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Bhopal

Rahul Gandhi kicks off MP poll campaign

File photo of Rahul Gandhi
File photo of Rahul Gandhi
Congress President Rahul Gandhi arrived here on Monday for a roadshow as part of his election campaign in Madhya Pradesh.
 
He was received at the Bhopal's Raja Bhoj Airport by Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath, Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia and other party leaders.
 
He started the roadshow from Lalghati Chowk in an open bus near the airport. He will pass through old city areas before reaching BHEL Dussehra Maidan. The roadshow will cover around 18 km. He will address party workers at 4 p.m.
 
Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are due this year along with Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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

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MP waterfall accident: 45 rescued, 6 missing

 
45 stranded people rescued from Sultangarh waterfalls in MP
 
 
After around 50 people were stranded at the Sultangarh waterfall in Madhya Pradesh's Shivpuri district, police on Thursday said.  Around 45 people have been rescued while six are still missing.
 
The picnickers were stuck after the waterfall swelled suddenly on Wednesday. Thirty four people, who were standing on the river rocks got stuck, while 15 were washed away.
 
"The overnight rescue, which continued till 3 a.m. on Thursday managed to salvage 45 of those stranded on Independence Day. A missing report of six has been filed in Gwalior," Superintendent of Police Rajesh Hingarkar told IANS.
 
The rescue teams, including the Border Security Force (BSF) and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), were sent several hours after the incident. 
 
The operation was stalled further till midnight due to heavy flow of water. It was only after the water receded that those stranded were taken out with the help of thick ropes.
 
The Indian Air Force also saved five lives but the IAF helicopter could not continue its operation due to darkness. 
 
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has thanked Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman for their help.
 
IANS
 

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

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Six die as car falls into MP reservoir

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Six youths were killed when the car they were travelling in fell into a reservoir in Sehore district of Madhya Pradesh, police said on Monday.
 
The incident took place on Sunday when the driver of the speeding car lost control over it. The youths were on their way to Kolar from Bhopal for a picnic.
 
The car could be taken out only on Monday after the water level in the reservoir subsided, Sehore Superintendent of Police Rajesh Chandel said.
 
IANS
 
(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)
 
 
 
 
 
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Monsoon arrives in MP, heavy rains likely

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The monsoon has entered Madhya Pradesh covering Dhar, Alirajpur, Burhanpur, Barwani, Khargone, Jhabua and Khandwa districts and has brought heavy rains to the state capital, bringing down the mercury by a few notches.
 
The monsoon entered the state from the southwest side, the Met office said. In the past 24 hours, Indore has received 8.6 mm of rain, while Dhar 14.2 mm, Damoh 30 mm and Gwalior 3.8 mm.
 
The weather office has predicted heavy rains for Dhar, Jhabua, Alirajpur and Barwani and scattered rains at all other places with thunderstorms and lightning. Humidity was unusually high on Tuesday. 
 
A cyclonic circulation had developed over south Gujarat and Konkan region while a trough was extending from Gujarat to southwest Rajasthan. 
 
Bhopal recorded a maximum of 35.5 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 24.6 degree Celsius. Indore's maximum was 32.4 degree Celsius while it recorded a minimum temperature of 23.2 degree Celsius. Gwalior was at a high of 43 and a minimum of 24; and Jabalpur 36.8 and minimum 27.9 degrees Celsius.
 
IANS
 
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12 killed in MP road accident

 
13 dead in road mishap in MP's Morena
 
 
Twelve persons, including seven women, were killed early on Thursday when a jeep collided with a tractor in Madhya Pradesh's Morena district, police said.
 
The accident occurred when the jeep carrying members of a family to a funeral collided with the sand-laden truck on Ambah road. 
 
Eight others were injured, two of whom were said to be in critical condition.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
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Scientists unveil genome of India's national bird

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After a two-year-long effort, a team of researchers from IISER-Bhopal has been able to sequence the genome of India's national bird, the peacock (Pavo cristatus).

Knowledge of the genome can provide insight into the genetic reasons that enable peacocks to have ornate feathers and fly despite their weight -- two characteristics that have been puzzling scientists.

The researchers have made their findings publicly available on the research pre-print server bioRXiv (pronounced bio archive). They also hope to soon publish their findings in a peer-reviewed journal.

The study revealed that the entire peacock genome consists of 1.1 billion base pairs (base pairs are units of DNA) and codes for a total of 15,970 genes. When these genes were compared with those of closely-related birds like chicken and turkey, the researchers found that up to 99 genes in peacocks are strikingly different.

Most of these "different" genes are involved in the early embryonic development or in providing immunity to the bird. These genes could also be the reason behind the "unusual size and structure of peacock feathers and its higher longevity", said lead researcher Vineet K. Sharma, an associate professor at the Department of Biological Sciences, IISER.

Guojie Zhang, one of the organisers of the B10K project, an initiative to sequence the genomes of all existing bird species by the year 2020, called the discovery of the 99 "different" genes "very exciting".

"It offers many candidate genes for understanding the unique feathers in peacocks. It could be interesting to see how these genes and their specific mutations control the morphology in peacocks," he said.

Peacocks live for 25 years, much longer than other closely-related birds such as the chicken, which live for 7-8 years, and the turkey, which lives for about 10 years. It is possible that the immunity-related genes unique to peacock help them ward off diseases much better than other birds and consequently have a longer life.

Peacocks also have a peculiar system of selecting sexual partners. Interestingly it's not the peacocks who choose, but the peahens. Studies have shown that, in making their choice, peahens are guided by the state of a peacocks feathers -- the number of eyespots, the iridescence of the feathers and even the manner in which the male displays its feathers.

A lot of studies have investigated the correlation between the number of eyespots and its suitability for a female partner. And it appears that, when the number of eyespots falls below a critical number, mating chances of a peacock fall too. Convinced with this line of study, Sharma said, the "eyespots are actually a measure of bird's immuno-competence".

Though more research may be required to prove this beyond doubt, it is likely that the feathers that make the bird seemingly unwieldy may actually be helping in better natural selection.

The sequence information also allowed the researchers to look at peacock's evolutionary history. The peacock population suffered at least two "bottlenecks" or population crashes, one around four million years ago, and the other 450,000 years ago. The reasons for these bottlenecks are, however, not clear.

"The study is an important first step to look at the evolution of peacock genome," said Zhang. The researchers have used the "short reads technology" for sequencing which does not produce a good genome assembly. "After this, the authors might want to improve their genome assembly so they could obtain more new insights on why the peacock is so different from other bird species," he added.

Going ahead, the IISER Bhopal team would work on experiments that elucidate the exact functional role of these genes to improve our understanding of "genotype-phenotype correlations for peacocks", said Shubham Jaiswal, another researcher associated with the study.

"We are also going to use the genome sequence data to derive the complete chromosomes for this species," he added.

This study has created the perfect opportunity to get a deeper understanding of our national bird. It has the potential to inform researchers studying various aspects of peacock's life and create better conservation strategies.

Immediate benefits aside, studies like this "help us to understand why birds are so different from other vertebrate species, such as, what makes them fly, why they have beaks but not tooth, why they have colourful feathers, why peacocks have elongated tails and eye spots on feathers, why penguins lost the ability to fly but can dive in the sea, why the hummingbirds are so tiny but ostriches so big in body size," said Zhang.

"Such genome-based forays into understanding birds have the potential to completely change our view of how birds evolve," he added.

IANS/ Mongabay .com

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A.P. Express coaches catch fire, none injured

 
Andhra Pradesh AC Superfast Express catches fire
 
 
At least two coaches of the A.P. Express caught fire near Birlanagar in Madhya Pradesh on Monday, officials said. No one was injured.
 
According to a Railway Ministry official, the fire was detected in the B-6 coach around 11.50 a.m. The fire then spread to the B-7 coach, Ved Prakash, a Railway Ministry spokesperson, told IANS.
 
Following the fire, the guard stopped the train and shifted the passengers of the B-6 and B-7 coaches to other coaches. The train then reached Gwalior, he said.
 
The train was on its way from Vishakapatnam to Hazrat Nizamuddin, the official said. An inquiry has been ordered into the accident.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
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Cabinet nod establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation in Bhopal

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The Union Cabinet today approved the establishment of National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR) in Bhopal as a society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. 
 
The estimated cumulative cost of the project is Rs. 179.54 crore in the first three years. This includes non-recurring expenditure of Rs. 128.54 crore and recurring expenditure of Rs. 51 crore, an official press release said.
 
The release said the Cabinet also approved the proposal to create three Joint Secretary-level posts, which include one post of Director of the Institute and two posts of Professors.
 
The main objectives of the NIMHR are to provide rehabilitation services to persons with mental illness, capacity development in the area of mental health rehabilitation, policy framing and advanced research in mental health rehabilitation, it said.
 
The Institute will have nine Departments/Centres and will conduct 12 courses to offer diploma, certificate, graduate, post-graduate and M.Phil degrees in the area of mental health rehabilitation. Within a span of five years, the student intake of the institute in various courses is expected to be over 400.
 
The Government of Madhya Pradesh has allocated five acres of land in Bhopal for setting up of this Institute. The Institute will be established in three years in two phases. Within two years, the civil and electrical work of the institute will be completed. Simultaneously, during the construction of building, the Institute will run in a suitable rented building in Bhopal to conduct certificate/diploma courses and also OPD services. Subsequently, the Institute will provide complete set of rehabilitation services for persons with mental illness and conduct courses upto Master's degree and M.Phil.
 
NIMHR will be the first of its kind in the country in the area of mental health rehabilitation.  It will serve as an institution of excellence to develop capacity building in the area of mental health rehabilitation and also help the Government to develop models for effective rehabilitation of persons with mental illness, the release added.
 
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Minor sexually assaulted, burnt alive in MP

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A minor girl was gang-raped and burnt alive in Khurai in Madhya Pradesh by her relative and his friend, following which one person was arrested, police said on Friday.
 
Additional Superintendent of Police Vikramjit Singh said the victim was sexually assaulted by her cousin and his friend in Jujharpur village in Bandri police station area when she was alone in her house on Thursday night. She was burnt alive after she resisted.
 
He said Ravinder has been arrested while Bharat is absconding. The accused were booked under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Indian Penal Code.
 
Home Minister Bhupender Singh, in whose Assembly segment the village falls, met the bereaved family and announced Rs 2 lakh aid.
 
IANS
 
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Four army trucks burnt in fire on goods train

 
Military vehicles burnt in fire on goods train in MP
 
 
Four army trucks were burnt to ashes in a fire on a goods train, which was also carrying ammunition and explosives, on Thursday on the Bhopal-Nagpur stretch in Madhya Pradesh, officials said.
 
The fire broke out while the train, on way from Bengaluru to Uttar Pradesh's Faizabad, was near Maramjhiri station between Betul and Itarsi junctions, an official said, adding the reasons for the blaze were yet to be ascertained.
 
Operations on the stretch were affected following the fire.
 
Betul District Collector Shashank Mishra told mediapersons that the fire, which swept across four bogies on which the trucks were being transported, had now been controlled, and while the trucks had been destroyed, the ammunition and explosives were safe. A decision on the forward movement of the train would be taken after consultations, he added. 
 
Government Railway Police Inspector Hemraj Kumre said that his team reached the spot on coming to know of the blaze and spent many hours dousing it.
 
Mishra, Superintendent of Police Saket Prakash Pandey and other senior officials have reached the spot, along with senior railway officials.
 
IANS
 
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Independent MLA joins BJP in Madhya Pradesh

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Independent MLA Dinesh Rai has joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Madhya Pradesh in the presence of state BJP President Rakesh Singh.
 
Rai, who represents Seoni constituency, joined the party on Thursday night.
 
The MLA said: "Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has done a lot for my constituency. So I joined the party."
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Seven killed as bus overturns in Mandsaur district of MP

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At least seven people were killed and 26 others injured on Sunday when a bus overturned after the driver lost control of the vehicle in Madhya Pradesh's Mandsaur district.
 
According to the injured, the vehicle was carrying more people than it could accommodate and the driver's recklessness led to the accident.
 
District Superintendent of Police Manoj Singh said: "The private bus was travelling towards Bhanupura from Mandsaur. The injured people have been hospitalised for treatment."
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
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Coaches of passenger train derail in MP, no information of casualties

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Four coaches of a passenger train derailed in Madhya Pradesh's Katni district on Saturday night but there was no information about casualties, a railway official said.
 
The coaches of the 51675 Chopan Express, running between Katni and Chopan towns, derailed between the Piparia and Kaman stations in Katni, West Central Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer Gunjan Gupta told IANS.
 
The incident occurred at 10.20 p.m., she said, adding further details were awaited.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Narrow escape for passersby after truck-jeep collision

 
Narrow escape for passersby after truck-jeep collision in MP
A major mishap was averted when a group of men in Madhya Pradesh's Sagar town had a narrow escape after a speeding truck collided with a jeep on Wednesday. 
 
The Madhya Pradesh Police took both the vehicles under custody and an investigation is underway. 
 
ANI
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Congress retains Chitrakoot Assembly seat in MP bye-election

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The Congress today retained the Chitrakoot seat in the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly when its candidate Neelanshu Chaturvedi defeated the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Shankar Dayal Tripathi by a margin of 14,133 votes.
 
Mr. Chaturvedi secured 66,810 votes against 52,677 votes got by his rival when votes were counted in the bye-election for the seat today, Returning Officer A P Dwivedi said.
 
The seat had fallen vacant due to the  death on May 29 of Congress MLA Prem Singh, who had won the seat in the 2013 assembly elections by a margin of 10,970 votes. The seat has traditionally been a Congress stronghold.
 
The victory has come as a major morale booster for the Congress, which has been out of power in the state for 14 years. 
 
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President addresses Sadguru Kabir Mahotsav in Madhya Pradesh

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President Ram Nath Kovind attended and addressed the Sadguru Kabir Mahotsav here today.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the President praised the Government of Madhya Pradesh for instituting the ‘Rashtriya Kabir Samman’. He stated that this honour encourages poets who pursue the philosophical tradition of Saint Kabir. 
 
He also congratulated the award winners and appreciated their contributions.
 
Saint Kabir was not only a great spiritual leader but also a social reformer. He fought against social evils that prevailed in society at the time and made efforts to eradicate them. The President said that the path of equality and harmony showed by him remains an inspiration for our society.
 
The President also received the first copy of the book ‘Madhya Pradesh Mein Kabir’ on the occasion.
 
Later in the day, Mr Kovind paid tributes to Rani Jhalkaribai at her statue in Bhopal.  
 
Tomorrow, the President will address the 2nd convocation of the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University at Amarkantak.
 
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Swaraj urges youth to participate in governance, sustainable development agendas

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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today said the youth must debate, discuss and actively participate in shaping the discourse on polity, governance and sustainable development agendas.
 
Addressing the valedictory session of the India-ASEAN Youth Summit, Ms. Swaraj said the youth have immense transformative powers and their energies harnessed and leveraged in the right direction could put the world on course to a more sustainable future.
 
The Minister referred to Lord Buddha's saying that there is no higher bliss than peace. “Towards attaining this bliss we need to empower our youth who has a critical role in preventing conflicts and ensuring sustainable peace. Youth are agents of change and critical actors in preventing conflict and building peace.
 
“Furthermore, when youth are excluded from political, economic & social spheres and processes, it can be a risk factor for violence and conflict. Therefore, identifying and addressing the social exclusion of young people is a must for sustaining peace,” she added.
 
The Minister noted that the summit had brought together youth from 11 different nationalities, is aptly held in India, which is demographically not only one of the most youthful nations.
 
Ms. Swaraj said Bhopal was a place with a distinct syncretic identity, arising from the fusion of Hindu, Buddhist, Afghan and Mughal culture over the ages.
 
“This month, India is celebrating 70 years of independence. ASEAN too is celebrating 50 years of its existence. If age is a number, then both India and ASEAN are in their twilight years, but our dialogue partnership, celebrating its 25th anniversary, is young, full of possibilities and excitement.
 
"In retrospect, I feel our commemorative events are not only a stately celebration of structured engagement across political, security, economic and social pillars, but in actuality, a celebration of our youth, with all its high hopes, impossible yearnings & the desire to change the world for the better,” she added.
 
Referring to the delegates' visit to Sanchi later in the day, she said apart from the Gupta Temple, one of the earliest temples marking the evolution of temple architecture, they would be awed by the Stupas of Sanchi, constructed on the orders of Emperor Ashoka to preserve and spread the Buddhist philosophy. Four gateways showcase Gautama Buddha’s life through intricate carvings.
 
“And friends, what an extraordinary life it was! Born a Prince, raised a Prince in all worldly comforts, Siddharth steps away from it all - a kingdom all his to claim, a loving wife and son, and meditates to emerge as the Buddha- the Enlightened one. This transformation came when he was young, as young as you all are,” she said.
 
“Siddharth himself became the change and as Lord Buddha devoted himself to bring about a change for betterment. Lord Buddha’s message is as relevant in the 21st century as it was two and a half millennia ago. The Middle Path shown by Buddha, speaks to all of us. Its universality and timeless nature run through ASEAN nations and India as a common thread.
 
“It is heartening that our youth has engaged each other actively in debate and discussions over the past few days on a wide range topics including Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Digital and IT Connectivity, UN Sustainable Development Goals, and on the ways and means to enhance India-ASEAN ties,” the Minister said.
 
Madhya Pradesh Governor OP Kohli, State Minister for Water Resources, Public Relations, Parliamentary Affairs Narottam Mishra, Nalanda University Vice Chancellor Prof. Sunaina Singh, Vice Chancellor, Nalanda University and Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Youth Envoy, attended the conference.
 
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Rahul Gandhi arrested on way to Mandsaur, meets families of firing victims later

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi was arrested at Neemuch on Thursday on his way to Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh, where five people were killed in police firing on Tuesday during violent protests by farmers, but was released later and met the families of the victims on the state's border with Rajasthan.

 
Mandsaur incident: Rahul Gandhi meets kin of deceased farmers
On a day of high political drama, Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi was arrested briefly at Neemuch today on his way to Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh, where five people were killed in police firing on Tuesday during violent protests by farmers, but was released four hours later and met the families of the victims on the state's border with Rajasthan.
 
The farmers have been agitating for more than a week for waiver of their agricultural loans, fair prices for their produce and other measures by the Government to help them cope with the agrarian crisis.
 
Mr. Gandhi, who was taken to a guest house in Neemuch after his arrest, was released in the evening and told clearly that he could meet the families of the farmers who had died in the firing only on the Rajasthan side of the border between the two states.
 
The police had earlier prevented him and other senior Congress leaders, as well as Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav, from proceeding towards Mandsaur, the epicentre of the agitation, citing the tension in the town and the curfew imposed there, and the prohibitory orders in place in Neemuch.
 
After his release, Mr. Gandhi met the families of the deceased farmers at a village in Rajasthan and later told journalists that they had some basic demands, including waiver of farm loans and fair prices for their produce, and that he and his party would do everything possible to help them.
 
He said the farmers also wanted stringent action against the officials responsible for the firing on the agitators and the status of martyrs for them.
 
Mr. Gandhi said that, by various accounts, the police seemed to have fired point blank at the agitators, without any warning and without trying to disperse them by using teargas or water cannons.
 
He said he was stopped from travelling to Mandsaur and meeting the farmers. "I only came to meet them, hug them, assure them that I am with them. What can be controversial about this?" he asked.
 
"Am I not a citizen of this country? Can I not visit Madhya Pradesh, can I not visit Uttar Pradesh? I am not an RSS man. Does it mean that I cannot visit Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh or other states?" he asked.
 
Mr. Gandhi said farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and several other states were in distress and while the BJP government was spending huge amounts to help industrialists, they were unwilling to do anything for farmers.
 
He said the Uttar Pradesh government had waived farm loans under continous pressure from the Congress and his party would keep up the pressure on the Madhya Pradesh government to do the same thing.
 
Earlier in the day, Mr. Gandhi was detained at Neemuch as and his colleagues crossed over into Madhya Pradesh from Rajasthan. They had flown from Delhi to Udaipur in the morning and then set out on the 180-km road journey from there to Mandsaur.
 
The Congress Vice-President attempted to defy the police barricades as he shifted from his car to a motorcycle and then another bike before setting out on foot through fields but the police detained him and took him away in a police van to a guest house. Rajasthan Congress leader Sachin Pilot was among those who were detained along with him. All of them were taken into preventive custody.
 
Two other senior Congress leaders, Digvijay Singh and Kamal Nath, and Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav were seen arguing with a police officer who refused to let them proceed further. They said they were just three people and were not in violation of the prohibitory orders, and should be be allowed to go to Mandsaur to meet the families of the farmers who had died in the firing.
 
They said they were willing to go in a vehicle provided by the police and that they had no intention to fuel any trouble. They said they only wanted to talk to the farmers and calm down tempers.
 
"Raj and MP Govts are doing their best to prevent me from entering MP & meeting the families of the #farmers killed in #Mandsaur," Mr. Gandhi said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"What law of the land says that it is illegal to stand in solidarity with farmers who were killed simply for demanding what is their right" he asked.
 
"I only wanted to meet the families of the farmers, to hear what they want to say. I was not given any reason, just told that I am being arrested," he said. "They had done the same thing in Uttar Pradesh earlier."
 
"Modiji cannot waive farmers' loans, cannot give them proper prices and bonus, cannot give them compensation, he can give farmers only bullets," he remarked.
 
"Spoke to families of deceased farmers on phone & conveyed my condolences. I'm here to meet them & will not be deterred frm voicing their concerns," he said a little later.
 
The Madhya Pradesh police had made it clear earlier in the morning that they would not allow Mr. Gandhi and the other Congress leaders to visit Mandsaur. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused Mr. Gandhi of trying to exploit the farmer protests for political gains.
 
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Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh confirmed today that the five farmers who had lost their lives during the protests on Tuesday had died in police firing. He had earlier denied that the police had opened fire.
 
Madha Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today appealed to the farmers to maintain peace. He said the state government was a government of farmers and the people. He said he would continue to work in the interest of people and farmers and listed the various measures taken by his government for the benefit of agriculturists.
 
Mr.  Chouhan also said that he was always ready for talks and for solutions to problems. He said some anti-social elements were trying to spread violence in the state and the government would deal with them strictly. He urged the farmers not allow the designs of such elements to succeed.
 
The state government has transferred the District Collectors of three violence-hit districts. Mandsaur Collectr Swatantra Kumar Singh has been replaced by Mr. Om Prakash Shrivastava, who was the Collector of Shivpuri.
 
Ms. Tanvi Sundriyal is the new Collector of Ratlam and Mr. Kaushalendra Vikram Singh has been appointed as the new Collector of Neemuch.
 
The Superintendent of Police of Mandsaur, Mr. O. P Tripathi, has also been transferred out, and he will be succeeded by Mr. Manoj Kumar Singh, who was the Superintendent of Police in Neemuch. 
 
The State Home Minister said Mr. Gandhi had tried to breach security provisions. "It does not behove the leader of a national party to ride on a bike without a helmet like a college student," he said.
 
Curfew was, meanwhile, relaxed in Mandsaur for a couple of hours this evening to enable people to make essential purchases and attend to other urgent tasks.
 
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Rahul Gandhi arrested on way to violence-hit Mandsaur as farmers continue stir

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi was arrested at Neemuch on Thursday on his way to Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh, where five people were killed in police firing on Tuesday during violent protests by farmers demanding a loan waiver and other measures to ease the crisis facing the agrarian sector.

 
Rahul Gandhi detained on his way to Mandsaur
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi was arrested at Neemuch today as he crossed over into Madhya Pradesh from Rajasthan on his way to Mandsaur, where five people were killed in police firing on Tuesday during violent protests by farmers demanding a loan waiver and other measures to ease the crisis facing the agrarian sector.
 
Mr. Gandhi, who flew from Delhi to Udaipur and then travelled by road to Madhya Pradesh, was stopped at Neemuch by the Madhya Pradesh police, who told him that he could not proceed further in view of the prohibitory orders issued there under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, banning the assembly of five or more persons, as well as the tense situation in Mandsaur.
 
The Congress Vice-President attempted to defy the police barricades as he shifted from his car to a motorcycle and then another bike before setting out on foot through fields but the police detained him and took him away in a police van to a guest house. Rajasthan Congress leader Sachin Pilot was among those who were detained along with him. All of them were taken into preventive custody.
 
Two other senior Congress leaders, Digvijay Singh and Kamal Nath, and Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav were seen arguing with a police officer who refused to let them proceed further. They said they were just three people and were not in violation of the prohibitory orders, and should be be allowed to go to Mandsaur to meet the families of the farmers who had died in the firing.
 
They said they were willing to go in a vehicle provided by the police and that they had no intention to fuel any trouble. They said they only wanted to talk to the farmers and calm down tempers.
 
"Raj and MP Govts are doing their best to prevent me from entering MP & meeting the families of the #farmers killed in #Mandsaur," Mr. Gandhi said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"What law of the land says that it is illegal to stand in solidarity with farmers who were killed simply for demanding what is their right" he asked.
 
"I only wanted to meet the families of the farmers, to hear what they want to say. I was not given any reason, just told that I am being arrested," he said. "They had done the same thing in Uttar Pradesh earlier."
 
"Modiji cannot waive farmers' loans, cannot give them fair prices and bonus, cannot give them compensation, he can give farmers only bullets," he remarked.
 
"Spoke to families of deceased farmers on phone & conveyed my condolences. I'm here to meet them & will not be deterred frm voicing their concerns," he said a little later.
 
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The Madhya Pradesh police had made it clear earlier in the morning that they would not allow Mr. Gandhi and the other Congress leaders to visit Mandsaur. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused Mr. Gandhi of trying to exploit the farmer protests for political gains.
 
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh confirmed today that the five farmers who had lost their lives during the protests on Tuesday had died in police firing. He had earlier denied that the police had opened fire.
 
Madha Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today appealed to the farmers to maintain peace. He said the state government was a government of farmers and the people. He said he would continue to work in the interest of people and farmers and listed the various measures taken by his government for the benefit of agriculturists.
 
Mr.  Chouhan also said that he was always ready for talks and for solutions to problems. He said some anti-social elements were trying to spread violence in the state and the government would deal with them strictly. He urged the farmers not allow the designs of such elements to succeed.
 
The state government has transferred the District Collectors of three violence-hit districts. Mandsaur Collectr Swatantra Kumar Singh has been replaced by Mr. Om Prakash Shrivastava, who was the Collector of Shivpuri.
 
Ms. Tanvi Sundriyal is the new Collector of Ratlam and Mr. Kaushalendra Vikram Singh has been appointed as the new Collector of Neemuch.
 
The Superintendent of Police of Mandsaur, Mr. O. P Tripathi, has also been transferred out, and he will be succeeded by Mr. Manoj Kumar Singh, who was the Superintendent of Police in Neemuch. 
 
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CCEA clears initiation of process of disinvestment of three ITDC properties

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today gave the go-ahead for the initiation of the process of disinvestment of three hotels of the public sector India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (ITDC).
 
An official press release said that, in the first stage of the disinvestment process, three hotels have been taken up for disinvestment -- Hotel Lake View Ashok, Bhopal; Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok, Guwahati; and Hotel Bharatpur Ashok, Bharatpur. 
 
In all three cases, the hotels / properties are being given back to the concerned States.
 
In the case of Bhopal and Guwahati, ITDC is divesting its share of 51% in the joint venture company formed for operation of the hotels whereas in the case of Bharatpur, the unit, which was only managed by ITDC, is being returned to the State Government. 
 
The release said the decision on disinvestment has been made keeping in view the principle that running and managing hotels on professional lines is not the work of the Government or its entities. Further, there has been considerable development in the hospitality sector in the country in past years, with world class hotels and all leading international chains of hotels present in the country and providing services and facilities of highest standards. 
 
As part of the disinvestment policy, it has been decided to lease/sub-lease the hotels / properties jointly with the concerned States or return the properties to the States, after fair valuation. The States would then have the option to upgrade and operate the hotels by involving the private sector or to utilize the properties as per their requirements.
 
States have exercised their options accordingly, in each case going forward with the option best suited to their needs, in line with the overarching principle that it is not the business of Government to run or manage hotels. 
 
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Delhi Metro signs PPA with Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited in Madhya Pradesh

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Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) signed three power purchase agreements and a coordination scheduling agreement for 25 years with  Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited in Madhya Pradesh, solar power developers and MPPMCL here today.
 
Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited is a joint venture of Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and Government of Madhya Pradesh. The solar power developers are Mahindra, ACME Solar and Solenergi.
 
Delhi Metro has become the first metro to procure solar power on RESCO basis as Inter State Open Access Consumer, a press release from DMRC said.
 
Union Minister for Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu, Union Minister of State for Power Piyush Goyal and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
The DMRC team of senior officers was led by Mr. Anoop Kumar Gupta, Director (E), who has been instrumental in spearheading DMRC’s efforts for enhancing use of solar power to reduce impact of increasing energy tariff and mitigate environment depletion.
 
DMRC was involved in this mega solar project since April 2016 and played crucial role in drafting project documents. Team of officers from DMRC and RUMSL, through diligent detailing, robust project preparedness, keeping appropriate distribution of risks, have achieved a record low first year tariff of Rs. 2.97, for solar energy. 
 
The 750 MW Solar Project being set up at Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, will be one of the largest solar power plants in the world and is likely to be operational from June 2018. DMRC will source 345 MUs annually from this project, effectively the entire energy requirement of Phase – 3 of Delhi Metro project and would mean substantial savings in energy cost for Delhi Metro, the release said.
 
DMRC also has a target of commissioning 20 MWp rooftop solar plants by end of 2017 on its premises and has successfully commissioned 16 MWp capacity till date and already signed power purchase agreements for 31.50 MWp.
 
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MP govt. orders judicial probe into SIMI activists' jailbreak, encounter deaths

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Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has ordered a judicial probe into the sensational jailbreak  by eight under-trial prisoners, said to be activists of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), on October 31 and their death in an encounter with the police on the outskirts of the city a few hours later.
 
The judicial inquiry will be conducted by retired Madhya Pradesh High Court judge S K Pandey, an official press release from the state government said here late last night.
 
Justice Pandey will probe all aspects related to the escape of the SIMI activists from the high-security Bhopal Central Jail and the subsequent encounter with the police in which all eight escapees were gunned down, the release added.
 
The announcement of the judicial probe has come against the background of loud demands for such an inquiry from the Congress and other Opposition parties and human rights activists, especially after unverified video tapes surfaced on social media websites and raised questions about the police claims about the sequence of events.
 
The eight prisoners had staged the sensational escape from the prison after killing a security guard, head constable Ramashankar Yadav, around 2.15 am on October 31, police officials had said on that day.
 
They said the police had received inputs that the escapees were hiding near Acharpura village on the outskirts of the state capital and they surrounded the area, along with personnel of the Special Task Force (STF) and Counter Terrorist Group (CTG), around 4 am.
 
According to them, the escapees were armed with sharp weapons, which they had made out of the steel plates and spoons they were given in jail for eating food, and firearms and had engaged in cross-firing with the security forces. 
 
"We had no option but to gun them down to prevent them from escaping," a senior police official had said, adding that a couple of policemen had suffered injuries in the encounter.
 
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The daring jailbreak took place when a change of security guards was taking place near the cells where the eight men were held, official sources said. The sources said the prisoners overpowered the two guards and slit the throat of one of them, before scaling the outer wall of the prison using bedsheets and blankets which had been fashioned into ropes.
 
The incident came as a major embarassment for the state government, given that four of the escapees were part of a group of seven SIMI activists who had engineering a similar jailbreak from the Khandwa jail in Madhya Pradesh, about 280 km from Bhopal, on October 1, 2013. One of the seven was nabbed soon after, while two were killed in an encounter with the police at Nalgonda in Telangana in April 2015 and the remaining were nabbed in February this year.
 
The prisoners had been arrested in 2010-11 in connection with the murders of a policemen, a lawyer and a bank official on November 28, 2009.
 
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Eight SIMI activists escape from Bhopal jail, gunned down hours later

Eight prisoners, said to be activists of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India, staged a sensational escape from the high-security Bhopal Central Jail early Monday morning after killing a security guard but were gunned down hours later in an encounter with the police on the outskirts of the city, official sources said.

 
8 SIMI activists escape from Bhopal jail, gunned down hours later
Eight prisoners, said to be activists of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), staged a sensational escape from the high-security Bhopal Central Jail early this morning after killing a security guard but were gunned down hours later in an encounter with the police on the outskirts of the city, official sources said.
 
The sources said the police had received inputs that the escapees were hiding near Acharpura village on the outskirts of the state capital and they surrounded the area, along with personnel of the Special Task Force (STF) and Counter Terrorist Group (CTG), around 4 am.
 
According to them, the escapees were armed with sharp weapons, which they had made out of the steel plates and spoons they were given in jail for eating food, and firearms and had engaged in cross-firing with the security forces. 
 
"We had no option but to gun them down to prevent them from escaping," a senior police official, adding that a couple of policemen suffered injuries in the encounter.
 
The daring jailbreak took place around 2.15 am when a change of security guards was taking place near the cells where the eight men were held, official sources said.
 
The sources said the prisoners overpowered the two guards and slit the throat of one of them, a police head constable identified as Rama Shankar Yadav, before scaling the outer wall of the prison using bedsheets and blankets which had been fashioned into ropes.
 
Police cordoned off the entire area immediately and launched a massive manhunt for the escapees on the roads and highways leading out of the city and at bus stations and railway stations.
 
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh said there would be an investigation into the possible security lapses that led to the incident.
 
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The incident has come as a major embarassment for the state government, given that four of the escapees today were part of a group of seven SIMI activists who had engineering a similar jailbreak from the Khandwa jail in Madhya Pradesh, about 280 km from Bhopal, on October 1, 2013. One of the seven was nabbed soon after, while two were killed in an encounter with the police at Nalgonda in Telangana in April 2015 and the remaining were nabbed in February this year.
 
In the Khandwa incident, the prisoners had managed to escape between 2 am and 3 am after breaking down a part of the wall of a bathroom. They also stabbed and injured two policemen who were posted outside the Khandwa jail and tried to stop them, before making away with their rifles and motorcycles.
 
The prisoners had been arrested in 2010-11 in connection with the murders of a policemen, a lawyer and a bank official on November 28, 2009.
 
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Eight SIMI activists escape from Bhopal Central Jail after killing security guard

Eight prisoners, said to be activists of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), escaped from the high-security Bhopal Central Jail in the early hours of Monday after killing a security guard -- a police head constable -- and scaling the outer wall of the prison using bedsheets.


 
8 SIMI activists escape from Bhopal jail after killing guard
Eight prisoners, said to be activists of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), escaped from the high-security Bhopal Central Jail in the early hours of today after killing a security guard -- a police head constable -- and scaling the outer wall of the prison using bedsheets.
 
The daring jailbreak took place around 2.15 am when a change of security guards was due to take place near the cells where the eight men were held, official sources said.
 
They managed to overpower the guard, identified as Rama Shankar, slit his throat with a sharp weapon and escaped by scaling the outer periphery wall using bedsheets and blankets fashioned into ropes, they said.
 
Police have cordoned off the entire area and launched a massive manhunt for the escapees on the roads and highways leading out of the city and at bus stations and railway stations.
 
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh said there would be an investigation into the possible security lapses that led to the incident.
 
The incident has come as a major embarassment for the state government, given that four of the escapees today were part of a group of seven SIMI activists who had engineering a similar jailbreak from the Khandwa jail in Madhya Pradesh, about 280 km from Bhopal, on October 1, 2013. One of the seven was nabbed soon after, while two were killed in an encounter with the police at Nalgonda in Telangana in April 2015 and the remaining were nabbed in February this year.
 
In the Khandwa incident, the prisoners had managed to escape between 2 am and 3 am after breaking down a part of the wall of a bathroom. They also stabbed and injured two policemen who were posted outside the Khandwa jail and tried to stop them, before making away with their rifles and motorcycles.
 
The prisoners had been arrested in 2010-11 in connection with the murders of a policemen, a lawyer and a bank official on November 28, 2009.
 
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Railways sign agreement for redevelopment, modernisation of Habibganj station in Bhopal

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The Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) and the Bansal Group have signed an agreement for the redevelopment and modernisation of the Habibganj railway station in Bhopal.
 
The agreement was signed in the presence of Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu at Rail Bhavan here yesterday.
 
The Habibganj station would now be the first station to be redeveloped. It is one of the eight railway stations which have been allocated to IRSDC by the Ministry of Railways. 
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Prabhu said Indian Railways needed more revenues as the two existing sources -- passenger fares and freight -- were not sufficient. He said the agreement would help improve the economic condition of the Railways as commercial space that will become available at the modernised station would augment revenue.
 
He said similar redevelopment projects would be taken up at stations such as Surat and Gandhinagar in Gujarat and Bijwasan and Anand Vihar in Delhi.
 
An official press release said IRSDC had issued the letter of acceptance (LoA) on June 7 to the selected bidder, a consortium of Bansal Construction Works Pvt. Ltd and Prakash Asphalting & Toll Highways (India) Ltd. The consortium has formed a Special Purpose Company named Bansal Pathways Habibganj Pvt Ltd which will implement this project.
 
The total estimated cost of the redevelopment project for Habibganj station is Rs. 100 crore, whereas the estimated cost of commercial development is approximately Rs. 350 crore. IRSDC has hired the services of leading legal, financial and architectural consultants to operationalize this project. 
 
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The developer is mandated to complete the construction of the railway station within three years and after the redevelopment there will be dedicated approach roads along with municipal roads to ensure easy entry and exit along with convenient parking provisions, without any traffic congestion in the city roads. 
 
It is planned that, like modern airports, Habibganj Railway station will have dedicated pick-up and drop-off parking facilities for station users. To avoid any congestion or confusion, there will be segregation between arriving and departing passengers.  The station also will be easily accessible to differently abled passengers. Safety of passengers and other users of the station have also been kept in mind. The station will comply with NFPA (National Fire Protection Act) to mitigate any fire mishap at a public place.In case of an emergency, the station premises is planned to be evacuated within 4 minutes and passengers can reach the respective designated points of safety in 6 minutes. The station will also promote the use of environment friendly practices. 
 
To ensure cleaner energy from renewable and non-conventional energy, solar energy generation will be provided in the station premises. Enough catering/food stalls and public conveniences at affordable rates are designed to be set up at places easily accessible to both on-board and travelling passengers.
 
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