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Gujarat

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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IPL 2019 to start March 23 despite general elections

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The hugely-popular two-month-long Indian Premier League (IPL) will be played in India from March 23 despite the Lok Sabha elections due in April-May, ending the uncertainty over whether it would be shifted to some other country.
 
The announcement on the commencement of the 12th edition of IPL was made by the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) here on Tuesday after a meeting of the committee headed by Vinod Rai. 
 
"Based on the preliminary discussions with the appropriate central and state agencies / authorities, it was decided that the 12th edition of the world's most popular and competitive T20 tournament will be scheduled to be played in India," an IPL release stated.
 
"It is proposed that the IPL 2019 will commence on March 23. The detailed schedule will be finalised in consultation with the appropriate authorities. The CoA will then have a detailed discussion with all the stakeholders before releasing the IPL 2019 Schedule," it added.
 
In 2009, the cash-rich tournament was held in South Africa due to the general elections while the 2014 edition was partly played in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) before returning home for the latter half.
 
IANS
 

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Gujarat: BJP leader Bhanushali shot dead on train, SIT set up to probe murder

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The Gujarat Directorate General of Police (DGP) has formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the murder of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jayanti Bhanushali who was shot dead in a train on Tuesday morning.
 
Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Ashish Bhatia told the media: "Victim Bhanushali boarded the train from Bhuj on the night of 7th (January) in H1 AC compartment of the train. We are questioning a fellow passenger named Maurya who boarded the train from Gandhidham station and later informed the railway police about the incident."
 
Morya said that, when he returned to his seat after relieving himself, he saw Bhanushali lying there. He immediately called the TTE, the officer said.
 
"The TTE then informed the railway police, who later called the Morbi district police control room who rushed to the train and took possession of Bhanushali's body and sent it to Malliya government dispensary."
 
From Bhanushali's bag, the police recovered a service revolver and some cartridges. Besides, some live and used cartridges were also recovered from the crime spot.
 
"The victim was shot dead from a close range and these cartridges seem to be of some country-made pistol. We also found an outer shell of a bullet and a splinter of the weapon from the spot. We believe that the murder was an outcome of personal animosity with Bhanushali. We are also trying to get the CCTV footage of Malliya railway station and other adjoining areas to spot the criminals," added the ADGP.
 
"We have also recorded a chain pulling incident between 00:55 and 00:58 a.m on Tuesday when the train was between Gandhidham and Samakhiali," said Bhatia.
 
After the train reached Ahmedabad station, the police detached the H1 coach from the train and took it to the Kalupur railway yard where FSL officials, ballistic experts and fingerprint experts were studying the scene.
 
"We have formed an SIT to probe the Bhanushali murder comprising the CID Crime officials and the railway police. The SIT will be helped by the Anti-Terrorist Squad and Ahmedabad City Crime Branch," added Bhatia.
 
IANS
 

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SC orders Ahmed Patel to face trial over RS election

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In a setback to Congress veteran Ahmed Patel, the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered him to face trial in connection with his election to the Rajya Sabha in 2017 which has been challenged by BJP leader Balwantsinh Rajput.
 
An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi declined to interfere with a Gujarat High Court order to proceed with the hearing of the petition by Rajput, observing that the allegations require a trial.
 
Rajput, who lost the polls to Patel, has alleged that the Congress leader had indulged in corrupt practice by lodging 44 MLAs in a hotel in Bengaluru. He had also contested the Election Commission's decision to invalidate two votes by Congress MLAs -- Raghavji Patel and Bholabhai Gohel -- who had rebelled against the party.
 
Patel, a close aide of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, won a fifth term in the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat in 2017 in a bitterly fought election.
 
IANS
 

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BJP snatches prestige seat from Congress in Gujarat

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The BJP came up trumps and touched the 100-seat mark in the 182-member Gujarat Assembly by capturing the Jasdan seat in the Saurashtra region from the Congress in a bye-election, the result of which was declared on Sunday.
 
For the BJP winner, Kunwarji Bavalia, it was a cakewalk. He retained the seat which he had won in 2017 as a Congress candidate. It was his quitting the Congress earlier that necessitated the bye-election on December 20. 
 
Bavalia won by almost 20,000 votes defeating Congress' Avsar Nakia, once his campaign manager.
 
Bavaliya had quit the Congress because he was denied the leader of the Opposition post, which is an equivalent to a Cabinet minister, and the ruling BJP made him a cabinet minister hours after he joined it.
 
The Jasdan election became a prestige fight for both the BJP and Congress, particularly after the ruling party's rout in the recently concluded elections to Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh assembly elections.
 
After the by-poll result was declared on Sunday, Bavaliya, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and state BJP president Jitu Vaghani described it as good tidings for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. 
 
"That the Congress is gaining ground in the Saurashtra region has proved as a myth. The BJP is still in the hearts of the people of Gujarat and we will repeat the 2014 performance by winning all the 26 lok Sabha seats in the state," Rupani said.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted on the Jasdan by-poll thanking the voters for reposing their faith in the developmental politics of the BJP.
 
State Congress leaders accused the BJP of misusing the government machinery to win the seat and claimed that the outcome of a by-poll did not necessarily reflect the mood of the people.
 
IANS
 

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Government committed to bringing triple talaq law: Modi

 
Modi attends BJP women’s wing's convention
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said despite all "obstacles" from fundamentalists and Opposition, his government was committed to bringing a law against the practice of triple talaq to ensure social justice for Muslim women.
 
"Despite all the obstacles, despite resistance from the fundamentalists and the Opposition, the government is committed to making a law against triple talaq so that our Muslim women get rid of a big insecurity in their social life," he said addressing the National Convention of BJP's Mahila Morcha. 
 
The government had brought the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill last year and got it passed in the Lok Sabha the same day, but it was stonewalled in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) lacks majority. The Opposition had expressed serious concerns over making triple talaq a criminal offence.
 
Under the proposed law, a man could be jailed for up to three years for pronouncing an instant divorce (triple talaq) to his wife, which is legitimate under the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence. 
 
Subsequently, the government brought an ordinance on the subject in September this year which has to be replaced by law in the current session. Otherwise, it will lapse.
 
Modi said the government had already done away with the condition of a ‘mehram' (a male guardian including husband or first blood relations) to accompany a woman on Haj.
 
Earlier, Muslim women from India could not go on Hajj alone. The government did away with the condition last year and around 1,300 women performed the Haj without a mehram. 
 
Speaking at the event, Modi listed a number of schemes that his government has brought for the welfare of women such as Ujjawala and Surakshit Matritva among others.
 
"Women are at the centre of several flagship programmes of this government...for the first time there are two women in the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS)," he said.
 
Modi asked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers present at the conclave to download the Narendra Modi mobile app and asked them to forward the government's various welfare schemes to all their contacts.
 
"When I tell the world leaders that India has allowed 36 months of maternity leave to women, they look away from me. Not even the developed countries have given such a facility to women," the Prime Minister said.
 
He said his government was trying to promote women entrepreneurs through various schemes including the Mudra Yojana under which the major percentage of loans had been disbursed to women entrepreneurs.
 
IANS
 

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Modi interacts with DGs, IGPs at their annual conference

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday interacted with Directors General and Inspectors General of Police from across the country at their annual conference and said deliberations at the event will strengthen national security.
 
The conference is being held at a tent city set up near the newly-erected statue of the country's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, known as the Statue of Unity. 
 
Modi visited the statue and paid floral tributes to Patel. He tweeted about his visit to the conference venue and urged people to visit the world's tallest statue which was unveiled on October 31. 
 
He said Patel's contribution towards building the framework of the nation's security system is immense. 
 
"I would specially urge you all to visit Kevadia and see the Statue of Unity. Some friends told me that the statue can also be seen during Delhi-Mumbai flights. So, next time you are flying that route, do try to spot the statue"," he said in a tweet.
 
THe Prime Minister will address the conference on Saturday, officials said.
 
Home Minister Rajnath Singh addressed the conference on Thursday. 
 
IANS
 

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Centre suspends IPS officer Rajnish Rai

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The Union Home Ministry has suspended Gujarat-cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Rajnish Rai for his alleged role in "abdicating" his office on November 30 as the Inspector General and Principal of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) training school at Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh.
 
The 52-year-old 1992-batch IPS officer, who had arrested D.G. Vanzara and two other IPS officers in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh alleged fake encounter case in 2007, was placed under suspension as per December 17 order passed by the Home Ministry under the provisions of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules. 
 
He was serving as Inspector General and Principal of the Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorism (CIAT) School of the CRPF. 
 
Rai will have to stay at the CRPF headquarters at Chittoor during the period the order remains in force, and cannot leave the headquarters without the permission of the Director General CRPF, said the Ministry order.
 
Rai had earlier this year sought voluntary retirement from November 30 after completing 50 years of age under the provisions of the All India Services (Death-Cum-Retirement Benefit) Rules, 1958, but the Centre rejected his request in October.
 
He moved the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in Ahmedabad challenging the rejection. The CAT will be hearing the matter on January 1.
 
In August 2014, Rai was transferred out of Gujarat as Chief Vigilance Officer of Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) at Jaduguda in Jharkhand. In April 2015, he was transferred to the CRPF office at Shillong.
 
After his report on suspected fake encounters in the North-East, he was transferred to the CIAT at Chittoor and a "departmental misconduct" charge sheet was served on him, Rai had alleged.
 
He moved the CAT at Hyderabad against the chargesheet. The tribunal stayed the proceedings against him.
 
IANS
 

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Eight candidates in fray for Gujarat's Jasdan byelection

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Eight candidates are fighting it out for the much-hyped bye-election to the Jasdan assembly constituency, polling for which will be held on Thursday.
 
All eyes are on the big two contenders from the BJP and Congress. The election was necessitated after cabinet minister Kunwarji Bavaliya quit the Congress to join the ruling BJP, which elevated him the same day recently.
 
Jasdan in Saurashtra region's Rajkot district has been a pocket borough of the opposition Congress and Bavaliya, who is a prominent Koli community leader.
 
The bye-poll has gained significance in the backdrop of the BJP losing three of the Hindi heartland states in the recent state assembly elections.
 
After the exit of Bawaliya, the Congress has fielded another strong candidate from the Koli community, Avshar Nakia, who is known to have a strong ground connect, which analysts say will help him give a good fight to the BJP.
 
The Election Commission has deployed 1,150 personnel for Jasdan's 262 polling stations. Each polling station will have one presiding officer aided by three other personnel. "The observer, the Rajkot SP and the District Election Officer, have decided to appoint one micro observer.
 
The three members have also identified 25 polling sttions where video cameras will be installed. There will be webcasting in some 24 polling stations also, said Murli Krishna, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Gujarat.
 
The constituency has 2,32,236 voters comprising 1,22,180 male and 1,09,936 female voters. Besides that, there will be 120 services voters from various forces.
 
"All security arrangements have been made. Today we have dispatched the men and material required for the by-poll," said Murli Krishna.
 
IANS
 

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EC notice to Gujarat BJP in crucial December 20 Assembly by-election

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Even as campaigning for the prestigious by-election to Gujarat's Jasdan assembly constituency ended on Tuesday evening, the Election Commission issued notices to the state government on electricity bill exemptions announced on Tuesday for rural consumers.
 
The model code of conduct is in force in the Rajkot town since the by-election was announced. 
 
The state government on Tuesday simultaneously made an announcement on setting up of a branch of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences at Rajkot.
 
The canvassing for the by-election to the seat in Rajkot district in the Saurashtra region concluded at 5 pm. Cabinet minister Kunvarji Bavaliya, who is a turncoat from the Congress, is contesting from Jasdan which he vacated after he quit the Congress to join the BJP recently.
 
The veteran Congress leader from the Koli community was inducted in the Vijay Rupani Cabinet within hours of joining the BJP. 
 
Both the parties, the BJP and the Congress, have made it a prestige election since the opposition party as well as Bavaliya have seldom lost from there. While the BJP is trying to woo the influential Koli community in Gujarat through Bavaliya, the Congress feels energized after its recent poll victories in the neighbouring Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
 
The Election Commission's notices to the state energy as well as health departments seek state government's explanation on making the announcements when the model code of conduct was in force in Jasdan.
 
The BJP government announced pending electricity bill waiver for all categories of rural consumers and the BPL families in urban centres in the state. 
 
Energy minister Saurabh Patel said the state government had decided to exempt the rural consumers from pending electricity bills amounting to over Rs 650 crore. 
 
In addition, the defaulters would also be provided new power connections on a payment of only Rs 500.
 
The opposition Congress promptly described it as a "lollipop" by the ruling BJP compared to the relief the Congress governments had granted in the other states.
 
On a trip to the constituency, cricketer-turned-politician and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Siddhu said: "It is as impossible to make the BJP speak the truth as to put an elephant in your lap and feed it."
 
He cited the farm loan waiver by newly-formed Congress governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, reminding the voters that Prime Minister Modi, despite making similar election promises, did nothing to waive the farmers' debts in Gujarat.
 
IANS
 

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

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

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Cow vigilantes attack two in Gujarat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Modi unveils 'Statue of Unity' in Gujarat

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

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

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

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Modi to dedicate Statue of Unity to the nation

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

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

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

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Gujarat: Shankersinh Vaghela's son Mahendrasinh quits BJP

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

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

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35 FIRs against attackers on migrants in Gujarat, 450 detained

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

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

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

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