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Madhya Pradesh

12 dead, 25 injured as two trains derail after flash floods in MP

At least 12 people died and 25 others suffered injuries when two trains derailed after flash floods, caused by heavy rains, washed away the ground below a small bridge that they were crossing in Harda district of Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday night.

 
12 dead as two trains derail near Harda in Madhya Pradesh
 
At least 12 people died and 25 others suffered injuries when two trains derailed after flash floods, caused by heavy rains, washed away the ground below a small bridge that they were crossing in Harda district of Madhya Pradesh last night.
 
The trains involved were the 11071 Kamayani Express, bound for Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh from Mumbai and the 13201 Janata Express on its way from Patna to Mumbai.
 
The mishap occurred at Kudwa, about 32 km from Harda and between Bhirangi and Khirakia railway stations, nearly 160 km south of state capital Bhopal, on the Khandwa-Itarsi section of West Central Railway (WCR).
 
The two trains were crossing the bridge within minutes of each other on the up and down lines when the mishap occurred, they said.
 
WCR officials told NetIndian over the telephone that rescue and relief teams had found 12 bodies from the derailed coaches.
 
They said another eight bodies were found from the flooded area in the vicinity of the crash site, but it could not be immediately ascertained if those were of passengers on the train.
 
The officials said 24 people suffered minor injuries in the mishap, which occurred around 2345 hours yesterday.
 
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People from nearby villages as well as officials of the railway, district administration and police and other emergency personnel rushed to the spot and began rescue efforts.
 
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) also reached the scene soon after, they said.
 
An accident relief van and a medical van as well as top railway officials had also reached the spot.
 
Eleven coaches of the Kamayani Express and three coaches and the engine of the Janata Express derailed in the incident.
 
Railway officials said that two other trains had crossed the bridge safely just before the accident, indicating that the track was in good condition till then. The flash floods had washed away a portion of the tracks, they said.
 
The Commissioner of Railway Safety (Central Zone) will conduct a statutory inquiry into the accident.
 
Following the accidents, the Railways have cancelled, diverted and short-terminated several trains on the busy route.
 
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu made a statement in Parliament on the accidents and later left for the scene of the tragedy, accompanied by Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha and senior officials.
 
The Railways announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh for the next-of-kin of those killed in the mishap, Rs 50,000 for those with grievous injuries and Rs 25,000 for those who suffered simple injuries.
 
"The prima facie cause of the incident is stated to be ‘flash flood due to heavy rains’," an official press release said.
 
Stranded passengers of both the affected trains were later cleared towards their respective destinations.  They were also provided with drinking water and snacks at Itarsi Junction by the Railway administration. 
 
Work on restoration of track in the affected section is continuing on a war-footing at the accident site, it said.
 
The Railway have set up helpline numbers at various locations served by these two affected trains which are listed below: 
 
West Central Railways
 
Itarsi: 07572241920
Bhopal: 07554001609
Harda: 09752460088, 07577226081
Bina: 07580221362
 
East Central Railway
 
Mughal Sarai: 05412251450, 05412254145
Danapur: 0651232398
Rajendranagar, Patna: 06122206967, 06122206965
 
Northern Railway
 
Varanasi: 05422503814
Lucknow: 09794830974
Phulpur: 05322282595
 
Central Railway
 
Mumbai CSTM: 022-22694040                      
Lokmanya Tilak Terminus: 022-25280005                      
Thane: 022-25334840                     
Dadar: 022-24114836                      
Kalyan: 0251-2311499                     
 
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New Signaling Control Room starts at Itarsi railway station after June 17 fire

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The new Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) panel at Itarsi railway station in Madhya Pradesh started functioning at 14:50 hours today, ending 34 days of disruption in the running of trains caused by a fire on June 17 in the old RRI panel.
 
An official press release said train movement via Itarsi, a critical four-directional junction station and yard in Bhopal division of West Central Railway, has become more or less normal.
 
Some trains will remain cancelled for the next two or three days due to rake imbalance on account of the sudden cancellation of many trains due to the fire, it said.
 
The release said 15 trains will be cancelled tomorrow and 11 on July 23.
 
Itarsi is situated strategically in the central part of India linking North-South and East-West parts of India through trains. Itarsi is the critical junction station on the Bombay-Bhopal, Bhopal-Nagpur and Bombay-Jabalpur-Allahabad routes.
 
A major fire had occurred on June 17 in the RR panel, fully destroying the existing installation.
 
Signalling Relay Room system is a system by which all the signals and the points/crossings which are used for changing of routes at a junction station are operated centrally from a cabin through electrical devices. As a result, complete automatic train operation at Itarsi station was disrupted leading to severe detention to trains passing through Itarsi.
 
As per normal schedule, about 145 scheduled Mail, Express and Passenger trains and 50-60 freight trains are dealt with at Itarsi station in the Up and Down directions. The destruction of the RRI panel resulted in the reduction of trains to only 35 per day via Itarsi through manual operation.
 
Within three days, Railway engineers and technicians installed a temporary panel which enabled the handling of 110-120 trains per day.
 
There was long detention to trains as the route for all passing trains had to be manually set and verified for safe passage at Itarsi yard. 
This resulted in a 50% reduction in train handling capacity at Itarsi.
 
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"The situation warranted cancellation/diversion/short termination of trains for smooth and safe operations. Consequently, trains had to be cancelled due to operational and safety constraints," the release added.
 
At one point, as many as 1000 officers, supervisors, technicians and other staff were working for the commissioning of the RRI panel.
 
The release said the new RRI incorporates important yard remodelling which will further ease the flow of traffic and flexibility in yard operations and handling of trains with 24 coaches. 
 
Multi Section Digital Axle Counters will increase the system availability during monsoon season. Fire alarm system has been provided and fire suppression system is being planned to avoid such fire incidences in future.
 
The installation of the new RRI system consists of 700 km of underground cables, 108 points, 78 (Main-42 & Shunt-36) signals, 144 detection points of digital axle counters forming 89 track sections, 32 track circuits, 9000 relays, 60000 jumpers of length more than 200 km and more than 2 lakh wire connections.
 
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11 people drown in Sehore district of MP after heavy rains

 
11 people drown in overflowing drain after rains in Madhya Pradesh
As many as 11 people were feared to have drowned in an overflowing drain after heavy rains in Sehore district of Madhya Pradesh yesterday, official sources said.
 
District officials said the 11 persons, belonging to three families, were swept away by the swirling waters. The bodies of eight of them were found later.
 
Rescue teams, including personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), were searching for the three missing persons, they said.
 
The incident occurred at Khandawad village, about 140 km from the Sehore district headquarters.
 
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who belongs to the district, rushed to the village yesterday and condoled the families of the victims. He also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh each for the next-of-kin of those killed in the incident.
 
Heavy rains were also reported in Ujjain district, where more than 5000 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas and given temporary shelter in school buildings and other such places.
 
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Chouhan bows to public opinion, seeks CBI probe into Vyapam scam

 
Chouhan decides to seek CBI probe in Vyapam scam
Bowing to public opinion, beleaguered Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today decided to request the Madhya Pradesh High Court to order a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the Vyapam scam, involving a massive racket in recruitment for state government jobs and admission to professional courses

He made the announcement at a press conference here amidst a growing clamour for a CBI probe into the scandal as well as his resignation over the issue by the Congress and other opposition parties as well as by social activists.
 
Vyapam is the Hindi acronym of the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), the state government agency which conducted the recruitment and admission examinations. The case involves rigging of examinations and impersonation of candidates, among other things.
 
The announcement came two days Dr Arun Sharma, the dean of the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College in Jabalpur, which has been linked to the scam, was found dead in a hotel in Delhi on Sunday morning.
 
He died just a day after Akshay Singh, a journalist for Aaj Tak television channel, a part of the India Today Group, who had travelled from Delhi to Madhya Pradesh to investigate the scam, died in mysterious circumstances in Jhabua district.
 
A female trainee police sub-inspector, selected through Vyapam, was found dead in a lake in Sagar in Madhya Pradesh yeserday and a police constable, who was reportedly questioned by investigators in the case some time ago, was found dead in the state today, deepening suspicions.
 
In all these four cases, police have ruled out any foul play and also indicated that the two police personnel's deaths were cases of sucide.
 
Several people who were witnesses or accused or otherwise linked to the case have died over the last five years, leading to calls by the opposition Congress and other parties for a probe by the CBI into the case. According to various estimates, this number ranges between 25 and 45.
 
Those who died included Shailesh Yadav, 50, son of Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav. He was found dead at his father's residence in Mall Avenue area of Lucknow on March 25 this year.
 
Mr Chouhan said at the press conference that the Special Task Force (STF) set up to probe the affair and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) monitoring it under the supervision of the High Court were doing a good job and that he had full faith in the judiciary.
 
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But he said the events of the past few days and the allegations made against him and his government by the Congress had led to questions in the minds of the people in the state and around the country, which needed to be addressed.
 
"People want to know the truth. Their questions must be answered. I bow my head to the people’s wishes. I am sending a request to the High Court that the CBI be allowed to investigate the case," he said.
 
Mr Chouhan said the Congress allegations against him were "baseless". He said the opposition party was not really concerned about the Vyapam affair or about the people who had died.
 
"The Congress has produced forged documents to try and frame me, about which I will speak later. They have been making baseless allegations that have been proven to be false time and again," he said.
 
According to him, the only aim of the Congress was to malign him and prevent him from discharging his duties as Chief Minister.
 
Mr Chouhan's announcement came a day after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had ruled out a probe by the CBI in the matter, saying that the SIT, monitored by the High Court, was already investigating the case.
 
The Chief Minister recalled that he had ordered a probe into the entire affair as soon as it came to light a few years ago. Once the high court set up the SIT to monitor the probe, the state government had nothing to do with it at all, he stated.
 
He said he had spent the entire night last night thinking about the issue before deciding to request the High Court for a CBI probe.
 
He said the state government would take the same stand on a CBI probe when the matter comes up before the Supreme Court on Thursday.
 
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Congress demands Shivraj Singh Chouhan's resignation over Vyapam scam

The opposition Congress on Monday once again demanded the resignation of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister over the "Vyapam scam" in the state, involving a massive racket in recruitment for state government jobs and admission to professional courses.

 
Modi meets Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov in Tashkent
The opposition Congress today once again demanded the resignation of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister over the "Vyapam scam" in the state, involving a massive racket in recruitment for state government jobs and admission to professional courses.
 
Vyapam is the Hindi acronym of the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), the state government agency which conducted the recruitment and admission examinations.
 
The demand came a day after Dr Arun Sharma, the dean of the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College in Jabalpur, which has been linked to the scam, was found dead in a hotel here early yesterday morning.
 
His death came just a day after Akshay Singh, a journalist for Aaj Tak television channel, a part of the India Today Group, who had travelled from Delhi to Madhya Pradesh to investigate the scam, died in mysterious circumstances in Jhabua district.
 
In both the cases, the police have ruled out any foul play on the basis of prima facie evidence but said they would probe all possible angles.
 
Several people who were witnesses or accused or otherwise linked to the case have died over the last five years, leading to calls by the opposition Congress and other parties for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the case. According to various estimates, this number ranges between 25 and 45.
 
Those who died included Shailesh Yadav, 50, son of Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav. He was found dead at his father's residence in Mall Avenue area of Lucknow on March 25 this year.
 
"Vyapam is perhaps the ‘biggest scam’ in history of Independent India. Between 2007 to 2013, Vyapam defrauded and duped nearly 76,76,718 candidates, who appeared in 167 different examinations conducted by Vyapam," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told newspersons here today.
 
"The Vyapam scam, as it gets murkier and deadlier by the day, has all the characteristics of a case where the perpetrator of the crime himself is investigating into it," he said to support the party's view that the state government could not be expected to ensure an impartial probe in the matter.
 
Mr Surjewala said a substantive portion of the scam was on account of gross irregularities in the Pre-Medical Tests (PMT) for admission into medical courses and Mr Chouhan was the Minister incharge of Medical Education from 2008-2012. 
 
He said people close to Mr Chouhan were among the principal accused in the case.
 
Stressing that Mr Chouhan's role also needed to be investigated, he said this was possible only if he stepped down as Chief Minister. "Therefore, the Congress party demands that he resign immediately and submit himself to an independent inquiry," he said.
 
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Mr Surjewala wondered how such a "mammoth scam" concerning admissions, entrance examinations and job recruitmetns, involving more than 76 lakh candidates, could flourish openly without the knowledge or complicity of the Chief Minister.
 
He said the committee appointed by Mr Chouhan to investigate the scam on December 17, 2009 had held its first meeting only 13 months later.
 
He said that fresh allegations of fraud in the medical entrance examinations had been made in subsequent years, too.
 
Mr Surjewala said the "mysterious, intriguing and suspicious deaths of 46 persons associated with Vyapam scam" warranted an independent, Supreme Court-monitored investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
 
He said the death of a trainee sub-inspector selected through Vyapam, whose body ws found in a lake in Sagar in Madhya Pradesh today, deepened the suspicions.
 
Police in Sagar, however, said the death appeared to be a case of suicide.
 
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Dean of Jabalpur medical college linked to Vyapam scam found dead in Delhi

 
Jabalpur Medical College dean found dead in Delhi hotel
Dr Arun Sharma, the dean of the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Medical College in Jabalpur, which has been linked to the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh, was found dead in a hotel in Delhi early this morning.
 
His death came just a day after Akshay Singh, a journalist for Aaj Tak television channel, a part of the India Today Group, who had travelled from Delhi to Madhya Pradesh to investigate the scam, died in mysterious circumstances.
 
In both the cases, the police have ruled out any foul play on the basis of prima facie evidence but said they would probe all possible angles.
 
Several people who were witnesses or accused or otherwise linked to the case have died over the last five years, leading to calls by the opposition Congress and other parties for a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the case. According to various estimates, this number ranges between 25 and 45.
 
Those who died included Shailesh Yadav, 50, son of Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav. He was found dead at his father's residence in Mall Avenue area of Lucknow on March 25 this year.
 
Dr Sharma had arrived in the capital yesterday and was due to travel to Agartala this morning as part of a Medical Council of India (MCI) inspection team.
 
When he failed to respond to the wake-up call from the desk this morning, the hotel staff tried knocking on the door and finally used the master key to enter the room. A doctor who was called in by the hotel said that he was dead.
 
The Jabalpur college which Dr Sharma headed was one of the institutions in the state linked to the Vyapam scam, a massive recruitment and admissions racket, involving politicians, officials and middlemen, in which imposters were allowed to take entrance examinations in exchange for huge sums of money. Several politicians, including former state education minister Laxmikant Sharma, officials and aspirants, have been arrested in the case so far.
Dr Arun Sharma
Dr Arun Sharma
Dr Sharma was assisting the Special Task Force probing the scam by providing documents on irregularities in the entrance examinations, sources said.
 
Incidentally, his predecessaor, Dr D K Sakalle, was found burnt to death in his home exactly a year ago, they said.
 
Delhi Police officials said they had found no signs of foul play in the case of Dr Sharma's death. Forensic evidence had been collected from the room and the body had been sent for post-mortem examination. An empty bottle of alcohol was found in the room, they said. The doctor had also vomited and there were signs of heavy drinking, they said.
 
Akshay Singh died when he took ill after a meeting with the parents of a girl, Namrata Damor, whose name had figured in the case and had died in mysterious circumstances, with her body being found near railway tracks in Ujjain district in January 2012.
 
Reports from Jhabua quoted Namrata's father Mehtab Singh Damor as saying that Akshay, 38, and two others had visited their house in the afternoon. According to them, Akshay, who was waiting outside Damor's house, suddenly started frothing at the mouth. He was rushed to the civil hospital and then to a private hospital, but doctors could not revive him. He was later taken to a hospital in nearby Dahod town of Gujarat, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
 
Police in Dahod and doctors who performed the post-mortem examination on the journalist's body said they had found no prima facie evidence of foul play. His viscera had been sent for examination and the report was awaited, they said.
 
Akshay Singh
Akshay Singh
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were among those who attended the journalist's funeral at the Nigambodh Ghat in the national capital today.
 
"Deeply anguished at the untimely death of journalist Akshay Singh who was investigating the Vyapam scam in MP," Mr Gandhi said on micro-blogging site Twitter. "My condolences to his family," he added.
 
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan told newspersons in Bhopal today that he would write to the Special Investigation Team (SIT), appointed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court to probe the scam, to look into the death of the journalist, too.
 
"The death of the Aaj Tak journalist is very unfortunate. My condolences are with the family of Mr Akash Singh," he said.
 
He said a post-mortem examination had been conducted on the journalist's body and the facts would emerge when the report became available.
 
He also felt there was no need for a CBI probe in the case, stressing that the state government was not interfering with the ongoing SIT investigations in any way.
 
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24 dead in bus-truck collision near Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh

 
24 die in bus-truck collision near Khandwa
At least 24 people died when the bus they were travelling in collided with a truck in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh this evening, official sources said.
 
Police officials in Khandwa said the bus was on its way from Indore to Khandwa when the mishap occurred around 5.30 pm near Chahaegaon Makhan in the district. The truck was moving in the opposite direction.
 
Those killed in the mishap included at least four women, they said. Some passengers who had suffered injuries were taken to nearby hospitals.
 
Police, district administration and other emergency personnel rushed to the spot immediately along with a fleet of ambulances, they said.
 
In Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives in the accident. He extended his deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.
 
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Rail traffic at Itarsi station disrupted due to fire; several trains delayed, diverted

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Train operations at Itarsi railway station in Madhya Pradesh, a critical junction on the Mumbai-Bhopal, Bhopal-Nagpur and Mumbai-Jabalpur-Allahabad route, have been disrupted due to a fire that broke out in the route relay interlocking (RRI) room there this morning.
 
An official press release said the fire broke out at about 0600 hours today and was extinguished in about three hours.
 
Inspection of the Signalling Relay Room, after the fire was extinguished, indicated extensive damage to Operation Panel, Indication Panel and all wiring. A considerable number of relays have also been badly damaged, they said.
 
Signalling Relay Room system is a system by which all the signals and the points/crossings which are used for changing of routes at junction station are operated centrally from a cabin through electrical devices. 
 
"As a result, complete train operation at Itarsi Station has been disrupted leading to severe detention to trains passing across Itarsi station," the release said.
 
Itarsi junction station deals with about 75 pairs of Mail/Express passenger trains every day and about 25 goods trains each way. 
 
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Divisional officers have already reached site and General Manager of the Railway is also proceeding. Member Traffic/Railway Board, along with senior signalling, and operating officials are also on their way to the site, the release said.
 
"Whereas full extent of the damage is being assessed, detentions to trains would take place as all the operations are now being done manually instead of through electrical devices. The trains on the section are being cleared one by one. Certain number of trains have been diverted through alternate routes and certain trains may have to be cancelled for next one or two days. Passengers are being advised to check status of trains before start of the journey. Refunds are being arranged for passengers of cancelled/diverted trains," it added.
 
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CCEA approves four-laning of Guna-Biaora, Biaora-Dewas sections of NH-3 in MP

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today gave its approval for four laning of the Guna-Biaora and Biaora-Dewas sections of National Highway (NH)– 3 in Madhya Pradesh at an estimated cost of Rs.2815.69 crore. 
 
This work will be implemented under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-IV. The approval is on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis in BOT (Toll) mode, an official press release said.
 
The cost is estimated to be Rs.1081.9 crore for the Guna-Biaora section, including cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be approximately 93.5 kms. 
 
The total cost for the Biaora-Dewa section will be approximately Rs. 1733.79 crore including cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be approximately 141.26 kms. 
 
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Rahul Gandhi says Ambedkar's dream incomplete, warns against divisive ideologies

 
Ambedkar's dream remains unfulfilled: Rahul Gandhi
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi today said Babasaheb Ambedkar's dream of the "annihilation of caste" was still incomplete and, in a veiled attack against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), cautioned people against ideologies which sought to pit them against each other.
 
Inaugurating the year-long celebrations of the 125th birth anniversary of Dr B. R. Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, in his home town of Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, he said, "We see his influence everywhere, but his dream is still incomplete."
 
“Babasaheb Ambedkar belonged to everyone, not just the weak," he said. 
 
Describing Dr Ambedkar as a "great son" of India, Mr Gandhi said he had brought light to the lives of the Dalits and the poor in the country and had fought thousands of years of injustice with his ideas.
 
He said Dr Ambedkar's contributions could not be limited to India or one community. "He worked hard for Dalits, but his efforts were not limited to them. He fought for women's rights, helped frame laws for workers and contributed to the establishment of the Reserve Bank of India," he said.
 
Mr Gandhi said Dr Ambedkar had, along with other great leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, laid the foundations of a strong India.
 
He said that, together with Gandhi and Nehru, he had introduced the concept of "one man, one vote" in the Constitution, which changed India forever. He said that, today, the voice of every section is heard in India's panchayats, legisative assemblies and Parliament.
 
At the same time, there were cases like that of a girl who was punished for having an Ambedkar ringtone in her mobile phone, or of the Muslim youth who was denied a job by a Mumbai company because of his religion. These instances showed that there was no social equality or equal economic opportunity for all yet.
 
Similarly, Mr Gandhi mentioned the recent derecognition of the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras and said this showed that the voices of some sections were still being stifled.
 
He said that, 65 years after the Constitution was adopted, casteism still lived in its politics, its schools and in the minds of the people.
 
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Mr Gandhi said the people must fight to root out the evil of casteism and get everyone their rights. He said he and the Congress would fight for this and alongside all those who faced injustice.
 
He spoke about the various measures taken by the Congress governments in the past to ensure people got their rights, irrespective of their caste, language or religion. He said the fruits of economic development achieved in the past decade must reach all sections of society to take the country forward.
 
He said that while infrastructure, roads, railways and jobs were all necessary, but until all the people got their rights, the country would never be able to realise its full potential.
 
Mr Gandhi urged people, especially the youth, to fight to fulfil Dr Ambedkar's dream and underlined that it would not be an easy task, pointing to the risks the nation faced from divisive ideologies.
 
He said centralisation of power only led to strengthening of casteist forces, while decentralisation would help to weaken them.
 
“Till the time some people are kept away from their rights, the nation cannot change. Babasaheb's life teaches us that change is not easy, it takes time,” he added.
 
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Jaitley to inaugurate new bank note paper line at Hoshangabad

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will inaugurate the new bank note paper line of 6000 tonnes capacity at the Security Paper Mill (SPM) at Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh tomorrow.
 
An official press release said that Mr Jaitley would flag off the first consignment of Rs 1000 bank note paper made indigenously to the Currency Note Press, Nashik.
 
The new paper line capacity is part of the indigenisation of the bank note paper undertaken by the Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited (SPMCIL). 
 
SPMCIL has also set up another joint venture company called Bank Note Paper Mill India Pvt. Ltd. at Mysore with 12,000 MT capacity. The plant of this company is targeted to be commissioned by the year-end. 
 
The combined production from the new paper line at SPM, Hoshangabad and the joint venture at Mysore will be about 18,000 MT of bank note paper, which will meet the major requirement of bank note paper indigenously. At present, a major part of this requirement is being imported.
 
The combined savings of foreign exchange from these two projects will be about Rs.1,500 crore in the coming years, the release said.
 
The foundation stone for the new bank note paper line was laid on December 17, 2011 by then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. 
 
The project has been completed at a cost of Rs.495 crores within the budget and within the time schedule. The plant is environment friendly with minimal use of power and water.  No additional water has been taken for this plant from Narmada river. This is a start-of-the-art plant with capability for incorporation of the advanced security features into the bank note paper.  
 
The release said the plant had been incorporated with the latest pulp manufacturing plant, control systems, equipped with automatic sheet cutter and packaging and has online inspection system.  This plant is capable of manufacturing all denominations of bank note paper with capacity to introduce 3-dimensional toned water mark.  
 
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The new plant has state-of-the-art paper testing laboratory with international standards for testing of bank note paper before dispatch to the currency note presses.  The new paper line is environment friendly aiming for zero liquid discharge.  The latest surveillance system SAP-ERP and with state-of-the-art fire and safety system has been installed. The plant has the latest mould cover manufacturing facility for manufacture of bank note paper with latest designs, it said.
 
The annual turnover from this new bank note paper line when it comes into full production will be about Rs. 450 crores. The plant will procure local raw materials like cotton comber, linter and chemicals except for the security features, which are obtained through exclusivity contracts. 
 
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Bye-elections to be held on June 27 to fill six vacancies in five state legislative asemblies

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The Election Commission today said it would hold bye-elections on June 27 to fill six casual vacancies in the legislative assemblies of Meghalaya, Kerala, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
 
The vacant seats are 59-Chokpot (ST) (Meghalaya), 136-Aruvikkara (Kerala), 13-Pratapgarh (SC) and 46-Surma (SC) (Tripura), 227-Garoth (Madhya Pradesh) and 11-Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar (Tamil Nadu).
 
The notifications for the bye-elections will be issued on June 3 and the last date for filing nominations will be June 10. Counting of votes will be taken up on June 30.
 
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10th World Hindi Conference to be held in Bhopal from Sep 10-12

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The 10th World Hindi Conference (WHC) will be held from September 10-12 in Bhopal by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in partnership with the government of Madhya Pradesh.
 
The first WHC was held in Nagpur, Maharashtra in 1975 and the last one in September 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The last time the conference was held in INdia was in 1983 when it was hosted by New Delhi.
 
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is the chaiperson of the Advisory and Programmes Committee of the conference while Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh is the chairman of the Management Committee.
 
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is the Chief Patron. Makhanlal Chaturvedi Rashtriya Patrakarita avam Sanchar Vishwavidyalaya, Bhopal is the partner organization for the conference, a press release from MEA said.
 
The main theme of the conference is "Hindi Jagat: Vistar avm sambhavnai”. The venue of the Conference is "Lal Parade Ground”, Bhopal.
 
Alongside the conference, special exhibitions will be held on various themses. There will also be a separate area designated for book releases where release of Hindi books and magazines will go on simultaneously.
 
During the conference, there will be cultural programmes in the evenings organized by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India and Department of Culture, Government. Madhya Pradesh. 
 
A "Kavi Sammelan" will be organized by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi. The cultural programmes and the Kavi Sammelan will be coordinated by the ICCR. The ICCR will bring out a special issue of "Gagananchal” dedicated to the conference.
 
In keeping with the past practice, Hindi scholars from India and other countries would be honoured for their distinguished service in the field of Hindi at the conference.
 
The website of the conference was formally launched by Ms Swaraj here yesterday. The winner of the conference logo design competition Ms. Khyati Gupta from Bangalore, was awarded the prize money of Rs 50,000 by Ms Swaraj on the occasion.
 
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First two upgraded Mirage 2000 aircraft reach Gwalior

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The first two upgraded Mirage 2000 aircraft were flown in from France to Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh this afternoon by Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots.
 
The aircraft arrived via Greece, Egypt and Qatar in a journey that took seven days, an official press release said.
 
On arrival at the station, the two aircraft were accorded the traditional water cannon salute whilst taxiing in. The leader of the team, Group Captain M Minocha, was welcomed by the Air Officer Commanding of Air Force Station Gwalior, Air Commodore HS Basra. 
 
The leader also handed over the aircraft documents to the Air Officer Commanding. The twin-seaters were flown in by Wing Commander Vivek Sharma and Squadron Leader K Suryanarayanan. 
 
The release said the upgrade has enhanced the overall capability of the aircraft with advanced avionics, weapons and self protection suites. The upgrade contract was signed with Thales Aeroportes Systems and Dassault Aviation of France. 
 
The upgrade programme was successfully completed on schedule. The subsequent serried upgrade of the Mirage 2000 fleet is being carried out at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bangalore, the release added.
 
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L&T Construction wins orders for four contiguous road projects in MP

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its construction arm had won orders worth Rs 3343 crore in March 2015, including four major contiguous road projects in Madhya Pradesh.
 
The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts, worth Rs 2650 crore, have been received from the National Highways Authority of India (NHA), a press release from the company said.
 
The road projects are Rewa-Katni-Jabalpur (Package 1, 2 & 4) and Jabalpur-Lakhnadon, it said. They involve construction of 287 km of four lane dual carriage way, primarily with rigid pavement, seven flyovers, four railway over bridges (ROB), five major bridges and 86 minor bridges. 
 
While the Rewa-Katni-Jabalpur packages will be completed in 24 months, the Jabalpur-Lakhnadon project will take about 30 months for completion, the release said.
 
The company said its Power Transmission and Distribution Business had received a Rs 271 crore order from Power Grid Corporation of India Limited for the engineering, procurement and 
construction of 765 kV double circuit transmission line between Wardha and Hyderabad.
 
Additional orders worth Rs 422 crores have also been received from various ongoing jobs of Buildings & Factories, Power Transmission & Distribution and Water & Renewable Energy Businesses.
 
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L&T wins Rs 5580 crore order for Ultra-Supercritical Power Plant from NTPC

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said it had secured a turnkey order from the public sector NTPC Limited for setting up a 2x660 MW greenfield Ultra-Supercritical Thermal Power Plant in Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh.
 
Valued at over Rs 5580 crore, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract entails design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of two coal-fired thermal units of 660 MW each with ultra-supercritical parameters, a press release from the company said.
 
This is being done for the first time in the country. The EPC project was won following international competitive bidding, involving several reputed bidders, the release said.
 
This is the first EPC package order awarded to L&T by NTPC for a complete thermal power plant. Earlier, L&T, through its joint venture company L&T-MHPS Boilers Pvt Ltd, had secured an order worth Rs 1885 crore from NTPC in September 2014 for setting up two units of 660 MW each supercritical steam generators for Tanda Thermal Power Plant Stage-2 in Uttar Pradesh. 
 
“While this EPC package order from a central utility like NTPC has brought prestige to L&T, it also comes with the added responsibility of executing the power project under stringent norms and timelines” said Mr. Shailendra Roy, Whole-time Director (Power, Minerals and Metals).
 
“L&T commenced its EPC power project execution for coal-fired 
power plants including manufacture of supercritical boiler-turbine-generator in 2009 and is now capable of delivering energy efficient and environmentally friendly thermal power plants to various clients across the region. Our 2x700 MW Rajpura supercritical thermal power plant in Punjab, executed on turnkey basis in record time, has recently completed one year of operations, thereby contributing towards the nation’s power requirement.” 
 
In the field of supercritical boiler-turbine-generator, L&T has so far manufactured and supplied 10 turbines and 8 boilers of 660/700/800 MW unit sizes to various state utilities and independent power producers like Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Ltd, Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd, Andhra Pradesh Power Development Corporation Ltd, Nabha Power Ltd and Jaiprakash Power Ventures Ltd. 
 
These boilers-turbines-generators have been produced at its manufacturing complex at Hazira in Gujarat, through joint venture companies with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems.
 
L&T has also set up manufacturing capabilities at Hazira for power plant auxiliaries including high pressure piping, coal pulverisers, fans, air preheaters, feed-water heaters, condensers, EPS and heavy forgings.
 
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MP HC Judge Justice Ajit Singh transferred to Rajasthan HC

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The President has, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, transferred Mr Justice Ajit Singh, a judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, as a judge of Rajasthan High Court.
 
An official press release said he had been directed to assume charge of his office in the Rajasthan High Court on or before 19th March, 2015. 
 
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Modi says amendment of Land Acquisition Act essential for creating infrastructure

 
Modi inaugurates two units of Singaji power plant in Khandwa
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the amendment of the existing Land Acquisition Act was essential for the creation of rural infrastructure, including roads, houses for poor, schools, hospitals and irrigation projects.
 
Speaking after dedicating to the nation Stage 1 (2X600 MW) and laying the foundation stone of Stage 2 (2X600 MW) of the Shree Singaji Thermal Power Project at Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh, he appealed to all sections of the Rajya Sabha to support initiatives of the Union Government that would enable fulfilment of the mandate for development given by the people of the country.
 
Mr Modi also urged farmers not to be misled by those who were trying to project the Government's initiatives for development, as being "anti-farmer." 
 
He said the large gathering of farmers and other people from rural areas, to grace the occasion of the dedication to the nation of a power plant, even on the festival of Holi, showed how committed they were to the cause of development. 
 
Describing energy as the key to development and an integral part of modern life, he reiterated his commitment to deliver power to all. He said power generation had gone up by about 11 per cent in the last 9 to 10 months since the new Government assumed office. 
 
The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of saving energy, and mentioned the Government's programme of LED bulbs for homes and street-lighting. 
 
He said the Government was committed to curbing corruption, and gave the example of successful auctioning of coal blocks, which would also benefit Madhya Pradesh in a big way. 
 
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Union Minister for Power Piyush Goyal were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
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CCEA clears four-laning of ten highway stretches at cost of Rs 12,646 crore

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday gave its approval for four-laning of ten stretches of national highways (NHs) at a total cost of Rs 12,646 crore.
 
These highway projects, adding up to a total length of 712 kilometres, are located in West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh and will be implemented under various phases of the National Highways Development Programme (NHDP).
 
The expenditure to be incurred on these projects is to be borne by the Government of India in public interest.  
 
All these projects will convert the existing two-laning highway projects into high quality four-laning highway projects thereby catalyzing the economic development of the regions along the corridors of these highways, an official press release said.
 
The following are the packages:
 
1.  Ghaghra Bridge-Varanasi (Package-II), Uttar Pradesh, NH-233, NHDP-IV, 59.947 km, Rs 1138 crore.
 
2.  Ghaghra Bridge-Varanasi (Package-III), Uttar Pradesh, NH-233, NHDP-IV, 59.07 km, Rs 1157 crore.
 
3.  Rewa-Katni-Jabalpur (Package-I), Madhya Pradesh, NH-7, NHDP-IV, 69.19 km, Rs 1032 crore.
 
4.  Rewa-Katni-Jabalpur (Package-II), Madhya Pradesh, NH-7, NHDP-IV, 69.07 km, Rs 1034 crore.
 
5.  Rewa-Katni-Jabalpur (Package-IV), Madhya Pradesh, NH-7. NHDP-IV, 68.26 km, Rs 1035 crore.
 
6.  Jabalpur-Lakhnadon, Madhya Pradesh, NH-7,NHDP-IV, 80.82 km, Rs 1244 crore.
 
7.  Baharagora-Singhara, Odisha, NH-6, 111.606 km, Rs 1283 crore.
 
8. Parwanoo-Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, NH-22, NHDP-III, 39.139 km, Rs 1247 crore.
 
9.  Ghoshpukur-Salasbari (Package-I), West Bengal, NH-31 D, NHDP-II, 83.785 km, Rs 1755 crore.
 
10. Ghoshpukur-Salasbari (Package-II), West Bengal, NH-31 D, NHDP-II, 71.069 km, Rs 1721 crore
 
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ADB to provide $ 350 m loan to upgrade district roads in Madhya Pradesh

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The Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed here recently an agreement for a $ 350 million loan to upgrade district roads in the state of Madhya Pradesh, an official press release said here today.
 
The Madhya Pradesh (MP) District Connectivity Sector project will improve about 1,600 kilometers of major district roads in Madhya Pradesh through lane widening, surface improvements, strengthening of culverts and bridges, it said.
 
Mr Tarun Bajaj, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, who signed the loan agreement on behalf of Government of India said that the project would lead to improved road transport connectivity in Madhya Pradesh through reconstruction and rehabilitation of major district roads to all-weather standards. 
 
The project will have innovative elements like creation of State Highways Fund on PPP model, toll plus annuity on hybrid model of BOT (Toll) & BOT (Annuity), Border Checkposts, also on PPP model to increase the revenue and control overloading and damage to state roads. 
 
Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Teresa Kho, Country Director of ADB`s India Resident Mission, who signed the agreement for ADB, said that the loan was the bank's first in the district roads sector in India, and will address a neglected part of ongoing road network upgrades in the country for these secondary roads, which provide a key link between rural roads and state highways. 
 
She further said that this will help to cut travel times, improve traffic flow and road safety, and provide better access to markets and social services for poor and remote communities. 
 
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The project agreement was signed by Mr Vivek Aggarwal, Secretary, Public Works Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh, and Mr Arun Paliwal, General Manager, Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation (MPRDC). 
 
In addition to improving the roads, the project envisages to include five-year performance-based maintenance contracts integrated as an adjunct to the construction contracts, to ensure road assets are constructed to higher standards and well maintained after initial work is completed. The project roads will also be covered under an accident response system being developed by the state, with assistance under ADB’s prior loans. 
 
ADB’s loan will cover 70% of the total project cost of $500 million, with the state government of Madhya Pradesh providing the balance of $150 million. It is expected to be completed by April 2018. Madhya Pradesh has a road network of about 127,000 km, including 4,700 km of national highways, 11,000 km of state highways, and 20,000 km of major district roads. Rural roads make up the balance. 
 
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10 dead, 29 injured as bus falls into gorge in Madhya Pradesh

 
10 dead, 29 injured as bus plunges into gorge in MP
At least ten people died and 29 others suffered injuries when a private bus carrying them veered off the road and plunged about 200 feet into a gorge in the Machaliya Ghat area on the border between Dhar and Jhabua districts of Madhya Pradesh last night.
 
Dhar Superintendent of Police (SP) Rajesh Hingankar told NetIndian over the telephone that those killed included the driver of the bus, six men and three women.
 
He said the mishap occurred around 9 pm yesterday when the bus was on its way from Indore to Galiakot in Rajasthan.
 
Police and other emergency personnel from both Dhar and Jhabhua districts rushed to the spot, about 125 km from Indore, and extricated the victims from the mangled bus and taken them to a nearby hospital, sources said.
 
They said the cause of the mishap could not be immediately ascertained and would be inquired into.
 
Dhar Collector Jaishree Kiyawat told NetIndian that the rescue teams, equipped with searchlights, generators, ropes and other equipment, managed to complete their operations about about 1 am today.
 
She said the injured had been rushed to nearby hospitals, including in Jhabhua, Dhar and Indore.
 
Jhabua Collector B Chandrashekhar and SP Krishnaveni Desavatu were also among those who reached the scene of the mishap to help in the rescue efforts, sources added.
 
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Central Zonal Council to meet in Lucknow tomorrow

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The 20th meeting of the Central Zonal Council, comprising the States of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand, will be held in  Lucknow tomorrow. 
 
The last meeting of the Zonal Council was held in New Delhi in 2010, an official press release said.
 
As a precursor to tomorrow’s meeting, the Standing Committee of the Central Zonal Council was held in New Delhi on October 31, 2014 to finalize the agenda items proposed to be placed before the Council.
 
The issues flagged by the Standing Committee, consisting of the Chief Secretaries of the States, relate to increasing density and upgradation of existing roads, child welfare programmes, control of left-wing extremism, improvement of airport Infrastructure in the States, release of CAMPA funds and modernization of police forces. 
 
Apart from these, the Chief Ministers are expected to raise other issues related to Centre-State and Inter-State relations.
 
There are five Zonal Councils -- Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern and Central -- which are advisory bodies and discuss any matter in which some or all of the States represented in a Council have a common interest. These Councils advise the Central and State Governments on any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning, linguistic minorities, inter-state transport, matters connected with or arising out of the reorganization of states and matters concerning border disputes. 
 
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Ultra Tech to acquire two Japyee cement plants in Madhya Pradesh

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Ultra Tech Cement Limited, a part of the Aditya Birla Group, today said that it would acquire two cement plans of infrastructure major Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL) in Madhya Pradesh.
 
A press release from the company said its Board of Directors had, at its meeting today, approved the acquisition.
 
The company will acquire JAL's integrated cement plant with clinker capaity of 2.1 MTPA and cement grinding capacity of 2.6 MTPA at Bela and the integrated cement plant with clinker capacity of 3.1 MTPA and cement grinding capacity of 2.3 MTPA at Sidhi.
 
It will also acquire the 180 MW of power generation capacity, of which 25 MW is situated at Bela and 155 MW at Sidhi.
 
"This acquisition will create significant synergies and the surplus clinker will enable UltraTech to augment its cement capacity by a further 1.8 - 2.5 MTPA in addition to the 4.9 MTPA mentioned above. This acquisition will enable the Company to increase its presence in Satna cluster of MP," the release said.
 
"The Board has approved the memorandum of understanding setting out the broad terms and conditions of the proposed acquisition. The enterprise value of this acquisition has been agreed at Rs. 5,400 crore," it said.
 
The transaction is subject to customary due diligence, definitive agreements, and regulatory approvals as may be required, the release said.
 
With this acquisition, the company’s cement capacity in India will increase from about 60 mtpa to about 65 mtpa and with projects underway, the capacity will stand raised to about 71mtpa by 2016, the release added.
 
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ADB to provide $ 350m loan to upgrade district roads in Madhya Pradesh

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The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $350 million loan to upgrade district roads in Madhya Pradesh in a project which will tackle an important link in road improvements.
 
“Madhya Pradesh, India’s second largest state, has widely scattered industrial and growth centers and agricultural production areas, so an efficient and safe road network is essential for the economy and well-being of citizens,” said Ravi Peri, Principal Transport Specialist, Transport and Communications Division, South Asia Department of ADB.
 
“The loan, which is ADB’s first in the district roads sector in India, will address a neglected part of ongoing road network upgrades, with these secondary roads providing a key link between rural roads and state highways," he said.
 
A press release from ADB said the project would upgrade about 1,600 kilometers of major district roads in the state through lane widening, surface improvements, and strengthening of culverts and bridges. This will help to cut travel times, improve traffic flow and road safety, and provide better access to markets and social services for poor and remote communities. Five-year performance-based maintenance contracts will be included as an adjunct to the construction contracts, to ensure road assets are constructed to higher standards and well maintained after initial work is completed.
 
The project roads will also be covered under an accident response system being developed in the state, with assistance from ADB’s prior loans. The state is pioneering this initiative to create insurance links that will finance the immediate hospital treatment costs for road accident victims.
 
ADB’s loan will cover 70% of the total project cost of $500 million, with the Madhya Pradesh government providing the balance of $150 million. The project is expected to be completed in April 2018.
 
According to the release, Madhya Pradesh has a road network of about 127,000 kilometers, including 4,700 kilometers of national highways, 11,000 kilometers of state highways, and 20,000 kilometers of major district roads. Rural roads make up the balance. 
 
Vehicle use has soared about 10% per year over the past decade and the Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation estimates that more than $1.2 billion in investment will be needed in the state road sector from 2013-2023.
 
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Eight persons from Maharashtra killed in road mishap in Madhya Pradesh

Eight killed, eight hurt in jeep-truck collision near Khandwa in MP
Eight persons died and another eight were injured when the vehicle in which they were travelling collided with a truck in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh today, official sources said.
 
The mishap occurred around noon near the Roshiya crossing in Chhaigaon Makhan police station area, on the Ichhapur-Indore state highway, about 30 km from the district headquarters, Khandwa Superintendent of Police Manoj Sharma said.
 
Mr Sharma told NetIndian over the telephone that the deceased included three men, three women and two children.
 
The injured -- four men, two women and two children -- were rushed to the Khandwa general hospital, where the condition of two -- a man and a child -- was stated to be serious, he said.
 
Mr Sharma said the victims, who belonged to two families with the same surname, were on their way from Bhusawal in Maharashtra to Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh on a pilgrimage when the misap occurred.
 
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