Madhya Pradesh

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.

Bye-elections to be held on November 19 to fill four LS, eight Assembly seats

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.

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.

Mukherjee hands over keys of EWS houses in Gwalior

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.

President attends 60th Founders Day of Scindia Kanya Vidyalaya, Gwalior

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."

Bye-elections to fill vacancy in Rajya Sabha to be held on October 17

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.

Tourism Ministry approves projects worth Rs. 450 crore in MP, TN, UP, Uttarakhand, Sikkim

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.

BRICS Convention on Tourism to be held at Khajuraho on September 1-2

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.

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. 
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.

Railways sign agreement for redevelopment, modernisation of Habibganj station in Bhopal

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. 
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.

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.

Highway through "Mowgli Land" gets Rs. 186 crore to take care of wildlife

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.

CCEA okays Bina-Katni third line project of West Central Railway

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.

AAI land to be leased for establishing Centre for Perishable Cargo at Indore airport

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.

Modi, Sirisena attend Convention on Universal Message of Simhastha at Ujjain

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. 

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.

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.

Tata Power commissions 44 MW Lahori wind farm project in Madhya Pradesh

Tata Power has announced that it has commissioned its 44 MW Lahori wind farm project, located in Shajapur district of Madhya Pradesh.
The company has developed this project through its fully owned subsiiary, Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited (TPREL).
With this addition, Tata Power's total installed capacity now stands at 9,183MW, besides serving two million customers through retail power distribution, a press release from the company said.
According to it, the Lahori wind farm project is expected to generate approximately 84 million unit (MU) per year. 
TPREL also has 500 MW of wind capacity under development and construction in the states of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. 
“The commissioning of 44 MW wind farm project fortifies Tata Power’s vision of generating significant percentage of its total generation capacity from clean energy sources. The project is a clean energy project, which will enhance and increase the company’s clean energy footprint across its value chain," Mr. Anil Sardana, MD and CEO, Tata Power, said.
"This is our fourth wind asset and we are in constant look out for similar opportunities in respect of wind and solar plants. This is yet another step towards the company's commitment to sustainability and will contribute towards making the nation stronger," he added.

ICMR, MP govt., Sun Pharma launch public-private partnership for Malaria Free India

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Madhya Pradesh government and pharmaceuticals major Sun Pharma have launched a public-private partnership (PPP) project for Malaria Free India and other innovations in preventive health.
The agreement in this regard was announced here yesterday by ICMR Director General Soumya Swaminathan, Madhya Pradesh Principal Secretary Health Gauri Singh and Sun Pharma Managing Director Dilip Shanghvi in the presence of Union Health & Family Welfare Minister J P Nadda.
The public-private-partnership stakeholders will jointly undertake malaria control and elimination programme by setting up management and technical committees to provide oversight for disease surveillance and elimination. 
Under the agreement, ICMR, the MP governent and Sun Pharma will establish a malaria elimination demonstration project, titled Malaria Free India, to support the national framework for elimination of the disease in India. The demonstration project will be launched in one of the most malaria endemic districts of Madhya Pradesh and implemented in a phased manner, beginning with Mandla district.
The public-private-partnership stakeholders will execute the malaria elimination programme over a span of three to five years, covering over 200,000 households in more than 1,200 villages in Mandla district. 
Mr. Nadda said the intiative was a significant step in the health sector and felt it would prove to be a milestone in the government's strategy to eliminate malaria from the country. India is party to the commitment at the East Asia Summit for malaria elimination by 2030, he pointed out.
He also said malaria was a major public health problem, and that malaria endemic countries had shown significantly lower rates of economic growth.
He said the demonstration project would use proven case management and vector control strategies and was aimed at reducing the morbidity and mortality caused by malaria and preventing the re-introduction of malaria.
It will also strengthen the existing health systems, introduce mobile-based surveillance systems and treat all malaria cases as per National Vector Borne Disease Control Program (NVBDCP) guidelines, and mobilise communities. 
The lessons learned would be used for elimination of malaria from the country under the national program, he said. He stated that as the PPP initiative would dovetail into Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan goals, the benefits would be magnified. 
To demonstrate the feasibility of eliminating malaria and prevention of re-establishment of this disease, ICMR and Sun Pharma will use rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) and anti-malarial drugs (ACTs), long-lasting insecticide treated bednets and indoor residual spray (IRS). 
In addition, as part of the PPP, ICMR and Sun Pharma will jointly conduct scientific research for development and testing of medical products (including drugs, biosimilars and vaccines) as well as undertake disease control and elimination programs. They will set up a Joint Working Group (JWG) to identify and collaborate in disease surveillance and elimination that are relevant to India. 
Both will expand cooperation in the area of translational health sciences research with the objective of developing new and improved medicines for infectious and chronic diseases. They will jointly work to strengthen capacity and facilities required for conducting research and trials aimed at testing safety and efficacy of medical products. They will also work with other stakeholders in creating public awareness through accurate and research-based information exchange as part of their shared belief that knowledge of clinical safety and effectiveness of medicines is best determined through well-designed, scientifically robust, ethically conducted clinical trials. 
Acknowledge the need to establish systems for appropriate oversight of human clinical trials, the agreement covers capacity-building through basic and applied research collaborations, expert consultations, training, exchange of scientists, sharing of repository materials, strengthening of laboratory quality assurance systems and transfer of technology. 
"The lessons learned would be used for elimination of malaria from the country by the national program. I believe that this partnership has a potential to create sustainable impact by reducing malaria morbidity and improving people's health. This will enable us to alleviate poverty within the target geographies through cost effective interventions and improvement of overall development and quality of life," Mr. Nadda added.
Dr. Swaminathan said Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and North-Eastern states were responsibile for more than 60 ercent of malaria cases in the country. He said 91 districts, with 5% of the country's population and 31% of its tribal population, were high burden districts, contributing nearly half of India's malaria cases and deaths.
“Malaria is a major public health problem. It is known to impede development, saving and investment as well as worker productivity in the form of absenteeism. All this has an adverse impact on per-capita gross domestic product. Moreover, there is a strong correlation between malaria and poverty. Malaria endemic countries have shown significantly lower rates of economic growth. Through our Malaria Free India initiative we aim to achieve zero malaria incidences in more than 1,200 villages of Mandla district of Madhya Pradesh by FY21. The experience gained from Mandla project will guide the development of broader plans for malaria elimination in Madhya Pradesh as well as other high malaria endemic States in India," Mr. Shanghvi said.
For operationalizing the Malaria Free India goals, Sun Pharma will establish a not-for-profit foundation. This Foundation will operate as an independent entity by engaging national and international experts as knowledge partners for the project while remaining accountable to the Malaria Free India public-private-partnership stakeholders. 
"The Malaria Free India demonstration project is in line with Sun Pharma's CSR efforts for holistic development of underserved communities in a sustainable and impactful manner. This unique Malaria Free India public-private-partnership gives Sun Pharma an opportunity to play a significant role in eliminating malaria. A team of over 200 members will be part of the implementation of this demonstration project," a press release from the company added.

National Cultural Festival at Simhastha Kumbh in Ujjain from April 22

A National Cultural Festival (NCF) has been organized by the Ministry of Culture at Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh as part of “Simhastha Kumbh” starting from April 22.
An official press release said here today that all seven Cultural Zones of the country along with Lalit Kala Akademi, Sangeet Natak Akademi, National School of Drama,  Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT), and Sahitya Akademi will be participating in the festival organized in collaboration with the Madhya Pradesh Government. 
Around 3,000 artistes from all over India have been invited to perform at the festival that will see a huge gathering. Daily performances will take place on four platforms – Garh Kalika Manch, Agar Manch, Bhookhi Mata and Sadaval Manch. 
Noted Hindustani vocalist Pandit Jasraj will perform on the inaugural day. Vedic chants and devotional songs every morning would start the day. More than 150 Rangoli artists will be making their presentations every day. Over 300 painters will be displaying their creativity documenting the various aspects of Simhastha Kumbh. 
All creations will be exhibited in New Delhi and a coffee table book will be published after conclusion of the Kumbh Festival. 
Divine classical, semi-classical and light music and folk and dances, kavi sammelan, plays, rangoli, art workshops, book exhibitions will be some of the major attractions of the festival. Artistes will also make presentations to convey a message on keeping rivers pure and clean.
South Central Zone Cultural Centre, Nagpur is the nodal agency for the festival. 
The Simhastha Kumbh is being held from April 22 to May 21 during which Ujjain will host hundreds of thousands of pilgrims arriving from various parts of the country. This festival will be a major attraction for foreign tourists as well, the release added.

Inox Wind bags 100 MW orders in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat

Wind energy solutions provider Inox Wind Limited today said it had bagged two orders for a cumulative capacity of 100 MW from a leading renewable energy independent power producer (IPP).
The turnkey orders comprise a 50 MW project to be set up in Gujarat and a 50 MW project to be set up in Madhya Pradesh, a press release from the company said.
The projects once commissioned will provide power to about 50,000 households, curtail about 0.15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually and further consolidate Inox Wind’s leading position in the two states, it said.
The release said that, as part of the turnkey projects, Inox Wind would provide end-to-end solutions from development and construction to commissioning and providing long-term operations and maintenance services.  
The orders involve supply and installation of 25 units of Inox Wind’s 100 meter rotor dia wind turbine generator (WTG) for the Gujarat project and 25 units of the company’s 113 meter rotor dia WTG for the Madhya Pradesh project.  The 113 m rotor dia WTG is the newest variant of the company’s 2 MW platform, it said.
“These orders have further boosted Inox’s strong order book with major IPPs in India. Orders from a leading renewable energy IPP prove the competitiveness of wind power in the states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and ensure that Inox Wind continues to play a key role in further developing the wind energy industry in the two states,” said Mr. Kailash Tarachandani, Chief Executive Officer of Inox Wind Limited.

Mukherjee to visit Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh on April 15-16

President Pranab Mukherjee will pay an official visit to Wellington in Tamil Nadu and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh on April 15-16.
Tomorrow, Mr. Mukherjee will attend the convocation of Defence Services Staff College at Wellington, an official press release said.
On April 16, Mr. Mukherjee will inaugurate the Fourth Retreat of the Judges of the Supreme Court at the National Judicial Academy, Bhopal before returning to New Delhi, it added.

Govt. initiates steps to increase bamboo production to meet burgeoning demand

Pointing to the tremendous demand for bamboo both at home and abroad, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh has stated that all necessary action was being taken to fill the gaps between supply and demand in this sector.
Speaking at the three-day World Bamboo Conference here yesterday, Mr Singh said while there had been a trade of $ 20 billion in th world bamboo market by the end of 2015, the domestic markets saw transactions worth Rs. 26,000 crore.
He said the government was looking at the possibilities of industrial production utilising bamboo. Generating electricity through the direct utilization of bio fuel and bio mass gasification to produce charcoal or compressed bamboo biomass pellets was also under consideration. 
Rayon/cellulose fibre plants have been set up for the production and export of quality bamboo fabrics like bath robes, baby wear, T- shirts, jackets and suits, he said.
Mr. Singh said bamboo played an important role in terms of food stuff nutrients and livelihood related ecological security. The sector could contribute in employment creation, provide livelihood means to weaker sections in rural areas and thus abolish poverty. 
“As much as 13% of our forest area comprises bamboo. More than 137 species of bamboo are grown in the country which are used for 1500 diversified utilities,” he added.
However, following a decline in bamboo and bamboo forest areas, there is a tremendous gap between demand and supply. According to the estimates by NITI Aayog, the domestic production of bamboo is sufficient for meeting only half of the demand in the country, he said.
"Therefore there is an immediate requirement to increase production of quality bamboo to meet the increasing demand for bamboo. Keeping in view the possibility of economic utilization of bamboo, the union government has initiated National Bamboo Mission (NBM) – A centrally sponsored scheme under Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in 2006," he said.
"During this period, the mission has with its limited resources, implemented this scheme in 28 states with the assistance of State Bamboo Missions. Since the initiation of the mission, bamboo has been planted on 349864 hectares. As many as 1436 nurseries have been established to supply quality bamboo saplings," he added.

World Bank to provide IDA assistance of $300m for MP Higher Education Quality Improvement Project

India and the World Bank signed a financing agreement for IDA credit of $ 300 million (equivalent) for the "Madhya Pradesh Higher Education Quality Improvement Project" here yesterday.
The financing agreement was signed by Mr. Raj Kumar (Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs) on behalf of Government of India and Mr. Onno Ruhl, Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of the World Bank. A project agreement was also signed by Mr. K K Singh, Principal Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Government of Madhya Pradesh and Mr. Ruhl.
An official press release said the objective of the project was to improve student outcomes, especially of disadvantaged groups, in selected Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and to increase the effectiveness of the Higher Education System in Madhya Pradesh. 
The project has three components that include Grants Support to Higher Education Institutions, State Level Initiatives and Improving System Management. 
The release said the project had been designed as a result based financing programme, implying that funds will be released based on the achievement of specific results or disbursement linked indicators (DLls). The DLls have been designed to ensure outcomes such as increase in enrolment of full time students, increase in transition rate, achievement of NAAC accreditation criteria by participating HEls, better transparency in the affairs of participating institutions and strengthening of governance structure 
The closing date of Madhya Pradesh Higher Education Quality Improvement Project is 31st August, 2021. 

Modi unveils operational guidelines for crop insurance scheme

Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the operational guidelines for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana at a massive farmers' rally in Sehore in Madhya Pradesh today and said it would provide a solution for many of the problems faced by agriculturists in times of difficulty.
Explaining the benefits of this comprehensive crop insurance scheme, he said care had been taken to eliminate the shortcomings of previous crop insurance schemes, and create trust among farmers with regard to crop insurance. 
He said technology would be used extensively with this scheme to ensure early settlement of claims, and exhorted farmers to take benefit of it.
The Prime Minister outlined several other initiatives that have been taken by the Union Government for the welfare of farmers. He mentioned the steps taken to clear the pending dues of the sugarcane farmers, which had mounted to many thousands of crore rupees. 
Speaking about the Digital India movement, Mr. Modi said welfare of the farmers was at its core. He announced the launch of the digital platform - National Agriculture Market – from April 14, the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian constitution.This would enable farmers to get a better price for their produce. 
The Prime Minister also mentioned other major initiatives taken in the agriculture sector, such as the soil health card scheme, the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, organic farming, and ensuring adequate availability of urea. 
Mr. Modi congratulated the farmers of Madhya Pradesh, and state  Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan for the state's "excellent performance" in the agriculture sector. 
He also gave away soil health cards, and settlement certificates for insurance claims to select beneficiaries. 

Cabinet okays return of 478 hectares of land to Madhya Pradesh govt.

The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for the return of  approximately 478.307 hectares of land to the State Government of Madhya Pradesh.
The land comprises approximately 461.607 hectares private acquired land and 16.70 hectares Government land, valued at approximately Rs. 740 crore of Auto Testing Track in Pithampur, Indore (NATRIX) in Madhya Pradesh of NATRIP Project. 
The land returned would be utilized by the State Government for allotment to the auto and related ancillary industries which will have a synergistic effect with the existing NATRAX project, an official press release added.
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