavy downpour was caused by a depression over the Arabian Sea.
 
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) have been deployed for rescue and relief efforts in the affected areas, along with companies of the State Reserve Police Force (SRP).
 
The rains caused large-scale submergence of low-lying parts in many areas of the state, with Gavdka and Khari villages of Amreli district being the worst affected, where IAF helicopters rescued 87 people with the help of two Mi-17V5 helicopters yesterday and air-dropped 120 kgs of food packets.
 
 
Heavy rains flood several areas in Gujarat
Today, the Air Force has put four Mi-17 V5 helicopters into service for rescue and relief operations in Amreli. Two additional helicopters are on standby at Jamnagar in case there is a need to step up operations. 
 
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel held a meeting with top state government, IAF and India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials in Gandhinagar yesterday and said the situation must be constantly monitored in the affected villages. Utmost priority should be given to rescue stranded people, she said.
 
She also reviewed the availability of rescue equipment, food stocks and medical supplies.
 
"I appeal people not to panic & co-operate with the administration in its rescue and relief efforts," she said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
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Gujarat: 5 labourers killed in blast after gas leak in Alang shipbreaking yard

 
Five killed, seven injured in Alang recycling yard blast
Five labourers were killed and seven others suffered injuries in a blast and fire at the Alang shipbreaking yard in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat this morning.
 
District Magistrate P K Solanki told NetIndian over the telephone that the injured were rushed to a hospital in Bhavnagar, about 50 km from the scene of the mishap, where the condition of one of them was stated to be serious.
 
The workers were dismantling a chemicals bulk carrier at plot number 140, using gas cutters, when there was a blast, probably caused by leakage of gas, he said.
 
Alang is the largest ship recycling yard in the world, with capacity to break about 4 million tonnes per annum.
 
The incident happened in around 11 am when a blast took place as the ship breaking was in progress at plot number 140 inside the yard, said an official of the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB). The injured were rushed to Bhavnagar, the official added.
 
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Togadia's reported statements set off huge controversy

The Congress on Monday urged the Election Commission to act promptly in the matter of an alleged hate speech made by Vishwa Hindu Parishad International Working President Pravin Togadia at Bhavnagar in Gujarat in which he reportedly targeted Muslims who bought properties in predominantly Hindu areas.
 
Togadia's speech, RSS document fabricated: RSS
The Congress today urged the Election Commission to act promptly in the matter of an alleged hate speech made by Vishwa Hindu Parishad International Working President Pravin Togadia at Bhavnagar in Gujarat in which he reportedly targeted Muslims who bought properties in predominantly Hindu areas.
 
According to The Times of India, which reported the incident that took place on Saturday night, Dr Togadia joined a group of VHP and Bajrang Dal members on a street protest outside a house purchased by a Muslim businessman near Meghani Circle in Bhavnagar.
 
It said Dr Togadia asked the  protesters to take control of the house and fight a legal battle which would go on for years.
 
The newspaper said Dr Togadia gave the Muslim occuant 48 hours to vacate the house. He told the people gathered there that there was nothing to fear, saying that the killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi were yet to be hanged.
 
A team of policemen has been stationed outside the house to avert any trouble, the report said.
 
In its memorandum to the Election Commission, the Congress said the latest episode has come soon after the hate speech made by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha candidate Giriraj Singh at Bokara in Jharkhand, in which he said last week that critics of its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had no place in India and must go to Pakistan.
 
The Congress said that to describe Dr Togadia's statement as a hate speech in violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) would be too mild.
 
"His statement is anti-national, provocative, inflammatory and open threat to persons belonging to a particular community. The intent and purpose of such a statement is well known when the election process is on i.e. to seek votes for BJP and Mr Narendra Modi with whom they share the same philosophy and ideology," it said.
 
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The memorandum said the statement was against the Constitution, various laws applicable in India and the basic structure of democracy in India. 
 
"Unfortunately, such statements are allowed and permitted by BJP to seek votes by spreading hatred amongst different communities and religions.
 
"Unless the Commission takes stern action against persons making such speeches, fair and proper election cannot be conducted. Even in the case of Mr Giriraj Singh, BJP candidate, the Commission has not taken action as per law and the FIR stated to have been registered at Devghar ignores various offences having being committed prima facie on the bases of the statement requiring action by the Hon’ble Commission.
 
"We hope the Hon’ble Commission would promptly take action in such matters to punish and prevent reoccurrence of such incidents," the memorandum added.
 
Meanwhile, Dr Togadia has issued a legal notice to the newspapes and other media organisations which reported about his statement, saying that the reports were "misinformed" and "false, malafide and mischievous", and denying he had made the remarks attributed to him.
 
He said the reports were part of a "bigger conspiracy" to defame him and to put his life in danger.
 
Dr Togadia said that a group of about a thousand people had come to meet him and present a memorandum about how their houses were purchased "under force and duress by some people".
 
"Hearing their plea, as a law abiding citizen, my client advised them to follow the legal process of writing to the local administration, the concerned state government & approach the court if they felt that they are being forced into any selling of their houses," the notice sent by Dr Togadia's lawyer said.
 
That my client also informed that there had been a ‘Disturbed Area Act’ existing in some places in Gujarat which was enacted by the earlier Government & that the said group may find out if the said act was applicable to them in the said matter.
 
"That we wish to state here emphatically that there was nothing socially or legally wrong in the above advice given by my client to the said group as mentioned above," it said.
 
The RSS and the BJP said they had talked to Dr Togadia and he had told them that the reports were fabricated and that he had not made any such statement. They also said no member of the RSS or the BJP would subscribe to such sentiments.
 
Apart from the Congress, several other parties, including the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), an ally of the BJP, said they disapproved of the statement and called for action against him.
 
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Meanwhile, the Election Commission has sought a recording of the speech made by Dr Togadia from the district authorities in Bhavnagar.
 
"He always spreads venom, you know that. And he belongs to that category of people in this country who do not believe in the unity and the integrity of India. What can you say about people like this?," Congress leader and Union Minister Kapil Sibal said. 
 
"Democracy can survive only if there is accommodation and acceptance for each other....We can't be rigid about these things and anybody who speaks this kind of language has no place in our society," SAD leader Naresh Gujral said.
 
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury called upon Mr Modi, who is the Chief Minister of Gujarat and also holds the Home portfolio, to act against Dr Togadia.
 
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Steelcast in long-term supply pact with global giant Caterpillar Inc

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Gujarat-based steel castings manufacturer Steelcast Limited today said it had entered into a long-term agreement with the $ 60 billion Caterpillar Inc. under which it will set up a dedicated manufacturing facility where steel casting products with specifications given by the US major will be made.

“A long term agreement with Caterpillar Inc gives us an assured off-take capability and access to supply high quality products to a global major," Chetan Tamboli, Chairman & MD of Steelcast Ltd, said.
 
"Through this agreement, we expect sales to Caterpillar to grow multi-fold from around Rs. 40 crore in 2010-11 to about Rs. 150 crore in 2015. We will now look at entering into similar long- term agreements with other global majors, too," he said.
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Man accused of 1992 murder of Indian family in Dubai sentenced to death

A CBI court in Ahmedabad has convicted Ravjibhai Manubhai Pawar of the murder of his Indian employer and four other members of his family in Dubai in 1992 and sentenced him to death.

A press release from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that its investigations had shown that Pawar, while working as a domestic servant in Dubai, had kileld Mr Ramesh K Sagar and four others of Mr Sagar's family on January 4, 1992.

He was also accused of rape and of stealing household articles, including clothes, ornaments and cash.

Pawar feld from Dubai on January 5 and came to India. On the basis of an Interpol alert, he was nabbed on January 10 by the Gujarat police and a first information report (FIR)was registered.

Since the accused was an Indian national and the offence took place outside India, the case was entrusted to the CBI. The Dubai Police had also registered an FIR and collected evidence, which was used by the CBI during investigation and trial of the case, the release said.

The chargesheet was filed on January 23, 1992 in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chikhli. The trial court found him guilty and convicted him.

The case was registered by the CBI, Ahmedabad (now Gandhinagar) Branch on April 27, 1992 on the basis of the request and consent of the Government of Gujarat for futher investigation of the case filed at the Chikhli Police Station, the release added.

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Five, including four policemen, killed in accident in Gujarat


Five people from this city, including four policemen, were killed when their car collided with a truck at Fatehpur Chokdi, near Anand in Gujarat, early today.


According to police, the four policemen were proceeding to Surat from here in connection with a diamond robbery of two days ago, The collision took place at around 0300 hrs today and five people, including son of an accused, travelling in the car, were killed on the spot.


Tarapur police in Anand district rushed to the spot and informed the Bhavnagar police about the accident. After conducting post-mortem examination, the bodies were handed over to Bhavnagar police.


The deceased were identified as Aniruddhsinh Chudasama, Samir Habib Kotharia and Jitendrasinh Chandubha Vaghela (all A division police station), Janyanti Ukabhai Chavda (LCB police) and Chetan Ahir, son of a suspect in the case, Bhupat Ahir.


Police had arrested Bhupat in connection with the robbery in the Nirmalnagar area of the city. Four of his accomplices are still at large.


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Armed men loot diamonds from employees of courier firm in Bhavnagar


Three armed men looted diamonds worth lakhs of rupees after attacking three employees of a courier company in the busy Nirmalnagar area of this city of Gujarat today.


According to police, the three employees of the courier company were on their way to deliver a packet of diamonds on a motorbike in the Nirmalnagar area at around 0730 hrs today when three armed miscreants opened fire on them and looted the diamond packet.


The police sounded an alert in the area and sealed all exit routes of the city. About half an hour after the robbery, three suspects were spotted passing through Kumbharvada area of the city on a motorcycle.


When police accosted them, they attacked one of the policemen and managed to flee.


Meanwhile, people in the area rushed the three injured employees of the courier firm to a local hospital, where their condition was stated to be stable.


The police has sought details about the diamonds from the courier company and a search is on to nab the robbers.


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NTC sells two plots of closed mills in Gujarat for Rs 145.93 crore

The public sector National Textiles Corporation (NTC) has sold two plots of land, belonging to closed textile mills, in Ahmedabad and Bhavnagar in Gujarat for a combined price of Rs 145.93 crore against a total reserve price of Rs 68.74 crore.


The plots were sold in a three-day e-auction that ended at 11 pm yesterday, a press release from NTC said here today.


Local firm Ahmedabad Advance Mills Ltd bagged the coveted 33,222 sq metre plot of the closed New Manek Chowk Textile Mills in Ahmedabad for Rs 118.40 crore, nearly 2.5 times higher than the reserve price of Rs 41.27 crore.


Lok Prakashan Ltd grabbed the 61,040 sq metre plot belonging to the closed Mahalaxmi Textile Mills at Bhavnagar for a price of Rs 27.53 crore against the reserve price of Rs 27.47 crore.


The auction for the two plots began at 10 am on December 29. The bidding for the Ahmedabad plot finally closed only six after the scheduled close of 5 pm due to the provision of auto-extension, the release said.


In the case of the Ahmedabad plot, the second highest bid was by Ajmera Realty at Rs 118.30 crore.


Altogether 21 participants were in the fray for the plot which also has a bungalow with a 400 sq mts built-up area.


In the case of the Bhavnagar property, the bidding was subdued for two days with the three participants lying low throughout. Gujarat-based Lok Prakashan Ltd made the all important bid on the final day at Rs 27.53 crore against the reserve price of Rs 27.47 crore and clinched the issue in its favour.


"The whole NTC family is extremely happy to witness the huge impact the e-auction could make this time, as in the previous cases. We have proved it again that it is the finest option to sell the property by a Government-owned company. NTC has set the trend and has its strategies clearly defined and they are working as per the plan," NTC Chairman and the Managing Director K Ramachandran Pillai said.


"We were expecting a good response and prices and what we got are the best for the two properties. The company has about 1,300 acres of land in various cities, such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Indore, Karnataka and Coimbatore. The NTC also intends to sell around 30 acres of Minerva Mills’ land in Bangalore through an e-auction in the near future," he said.


This is the third auction by the NTC after it took the e-route to sell off its surplus lands. In the first e-auction held from July 29, the company garnered Rs 474 crore for the 2.3-acre Poddar Mill land in Mumbai, against the reserve price of Rs 250 crore.


Likewise, the 8.3 acre land of Bharat Textile Mills at Worli in Mumbai was sold for a whopping Rs 1,505 crore against the reserve price of Rs 750 crore, in the second round of online auction from August 4 to 6.


The lands of the closed mills are being sold to support its ongoing modernisation-cum-revival package worth Rs 9,102 crore for 24 mills. The modernisation of 18 mills has been completed and they are now generating profits. Likewise, the NTC has also come out of the red through the comprehensive package, the release added.


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NTC begins e-auction of plots in Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar

The three-day e-auction by the public sector National Textile Corporation (NTC) to sell off the plots of two of its closed mills at Ahmedabad and Bhavnagar in Gujarat got off to a start today.


The online auction for the 33,222 sq mts plot of the New Manekchowk Textile Mills in Ahmedabad began at 10 am with a reserve price of Rs 41.27 crore and 21 bidders in the fray.


After hours of bidding, the price for the plot, which also has a bungalow with 400 sq mtrs of built-up area, shot up to Rs 90.31 crore at 5.30 pm.


The 61,040 sq mts of land belonging to the closed Mahalaxmi Textile Mills at Bhavnagar started with a reserve price of Rs 27.47 crore and three participants. However, the day did not yield any fresh bidding so far.


The e-auction, third by the NTC this year, will conclude at 5 pm on December 31. However, it can go beyond the deadline because of the auto-extension option.


"One of the best aspects of the e-auction is that the bidders get multiple opportunities to secure a plot, unlike in the manual tender. Thus it also ensures the best price for the seller. Once again, the better sides of e-auction are reaffirmed in our latest online bidding today," NTC Chairman and the Managing Director K Ramachandran Pillai said.


NTC, which has made a turn-around in the recent past to emerge as a profitable entity with a comprehensive modernisation-cum-revival plan approved by the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR), launched the e-auction of plots in July-August this year, when it put land of closed mills in Mumbai, Bangalore and Indore on sale.


The company has already announced the sale of more properties of its closed mills to part-finance the revival package worth Rs 9102 crore for 24 mills. The modernisation of 18 mills has been completed and the mills are generating profits now.


The company has about 1,300 acres of land in various places like Mumbai, Bangalore, Indore, Karnataka and Coimbatore. NTC also intends to sell 30 acres of land of Minerva Mills, Bangalore through e-auction in the near future, a press release from the company added.


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