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Madhya Pradesh

10 killed in Indore hotel building collapse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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President Ram Nath Kovind attended and addressed the Sadguru Kabir Mahotsav here today.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the President praised the Government of Madhya Pradesh for instituting the ‘Rashtriya Kabir Samman’. He stated that this honour encourages poets who pursue the philosophical tradition of Saint Kabir. 
 
He also congratulated the award winners and appreciated their contributions.
 
Saint Kabir was not only a great spiritual leader but also a social reformer. He fought against social evils that prevailed in society at the time and made efforts to eradicate them. The President said that the path of equality and harmony showed by him remains an inspiration for our society.
 
The President also received the first copy of the book ‘Madhya Pradesh Mein Kabir’ on the occasion.
 
Later in the day, Mr Kovind paid tributes to Rani Jhalkaribai at her statue in Bhopal.  
 
Tomorrow, the President will address the 2nd convocation of the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University at Amarkantak.
 
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Bye-election to be held on November 9 to fill vacancy from Chitrakoot in Madhya Pradesh Assembly

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) today said it would hold a bye-election on November 9 to fill a casual vacancy in the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly from Chitrakoot constituency.
 
The notification for the bye-election will be issued on October 16 and the last date for filing nominations is October 23, an official press release said.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up on November 12, the release added.
 
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Cabinet okays allotment of land to MP Govt. for construction of State Guest House in Delhi

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The Union Cabinet yesterday gave its approval for the allotment of Plot No. 29-C and 29-D, measuring 1.478 acres or 5882.96 sq. meters, on the T-Junction of Jesus and Mary Marg with Dr. Radhakrishnan Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi to the Madhya Pradesh Government for construction of its State Guest House in Delhi as per the prevailing rates with certain conditions.
 
An official press release said the conditions are:
 
(i) That the Madhya Pradesh Government will surrender the land measuring 0.89 acres at 2, Gopinath Bardolai Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi to L&DO/MoHUA after completion of the construction of its State Guest House on the allotted land. 
(ii) That the Madhya Pradesh Government will pay for the difference in the area of the land measuring 0.59 acres at the present land rates as both the lands are in the same zone of land rates. 
(iii) That the Madhya Pradesh Government will pay the occupation charges on 0.89 acre already in possession at the present land rates, till it is surrendered to L&DO/MoHUA. 
 
According to the release, the allotment of land will benefit the Madhya Pradesh Government for construction of its State Guest House with all modern facilities keeping in view their present and future requirements. 
 
"The Madhya Pradesh Government will not utilise this land for any purpose other than for construction of its State Guest House. While constructing the building, the Madhya Pradesh Government will adhere to all existing building bye-laws, Master Plan norms, etc.," the release added.
 
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Swaraj urges youth to participate in governance, sustainable development agendas

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

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

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

 
24 pilgrims dead after bus falls into river in Uttarakhand
As many as 24 pilgrims, mainly from Indore in Madhya Pradesh, died when a private bus carrying them fell into the Bhagirathi river in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand yesterday evening, official sources said.
 
Official sources said six other passengers of the bus suffered injuries and are undergoing treatment in hospitals in Uttarkashi.
 
In all, there were 30 people on board the bus, including its cleaner and driver, both of whom are among those who died.
 
The deceased included 13 women and 11 men, while the injured included three men, two women and a 17-year-old girl. Two of those who died were in their 80s, four in their 70s and eight in their 60s.
 
The pilgrims were on Chardham pilgrimage since May 12 and had already visited Yamunotri and Gangotri and were on their way to Kedarnath when the tragedy occurred around 6.30 pm yesterday near Nalupani in Uttarkashi, about 25 km from the district headquarters.
 
Police, men of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and personnel of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and other emergency services were involved in the search and rescue operations.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the accident. “My prayers and solidarity with those who lost their loved ones in the unfortunate bus accident in Uttarkashi. May the injured recover soon," he said.
 
He also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 2 lakh from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the next of kin of those killed and Rs. 50,000 for those seriously injured in the accident.
 
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Modi to join programme to mark conclusion of the Narmada Seva Yatra in Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will join the programme to mark the conclusion of the Narmada Seva Yatra in Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh, tomorrow. 
 
"I am delighted to join the programme to mark the conclusion of the Narmada Seva Yatra in Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh, tomorrow afternoon," Mr. Modi said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"Narmada Seva Yatra is an excellent mass movement to protect the Narmada and conveys a larger message of saving the environment as well. Tomorrow in Madhya Pradesh, I will be launching the Narmada Seva Mission, which will surely have a major impact on MP’s ecology. 
 
"You can watch tomorrow’s Narmada Seva Yatra programme live on your mobiles on https://t.co/TYuxNNJfIf," he added.
 
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Delhi Metro signs PPA with Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited in Madhya Pradesh

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