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Madhya Pradesh

World Bank to provide $ 210 million loan for improving rural road network in Madhya Pradesh

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The Government of India, the Government of Madhya Pradesh and the World Bank today signed a $210 million loan agreement for the Madhya Pradesh Rural Connectivity Project. 
 
The project is expected to improve the durability, resilience and safety of the gravel surfaced rural roads and enhance the capacity of the state to manage its rural roads network, an official press release said.
 
The project will cover 10,510 km stretch of rural roads in Madhya Pradesh that fall under the Chief Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana (CMGSY) program. Of this 10,000 km will be upgraded from existing gravel to bituminous surface roads, while 510 km of new roads will be built to the same bituminous surface standard, it said.
 
"Government of India is making all efforts to ensure that communities in the most remote areas across the country are connected through a road network. All weather road connectivity is crucial for economic growth, especially in the rural areas,” said Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance. “The Madhya Pradesh roads project will enhance rural road connectivity in the state which will open up opportunities for economic development and access to social services for beneficiary communities in the state and help in reducing poverty.” 
 
The agreement for the project was signed by Mr. Khare on behalf of the Government of India; Mr. Pankaj Jhawar, Chief General Manager, Madhya Pradesh Rural Road Development Authority on behalf of the Government of Madhya Pradesh; and Mr Hisham Abdo, Acting Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank. 
 
“This project will leverage resources to support innovations in road construction, improve road safety, and reduce carbon footprint in the transport sector by mainstreaming climate resilient technology in road design and construction,” said Mr Abdo. 
 
Gravel surfaced roads are more prone to washouts than paved roads during flood seasons. The project will undertake resilience measures such as surface sealing of roads, embankment pitching, and balancing culverts to prevent damages caused by extreme flood events. 
 
The release said the transport sector is one of the most significant emitters of greenhouse gases. Alternate sealing options for road construction like polymer modified asphalt, asphalt blended with plastic waste, and multiple surface treatment to be piloted on approximately 20 percent of the length will not only be more cost-effective but will also reduce the carbon footprint of the transport sector. 
 
The project, on a pilot basis, will engage women self-help groups (SHG) in the post-construction maintenance activity. This will involve routine maintenance of off-carriage way parts of the road, while the main carriageway maintenance will remain part of the original contractor’s contract. The SHG members will be trained through the project, and their work will be directly supervised and managed by the Madhya Pradesh Rural Road Development Authority (MPRRDA) field offices. In fact, a direct maintenance contract will be executed between the SHG group and MPRRDA for 3-5 years. 
 
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Recognizing that road safety is a critical issue, the project will strengthen road safety management systems with the objective of reducing fatalities and serious injuries from road accidents, the release said.
 
The project will focus on improving road accident data collection and analysis at central and state levels through implementation of the Road Accident Database Management System (RADMS); strengthen road safety capacity at the central level; and focus on training. 
 
The state will pilot a comprehensive Road Safety Program (PCRSP) in districts with most fatal and serious injuries recorded in the recent past. It plans to undertake a bottom-up approach by engaging and empowering local communities to develop customized solutions to improve road safety, the release said. 
 
“The project will benefit the rural people residing in very small villages in Madhya Pradesh. The construction of sealed roads under the project will help reduce transport costs, improve road safety and minimize post-harvest losses for farmers by ensuring transport services in all seasons. The project will also help in reducing pollution and increase access to jobs, markets, schools and health facility for the rural population thus reducing the migration towards urban areas. It will implement a range of contracting and institutional reform measures and update standards and specifications, with a particular emphasis on road safety,” Mr. Jhawar added.
 
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Infant raped, killed in MP; 1 arrested

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A four-month-old girl was sexually assaulted and murdered in Madhya Pradesh's Indore town, police said, adding that the accused has been arrested.
 
The incident occurred in the M.G. Road area. The infant was abducted, raped and killed in a vacant basement space just 50m away from where her parents were sleeping early on Friday. 
 
The police used CCTV footage to identify the attacker. He was apprehended late that night, the police said.
 
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday tweeted that society should look within to see where it was heading. 
 
"The accused has been arrested. We will ensure that he is meted out strict punishment as soon as possible," Chouhan said.
 
Former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh said: "An infant has been raped and killed, where are we heading to as a nation and society? The accused should be severely punished." 
 
IANS
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Madhya Pradesh wins Most Film Friendly State Award

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Madhya Pradesh has won the Most Film Friendly State Award and Uttarakhand got a Special Mention Certificate, Jury Chairperson Ramesh Sippy announced here yesterday.  
 
The jury also lauded the continuing efforts of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat towards creating a film-friendly eco system. 
 
The awards will be presented by President Ram Nath Kovind on May 3 during the presentation of the National Film Awards, an official press release said.
 
Madhya Pradesh was chosen for the award for its efforts towards easing filming in the State by creating a well-structured website, film-friendly infrastructure, offering incentives, maintaining databases, undertaking marketing and promotional initiatives.
 
The jury unanimously selected Madhya Pradesh from among the 16 participants. The State also received positive feedback from established filmmakers who have shot there.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sippy said, “The jury members laud the continuing efforts of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat towards creating a film-friendly ecosystem in their States and hope that they keep up the good work.
 
“This year Madhya Pradesh where a lot of filmmakers have shot over the years has won the award due to the ease of filming that the State offers along with excellent on-ground support and film infrastructure, an informative website and incentives for filmmaking. Their entry was also presented beautifully with all required documents given in a very comprehensive manner,” he said.
 
“In addition, the jury would like to acknowledge the sincere efforts made by Uttarakhand in this direction, despite it being a relatively new State with a difficult terrain and hence has been given the Special Mention,” he added.
 
Apart from Mr Sippy, the jury comprised renowned filmmakers Nagraj Manjule, Raja Krishna Menon, Vivek Agnihotri, and Uday Singh, MD, Motion Picture Distributors Association.
 
The States that participated in the competition were Andaman and Nicobar, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
 
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21 killed as mini-truck falls into river in Madhya Pradesh

 
21 killed as truck falls of bridge in Madhya Pradesh
 
 
At least 21 members of a wedding party were killed after a mini-truck they were travelling in fell into the Son river in Madhya Pradesh's Sidhi district, an official said on Wednesday.
 
The accident in which more than 20 others were injured, occurred late on Tuesday when the driver lost control of the vehicle while crossing the Jogdaha bridge.
 
The mini-truck crashed through the railing and plunged into the river. 
 
The wedding party was en route to Bahari in Sidhi from Deosar in Singrauli district. 
 
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has expressed grief over the incident. 
 
The relief and rescue operations continued through the night. All bodies have been recovered. The injured were in hospital. 
 
IANS
 
 
 
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Six injured in train derailment in MP

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At least six people were injured when four coaches of a passenger train derailed in Katni district in Madhya Pradesh, a railway official said on Sunday.

The Katni-Chopan Passenger was derailed between Pipariya Kalan and Salhana stations at 10.20 p.m. on Saturday, West Central Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer Gunjan Gupta told IANS. The reason for the derailment was not clear.

The injured were admitted to a hospital in Katni town. The official said work was on to repair the damaged track.

IANS

 

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Making all Indians equal citizens is greatest contribution of the Constitution, says Kovind

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The greatest contribution of the Constitution of India, created under the guidance of Dr BR Ambedkar, was to make all Indians equal citizens, irrespective of social or economic background, according to President Ram Nath Kovind.
 
Addressing a function here on the 127th birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar yesterday, the President said this Fundamental Right ensured that every Indian has the right to a dignified life.
 
In parallel, the Constitution introduced universal franchise and gave every citizen, irrespective of social background or economic status, the right to vote, he added.
 
“These two rights,” President Kovind said, “have special significance for the poor, the traditionally disadvantaged and the weaker sections of our society.
 
“These rights, along with the importance of education that Dr Ambedkar underlined, are crucial for the proper exercise of all other rights granted to citizens by our Constitution.
 
“Our country is run on democratic traditions – elections are held, governments are formed, and the future of citizens is worked towards. There is a need for the people to be aware of challenges and opportunities – and to exercise their democratic rights wisely,” he added.
 
In his move towards building a better and fairer society, Dr Ambedkar emphasised the values of nonviolence and of compassion in public life. He fought for the welfare of weaker sections of society but his path remained nonviolent – stressing consensus through dialogue.
 
“He believed that this was our country, for all of us, and that whatever needed to be done to bring justice to the weaker sections of society could be achieved by adhering to social harmony,” Mr Kovind said.
 
“In his final speech in the Constituent Assembly, Dr Ambedkar said now that we have constitutional methods of expressing opposition, we should avoid disruptive mechanisms,” he added.
 
Mr Kovind said, “Our Constitution is our sacred text. It empowers those from traditionally weaker and disadvantaged sections to aspire to and reach the highest positions in the country.
 
“It is a tribute to Dr Ambedkar’s efforts that today people from such sections are making important contributions to building a modern and better India,” he added.
 
“Dr Ambedkar often stressed that being an Indian was his primary, secondary and ultimate identity. Today, there is a need for every citizen to internalise this sentiment. Equality and fraternity create harmony.
 
“As such, all citizens, especially young people, should follow the path of fraternity that Dr Ambedkar showed us,” Mr Kovind said.
 
Earlier, he paid tributes to Dr Ambedkar at his memorial in Mhow becoming the first President to pay homage at Dr Ambedkar’s birthplace (Mhow) on his birth anniversary.
 
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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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Minor earthquake shakes Singrauli region of Madhya Pradesh

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale, shook the Singrauli region of Madhya Pradesh this evening, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.2°N and longitude 82.6°E, occured at 1944 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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India’s fastest train Gatimaan Express extended up to Gwalior/Jhansi

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India’s fastest train, the Gatimaan Express, has been extended up to Gwalior/Jhansi from April 1 to boost tourism in the Bundelkhand region.
 
The extension of this prestigious premium train no 12049/50 that was plying between Hazrat Nizamuddin and Agra Cantonment will facilitate tourists to visit various tourist attractions in and around Gwalior including the Jai Vilas Palace Museum, Gwalior Fort, Jai Vilas Palace and Gopachal Parvat to name a few.
 
Jhansi is famous for Jhansi Fort, Government Museum associated with the first war of Independence, Orchha Fort and Jahangir Mahal.
 
The train will run six days of the week except for Friday.
 
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Six dead as Dalit protests turn violent in different states

Six persons were killed and dozens injured as Dalit protests during a day-long nation-wide shutdown on Monday turned violent in India amid anger against a Supreme Court order that dilutes a law aimed at preventing atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

 
Bharat Bandh over "dilution" of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act
Six persons were killed and dozens injured as Dalit protests during a day-long nation-wide shutdown on Monday turned violent in India amid anger against a Supreme Court order that dilutes a law aimed at preventing atrocities against Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
 
The government, in a bid to pacify the agitated activists, said it had filed a petition in the apex court seeking a review of its March 20 order that bars automatic arrest and registration of cases for alleged harassment of Dalits and others. But the top court denied an urgent hearing of the matter.
 
Protesters clashed with police in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha -- states where normal life was paralysed in varying degrees amid incidences of violence and arson.
 
The central government rushed 800 anti-riot policemen to violence-hit Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
 
A Home Ministry official in Delhi said two companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) were sent to Meerut and one company each to Agra and Hapur in Uttar Pradesh.
 
Clashes turned deadly in Madhya Pradesh where five persons were killed and dozens injured, forcing officials to impose curfew in Morena, Gwalior and Bhind districts. Protests were also held Bhopal as agitators blocked roads in the state capital.
 
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made a passionate appeal for peace.
 
Police said one person each was killed in Bhind and Morena while three died in Gwalior. The dead in Morena was identified as Rahul Pathak, a student leader. 
 
Gwalior District Magistrate Rahul Jain told IANS that at least 22 persons were injured, some critically, in clashes in his district, where prohibitory orders banning large gatherings were also imposed.
 
"Three people have been conformed dead in Gwalior." Jain said.
 
A man identified as Pawan Kumar was killed in Rajasthan's Alwar as violence was also reported from other parts of the state including Jaipur, Ajmer. Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jodhpur and Udaipur.
 
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Punjab and Haryana also saw widespread protests.
 
Shops, educational institutions and other establishments remained closed and Class 10 and 12 examinations were deferred in Punjab, which has the highest concentration of Scheduled Castes, constituting nearly 32 per cent its 2.8 crore population.
 
Hundreds of protesters carrying swords, sticks, baseball bats and flags forced shopkeepers and other establishments in Jalandhar, Amritsar and Bathinda too shut down.
 
Protests also took place in Rohtak and other towns of neighbouring Haryana.
 
In Bihar, activists disrupted rail and road traffic. Mobs shut down markets and shops as well as educational institutions, police said.
 
Supporters of the Bhim Army and other Dalit outfits halted over three dozen long-distance and local trains, stranding thousands of passengers.
 
Violence was reported from Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, Nawada, Patna and Bhagalpur when protestors clashed with police.
 
Violence also erupted in parts of Uttar Pradesh as protesters attacked shops, looted some and pelted stones at police in Hapur, Agra, Meerut, Saharanpur and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi.
 
Many cars were targeted and their window panes smashed. At some places, government property was targeted. 
 
Some people reportedly fired at a police team in Meerut while a passenger bus was set on fire. 
 
Also in Meerut, over 500 Dalit youths targeted the media and broke their cameras as they were trying to photograph the protests. 
 
Gujarat's major towns and cities also saw protests by Dalits amid reports of vandalism from Ahmedabad and Jamnagar.
 
Amid widespread anger and violence, the Modi government filed a review petition in the Supreme Court to seek recall of its judgment that ruled that there would be no automatic arrest of an accused following a complaint moved under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
 
The Supreme Court had held on March 20 that police will hold an inquiry to ascertain the veracity of the complaint filed under the act before acting on it. 
 
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government "with due respect, does not agree with the reasoning given by the apex court".
 
IANS
 
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Two killed as violence grips India amid Dalit protests

Two persons were killed and many injured as violence gripped parts of India on Monday as Dalit groups enforced a day-long country-wide shutdown against a Supreme Court order they say dilutes a law to prevent atrocities against the marginalized Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).

 
Bharat Bandh over "dilution" of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act
Two persons were killed and many injured as violence gripped parts of India on Monday as Dalit groups enforced a day-long country-wide shutdown against a Supreme Court order they say dilutes a law to prevent atrocities against the marginalized Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
 
The government, in a bid to pacify the agitated Dalit activists, said it had filed a petition in the apex court seeking a review of its March 20 order that bars automatic arrest and registration of cases for alleged harassment of Dalits and others.
 
Protesters clashed with police in Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Odisha -- states where normal life was paralyzed in varying degrees amid incidences of violence and arson.
 
Clashes turned deadly in Madhya Pradesh where two persons were killed and dozens injured, forcing authorities to impose curfew at many places. Police said one person was killed in Bhind and the other in Morena.
 
Gwalior District Magistrate Rahul Jain told IANS that at least 22 persons were injured, some critically, in clashes in his district, where prohibitory orders banning large gatherings were also imposed. 
 
Protesters blocked rail tracks and set fire to vehicles, with plumes of fire and smoke seen on near barren roads.
 
The Madhya Pradesh government called the Army to control the situation in Bhind, Morena and Gwalior.
 
Punjab and Haryana also saw widespread protests.
 
Shops, educational institutions and other establishments remained closed and Class 10 and 12 examinations were deferred in Punjab, which has the highest concentration of Scheduled Castes, constituting nearly 32 per cent its 2.8 crore population.
 
Hundreds of protesters carrying swords, sticks, baseball bats and flags forced shopkeepers and other establishments in Jalandhar, Amritsar and Bathinda to shut down.
 
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Protests also took place in Rohtak and other towns of neighbouring Haryana.
 
In Bihar, activists disrupted rail and road traffic. Mobs shut down markets and shops as well as educational institutions, police said.
 
Supporters of the Bhim Army and other Dalit outfits halted over three dozen long-distance and local trains, stranding thousands of passengers.
 
"Train services have been badly disrupted due to the protest," an East Central Railway official told IANS.
 
Violence was reported from Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, Nawada, Patna and Bhagalpur when protestors clashed with police.
 
Violence also erupted in parts of Uttar Pradesh as protesters attacked shops, looted some and pelted stones at police in Hapur, Agra, Meerut and Saharanpur.
 
Many cars were targeted and their window panes smashed. At some places, government property was targeted. 
 
Some people reportedly fired at a police team in Meerut while a passenger bus was set on fire. Pro-reservation groups indulged in vandalism at the Muzaffarnagar railway station, stoning the Kocchi Express.
 
Also in Meerut, over 500 Dalit youths targeted the media and broke their cameras as they were trying to photograph the protests. 
 
Amid widespread anger and violence, the government filed a review petition in the Supreme Court to seek recall of its judgment that ruled that there would be no automatic arrest of an accused following a complaint moved under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
 
The Supreme Court had held on March 20 that police will hold an inquiry to ascertain the veracity of the complaint filed under the act before acting on it. 
 
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government "with due respect, does not agree with the reasoning given by the apex court".
 
He said senior government lawyers "will argue this matter with all their legal preparations and authority that this judgment needs to be reconsidered". 
 
IANS
 
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10 killed in Indore hotel collapse, probe ordered

 
10 dead in building collapse in Indore
Ten persons were killed and two seriously injured when a four-storeyed dilapidated hotel building collapsed here after a car crashed into it, a police officer said on Sunday.
 
Deputy Inspector General Hari Narayan Chari Mishra told IANS that the MS Hotel near the crowded Sarvate bus stand collapsed on Saturday night. 
 
The hotel Manager Harish Soni was among the dead. 
 
The dilapidated building, said to be 80 years old, came crashing down, burying persons staying in the hotel, some passersby and shops under the rubble.
 
District Collector Nishant Warwade earlier told the media that the district administration, Municipal Corporation, police, fire brigade and traffic police were carrying out a search and rescue operation. The National Disaster Response Force team from Bhopal was also asked to help.
 
Kiran Soni, daughter of the hotel Manager, told the media that the hotel's roof had crashed last week. She said though the owner was informed he ignored it.
 
Even as search and rescue operations ended on Sunday afternoon, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ordered a high-level probe into the tragedy and asked for a report in seven days.
 
The government also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured.
 
The police officer said a seven-member team of police officers has been set up to find if the building collapsed due to the car hit or for some other reason.
 
IANS
 
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10 killed in Indore hotel building collapse

 
10 dead in building collapse in Indore
At least 10 people were killed and two others injured when a four-storeyed hotel building collapsed here, a police officer said on Sunday.
 
Deputy Inspector General Hari Narayan Chari Mishra told IANS that the MS Hotel near the crowded Sarvate bus stand collapsed on Saturday night.
 
Search and rescue operations were going on, Mishra added.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Trains to operate with electric traction on Itarsi-Jabalpur-Itarsi route from March 30

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Trains will start running with electric traction on the Itarsi-Jabalpur-Itarsi route from today.
 
Initially three pairs of trains will run with electric traction and will be extended for other trains later, an official press release said.
 
With the electrification of the 245 km Itarsi-Jabalpur double-line section, train operations will be changed over from diesel traction to electric traction, which will lead to annual saving of approximately Rs 150 crore in fuel consumption, it said.
 
The additional operating benefits include increase in the sectional speed of trains and decrease in time of changeover of locomotives at Itarsi yard. It will also result in the increased availability of rolling stocks and locomotives for utilization.
 
With electrification, there will be more scope for introduction of Main Line Electrical Multiple Units (MEMU) leading to the benefits for public. Further, electric locos are environment-friendly in comparison to diesel locos by 9.7% as per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Thus, there will be reduction in pollution in the surrounding Madhya Pradesh areas, it said.
 
Itarsi-Jabalpur-Katni-Satna-Manikpur section is part of Jabalpur Division of Indian Railways. The division caters to the demands of eight cement plant located in Satna-Maihar and Satna-Rewa sections. The entire section around Katni is rich in raw materials including limestone, bauxite, iron ore and dolomite stone. The Jabalpur-Satna belt produces iron-ore as main product.
 
This section interchanges traffic with South East Central Railway at New Katni Junction, with North Central Railway at Manikpur, Ohan in Satna- Banda section and with Bhopal division at Itarsi.
 
Railway electrification of Itarsi-Jabalpur-Katni-Satna-Manikpur and Satna-Rewa sections was sanctioned in the year 2012-13 at a cost of Rs 894.6 crore. In the first phase, the electrification of Itarsi-Jabalpur section has been completed and Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety has authorized for introduction of goods and passenger services on January 22, 2018.
 
The remaining sections -- Jabalpur-Katni, Katni-Satna, Satna-Manikpur and Satna-Rewa -- are also targeted for commissioning progressively by March 2019, the release added.
 
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Seven road rehabilitation projects approved for Madhya Pradesh

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The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has approved seven road rehabilitation projects in Madhya Pradesh.
 
These projects will be completed in 18 months, and shall include maintenance for 48 months, an official press release said.
 
The balance works of Rehabilitation & Upgradation to two lanes with the paved shoulders flexible pavement of Bameetha-Satna section of NH-75 with total length 97.840 km on EPC Mode will be carried out at a cost of Rs. 191.21 crore, it said.
 
Rehabilitation and upgradation to two lanes with paved shoulders of Morena-Ambah-Porsa section of NH-552 Extension on EPC Mode will be carried out at a cost of Rs. 166.21 crore. It will have two major bridges and one minor bridge.
 
Rehabilitation and upgradation to two lanes with paved shoulders of the Porsa-Ater-Bhind section of NH-552 Extension with a total length of 46.9 km on EPC Mode will be carried out at a cost of Rs. 217.22 crore. It involves the construction of two major bridges and widening of five minor bridges.
 
Rehabilitation and upgradation to two lanes with paved shoulders of Mihona-Lahar-Daboh section of NH-552 Extn. with a total length of 27.36 km on EPC Mode will be carried out at a cost of Rs 133.18 crore. It involves the construction of a major bridge and widening of three minor bridges.
 
Rehabilitation and upgradation to two lanes with paved shoulders of Daboh-Bhander-UP Border section of NH-552 with a total length of 43.255 km on EPC Mode will be completed in 18 months at a cost of Rs 233.04 crore. The work involves the construction of three major bridges and widening of four minor bridges.
 
Rehabilitation and upgradation to two lanes with paved shoulders of Reva-Sirmour section of NH-135B with a total length of 36.71 km on EPC Mode will be carried out at a cost of Rs 162.56 crore.
 
Rehabilitation and upgradation to two lanes with paved shoulders of Pawai-Saleha-Jaso-Nagod section of NH-943 with a total length of 50.88 km on EPC Mode will be carried out at a cost of Rs 214.69 crore, the release added.
 
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CCEA approves doubling of Jhansi-Manikpur and Bhimsen-Khairar rail lines

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday approved a proposal for doubling and electrification of the 425 km-long Jhansi-Manikpur and Bhimsen-Khairar railway lines at a cost of Rs. 4955.72 crore. 
 
These are likely to be completed by 2022-23. The projects will cover the districts of Jhansi, Mahoba, Banda, Chitrakut Dham in Uttar Pradesh and Chhatarpur in Madhya Pradesh, an official press release said.
 
The present line capacity utilization of Jhansi-Khairar, Khairar-Manikpur and Khairar-Bhimsen is 126%, 160% and 107%, respectively, which leads to congestion and slow movement of trains, it said.
 
The release said the doubling will provide for easy movement of trains going and coming from Jhansi and Kanpur and coming and going to Allahabad without any stoppage for crossing of trains of opposite direction. It will improve punctuality of passenger trains and smooth running on the routes of Jhansi-Satna and Kanpur-Satna. It will also help in better safety through improved availability for maintenance blocks. It will also result in overall development of Bundelkhand region.
 
"It may be noted that DFC (Dedicated Freight Corridor) connectivity will be near Bhimsen. Thus, this route will also act as a feeder route of DFC and help in economic and industrial development through swift movement of goods especially agricultural produce to consumer areas, and to ports for export. The cement cluster in Satna and infrastructure sector will be another major beneficiary from this development through smoother movement of cement," the release said.
 
"It will also improve connectivity to Khajuraho which is an international tourist destination. This will also lead to economic prosperity and employment opportunities through tourism in the region.
 
"Electrification will lead to faster trains, reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable environment. Further, It will reduce fuel import dependence, and result in energy costs savings for Railways and forex savings for the country," the release added.
 
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President to visit Madhya Pradesh on Sunday

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President Ram Nath Kovind will visit Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh tomorrow to attend a function organised by the Indian Red Cross Society to declare Gwalior as "Divyang friendly district" and to distribute artificial limbs. 
 
He will also deliver the 4th Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Memorial Lecture at ITM University, Gwalior, and attend the convocation of Jiwaji University, before returning to Delhi, an official press release said.
 
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GAIL places Rs. 440 crore order for 350 km Vijaipur-Auraiya spurline

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Public sector natural gas major GAIL (India) Limited today said it had placed a Rs. 440 crore order for the laying of a 350-km pipeline from Vijaipur in Madhya Pradesh to Auraiya in Uttar Pradesh.
 
This is part of the spurline of approximately 665 km length from Vijaipur to Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh to existing HVJ-DVPL upgradation pipeline system.  
 
The pipeline laying contracts for 315-km stretch from Auraiya to Phulpur was earlier awarded during November 2016, a press release from GAIL said here today.
 
The release said the Vijaipur-Phulpur pipeline would provide gas feed to the 2655-km long Jagdishpur-Haldia-Bokaro-Dhamra pipeline (JHBDPL) project of GAIL, also known as the ‘Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga’ project, inaugurated by the Prime Minister in July 2015. 
 
The JHBDPL will pass through the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha, and the project is progressing in full swing which will usher Industrial development in East India by supplying environmentally clean natural gas to fertilizer and power plants, refineries, steel plants, city gas distribution (CGD) and other industries.
 
GAIL Chairman and Managing Director  B. C. Tripathi said the company had awarded contracts worth Rs. 5,400 crore in the current fiscal year, which included Rs. 3500 crore for procurement of pipeline and Rs. 1,900 crore for laying of pipelines. 
 
He said GAIL had awarded till date contracts worth Rs. 7,500 crore for ongoing pipeline projects of around 4000 kms in south and eastern India. The two major ongoing projects -- Kochi-Kottanad-Mangalore project in Kerala and Karnataka and the JGBDPL --  are progressing well, he said.
 
“GAIL is committed to completing both the projects well within scheduled time and cost. The two projects will form a vital part of the National Gas Grid and also provide huge employment opportunities. The pipeline will provide an impetus to economic development in the area," he said.
 
On GAIL's plans for the CGD sector, he said the company, along with its subsidiaries and joint ventures, were fully geared up to fulfill the Prime Minister's target of 1 crore PNG connections by 2020. He said capex in the current fiscal year had increased by more than 50% in the CGD sector. In the current financial year 2017-18, GAIL, along with its subsidiaries and JVs, have issued orders of Rs. 2200 crore for various city gas projects across the country.
 
“All the group companies have made detailed plans for expansion of city gas infrastructure in the coming years. Accordingly, the Boards of respective companies have approved capex of Rs. 3500 crore for FY 2018-19. The outlay will be increased after PNGRB’s IX & X bidding round for 142 new cities. The focus on CGD sector will help in curbing pollution by providing clean fuel to households, transportation sector, small industries and commercial establishment," he added.
 
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IREDA inks agreement for large-scale solar parks in Madhya Pradesh

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Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA) and Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited (RUMSL) signed an agreement today for financing the shared infrastructure of two large solar parks in Madhya Pradesh.
 
The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE), World Bank and IREDA had come out with a proposal to channelize $ 100 million for creating a common infrastructure for ultra-mega solar parks in India to achieve the 100 GW solar capacity addition target by 2022, set by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
Under the World Bank Line of Credit, IREDA has sanctioned its first loan of Rs. 210.62 crore to RUMSL to finance two such solar parks in Madhya Pradesh.  The agreement was signed by S K Bhargava, Director (Finance), IREDA  and Avaneesh Shukla, Executive Engineer, RUMSL in the presence of Upendra Tripathy, Interim Director General, International Solar Alliance (ISA).
 
The broad terms and condition of the agreement include a fixed interest rate of 8.5% p.a. for entire loan tenure, moratorium from principal repayments up to 5 years and loan repayment period of up to 20 years.
 
Speaking on the occasion, K S Popli, CMD, IREDA appreciated the initiative of MNRE, support of The World Bank and more specifically of DEA to reduce the Sovereign Guarantee fee to 0.5%. This support from DEA will enable to expedite development of such proposals in other states also, he added.
 
Upendra Tripathy, Interim Director General, ISA stressed the need to pay immediate attention to the development of 121 projects of solar technologies in 121 ISA member countries by April 21, 2018.
 
He congratulated IREDA and RUMSL for achieving the feat in a short time frame and also for the innovative Payment Security Mechanism which will ensure timely payment to the developer.
 
Manu Srivastava, Principal Secretary and Managing Director, RUMSL mentioned that RUMSL, at present, was setting up two solar parks, in Rewa with a capacity of 750 MW and Mandsaur with 250 MW capacity. 
 
With the solar park model, Payment Security Mechanism and the Line of Credit from The World Bank, the tariff for Rewa project was as low as Rs. 3.30 on a levelized basis. Out of the total power proposed to be generated at Rewa solar park, 24% has been agreed to be purchased by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and balance 76% by Madhya Pradesh Power Management Company Ltd (MPPMCL), an official press release added.
 
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NHAI awards contract for four-laning of Hiran River-Sindoor River section of NH-12 in MP

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The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has issued a Letter of Award (LOA) for the four-laning of the Hiran River-Sindoor River section of national highway (NH)-12 in Madhya Pradesh,
 
The work in the 64-km section to be executed at a cost of Rs 866.39 crore will be executed by Krishna Constructions-Gawar Construction Limited (JV), an official press release said.
 
The project would be implemented in the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) mode with a construction period of 24 months.  The project includes upgrading of the highway from two-lane to four-lane with rigid pavement (cement concrete road).
 
It also involves the construction of four major bridges, 20 minor bridges, nine underpasses at the location of a minor junction and 29 minor junctions for the free and safe movement of road users.
 
The project road passes for 13 km through a wildlife sanctuary in which 39.750 hectares (ha) of forest land is required for diversion. The road also passes through reserve and protected forest for two km length of which 11.081 ha. forest land is required for diversion. 
 
In order to facilitate free and safe movement of wildlife, adequate mitigation measures have been included in the project with an additional span of 5m on either side of the major bridges, provision of structures of size 5X3.5M at 25 locations.
 
On completion of the project, the journey on this highway stretch will become safer, saving time, fuel and vehicle maintenance cost, the release added.
 
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Anandiben Patel appointed as Governor of Madhya Pradesh

Anandiben Patel
Anandiben Patel
President Ram Nath Kovind today appointed former Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel as the new Governor of Madhya Pradesh.
 
A press communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan said the appointment would be with effect from the date she assumes charge of her office.
 
Gujarat Governor Om Prakash Kohli is currently holding charge of the post of the Governor of Madhya Pradesh after Mr. Ram Naresh Yadav completed his tenure on September 7, 2016.
 
Ms. Patel, 76, had become the first woman Chief Minister of Gujarat in May, 2014, succeeding Mr. Narendra Modi, who moved to Delhi as the Prime Minister after ruling the state for more than 12 years. She had earlier served as Revenue Minister in Mr. Modi's cabinet.
 
On August 1, 2016, Ms. Patel sprang a surprise by offering to resign from her position, citing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) "tradition" of leaders quitting their posts when they attain the age of 75.
 
In a letter to BJP President Amit Shah, which she posted on her Facebook and Twitter pages, she said she had always abided by the party's ideology, principles and discipline. She said many leaders had established the tradition of voluntarily giving up their positions when they reached 75 years of age, which had set an example for everyone in the party.
 
She said this tradition had provided opportunities for younger leaders to work for the party and the country.
 
The offer of resignation served to end months of speculation about whether Ms. Patel would be able to complete her term, especially in the wake of criticism of the way her Government had handled the agitation by members of the influential Patidar community in the state as well the protests by Dalits.
 
Her resignation had been accepted by the party's leadership and Mr. Vijay Rupani was chosen to succeed her as Chief Minister of Gujarat.
 
Born on November 21, 1941, Ms. Patel has been a member of the BJP since 1987.
 
She studied as the only girl in a school with some 700 boys because there was no other school nearby. She went on to complete her M.Sc. and M.Ed. degrees. She joined a school in Ahmedabad as a teacher and went on to become its principal.
 
She came into prominence when, during a school excursion, she jumped into the Narmada river to save two of her girl students who had fallen into it, a feat for which she received a bravery award from the President. Following this, the BJP invited her to join the party and she went on to become the head of its women's wing in Gujarat.
 
She was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1994 and has been elected as a member of the State legislative assembly for four consecutive terms since 1998 and served as a Minister in the State Cabinet since then till she resigned as Chief Minister in 2016.
 
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ECI to hold bye-elections on February 24 to fill two vacancies in Madhya Pradesh Assembly

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) today said it would hold bye-elections on February 24 to fill two casual vacancies from the Kolaras and Mungaoli constituencies in the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
 
An official press release said the notifications for the elections would be issued on January 30 and the last date for filing nominations is February 6. Scrutiny of nominations would be done on February 7 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations is February 9.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up on March 3, the release added.
 
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Modi calls for greater openness among States on security issues

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the valedictory ceremony of the annual Conference of Director Generals of Police (DsGP) and Inspector Generals of Police at the BSF Academy at Tekanpur near here in Madhya Pradesh, on January 8, 2018
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the valedictory ceremony of the annual Conference of Director Generals of Police (DsGP) and Inspector Generals of Police at the BSF Academy at Tekanpur near here in Madhya Pradesh, on January 8, 2018
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today underlined the need for greater openness among States on security issues.
 
Addressing the valedictory ceremony of the annual Conference of Director Generals of Police (DsGP) and Inspector Generals of Police at the Border Security Force (BSF) Academy at Tekanpur near here in Madhya Pradesh, Mr. Modi mentioned the emerging global consensus towards greater information sharing on illicit financial dealings, and said India had a key role to play in achieving this. 
 
He said just as openness is getting increased acceptance worldwide, there is need for greater openness among States too, on security issues. He said that security cannot be achieved selectively, or alone. But breaking of silos and information sharing among states can help make everyone more secure.
 
"We are not an assembled entity, but an organic entity," he asserted.
 
Mr. Modi said the nature and scope of the conference had changed since 2014, beginning with its being shifted out of Delhi. He appreciated the officers who have been instrumental in facilitating this change. 
 
He said the conference had now become more relevant, in the context of challenges and responsibilities facing the country. He said the new format of the conference had resulted in a marked improvement in the quality of discussions.
 
He commended the country's security apparatus for the work they are doing in securing the country. He said that the officers present in the gathering today  have  delivered  leadership, despite often having to operate in an environment of  negativity.
 
Mr. Modi said that as a result of the discussions in the conference over the last few years, now, once an objective is clearly defined for the police force, there is a lot of cohesion in the execution. He said this conference is helping top police officers get a more holistic view of problems and challenges. He said the range of topics being discussed has become more broad-based over the last two years. This has helped give a whole new vision to senior police officers, he added.
 
Discussing ways to add even more value to the conference, the Prime Minister suggested that follow-up should continue through working groups, all the year round. In this context, he specially emphasized the importance of involving younger officers. He said this would greatly help in improving effectiveness of the exercise.
 
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Mr. Modi said cyber security issues should be dealt with immediately, and should receive highest priority. In this context, he particularly mentioned the importance of social media. He said messaging should rely on local languages for greater effectiveness. On radicalization too, he urged the use of technology to pinpoint problem areas. 
 
The Prime Minister also presented President's Police Medals for Distinguished Service to Intelligence Bureau (IB) officers. During his address, he congratulated and appreciated the medal winning officers of IB for their dedication and commitment to service.
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and Union Ministers of State for Home Hansraj Ahir and Kiren Rijiju were present on the occasion.
 
Mr. Modi had reached Tekanpur yesterday and attended the opening day of the two-day conference.
 
The conference is an annual event in which the top police officers from all the States and Union Territories (UTs) as well as from all the major police organisations discuss security related issues.
 
Mr. Modi had earlier addressed the conference in Guwahati, Assam in 2014, Dhordo, Rann of Kutch, Gujarat in 2015 and National Police Academy, Hyderabad in 2016. 
 
Holding the Annual DsGP Conference outside the national capital, is in line with Prime Minister's vision that such conferences should be held across the country, and not confined to Delhi.
 
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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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