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Maharashtra

Five killed, two injured as chartered plane crashes in Mumbai suburb

At least five persons including a pedestrian were killed and two injured when a small chartered plane crashed in the thickly populated suburb of Ghatkopar in north-east Mumbai on Thursday, officials said.

 
Chartered plane crashes in Mumbai, 5 dead
 
 
At least five persons including a pedestrian were killed and two injured when a small chartered plane crashed in the thickly populated suburb of Ghatkopar in north-east Mumbai on Thursday, officials said.
 
Eyewitnesses said that the plane was seen hurtling down in the narrow Jeevadaya Lane area and crashed with a deafening sound before breaking into pieces and bursting into flames around 1.15 p.m. There were two pilots and as many engineers on board.
 
The fuselage had broken into several pieces and one piece was recovered at least 50 metres away while some other portions of the plane burnt in the premises of an under-construction building. The fire was brought under control within half an hour by the fire brigade.
 
The aircraft's crucial Flight Data Recorder or Black Box was recovered.
 
A local passer-by in the vicinity of the crash was burnt fatally when some burning ATF fuel from the aircraft fell on him, said an eyewitness who was among the first to reach the spot.
 
The cause of the crash is not known and it occurred in the compound of the under construction Jagruti apartments, thereby averting a potentially major disaster.
 
There are usually at least four dozen labourers working on the premises but they had taken a lunch break when the aircraft hurtled there, creating a crater by its impact.
 
Aviation expert and Executive Airways Managing Director Pradeep Thampi said the aircraft was a 30-year-old King Air C-90, purchased from the Uttar Pradesh government by private company UY Aviation Pvt Ltd in Mumbai around a couple of years ago.
 
"Its call sign was VT-UPZ and it was a regular 12-seater on a test flight. The tragedy has claimed the pilot, co-pilot and two engineers. We cannot say immediately what may have led to the sudden crash," Thampi told IANS.
 
An Uttar Pradesh government spokesperson confirmed that the Mumbai-based UY Aviation Pvt Ltd had bought the aircraft a few years ago.
 
Union Minister for Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu, who hails from Mumbai, expressed "deep shock" over the tragedy and directed the ministry officials concerned to rush to the accident site and provide all assistance possible.
 
Prabhu said he has ordered the Director-General of Civil Aviation to conduct an investigation into the crash and a team has left for the spot for a preliminary probe.
 
Mumbai Police, fire brigade, disaster relief agencies, besides local BJP MP Kirit Somaiya, legislators and others are at the site and further details of the victim crew members and pedestrians are awaited.
 
IANS
 
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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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IS module case: Raids in Hyderabad, Maharashtra

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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday carried out raids in Telangana's Hyderabad and Maharashtra's Wardha in connection with an Islamic State module case, officials said.
 
"The raids are on at three places in Hyderabad and one place in Wardha since early morning," a senior NIA official connected to the 2016 Islamic State module case probe told IANS. 
 
However, the official refused to share more details.
 
IANS
 

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Only I can make India strong, superpower: Modi

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Appealing to the people to vote for a strong government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said only he can provide a strong government at the Centre and make it a superpower.
 
"Last time (2014) you gave me a full majority and I could work with full strength to take firm decisions and work for public welfare. You have witnessed how I ran the country past five years," Modi said, addressing a rally here in Maharashtra.
 
He said that, for making India a superpower, the country needs a sturdy government, not a "majboor" (helpless) one, and that tough one only he (Modi) can provide, not the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party.
 
Modi was addressing a public rally in Akluj for the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Madha Lok Sabha constituency, royal descendent Ranjitsinh Naik-Nimbalkar, who is locking horns with NCP's Sanjay Shinde.
 
IANS
 

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SC closes Enron-Dabhol kickback case

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The Supreme Court on Thursday accepted a plea by the Maharashtra government to end the Enron-Dabhol power project case.
 
Allegations had been made that kickbacks were received by politicians and bureaucrats to clinch the deal.
 
The case involved the alleged criminality in power purchase agreement between the Maharashtra State Electricity Board and the Dabhol Power Co on November 8, 1993. 
 
Closing the case, the court observed that the case was long delayed.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Two CRPF officers hurt in Maoist ambush in Maharashtra

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Just a day ahead of polling here, Maoists on Wednesday carried out an attack on a CRPF contingent being deployed for election duty, injuring two sub-inspectors, official sources said.
 
The Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast triggered by the Maoists occurred at around 4 p.m. in Gatta village in Etapalli tehsil through which a team of CRPF's 191 Battalion was passing. 
 
Sub-inspectors Sunilkumar Patel and Rajukumar Ranjan were injured in the blast. Both were rushed to a hospital in Nagpur, an officer of Gadchiroli Police said. While Patel badly injured his lower limbs, their condition was reported to be stable.
 
The attack came a day after a BJP MLA and four policemen were killed by the Maoists in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region.
 
Gadchiroli-Chimur, along with six other Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra, go to the polls in the first phase of voting on Thursday.
 
IANS
 

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Congress is a sinking ship like Titanic: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday compared the opposition Congress to a "sinking ship" which will take down all who are on it.

Narendra Modi (File photo: IANS)
Narendra Modi (File photo: IANS)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday compared the opposition Congress to a "sinking ship" which will take down all who are on it.
 
"Last time (in 2014), the Congress was reduced to just 44 (Lok Sabha) seats. This time the situation is even worse. It has become like the Titanic; with each passing day, it is sinking. All those who are in it are either sinking or jumping out to other parties," Modi said while addressing a rally here.
 
People, including Nationalist Congress Party's Sharad Pawar, Praful Patel and others like Rajeev Satav have chosen to run away from the battlefield by not even contesting the elections, Modi reiterated.
 
"The Congress itself is in a turmoil. The 'naamdar' (Rahul Gandhi) has run to Wayanad because his position has become uncertain in Amethi. After a microscopic analysis, he has selected a seat where the majority (Hindus) are in minority. From here, I appeal to the voters of Amethi to remember this insult of the Congress President," Modi said.
 
Taking potshots at Gandhi, he claimed that the Congress President's recent rally in Amethi was a total washout, and even the party's flag was not visible, indicating the levels to which it has fallen there.
 
Targeting the Maharashtra Congress, Modi said it has more groups than legislators in the state, and wondered how they could work for the welfare of the people.
 
Attacking the Congress allies, Modi said that Farooq Abdulla and his son Omar Abdulla wanted two Prime Ministers -- one from New Delhi and the other from Kashmir.
 
"I ask you, is this acceptable to you? Say loudly, your voice should be heard in Jammu and Kashmir," the Prime Minister said.
 
Alleging that the Congress wanted to weaken the armed forces and trap them in false cases, Modi said the opposition party was willing to negotiate with the secessionist forces who took money from Pakistan to speak about separatism in India.
 
"The Congress wants to break the country. It is siding with the separatists. Its intentions became clear when they demanded proof for the Indian Air Force strikes. Congress is directly responsible for all the problems and fires raging in Jammu and Kashmir and our NDA government is engaged in dousing them since the past five years," Modi said.
 
The Prime Minister appealed to the people of Maharashtra to vote the Bharatiya Janata Party back to power in the upcoming elections, promising that "every vote you cast will come directly to me."
 
At the end of his speech, Modi asked the gathering to chant "Chowkidar" after him and urged every citizen in every village and town to be "Chowkidars" for the country.
 
IANS
 

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Congress coined the term 'Hindu terror': Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday accused the Congress of coining the term "Hindu terror" for pursuing its "vote-bank politics" and thereby painting crores of Hindus as terrorists which hurt their sentiments.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a public rally at Wardha in Maharashtra, on April 1, 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a public rally at Wardha in Maharashtra, on April 1, 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday accused the Congress of coining the term "Hindu terror" for pursuing its "vote-bank politics" and thereby painting crores of Hindus as terrorists which hurt their sentiments.
 
"In our 5000-year-old culture, it's the first time the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) committed the sin of calling the peaceful Hindus 'terrorists' and maligning them before the whole world," said Modi at a rally here.
 
The allusion was to the Malegaon 2006 and 2008 terror blasts in which the role of some Hindu groups had first come to the fore during investigations by state and central agencies.
 
"This is being done to pamper their vote-bank politics and they will go to any extent to protect them, so the Congress-NCP keeps insulting the common Hindus, our brave soldiers, demand proof of the IAF (Indian Air Force) actions in Pakistan, etc, which is making them popular in the neighbouring country," he said.
 
"You decide -- Who do you want? Indian heroes or those who have become heroes in Pakistan? Will you teach them a lesson or not? You must create a record by ensuring that the Congress-NCP do not win a single seat (of 48) in Maharashtra," Modi urged the gathering here.
 
He said with the recent court verdict, they are running scared that the Hindus will punish them now, so they lack courage to stand in Hindu-dominated constituencies and running around to other minority-dominated seats for elections, in an obvious reference to Congress President Rahul Gandhi's plans to contest from both Amethi and Wayanad in Kerala, without naming him.
 
He singled out the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and its top leadership, for a brutal attack, accusing them of ignoring farmers for decades and indulging in blatant corruption.
 
Targeting NCP President Sharad Pawar, his nephew Ajit Pawar and others Modi said that owing to a severe 'intra-family crises' the party's grip was slipping from Sharad Pawar's hands.
 
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"Sharad Pawar is one of the most experienced leaders. Anything he does or speaks is after deep calculations. First he said he would fight the elections, but suddenly backtracked. The person who once believed he could become the PM has left the battlefield even before the battle has begun. Even he knows which way the wind is blowing," Modi said.
 
He said that the power play within the family coupled with Ajit Pawar gradually tightening his hold on the party had created huge problems for the NCP to even allot ticket to candidates in the Lok Sabha elections.
 
In March, Pawar flip-flopped on contesting for the Lok Sabha, before deciding to give the opportunity to gen-next by nominating his grand-nephew Parth Ajit Pawar from the Maval constituency.
 
"During their tenure as Ministers in the Centre and state, the Pawars only looted thousands of crores of rupees through irrigation projects, infrastructure, realty sectors. They were now worried about all these scams," Modi said.
 
And it was because of the multi-thousand crore rupees irrigation scam that a drought situation had been created in the Vidarbha region, he said.
 
Modi charged the Pawars with ignoring various big and small irrigation projects and said the BJP government had completed 99 such incomplete dam works, of which 36 were in Maharashtra alone.
 
Instead, he said, the Congress-NCP government in 2011 had ordered police firing which killed four farmers protesting in Maval, but the BJP-Shiv Sena government took up the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan in earnest that has helped to resolve the drinking water crises in the state.
 
Modi's attacks on the Pawars -- considered the most influential political family in the state -- came while launching the BJP's election campaign from Wardha in Vidarbha region of eastern Maharashtra.
 
Earlier, Modi said he was "proud" to be a "chowkidar of toilets", while taking the Congress "abuse" as an "ornament".
 
Referring to a Congress leader's reported comments comparing him with a chowkidar of toilets, Modi claimed he was "a guardian of the dignity and self-respect of millions of women", who faced huge embarrassment in the absence of toilets in their homes.
 
"I am proud and happy to be the custodian of the 'izzat' of crores of women who have to run out before sunrise or wait till sunset for their ablutions," Modi said here as he launched the Bharatiya Janata Party's election campaign for Maharashtra.
 
"By insulting me, the Congress has insulted the sanitation workers who toil to keep toilets clean. It may be a laughing matter for them, but I am absolutely serious about it."
 
Present on the occasion were Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Ramdas Athawale and BJP Lok Sabha candidates from the Vidarbha region.
 
IANS
 

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Minor earthquake recorded in Palghar region of Maharashtra

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Palghar region of Maharashtra this evening, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 19.9°N and longitude 72.8°E, occurred at 1751 hours at a focal depth of 10 m, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Infosys Foundation signs MoU with Pune's Bhandarkar Institute to foster research in Orientology

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Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic and CSR arm of IT services major Infosys, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, for five years to strengthen research activities in Orientology, the study of ancient cultures of the Asian sub-continent. 
 
The proposed grant of Rs. 9.13 crore will be utilized to train scholars in Orientology and prepare a bibliography of relevant academic texts in the field, a press release from the foundation said.
 
The grant will also help to create a centralized information cell through descriptive cataloguing of manuscripts, collection and publishing of inscriptions and outlining the history of the collected information, enabled by a team of specialists, it said.
 
The release said the foundation would establish two chairs at the institute, The Infosys Foundation Chair of Orientology and the Karnataka Chair of Orientology, for eminent scholars of Orientology. Two visiting scholars renowned in any area of Orientology will also be invited for a term of two to six months, as part of this grant, and will be known as Infosys scholars.
 
Through this grant the Institute will appoint four visiting fellows for visits of one week to one month, who will be referred to as ‘Infosys Fellows’, and also make provisions for two principal investigators, six research assistants, one helper and one design artist for various activities that will be conducted by the Institute.
 
Speaking on the occasion Mrs. Sudha Murty, Chairperson, Infosys Foundation, said, “The study of ancient texts holds great importance in society today as it forms a means to better understand both our past as well as our present. The discovery and preservation of these texts will ensure that Indological research continues to grow and thrive as an academic field in our country. Our partnership with the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute aims to support the field of Orientology through the provision of the necessary tools and resources and we at the Infosys Foundation are proud to be a part of this endeavor to better understand India’s past and its place in the history of the East.”
 
“The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute focuses on Orientology which is the study of ancient cultures of the Asian sub-continent. We live in a time where social sciences have expanded their horizons to be able to apply their inferences across almost all fields of learning. Orientology, therefore, is not limited to the Orient and the Occident alone; it has numerous applications in areas of social sciences and more. This initiative by Infosys Foundation will definitely boost the vigor and charm of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute.” said, Prof. Shrikant Bahulkar, Honorary Secretary, The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute.
 
The Bhandarkar Oriental Institute, Pune was founded on July 6, 1917, and is a public organization registered under Act XXI of 1860 and is administered by a regulating council. The Maharashtra Government nominates five representatives on the regulating council and two on the executive board.
 
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Maharashtra's 56-party alliance ready to take on BJP-Sena

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A 56-party strong 'Mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance) finalised in Maharashtra on Saturday is all set to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena-led ruling alliance in the Lok Sabha elections due in April-May.
 
The two biggest partners in the 'grand alliance' -- Congress and Nationalist Congress Party -- have decided to accommodate some of the smaller partners by keepijng four seats from their respective quotas, out of the total 48 constituencies in the state.
 
The parties which are expected to fight the elections under the banner of 'United Progressive Grand Alliance' are Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS), which will contest two seats, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) and Yuva Swabhimani Party (YSP), which will fight for one seat each.
 
In contrast, the ruling BJP-Sena alliance has given a short shrift to all its smaller allies by dividing the 48 seats among themselves in the ratio of 25:23, sparking resentment, especially in the Republican Party of India (A) led by Union Minister for Social Welfare Ramdas Athawale.
 
Launching a scathing tirade, state Congress President and former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said that many other parties were keen to join the UPGA, but were prevented by the politics of 'Saam, Daam, Dand, Bhed' (by any means) pursued by the BJP.
 
He accused the BJP of using divisive politics in its attempt to divide the secular votes vis-a-vis their communal politics, but the 'Mahagathbandhan' would ensure unity and justice for all sections of society including farmers, minorities, Dalits, SC/ST, women, workers and the youth.
 
"This (BJP-Sena) government has made false assurances, announcements and promises which remained unfulfilled in the past five years, thus committing a fraud on the peoples' trust. The people will not forget or forgive and teach them a lesson in the next elections," Chavan said.
 
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State NCP President Jayant Patil charged Prime Minister Narendra Modi with indulging in hypocrisy by quietly sending wishes to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and attacked the government on various other major issues where it had failed.
 
"This 'Mahagathbandhan' will free the people of the country who are tired of the promises of 'achhe din' made by Modi," Patil said.
 
Former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said there were huge hurdles in forming the 'grand alliance' with efforts thwarted at every stage, but everything was overcome.
 
"Those who didn't join the UPGA are the 'Team B' of the BJP-Sena," he said without naming Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi led by Prakash Ambedkar and the Owaisi brothers which is planning to contest all 48 seats.
 
"Nearly 25 per cent of the candidates of the BJP-Sena are imported from other parties. If everything is going smoothly in the BJP, why do they have to take outsiders? Is it their disruptive politics at play?" he asked.
 
Other speakers lashed out at the BJP for betraying the farmers, the youth, students and commoners on all fronts, unleashing unemployment and inflation, under the "dictatorial" style of functioning by Modi.
 
Besides the leaders of all the 56 parties in the Mahagathbandhan, several prominent leaders included former Congress minister Naseem Khan, NCP's former Deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal, Jitendra Awhad, SSS's Raju Shetti, BVA's Hitendra Thakur and others.
 
IANS
 

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ECI appoints Special Expenditure Observers for Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu

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Election Commission of India (ECI) has appointed former civil servants Shailendra Handa and Madhu Mahajan as Special Expenditure Observers for the coming Lok Sabha elections.
 
While Handa has been deployed in Maharashtra, Mahajan will be in Tamil Nadu.  Both these officers have rich experience of working in Investigation Wing of the Income Tax Department and have supervised many successful search and seizure actions unearthing tax evasion in complicated cases.
 
The Special Observers will supervise and monitor the work being done by the electoral machinery and ensure that stringent and effective enforcement action is undertaken based on intelligence inputs and complaints received through C-VIGIL and Voter Helpline 1950 against all persons/entities  trying to induce voters by distributing cash, liquor & freebies etc.  in order to vitiate the poll process, an official press release added.
 
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Raj Babbar, Shinde in Congress's second LS list

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The Congress on Wednesday released its second list of Lok Sabha candidates, fielding its Uttar Pradesh unit chief Raj Babbar from Moradabad and former Union Ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde from Maharashtra's Solapur and Sriprakash Jaiswal from Kanpur.
 
The second list of 21 candidates, five from Maharashtra and 16 from Uttar Pradesh, includes two MPs who joined it after quitting the Bharatiya Janata Party -- Nana Patole from Nagpur and Savitri Phule from Uttar Pradesh's Bahraich. 
 
Former Samajwadi Party MP Rakesh Sachan has been made the party candidate from Uttar Pradesh's Fatehpur.
 
In Maharashtra, the party has fielded late actor and former Union Minister Sunil Dutt's daughter Priya Dutt from Mumbai North Central and Milind Deora from Mumbai South. 
 
Nandev Dalluji Usendi is the party nominee from Gadchiroli-Chimur.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, the party has fielded Sanjay Singh from Sultanpur, Ratna Singh from Pratapgarh, Omwati Devi Jatav from Nagina, Zafar Ali Naqvi from Kheri, Kaisar Jahan from Sitapur, Manjari Rahi from Misrikh, Ramashankar Bhargava from Mohanlalganj, Parvez Khan from Sant Kabir Nagar, Kush Saurabh from Bansgaon, Pankaj Mohan Sonkar from Lalganj, Lalitesh Pati Tripathi from Mirzapur and Bhagwati Prasad Choudhary from Robertsganj. 
 
The party's first list of candidates had 15 names -- 11 from Uttar Pradesh and four from Gujarat. 
 
IANS
 

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Ambedkar's BBM, MIM tie up for LS poll in Maharashtra

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Bharipa Bahujan Mahsangh (BBM) President Prakash Ambedkar on Tuesday called off seat-sharing talks with the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance and announced that his party would contest Maharashtra's 48 Lok Sabha seats along with Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM.
 
Addressing mediapersons at Akola, he said that there was "no point to continue negotiations with the Congress as there would be no positive result".
 
"The Congress keeps telling us that we must fight the Lok Sabha polls as an alliance against the Bharatiya Janata Party. But they have already declared 22 candidates. They don't want to give us any representation," Ambedkar, the grandson of B. R. Ambedkar said.
 
Accordingly, the BBM-AIMIM has decided to put up candidates in all 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state, he said.
 
This was the second major upset for the Congress on Tuesday after Sujay Vikhe-Patil, son of its Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, joined the ruling BJP and may be fielded from the Vikhe-Patil bastion Ahmednagar.
 
Last year, the BBM and the AIMIM entered into a strategic political tie-up naming it as "Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi" (VBA) which has several Dalit, tribal, Muslim, Dhangar, Koli and Agri community leaders and groups as alliance members.
 
The VBA had demanded at least 12 seats from the Congress-NCP alliance which was prepared to part with only four seats.
 
A worrying factor for the Congress is Ambedkar himself planning to contest against Congress strongman and Dalit leader Sushil Kumar Shinde in his home constituency Solapur.
 
So far the Congress has not officially reacted to the BBM-AIMIM's latest challenge which poses a severe test for the Opposition unity both in Lok Sabha and the Maharashtra Assembly elections due by October.
 
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Sharad Pawar not to contest Lok Sabha polls

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Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar on Monday announced that he will not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
The NCP had on February 13 said that Pawar would contest from Madha in Maharashtra.
 
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Kotak Mahindra Bank becomes first private sector bank to join ‘PSB Loans in 59 Minutes’

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Online PSB Loans Limited and Kotak Mahindra Bank today announced that Kotak has become the first private sector bank to join the platform psbloansin59minutes.com. 
 
Kotak will offer loans up to Rs one crore to micro, small & medium enterprises (MSME)  in India through this platform, a press release from the bank said.
 
MSME loan aspirants will now get the option to avail of ‘in-principle’ loan approvals in just 59 minutes from both public sector and private sector banks (presently only Kotak) through this platform.
 
Ambuj Chandna, Senior Executive Vice President & Head – Consumer Assets, Kotak Mahindra Bank said, “We are delighted to join psbloansin59minutes.com and participate in the Government of India’s initiative to facilitate easier access to credit to micro, small & medium enterprises. Small business owners require quick and hassle-free access to loans to grow or diversify their business. At Kotak, we offer a range of customised financing options with flexible repayment options. We are also seeing a steady rise in customers availing loans through digital channels.” 
 
Manoj Mittal, DMD, SIDBI said, “The on-boarding of Kotak Mahindra Bank is an important milestone for the portal. In addition to making a wide choice of credit products from public sector banks available to MSMEs registering on the platform, they now also get an option to access private sector lenders as well. This is true democratization of finance for the MSME segment."
 
The PSB Loans in 59 Minutes initiative aims at automation of various processes in loan appraisals in such a way that MSMEs get an eligibility letter and an in-principle approval in less than 60 minutes and can choose the bank of their choice. The value of the Contactless Business Loans offered ranges from Rs. 1 lakh up to Rs. 1 crore. The rate of interest starts from 8% onwards. The platform is directly connected to the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme. The solution uses advanced algorithms to analyze data points from various sources such as IT returns, GST data, bank statements, and so on.
 
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Modi flags off Nagpur Metro Rail, says govt. committed to ensuring Ease of Living

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the Nagpur Metro rail project through video conference from here on Thursday and said that his government was committed to ensuring Ease of Living for the people of the country.
 
The 13.5 km-long Khapri- Sitabuldi section of the Nagpur Metro was inaugurated through the digital unveiling of a plaque.
 
Addressing the gathering through video conference, Modi congratulated the people of Nagpur for the second metro service in Maharashtra. He said that is a special moment for him as he had laid the foundation stone for the Nagpur Metro in 2014. The Metro will provide a better, cost friendly and environment friendly means of transportation for the people in the city, he said.
 
The Prime Minister said that the Union Government and State Government are working continuously for the development of Nagpur, keeping its future requirements in mind. He added that Nagpur metro will create employment opportunities for the youth and will also help in the further growth of the city.
 
Highlighting the initiatives of the Union Government in building a modern transport system throughout the country, he said that 400 km of operational network of Metro had been built in the past four-and-a-half years. He added that work is progressing on 800 km of metro network throughout the country.
 
Modi spoke about the benefits of the recently launched common mobility card, the One Nation-One Card. He said that the indigenously developed card, merges debit card with mobility card and has removed India’s dependence on other countries for building such a card. Only very few countries in the world have such a common mobility card for transportation, he pointed out.
 
The Prime Minister said that the Union Government has an integrated approach towards finding solutions. 
 
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Work begins on permanent campus for IIM Nagpur

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Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the permanent campus of the Indian Institute of Management, Nagpur (IIMN) here on Wednesday.
 
Chandrashekhar Bawankule, guardian minister for Nagpur, was also present on the occasion.
 
The event, hosted by C P Gurnani, Chairman of the Board of Governors of IIMN, was also attended by Maharashtra Airports Development Company Ltd (MADC) Vice-Chairman and MD Suresh Kakani, Nagpur Mayor Nanda Jichkar and other dignitaries.
 
The "bhoomipoojan" was followed by the unveiling of a commemorative plaque and the model for the proposed campus. A short film showcasing the infrastructure at the permanent campus was also screened.
 
The ceremony flagged off the first phase of the development of IIMN’s permanent campus at Dahegaon Mauza in MIHAN. Designed to cater to 600 students, the new 132-acre campus has been designed by the Delhi-based R K Associates Ltd. The project will be executed by Ahluwalia Contracts India Ltd., and managed by Engineers India Limited (EIL) as Project Management Consultants (PMC). 
 
A press release from IIMN said the campus had been designed to minimise the environmental footprint while facilitating learning both inside and outside the classroom. Phase 1 has a built-up area of approximately 60,000 sq. m., and includes the construction of a state-of-the-art academic complex, library, administrative block, student hostels, sports complex, and residential quarters.
 
The campus will also house a Management Development Centre for the institute’s Executive Education Programmes (EEP) and IIM Nagpur’s entrepreneurship incubation centre, InFED, in addition to allied infrastructure. The first phase is expected to be completed in 18 months.
 
Nitin Gadkari lauded the efforts of the Board of Governors, led by Gurnani in developing the institution, and acknowledged the support of the administration of VNIT, Nagpur, where the institute is currently operating from. He emphasized on the development of Nagpur as a logistics hub and the value that an institution such as IIMN can add to the growth of the region. 
 
He exhorted the gathering to ensure that all stakeholders, including people displaced as a result of the development, benefit from this growth.
 
Fadnavis thanked the Central Government for enabling the establishment of an IIM in Nagpur. His speech emphasized on the indispensability of quality human resources. Capital for industry cannot be deployed in the absence of human resources, he stated, thus underscoring the importance of premier institutions such as IIM in a city like Nagpur. He explained how the growth of Pune as an IT hub was founded on its development as an educational centre and consequently an industrial city.
 
Envisioning a similar model for Nagpur, he stated that the establishment of institutes of national importance such as IIM, AIIMS, NLU and IIIT in the city will enable the development of skilled human resources, thereby attracting the attention of the industry as well. He stressed that 80% of India’s GDP is concentrated within an hour’s flight from Nagpur, which, as the logistics hub of the nation, is therefore the ideal location for the first and only IIM in Maharashtra.
 
Institutes such as IIMN contribute to the educational ecosystem of the region, which in turn provides an impetus to overall development. He hailed the event as a milestone in the growth of the city, and shared his vision for elevating IIM Nagpur to the stature of prestigious IIMs like IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Bangalore. 
 
Kakani related how the company had ensured that Project-Affected Persons received adequate compensation and employment with the coming up of new institutions in SEZ – MIHAN. Training orders were given to local youth from displaced families who would work as paid trainees, and eventually be employed with MADC Ltd.
 
Gurnani spoke of the challenges in the development of the new campus and outlined the Board's ambitious vision for the institute and their enthusiasm to transform IIM Nagpur into an institution of international repute. 
 
Gurnani was positive that with Phase I proceeding as planned, the work for Phase II would be expedited as well.
 
IIM Nagpur is the first of the six new-generation IIMs to commence its flagship Post Graduate Programme (PGP) in Management in 2015. Mentored by IIM Ahmedabad, it has successfully placed its first two batches. The third batch of IIM Nagpur is set to graduate in 2019.
 
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Gadkari lays foundation stone for development and maintenance of Inter-Modal Station in Nagpur

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Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone for development and maintenance of Inter-Modal Station (IMS) at Ajni Railway Station near here today. 
 
IMS is a passenger terminal infrastructure which integrates various transportation modes like rail, road, mass rapid transit system (MRTS), bus rapid transit (BRT) and other para-modal transportation modes. 
 
Inter-modal stations allow passengers to change transportation modes during transit without leaving the station premises, an official press release said.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Gadkari stressed the need to adopt new ideas for improving transport facilities in towns and cities. He also called upon planners to aim for reducing city congestion by aggregation of transportation nodes in the city, by effective city evacuation, and by eliminating traffic due to transit passengers. 
 
The Minister emphasised on providing better passenger convenience for various transport modes and to bring synergies into the available infrastructure.
 
The IMS facility will include world-class amenities like integrated ticket counters, transit platforms, travelators, lifts, spacious waiting rooms, retail shops, food courts, and so on, leading to improved convenience and comfort for transit passengers. 
 
The station has been designed for horizon year 2050 with the capacity to handle 3.24 lakh passengers every day. The capital cost of this project is Rs. 1,588.81 crore out of which cost of development of IMS Nagpur including relocation of railway quarters, structures is Rs. 1.288.81 crore, while the cost of improvement of road connectivity to IMS Nagpur is Rs. 300 crore.
 
The project includes construction of an environment-friendly building – its roof will be designed so as to collect rain water for harvesting, and for installation of solar panels to reduce the overall energy consumption.
 
The complex will provide world-class amenities like integrated ticket counters, kiosks, transit platforms, travellators, escalators, lifts, spacious waiting rooms, retail shops and food courtsleading to improved convenience and comfort for transit passengers. It will have parking for 1000 cars, 148 bus bays and internal roads for circulation.
 
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Modi says housing for all will be achieved by 2022

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said housing for all will be achieved by 2022 while unveiling development projects in Yavatmal and Dhule districts in Maharashtra.
 
Modi, during his visit to Yavatmal, handed over the keys to selected beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). 
 
“About 14,500 new houses are built at Yavatmal under PMAY. We will achieve our target of Housing for All by 2022. These concrete homes will lead to concrete dreams of people inhabiting them,” he added.  
 
He distributed certificates and cheques to women Self Help Groups (SHGs) under the Maharashtra State Rural Livelihoods Mission.
 
He said this program was an extension of efforts to provide each and all the Panchdhara of development, that is an education for children, livelihood to youth, medicine for senior citizens, irrigation to farmers and redressal of public grievances.
 
With the press of a button, he laid the foundation stone of roads’ project worth Rs 500 crore. He flagged off the Humsafar Ajni (Nagpur) - Pune train through video link. He emphasized that connectivity was the key to development and road and railway projects will help in overall development of Yavatmal and surrounding regions.
 
Addressing a public gathering, Modi said, “We are undergoing a deep sorrow and anguish over the Pulwama attack. Two brave sons of Maharashtra have also sacrificed their lives for the nation. Our thoughts are with the bereaved families. 
 
“Their sacrifices will not go in vain. We have given security forces full freedom to choose a time, place and manner to decide the future course of action. If we are able to fulfil the dreams we aspired for or to develop nation it is because of the sacrifices of our brave soldiers,” he added.
 
In order to conduct research on the Sickle cell disease, a research centre was being built at Chandrapur.
 
Prime Minister inaugurated the Sahastrakund Eklavya Model Residential School. Its campus, spread across 15 acres, has all the modern amenities. He expressed the hope that the School will fulfil the aspiration of tribal children. It was a part of his mission to set up 1000 Eklavya Model Residential Schools across tribal areas.
 
“We are especially committed to the cause of overall development of tribals from Jandhan to Vandhan. While Jandhan has helped in the financial inclusion of the poor, Vandhan is helping in bringing additional income to the poor through Minor Forest Produce. 
 
“We are setting up Vandhan Kendras for value addition to Minor Forest Produce so that the tribals get a better deal for their produce. We have also de-notified bamboo as a tree so that tribals can diversify their income from bamboo and its produce,” he added. 
 
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Later, in Dhule, he inaugurated the Lower Panazara Medium Project under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY). The project was included in PMKSY in 2016-17. It has a total water storage capacity of 109.31 MCum, with an irrigation potential of 7,585 hectares; it will bring water to about 21 villages of Dhule district.
 
He also laid the foundation stone of Sulwade Jamphal Kanoli Lift Irrigation Scheme. The scheme envisages lifting 9.24 TMC of flood water from the river Tapi during 124 days of the monsoon season. The scheme seeks to irrigate a land area measuring 33,367 hectares, spanning around 100 villages of Dhule district.
 
Modi laid the foundation stone of Dhule City Water Supply Scheme, under AMRUT. The scheme will ensure water availability and hence boost industrial and commercial growth. He also laid the foundation stone of Dhule-Nardana Railway Line and Jalgaon–Manmad third Railway Line.
 
He flagged off the Bhusaval-Bandra Khandesh Express train through a video link. The overnight train will provide direct connectivity between Mumbai and Bhusawal and will run three days a week.
 
He inaugurated the Jalgaon-Udhna Railway line after doubling and electrification. This will increase the capacity of ferrying passengers as well as goods. It will act as a catalyst for the development of Nandurbar, Vyara, Dharangaon and other places on the section.
 
Referring to the terrorist attack in Pulwama, the Prime Minister said while this was a time of restraint, sensitivity and grief, a befitting reply will be given. “India is now a country with a new way and a new policy, the world will also experience this. Our defence forces will not allow any elements inimical to the nation, to sleep peacefully. If someone hurts the New India, the nation will not let them get away with it,” he added.
 
He said Dhule has the potential to become an important industrial city of the country. It is located in a place which makes it suitable for trade with different cities of the nation. Several National Highways pass through Dhule, he noted.
 
The connectivity of the district was being further enhanced with two new railway lines, the foundation stone for which has been laid today,  While the widening of the Udhna–Jalgaon railway line was started around a decade ago, it could be completed only now. Both the double-laning as well as the electrification of this rail line have been completed.
 
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Modi to visit Maharashtra on Saturday, to unveil various development projects

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Yavatmal and Dhule in Maharashtra on Saturday where he will unveiil multiple development projects in the state.
 
An official press release said that, at Yavatmal, Modi would inaugurate the Eklavya Model Residential School at Nanded through the press of a button. 
 
The school has a total capacity of 420 students with state-of-the-art facilities. It will help in improving quality of education amongst tribal students and also provide an avenue for their overall growth and personal development, the release said.
 
He will hand over the keys to selected beneficiaries for the  e-Gruh Pravesh of  houses constructed under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), the government's flagship housing scheme.
 
He will flag off the Ajni (Nagpur)-Pune train through a video link. The train comprises 3-tier air conditioned coaches and will provide overnight service between Nagpur and Pune. The foundation stone of roads under central road fund (CRF) will also be laid through the press of a button.
 
The Prime Minister will also distribute certificates/ cheques under Maharashtra State Rural Livelihoods Mission (MSRLM) to women self-help groups (SHGs). MSRLM aims at social mobilization towards financial inclusion which help in ensuring farm and non-farm livelihoods opportunity through facilitation of door-step delivery of financial services.
 
At Dhule, Modi will inaugurate the Lower Panazara medium irrigation project, which was included in the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchan Yojana (PMKSY) in 2016-17. It has a total water storage capacity of 109.31 MCum with irrigation potential of 7585 hectares benefitting about 21 villages of Dhule district.   
 
He will lay the foundation stone of the Sulwade Jamphal Kanoli Lift Irrigation Scheme. This scheme envisages lifting 9.24 TMC of flood water from river Tapi in 124 days of monsoon season. It is proposed to irrigate 33367 hectares area of about 100 villages of Dhule district.
 
Modi will also lay the foundation stone of Dhule City Water Supply Scheme under AMRUT, which will ensure water availability to boost industrial and commercial growth.
 
He will lay the foundation stone of the Dhule-Nardana railway line and the third railway line between Jalgaon and Manmad.
 
He will flag off the Bhusaval-Bandra Khandesh Express, which is an overnight train that will run three days a week and provide direct connectivity between Mumbai and Bhusawal.
 
The Prime Minister will inaugurate the Railways' Jalgaon-Udhana doubling and electrification project. The project will increase the capacity of ferrying passengers as well as goods.  It will act as a catalyst for development of Nandurbar, Vyara, Dharangaon and other places on the section, the release added.
 
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Minor earthquakes recorded in Palghar region of Maharashtra

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Two minor earthquakes were recorded in the Palghar region of Maharashtra today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The first quake, of magnitude 3.1 on the Richter scale with its epicentre at latitude 20.0°N and longitude 72.8°E, occurred at 1044 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
The second tremor, measuring 3.0 on the Richter scale and with its epicentre at latitude 19.9°N and longitude 72.8°E, occurred at 1312 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
Earlier in the morning, a quake of slight intensity, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. It had its epicentre at latitude 32.2°N and longitude 76.4°E and occurred at 0735 hours at a focal depth of five km, the bulletin added.
 
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Six minor tremors shake Palghar region of Maharashtra

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A series of six minor earthquakes shook Palghar district of Maharashtra in the space of about ten hours during the day today.
 
The first tremor, measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale, was recorded at 0658 hours, with its epicentre at latitude 20.0°N and longitude 72.9°E, at a focal depth of 10 km. This was followed by two more in the same location, measuring 3.5 and 3.0 on the Richter scale, at 1003 hours and 1029 hours, both at depths of 5 km.
 
The strongest of the tremors, which measured 4.1 on the Richter scale, occurred at 1406 hours, with its epicentre at latitude 19.9°N and longitude 72.8°E at a focal depth of 5 km.
 
This was followed by two more in the same location, at 1553 hours and 1657 hours, measuring 3.6 and 3.5 on the Richter scale, at a focal depth of 5 km.
 
No casualties or loss of property was reported from anywhere, sources said.
 
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BHEL bags order for emission control equipment for Bhusawal 660 MW supercritical power project

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had secured an additional order from the Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco) for its ongoing 660 MW coal-based supercritical thermal power project at Bhusawal thermal power station (Unit 6). 
 
The project is being executed by BHEL on engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) basis in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra, a press release from the company said.
 
"Mahagenco has reposed faith in BHEL by awarding the additional order for installation of emission control equipment, changes in various equipment/subsystems due to change in coal, modification in CHP/AHP, etc. With this order, the revised order value for the Bhusawal TPS Unit 6 EPC project is now around Rs.3,750 crore. The initial order was won by BHEL against stiff International Competitive Bidding (ICB)," the release said.
 
BHEL has been a leader in the emission control equipment business for several decades and was one of the earliest entrants in the country. BHEL has so far secured orders for providing 34 sets of Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) system for SOx control and 13 sets of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system for NOx control.
 
"BHEL is fully geared to cater to the full range of emission control equipment to meet the latest stringent norms for Indian thermal power plants. BHEL’s credentials as one of the leading suppliers of Electrostatic Precipitators for controlling Particulate Matter (PM) emission in power plants, are already well established. BHEL also has an ongoing technology collaboration with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS), Japan, for highly efficient sate-of-the-art FGD systems and with HLB Power, Republic of Korea, for large size Gates and Dampers," the release said.
 
On the NOx control front also, the company possesses in-house capabilities to supply the technology for reducing NOx levels through efficient low NOx burner systems as well as suitable modifications in Boilers. In addition, BHEL is supplying state-of-the-art SCRs for higher reduction in NOx emission and has technology collaboration with NANO Co. Ltd., Republic of Korea, for SCR Catalysts in coal fired power plants.
 
"With this order, BHEL is poised to achieve its objective to indigenously design and manufacture key equipment for the entire range of emission control, thereby providing twin boost to the Government’s plan of ‘Making in India’ and its Intended National Determined Contributions (INDC) for limiting the carbon footprint of the nation," the releases added.
 
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