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Madhya Pradesh

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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ECI Enquiry Committee finds no tampering in EVMs, VVPAT units used in Bhind demo

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) has said that a Special Enquiry team appointed by it has found no anomaly or tampering in the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units  used during a demonstration in Ater, Bhind in Madhya Pradesh recently.
 
The enquiry team, led by Mr. Bhanwar Lal, Chief Electoral Officer, Andhra Pradesh, was appointed by the ECI to enquire into all aspects of the various allegations raised in the media and by political parties after the demonstration.
 
Media reports had said that the VVPAT unit used during the trial gave out slips bearing only the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's "Lotus" symbol, irrespective of which button was pressed on the EVM. This led to allegations that the EVMs and VVPAT units had been tampered with, which the ECI denied.
 
An official press release said the Special Enquiry team had submitted its report to the Commission, in which said that it had found no anomaly or tampering in the EVM and VVPAT unit used during demonstration in Ater (Bhind) on March 31, attended by senior officials ahead of a bye-election in the state.
 
The release said the team had conducted technical examination of the  Ballot Unit (BU), Control Unit (CU) and VVPAT used during the demonstration as well as oral examination of the officials present during the demonstration. Data was also retrieved from the CU.
 
The release said all this had conclusively established that during the demonstration, four buttons of BU were pressed and the corresponding symbols were displayed.
 
"The team in its report concludedthat it is completely false to say that at multiple times slips of lotus were printed on pressing different buttons during the demonstration on 31st March as alleged," it said.
 
According to it, the lapse related to non-deletion of the pre-loaded data of Govind Nagar AC of Kanpur Nagar from where VVPATs (not EVMs) were received and reloading with the symbols/data of dummy candidates before demonstration as per the laid down protocol of the Commission necessitated appropriate action by the Commission.
 
The enquiry committee concluded that the EVM used in the demonstration in Bhind was not brought from Uttar Pradesh, as had been alleged, though the VVPAt used was brought from the state. Uttar Pradesh was one of the five states where crucial elections to legislative assemblies were held recently.
 
It said that, since the VVPATs are limited in number and had been used by all the five states where elections were held, the VVPATs for the ten states where bye-elections are being held were allocated from the five states where elections had been held.
 
"In this case, the VVPAT was allocated from UP and brought from Govind Nagar AC of Kanpur Nagar,UP," it said.
 
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"Bringing the VVPAT from UP is not in violation of law. As per the law, only the EVMs used in the poll and the VVPAT slips contained in the box are required to be preserved for the period of 45 days in a secured manner for the purpose of Election Petition, if any. There is no bar on the movement of VVPATs machines as the same are not required to be preserved for Election Petitions as the paper slips printed through the VVPAT and contained in the Box are required to be preserved separately. In this case, however, further precaution was taken to move only the reserve VVPATs used as substitutes during poll on which no restriction applies," the release said.
 
The Committee said the enquiry conclusively established that the accuracy of the functioning of the EVMs and VVPATs, including the units used in the Bhind demonstration, was beyond doubt.
 
It said the Commission may like to fix responsibility on the District Election Officer (DEO) and Returning Officer (RO) for the lapses brought out in the enquiry report.
 
"Commission may like to prescribe check list for handling each activity relating to EVM/VVPAT which should be mandatorily adhered to by the electoral authorities and the same should be monitored through MIS online by the Commission. The existing instructions issued from time to time may be compiled in the form of these checklists. The said revised checklistslaid down by the Election Commission of India regarding handling of various activities on EVMs/VVPATs, must be rigorously followed by the entire electoral machinery from the level of Presiding Officer to the CEO.
 
"Commission may like to reiterate that there should be no room for casualness in handling the electoral matters, least of all, such unwarranted remarks, as the sanctity of electoral process forms the foundation of India’s democracy," the committee said in its report.
 
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India signs first loan agreement with NDB for $ 350 million for roads project in MP

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India signed a loan agreement with the New Development Bank (NDB) here yesterday for financing of $ 350 million for development and upgradation of major district roads project in Madhya Pradesh.
 
This is the first loan agreement for an NDB-assisted project in India, an official press release said.
 
The agreement was signed by Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. Xian Zhu, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer on behalf of the New Development Bank. The Project Agreement was signed by Mr. Pramod Agrawal, Principal Secretary, Public Works Department and Mr. Manish Rastogi, Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation (MPRDC), on behalf of Government of Madhya Pradesh. 
 
The objective of the project is upgradation of major district roads in Madhya Pradesh to improve connectivity of the interior areas of the state with the national and state highway networks. The project would include upgradation, rehabilitation or reconstruction of approximately 1,500 km of district roads to intermediate lane, all-weather standards, with road safety features and improved road asset maintenance and management.
 
The project outcome is to improve transport connectivity to the interior regions and resultant boost to economic activity in the rural hinterland, the release said.
 
The project implementation period is five years. Government of Madhya Pradesh and the MPRDC are the implementing agencies, the release added.
 
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13 injured as Jabalpur-Nizamuddin Mahakaushal Express derails in Uttar Pradesh

Thirteen passengers suffered injuries when eight coaches of the 12189 Jabalpur-Hazrat Nizamuddin Mahakaushal Express derailed near Mahoba in Uttar Pradesh in the early hours of Thursday, official sources said.

 
13 injured as Mahakaushal Express derails in Uttar Pradesh
Thirteen passengers suffered injuries when eight coaches of the 12189 Jabalpur-Hazrat Nizamuddin Mahakaushal Express derailed near  Mahoba in Uttar Pradesh in the early hours of today, official sources said.
 
Of the injured, one person suffered a bone fracture and had been hospitalised, while the others had simple injuries, they said.
 
The mishap occurred at 2.27 am between Mahoba and Kulpahar stations on the Manikpur-Jhansi section of Jhansi Division of North Central Railway.
 
Eight rearmost coaches of the train derailed, including four AC coaches, two  Ordinary Second Class General Coach, one Sleeper Class and one Passenger cum Luggage cum Guard (SLR) coach. 
 
The sources said local ambulances were called immediately and some of the injured were rushed to the District Hospital at Mahoba while others were given first aid at the site.
 
The stranded passengers were taken to Jhansi by buses arranged by the Railways and in the unaffectd coaches of the train, which departed from the site at 6.48 am with ten coaches.
 
An Accident Relief Medical Van (ARMV) reached the site along with doctor, paramedical staff and officers. The General Manager, North Central Railway and Divisional Rail Manager, Jhansi alongwith senior officers also reached the scene to supervise the rescue and relief efforts.
 
Helpline Numbers were set up at 17 stations including Nizamuddin, Agra, Gwalior, Jhansi, Orai and Banda, Jabalpur stations to provide assistance to the public. 
 
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Railway officials said adequate free catering arrangements, including food packets, water, tea, milk, water and so on, were made at the site and at Jhansi station for the passengers.
 
A few trains were cancelled and diverted. Efforts were being made on a war footing to restore traffic on the affected section and traffic was expected to resume by late this evening, the sources said.
 
The Ministry of Railways has announced an enhanced ex-gratia payment of Rs. 50,000 for the grievously injured and Rs. 25,000 for passengers with simple injuries.
 
The Railways have ordered an inquiry by a five-member team of Senior Administrative Grade (SAG) level officers of North Central Railway to establish the cause of the accident.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines for providing information to passengers and their relatives:
Mathura: 0585 2402008, 2402009
Allahabad: 0532-1072, 0532-2408149
Kanpur: 0512-1072, 2323015, 16, 18
Hazrat Nizamuddin: 011-24359748
New Delhi: 011-23542954, 23341074
 
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Lucknow encounter: Rajnath says prompt action by police averted major security threat

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that the prompt action taken by the police of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, which culminated in the death of a suspected terrorist in Lucknow in the early hours of Wednesday, had helped to successfully avert a threat to national security.

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said that the prompt action taken by the police of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, which culminated in the death of a suspected terrorist in Lucknow in the early hours of yesterday, had helped to successfully avert a threat to national security.
 
In a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha on the entire sequence of events, Mr. Singh said they presented an "excellent example of coordination amongst the State Police and Central agencies".
 
He said further investigations in the case would be handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
 
“As per the available information, on 7th March, 2017 at 09.41 hours a blast took place in the general compartment of train no. 59320 Bhopal-Ujjain Passenger near railway station Jabdi, district Shajapur, Madhya Pradesh. 10 passengers got injuries in this blast and railway property was also damaged. The injured were immediately rushed to the hospital. All the injured are presently out of danger," Mr. Singh said.
 
He said that, with regard to this incident, a case crime number 47/17 under sections 3/4 of the Explosive Substances Act was registered against unknown accused in police station GRP, Ujjain for investigation on the report of train guard.
 
Mr. Singh said that, as soon as the information about the incident was received, the Director General of Police (DGP), Madhya Pradesh rushed to the spot along with other senior officers of Police and Administration and initiated necessary action with regard to the investigation of the incident.
 
"Initial inspection of the scene of crime indicated that the accused had used an IED prepared by using locally available explosives for the blast," he said.
 
The Minister said the Madhya Pradesh Police coordinated with Central agencies for the investigation of the incident. 
 
"Subsequently, based on available intelligence, three suspects were taken into custody by Madhya Pradesh Police during vehicle checking at a place Pipariya in district Hoshangabad. Interrogation of these suspects indicated their involvement in the aforesaid incident and they were arrested. Further investigation of the case is being done in coordination with central agencies and information is being collected about other accomplices of the accused.
 
"Based on the interrogation of the above suspects and other available information, Uttar Pradesh Police initiated action at different places in Lucknow, Etawah, Kanpur and Auraiya.
 
"In Lucknow, information was received about one Mohammad Saifullah alias Ali, resident of Kanpur, renting an accommodation in Haji Colony, Police Station Kakori," he said.
 
Mr. Singh said the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Uttar Pradesh laid a siege of the house and made vigorous attempts to arrest the suspect Saifullah. 
 
"However, he refused to surrender and started firing on ATS team. Ultimately, after 12 hours of efforts, the ATS team entered the room in which Saifullah was holed up and in the ensuing encounter, this suspected terrorist was killed. From the room of the deceased, 8 pistols, 630 live cartridges and other material which included cash of Rs. 1.5 lakh, about 45 grams gold, 3 mobile phones, 4 sim cards, 2 wireless sets and some foreign currency was recovered," he said.
 
"A case crime number 2/2017 u/s 307/121A/122/123/124-A IPC, 3/4/25/27 Arms Act and 16/18/23 UAPA has been registered at Police Station ATS, Lucknow with regard to the incident.
 
"ATS Kanpur Unit has arrested one more suspect from Jajmau Police Station area against whom a case crime number 3/2017 u/s 121/121A/123/124A IPC and 16/18/23/38 of UAPA has been registered.
 
"Apart from the above, two more accused, one from Etawah and one from Auraiya have been arrested by Uttar Pradesh Police on the charge of supplying weapons to the above gang of suspected terrorists. Thus, total 6 arrests have been made in these incidents so far," he added.
 
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Mr. Singh also said the Government and the Lok Sabha sympathised with Mohammed Sartaj, the father of the slain terror suspect, who refused to accept his " traitor" son's body.
 
Media reports had quoted Sartaj as saying on Wednesday, "A traitor cannot be related to me, let alone be my son."
 
"My child has done something wrong and I regret it. I would have personally handed him over to the police if I had the slightest inkling about his activities," he said.
 
Sartaj asserted that he was an Indian citizen, who was born in this country and whose ancestors were also born here. He said Saifullah had left home about two and a half months ago after being scolded for not working. Last week, the youth had called his family to stay that he was going to Saudi Arabia for a job.
 
The Home Minister said that when the Uttar Pradesh met Sartaj to hand over Saifullah's body, he had refused to accept it. "He said I have worked hard all my life for my family, but this boy has shamed me. I sympathise with the father of Saifullah, I am sure the whole House sympathises with him," Mr. Singh said.
 
"He has lost a son. The government is proud of such people, the whole House is proud of such people," Mr. Singh said.
 
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Cabinet approves establishment of Food Legumes Research Platform at Amlaha, Madhya Pradesh

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The Union Cabinet yesterday approved the established of Food Legumes Research Platform (FLRP) at Amlaha, Sehore in Madhya Pradesh with satellite hubs in West Bengal (for pulses) and Rajasthan (for Natural Resource Management) in the second phase by International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA).
 
An official press release said the Cabinet also approved signing of lease ded with the Madhya Pradesh Government for the 70.99 hectares of land provided by it at Amlaha Farm, Sehore on land rent of Rs. 1 per acre per year 30 years on lease and to further lease it to ICARDA to establish the FLRP.
 
The Cabinet gave "in principle" approval for conferring on FLRP an international status as contemplated in Clause 3 of the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947.
 
It authorised the Department of Agricultural Research (DARE) on behalf of Government of India in all matters regarding establishment of the Platform and the Ministry of Agriculture to carry out technical modifications in the Supplementary Agreement signed between ICAR and ICARDA relating to establishment of FLRP, if required.
 
The release said the establishment of FLRP will enable India to harness the best of international science in meeting the emerging food security challenges. India would be able to rapidly and effectively absorb the research output achieved in the country by FLRP. 
 
"A major international R&D institution will make India an even bigger center for agricultural research in the world and this in turn, will attract further research & development investment in the country.  
 
"This is a research set-up by an international organization. ICARDA has a good track record of innovation, as in climate resilient technologies including suitable food legume varieties for dry-land production systems. ICARDA will carry out research through a multi-disciplinary team of scientists for enhancing productivity of crops range-land and livestock. This platform will contribute significantly towards reducing poverty, improving food security, improving nutrition and health, and sustaining the natural resource base.    
 
"The research output would benefit farmers of all regions, whether big, small or marginal; and as technologies developed would be eligible for use by all farmers, the project is equitable and inclusive," the release added.
 
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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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HCC-LCESPL JV awarded Rs 374 crore contract from Narmada Valley Development Authority in MP

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Infrastructure major Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) today said its joint venture (JV) with Laxmi Civil Engineering Services Pvt Ltd (LCESPL) had been awarded Rs. 374.6 crore contract by the Narmada Valley Development Authority to construct Bistan Lift Irrigation Scheme on turnkey basis. 
 
HCC's share in the joint venture is 51% (Rs 191 crore). The project is to be completed in 30 months, a press release from HCC said.
 
The project will irrigate 22,000 hectares in Bistan region under Gogawan, Bhagwanpura and Khargone tehsils in Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh by drawing water from the main canal of Indira Sagar project, it said.
 
The release said the scope of the project includes two pumping stations, connecting pipeline of 167 kms and micro irrigation systems including automation systems (SCADA), it said.
 
HCC has extensive experience in execution of large scale multidisciplinary EPC contracts for some of the largest lift irrigation schemes in the country.  HCC has constructed Godavari Lift irrigation Phase I, Phase II and Phase III, the Veligonda lift irrigation project, the Rajiv Sagar lift irrigation project in Telangana and Saurashtra Branch Canal in Gujarat. 
 
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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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Bye-elections to be held on November 19 to fill four LS, eight Assembly seats

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The Election Commission (EC) today said it would hold bye-elections to fill casual vacancies in the Lok Sabha from three States and eight seats in the Legislative Assemblies in seven States.
 
The vacancies in the Lok Sabha are from Lakhimpur in Assam, Shahdol (ST) in Madhya Pradesh and Coochbehar (SC) and Tamluk in West Bengal, an official press release said.
 
The Assembly seats vacant are 20-Baithalangso (ST) in Assam, 45 – Hayuliang (ST) in Arunachal Pradesh, 179-Nepanagar (ST) in Madhya Pradesh, 263-Monteswar in West Bengal, 195-Thiruparankundram in Tamil Nadu, 4-Barjala and 25-Khowai in Tripura and 17-Nellithope in Puducherry.
 
The release said the notification for the bye-elections will be issued on October 26 and the last date for making nominations is November 2. Counting of votes will be taken up on November 22.
 
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14 dead, 16 injured as bus falls into pit near Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh

 
14 dead, 16 injured as bus falls into pit near Ratlam
At least 14 people died and 16 others suffered injuries when a private bus carrying them veered off the road and plunged into a pit filled with rain water near Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh today, official sources said.
 
District Magistrate B. Chandrashekhar told NetIndian over the telephone that the deceased included three women and 11 men.
 
He said both the driver and the conductor of the bus were among those who lost their lives.
 
There was no accurate estimate of the number of passengers the bus was carrying, and district officials and agencies were continuing to search for more bodies in the pit, which is part of an abandoned mine. A team from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had reached the scene and were helping out with the rescue operations, Mr. Chandrashekhar said.
 
The bus was on its way from Ratlam to Jaora when the mishap occurred around 10.30 am at 12 Patthar Khadan, about two km from Namli. Various accounts suggested that the driver of the bus lost control over the steering wheel, resulting in the tragedy. The entire bus was submerged under the water, sources said.
 
The injured were rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives in the accident.
“Extremely distressed by the loss of lives caused by the bus accident in Ratlam, MP. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. I wish those injured in the bus accident in Ratlam a quick recovery," he said on microblogging site Twitter.
 
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Mukherjee hands over keys of EWS houses in Gwalior

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President Pranab Mukherjee has expressed happiness at efforts being made under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana to provide houses to every homeless person in the country by 2022.
 
Presiding over a function for distribution of keys and ownership certificates for houses for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS)  built under the Integrated Housing & Slum Development Project at Jiwaji University here yesterday, he said solving the housing problem was not easy. 
 
As of 2012, the housing shortage in urban India was to the tune of 1.88 crore and, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 6.6%, it is expected to touch 3.4 crores dwelling units by 2022 as per projections.
 
But providing housing to all is not merely a slogan and through the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, the Government is committed in this regard, he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee also congratulated Madhya Pradesh government and people of Gwalior for their city getting selected for development under the “Smart City Programme” of the Centre. 
 
“It is indeed heartening to be present on the occasion when a number of residents, till now living in slum like conditions, are being provided the ownership of houses of their own,” he added.
 
The President said at one time there was a slogan ‘Roti Kapda aur Makan, Mang Raha Hai Hindustan’. Now he would like to add two more requirements to this slogan, that is, ‘Shiksha' and 'Swasthya’. Only when food, clothing and housing along with health and education are available to the people of the country can growth of India be possible, he added.
 
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President attends 60th Founders Day of Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya, Gwalior

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President Pranab Mukherjee has said that he saluted women who courageously faced every impediment in life to reach their goals and achievements.
 
Addressing the 60th Founders Day Celebrations of Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya here yesterday, he said he was happy to be present on the occasion of six decades of establishment of the institution. 
 
He complimented the late Vijaya Raje Scindia for the vision and courage of establishing an educational institution exclusively for girl children at a time when literacy amongst women in the country hovered around a meagre 10%.
 
Mr. Mukherjee also congratulated the Board of Governors of the school and expressed hope that the high standard set by its founders would be upheld in the future, too.
 
He said today education was the alchemy that could take India to its next golden age. He called upon teachers and students to strive for democratisation of quality education.
 
The President said education and learning were a lifelong process. Quoting Swami Vivekananda, he said, “Education which does not help the common mass of people to equip themselves for the struggle for life, which does not bring out strength of character, a spirit of philanthropy, and the courage of a lion- is it worth the name? Real education is that which enables one to stand on one’s own legs."
 
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Bye-elections to fill vacancy in Rajya Sabha to be held on October 17

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The Election Commission today said it would hold a bye-election on October 17 to fill a vacancy in the Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh.
 
The vacancy has arisen due to the resignation on August 20 of BJP member and former Union Minister Najma A. Heptulla, who has been appointed as Governor of Manipur.
 
Her tenure in the Upper House of Parliament would, in the normal course, have been upto April 2, 2018.
 
A bye-election will also be held on the same day to fill another casual vacancy in the Telangana Legislative Council elected by the members of Legislative Assembly due to the resignation of sitting member Tummala Nageswara Rao on May 23. The term of his office would have been up to June 3, 2021. 
 
Notifications for the bye-elections will be issued on September 26 and the last date for filing nominations is October 3. Counting of votes will be taken up at 5 pm on October 17, one hour after polling ends.
 
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Tourism Ministry approves projects worth Rs. 450 crore in MP, TN, UP, Uttarakhand, Sikkim

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The Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) for the Swadesh Darshan Scheme in the Ministry of Tourism has approved projects worth Rs. 450 crore for development of various projects in five states.
 
The projects are related to the Heritage Circuits in Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Ramayana Circuit in Uttar Pradesh, North East Circuit in Sikkim and Coastal Circuit in Tamil Nadu, an official press release said.
 
The Heritage Circuit in Madhya Pradesh covers Gwalior- Orchha- Khajuraho-Chanderi-Bhimbetka-Mandu with a total project cost of approximately Rs. 100 crore. The project envisages world class infrastructural development of the sites which includes developing a Theme Park and Convention centre in Khajuraho, Sound and Light Show in Mandu. 
 
Site Illumination, Construction of Tourist Facilitation Centres and parking area are other interventions proposed in the circuit, the release said.
 
The Heritage Circuit in Uttarakhand envisages developing tourism infrastructure in Jageshwar, Devidhura, Katarmal and Baijnath with a total cost of about Rs. 83 crore. The highlights of the project are development of Eco Log Huts, Sound and Light Show and Upgradation of Temple Pathways. 
 
The Coastal Circuit in Tamil Nadu envisages development of the Chennai-Mamamallapuram -Rameshwaram-Manpadu–Kanyakumari route with total project cost of approximately Rs.100 crore. Sound and light show, development of beach amenities, and construction of pedestrian bridge connecting Vivekanand Memorial with Tiruvalluvar Statue at Kanyakumari are the highlights of the project.
 
The Ramayana Circuit in State of Uttar Pradesh envisages development of two destinations -- Chitrakoot and Shringverpur at a cost of Rs. 70 crore. The plans include development of Parikrama marg, food plaza, laser show and foot overbridge connecting the MP and UP parts of Chitrakoot, apart from development of ghats, tourist facilitation centre and parking areas.
 
The Ramayana Circuit in Uttar Pradesh also includes Ayodhya for which the State Tourism Department of Uttar Pradesh is preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR).
 
The North East circuit in Sikkim with approximate project cost of Rs. 95.50 crore includes development of eco log huts, cultural centre, paragliding centre, craft bazaar, base camp for mountaineering and meditation hall, the release added.
 
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BRICS Convention on Tourism to be held at Khajuraho on September 1-2

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The Ministry of Tourism will host the “BRICS Convention on Tourism” on September 1-2 at Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh as a precursor to the the BRICS Summit to be held in Goa on October 15-16.
 
Delegation from the five BRICS countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- are expected to participate in the Convention.
 
The two day event will comprise an inter-Governmental exchange of views and ideas, Panel discussions on Technology, Innovation in Tourism, and Cooperation between the BRICS countries for promoting intra-regional tourism. 
 
B2B meetings between the Indian travel trade and their counterparts from the other BRICS countries will also be organised.
 
Elements of culture, handicrafts and cuisine from different regions of India will be showcased during the convention.
 
Post-convention familiarization tours are also being organised for the BRICS delegates from September 3-6, an official press release said.
 
The itineraries for the familiarisation tours will cover tourist destinations in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which include Varanasi- Bodhgaya, Orchha/Agra, and Bhopal-Sanchi- Bhimbetka. The tours will be hosted by the respective State Governments, the release added.
 
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Modi invokes Vajpayee's vision, says govt. wants to create jobs for youth in Kashmir

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday his government would take forward former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's vision of "Insaniyat, Jamahooriyat, Kashmiriyat" forward in Jammu & Kashmir and appealed to the youth of the valley to come forward and help turn the state into "heaven on earth".

 
Kashmiri boys should hold laptops in their hands, not stones: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said his government would take forward former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's vision of "Insaniyat, Jamahooriyat, Kashmiriyat" forward in Jammu & Kashmir and appealed to the youth of the valley to come forward and help turn the state into "heaven on earth".
 
Addressing a public meeting at the birthplace of freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad at Bhabra in Madhya Pradesh, where he flagged off a "Tiranga Yatra" to launch the 70th Freedom Year Celebrations, he said every Indian loved Kashmir and wished to visit Kashmir.
 
Mr. Modi said a few misguided elements were attempting to spoil the great traditions of Kashmir.
 
He said the Union Government wanted to create employment opportunities for the youth of Kashmir. He said Kashmir wanted peace and the people of Kashmir wanted to earn more through tourism. 
 
He said both the Centre and the Jammu & Kashmir government were attempting to find a solution to all problems through development. 
 
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Mr. Modi recalled that Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, had given the call for the British to Quit India this very day.
 
He urged people to remember those who gave their lives so that the nation could breathe the air of freedom. 
 
He said it was his privilege to visit the birthplace of Chandrashekhar Azad. "People like him inspire us to work for the nation," he added. 
 
The Prime Minister said that people who did not have a chance to lay down their lives for the nation should take the opportunity now to live for the nation. He said a nation moved forward on the strength of its people, their aspirations, and their hard work. 
 
He said the need of the hour was for all to work together with a common resolve to take the nation to new heights. He said the Indian tricolour united the people, and inspired them to rewrite India's destiny.
 
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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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Railways launch Tiger Express train from Delhi to Bandhavgarh, Kanha

Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu yesterday flagged off the inaugural run of the Tiger Express, a semi-luxury train that will take tourists from Delhi to the world famous Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Parks in Madhya Pradesh.
 
An added bonus for the tourists will be a trip to the Dhuadhar Waterfall in Bedhaghat near Jabalpur.
 
The train, which was announced in the Railway Budget for 2016-17, was flagged from the Safdarjung Station here by Mr. Prabhu through video-conferencing from Mumbai.
 
The tourist train will be operated by the public sector Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
 
The train will have a 5 days/6 nights itinerary, starting from Delhi Sufdarjung railway station here and covering Katani, Jabalpur, Bandhavgadh, Kanha. 
 
The Kanha National Park is known for the presence of tigers, Swamp Deer, and the Barasingha. It is also recognized as the source of inspiration for renowned writer Rudyard Kipling's famous novel, “The Jungle Book”.
 
The Bandhavgarh National Park is known for its biodiversity. The density of the tiger population at Bandhavgarh is one of the highest known in India. The park has a large breeding population of leopards and various species of deer. 
 
A press release from the Railways said the itinerary includes three Tiger Safaris, giving the tourists opportunities to spot the majestic wild cats in their natural environs and a spectacular view of wildlife.
 
Regular monthly trips of the fully air-conditioned train, which has been vinyl-wrapped with motifs of wildlife, are to begin from October, 2016 onwards.
 
IRCTC has been conducting a variety of tour programmes like the  ‘Desert Circuit’ in Rajasthan and the ‘Heritage Circuit’ in North India. This is for the first time that the Indian Railways have forayed into the exciting and fascinating world of wildlife tourism.
 
Dhuadhar Waterfall in Bedhaghat
Dhuadhar Waterfall in Bedhaghat
The package includes journey by the exclusive semi-luxury air- conditioned train, accommodation in air-conditioned rooms of three star equivalent hotels for three nights (one night in Bandhavgarh and two nights in Kanha in Mogli Resorts), sightseeing and road transportation by AC vehicles, buffet meals, game safaris, inter-city transfers and travel insurance.
 
This is also the first semi-luxury train on a tourist circuit having a dining car. The objective behind it is to facilitate frequent interactions among travellers during the travel. No other semi-luxury train is equipped with a dining car.
 
The itinerary has a tariff structure starting from Rs 38,500. For travelling in 1AC, tariff has been fixed at Rs 49,500 for single occupancy, Rs 45,500 for double occupancy, Rs 44,900 for triple occupancy and Rs 39,500 for child with bed (5-11 years).
 
The fares for those travelling in AC 2-tier is Rs 43,500 for single occupancy, Rs 39,000 for double occupancy, Rs 38,500 for triple occupancy and Rs 33,500 for child with bed (5-11 years).
 
However, these rates are valid for Indian citizens only. An additional surcharge of Rs. 4,000 per person will be charged from foreigners for the Safari booking at Bandhagarh and Kanha.
 
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Highway through "Mowgli Land" gets Rs. 186 crore to take care of wildlife

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Admirers of 'Mowgli”, the boy hero of “Jungle Book” by 19th century writer Rudyard Kipling, will soon be able to drive through the forest that is believed to have been the setting for the novel without disturbing the tiger population in the Pench-Kanha Tiger Corridor during a road widening project.
 
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has sanctioned Rs. 186 crore for wildlife mitigation measures to take care of any possible adverse impact on the animals in Pench and Kanha tiger reserves. 
 
The work involves widening of the NH-7 which cuts across the “tiger corridor” at the Madhya Pradesh/Maharashtra border-Mansar section , an official press release said here yesterday.
 
The total length of the project from Nagpur to Madhya Pradesh/Maharashtra border is 117 km. Out of this, the work of four-laning of about 79 km, which includes the Nagpur Bypass, Kamptee- Kanhan Bypass and Kanhan-Mansar section of existing NH-7, was completed in July 2012.
 
However, the work from Mansar to the states' borders could not be taken up for want of tree felling permission and finalisation of mitigation measures to be adopted for wildlife habitat in and around the stretch.
 
With all the statutory clearances in place, NHAI has resumed civil works on this stretch. As per the recommendations of the Wildlife Institute of India and the National Tiger Conservation Authority, also endorsed by the High Court at Nagpur, NHAI is providing elaborate mitigation measures on the stretch.
 
The measures include three elevated sections of 750m, 750m and 300m length, so that wildlife can move across the highway alignment following their natural paths. Besides these, six other wildlife crossings of different dimensions are also being provided. 
 
The funds sanctioned is only a part of the amount to be spent for the purpose, the release added.
 
The much acclaimed Jungle Book's popularity continues well into the 21st century, the latest being a Hollywood film by Walt Disney in various 3-D formats. The story is about Mowgli, a foundling boy raised by wolves in the jungle, who comes in contact with various characters like Shere Khan, the tiger, Bagheera, the panther, Bhalu the bear and other characters and have several adventures.
 
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CCEA okays Bina-Katni third line project of West Central Railway

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday gave the go-ahead for the construction of a third railway line between Bina and Katni in Madhya Pradesh on the West Central Railway (WCR) at an estimated cost of Rs. 2,478.23 crore and expected completion cost of Rs. 2,917.06 crore. 
 
The 278.7 km long railway line is expected to be completed in five years, an official press release said.
 
The project will provide a third line to the thermal power plants in the area and cater to the increasing freight traffic in the region. The districts of Sagar, Damoh and Katni would also be benefited by the project.
 
Bina-Katni is a critical and busy section of WCR, serving coal rakes for thermal power plants at Chhabra Gugur and Jhalawar in Rajasthan and petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL) traffic for Mahadevkhedi in Madhya Pradesh. The present capacity utilization of the section is 136%. 
 
In view of the growing traffic and detention of crossing traffic, a third line betwen Bina and Katna has become necessary, the release added.
 
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AAI land to be leased for establishing Centre for Perishable Cargo at Indore airport

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The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for leasing out of Airports Authority of India (AAI) land measuring 1500 sqm. to  M.P. Warehousing Logistics Corporation (MPWLC) for establishing the Centre for Perishable Cargo (CPC) at Indore airport, Indore as per the resolution made by AAI Board. 
 
The Centre will be a state-of-the-art exit point for perishables from the State. It will provide a world class facility under one roof to cater to all requirements of the traders and maintain the quality of produce. This facility is to be created by MPWLC under the public private partnership (PPP) mode. 
 
The creation of the facility is expected to cater to the employment needs of the local population and has significant employment potential. A total number of 113 persons will be required to manage the CPC, an official press release said.
 
The release said there is huge demand for export of pharmaceuticals, poultry products and horticulture products in Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh. 
 
The leasing out of the land will enable the Madhya Pradesh government to promote the agriculture and horticulture sectors of the state.
 
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Modi, Sirisena attend Convention on Universal Message of Simhastha at Ujjain

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena were among those who attended the International Convention on the Universal Message of the Simhastha, at Ninaura near here today.
 
Mr. Modi received Mr. Sirisena at Indore airport and the two then travelled together to the venue of the convention.
 
Addressing the gathering, which has also been described as a “Vichar Kumbh” on the sidelines of the Kumbh Mela, the Prime Minister described the convention as the birth of a new effort. He said this was a modern edition of what might have happened in ancient times, when thought-leaders of society would gather at the sites of Kumbh melas, to reflect and provide new vision to society. 
 
Speaking on Indian tradition and culture, he said that the mantra of a ‘Bhikshuk’ is “may good happen to the person who gives me alms, and even to the person who does not.” The Prime Minister gave several other illustrations of the values and humanism which define Indian culture. 
 
Referring to the launch of the Simhasth Declaration, which was dedicated to the world by Mr. Modi, Mr. Sirisena and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the Prime Minister said this would mark the start of a new discourse not only in India but around the world. 
 
The Prime Minister suggested that a ‘Vichar Kumbh’ should be held every year, to discuss issues such as afforestation and education of the girl child. 
 
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7 killed as thunderstorm brings down Simhastha Kumbh Mela pandals in Ujjain

At least seven people died and about 80 others suffered injuries when a thunderstorm struck the site of the ongoing Simhastha Kumbh Mela in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh and brought down pandals set up for the pilgrims late Thursday afternoon.

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At least seven people died and about 80 others suffered injuries when a thunderstorm struck the site of the ongoing Simhastha Kumbh Mela in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh and brought down pandals set up for the pilgrims late this afternoon.
 
Police officials told NetIndian the victims included four men and three women.
 
One of the men was a head constable of the Police Home Guard, while one of the women who died had been struck by lightning at Undasa while on her way to the Kumbh Mela, they said.
 
Most of the victims had succumbed to injuries they suffered when the makeshift pandals set up at the venue of the mega event came crashing in the heavy downpour and strong winds around 4.15 pm.
 
The injured had been rushed to the Ujjain Civil Hospital and other hospitals nearby.
 
The Simhastha Kumbh, being held from April 22 to May 21, is one of the largest religious congregations in the country, held every 12 years, and has attracted thousands of pilgrims from various parts of the country as well as a large number of foreign tourists.
 
Police said rescue teams, comprising personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the police, fire brigade and other emergency personnel, were going round the venue to look for peope who might need help.
 
They said efforts were being made to restore electricity to the Kumbh site and also re-erect the pandals and other structures that were brought down in the thunderstorm.
 
According to them, the police and the administration were able to minimise the impact of the thunderstorm by making use of public address systems and advise people not to panic.
 
"Anguished over the loss of lives at the Kumbh due to heavy rains. May Almighty give strength to the bereaved families to overcome the grief," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
" hope the injured recover quickly. I pray for the safety & well-being of all saints, pilgrims and tourists at the Kumbh," he added.
 
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