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Maharashtra

16 dead, 15 injured, several trapped as five-storeyed building collapses in Mumbai

At least 16 people died and 15 others suffered injuries when an old, dilapidated five-storeyed building collapsed in the Bhendi Bazaar area, near J J Junction, in south Mumbai here this morning, official sources said.

 
16 dead, 15 injured in Mumbai building collapse
At least 16 people died and 15 others suffered injuries when an old, dilapidated five-storeyed building collapsed in the Bhendi Bazaar area, near J J Junction, in south Mumbai here this morning, official sources said.
 
Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai Assistant Commissioner J S Ghegadmal told NetIndian over the telephone from the scene that 31 victims had been extricated from the debris, of whom 16 were found dead.
 
The injured were rushed to the nearby J. J. Hospital, where the condition of some of them was stated to be serious, sources said.
 
With several more people feared trapped under the tonnes of debris, scores of men from the Mumbai Fire Brigade, the Municipal Corporation, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and local residents were engaged in massive search and rescue efforts.
 
Cranes, gas cutters and other equipment were being used to clear the debris and cut through the mangled steel and concrete to reach the victims and look for possible survivors.
 
The structure was more than a hundred years old, sources said. It was locted in a heavily congested area in south Mumbai's C Ward, and rescue teams with their big vehicles and heavy equipment had a tough time reaching the spot.
 
The building had a playschool on the premises which would have opened at 10 am as usual. However, the building came down at about 8.30 am, much before the children were scheduled to arrive.
 
This is the third major incident of building collapse in the metropolis in recent weeks. On July 25, at least 17 people died and 11 others suffered injuries when a four-storeyed residential building collapsed in the suburban area of Ghatkopar.
 
On August 26, six people lost their lives when a part of a seven-storeyed under-construction building collapsed at Chandivali while some unauthorised portions of the structure were being demolished.
 
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Municipal officials said they received a call about the collapse of the building around 8.40 am and the fire brigade was immediately rushed to the spot. There was no immediate word on the number of people living in the building and how many of them were trapped under the debris. Police have cordoned off the area to facilitate the smooth conduct of the search and rescue operations.
 
The incident has come two days after Mumbai experienced its heaviest rainfall since the July 2005 floods.
 
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed grief over the loss of lives in the incient and is personally monitoring the situation.
 
He has ordered a detailed inquiry into the incident by a committee headed by the Additional Chief Secretary (Housing).
 
Mr. Fadnavis has asked the Municipal Commissioner to submit a detailed report on the tragedy. He also asked the Municipal Commissioner to focus on ensuring immediate medical assistance to the injured persons. State Minister Subhash Desai visited the spot and later briefed Mr. Fadnavis about the situation.
 
Civic officials said the building had been declared unsafe for living six years ago. The residents had been served with evacuation notices in 2011 and ordered to vacate the building to enable redevelopment of the area under the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) project.
 
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16 dead, 14 injured in major fire at ammunition depot in Maharashtra

At least 22 defence personnel died and 14 others suffered injuries in a major fire that broke out in the early hours of Tuesday and triggered huge explosions at one of India's biggest ammunition depots at Pulgoan in Wardha district of Maharashtra.

 
16 dead, 14 injured in ammunition depot fire in Wardha
At least 16 people died and 14 others suffered injuries in a major fire that broke out in the early hours of today and triggered huge explosions at one of India's biggest ammunition depots at Pulgoan in Wardha district of Maharashtra.
 
Wardha district officials said the injured had been admitted to hospitals in Wardha town, about 30 km from Pulgaon, for treatment, official sources said.
 
The massive fire and the explosions that followed lit up the night sky in the town, located about 100 km from Nagpur.
 
The fire broke out in the Central Ammunition Depot around 1.30 am today and was brought under control by around 6 am today, they said.
 
The cause of the fire could not be immediately ascertained and would be established only after an inquiry, they said.
 
The sources said families living in accommodation near the depot were evacuated to safer places as a precautionary measure.
 
Fire brigade personnel worked throughout the night to bring the blaze under control.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives in the fire.
 
“Pained by loss of lives caused by a fire at central ammunition depot in Pulgaon, Maharashtra. My thoughts are with the bereaved families," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter
 
"I pray that those who are injured recover quickly," he said, adding that he had asked Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to rush to the spot and take stock of the situation. 
 
Chief of Army Staff Gen Dalbir Singh is also rushing to Wardha for an assessment of the situation, the sources added.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra early this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 17.6°N and longitude 73.6°E, occurred at 0519 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Prannoy, Nehwal crowned National Badminton champions

H.S. Prannoy and Saina Nehwal were crowned India’s national Badminton champions, after the country’s top titans clashed in the hotly-contested finals of the 82nd Senior National Badminton Championships on Wednesday.
 
World number 11 Prannoy faced off against Kidambi Srikanth in the men’s finals, beating the world number 2 after a hard-fought battle that lasted 49 minutes.
 
Srikanth, winner of three of the last four matches between the pair until Wednesday’s final, had gone into the tie as favourite to clinch the title. But Prannoy proved to be more than a match for the 24-year-old, beating him 21-15, 16-21, 21-7.
 
World number eleven Nehwal went head-to-head with number 2 Sindhu for the women’s title. There was practically nothing to choose between the pair, both two-time national champions.
 
Sindhu doggedly hung on after losing the first game, trying hard to force the second all the way to a golden-point decider, but Nehwal pulled out just that little bit extra to edge her out with a score of 21-17, 27-25 and add to her back-to-back national title success achieved in 2006 and 2007. 
 
The capacity crowds packing Nagpur’s Divisional Sports Complex lapped up every bit of the action as India’s top shuttlers pulled out all the stops in a scintillating display of unbridled skill.
 
Among the spectators were Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Badminton Association of India President Himanta Biswa Sarma and Maharashtra Badminton Association President Arun Lakhani.
 
Results:
 
Mixed Doubles: Satwik Sairaj and Ashwini Ponnappa beat Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy: 21-9, 20-22, 21-17
Men’s Singles: H.S Prannoy beat K Srikant: 21-15, 16- 21, 21-7
Women’s Doubles: Sikki Reddy N and Ashwini Ponnappa beat Sanyogita Ghorpade and Prajakta Sawant: 21-14, 21-14
Men’s Doubles: Manu Attri and Sumit Reddy B. Beat Satwik Sai Raj R. and Chirag Shetty: 15-21, 22-20, 25-23
Women’s Singles: Saina Nehwal beat P.V. Sindhu: 21-17, 27-25
 
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P.V Sindhu, Saina Nehwal enter semi-finals of Senior National Badminton Championship

Saina Nehwal and P. V. Sindhu stormed into the semi-finals of women's singles in the 82nd Senior National Badminton Championship with easy victories in the quarter-finals here today.
 
Nehwal wasted in no time in taking control of the match against Aakarshi Kashyap, winning the first game convincingly. The second game saw Kashyap trying to make a desperate comeback but Nehwal was too good for her and with every shot the latter looked more and more formidable. Her strong shots helped Nehwal to not allow Kashyap to make a comeback as she went on to win the game convincingly.
 
The second quarter-final saw Sindhu, playing with great speed and grit, stunning Shriyanshi Pardeshi.
 
In a men's singles quarter-final match, K. Srikanth created some magical moments as he demolished Shubham Prajapati with a superb display of skill and talent. 
 
In mixed doubles, Satwik Sai Raj R. and Ashwini Ponnappa took on Shivam Sharma and Poorvisha S. Ram. It was Satwik and Ponnappa pair with their high speed and seamless coordination managed to bag the first game of the match in their name. The second game as was expected had both the teams playing their best badminton as they mixed their shots in order to deceive the other.
 
Main results of the day:
 
Women’s Singles:
Saina Nehwal (PET) bt Aakarshi Kashyap (AAI) : 21-17 21-10
P.V.Sindhu (AP) bt Shriyanshi Pardeshi ( MP) : 21-11 21-17
 
Men’s Singles: 
K Srikanth (PET) bt Shubham Prajapati (MP) : 21-17 23-21
 
Mixed Doubles:
 
Satwik Sai Raj and Ashwini Ponnappa (AP/PET) bt Shivam Sharma and Poorvisha S. Ram (RBI): 21-14 21-12
 
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HCC-Al Fara'a JV awarded Rs. 497 crore contract for Pune Metro

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Infrastructure major Hindustan Construction Company Ltd. (HCC), as a lead partner in the joint venture (JV) with Al Fara'a, has been awarded a Rs.  497.09 crore contract by the Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Ltd for the Pune Metro Rail Project. 
 
HCC’s share in the JV is 51% (Rs 253.5 crore). The project is to be completed in 110 weeks, a press release from the company said here today
 
The contract is for construction of nine elevated metro stations -- Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, Tukaram Nagar, Bhosari, Kasarwadi, Phugewadi, Dapoli, Bopodi, Khadki and Range Hill. The work involves general and structural civil works of the station buildings and architectural and site development, it said.
 
The total length of Pune Metro – Phase I is 32 km. It is divided between Line I of 16.59 km and Line II of 14.66 km. The Line I is partly elevated and partly underground starting from Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation to Swargate. All elevated stations on the Line I are being constructed by the HCC-Al Fara'a JV, the release said.
 
“We are honored to be a part of this prestigious project with MMRCL, which is the testimony to our proven execution excellence and capabilities across Mumbai Metro, Delhi Metro and Kolkata Metro. The project will bring relief to millions of commuters and will assist in easing the severe traffic congestion in the city,” said Mr. Arun Karambelkar, President & CEO - E&C, HCC Ltd.
 
HCC has been associated with six packages of Delhi Metro totaling 18.14 km of tunnels and 13 underground stations. In Kolkata Metro, HCC has constructed 6.47 km tunnels in six packages that include four underground stations. In Mumbai Metro I, the company has built eight elevated stations. 
 
Currently, HCC is executing a section of Mumbai Metro Line III, involving 3,115 m long twin bored tunnels including four underground stations and a section of Bangalore Metro Rail Project involving 6,340 m long elevated corridor including a road-cum-rail flyover and five metro stations, the release added.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Latur region of Maharashtra

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.0 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Latur region of Maharashtra today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 18.1°N and longitude  76.6°E, occurred at 1223 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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10 dead, 14 injured as truck overturns in Sangli district of Maharashtra

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At least 10 labourers died and 14 others suffered injuries when the truck they were travelling in, laden with tiles, overturned in Sangli district of Maharashtra in the early hours of today, police said.
 
Police sources told NetIndian over the telephone that the mishap occurred near Yogewadi around 3.30 am when the truck was on its way from Miraj to Karad.
 
Police officials and other emergency  services personnel rushed to the scene and removed the injured to a nearby hospital, the sources added.
 
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5th India-Sri Lanka joint exercise Mitra Shakti 2017 begins in Pune

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The fifth India-Sri Lanka Joint Training Exercise Mitra Shakti 2017 started with a grand opening ceremony at Aundh Military Station here today.
 
The exercise is based on Counter Terrorist Operations and an infantry company from both the countries is participating in it. The opening ceremony commenced with a parade, followed by skill displays carried out by troops from the two countries.
 
A spectacular display of Unarmed Combat, Khukri Dance and Pipe Band was carried out by Indian Army and Udarata Narthanaya by Sri Lanka Army. The fly past by two Cheetah helicopters of Indian Army Aviation carrying the national flags of both countries was held at the start of the ceremony.
 
It was presided by Brigadier Alok Chandra and Brigadier Ajith Pallawela, Senior Indian Observer and Senior Sri Lanka Observer, respectively. 
 
 
"The India - Sri Lanka joint training exercise will send a strong signal to the world that both India and Sri Lanka understand the emerging threat of terrorism and stand shoulder to shoulder in countering this menace," an official press release said.
 
The exercise will be conducted for the next 14 days up to October 26 and will involve sharing and learning from each other’s experiences, the release added.
 
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Kovind attends function to declare urban Maharashtra open defecation free

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President Ram Nath Kovind today attended a function organised here to declare urban Maharashtra open defecation free (ODF).
 
During a visit to Maharashtra, Mr. Kovind also inaugurated the Shirdi airport and the centenary year celebrations of the samadhi of Sai Baba.
 
Speaking at the function in Mumbai, the President said a healthy and prosperous India could be built only on the foundations of a clean India. 
 
He congratulated the Government and Chief Minister of Maharashtra on the occasion of urban Maharashtra being declared Open Defecation Free. 
 
He congratulated all the members of the “Swachh Maharashtra Team” and those who worked hard on the ground to achieve this goal and had kept to the commitment of a two-year deadline, set on October 2, 2015. He stated that such success is possible only with the cooperation and participation of all stakeholders.
 
The President said that the declaration of 'ODF' Urban Maharashtra is particularly relevant for the state as 49 per cent of Maharashtra’s people live in urban areas. ‘Smart Cities’, he said, also require ‘Smart Sanitation’ and ‘Smart Waste Management’. 
 
Mr. Kovind added that it was a matter of great satisfaction that the Government is focusing on sustainability of this successful campaign. The ‘OD Watch’ monitoring will be useful in alerting people and helping them quit old habits and not relapsing to open defecation. He hoped that just as the state has been successful in realising the goal of 'ODF', it would also realise the goal of 'Managing 100 per cent Waste'. 
 
The President said that tomorrow is Gandhi Jayanti and Maharashtra has paid a befitting tribute to Gandhiji by declaring urban Maharashtra Open Defecation Free today.
 
Speaking in Shirdi, the President said that Sai Baba attracted people from every caste, religion, sect and class. Using simple phrases such as ‘Sabka Malik Ek Hai’, Sai Baba explained the philosophy of 'Advaita' to the common man. The influence of Sai Baba can be seen all over the world.
 
The President added that along with ‘spiritual connectivity’, the country also needed ‘physical connectivity’ through large infrastructure projects. He commended the building of the airport as a measure that would help pilgrims and visitors as well as trigger economic activity and job creation in Shirdi. He hoped that people in large numbers would use the Shirdi International Airport inaugurated today.
 
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Air India subsidiary Alliance Air links Shirdi to Mumbai, Hyderabad

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Alliance Air, the wholly owned subsidiary of national carrier Air India, today linked the pilgrimage town of Shirdi in Maharashtra to Mumbai and Hyderabad with an ATR 72 aircraft.
 
The first flight AI 9654 from Shirdi to Mumbai was flagged off by President Ram Nath Kovind.
 
Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajpati Raju and Maharashtra Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis launched the flight by giving away the boarding passes to passengers along with Air India Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Bansal and senior Air India officials.  
 
The flight from Mumbai to Shirdi and return will operate daily with an ATR 72 aircraft. Flight AI 9653 will depart Mumbai at 0830 hours to reach Shirdi at 0915hrs and the return flight will depart Shirdi at 0945 hrs to arrive in Mumbai at 1105 hrs on Wednesday,Friday and Sundays. 
 
On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays the flight AI 9653 will leave Mumbai at 1520 hrs to arrive in Shirdi at 1605 hrs and leave Shirdi at 1630 hrs to arrive in Mumbai at 1715 hrs.
 
The flight from Hyderabad to Shirdi and return will operate on all days except Thursdays with the ATR 72 aircraft. The flight AI 9869 will leave Hyderabad at 1410 hrs to arrive in Shirdi at 1600 hours and the return flight AI 9870 will depart Shirdi at 1630 hrs to arrive in Hyderabad at 1815 hrs. 
 
"This flight will also give a boost to tourism and will fulfill a long standing demand of travellers to this pilgrimage town.These new connections by Alliance Air will lend a further boost to the national carrier's Connect India mission," a press release from the airline added.
 
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Gadkari to perform "bhoomi poojan" for Wardha Dry Port on Monday

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Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari will perform the "bhoomi poojan" ceremony of the Wardha Dry  Port at Sindi in Wardha, Maharashtra tomorrow.
 
The dry port is being developed by the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in a bid to provide effective logistics services to the industries in the Vidarbha region and improve cargo throughput at the port, an official press release said.
 
The release said the proposed dry port is to be constructed over an area of 350 acres in phased development with a total estimated investment of Rs 500 crore. The Phase-I would involve development of around 25 hectares (ha) of the total area, with an estimated cost of Rs.180 crore (including private investment of Rs. 79 crore).
 
The proposed dry port is estimated to generate traffic of almost 7,000-9,000 TEUs in next 5-7 years. The traffic is expected to ramp up gradually to around 30,000 TEUs in the medium term (by 2030), considering the geographical location advantage, upcoming road and railway connectivity, and increased focus on warehousing and other ancillary industries in the region. 
 
The project is expected to offer direct employment of at least 1000 persons. The project would have the necessary facilities as one-stop shop for export-import based industries such as customs clearance facilities, Container Freight Station, warehousing space, cold storage, liquid storage, truck terminals, and so on.
 
According to the release, the site is strategically located near the industrial belt of Nagpur and Wardha and is well connected to the other industrial regions in Vidarbha.
 
The dry port will benefit rice exporters, textile and garments industry, steel and minerals traders, scrap trade, plastics and paper pulp, electrical machinery, automotive parts manufacturers and others located in the region. 
 
Besides, domestic cargo movement is also expected to be routed through the dry port due to its logistical proximity to upcoming Nagpur-Mumbai super communication expressway, national highways and railway connectivity.  The dry port shall get connected to the Central Railways network through Nagpur-Wardha line, to Nagpur-Mumbai Super Communication expressway and six lane national highways connecting major cities of Central, Southern and Northern India, the release added.
 
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Day after Mumbai stampede, Goyal holds high-level meeting on railway safety

A day after at least 22 persons died in a stampede on a foot overbridge at the Elphinstone Road railway station in Mumbai on Friday, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal chaired a high-level meeting on railways safety on Saturday at which several major decisions were taken to ensure such incidents did not recur.

A view of the rush on the foot overbridge at the Elphinstone Road railway station in Mumbai on September 29, 2017shortly before a stampede claimed the lives of 22 people and left more than 30 others injured.
A view of the rush on the foot overbridge at the Elphinstone Road railway station in Mumbai on September 29, 2017shortly before a stampede claimed the lives of 22 people and left more than 30 others injured.
A day after at least 22 persons died and more than 35 others suffered injuries in a stampede on a foot overbridge at the Elphinstone Road railway station in Mumbai yesterday, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal chaired a high-level meeting on railways safety here today at which several major decisions were taken to ensure such incidents did not recur.
 
The meeting, held at the headquarters of Western Railway at Churchgate here, conducted a comprehensive review of safety measures in the Mumbai Suburban Railways network as well as the entire Indian Railways, an official press release said.
 
The release said the decisions taken today accorded the highest priority to safety and would empower railway officers to take strong measures to improve passenger safety and security.
 
According to the release, foot overbridges (FOBs), platforms and pathways at the end of the platform would be treated as safety items having the highest priority, with no restriction of budget. Earlier, only the first FOB at a station was considered as essential and subsequent ones as passenger amenities.
 
The release said that, for the next 18 months, General Managers of Railway zones have been delegated powers without limit for safety related issues. They shall intimate Financial Commissioner (FC) within a week of sanction for provision, and FC shall confirm the same within 15 days. In case of disagreement, the matter shall be put up to the Railway Board for final decision within the same 15 days. 
 
Additional escalators sanctioned at stations of the Mumbai Suburban system having high footfall with the details to be finalised within 15 days. Similar exercise will be carried out for all high use stations all over India. 
 
As many as 200 officers will be relocated from headquarters to field positions to strengthen ground operations and project implementation. 
 
The release said "brilliant and enthusiastic" Station Directors would be posted at 75 stations all over India to bring dynamism in operations. 
 
Within the next 15 months, CCTV cameras will be installed in all suburban trains in Mumbai with monitoring mechanism. This shall be done in parallel across India as well. 
 
Delegation of financial and administration powers to field units will be done by October 2017 to reduce red tape and push development and delivery. 
 
"These steps will lead to improvement in the functioning and operations of railways to ensure improvement in the standards of safety," the release said.
 
Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani and all Railway Board Members were present at the meeting along with Mr. A. K. Gupta, General Manager of Western Railway and Mr. D. K. Sharma, General Manager of Central Railway, both headquartered in Mumbai, and security officials from the State Government.
 
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Yesterday's tragedy has evoked anger across Mumbai and other parts of the country, drawing attention as it did to the pathetic conditions that rail travellers have to endure as a matter of routine.
 
What caused even more concern was that the need for improvement of the overbridge at Elphinstone Road station and creation of additional facilities had been repeatedly pointed out by elected representatives, the media and others, but there had been no action.
 
The mishap occurred when two or suburban trains arrived at the station around the same time at about 10.30 am yesterday and heavy rains led to a huge rush of people on a narrow staircase leading to the North foot overbridge at the station, which ultimately led to the stampede.
 
The presence of hawkers with their wares on the bridge and a leaking roof on the staircase added to the problems, eyewitnesses told journalists at the scene.
 
The situation was aggravated by the fact that people were not evacuating the overbridge quickly enough because of the rains, the sources said.
  
The Elphinstone Road station, on the Western Railway's suburban rail network, gets crowded during peak hours because it caters to office-goers in the Lower Parel area. The foot overbridge connects the Elphinstone Road station on the Western Railway to the Parel station on the Central Railway. The station offers one of the few interchange points between the two networks and is, therefore, crowded at most times.
 
The tragedy occurred on a day when Railways Minister Piyush Goyal was due to launch 100 additional suburban train services on the Mumbai suburban network of Western Railway and Central Railway.
 
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Nagpur has potential to become centre of development of country: Kovind

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President Ram Nath  Kovind today said that Nagpur, traditionally regarded as the geograpical centre of the country, had the potential to become the centre of development of India as well.
 
Speaking after inaugurating the Suresh Bhat Natya Sabhagrah here, he appreciated the rapid development of modern infrastructure which has taken place in the city and noted that there was a project to make it a Smart City.
 
Mr. Kovind recalled that Maharashtra was the "karmabhoomi" of many revolutionaries, social reformers and saints, including Shivaji Maharaj, Chhatrapati Sahu Ji, Samarth Guru Ramdas, Tatya Tope, Sant Eknath, Sant Dnyaneshwar, Sant Tukaram, Jyotiba Phule, Savitribai Phule, and Pandita Ramabai Saraswati to Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Y.B. Chavan and Baba Amte. 
 
He said Maharashtra was one of the main centres of the freedom struggle. Many important chapters of the freedom movement, including the 'Quit India Movement' of 1942, were written in Maharashtra. Mahatma Gandhi regarded Gokhale as his guru and made Wardha in the Nagpur division his work place, he said.
 
The President said that Maharashtra is not only a hub of industry and business of the country but that of its culture and art as well. Mumbai is described as the economic capital of India. 
 
"By linking its heritage of education and culture with trade and technology, Maharashtra is giving strength to the entire country in the 21st century. In the quest for development and economic change, we have to take care to keep our cultural moorings intact. In this context, Maharashtra is setting an example for the nation," he said.
 
Mr. Kovind also inaugurated a Vipassana Meditation Centre at the Dragon Palace Temple complex in Kamptee, where he said that Vipassana is an effective way to cleanse the mind and body to equip people to face the stresses of modern life.
 
He said Vipassana is a meditation technique propounded by Lord Buddha that helps the practitioner to connect with the inner self.
 
“It is an effective way to cleanse our mind and body and equips us to face the stresses of modern life. If practised correctly, it can provide the same benefit as that received from certain medicines. In this way, Vipassana is also beneficial for health in addition to being a meditation technique,” he added.
 
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Like Yoga, Vipassana should not be seen as being associated with any particular religion. It is for the welfare of all humanity, the President said.
 
“The ideals of Buddhist philosophy are reflected in our Constitution, especially in the stated principles of equality, fraternity, and social justice. The architect of our Constitution, Dr BR Ambedkar, had said that appreciation of the democratic system was present in ancient India and its roots in our country have been strong since age-old times,” Mr Kovind said. In this context, he gave the example of the democratic tradition that was in practice in the Buddhist Sanghas.
 
The President said the urge for social change was central to Lord Buddha's philosophy, and inspired many social reform movements in later centuries. A number of such movements took place in Maharashtra itself and they in turn set an example for social reform movements in other parts of India, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries.
 
“In today's age of insecurity, the message of non-violence, love and compassion given by Lord Buddha is extremely relevant,” he added.
 
Earlier in the day, Mr Kovind visited the Deeksha Bhoomi shrine, and paid his respects to Babasaheb Ambedkar.
 
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CCEA nod for doubling of Daund-Manmad railway line in Maharashtra

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday gave its approval for the doubling of the 247.5 km Daund-Manmad railway line in Maharashtra.
 
An official press release said the estimated cost of the project will be Rs. 2,081.27 crore and the completion cost  Rs. 2,330.51 crore with 5% escalation per annum. The project is likely to be completed by 2021-22.
 
The project is expected to ease passenger and freight traffic and decongest the Daund-Manmad route, which is a critical section for trains from North India to South India via Pune and for pilgrims going to the famous pilgrimage destinations of Shirdi and Shani-Shignapur, an official press release said.
 
It will also ease the congestion in Mumbai by diverting the trains to this route, the release said.
 
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Six wagons of goods train derail on Kalyana-Lonavala section in Maharashtra

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Six wagons of a goods train derailed between Monkey Hill and Khandala on the Kalyan-Lonavala section of Central Railway this afternoon.
 
The derailment occurred on the down line on the Mumbai-Pune route at 1555 hours, infringing the middle line, the Central Railway said.
 
Breakdown train and tool vans have left for the site immediately to restore the line, it said.
 
Due to the derailment, at least ten trains have been cancelled, five were short-terminated and eight were diverted, it added.
 
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21 dead, 13 injured, several trapped as five-storeyed building collapses in Mumbai

At least 21 people died and 13 others suffered injuries when an old, dilapidated five-storeyed building collapsed in the Bhendi Bazaar area, near J J Junction, in south Mumbai on Thursday morning, official sources said.

 
16 dead, 15 injured in Mumbai building collapse
At least 21 people died and 13 others suffered injuries when an old, dilapidated five-storeyed building collapsed in the Bhendi Bazaar area, near J J Junction, in south Mumbai here this morning, official sources said.
 
Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai Assistant Commissioner J S Ghegadmal told NetIndian over the telephone from the scene that 34 victims had been extricated from the debris, of whom 21 were found dead.
 
The injured were rushed to the nearby J. J. Hospital, where the condition of some of them was stated to be serious, sources said.
 
With several more people feared trapped under the tonnes of debris, scores of men from the Mumbai Fire Brigade, the Municipal Corporation, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and local residents were engaged in massive search and rescue efforts.
 
Cranes, gas cutters and other equipment were being used to clear the debris and cut through the mangled steel and concrete to reach the victims and look for possible survivors.
 
The structure was about 125 years old, sources said. It was located in a heavily congested area in south Mumbai's C Ward, and rescue teams with their big vehicles and heavy equipment had a tough time reaching the spot.
 
The building had a playschool on the premises which would have opened at 10 am as usual. However, the building came down at about 8.30 am, much before the children were scheduled to arrive.
 
This is the third major incident of building collapse in the metropolis in recent weeks. On July 25, at least 17 people died and 11 others suffered injuries when a four-storeyed residential building collapsed in the suburban area of Ghatkopar.
 
On August 26, six people lost their lives when a part of a seven-storeyed under-construction building collapsed at Chandivali while some unauthorised portions of the structure were being demolished.
 
Municipal officials said they received a call about the collapse of the building around 8.40 am and the fire brigade was immediately rushed to the spot. There was no immediate word on the number of people living in the building and how many of them were trapped under the debris. Police have cordoned off the area to facilitate the smooth conduct of the search and rescue operations.
 
The incident has come two days after Mumbai experienced its heaviest rainfall since the July 2005 floods.
 
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Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed grief over the loss of lives in the incident and is personally monitoring the situation. He visited the site and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 5 lakh to the next-of-kin of those who had lost their lives in the collapse.
 
He also ordered a detailed inquiry into the incident by a committee headed by the Additional Chief Secretary (Housing).
 
Mr. Fadnavis has asked the Municipal Commissioner to submit a detailed report on the tragedy. He also asked the Municipal Commissioner to focus on ensuring immediate medical assistance to the injured persons. State Minister Subhash Desai visited the spot and later briefed Mr. Fadnavis about the situation.
 
In Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed sadness over the loss of lives in the tragedy.
 
“Collapse of a building in Mumbai is saddening. My condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and prayers with the injured," he said on Twitter.
 
Civic officials said the building had been declared unsafe for living six years ago. The residents had been served with evacuation notices in 2011 and ordered to vacate the building to enable redevelopment of the area under the Saifee Burhani Upliftment Trust (SBUT) project.
 
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Mumbai braces for another difficult day after Tuesday's downpour

People in Mumbai braced for another difficult day on Wednesday after the country's financial capital was brought down to its knees on Tuesday because of an incessant downpour which led to waterlogging in many areas and disrupted the suburban train network and road traffic.

 
Mumbai rains: Respite for commuters as train services resume
People in Mumbai and surrounding areas braced for another difficult day today after the country's financial capital was brought down to its knees yesterday because of an incessant downpour which led to waterlogging in many areas and disrupted the suburban train network, the lifeline of the city, and road traffic.
 
Thousands of people who were stranded on the streets in the heavy rains were able to reach their homes only well past midnight last night or early this morning when skeletal local train services resumed after the rain gods relented in the night.
 
Many people spent the night in their offices or took shelter at railway stations, schools and other buildings or stayed with friends and even strangers because there was simply no way of getting home. Several people spent long hours in the coaches of trains which were stranded on the waterlogged tracks, especially between Sion and Kurla, before they were rescued in the early hours of today.
 
Hundreds of people waded for several kilometres on the roads or railway tracks through knee-deep water.
 
Several people in the city posted messages on social media websites, offering food, water and even shelter for stranded people.
 
Schools and colleges, which closed early yesterday, have declared a holiday today as have some offices in view of the forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) of heavy rains for the next 48 hours.
 
"In the wake of warnings issued by #IMD people in Mumbai and areas around #Mumbai are advised to stay back home unless there is an emergency," Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on microblogging site Twitter.
 
"However, the essential services and critical staff in the Government will be on duty tomorrow," he said.
 
The IMD said intermittent rain or showers were likely in the city and its suburbs in the next 48 hours, with heavy to very heavy falls in some areas. Its Santacruz station recorded 315.8 mm of rainfall in the ten hours till 2030 hours yesterday and 88.4 mm in the 24-hour period ended 0830 hours yesterday. The IMD's Colaba station recorded 101.8 mm of rainfall in the ten hours to 2030 hours yesterday and 151.8 mm of rainfall in the 24 hours ended 0830 hours yesterday.
 
The downpour in the last two days has been the heaviest in the metropolis since the unprecedented floods of July 26, 2005.
 
There was a lot of anger among people against the Shiv Sena-led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for having allegedly failed to learn any lessons from the 2005 disaster and not taking steps to prevent the recurrence of such a crisis. BMC officials, on their part, said the city had received very heavy rainfall in the space of just a few hours and its geography, hemmed in as it is by the sea on two sides, added to the problems. They said they were doing their best to minimise the suffering of the people.
 
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For most of the day yesterday, traffic was crawling at a snail's pace on most Mumbai roads, including the Eastern and Western Express Highways. Traffic conditions improved by late in the night yesterday and that helped to clear a lot of stranded people. Traffic on the iconic Bandra-Worli Sealink, which was suspended for some hours, was restored late in the evening.
 
Helicopters of the Indian Navy, with flood rescue teams and divers, remained on standby in the city in view of the heavy rains in the city and adjoining areas.
 
Five people were reported to have died in the city and suburbs in rain-related incidents.
 
The Central Railway said suburban services on the Thane-Kalyan up and down slow lines resumed at 2230 hours yesterday. Up and down services through Sion resumed this morning, with stranded trains being cleared first before the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT)-Thane services resumed. A CSMT-Kalyan special suburban train departed at 0726 hours from CMT. The first CSMT-Panvel local on Harbour line left CSMT at 0903 hrs.
 
On the Western Railway, the first rain for Virar left Churchgate at 2358 hours. Official sources said heavy duty pumps were used to evacuate water from tracks at various places. They said efforts were made to bring the water level down to safe levels so that normal services could resume. By this morning, local trains were running on all lines on Western Railway, though there were speed restrictions at some places.
 
However, both Railways have cancelled several long distance trains to different parts of the country from Mumbai and diverted or short-terminated others in view of the situation.
 
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Modi speaks to Fadnavis on situation arising out of heavy rains in Mumbai

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on the situation arising due to incessant rain in Mumbai and surrounding areas and assured him of all possible help from the Centre in coping with the crisis.
 
“Spoke to Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis on the situation arising due to incessant rain in Mumbai and surrounding areas. Centre assures all possible support to the Government of Maharashtra in mitigating the situation due to heavy rains in parts of the state," Mr. Modi said on Twitter.
 
"Urge the people of Mumbai and surrounding areas to stay safe and take all essential precautions in the wake of the heavy rain," he added.
 
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Mumbai crippled as heavy rains disrupt rail, road traffic in reminder of 2005 crisis

Mumbai, India's financial capital, was crippled on Tuesday as several areas were waterlogged and thousands of people were left stranded after heavy overnight rains disrupted rail and road traffic in a grim reminder of the unprecedented July 26, 2005 crisis in the city.

 
Heavy rains cause waterlogging in Mumbai, rail, road traffic hit
Mumbai, India's financial capital, was crippled today as several areas were waterlogged and thousands of people were left stranded after heavy overnight rains disrupted rail and road traffic in a grim reminder of the unprecedented July 26, 2005 crisis in the city.
 
The heavy rains continued throughout the day today, creating traffic jams on key arterial roads, forcing closure of some sections of the suburban railway network, affecting flights to and from the city and clearly indicating that the civic authorities were ill-prepared for such a deluge.
 
As offices and educational institutions closed early, thousands of people found themselves without transport for the long journey home. While those with no alternative, braved it out by trekking on the roads in knee deep water, others took shelters at railway stations or sought help from friends or even strangers staying on the route.
 
There appeared to be no early respite with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasting intermittent rain or showers during the next 48 hours in the city and its suburbs, with heavy to very heavy fall at a few places and extremely heavy rainfall at one or two places. Added to this was the high tide expected late this afternoon, which could add to the people's woes.
 
According to sources, South Mumbai recorded 152 mm of rainfall in the 24 hours ended this morning, the highest during this season so far. The Santacruz weather station recorded 88 mm of rainfall during this period.
 
Television pictures showed people wading through knee-deep water at many places and vehicles crawling on the roads and even stranded at many points.
 
The Disaster Management Unit of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai said that heavy rainfall was expected in the next 24 hours and advised people to stay indoors and not venture out unless required.
 
It said the municipal administration was fully geared up and was monitoring the situation.
 
The Mumbai Police said traffic was moving slowly at many places such as Dadar, Churchgate, Akruti Mall, Andheri, Western Express Highway, Bahar Bridge and Santacruz Airport bridge sliproad due to the rains and waterlogging.
 
It said south-bound traffic towards Matunga was being diverted to Wadala due to waterlogging on Eastern Express Highway, SG Barve Road and V N Purav Road. Waterlogging was also reported at Byculla station (E) near Palace Cinema towards Rani Baug bus stop, it said.
 
Traffic on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link towards South Mumbai has been closed for some time for clearing traffic ahead, the police said, and advised commuters to plan accordingly.
 
The Milan subway and Andheri subway were closed due to waterlogging and traffic was slow at D N Nagar and BMW Junction. It also advised people to avoid going towards Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) and Bandra East.
 
"High tide of 3.32mts at 16:30. Avoid waterfronts, sitting on tetrapods or on promenades. Pls cooperate with policemen on duty," the police said on Twitter.
 
"Heavy waterlogging expected in the coming hrs due to heavy  showers coupled with high tide. Pls chk ur route b4 venturing out," it said.
 
"Stay indoors as far as possible.Move out only if it is very important. Due to waterlogged roads, traffic not moving and slow at most places," it said.
 
The police advised people to dial 100 if they were stuck on the road or contact it on Twitter. "We will assist you," it said.
 
"If you are still at work, don't panic and leave. A little delay & planned travel may help you better," the police added.
 
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The Central Railway said that, due to the very heavy and continuous rains, it had suspended its suburban train services on the main line between Parel and Kurla from 1230 hours and on the Harbour Line between Vadala Road and Kurla from 1220 hours.
 
The running of several long-distance trains was already affected by the derailment of the engine and nine coaches of the 12290 Nagpur-Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (Mumbai) Duronto Express between Asangaon and Vasind, about 80 km from Mumbai, this morning.
 
The Western Railway said that, due to unprecedented heavy waterlogging, train services had been suspended temporarily between Elphinstone Road and Dadar on all lines from 1330 hours.
 
It said local services between Dadar and Dahanu Road were running but affected between Churchgate and Dadar due to water-logging between Elphinstone Road and Dadar.
 
Trains which were running were doing so 15-20 minutes behind schedule, sources said.
 
Teams of the  National Disaster Response (NDRF) are being sent to the affected areas to help the affected people.
 
At many places, the municipal staff had deployed pumps to pump out water from flooded areas.
 
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Several areas of Mumbai waterlogged as heavy rains lash city, disrupt rail, road traffic

 
Heavy rains cause waterlogging in Mumbai, rail, road traffic hit
Several areas of Mumbai were waterlogged and thousands of people were affected as heavy overnight rains disrupted the suburban railway system, the city's lifeline, and slowed down traffic on the roads.
 
The heavy rains continued for the fourth day today, creating traffic jams on key arterial roads and affecting flights to and from the nation's commercial capital.
 
The Central Railway said that, due to the very heavy and continuous rains, it had suspended its suburban train services on the main line between Parel and Kurla from 1230 hours and on the Harbour Line between Vadala Road and Kurla from 1220 hours.
 
The running of several long-distance trains was already affected by the derailment of the engine and nine coaches of the 12290 Nagpur-Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (Mumbai) Duronto Express between Asangaon and Vasind, about 80 km from Mumbai, this morning.
 
The Western Railway said that, due to unprecedented heavy waterlogging, train services had been suspended temporarily between Elphinstone Road and Dadar on all lines from 1330 hours.
 
It said local services between Dadar and Dahanu Road were running but affected between Churchgate and Dadar due to water-logging between Elphinstone Road and Dadar.
 
Trains which were running were doing so 15-20 minutes behind schedule, sources said.
 
Teams of the  National Disaster Response (NDRF) are being sent to the affected areas to help the affected people.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast intermittent rain or showers during the next 48 hours in the city and its suburbs, with heavy to very heavy fall at a few places and extremely heavy rainfall at one or two places.
 
According to sources, South Mumbai recorded 152 mm of rainfall in the 24 hours ended this morning, the highest during this season so far. The Santacru weather station recorded 88 mm of rainfall during this period.
 
Television pictures showed people wading through knee-deep water at many places and vehicles crawling on the roads and even stranded at many points.
 
The Disaster Management Unit of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai said that heavy rainfall was expected in the next 24 hours and advised people to stay indoors and not venture out unless required. It said the municipal administration was fully geared up and was monitoring the situation.
 
The Mumbai Police said traffic was moving slowly at many places such as Dadar, Churchgate, Akruti Mall, Andheri, Western Express Highway, Bahar Bridge and Santacruz Airport bridge sliproad due to the rains and waterlogging.
 
It said south-bound traffic towards Matunga was being diverted to Wadala due to waterlogging on Eastern Express Highway, SG Barve Road and V N Purav Road. Waterlogging was also reported at Byculla station (E) near Palace Cinema towards Rani Baug bus stop, it said.
 
Traffic on the Bandra-Worli Sea Link towards South Mumbai has been closed for some time for clearing traffic ahead, the police said, and advised commuters to plan accordingly.
 
The Milan subway and Andheri subway were closed due to waterlogging and traffic was slow at D N Nagar and BMW Junction. It also advised people to avoid going towards Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) and Bandra East.
 
"High tide of 3.32mts at 16:30. Avoid waterfronts, sitting on tetrapods or on promenades. Pls cooperate with policemen on duty," the police said on Twitter.
 
"Heavy waterlogging expected in the coming hrs due to heavy  showers coupled with high tide. Pls chk ur route b4 venturing out," it said.
 
"Stay indoors as far as possible.Move out only if it is very important. Due to waterlogged roads, traffic not moving and slow at most places," it said.
 
The police advised people to dial 100 if they were stuck on the road or contact it on Twitter. "We will assist you," it said.
 
"If you are still at work, don't panic and leave. A little delay & planned travel may help you better," the police added.
 
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Nine coaches of Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express derail, no injuries to any passengers

 
Nine coaches of Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express derail
Nine coaches and the engine of the 12290 Duronto Express from Nagpur to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), Mumbai derailed between Vasind and Asangaon in Maharashtra this morning but none of the passengers was injured, official sources said.
 
The derailment occurred around 6 am, Central Railway spokesman Sunil Udasi told NetIndian. "No one has been reported injured so far," he said.
 
Mr. Udasi said doctors, officers and staff from nearby stations had rushed to the site, about 80 km from Mumbai, and the General Manager and other senior officers of Central Railway had left for the scene.
 
"We are arranging buses to bring passengers to their destination," he said.
 
The train had left Nagpur around 2040 hours last night and was due to reach CSMT, Mumbai at 0755 hours today.
 
According to Central Railway sources, apart from the engine, the coaches which derailed were the first to the ninth from the engine: SLR, H/1, A/1, A/2, A/3, B/1, B/2, B/3 and B/4.
 
Following the mishap, the Railways have diverted, short-terminated and cancelled some trains on the route.
 
The Central Railway has set up the following helplines for the benefit of passengers and their relatives:
 
CSMT 022-22694040
Thane 022-25334840 
Kalyan 0251-2311499 
Dadar  022-24114836
Nagpur 0712-2564342
Bhusaval 02582-222286
Nasik Road 0253-2467863
Manmad 02591-222345
 
This is the fourth derailment on the Indian Railways in the past ten days. On August 19, at least 21 passengers died and 97 others suffered injuries when 14 of the 23 coaches of the 18477 Utkal Express, from Puri in Odisha to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, derailed at Khatauli, about 25 km from Muzzafarnagar, in Uttar Pradesh.
 
On August 23, at least 43 passengers suffered injuries when 12 coaches and the engine of the 12225 Azamgarh-Delhi Kaifiyat Express derailed in Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh after a dumper collided with the train at an unauthorised crossing.
 
On August 25, five passengers suffered minor injuries when the four front coaches of a local train from Andheri to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) derailed in the railway yard near Mahim South in Mumbai.
 
After the accidents involving the Utkal Express and the Kaifiyat Express, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 23 and offered to resign, taking full moral responsibility for them. Mr. Modi, however, asked him to wait.
 
Later that day, the Government accepted the resignation of Railway Board Chairman A. K. Mital and appointed Air India Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani, an officer of the 1980 batch of the Indian Railways Service of Mechanical Engineers (IRSME), as his successor.
 
On August 20, the day after the Utkal Express accident, the Ministry of Railways suspended four officials and sent three top officials, incuding Railway Board Member Engineering Aditya Mittal, on leave.
 
Based on prima facie evidence, the Junior Engineer (Permanent Way), the Senior Section Engineer (PW) and the Assistant Engineer of the concerned section as well as the Senior Divisional Engineer (II), Delhi Division of Northern Railway had been placed under suspension.
 
Apart from Mr. Mittal, a Secretary-level officer, the General Manager (GM) of Northern Railway, Mr. R. N. Kulshreshtha, and the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Delhi Division, Northern Railway, Mr. R. N. singh, had been sent on leave. The Chief Track Engineer of Northern Railway has been transferred.
 
Mr. M. C. Chauhan, General Manager, North Central Railway, will look after the duties of the post of General Manager, Northern Railway, while Mr. Anshul Gupta, Executive Director (Telecom Development), Railway Board has been temporarily posted as DRM, Delhi Division.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Koyna region of Maharashtra

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale, shook the Koyna region of Maharashtra this afternoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 17.1°N and longitude 73.9°E, occurred at 1335 hours at a focal depth of 5 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake jolts Satara region of Maharashtra

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Satara region of Maharashtra tonight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 17.3°N and longitude 73.7°E, occurred at 2222 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Hingoli region of Maharashtra

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.0 on the Richter scale, shook the Hingoli region of Maharashtra today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 19.5°N and longitude 77.2 °E, occurred at 1205 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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