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Rajkot

50 killed, scores hurt in rain, thunderstorm in north-west India

 
Heavy storm hits Western & Central India, takes lives
As many as 50 people were reportedly killed and scores of others injured in thunderstorms, hail and dust-storm and rain that lashed Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana since Tuesday evening.
 
The maximum number of deaths was reported from Rajasthan where 25 people were said to have lost their lives in a severe thunderstorm that struck the state.
 
An active western disturbance over eastern Iran and neighbourhood had been moving eastward since Monday, which caused cyclonic circulation over southwest Rajasthan and its neighbourhood at lower tropospheric levels, said the Met department.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh each from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for the families of those killed in the natural calamity.
 
Rajasthan Relief and Disaster Management Secretary Ashutosh A. T. Pednekar said five people died in Udaipur, four each in Jhalawad and Jaipur, two each in Bundi, Jalore and Rajsamand, and one each in Baran, Bhilwara, Alwar, Hanumangarh, Pali and Pratapgarh districts.
 
Winds blowing at 60 kmph blew away roofs of many houses and uprooted trees and electric poles in many parts of the state, officials said.
 
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has announced Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia payment for the families of the deceased.
 
In Madhya Pradesh, 15 people died in the untimely rain and accompanying lightning on Tuesday evening. "Three persons each died in Indore, Dhar and Shajapur, two in Ratlam, and one each in Chhindwara, Rajgarh, Sehore and Alirajpur areas," an official statement said. 
 
Officials said pouring rain damaged properties in Bhopal, Indore, Dhar, Shajapur, Sehore, Ujjain, Ratlam, Khargone, Badwani, Chhindwara, Alirajpur and Rajgarh areas.
 
Extensive damage to crops has also been reported from many parts of the state.
 
Expressing grief over the deaths, Chief Minister Kamal Nath in a tweet assured all support to the affected families and farmers whose crop has been destroyed in the hailstorm.
 
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In Maharashtra, 11 people were killed over the past 72 hours, besides four others last week, in thunderstorms accompanied by lightning and rain, officials said. Among the victims were nine killed by lightning between Sunday and Tuesday, and four by thunderbolts on April 4-5.
 
Parts of Mumbai and suburbs, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Palghar received showers on Sunday and Monday. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday forecast thunderstorms with lightning and strong winds at various places in Nanded, Latur and Osmanabad.
 
In Gujarat, according to unofficial reports, 12 people died in the rain, hailstorm and dust-storm that hit the state towards Tuesday evening. The maximum loss of life and property was reported from the Saurashtra and north Gujarat regions. 
 
Meanwhile, a report from Chandigarh said standing wheat crop was damaged after rain, dust-storm and strong winds lashed Punjab and Haryana on Tuesday-Wednesday. Harvesting of wheat is on for the past 10 days in most parts of the two states.
 
The Punjab government has ordered a special survey to assess crop damage. 
 
According to the Met department on Wednesday evening, the Western Disturbance, which caused severe weather over major parts of northwest India and adjoining central India on Wednesday, has further moved eastwards. The resultant reduction in moisture incursion from the Arabian Sea is likely to weaken the intensity of the system from Thursday. 
 
However, fairly widespread to widespread rainfall with isolated thunderstorms, lightning and gusty winds (speed reaching 40-50 kmph) are likely over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, northeast Rajasthan, UP, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand during the next 24 hours. 
 
Isolated thundersquall and hail-storms are likely over East MP and north Chhattisgarh during the next 24 hours. Thundersqualls are also likely over Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura during the period.
 
IANS
 

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Reliance Infra E&C bags AAI contract for greenfield airport in Rajkot

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Reliance Infrastructure Limited E&C has said  that it has received the Letter of Award (LOA) from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for a contract worth Rs. 648 crore for the construction of new greenfield airport at Hirasar in Rajkot district of Gujarat.
 
The company, a part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, had participated in the tender for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract independently as a main contractor.
 
The scope of work includes, detailed designing, engineering, procurement and construction of runway, basic strips, turning pads, taxiways, apron, perimeter and other roads, earth work in cut/fill and grading, drainage system, related retaining structures, fire station, MT pool, fire pit, cooling pit, ARP and associated approaches, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of airfield ground lighting system, visual aids for navigation and bird hazard reduction, a press release from the company said here yesterday.
 
Reliance Infrastructure had scored the highest technical score of 92.2% among nine qualified bidders like Afcons, and L&T. The airport is to be completed within 30 months from the date of issue of LoA, it said.
 
The new airport is being constructed at a location near National Highway (NH-8B) connecting Ahmedabad and Rajkot, nearly 36 km from the existing Rajkot Airport. Over time, the proposed new airport will also meet the spill over needs of Ahmedabad, the release said.
 
"The holistic development of Hirasar airport will not only serve the demand generated by Rajkot city but also cater to the demand in the neighbouring states," it said.
 
Reliance Infrastructure E&C CEO Arun Gupta, said, “Our strong credentials in infrastructure projects execution are borne out by the successful execution of large scale transportation and power projects. The Hirasar airport project will further strengthens Reliance Infrastructure Limited’s bona fide to be a leader in infrastructure projects.”
 
Reliance Infrastructure Limited E&C is part of Reliance Infrastructure Limited (RInfra), with business interests spanning diverse infrastructure segments such as Roads and Highways, Railways and Metros, Mega Civil projects, Water and Marine, and Renewables in addition to Power projects.
 
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Cabinet approves three new AIIMS in Samba, Pulwama and Rajkot

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The Union Cabinet has approved the setting up of three new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Vijaynagar, Samba in Jammu, Awantipura, Pulwama in Kashmir and Rajkot in Gujarat.
 
The AIIMS at Vijaynagar and Awantipura will be set up at a cost of Rs 1828 crore and the one in Rajkot at a cost of Rs 1195 crore. These institutes will be set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), an official press release said.
 
One post of Director in the basic pay of Rs 2,25,000/- (fixed) plus NPA (pay + NPA would not exceed Rs 2,37,500) will be created for each of the three AIIMS.
 
The AIIMS in Vijaynagar will be built in 48 months. It will broadly comprise a pre-construction phase of 12 months, a construction phase of 30 months and stabilization/ commission phase of 6 months.
 
The AIIMS in Awantipura will be built in 72 months, with a pre-construction phase of 12 months, a construction phase of 54 months and stabilization/commission phase of 6 months.
 
The AIIMS in Rajkot will be built in 45 months with a pre-construction phase of 10 months, a construction phase of 32 months and stabilization/commission phase of 3 months.
 
Establishment of new AIIMS involves the creation of Hospital, Teaching Block for medical & nursing courses, residential complex and allied facilities/services, broadly on the pattern of AIIMS, New Delhi and other six new AIIMS taken up under Phase-I of PMSSY. 
 
The objective is to establish the new AIIMS as Institutions of National Importance for providing quality tertiary healthcare, medical education, nursing education and research in the region.
 
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Each new AIIMS will add 100 UG (MBBS) seats and 60 B.Sc. (Nursing) seats. Each will have 15-20 Super Specialty Departments.
 
Each of them will add around 750 hospital beds which will include Emergency/Trauma Beds, AYUSH Beds, Private Beds and ICU Speciality & Super Speciality beds.
 
It is expected that each new AIIMS would cater to around 1500 OPD patients per day and around 1000 IPD patients per month.
 
There will be a Medical College, AYUSH Block, Auditorium, Night Shelter, Guest House, Hostels and residential facilities.
 
Construction of the new AIIMS is fully funded by the Central Government. The Operations & Maintenance expenses will be fully borne by the Central Government, an official press release said.
 
The establishment of the new AIIMS will create capital assets for which requisite specialized manpower will be created, based on the pattern of the six new AIIMS, for their maintenance and upkeep, it said.
 
"Setting up of new AIIMS would transform health education and training and address the shortfall of health care professionals in the region. It will serve the dual purpose of providing super speciality health care to the population.
 
"It will also help create a large pool of doctors and other health workers in this region that will be available for primary and secondary level institutions/facilities being created under the National Health Mission (NHM).
 
"Setting up new AIIMS in Jammu & Kashmir and in Gujarat will lead to employment generation for nearly 3000 people in various faculty & non-faculty posts in each of the AIIMS. Indirect employment generation will take place due to facilities & services like a shopping centre, canteens, etc. coming in the vicinity of new AIIMS. The construction activity involved in the creation of the physical infrastructure for the various new AIIMS is also expected to generate substantial employment in the construction phase as well," the release added.
 
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India crush West Indies by innings and 272 runs in Rajkot Test

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
8 dead as car catches fire after collision with truck in Gujarat
 
 
Eight persons died after the car in which they were travelling caught fire after colliding with a truck on the Rajkot-Morbi highway near Tankara town in Morbi district of Gujarat on Tuesday night.
 
Police sources said the victims were all occupants of the Maruti Eeco car and belonged to the same family, which was returning home to Rajkot after visiting a temple in Kutch.
 
One person has suffered serious injuries in the mishap and is currently undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital.
 
According to the police, the car, which was running on gas, erupted into flames after the collision.
 
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Four held for ragpicker's killing in Gujarat

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Police on Monday arrested four persons for brutally beating to death a Dalit ragpicker near Rajkot city in Gujarat on suspicion of theft.
 
The state Government promptly announced a financial compensation of Rs 8.25 lakh for the family of the deceased person.
 
Mukesh Vaniya, 40, was tied and brutally thrashed by factory owner and workers of Radadiya Industries in Shapar-Veraval area of Rajkot district and died on late Sunday evening. He was accused of trying to steal from the factory, police officer Shruti Mehta said.
 
The entire incident was captured on CCTV and the footage later went viral on social media, with Vadgam MLA and Dalit rights activist Jignesh Mevani tweeting the news with hashtag Gujarat is not safe for Dalits.
 
The incident took place when Vaniya and his wife Champaben, who are ragpickers, were engaged in their usual work near Radadia Industries. 
 
Factory owner Jaysukh Radadia suspected that Mukesh was trying to steal from his factory. He and his workers soon caught Mukesh and his wife and began beating them with sticks, one after the other.
 
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They allowed Champaben to go after some thrashing but continued hitting Vaniya. He was left in pain at the place. Soon Champaben returned with some men and took Vaniya to the Rajkot Civil Hospital where he was declared brought dead.
 
She lodged an FIR against the factory owner and workers. Jaysukh Radadia and his associates Chirag Vora, Divyesh Vora and Tejas Zala were arrested, Superintendent of Police Shruti Mehta said.
 
Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja told reporters on Monday evening: "According to the FIR against the accused, section 302 for murder and 308 for culpable homicide and various sections of the Atrocities Act have been invoked."
 
He said, "The family had demanded a financial package, a five acre plot, a free house, public shaming of the accused and monthly payment of Rs 10,000 to the family. The state government on its part announced sanction of Rs 8.25 lakh under the Atrocities Act.
 
"For now, we have provided over half of the Rs 8.25 lakh and the rest would be paid after the chargesheet is filed in the case and Rs 500 for groceries and provisions to each of the four persons in the family for three months," Gujarat Social Justice minister Ishwar Parmar said in an official statement.
 
Shruti Mehta said the police had also detained a fifth person, a juvenile, and were currently interrogating him but refused to reveal his identity till his involvement was proved. 
 
IANS
 
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Three girls dead, 15 injured in fire during Rashtriya Katha Shibir near Rajkot

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

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated the campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar to the nation and said his government was working on spreading digital literacy to every part of India, among all age groups and sections of society.
 
"In this day and age, we cannot afford to have a digital divide," he asserted, adding that a Digital India guarantees transparency, effective service delivery and good governance. 
 
Addressing a public meeting here, at which a large number of IIT students were also present, Mr. Modi said, "You are IIT-ians, I was a Tea-ian when I was young," referring to the times when he used to sell tea on railway platforms.
 
"On this day, a few years ago, I took oath as Chief Minister for the first time. Till then, I had never even been an MLA. I had decided that whatever I will do, I will do to the best of my abilities," the Prime Minister said. 
 
He also felicitated trainees under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan. 
 
Mr. Modi said academics should not be examination-driven and there should be focus on innovation.
 
Earlier in the day, Mr. Modi began his two-day visit to the state by offering prayers at the Dwarkadheesh Temple at Dwarka. 
 
He also unveiled plaques to mark the laying of foundation stones for a bridge between Okha and Beyt Dwarka; and other road development projects. 
 
The Prime Minister said he saw a new energy and enthusiasm in Dwarka today. He said the bridge whose foundation stone has been laid, is a means to reconnect with our ancient heritage. It will boost tourism, which will generate employment, he added, noting that development will be the key to promoting tourism. 
 
He recalled how lack of infrastructure, led to difficulties and challenges for the people of Beyt Dwarka, some years ago. 
 
Mr. Modi said that the development of the tourism sector cannot happen in isolation. He said that if we want to draw more tourists to Gir, we should also inspire the tourists to visit other nearby places like Dwarka. 
 
Building of infrastructure should enhance economic activities and add to the atmosphere of development, the Prime Minister said. "We want development of ports and port-led development; the blue economy should help further the progress of India," he added. 
 
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The Prime Minister said that the Government of India is taking steps towards the empowerment of fishermen. He said Kandla Port is seeing unprecedented growth because resources were devoted to improve the port. He said a new lease of life has been given to Alang, and steps taken for the welfare of the labourers working there. 
 
He said that the Government is modernising the marine security apparatus. An institute for this will be set up in this Devbhoomi of Dwarka, he added. 
 
Speaking on the decisions taken by consensus in the GST Council meeting yesterday, the Prime Minister said that when there is trust in a government and when policies are made with best intentions, it is natural for people to support it for the best interests of the nation. 
 
The Prime Minister asserted that the Government wants to help fulfil the aspirations of the people, and fight poverty. 
 
He said that the world's attention is being drawn to India, and people are coming to invest here. "I see Gujarat contributing actively to the development of India and congratulate the Gujarat Government," he said.
 
Mr. Modi later addressed a public meeting at Chotila, in Surendranagar district. He laid the foundation stones for a greenfield airport for Rajkot; six-laning of Ahmedabad-Rajkot National Highway; and four-laning of Rajkot-Morbi State Highway. He also dedicated to the nation, a fully automatic milk processing and packaging plant; and a drinking water distribution pipeline for Joravarnagar and Ratanpur area of Surendranagar. 
 
The Prime Minister said that it was hard to imagine an airport in Surendranagar district. He said such development works empower citizens. 
 
He said aviation cannot be about rich people. We have made aviation affordable and within reach of the lesser privileged, he added. 
 
The Prime Minister said that the definition of development has changed. From the days when handpumps were seen to be a sign of development, today the waters of the Narmada River have been brought for the benefit of citizens. He said Surendranagar district tends to benefit a lot from the waters of the Narmada. He urged people to use water responsibly, and conserve every drop. The Prime Minister said that the Sursagar Dairy would bring enormous benefit to the people. He also recalled how former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel had worked towards making better and safer roads. 
 
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Rahul Gandhi promises waiver of farm loans if Congress is voted to power in Gujarat

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi addressing a public meeting on the last day of a three-day tour of election-bound Gujarat, on September 27, 2017.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi addressing a public meeting on the last day of a three-day tour of election-bound Gujarat, on September 27, 2017.
Continuing his relentless attack on the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the BJP regime in Gujarat, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today promised that his party would waive the loans of farmers in the state if it is voted to power in the coming legislative assembly elections.
 
Addressing a public meeting at Chotila near here on the last day of his three-day tour of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat, Mr. Gandhi said the decision on waiver of agricultural loans would be taken within days of forming the Government.
 
Elections are due to be held in November or December in the state, where the Congress has been out of power for more than two decades.
 
Mr. Gandhi told the gathering, consisting mainly of farmers, that the Congress would protect the interests of the farmers, labourers and small shopkeepers and traders, unlike the Modi government that, he alleged, is concerned about 15 top industrial groups.
 
On the last day of his tour in the Saurashtra region, Mr. Gandhi travelled through Surendranagar and Rajkot districts, stopping at various points to address party workers and small gatherings of people. He visited temples at Chotila and spent some time at Khodaldham at Kagvad, a prominent shrine of the influential Patidar community.
 
Mr. Gandhi also addresed a gathering of businessmen and entrepreneurs here, at which he attacked the Modi government over the manner in which it had hastily implemented the Goods and Service Tax (GST) from July this year as well as the decision to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes on November 8 last year.
 
He said the two measures had had a "catastrophic effect" on small and medium enterprises, while demonetisation had helped "the country's biggest thieves" to turn their black money into white.
 
He said the Congress, if voted to power, would ensure that small and medium businesses received a fair share of financing from banks unlike the present times when the bulk of loans are given to big corporates and then turn into non-performing assets (NPAs).
 
He also spoke about how privatisation was affecting the delivery of services such as education and healthcare to ordinary people, with the Government reducing its expenditure in these sectors and neglecting its role of adding to the supply of such facilities across the country.
 
Mr. Gandhi dwelt at length on the crisis on the jobs front, with the Government able to create only about 450 jobs a day against the 30,000 new jobseekers who enter the market every day. He said China, in comparison, was able to create 40,000 jobs a day.
 
He felt that jobs can be created only by supporting the small and medium scale enterprises. "There is anger building up in the country, and if we don't act quickly, it will go out of control," he said. 
 
 
Rahul Gandhi visits Khodiyar Mata Temple on last day of Navsarjan Yatra
Mr. Gandhi said both demonetisation and GST were examples of decisions taken without proper planning and consideration of the possible consequences. He said GST also suffered from a multiplicity of rates and other structural problems. He said GST had shaved off 2% of the country's GDP.
 
The Congress Vice-President said that the BJP and Mr. Modi's problem was that they did not listen to people and take the advice of experts. Even now, if they start listening to the people, half the problems in GST can be solved, he remarked.
 
"They think they know everything, that the people don't know anything. We listen. Our speeches may not be that great, but we are experts in listening. We can understand your problems quickly," he said.
 
He said the Congress always tried to hear all sides and then strike a balance among all of them.
 
When a member of the audience said the Congress must work for a "Modi-free" India, Mr. Gandhi said, "That is too violent. That is not our approach. We don't hate anybody."
 
He went on to say that Mr. Modi's election in 2014 was partly also the result of the Congress' shortcomings during the ten years of the UPA government.
 
"We had given a vision to the people for 2004-2014. But by 2012, our vision had started failing. I admit that," he said, adding that some arrogance had also crept in among some Congress leaders. 
 
Mr. Gandhi said the Congress had learnt from its mistakes and would try to fulfil the expectations of the people, both at the national level and in Gujarat. He also felt that the people had much higher expectations from the Congress than they had from other parties. "When we fail, you punish us. That is good because we learn from that experience," he said.
 
"I don't hate anyone. I don't doubt that Mr. Modi tries to work for India every day. It is unfortunate that he does not listen to anyone. You cannot function as the Prime Minister of India if you don't listen to people," he said. "He does not trust anyone."
 
 
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Rahul Gandhi woos Patidars, hits out at "Gujarat model" of development

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi being greeted by people at Rajkot on the second day of his three-day Navsarjan Yatra in Gujarat, on September 26, 2017.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi being greeted by people at Rajkot on the second day of his three-day Navsarjan Yatra in Gujarat, on September 26, 2017.
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today kept up his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi government at the Centre and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Gujarat on the second day of a three-day visit to the poll-bound state and urged its people to lead the nation to greater heights.
 
Travelling through areas dominated by the influential Patidar community, Mr. Gandhi invoked Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India's first Deputy Prime Minister,  who hailed from Gujarat, as went about wooing members of the community which had launched an agitation for reservation in jobs some time ago.
 
“You gave the country Sardar Patelji... Gujarat gave Sardar Patelji. Gujarat will have to take lead in taking the nation to new heights,” he said while addressing a series of meetings on the way from Jamnagar to Rajkot in the Saurashtra region. 
 
Mr. Gandhi said the BJP government in the state had opened fire at the agitating Patidars and committed atrocities against them.
 
"This is not how the Congress works. We will work with love and understanding. We will take everyone forward together. If Gujarat moves forward, it will be with everyone," he said.
 
The Congress Vice-President said Gujarat had been  built by its farmers, labourers, small traders and small shopkeepers. "If Gujarat has progressed, it is these people who made it possible. Today, the BJP government does not work for them, but for five or six of the richest industrialists in the country," he said.
 
 
Modi works for industrialists, not for common man: Rahul Gandhi
"He has fulfilled all the promises he made to them but not the ones he made to farmers, workers, the poor, the youth and others," he said.
 
"That is the Gujarat model of development that he keeps harping upon," Mr. Gandhi said. "He sells it all over the country and the world, but it is a flop here," he said.
 
Mr. Gandhi said the present Gujarat government is remote controlled from Delhi, and felt the people in the state were now yearning for a change.
 
"There is an undercurrent of anger against the present government, which is not being expressed openly because people are afraid but you will see it at the time of the elections. We will come to power this time, you will see, and we will work for the people of Gujarat," he said.
 
"Kem chho? Vikas ka kya ho gaya?" (How are you, what has happened to Vikas?), he asked at one place, in a reference to the popular memes on the theme "Vikas Gaando Thayo Chhe" (Vikas has gone crazy). The memes personify "vikas" as an individual, Vikas, who has gone crazy.
 
"And why has he gone crazy?" Mr. Gandhi asked the audience. "It is because of all the lies and the false promises," he said. "The people feel betrayed."
 
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President Kovind to visit Gujarat on September 3-4

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President Ram Nath Kovind will pay a two-day visit to Gujarat on September 3-4, an official press release said.
 
The release said Mr. Kovind would visit the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad tomorrow. Later in the day, he will be the chief guest at the launch of various social welfare programmes in Mehsana on the occasion of the 83rd birthday of Rashtrasant Acharya Padmasagarsuriji.
 
On September 4, the President will lay the foundation stone of ‘Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation Yojana’ (SAUNI) Phase-II Link-4 at Rajkot, the release added.
 
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Modi speaks out against those killing people in the name of cow worship

Making a strong statement on cow vigilantism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday made it clear that killing people in the name of cow worship (gau bhakti) was not acceptable and that nobody had the right to take the law into his or her own hands.
 
Modi condemns killings in name of 'gau raksha'
Making a strong statement on cow vigilantism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today made it clear that killing people in the name of cow worship (gau bhakti) was not acceptable and that nobody had the right to take the law into his or her own hands.
 
"This is not something that Mahatma Gandhi would approve of," he said while speaking at the centenary year celebrations of Sabarmati Ashram here.
 
“We are a land of non-violence. We are the land of Mahatma Gandhi. No one spoke about protecting cows more than Mahatma Gandhi and Acharya Vinoba Bhave. Yes. It should be done," he said.
 
"As a society, there is no place for violence; no person in this nation has the right to take the law in his or her own hands," he added. 
 
The Prime Minister urged people to work together and create the India of Mahatma Gandhi's dreams, which the country's freedom fighters would be proud of. 
 
He said Mahatma Gandhi's thoughts have the power to mitigate the challenges the world is facing today.
 
Mr. Modi said that it was essential, as a society, to stay connected to the nation's history. Recalling the contributions of Shrimad Rajchandraji on his 150th birth anniversary, Prime Minister Modi called for further academic research on his life and thoughts. 
 
Speaking about cleanliness, he said it must become a habit. He said this would be a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary in 2019. 
 
He urged people from all over the world to visit the Sabarmati Ashram. 
 
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Later, Mr. Modi addressed a Samajik Adhikarita Shivir in Rajkot, and distributed aids and assistive devices to divyang beneficiaries. 
 
He asserted that the Union Government is fully dedicated to the poor of the nation. He urged the start-up sector to look at ways through which innovation and technology can transform lives of physically handicapped people.
 
He reiterated that by 2022, when the country marked 75 years of freedom, no Indian should be homeless; and the home must have proper facilities too. 
 
Mr. Modi also inaugurated the filling of Aji Dam near Rajkot under Sauni Yojana. 
 
Addressing a public meeting on the occasion, he said that Gujarat has come a long way from the days of the past, when it faced tremendous water shortage. 
 
He said that the last two decades have seen several positive changes in Gujarat's development journey. The more people have access to water, the more doors of progress will open, the Prime Minister said, adding that the Government's priority is to give water as early as possible. He said that it is also a responsibility to be careful and conserve as much water as possible. 
 
He called for embracing the latest technology in the sphere of water conservation. 
 
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Artwork made with pearls presented to Modi

 
Modi presented artwork made with 5 lakh pearls
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was today presented with a unique artwork made of pearls. The artwork depicts a map of India, and an image of the Prime Minister.
 
According to the creator of the image, Ms. Khushboo Akash Davda, over five lakh pearls have been used in the artwork, along with 10 km of thread. the 7x7 feet work took 850 hours to make, she said.
 
Member of Parliament from Rajkot Mohanbhai Kundariya was present on the occasion.
 
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14 dead as mini-truck collides with truck in Ahmedabad district of Gujarat

 
14 dead in road mishap in Gujarat
As many as 14 men died and three others suffered injuries when a mini-truck they were travelling in collided head-on with a truck on the Bagodara-Kheda highway near here late last night.
 
Police sources said the mishap occurred around 11.30 pm near Valtera village in Dholka taluka of Ahmedabad district.
 
The injured were taken to the Government Hospital at Dholka for treatment and were later referred to the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad.
 
According to them, the victims belonged to three families from Sokhda village near Rajot. They were returning hom from a pilgrimage to Pavagadh in Panchmahals district.
 
The truck was laden with ceramic tiles was on its way from Wankaner in Morbi district to Andhra Pradesh. The driver of the truck fled from the scene after the accident, police said, adding that a case of negligent and rash driving had been registered against him.
 
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CCEA nod for doubling of Surendranagar-Rajkot railway line in Gujarat

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday approved a proposal fo doubling of the Surendranagar-Rajkot project at an estimated cost of Rs. 1,002.39 crore with expected completion cost of Rs.1,137.17 crore with 5% escalation per annum. 
 
The length of the railway line will be 116.17 km. The completion period of the project will be four years, an official press release said.
 
The project will ease the ever increasing freight traffic between Okha-Rajkot, Porbandar-Kanalus, Veraval-Rajkot and Maliya Maiyana / Navalakhi-Dahinsara-Wankaner sections, it said.
 
The Surendranagar-Wankaner-Rajkot broad gauge section is an important and saturated single line section carrying traffic originating and terminating at various destinations in Saurashtra region of Gujarat State. 
 
This single line has to carry the passenger as well as freight traffic originating /terminating between Okha-Rajkot section, Porbandar-Kanlus section, Veraval-Rajkot section and Maliya Maiyana / Navalakhi-Dahinsara-Wankaner sections. In addition to this, freight traffic from two branch lines -- Sikka-Kanalus junction and Windmill-Jamnagar sections are also converged on to the project route, the release said.
 
"This makes the project route very busy single line section with very high potential to further growth due to the high industrial development envisaged in Saurashtra region in the coming years," it added.
 
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IPL Draft: Dhoni, Ashwin picked by Pune, Raina, Jadeja go to Rajkot

 
IPL draft: Dhoni goes to Pune, Raina to Rajkot
 
India's limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the top draft in the Indian Premier League (IPL) draft as the Sanjeev Goenka-owned new Pune franchise picked him up ahead of others at the stipulated price of Rs 12.50 crore here today.
 
The other new team in the popular T20 cricket tournament, Rajkot, owned by Intex, picked up Dhoni's teammate in Chennai Super Kings (CSK), also for Rs. 12.5 crore, being the first player chosen by the franchise.
 
CSK and Rajasthan Royals have been banned from the IPL for two yars by the Justice R. M. Lodha panel, which probed the betting and spot-fixing allegations in the 2013 edition of the tournament.
 
The New Rising group owned by Goenka and mobile phone manufacturer Intex won the ownership rights for the new vivo Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
 
New Rising has chosen Pune as its base, while Rajkot will be the home ground for the Intex-owned franchise. The two teams will replace CSK and Rajasthan Royals in the tournment.
 
Seven players of CSK and three from Rajasthan Royals were picked up by the two teams today.
 
Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja were the second choices for Pune and Rajkot, respectively. They will be entitled to a purse of Rs 9.5 crore per year.
 
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin was chosen by Pune as their third choice for a purse of Rs 7.5 crore, while New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was picked up by Rajkot.
 
Australians Steve Smith and James Faulkner were the fourth choices for Pune and Rajkot, respectively, at Rs 5.5 crore.
 
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South African batsman Faf du Plessis was the fifth and final player chosen by Pune, while Dwayne Bravo of the West Indies was selected by Rajkot for Rs 4 crore each.
 
The pool of players in the draft included only the 50 players from the two suspended teams. The remaining players from the two teams will now form part of the general IPL auction scheduled for February.
 
Rahane, Faulkner and Smith had played for the Rajasthan Royals last year, while the remaining players picked up today had turned out for Chennai Super Kings.
 
Both teams spent Rs 39 crore each from their purse today and are now left with Rs 27 crore for the rest of their squads.
 
The 2016 season of vivo IPL will be played between April 9 and May 29. The franchise workshop will be conducted in Srinagar on January 13 and 14, 2016.
 
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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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Air India to introduce Delhi-Rajkot flights from Feb 23

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National carrier Air India will introduce direct flights from Delhi to Rajkot in Gujarat from February 23.
 
An official press release said the airline would depoy its new 70-seater ATR-72-600 aircraft on this route. 
 
The flight will operate six days a week except Wednesdays. The flight 91631 will leave Delhi at 0550 hrs and arrive in Rajkot at 0815 hrs. The return flight will depart from Rajkot at 0845 hrs and land here at 1100 hrs. 
 
With the introduction of this flight, Rajkot will be connected directly to both Delhi and Mumbai. 
 
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Modi says appalled at news of temple in his name in Gujarat

 
Modi temple in Gujarat draws supporters
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said he was appalled by news that a temple had been built in his name in Rajkot district of Gujarat.
 
"Have seen the news about a Temple being built in my name. I was appalled. This is shocking and against India's great traditions," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"Building such Temples is not what our culture teaches us. Personally, it made me very sad. Would urge those doing it not to do it," he said.
 
"If you have time and resources, please devote the same towards fulfilling our dream of a Clean India," Mr Modi added.
 
The temple was built in 2006 at Kothadia village in Rajkot district. On Sunday, an idol of Mr Modi, which cost Rs 1.65 lakh, wil be unveiled at the temple dedicated to him. Earlier, the temple had photographs of the Prime Minister.
 
Ramesh Undhad, one of those who donated the money for the idol, said it took more than two years to find an artist to get a good likeness of Mr Modi. Finally, they found an artist from Odisha who managed to do so.
 
Village sarpanch Mansukh Thumar told journalists that people from the village and neighbouring areas were offering prayers every morning and evening at the temple.
 
Later in the day, Mr Undhad told reporters that, following the displeasure expressed by Mr Modi, plans for the inauguration of the temple on Sunday had been cancelled.
 
He said Mr Modi's idol would be removed and the temple wold be converted to one for "Bharat Mata". He also said he would continue to support various initiatives taken by Mr Modi such as Swachh Bharat.
 
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Centre discloses eight names in black money case to Supreme Court

The Government on Monday filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court in which it has disclosed eight names -- seven individuals and a company -- with foreign bank accounts from a much larger list it has received as part of investigations into wealth allegedly stashed outside the country by tax evaders and others.
 
The Union Government today filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court in which it has disclosed eight names -- seven individuals and a company -- with foreign bank accounts from a much larger list it has received as part of investigations into wealth allegedly stashed outside the country by tax evaders and others.
 
The three accounts are those of Pradeep Burman, a former top executive of the Dabur Group, Timblo Private Limited, a Goa-based mining company, five of its directors and Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhiya, a bullion trader based in Rajkot, Gujarat.
 
The five directors of the Timblo Group named in the affiidavit are Radha Satish Timblo, Chetan S Timblo, Rohan S Timblo, Anna C Timblo and Mallika R Timblo.
 
Reacting to the disclosure, the Dabur Group clarified that Mr Burman does not hold any executive position in the company.
 
“The Burman family is committed to the highest standards of corporate governance, and encourage ethical behaviour at all levels," a spokesperson for the group said.
 
"We wish to state that this account was opened when he was an NRI, and was legally allowed to open this account. We have followed all the laws and the complete details regarding the account have been voluntarily, and as per law, filed with the Income Tax Department, and appropriate taxes paid, wherever applicable. 
 
"Therefore, it is unfortunate that every person having a foreign bank account is being painted with the same brush," he added.
 
Mr Lodhiya also told journalists who approached him outside his shop in Rajkot said that he had no foreign bank account at all and had no clue about how his name had appeared on the list.
 
He said that Income Tax authorities had conducted a search at his firm about 18 months ago when he had furnished all the details of all his business transactions to them.
 
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In Margao, Ms Radha Timblo said that the company would make a detailed statement after she had seen the affidavit by the government. She also said that the tax authorities had conducted searches at the company in the past.
 
The Centre had told the Supreme Court recently that, under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) signed by it with various countries,  it could not disclose all the names on the list until charges are framed against them in court.
 
In its affidavit, the Government told the court today there was absolutely no intention on its part to withhold information, including names of persons who have stashed black money abroad.
 
"...the Government is committed to disclose names of persons holding illegal money abroad. However, every account held by an Indian in a foreign country may not be illegal...," it said.
 
The government submitted that it was making all efforts to obtain informaiton about Indians hiding their unaccounted money in offshore financial centres. It said these efforts include entering into new treaties and agreements as per the new global standards on automatic exchange of information.
 
It said that, for signing such agreements, India would have to make a commitment that such information can be used only for tax purposes and will be made public only when the investigation is complete and a complaint/prosecution is filed in a competent court for tax evasion.
 
"It is respectfully submitted that the choice, therefore, is either not to receive information at all, or receive it and use it as per international standards of confidentiality. It is respectfully submitted that these international standards do allow disclosure of names and information, but only after investigations are completed, when there is a prima facie case of wrongdoing and a complaint/prosecution is filed in a competent court for tax evasion," it said.
 
The government said serious efforts were being made to complete investigations at the earliest by the tax department and file complaints/prosecutions in appropriate cases expeditiously, upon which the names of the tax evaders will be made public.
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has attracted a lot of criticism from the opposition Congress and other parties which accused it of going back on its election promise of bringing back black money from abroad within 100 days of assuming office.
 
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in a television interview that the government would disclose some names to the Supreme Court soon and that the disclosure would embarrass the Congress. To this, the Congress had asked the BJP to desist from "blackmail" and disclose all the names.
 
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Mr Jaitley also indicated in another interview that the name of a senior Congress leader was on that list and that the person could be a former UPA Minister. "I am not denying or confirming it, I am only smiling," he had said in that interview.
 
In response, Mr Jaitley's predecessor P Chidambaram had told a television channel that if it turns out that a senior Congress leader's name is on the list of those with illegal wealth stashed abroad, it would basically embarass that person and not the party.
 
"I don't expect Mr Arun Jaitley to make a trivial comment. He's the Finance Minister of India. He's not likely to make a trivial comment, but I think the purpose of that comment was to move from black money to what a friend of mine said, blackmail," he said.
 
"Release it, why say it? Why this promotion?...just release the name," he had said.
 
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Centre discloses three names in black money case to Supreme Court

The Union Government on Monday filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court in which it has disclosed the names of three persons whose names have figured in a list of people with foreign bank accounts as part of its investigations into wealth allegedly stashed abroad by tax evaders and others.
 
The Union Government today filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court in which it has disclosed the names of three persons whose names have figured in a list of people with foreign bank accounts as part of investigations into wealth allegedly stashed abroad by tax evaders and others.
 
The three names are those of Pradeep Burman, a former executive of the Dabur Group, Radha Timblo of a Goa-based mining company and Pankaj Chimanlal Lodhiya, a businessman based in Rajkot, Gujarat.
 
Reacting to the disclosure, the Dabur Group clarified that Mr Burman does not hold any executive position in the company.
 
“The Burman family is committed to the highest standards of corporate governance, and encourage ethical behaviour at all levels," a spokesperson for the group said.
 
"We wish to state that this account was opened when he was an NRI, and was legally allowed to open this account. We have followed all the laws and the complete details regarding the account have been voluntarily, and as per law, filed with the Income Tax Department, and appropriate taxes paid, wherever applicable. 
 
"Therefore, it is unfortunate that every person having a foreign bank account is being painted with the same brush," he added.
 
Mr Lodhiya also told journalists who approached him outside his shop in Rajkot said that he had no foreign bank account at all and had no clue about how his name had appeared on the list.
 
He said that Income Tax authorities had conducted a search at his firm about 18 months ago when he had furnished all the details of all his business transactions to them.
 
In Margao, Ms Timblo said that she would make a detailed statement after she had seen the affidavit by the government. "I don't have to say anything now. Let me see the affidavit and I will then make a detailed explanation through a press note," she said to reporters outside her office.
 
The government has indicated in the past that it would reveal more names as and when prosecution is launched against the people concerned.
 
The Centre had told the Supreme Court recently that, under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) signed by it with various countries,  it could not disclose all the names on the list until charges are framed against them in court.
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had attracted a lot of criticism from the opposition Congress and other parties which accused it of going back on its election promise of bringing back black money from abroad within 100 days of assuming office.
Centre reveals eight names from Black Money list in affidavit to SC
Later, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said in a television interview that the government would disclose some names to the Supreme Court soon and that the disclosure would embarrass the Congress. To this, the Congress had asked the BJP to desist from "blackmail" and disclose all the names.
 
Mr Jaitley also indicated in another interview that the name of a senior Congress leader was on that list and that the person could be a former UPA Minister. "I am not denying or confirming it, I am only smiling," he had said in that interview.
 
In response, Mr Jaitley's predecessor P Chidambaram had told a television channel that if it turns out that a senior Congress leader's name is on the list of those with illegal wealth stashed abroad, it would basically embarass that person and not the party.
 
"I don't expect Mr Arun Jaitley to make a trivial comment. He's the Finance Minister of India. He's not likely to make a trivial comment, but I think the purpose of that comment was to move from black money to what a friend of mine said, blackmail," he said.
 
"Release it, why say it? Why this promotion?...just release the name," he had said.

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