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Modi lays foundation stone for three metro lines in Mumbai

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for various Mumbai Metro projects, in line with the vision of Mumbai in Minutes.
 
The projects will provide a boost to the metro infrastructure of the city and will contribute to a safer, faster and better commute for every Mumbaikar, the Prime Minister said.
 
Appreciating the spirit of Mumbaikars, he  said the Ganesh Utsav started by Lokmanya Tilak has become popular in India and abroad, too.
 
Speaking on the undying resolve of ISRO and its team of scientists, Modi said, “There are three types of people who strive to attain goals--those who do not even start due to fear of failure, those who start but run away on facing challenges and those who strive continuously despite big challenges. ISRO and those associated with it belong to the third category. They do not stop or get tired or pause before the mission is attained.
 
"Though we have faced a challenge in Mission Chandrayaan 2, ISRO’s scientists will not stop until the goal is realized. The goal of conquering the moon will definitely be achieved. It is a historic achievement that the Orbiter has been placed successfully in the lunar orbit,” he added.
 
He said projects worth 20,000 crore rupees have been initiated in Mumbai today, while 1.5 lakh crore rupees have already been invested in Mumbai Metro.
 
The new metro lines, Metro Bhavan and  facilities at metro stations will give a new dimension to Mumbai and make life easier for Mumbaikars.
 
“The connection between Bandra and the expressway will make life easier for professionals. With these projects, Mumbai can be reached in minutes,” he added.
 
He also complimented the state government for the changes being brought about in the field of infrastructure.
 
"As India proceeds towards the goal of becoming a 5 trillion dollar economy, our cities too should become cities of the 21st century.
 
"In line with this goal, the Government is spending 100 lakh crore rupees in the next five years on building modern infrastructure, which will benefit Mumbai and many other cities," he said.
 
He highlighted the importance of future-ready infrastructure and noted that connectivity, productivity, sustainability and safety need to be considered while developing the cities.
 
To make transport easier, the Government is striving to build integrated transport systems. A vision document has been released to provide better infrastructure for Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
 
The document explains how to make best use of various modes of transport, such as Mumbai local, bus system. A master plan for Mumbai metro has been made.
 
Informing citizens about the expansion plan for Mumbai Metro, he said, “From 11 km today, the metro network of the city will increase to 325 km by 2023-’24.
 
"The capacity of the metro will become as much as that of the volume of people carried by Mumbai locals today. The coaches which run on the metro lines will also be manufactured in India,” he added.
 
He said 10,000 engineers and 40,000 skilled and unskilled workers will get job opportunities due to the metro projects. Citing the examples of Navi Mumbai airport, Mumbai Trans Harbour terminal and bullet train project, Modi said the scale and speed with which projects are being executed today is unprecedented.
 
Reflecting on the fast expansion of the metro system in India, he said the metro was present in only a few cities until recently, while today a metro is present or is being launched in the near future in 27 cities.
 
“Around 675 km of metro lines are operational today, out of which about 400 km became functional in the last five years. Work is in progress on 850 km, while approval has been given for work on 600 km of metro lines,” he added.
 
Modi said efforts were being made to develop India’s infrastructure in a holistic way, in order to fast-track development.
 
Historic decisions have been taken by the government in the first 100 days. Citing Jal Jeevan Mission, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidh iYojana, abolition of triple talaq and Act for child safety, he said the government has taken decisive and transformative steps.
 
Speaking of the importance of being aware of one’s responsibilities, Modi said Surajya is the duty of every Indian.
 
Pollution of water bodies during immersion of Bappa(Ganesh idol) should be avoided as  a lot of plastic and waste goes into sea during the festival.
 
He also exhorted people to make the Mithi River and other water bodies plastic-free, thereby setting an example to the rest of India, in the shared quest to make India free of plastic.
 
He laid the foundation stone for three metro lines, which will together add more than 42 km to the metro network of the city.
 
The three corridors are 9.2 km long Gaimukh to ShivajiChowk (Mira Road) Metro-10 corridor, 12.7 km long Wadala to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus Metro-11 corridor and 20.7 km long Kalyan to Taloja Metro-12 corridor.
 
The Prime Minister also laid foundation stone for a state-of-the-art Metro Bhavan. The 32-storey centre will operate and control 14 metro lines measuring around 340 km.
 
The Prime Minister inaugurated Bandongri Metro Station, Kandivali East. He also inaugurated a state-of-the-art metro coach, the first metro coach under Make in India.
 
The Prime Minister released a Brand Vision Document for Maha Mumbai Metro.
 
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshiyari, Chief Minister  Devendra Fadnavis, Minister for Railways and Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal and Union Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment Ramdas Athawale were also present on the occasion.
 
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India’s forex reserves dip by $ 446 million to $ 438.604 billion

Continuing a downtrend for the third consecutive week, India’s foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 446 million to$ 428.604 billion during the week ended August 30, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had fallen by $ 1.45 billion to $ 429.05 billion during the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the foreign exchange reserves, had fallen by $ 1.124 billion to $ 396.005 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves went down by $ 682 million to $ 27.55 billion while its special drawing rights remained unchanged at 1.433 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $ 5 million to $ 3.617 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Firm global cues, government steps lift markets by 1%

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Indian equity markets on Friday closed on a strong note tracking global markets as investor sentiments improved on the news that the US and China are set to resume trade talks next month.
 
The BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty gained nearly 1 per cent, led by healthy buying in auto and growth sensitive-metal stocks. The Nifty auto index jumped by 2.61 per cent on hopes of a GST rate cut in the next Council meeting.
 
Besides, auto stocks gained after Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday that the government is expected to award road projects worth Rs 5 lakh crore in the coming months, aimed at generating demand for automobile construction equipment.
 
The Sensex advanced by 337.35 points, or 0.92 per cent, to 36,981.77 while the Nifty closed 98.30 points, or 0.91 per cent, higher at 10,946.20.
 
"Expectation of sops to the falling auto sector lifted market sentiments today. While gains across Asian markets on a hope of ease in trade tensions supported the upside," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
 
Tech Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, Axis Bank, Tata Motors (DVR) and Tata Steel gained the most on the Sensex, while Yes Bank, Sun Pharma and HCL Tech fell the most.
 
IANS
 

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Oriental Bank reveals loan exposure to Nirav Modi, Choksi

Nirav Modi. Image from Nirav Modi group's Facebook page.
Nirav Modi. Image from Nirav Modi group's Facebook page.
For the first time, the public sector Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) has come clean on its loan exposure to the absconding diamantaires Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul C. Choksi here on Friday.
 
The development comes ahead of OBC's merger with the Punjab National Bank (PNB) which -- in February 2018 -- had admitted to a massive fraud perpetrated by Nirav Modi and Choksi running into over Rs 13,500 crore, sending the entire banking industry in a spin.
 
The OBC has now issued notices declaring the duo and their companies as "wilful defaulters" for varying loan amounts, totaling to around Rs 289 crore, at their Large Corporate Branch, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai.
 
Nirav Modi's companies Firestar International Pvt. Ltd. and Fire Star Diamond International Pvt. Ltd. failed to repay the OBC's loans of Rs 60.41 crore and Rs 32.25 crore, respectively.
 
Similarly, Choksi's companies Gitanjali Gems Ltd. and Nakshatra World Ltd. have defaulted on OBC's loans worth a total of Rs 136.45 crore and Rs 59.53 crore, respectively.
 
Days after the scam erupted in February 2018 and it dawned that Nirav Modi and Choksi, along with other accused family members, had sneaked out of the country, the OBC promptly declared their accounts as 'NPAs' on March 21, 2018.
 
Furthermore, the OBC has warned people to desist from entering any kind of deals with the (aforementioned) and appealed to the people to provide information of assets of Nirav Modi-Choksi or their transactions to enable the bank recover the 'public money' due from them.
 
Banking circles question why it took the OBC a long period of nearly 18 months to cough out its exposure in the matter, and just before its proposed merger with the PNB, along with United Bank of India, announced last month by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
 
"Besides OBC, other banks also have exposure to Modi and Choksi, and their group companies. What prevents them all from coming together and taking necessary legal action to recover their dues," banking expert and Maharashtra Trade Unions Joint Action Committee (TUJAC) Convenor Vishwas Utagi told IANS.
 
Utagi said the other bigger questions are: what action has been taken against the departments and officers dealing in foreign exchange in Reserve Bank of India and other affected banks, how much of the outstandings from (Nirav Modi-Choksi and others) accused have been recovered so far and whether the details emerging now are under pressure before the coming mergers.
 
Incidentally, in March this year, the OBC had got a life-saving dosage of Rs 1,186 crore capital infusion and more is expected after the mergers are completed.
 
Earlier this year, the State Bank of India (SBI) had first bared its chest on a Rs 405 crore outstanding loan from Choksi and his family members.
 
The SBI's disclosure came barely two days after it became public that Choksi had surrendered his Indian citizenship in favour of the nationality of Antigua & Barbuda Islands, in West Indies.
 
In March this year, a relaxed and well-dressed Nirav Modi was seen sauntering down a street in London, sparking off a furore in India after which he was arrested by the UK authorities.
 
Currently, India is making all-out efforts for getting both Modi and Choksi extradited to India and face the law here.
 
IANS
 

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Game-changer JioFiber rolls out, plans start from Rs 699

Akash Ambani (File photo: IANS)
Akash Ambani (File photo: IANS)
Set to create massive ripples in the growing digital streaming and video-on-demand market, Reliance Jio on Thursday commercially rolled out its fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service "JioFiber" across 1,600 cities in India where the users will have an integrated experience of broadband, on-demand entertainment, free HD voice calling, TV video calling and unlimited data, among others.
 
With the Jiofiber welcome offer, the customers will get TV, 4K Set Top Box, OTT App Subscription and unlimited data. Every Jiofiber user will get a set-top box (even with a monthly plan).
 
JioFiber plan rentals start at Rs 699 a month and go up to Rs 8,499 a month and even the lowest tariff starts with 100 Mbps speed, the company said in a statement.
 
Those opting for Gold plan and above will get a free 60CM (24-inch) HD TV set. The Titanium plan will offer 1Gbps and 60,000GB data for a monthly rental of Rs 8,499.
 
The customers will enjoy ultra high-speed broadband up to 1Gbps, entertainment over-the-top (OTT) apps, gaming, home networking (access or share all your content across devices) and VR experience.
 
"Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, and all of JioFiber has been designed with the sole purpose of giving you a delightful experience. The launch of JioFiber, with its revolutionary services is just the beginning of a new and exciting journey," said Akash Ambani, Director, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.
 
Jio has priced the plans at less than one-10th the global rates -- to make it accessible for all.
 
"As always, we will continue working hard to bring more such amazing services to your home and take Jio Fiber to the next level. I want to specially thank our 5 lakh JioFiber Preview users, who have contributed significantly in perfecting our product and service experience," Akash added.
 
In its 42nd annual general meeting last month, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) had announced the launch of its much-awaited Jio GigaFiber services.
 
Currently, the average fixed-line broadband speed in India is 25Mbps. Even in the US, it is around 90Mbps.
 
"JioFiber, India's first 100 per cent all-fiber broadband service, will start from 100Mbps and go all the way up to 1Gbps. This will propel India to top 5 broadband nations globally," said the company.
 
Under the long-term plans, JioFiber users will have access to 3, 6 and 12 month plans that provides substantially higher value. Through bank tie-ups, Jio will provide attractive EMI schemes.
 
For existing JioFiber users, Jio will get in touch with them for upgrading their services.
 
On a comparative basis, the biggest competitor of Jio GigaFiber in the Indian market is Bharti Airtel with its Airtel V-Fiber broadband service that too offers speed of up to 100 Mbps In Delhi.
 
Airtel's monthly plans start from Rs 799 with internet speeds of up to 40 Mbps and 100GB broadband data. The 100 Mbps plan is priced at Rs 1,099 per month with 300GB broadband data. The company also has Rs 1,599 and Rs 1,999 plan with speeds up to 300 Mbps and 100 Mbps respectively. The Rs 1,999 plan does not come with a data limit.
 
State-owned BSNL also offers a wide range of plan on its Broadband Internet Service on Bharat Fiber (FTTH). BSNL's Bharat Fiber plans start from Rs 777 to Rs 16,999 per month. The cheapest Rs 777 plan brings up to 50 Mbps speeds till 500 GB and the speed is throttled to 2 Mbps beyond the data limit.
 
The 100 Mbps plan starts from Rs 1,277 and comes with a data limit of 750GB. The costliest Rs 16,999 plan offers up to 100 Mbps broadband speed till 170GB per day and up to 10 Mbps speed post the exhaustion of the data limit. There is also a 40GB plan priced at Rs 2,499, 50GB plan at Rs 3999, 80GB at Rs 5,999, 120GB at Rs 9,999, and 170GB at Rs 16,999.
 
IANS
 

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Sensex ends a shade lower, auto stocks gain

Although the severely beaten down auto stocks edged higher on Thursday over expectations of a rate cut in the Goods and Service Tax (GST) on vehicles and on the back of steps announced by the government to combat slowdown in the sector, the benchmark Sensex closed the day at a lower level.
 
The Sensex closed on Thursday 80.32 points lower at 36,644.42, while the broader Nifty finished 3.25 points higher at 10,847.90. The Sensex had opened the day higher at 36,821.71 than its Wednesday close of 36,724.74.
 
Auto stocks closed over 2 per cent higher after Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the government is expected to award road projects worth Rs 5 lakh crore in the coming months, aimed at generating demand for automobile construction equipment.
 
Among the auto index, Tata Motors made the most gains , surging over 8 per cent to Rs 118.35 per share.
 
According to Deepak Jasani of HDFC Securities, public sector company stocks witnessed positive moves amidst large volumes on expectation of an announcement of reform measures on Friday, as has been announced by the Finance Minister over the last two weeks.
 
ONGC was among the top perfomers on Thursday, after the company informed the exchanges that its fuel supplies would continue uninterrupted despite the massive fire at its Uran Oil and Gas Processing Plant that claimed four lives. It advanced by 9 per cent.
 
The top losers comprised mostly of private banks like HDFC, ICICI Bank, Kotak Bank, after the Reserve Bank of India, earlier this week, made it mandatory for banks to link their new floating rates for home, auto and MSME loans to an external benchmark from October 1.
 
IANS
 

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BSE Sensex, NSE Nifty open higher

The BSE Sensex opened over 100 points higher on Thursday, lifted by relatively positive global cues.
 
At 9.55 a.m., the Sensex was trading at 36,848.19, higher by 123.45 points after the benchmark index opened at 36,821.71 from its previous close of 36,724.74.
 
The NSE Nifty was trading at 10,897.55, higher by 52.90 points.
 
Meanwhile, Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) continued to sell Indian stocks despite the roll back of the tax surcharge.
 
FIIs offloaded stocks worth Rs 1,738.49 crore on Wednesday. Domestic Institutional Investors (DIIs) bought Rs 1,304.58 crore worth of scrips.
 
IANS
 

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Sensex, Nifty recover on improved global market

Indian markets on Wednesday finished higher in line with gains in the global market. PSU Banks and metal stocks led the Sensex to gain 162 points to reach 36,724.74. The broader Nifty also jumped by 46.75 points to 10,844.65.
 
Global markets gained over Hong Kong's announcement of the withdrawal of an extradition bill that had caused months of unrest and growth in China's service sector along with the overall pressure on the economy owing to the trade tension with the US.
 
"Today, number of FMCG stocks closed lower against the rise in metals and banks that could be a big positive for the market as it implies that investors are ready to shift from defensive sector to high-risk sectors or investors are ready to handle risk in the market," said Shrikant S. Chouhan, Senior Vice President, Kotak Securities.
 
Shares of Maruti Suzuki closed over 4 per cent lower after the country's largest car manufacturer said it has decided to shut down production of passenger vehicles in Gurugram and Manesar plants in Haryana for two days.
 
Maruti Suzuki India had reported a 33.99 per cent decline in production in August at 111,370 vehicles against 168,725 produced in the year-ago month.
 
Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) continued to selling India stocks despite the rollback of the tax surcharge. FIIs offloaded stocks worth Rs 1,738.49 crore. Domestic Institutional Investors(DIIs) bought Rs 1,304.58 crore worth of scrips.
 
IANS
 

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Mumbai paralysed by rains - for third time this monsoon

Commuters trudging on flooded railway tracks after suburban trains of Western Railway were disrupted in Mumbai due to heavy rains on September 4, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Commuters trudging on flooded railway tracks after suburban trains of Western Railway were disrupted in Mumbai due to heavy rains on September 4, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
For the third time this monsoon, pounding rains paralysed the country's commercial capital on Wednesday with total disruption in road and rail traffic, though flights were not hit severely.
 
Earlier, Mumbai had been brought to its knees on July 2-3 and August 3-4 when heavy rains clobbered the city, claiming nearly three dozen lives in various rain-related incidents.
 
Though a renewed bout of rains had started lashing the Mumbai Metropolitan Region since Monday, the city itself collapsed in the less than 18 hours of overnight rains since Tuesday evening.
 
In the past 36 hours, the India Meteorological Department said Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and Raigad districts averaged a whopping 25-30 cms rains, while the Vasai-Virar belt in Palghar got a staggering 50 cms rains.
 
The IMD has issued a 'Red Alert' for Mumbai and surrounding districts which could be lashed by very heavy rains over the next two-three days.
 
As a precautionary measure on Wednesday, the government declared a holiday for all public and private schools in these districts, advised people to venture outdoors only if necessary and exercise other safety measures.
 
This afternoon, the NDRF, Indian Navy and Mumbai Police came to the rescue of around 1,500 people stranded in the floodwaters of Mumbai's sole flowing freshwater body, the Mithi River which overflowed and entered their homes in Krantinagar area of Kurla.
 
Though the city's lifelines - Western Railway and Central Railway - continued to function with hiccups, by noon, the local and long-distance services had to be suspended due to heavy waterlogging on railway tracks at different locations.
 
WR services were suspended for several hours between Churchgate-Andheri and Vasai-Virar due to waterlogging near Mahim-Matunga.
 
However, by 6 p.m., the trains were restored between Churchgate-Vasai, though tracks on the Vasai-Virar sector were still submerged after over 50 cms rainfall in the area, said a WR spokesperson.
 
The WR cancelled two long-distance services, short-terminated two, diverted four and rescheduled 18 trains on its network on Wednesday, throwing passengers plans haywire.
 
CR services were suspended between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus-Thane, but surprisingly, the vulnerable Harbour Line operated with delays. The CR cancelled 24 long-distance trains, short-terminated four, short-originated 3 and rescheduled seven trains.
 
Total chaos reigned on the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) and Western Express Highway (WEH), main roads and arterial roads with waterlogging in many areas like Mulund, Bhandup, Vikhroli, Ghatkopar, Kurla, Sion, Kings Circle, Wadala, Chunabhatti, and Bandra, Santacruz, Vile Parle, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Malad, Kandivali, Borivali and Dahisar.
 
Many low-lying areas in the city including Sion, Wadala, Dadar, Parel, Kings Circle, Matunga, Chunabhatti and in suburbs Andheri, Jogeshwari, Santacruz, Malad, Borivali, Mulund, Bhandup, Kanjurmarg, Vikhroli, Kurla and surroundings were flooded in one to three feet and more water. In many areas, water entered people's homes on the ground floor.
 
Roads on the exteriors like Mumbai-Goa Highway, Mumbai-Pune Expressway, Ghodbunder Road, Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway, Mumbai-Navi Mumbai Road, and others also experienced huge traffic snarls as the snowballing effect of the conditions in Mumbai.
 
In several places, big and small vehicles were stranded in the floodwaters forcing their occupants to abandon them, which added to the traffic jams.
 
Virtually caught unprepared by the overnight downpour, people had to wade in knee-deep to waist-deep waters for their normal chores, while in Ganesh Talao area of Kandivali, locals deployed a make-shift raft to ferry people in the flooded areas.
 
The BMC had made arrangements for stranded commuters at various locations near railway stations where they could spend the night with the railways and NGOs making arrangements for food and snacks.
 
Rains severely hit the ongoing Ganeshotsav festivities in the four districts -- Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and Raigad -- and floodwaters seeped inside the various marquees and pandals compelling the BrihanMumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti President Naresh Dahibavkar to issue a precautionary appeal.
 
"All Ganeshotsav mandals are requested to check for any water seepage and whether any power lines are touching the water. They must exercise extreme caution and switch off power supply to the marquees (pandals) to ensure safety of all," Dahibavkar urged.
 
The famed Lalbaug-cha Raja - where devotees queue up for 12-18 hours for a 'darshan', could manage it in barely 10 minutes today!
 
The Andhericha Raja venue was flooded with four feet water, in Nala Sopara the Sainath Mitra Mandal shifted its idols up by nearly a metre after the entire pandal was flooded in 5-6 feet of water. There are no reports of any damage to any marquee or idols from anywhere.
 
Shooting schedules of several Bollywood films and televisional serials had to be cancelled as water seeped in studios and outdoor location sites. Sunny Deol postponed the trailer launch of his son Karan's debut "Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas" while waterlogging was seen outside Amitabh Bachchan's Juhu bungalow 'Prateeksha' this afternoon.
 
IANS
 

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Rains clobber Mumbai, NDRF rescues 1,300 people

File photo of a water-logged street near King's Circle in Mumbai (K. A. ViswanathanIANS)
File photo of a water-logged street near King's Circle in Mumbai (K. A. ViswanathanIANS)
Heavy rains continued to lash Mumbai and the entire coastal Konkan region on Wednesday, with waterlogging reported from many areas and authorities advising people to remain indoors.
 
Around 1,300 people were evacuated by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams from Bail Bazar in Kurla, where water levels reached four-five feet owing to the flooded Mithi river nearby.
 
"Heavy rains that started on Tuesday night slowed down Mumbai on Wednesday morning, and by noon, the city had recorded 30.4 mm. Santacruz recorded 121.4 mm rainfall," said the Mumbai unit of India Meteorological Department.
 
As a precautionary measure, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) ordered all schools (government and private) in the city to remain shut for the day, said the BMC Disaster Control.
 
"The principals of all schools where students had already reached, were directed to ensure their safe return home," an official told IANS.
 
Many low-lying areas in the city, including Sion, Wadala, Dadar, Parel, Kings Circle, Matunga, Chunabhatti and suburbs Andheri, Jogeshwari, Santacruz, Malad, Borivali, Mulund, Bhandup, Kanjurmar, Vikhroli, Kurla and surrounding areas were flooded with one or three feet and more water.
 
Traffic, though disrupted, continued to move at a snail's place, resulting in huge traffic snarls in the two highways, the main roads, link roads and arterial roads in the city.
 
Among the main roads that were submerged were tracts of Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg in the eastern suburbs and Swami Vivekananda Road in the western suburbs, portions of the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road, Santacruz-Chembur Link Road and other internal roads.
 
Water rushed inside several Ganesh pandals in the city and the suburbs, compelling the BrihanMumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti President Naresh Dahibavkar to issue a precautionary appeal.
 
"All Ganeshotsav mandals are requested to check for any water seepage and whether any power lines are touching the water. They must exercise extreme caution and switch off power supply to the marquees (pandals) to ensure safety of all," Dahibavkar said.
 
The Western Railway (WR) had to suspend suburban and long-distance services on the Vasai-Virar sector (Palghar) after the railway tracks were submerged under over three feet water. "The services continued with delays on the Vasai-Churchgate sector," said a WR spokesperson.
 
The Central Railway (CR) services continued to limp with average 25-30 minutes delays, but by noon, it had suspended all services between Thane and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) owing to waterlogging on tracks between Sion-Bandra, said a CR official.
 
Incoming and outgoing flight operations at the Mumbai Airport were near normal with delays of around 15 minutes despite the downpour and fluctuating visibility levels.
 
The IMD has forecast heavy rains in Mumbai and surrounding areas over the next 2-3 days.
 
IANS
 

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Saregama launches Carvaan Mini Shrimad Bhagavad Gita

Music label Saregama has launched a dedicated variant of Carvaan Mini-Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, an electronic device pre-loaded with 18 Adhyayas, 700 verses and more than 100 Krishna Bhajans. 
 
The verses play in Sanskrit along with translation in simple Hindi language making it easy for every generation to understand, the company said in a press release. 
 
All the verses are recorded in the soothing and affirmative voice of Shailendra Bharti. Additionally, it also has more than 100 Krishna Bhajans sung by legends like Lata Mangeshkar, Hari Om Sharan, Jagjit Singh, Anup Jalota and several others, it said.
 
Saregama says Carvaan Mini Shrimad Bhagavad Gita is an ideal product for everyone who wants to understand the ancient preaching scripted in the book and its relevance in today’s life. 
 
The device is extremely simple to operate and can be used by people across different age groups. Like all Carvaan Mini variants, this, too, offers an uninterrupted listening experience without any internet or ad breaks.
 
Carvaan Mini Shrimad Bhagavad Gita doubles up as an FM/ AM radio with the option to tune in to the local station anytime. The listeners can also enjoy their personal music collection on Carvaan Mini by plugging in a USB drive or by connecting their phones via Bluetooth. 
 
It comes with long-lasting battery life and listeners can enjoy up to four hours of uninterrupted music. It also has Aux/ Aux Out feature and comes with six months warranty across India.
 
Vikram Mehra, Managing Director, Saregama India Limited says, “Bhagwad Gita is relevant for all generations and age groups. Carvaan Mini Shrimad Bhagvad Gita is our attempt to bring the teachings of Bhagwad Gita to every home in simple Hindi language at just the press of a button.”
 
The Carvaan Mini Shrimad Bhagavad is priced at Rs 2490 and is available on the Saregama website and retail outlets.
 
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Rains pound Mumbai, schools ordered shut

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Rains lashed Mumbai and the entire coastal Konkan region with waterlogging reported from many areas, officials said here on Wednesday.
 
Heavy rains that started on Tuesday night saw Mumbai slowed down on Wednesday morning, but road, rail and air services were still operating.
 
As a precautionary measure, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) ordered all schools in the city to remain shut for the day, said the BMC Disaster Control.
 
"The principals of schools where students have already reached, have been directed to ensure their safe return home," an official told IANS.
 
Mumbai received an average of around 15 cm rain, while Thane and Palghar notched 18 cm and 17 cm precipitation, respectively.
 
Many low-lying areas in the city and suburbs were flooded by upto 6-12 inches water, but sluggish vehicular and rail traffic continued.
 
Flight operations at Mumbai Airport were near normal despite the downpour and fluctuating visibility levels.
 
The IMD has forecast heavy rains in Mumbai and surrounding over the next 2-3 days.
 
IANS
 

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Sensex, Nifty open mildly higher

The BSE Sensex and the  NSE Nifty turned choppy after opening slightly higher on Wednesday.
 
The benchmark Sensex opened at 36,575.24 from its Tuesday's close of 36,562.91.
 
At 10.01 a.m., the Sensex was up 34.25 points or 0.09 per cent at 36,597.16.
 
The Nifty was up 4.90 points or 0.05 per cent at 10,802.80.
 
Nifty PSU Bank and metal index recovered after heavy selling on Tuesday.
 
Weak growth numbers released over the weekend resulted in a bruising stock sell-off on Tuesday, erasing 770 points from Sensex.
 
Investors reacted to the data released on Friday which showed that India grew at its weakest pace since 2013 between April and June.
 
Besides, poor monthly auto sales data and weak core sector data added heightened fear in the equity markets.
 
IANS
 

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Sensex, Nifty finish 2% lower over worrying growth numbers

Weak growth numbers released over the weekend resulted in a bruising sell-off in the markets on Tuesday, erasing 770 points from Sensex. Growth-sensitive stocks, state-run banks and manufacturing companies contributed most to the fall.
 
The benchmark Sensex fell by 769.88 points or 2.06 per cent at 36,562.91 after falling as much as 36,466.01. The broader Nifty declined by 225.35 points or 2.04 per cent lower at 10,797.90.
 
Despite a series of measures announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to revive private investment and the transfer of the RBI's excess reserve to the government, investor confidence remained subdued.
 
India 'VIX' or the volatility index -- the market's expectation of volatility over the near term -- closed at 18.60, after it surged nearly 12 per cent. 
 
"The sharp fall in the Q1 GDP growth to 5 per cent and the weak core sector growth are the key factors that have caused a fall in the markets as it opened after a long weekend," said Joseph Thomas, Head of Research-Emkay Wealth Management.
 
Weak domestic consumption, especially rural consumption, has resulted mainly from low employment levels and non-availability of finance, which are issues that call for immediate measures to salvage the situation, he added.
 
Nifty PSU Bank index fell the most on Tuesday - by nearly 5 per cent. It was followed by heavy selling in metal stocks, with the index declining by over 3 per cent.
 
"The consolidation of PSU banks is a step in right direction.. however, they may take more time before earning benefits from synergy," said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services.
 
Investors reacted to the data released on Friday which showed that India grew at its weakest pace between April and June since 2013. Besides, poor monthly auto sales data and weak core sector data added to the further sell-off in the equity markets.
 
Except for HCL Tech and Tech Mahindra, all the 30 Sensex scrips finished lower. ICICI Bank, Tata Motors (DVR), Tata Steel, Vedanta and HDFC comprised the top index losers, declining in the range of 3 to 5 per cent.
 
IANS
 

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3 CISF personnel among 4 killed in ONGC plant blaze

At least four persons, including three CISF personnel, were killed in a massive fire that broke out in a stormwater drainage network at the ONGC's oil and gas processing plant in Uran, Navi Mumbai, officials said here on Tuesday.
Photo: IANS
Photo: IANS
At least four persons, including three CISF personnel, were killed in a massive fire that broke out in a stormwater drainage network at the ONGC's oil and gas processing plant in Uran, Navi Mumbai, officials said here on Tuesday.
 
An official of Navi Mumbai Police Control told IANS that besides the four fatalities, some more were feared injured in the tragedy.
 
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) jawans of the Fire Wing (ONGC Unit), who were killed in the line of duty, are E. Nayaka, M. K. Paswan and S. P. Kushwaha.
 
"The CISF salutes the supreme sacrifice of CISF Fire Wing bravehearts who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty during the fire-fighting operations at ONGC Uran, Navi Mumbai," the CISF said in a tribute.
 
It added that the CISF will be forever indebted for their bravery and commitment.
 
Earlier, clouds of dark smoke were seen billowing out of the conflagration on the ONGC premises after the fire erupted at around 7 a.m.
 
"The fire is being contained. No impact on oil processing and gas diverted to Hazira plants. The situation is being assessed," an ONGC spokesperson told IANS.
 
Besides the ONGC's own fire service and crisis management teams, fire-fighters from Uran, JNPT, Navi Mumbai and surrounding areas rushed to battle the blaze. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
 
The blaze was brought under control after nearly three hours and cooling operations are underway at the site.
 
In a fallout of the fire, gas supplies of both PNG and CNG were severely hit in Mumbai, according to Mahanagar Gas Ltd. (MGL).
 
The Mahanagar Gas Ltd, which supplies domestic, industrial and vehicular gas, said that gas supply to its City Gate Station, Wadala, has been badly affected.
 
"We are ensuring that supply to domestic PNG consumers is maintained on priority without interruption. However, many CNG stations in Mumbai may not operate due to low pressure in the pipeline," the spokesperson said.
 
Accordingly, the MGL has advised industrial and commercial customers to switch over to alternate fuel till the gas supplies across MGL's network is restored by ONGC. It was not immediately clear when the gas supplies would be restored.
 
The MGL network is spread across entire Mumbai, parts of Thane, Palghar and Raigad, serving lakhs of domestic, industrial and other consumers.
 
IANS
 

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ONGC blaze hits MGL's Mumbai gas supply

Photo: IANS
Photo: IANS
A massive fire at the ONGC's oil and gas processing plant in Uran, adjoining Raigad, has severely hit supplies of both PNG and CNG in Mumbai, an official said here on Tuesday.
 
The Mahanagar Gas Ltd (MGL)  which supplies domestic, industrial and vehicular gas, said that gas supply to its City Gate Station, Wadala has been badly affected.
 
"We are ensuring that supply to domestic Piped Natural Gas (PNG) consumers would be maintained on priority without interruption. However, many Compressed Natural Gas stations in Mumbai may not operate due to low pressure in the pipeline," the spokesperson said.
 
Accordingly, the MGL has advised industrial and commercial customers to switch over to alternate fuel till the gas supplies across MGL's network is restored by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.
 
The MGL network is spread across entire Mumbai, parts of Thane, Palghar and Raigad, serving lakhs of domestic, industrial and other consumers.
 
At least four persons were killed and a few others injured in the massive fire that broke out in a stormwater drainage network at the ONGC's oil and gas processing plant in Uran.
 
"Fire is being contained. No impact on oil processing and gas diverted to Hazira plants. The situation is being assessed," an ONGC spokesperson told IANS.
 
IANS
 

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4 killed in fire in stormwater drainage network at ONGC plant at Uran

At least four persons were killed in a massive fire that broke out in a storm water drainage network at the ONGC's oil and gas processing plant in Uran, officials said in Raigad on Tuesday.
Photo: IANS
Photo: IANS
At least four persons were killed in a massive fire that broke out in a stormwater drainage network at ONGC's oil and gas processing plant in Uran, officials said here on Tuesday.
 
An official of Navi Mumbai Police Control told IANS that at least four persons were killed and some more were feared injured in the tragedy.
 
Clouds of dark smoke were seen billowing out of the conflagration on the ONGC premises where the fire erupted around 7 a.m.
 
"Fire is being contained. No impact on oil processing and gas diverted to Hazira plants. The situation is being assessed," an Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) spokesperson told IANS.
 
Besides the ONGC's own fire services and crisis management teams, fire-fighters from Uran, JNPT, Navi Mumbai and surroundings rushed to battle the blaze. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
 
As a precautionary measure, people in nearby villages have been told to evacuate to safer locations, officials said.
 
IANS
 

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Sensex down 400 points after GDP shocker

The Sensex on Tuesday fell over 400 points during the early trade session as investors reacted to the lower-than-expected GDP growth rate numbers released on Friday.
 
Indian 'VIX' or the volatility index -- market's expectation of volatility over the near term -- shot up by 7 per cent to 17.41.
 
Except for the export-oriented IT stocks, all other Nifty sectoral index traded lower.
 
At 9.32 a.m., the Sensex was down 402 points at 36,930.66. The benchmark Sensex opened at 37,181.76 from its previous close of 37,332.79.
 
The broader Nifty was down 108.05 points or 0.98 per cent lower at 10,915.20.
 
India's GDP growth rate fell to a six-year low of 5 per cent for the April-June quarter.
 
IANS
 

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Sarika to produce Aamir Khan's daughter Ira's play

Sarika (File photo: IANS)
Sarika (File photo: IANS)
Veteran actress Sarika has turned into a theatre producer, and will back a play by superstar Aamir Khan's daughter Ira Khan, who she says is like her own baby.
 
Sarika has started her production house NautankiSa Productions, and is joined by friend Sachin Kamani and her younger daughter Akshara.
 
While they have already started working on a Hindi play, they are also coming on board Ira's directorial debut with the English play, "Euripides' Medea".
 
"We were already in producer mode as we were working on a Hindi play. It was then that Ira called me and said she wanted me to act in her play. I didn't want to act so instead I offered to produce it," said Sarika.
 
"Ira is like my own baby, so I was more than happy to be a part of it. Also, I was impressed by her vision of the play and was confident about her as a director," she added
 
The "Club 60" actress moved away from acting in 2016.
 
"There were no exciting scripts and roles being offered and instead of complaining and waiting for a good script, something we actors usually end up doing, I thought taking a break was a better idea," she said.
 
"...and do something I had not done before and that new space was theatre, something I have always loved but only as an audience. Unlike films, in theatre I was the outsider and today after two and a half years, I am part of the theatre family in a small way and so happy. It is one of my good calls."
 
IANS
 

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Anoushka Shankar undergoes hysterectomy

Anoushka Shankar undergoes hysterectomy
Anoushka Shankar undergoes hysterectomy
Internationally-acclaimed sitarist Anoushka Shankar has revealed that she "no longer has a uterus" as she had double surgeries last month.
 
Anoushka on Friday took to Instagram and penned a lengthy note, sharing the details about her surgery.
 
"As of last month, I no longer have a uterus. I had a double surgery: a gynaecological-oncologist performed a hysterectomy due to my large fibroids, which made my uterus as big as if it were six months pregnant, and an incredible surgeon removed multiple further tumours from my abdomen (which I blessedly then heard were all benign). One tumour had grown through my muscles and was visibly protruding from my stomach. There were 13 tumours in all," the post read.
 
Anoushka, the daughter of late globally-renowned sitar exponent Ravi Shankar, shared that she went into "short-term depression" when she got to know about it and the fear of not having children started haunting her.
 
"The news triggered fears about my womanliness, my possible desire to have more children in the future, the fear of dying in surgery and leaving my kids without a mother, the effect the changes may have on my sex life and more. I spoke to friends and family about my news and was shocked to discover how many women had hysterectomies although I'd never known they had."
 
Anoushka wondered "why the surgery wasn't talked about more if it was so common". So through her post, she urged women not to get embarrassed while talking about sexual health.
 
Citing her own example, she added: "I look back and grieve for my younger self and all the girls I knew, for how much we were expected to cope with in silence. I've always thought of myself as someone who comfortably shares most thoughts and experiences. Yet I look back and realise I allowed my internalised embarrassment and shame around sexual health, and my periods, in particular, to remain unchallenged all these years."
 
IANS
 

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India’s forex reserves dip by $ 1.45 billion to $ 429.05 billion

India’s foreign exchange reserves dipped by $ 1.45 billion to $ 429.05 billion during the week ended August 23, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said here today.
 
The country’s forex reserves had fallen by $ 70.8 million to $ 430.501 billion during the previous week.
 
In its weekly statistical supplement issued here, the central bank said that foreign currency assets, which constitute a major chunk of the foreign exchange reserves, had fallen by $ 1.198 billion to $ 397.128 billion during the week.
 
Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US currencies such as the euro, pound and yen held in the reserves.
 
According to the bulletin, the country’s gold reserves went down by $ 243.2 million to $ 26.867 billion, while its special drawing rights (SDR) decreased by $ 4.5 million to $ 1.438 billion.
 
India’s reserve position in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) fell by $ 4.2 million to $ 3.621 billion, the bulletin added.
 
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Sensex down 150 pts after opening in the green

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The BSE Sensex on Friday fell over 150 points after opening higher over the sustained outflow of foreign funds and growth concerns.
 
The selling by Foreign Institutional Investment (FIIs) comes despite the roll-back of the  controversial tax surcharge last week.
 
Besides, caution ahead of the release of the GDP figures also resulted in lower risk taking appetite at the streets.
 
At 11.23 a.m., the Sensex was trading 153 points lower at 36,915.28 while the Nifty was down 47.80 points at 10,900.50.
 
The benchmark Sensex opened at 37,222.26, higher from its previous close of 37,068.93.
 
IANS
 

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Economic outlook cloudy in FY20: RBI annual report

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RBI logo
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said on Thursday that the overall economic outlook of the country appeared clouded for 2019-20 and called for the prioritisation of the revival of consumption and private investment and structural reforms.
 
"Overall, the outlook appears clouded as the Indian economy begins its course through 2019-20," the RBI said in its annual report released on Thursday.
 
The central bank also expressed concern over falling rural demand amidst some surge in indices.
 
"Rural demand, however, was affected by moderation in agricultural growth as reflected in tractors and two-wheelers sales. Indicators of urban demand revealed a mixed picture in contrast. Air passenger traffic recorded its lowest growth in the last five years.
 
"Passenger vehicles sales were the lowest in five years on account of an increase in insurance costs, volatile fuel prices and lack of financing options due to the liquidity stress in the non-banking sector. The production of consumer non-durables slumped to its lowest level in the past three years," the report highlighted.
 
The central bank in its review said that external demand operated as a drag for the second successive year while deficit south-west monsoon and depleted reservoirs dented the performance of the agriculture sector.
 
The rate of gross domestic savings had increased marginally to 30.1 per cent of gross national disposable income (GNDI) in 2017-18 from declines in the previous two years.
 
The household financial savings -- the most important source of funds -- had increased by 0.3 percentage points of GNDI, though it had remained much lower than 7.3 per cent during 2011-16.
 
The rate of gross domestic investment in the Indian economy, measured by the ratio of gross capital formation (GCF) to GDP at current prices, had risen to a peak of 39.8 per cent in 2010-11 before a prolonged slowdown set in, taking it down to 30.9 per cent in 2016-17. 
 
A modest recovery was seen in the following year. Although data on gross domestic investment are not yet available for 2018-19, movement in its constituents suggests that the uptick could not be sustained.
 
Growth in fixed investment collapsed to a 14-quarter low in Q4 of 2018-19 as production of capital goods registered a sharp contraction while imports nosedived in a coincident manner.
 
However, the industrial sector posted resilient growth, mainly driven by manufacturing in the first half, while the momentum in construction and financial services sustained the healthy growth of the overall services sector, the RBI said.
 
"Going forward, priority should be accorded to revive consumption and private investment while continuing with structural reforms," the RBI said.
 
On job creation, the RBI said that official estimates suggest more regularisation of employment in 2017-18 and the various initiatives undertaken by the government are expected to create avenues for employment.
 
IANS

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Fall in bank stocks drags Sensex down 1%

While seven of the 11 sectors in the Nifty ended in the red causing the Nifty50 to end below 11,000 on Thursday, the Sensex lost 1 per cent dragged lower by financial sector stocks.
 
Market analysts said that the future and option (F&O) expiry of the current month and sustained selling by Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) caused weakness in the markets. 
 
Besides, nervousness ahead of the release of the GDP figures on August 31 also added to the pressure.
 
India's growth rate has witnessed sharp slowdown over the last few quarters and several projections have been revised downwards to signal that the economy faces increasing stress. 
 
The benchmark Sensex flip-flopped between the intra-day high of 37,381.80 and a low of 36,987.35, before it settled at 382.91 points, or 1.02 per cent lower. The broader Nifty declined by 97.80 points, or 0.89 per cent, to end the day at 10,948.30.
 
"Bank Nifty closed significantly lower because of consistent rise in India's 10-year bond yield. Technically, the market is in corrective mode and on the completion of the same we can expect one more upward pullback in the near term," said Kotak Securities Head (Technical Research) Shrikant Chouhan.
 
While heavy selling was witnessed in the banking and finance space, investors showed interest in the defensive sectors. SunPharma, Piramal Enterprises and Biocon Ltd surged in the range of 3 to 5 per cent, lifting the Nifty Pharma index 2.25 per cent.
 
Corporate fraud-hit CG Power sacked its Chairman Gautam Thapar on Thursday, giving a boost to its share price by 4.74 per cent.
 
Indiabulls Housing Finance stocks pared most early losses to end 0.49 per cent lower at Rs 455 per share, awaiting exclusion from the Nifty 50 index. Nestle India scrips, which will replace the mortgage lender on September 27, advanced by 1.62 per cent to Rs 12,720 per share.
 
Sugar stocks on the bourses also edged up after the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved an export subsidy for the 2019-20 sugar season to export 60 lakh tonne of sugar which would cost the exchequer Rs 6,268 crore.
 
IANS

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Tata Projects executes important transmission line project in Thailand

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Infrastructure major Tata Projects Limited today said it had successfully executed an important 41.42-km transmission line project of 500kV in Thailand.
 
A consortium of Tata Projects Ltd & TEDA Company Ltd was awarded this prestigious transmission line project by Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).
 
The total line length is 78.5km and Tata Projects-TEDA consortium executed the major portion comprising 41.42km, a press release from the company said.
 
The 500kV Roi Et 2 – Chaiyaphum 2 Transmission Line is part of the Transmission System Improvement Project in North Eastern, Lower Northern, Central Regions and Bangkok Area. It will further assist in enhancing system security. Completion of this project will support the ASEAN Power Grid (APG) system under the Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP) of the government, the release said.
 
Vivek Gautam, COO – Transportation and T&D, Tata Projects Ltd, said, "We are proud to successfully execute this prestigious project within schedule timeline. With this successful project execution, we have effectively established our presence in this niche high technological business segment, especially across a new geographical area. This project has proven our ability, technological know-how and management excellence. It will assist us in securing more such projects in this increasingly important part of the world.”
 
Across Thailand’s Transmission Line Network, the Tata Projects consortium is the only one to have used Safety Fall Protection system during project’s erection and stringing activities. The equipments related to safety fall protection system were imported from India, the release said.
 
"The resources and expertise for execution of 500kV Transmission Line are very limited within Thailand. In fact, there are very few sub-contractors who can work for 500kV projects in Thailand. This project has provided opportunities to small Thai sub-contractors (115 & 230 kV) to work for 500kV under the guidance of Tata Projects’ expert team. This will ultimately help to increase resources, especially manpower skills in Thailand for execution of 500kV projects in future," the release said.
 
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