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Pune

'Upset' over ED case, NCP leader Ajit Pawar quits as MLA

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Upset by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) case lodged against him, Nationalist Congress Party leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has quit as MLA from Baramati, party President Sharad Pawar said here late on Friday.
 
"I was not aware of his decision. He is a fighter and a blunt speaker who will not leave the battlefield. I learnt about it after speaking with his family," Sharad Pawar told a crowded press conference at his Modibaug home in Pune.
 
The Maratha strongman said that according to his family, Ajit Pawar was "greatly disturbed" at the manner in which Sharad Pawar's name was dragged in the alleged Rs 25,000-crore scam in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank Ltd (MSCB).
 
"There used to be problems related to the MSCB work in the cooperative sectors, which we used to sort out with the help of other agencies. But Ajit Pawar is particularly distressed after my name (Sharad Pawar's) came in the picture," he added.
 
Pawar said that Ajit Pawar is extremely disgusted over the depths to which politics has plummeted in recent years and gone to the extent of advising his son Parth against joining politics and instead take up farming or get into some other business.
 
"I get the impression Ajit Pawar may even consider quitting politics," Pawar said.
 
"The real reasons behind his decision I will learn only after I meet him. I can assure you that there are no differences in the family where I am the head and my word in final. There may have been disputes over some political issues but even those were ironed out after discussions," Pawar said, urging the media not to portray the family in bad light.
 
Earlier this evening, Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade confirmed that Ajit Pawar had submitted his resignation as a legislator and it has been accepted.
 
Ajit Pawar personally visited the Speaker's office and submitted his resignation to the Speaker's aide, stunning state political circles.
 
"He later also sent his resignation by email to me this afternoon and then called me up with a request that it should be accepted. I did not ask for the reasons. As requested, I have accepted the resignation," Bagade told the media.
 
The development came on a fast-paced day when nominations for the October 21 state assembly elections opened against the backdrop of Sharad Pawar's plans to visit the ED office for investigations.
 
Incidentally, Ajit Pawar, 60, was conspicuous by his absence earlier on Friday at Sharad Pawar's home in Silver Oaks Apartment when the latter finally announced he had cancelled plans to go to the ED office.
 
The younger Pawar is the only leader in the state's history to have served as Deputy CM on two occasions - from November 2010 to September 2012 and again from October 2012 to September 2014.
 
IANS
 

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19 killed as heavy rains lash Maharashtra

A scene in Pune, which was lashed by  heavy rains for the past two days, on September 26, 2019
A scene in Pune, which was lashed by heavy rains for the past two days, on September 26, 2019
At least 19 persons have been killed and 11 are missing in various rain-related incidents in Pune, Jalgaon and Nashik since late Wednesday, officials said here on Thursday.
 
According to the state and district disaster management authorities, at least five persons were washed away in flood waters in the Khed-Shivapur area on Pune-Bengaluru Highway. Three bodies were recovered from a well in the downstream region early today and a hunt is on for the others.
 
A building compound wall crashed in Arnyshwar Complex killing six more, while some others were feared trapped under the debris. While two bodies have been recovered, a search is on for the remaining persons.
 
Caught in a thunderstorm, six people were killed as they took refuge under a tree in Jalgaon, a Maharashtra Disaster Control Authority official told IANS.
 
Two persons were found dead in cars that were washed away in the flood waters in Kondwa and Saswad areas.
 
An autorickshaw driver was killed due to electrocution in a flooded area of a village on the outskirts of Nashik today, police said.
 
As flood waters rose, more than 15,000 people were evacuated from Baramati tehsil, and others from different areas like Sinhgad, Dhanakwadi, Balajinagar, Ambegaon, Sahakar Nagar, Parvati Nagar, Kolhewadi and Kirkatwadi.
 
In many areas, panicked residents took refuge on upper floors or terraces as flood waters gushed into the ground floors of residences.
 
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams each are deployed in Baramati and Pune, while a fifth team was on its way to Baramati and that the flood situation is being closely monitored.
 
He also spoke with Baramati legislator and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and promised full help to the flood-affected.
 
State Congress President Balasaheb Thorat said a very grim situation has arisen due to Pune floods and resulted in loss of lives.
 
"I urge the state government to take immediate measures to bring relief to the people in this crisis," Thorat told mediapersons.
 
Since last night, Pune City and district has been lashed by more than 16 cm of torrential downpour, with forecast of more rain in the next 24 hours.
 
Officials said this is a record rainfall hitting the district in the past 10 years, flooding many areas in a very short period.
 
Normal life has been crippled in the state's cultural, academic and IT capital since yesterday as most people preferred to remain indoors under heavily overcast skies and non-stop rain.
 
An estimated 200-plus big and small vehicles were washed away in the floods in the city and outskirts, besides tonnes of rubbish piling up in different areas.
 
Local officials said around 150 homes have been damaged, rendering hundreds of families homeless.
 
In view of rising water levels and flooding in many areas, Pune Collector Naval Kishore Ram declared a holiday today for all schools and colleges in Pune city and neighbouring areas of Purandar, Baramati, Bhor and Haveli.
 
Water discharge of at least 13,000 cusec is slated from the flooded Khadakwasla Dam near the city and the Pune Municipal Corporation has evacuated around 500 people. Similarly, the water discharge from Nazare Dam in Purandar was increased to 85,000 cusec.
 
Traffic on the highways linking Pune with Mumbai, Nashik, Bengaluru was hit due to rain and at least two incidents of landslides on the Pune-Satara highway.
 
IANS
 

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Eleven killed as heavy rains lash Pune

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At least 11 persons have been killed in various rain-related incidents in the city and surroundings since late Wednesday, officials said here on Thursday.
 
According to the State and District Disaster Controls, at least five persons were washed away in flood waters in Shivapur.
 
A wall crashed in Arnyshwar Complex killing six more, while some others were feared trapped under the debris.
 
Rescue teams were engaged in efforts to extricate those believed buried under the rubble.
 
Since last night, Pune City and district has been lashed by over 16 cm of rain, with forecast of more rain in the next 24 hours.
 
In view of rising water levels and flooding in many areas, Pune Collector Naval Kishore Ram has declared a precaution holiday for Thursday in the Pune city and neighbouring areas of Purandar, Baramati, Bhor and Haveli.
 
Teams of the NDRF, SDRF, Fire Brigade and other agencies are engaged in shifting people to safer locations as various big and small rivers, dams and reservoirs have started overflowing or excess water was being discharged.
 
IANS
 

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Kapil Dev wins 60-64 age category in Deutsche Bank Champions Golf Tournament

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The two-day Pune Leg of AVT Champions tour at the Oxford golf resort ended with Delhi-based DIG Pushpendra Singh Rathore, of the Border Security Force (BSF) walking away as the winner whereas former India international David D’Souza was declared the runner-up.
 
The par-72 6700-yard course, which was wet due to heavy rains, turned to be a tricky one for the golfers on both days. Pushpendra ended up with a gross score of 143 with rounds of 71 and 72, respectively, over 36 holes. D’Souza, on the other hand, notched up a total score of 145 with 75 and 70, respectively, in each round.
 
There were individual prizes for the women golfers who participated in the leg where the Best Gross Winner was Tasreem Kazi with a score of 173 and the Best Nett Winner went to Punam Kalra who ended with a score of 139.
 
The AVT Champions Tour, co-sponsored by Incredible India, is meant for senior golfers and is only the second national-senior (50 years and above) golf tournament in this country. The two-day event saw over 100 golfers participating in the Pune Leg from 10 different cities which included star senior golfers like former World Cup-winning Indian cricket  captain, Kapil Dev, who was the winner in the 60-64 individual age category.
 
Former All India Senior Golf Champion Gangesh Khaitan was the winner in the individual age category of 65 and above. Also, former Asian Games gold medalist and 2018 IGU Senior All India National Champion as well as winner of the first leg of the AVT Champions Tour Rishi Narain was the winner in the 55-59 individual age category.
 
“Winning is always a good feeling. The AVT tour is a brilliant step towards helping us senior amateur golfers play more consistently now for a goal. The senior's tour has revived the competitive spirit and winning amongst some really talented golfers is a feeling that is worth being cherished," said Kapil Dev on winning the individual age category.
 
The inaugural year of the annual AVT Champions Tour Golf would be played across four locations in India. Classic Golf & country club hosted the first leg, and the third leg ended at the Oxford Golf Course, Pune over 19th and 20th September 2019. The fourth leg will be played in the month of January in Kolkata. Four AVT Events, in this year, will be played to supplement the National Championship to provide the Tournament practice to the Indian Team for the forthcoming international events like Asia Pacific and others.
 
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Restored Jayakar Bungalow inaugurated at NFAI in Pune

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Information & Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar on Sunday inaugurated the newly restored Jayakar Bungalow, an iconic heritage structure at the National Film Archive of India (NFAI).
 
The bungalow will house a digital film library where film researchers can access the rich film database of the Archive. Also available would be personalised viewing spaces for watching a movie from NFAI collection.
 
The Minister released a special booklet ‘Parampara: An ode to Jayakar Bungalow’ that chronicles the history of bungalow along with the story of its restoration. A special feature of the booklet is the experiences shared by some of the renowned film artists including Shabana Azmi and Rehana Sultan among others, who had stayed in Jayakar Bungalow that was then part of FTII girls’ hostel. He also launched a mobile app for booking the slot for viewing films at NFAI.
 
Javadekar said the Jayakar Bungalow has a special place in the art and architecture of Pune and now, after restoration, this was being put in use for the benefit of film researchers. He felicitated Prasanna Gokhale, the great-granddaughter of M R Jayakar, who was present on this occasion.
 
The Minister complimented the NFAI team along with CCW and the conservation team for the efforts taken to restore the building.
 
A grade I heritage structure, the bungalow was built in the 1940s by Barrister M R Jayakar, a renowned national leader, member of the Constituent Assembly and first Vice-Chancellor of the University of Pune. Over the years, the ownership of the bungalow changed hands from Jayakar to Indian Law Society to FTII and then to NFAI. From 1973, NFAI functioned from its premises.
 
The bungalow built in the Tudor style of architecture is one of its kind in Pune. The exquisitely designed bungalow has wooden flooring, a narrow wooden staircase, typical of British architecture, and massive bookshelves that stretch almost to the roof.
 
The two-storeyed bungalow is built in a load-bearing system with the use of coursed stone ashlars masonry with lime mortar. It has serene interiors, complete with ceramic tiles and wooden ceiling.
 
For many years, large portions of the bungalow remained unused as the main activities of the Archive shifted to its present building in the 1990s. Therefore, it was felt that restoration should be carried out to give it a major facelift.
 
A most significant rule of restoration was applied throughout the project, that is to use maximum salvaged materials. In the first phase, all the later additions and alterations were carefully removed that let the structure breathe after many years.
 
While maintaining the heritage status of the structure, new technology was introduced considering the current times and future usages. The bungalow has been restored to its most plausible original form and put in adaptive reuse.
 
“We wanted to restore the unique architecture and aesthetic value to bring back the glory of the olden times. The objective was to conserve the heritage structure and make it contemporary so that it can be accessible for citizens and film lovers. The digital library and personalised viewing spaces are the steps in this direction. We want this place to be a hub of cultural activities where film lovers can come and engage in meaningful conversations”, said Prakash Magdum, Director NFAI.
 
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Sahitya Akademi awardee novelist Kiran Nagarkar passes away

Kiran Nagarkar
Kiran Nagarkar
Acclaimed English-Marathi journalist and writer Kiran Nagarkar died here on Thursday after a brief illness, family sources said. He was 77.
 
He had been admitted for treatment of brain haemorrhage to a private hospital where he breathed his last.
 
Born in a middle-class Maharashtrian family, he was educated in Pune and Mumbai.
 
Nagarkar's first Marathi novel was "Saat Sakkam Treychalis", (1974) which was later translated in English as "Seven Sixes are Forty".
 
Then followed "Cuckold" (1997) which won him the 2001 Sahitya Akademi award and catapulted him among the most respected modern post-independence Indian writers in Englsih.
 
His other works include "God's Little Soldier" (2006), "Ravan and Eddie" (2004) and its two sequels - "The Extras" (2012) and "Rest in Peace" (2015), and that year only, "Bedtime Stories" and then, "Jasoda" (2018). His most recent work was "The Arsonist" (2019).
 
IANS

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Badminton: Meiraba, Crasto-Bhatnagar go down fighting in finals of Yonex Sunrise India Jr International Grand Prix

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India’s hopes of securing twin titles at home were dashed when boys’ singles second seed Meiraba Luwang and the mixed doubles pair of Tanisha Crasto and Ishaan Bhatnagar went down fighting in their respective finals at the Yonex Sunrise India Junior International Grand Prix at the P E Society’s Modern PDMBA Sports Complex here today.
 
The Russian Junior White Nights champion Meiraba Luwang, placed at the 15th spot in the World Junior Rankings, was the unanimous favourite for the boys’ singles crown against the 495th Ken Yon Ong. However, the Malaysian refused to let the huge gulf in the rankings matter when he overturned a slow start to secure a stunning 13-21, 21-19, 23-21 victory over the Manipur shuttler.
 
In the decider, Meiraba trailed at 13-16 only to claw his way back to level the game at 17-17. In a tight finish, the Indian had a match point at 20-19 which he was unable to convert in the face of the onslaught from the determined Ong, who completed the upset in 1 hour 7 minutes.
 
Tanisha Crasto and Ishaan Bhatnagar’s dream of winning three titles in as many weeks failed to materialize when they went down 12-21, 22-20, 20-22 to second seeds Ratchapol Makkasasithorn and Benyapa Aimsaard in a gruelling final. Goa’s Crasto and Chattisgarh’s Bhatnagar’s partnership had been working perfectly as they scooped up titles at All India Junior Ranking Tournaments in Panchkula and Bangalore over the last couple of weeks.
 
Even this week in Pune, they kept performing with a lot of confidence to seal upset victories over the top seeds Sirawit Sothon and Pornnicha Suwatnodom and fourth seeds Tsubasa Kawamura and Hinata Suzuki. However, even though they made a strong comeback after losing the first game in the final, they ultimately fell short.
 
In women’s singles, top seed Benyapa Aimsaard was crowned the champion after she managed to stave off a stiff resistance from second seed Riko Gunji. The Asian Junior Championships bronze medalist dropped the middle game and had to dig deep to pull off a 21-19, 18-21, 23-21 win in 61 minutes.
 
The girls’ doubles as well as the boys’ doubles sections witnessed a mini-upset each. The Japanese third seeds Kaho Osawa and Hinata Suzuki outlasted the Thai top seeds Pornpicha Choeikeewong and Pornnicha Suwatnodom 13-21, 21-15, 21-14 to win the girls’ doubles title in 50 minutes. In boys’ doubles, Malaysian fifth seeds Jhy Dar Ooi and Roy King Yap toppled the Japanese third seeds Takuma Kawamoto and Tsubasa Kawamura 17-21, 21-16, 23-21.
 
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Badminton: Meiraba in final; Crasto, Bhatnagar upset top seeds at Yonex Sunrise India Junior International Grand Prix

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Second seed Meiraba Luwang remained unstoppable, and in-form mixed doubles pair of Tanisha Crasto and Ishaan Bhatnagar upset the top seeds as well as the fourth seeds to enter the final of the Yonex Sunrise India Junior International Grand Prix at the P E Society’s Modern PDMBA Sports Complex here today.
 
Continuing from where they had left at the All India Junior Ranking Tournaments in Panchkula and Bangalore over the last couple of weeks, where they emerged victorious, the Goa-Chattisgarh combine of Crasto and Bhatnagar simply continued to dazzle. In a hard-fought and gritty quarter-final that lasted 1 hour 4 minutes, the Indians dug deep to show the door to the top seeds Sirawit Sothon and Pornnicha Suwatnodom 23-21, 20-22, 21-16.
 
Crasto and Bhatnagar then fought for another three games to knock out the Japanese fourth seeds Tsubasa Kawamura and Hinata Suzuki 18-21, 21-16, 21-13 in 44 minutes. In the final, they will take on the Thai second seeds Benyapa Aimsaard and Ratchapol Makkasasithorn.
 
The Russian Junior White Nights champion Meiraba Luwang of Manipur was hardly troubled on his way to the final in boys’ singles. The Junior World No. 15 first dismissed Malaysian qualifier Justin Hoh Shou Wei 21-16, 21-12 and then followed it up with a 21-19, 21-12 defeat of the third seed Kok Jing Hong. Meiraba will meet the winner of the semi-final between Japanese Shotaru Inamitsu and Malaysian qualifier Ken Yon Ong.
 
In girls’ singles, eighth-seeded Treesa Jolly’s campaign was cut short in the quarter-finals by second seed Riko Gunji 21-11, 21-13 while qualifier Meghana Reddy Mareddy also lost 18-21, 13-21 to fourth seed Pornpicha Choeikeewong.
 
The Kerala girl Treesa, however, teamed up with Varshini Viswanath Sri to enter the semi-finals in girls’ doubles. The second seeds came back from a game down to edge Sahithi Bandi and Drithi Yatheesh 18-21, 21-17, 21-14.
 
Tanisha Crasto is also in contention in the girls’ doubles section as well. She and Aditi Bhatt, seeded fourth, made short work of Japan’s Riko Gunji and Miyu Takahashi 22-20, 21-15 en route to the last-four stage.
 
Manipur had double delight on Day 3 of the only Grand Prix event to be played in India as the sixth-seeded duo of Manjit Singh Khwairakpam and Dingku Singh Konthoujam rebounded from the loss of the first game to inflict a 13-21, 21-19, 21-18 loss on the Thai second seeds Tanadon Punpanich and Sirawit Sothon in boys’ doubles quarters.
 
The top seeds in this section, Thanawin Madee and Ratchapol Makkasasithorn suffered a shock 20-22, 21-17, 20-22 defeat at the hands of unseeded combine of Asghar Herfanda and Rian Canna Varo of Indonesia.
 
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Badminton: Meiraba wins, top seed Varun upset at Yonex Sunrise India Jr International Grand Prix

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Top seed Varun Kapur and second seed Meiraba Luwang had contrasting fortunes as the main draw in singles got underway in the Yonex Sunrise India Junior International Grand Prix at the P E Society’s Modern PDMBA Sports Complex, here today. 
 
While the in-form Meiraba made it to the quarter-finals, Kapur had to bite the dust in the first round.
 
Thailand’s Varot Uraiwong did not let the 49 places gulf between him and Junior World No. 9 Varun Kapur matter when he knocked out the top seed and title favourite in the opening round. Having dropped the opening game, the young Thai stormed back to stun Kapur with a 14-21, 22-20, 21-15 win.
 
Second seed Meiraba Luwang of Manipur faced no such problems and easily won his first couple of rounds. The Russian Junior White Nights champion first beat Malaysia’s M Fazriq Mohamad Razif 21-12, 21-13 and then followed it up with a convincing 21-15, 21-12 victory over Thailand’s Puritat Arree, who had earlier ended the run of qualifier Pranav Rao Gandham, 21-16, 17-21, 21-19.
 
Qualifier Ayush Raj Gupta began his campaign with a fantastic 21-14, 21-13 win over higher-ranked Sai Charan Koya but his challenge was cut short in the next round by Thailand’s fifth seed Woraphop Chuenkha in a 21-14, 21-13 win.
 
Gujarat’s bright girls’ singles talent, Tasnim Mir displayed her skills in a 12-21, 21-8, 21-14 defeat of former U-15 Asian Championships gold medallist Samiya Imad Farooqui. However, she was shown the door in the next round by fifth seed Miyu Takahashi in a gritty 21-17, 18-21, 18-21 loss.
 
Kerala girl Treesa Jolly, seeded eighth at this tournament, lived up to the expectations when she notched up two wins to enter the quarter-finals. Jolly first dismissed qualifier Riya Kunjir 22-20, 210-17 and then emerged a 14-21, 21-10, 22-20 winner in a hard-fought match against Thailand’s Thamonwan Nithiittikrai.
 
Asian Junior Championships bronze medallist and top seed Benyapa Aimsaard raced into the last-eight stage with a couple of dominant wins. Living up to her billing, the Thai blitzed past India’s Kaivalya Lakshmi Yadavalli 21-11, 21-5 and then secured an effortless 21-14, 21-10 victory over local hope Mansi Singh.
 
Aimsaard’s compatriot, the fourth-seeded Pornpicha Choeikeewong, another consistent performer on the international junior circuit, also made it to the quarters.
 
Promising junior mixed doubles pair of Tanisha Crasto and Ishaan Bhatnagar, who had come to this tournament with a rich vein of form, toppled the eighth seeds Edwin Joy and Shruti Mishra 21-14, 21-16 to book their quarter-final berth. The pair had won Junior Ranking Tournaments in Panchkula and Bangalore over the last two weeks.
 
Fifth seeds Navaneeth Bokka and Sahithi Bandi eked out a gruelling 21-19, 21-17 win over Ayan Rashid and Tasnim Mir to join Crasto and Bhatnagar in the last-eight.
 
With a prize money of $15000 and Yonex Sunrise as the title sponsor, the event, being  held in memory of Sushant Chipalkatti, has 249 participants from 8 countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Uganda, Bangladesh, Nepal and hosts India.
 
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Pranav, Tasnim Mir enter main draw of Yonex Sunrise India Jr International Grand Prix

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Promising star Pranav Rao Gandham won a couple of rounds in qualifying to secure his place in the main draw of Yonex Sunrise India Junior International Grand Prix at the P E Society’s Modern PDMBA Sports Complex here today.
 
Gandham made a strong start to the qualifiers to upset the fourth seed Tukum Laa 21-11, 21-13. He next fought hard to edge out Anirudh Janardhanan 21-6, 12-21, 21-17 on his way to the main draw where he will meet Thailand’s Puritat Arree.
 
The Telangana boy Gandham had come to this tournament with a rich vein of form following his twin title wins at the ranking tournaments in Guwahati and Imphal.
 
A few days after losing a nail-biting final, Gujarat’s Tasnim Mir reversed the result when she sent last week’s Bangalore All India Junior Ranking Tournament winner and fourth seed Trisha Hegde packing with a gritty 19-21, 21-11, 21-7 win. In the final round, she made short work of Akshaya Arumugam 21-13, 21-15 to set up a showdown with former U-15 Asian Championships gold medalist Samiya Imad Farooqui.
 
While six Indians made it to the main draw in boys’ singles out of a possible eight, all the eight qualifiers in the girls’ singles section were Indians. Likhita Srivastava was another local girl who impressed with a fine 21-18, 21-11 upset victory over fifth seed Khor Jing Wen.
 
Assam boy Ayan Rashid blew away the fifth seed Akash Thakur 21-11, 21-9 to start his campaign but fell to Malaysia’s Ken Yon Ong 21-11, 21-12 in the final round. Promising talent Ayush Raj Gupta showed his resilience and fighting spirit in his 24-22, 14-21, 21-11 win over the sixth seed Shivam Kumar Mishra to qualify.
 
The four-day tournament, held in memory of Sushant Chipalkatti and the only Grand Prix event to be played in India, will see India’s Junior World No. 9 Varun Kapur and Thailand’s Junior World No. 6 Benyapa Aimsaard heading the draws in the boys’ singles and girls’ singles sections, respectively.
 
With a prize money of $15000 and Yonex Sunrise as the title sponsor, it will feature 249 participants from eight countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Uganda, Bangladesh, Nepal and an encouraging a number of promising Indian players.
 
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Badminton: Varun Kapur, Thailand’s Benyapa Aimsaard top-seeded at Yonex Sunrise India Jr International Grand Prix

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Junior World No. 9 Varun Kapur and Thailand’s Junior World No. 6 Benyapa Aimsaard were top-seeded in the boys’ singles and girls’ singles sections, respectively, in the Yonex Sunrise India Junior Badminton International Grand Prix to be held at the P E Society’s Modern PDMBA Sports Complex here from today.
 
The four-day tournament, which is also the only Grand Prix event to be played in India, is  being held in memory  of Sushant Chipalkatti.
 
With handsome prize money of $15,000 and Yonex Sunrise as the title sponsor, it will feature 249 participants from eight countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Uganda, Bangladesh, Nepal and an encouraging a number of Indian promise.
 
Kapur’s main challenger will be his compatriot, Meiraba Luwang, currently ranked 15th in boys’ singles, especially after succumbing to the Manipur shuttler in the final of the Russian Junior White Nights 2019 in July. In girls’ singles, the inclusion of the two rising Thai stars, Benyapa Aimsaard and Pornpicha Choeikeewong, heightens the challenge for the other girls in the draw.
 
While Aimsaard captured the bronze at the Asian Junior Championships this year, Pornpicha, the fourth seed and Junior World No. 20, has been a consistent performer and made it to the final of the Mongolia Junior International Series in June.
 
India’s Smit Toshniwal, Tanya Hemanth and Treesa Jolly have occupied the sixth, seventh and eighth spots in the seedings in this category and will hope to ride on the vociferous home support to put up impressive performances.
 
In girls’ doubles, all eyes will be on the dominant fourth-seeded duo of Tanisha Crasto and Aditi Bhatt as they look to bring their imperious form from their twin-title winning run at the All India Junior Ranking tournaments held in Panchkula and Bangalore over the last couple of weeks.
 
Ishaan Bhatnagar and Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala made a brilliant run to the summit showdown at the Bulgaria Junior International recently only to fall at the last hurdle. The fourth-seeded boys’ doubles pair will look to make amends and taste glory at home.
 
Fifth seeds Navaneeth Bokka-Sahithi Bandi and eighth seeds Edwin Joy-Shruti Mishra will be the ones to watch in mixed doubles.
 
Hosted by the Maharashtra Badminton Association (MBA) & Poona District & Metropolitan Badminton Association (PDMBA) along with local organiser, Laxmi Krida Mandir Club, Pune, the prestigious junior tournament will hope for a homegrown champion a year after Aakarshi Kashyap triumphed in girls’ singles while the boys’ singles title went to Indonesia’s Ikhsan Leon Rumbay.
 
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'Outlandish' to question Jalan panel's credibility: Sitharaman

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressing a press conference in New Delhi on August 23, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressing a press conference in New Delhi on August 23, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday hit out at criticism of the Bimal Jalan panel's recommendations on the RBI's Economic Capital Framework (ECF) for the central bank to transfer Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the government.
 
Speaking to media persons here following a meeting with income tax officials, Sitharaman said that any questions raised about the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) credibility in wake of Jalan panel's report is "outlandish".
 
"The Bimal Jalan committee had eminent experts in it. It was constituted by the RBI themselves and not by the government. They have had several sittings and have come out with a formula to look at the excess capital framework. Now any suggestion about the credibility of RBI, therefore, for me seems a bit outlandish considering the committee was appointed by RBI themselves", she said. 
 
"They (RBI) have themselves given the explanation that financial stability, surplus to meet any emergency and contingency have all been factored in when the committee arrived at the formulations. So comments being given on the credibility of the RBI is commenting on the RBI itself, their selection of the committee and the committee independently arriving at a formula. 
 
"It's very worrying that a committee appointed by the RBI of experts, who have had several meetings and have come with a formulation, is now being questioned," she added.
 
On Monday, the RBI central board accepted the recommendations of the Bimal Jalan panel on capital transfer and decided to pay the government Rs 1.76 lakh crore for the current fiscal, which decision ended a year of disagreement on this issue between the government and the central bank.
 
The decision also signals the end of the discretionary power enjoyed by the RBI on dividend payouts. In the current fiscal, the RBI will pay out Rs 1.23 lakh crore of surplus and Rs 52, 637 crore of excess contingency provisions lying in its books.
 
IANS
 

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Chennai Lions thrash Puneri Paltan for their first win in UTT

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Putting behind their opening match debacle, Chennai Lions thrashed Puneri Paltan 10-5 to record their first win in Ultimate Table Tennis season three at the Thyagaraj Stadium here last evening.
 
Two foreigners, Germany’s Petrissa Solja and birthday boy Tiago Apolonia of Portugal, spearheaded Chennai Lions' comprehensive win.  Solja blanked Commonwealth Championship gold medal winner Ayhika Mukherjee 3-0 in the opening women’s singles, while Apolonia staved off a fighting Harmeet Desai of Puneri Paltan 2-1, to hand Chennai the firm advantage (5-1) just two matches into the tie. 
 
Sharath Kamal and Petrissa then eased past Desai and Sabine Winter 2-1 in the mixed doubles, to seal the win in the Lions' favour.
 
Petrissa helped the Lions’ begin on a strong note, with a 3-0 win over Ayhika in an intensely fought women’s singles opening encounter. Although ranked 108 places below world number 26 Solja, Ayhika showed great composure and fighting spirit as she made her opponent sweat in the first game. 
 
Fresh from her CWG TT gold medal triumph in Odisha, Ayhika appeared confident and fired-up. She raced to a 5-2 lead before Rio Olympic silver medallist Petrissa relied on her experience to pull level at 5-5. From there on, Petrissa showcased some deft touches and superb net play to take a handy 10-8 lead. Ayhika fought back hard and saved two game points before Petrissa finally pocketed the opening game on the golden point (11-10).
 
The second game began in the same vein, with Petrissa being tested by her younger opponent, who was cheered wildly by the home crowd. Ayhika led 2-0 but thereafter lost her way. Petrissa opened up a huge lead at 10-5 and sealed the game at 11-6. The final game (11-8) too went Petrissa’s way, as she survived some anxious moments to stave off a dangerous-looking Ayhika to hand Chennai the early advantage.
 
Chennai consolidated their lead when Apolonia came from a game down to defeat Desai 2-1 in the opening men’s singles match. 
 
Stretched by Desai in the opening game which he lost 8-11, thrice Olympian Apolonia showed exemplary agility and game reading to make a brilliant comeback. 
 
In the second game, Apolonia and Desai breathed down each other’s necks and were well poised at 5-5 and then at 9-9. Once again experience came to the fore, with Apolonia winning the game on golden point (11-10) to take it to the decider. Apolonia was in his element in the final game, often playing away from the table and taking advantage of his height to quell Desai’s challenge (11-7).
 
The mixed doubles, too, went Chennai’s way. Sharath-Petrissa had an easy run in the opening game, winning it 11-7 and kept up the good work throughout. They pocketed the following games 11-7 and 11-6 to hand Chennai the win as they now led 8-1 overall.
 
Later, in the second men’s singles, Puneri Paltan’s Chuang Chih-Yuan beat Sharath Kamal 2-1 (11-5, 11-10, 3-11) in what was another gripping contest. Despite losing the first two games, Sharath showcased some delightful shots in the third to reel one point off Chuang.
 
The day’s last match saw Puneri’s Sabine Winter defeat Madhurika Patkar 2-1 of Chennai in the second women’s singles match.
 
Chennai Lions bt Puneri Paltan: 10-5
 
Women’s Singles: Petrissa Solja bt Ayhika Mukherjee - 3-0 (11-10, 11-6, 11-8);  Men’s Singles: Tiago Apolonia bt Harmeet Desai 2-1 (8-11, 11-10, 11-7);  Mixed Doubles: Sharath Kamal-Petrissa Solja bt Harmeet Desai-Sabine Winter 3-0 (11-7, 11-7, 11-6); Men’s Singles: Sharath Kamal lost to Chuang Chih-Yuan 1-2 (5-11, 10-11, 11-3); Women's Singles : Madhurika Patkar lost to Sabine Winter 1-2 (8-11, 11-5, 11-10).
 
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Premier trains between Mumbai, Pune cancelled for 2 weeks

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Important trains linking Mumbai and Pune including the Deccan Express and Pragati Express will be cancelled for a fortnight from July 26 to August 9 to enable the Central Railway address the problem of falling boulders in the treacherous Lonavala-Khandala ghats sections, an official said here on Wednesday.
 
The CR will take up a massive restoration work to ensure the problem of toppling boulders and minor landslides, which becomes widespread during heavy rain, is resolved.
 
"The services get badly disrupted due to this problem mainly in the South-East Ghats from mid-June, affecting mobility and safety of the trains negotiating this section. The CR's Mumbai Division has undertaken various infrastructure works to prevent this," said the CR official.
 
Over the next fortnight, several trains will be cancelled, short-terminated or diverted, which is likely to hit the passengers on these and other sectors.
 
There were at least half a dozen incidents of falling boulders and minor landslides on the Mumbai-Pune sector in the past few weeks since the onset of monsoon.
 
Though any major disaster was averted to passing trains below, the incidents nevertheless resulted in huge delays till the route was cleared and declared safe for train movement.
 
This crucial high traffic route serves Mumbai-Pune daily commuters, besides students, people working in the IT sector in both cities and tourists.
 
Among the major trains to be cancelled are the Deccan Express, Pragati Express, CSMT Mumbai-Gadag Express and Pune-Panvel passenger train.
 
As many as 10 trains including the Kolhapur-Mumbai Koyna Express, Mumbai-Kolhapur Sahyadri Express will be operated only upto Pune, and will be cancelled between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharashtra Terminus-Pune sector.
 
The Hubbali-Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Express (Mumbai) will be run only up to Pune and return journey will commence from Pune to Hubbali.
 
The Hazur Sahib Nanded-Panvel Express shall be run till Pune and remain cancelled between Pune-Panvel and the return journey will commence from Pune.
 
In view of this, the passenger load is expected to shift to the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and the Mumbai-Pune Highway which also witness traffic snarls, landslides, rolling boulders and occasion flooding in some sections.
 
IANS
 

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Zomato, eatery fined Rs 55K for serving chicken instead of paneer

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A consumer court here slapped a Rs 55,000 fine on food delivery platform Zomato along with a hotel for delivering non-vegetarian food to a lawyer who had ordered a vegetarian dish.
 
According to media reports, the consumer court directed Zomato to pay the fine within 45 days to city-based lawyer Shanmukh Deshmukh who was delivered non-veg food not just once, but twice.
 
He had ordered paneer butter masala but was delivered butter chicken instead.
 
"Since the curries of both dishes look alike, he didn't realise it was a chicken dish and ate it," said the reports.
 
According to Zomato, the lawyer complained against the food delivery platform to defame it as it had refunded his amount.
 
Zomato told the consumer forum that the error lay with the hotel which supplied the wrong dish, but the forum considered it to be equally guilty.
 
The hotel, however, admitted its mistake.
 
Zomato and the hotel were directed to pay Rs 50,000 for deficiency in service and the remaining amount for mental harassment.
 
IANS
 

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39 killed as relentless rains wreak havoc in Maharashtra

At least 39 persons were killed across Maharashtra as relentless rain wreaked havoc and left Mumbai paralysed with the country's commercial capital being pounded by record rainfall on Tuesday, officials said.
An inundated King's Circle after heavy rains in Mumbai, on July 1, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
An inundated King's Circle after heavy rains in Mumbai, on July 1, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
At least 39 persons were killed across Maharashtra as relentless rain wreaked havoc and left Mumbai paralysed with the country's commercial capital being pounded by record rainfall on Tuesday, officials said.
 
Early on Tuesday, the compound wall of a water reservoir at Pimpripada in Malad collapsed on a dozen hutments, leaving 21 killed and another 78 injured.
 
The National Disaster Response Force, the Mumbai Fire Brigade and other agencies launched a massive rescue effort to remove dig out several others feared trapped in the rubble.
 
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who visited the victims of the tragedy, announced compensation of Rs 500,000 for each of the deceased, even as agitated Congress and Nationalist Congress Party leaders blamed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena for the mess and demanded action against those responsible for the loss of human lives.
 
"In the past 12 hours, the city has received an unprecedented 300 to 400 mm rains, the highest in the past decade. The existing drainage systems are unable to cope with such a heavy downpour, coupled with a high tide this afternoon," Fadnavis told journalists.
 
Two persons - Irfan S. Khan, 38, and Gulshad Sheikh, 37, who were trapped inside a sports utility vehicle (SUV) in the flooded Malad subway since last night, were found dead on Tuesday.
 
Gabri Singh, 45, the security guard of a private building, was killed in a wall crash in Mulund, and 22-year old Gopal V. Jha was electrocuted at Nehru Nagar in Vile Parle.
 
In adjoining Thane district, three persons were killed when the boundary wall of National Urdu School crashed in Kalyan town and several more were injured, and two persons were washed away in flood waters in an overflowing river in Jawahar.
 
Also on Tuesday, a 15-feet high compound wall of the Bharatiya Vidyapeeth College in Pune crashed on some hutments beside it, killing at least six persons. NDRF teams were at the site to extricate those still feared trapped in the debris.
 
In Nashik, two persons were killed by drowning in a water tank and one woman killed when she was struck by lightning in Buldhana.
 
The India Meteorological Department predicted extremely heavy to very heavy rains in Mumbai, many parts of coastal Konkan, besides Vidarbha and Marathwada till Friday.
 
Battered with over 375 mm rain, the highest July rainfall within a 24-hour period since July 1974, Mumbai has received around 35 per cent of its average annual total rainfall.
 
As a precautionary measure, the state government declared a public holiday in the city and the city administration ordered all schools and colleges to be shut while the Education Department postponed all examinations scheduled for Tuesday.
 
Many parts of Mumbai city and its suburbs, as well as towns in adjoining Raigad, Thane and Palghar districts, turned into huge tracts of muddy water, witnessing people struggling to safety in waist-deep water. Small vehicles were submerged, and several tempos, trucks and heavy vehicles stranded on the roads adding to traffic snarls. 
 
The inundation also stopped local and long-distance trains in their tracks and leaving thousands stranded as road traffic, trains and flights were hit for hours.
 
At least 150 BEST buses in Mumbai were also submerged and stranded at various locations since this morning, but operations continued near-normal with diversions and cancellations of services.
 
The Central Railway had stopped its services since early Tuesday as tracks were underwater in many places, especially Sion, Chunabhatti, Kurla, Bhandup and many commuters waded through the flood waters to reach their destinations.
 
After nearly 15 hours, the CR resumed full services around 5.15 pm, though the Western Railway managed to trudge along with delays and cancellations.
 
Domestic and international flight operations were hit at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport due to heavy rains coupled with a SpiceJet aircraft with 167 passengers overshooting the runway and getting stuck in soft mud.
 
With the stuck plane blocking the main runway, at least 55 incoming flights including 26 international were diverted, 13 go-arounds, 18 incoming flights including four international cancelled and 24 departures including four international cancelled, said a spokesperson for Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL).
 
A 150-metre long ramp was being built to push the stranded aircraft and clear the runway, but it was expected to take another 48 hours till the alternative (shorter) runway is operational.
 
As parts of Mumbai experienced a lull in rains for a few hours this afternoon, thousands of harried people rushed out of their homes to buy stocks of vegetables, fruits, groceries, milk from local markets, despite the higher rates being charged.
 
The Indian Navy's team of divers from INS Tanaji deployed rubber boats, life-jackets, lifebuoys to rescued over 1,000 people stranded in rising waters at Krantinagar slums in Kurla in north-east Mumbai.
 
IANS
 

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20 killed in Mumbai, Pune wall crashes

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At least 13 persons were killed in a wall crash in Malad, north-west Mumbai and another seven perished in a wall collapse in Pune, early on Tuesday as rains continued to wreak havoc in large parts of Maharashtra.
 
In the wake of the incessant rainfall, the state government has declared July 2 as a public holiday for Mumbai.
 
According to officials, the compound wall of a school in Pimpripada in Malad suburb, collapsed on some adjoining hutments in which more than 13 people were killed, around 1 am on Tuesday.
 
Early today, the compound wall of the Sinhagad College in Pune crashed on some hutments beside it, killing at least seven persons.
 
In both the incidents, many more victims are still feared buried under the rubble and teams of NDRF are at the site for rescue and relief operations.
 
As the IMD predicted extremely heavy to very heavy rains in parts of coastal Konkan, the Maharashtra government declared a public holiday for Mumbai city.
 
Early today, Brihanmumbai Municipal Commissioner Pravin Pardeshi declared all schools and colleges shut for the day as a precautionary measure.
 
Air, road and rail traffic was also hit for the second consecutive day on Tuesday and rains have so far claimed around 50 lives in the past five days in the state so far.
 
IANS
 

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15 dead as Pune apartments compound wall collapses

The scene of a wall collapse in Kondwa area of Pune, in which 15 people were killed, on June 29, 2019. (IANS)
The scene of a wall collapse in Kondwa area of Pune, in which 15 people were killed, on June 29, 2019. (IANS)
A total of 15 people, mostly hailing from West Bengal and Bihar. were killed while three others were injured when a compound wall of a building collapsed in Kondwa here early on Saturday, officials said.
 
The incident occurred around 2.15 a.m. when the compound wall of Alcon Stylus Building suddenly came crashing down trapping the victims still asleep in their huts, police and NDRF officials said.
 
Teams of rescuers who rushed to the spot managed to rescue just three alive including two minors. Most of them were labourers, the officials said.
 
Among the dead were 10 men and five children. Work was still on to rescue some others feared trapped in the rubble.
 
"We are immediately issuing a Stop Work order to an adjoining building where construction activities are underway. We shall also give full relief to the victims' families," Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak told the media here.
 
Guardian Minister Chandrakant Patil, who said he was rushing to Pune, warned that no guilty will be spared.
 
The Pune Collectorate and Pune Municipal Corporation authorities said they will probe the tragedy.
 
The victims identified are mostly labourers working on the building sites -- Sunil Singh, Sonali Das, Bhima Das, Deepan Sharma, Alok Verma, Mohan Sharma, Sangeeta Devi, Neeta, Avdhesh Singh, Aman Sharma, Ravi Sharma, Ajit Sharma, Rahul Sharma, Laxmikant Sahani, Ovi Das.
 
IANS
 

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15 killed in Pune wall collapse

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At least 15 people were killed and three others injured when the compound wall of a building collapsed in Pune's Kondhwa area on Saturday, officials said.
 
The incident occurred at around 2.15 a.m. at the Alcon Stylus Building. The sudden collapse of the wall trapped the victims as they slept in their huts, the police and NDRF officials said.
 
Three people, including two minors, were rescued.
 
The victims comprised 10 men and five children. Work is on to rescue some others still feared trapped in the rubble.
 
"We are immediately issuing a 'Stop Work' order to an adjoining building where construction activities are underway. We will also give full relief to the victims' families," Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak told the media here.
 
Guardian Minister Chandrakant Patil was also on his way to inspect the accident site.
 
The Pune Collectorate and Pune Municipal Corporation authorities said they will probe the tragedy.
 
IANS
 
 

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15 killed in Pune wall collapse

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At least 15 people were killed and three others injured on Saturday when the compound wall of a building collapsed here, officials said.
 
The incident occurred early Saturday morning, trapping the victims as they slept in their huts, the police and NDRF officials said.
 
Teams of rescuers which rushed to the spot have managed to rescue three people including two minors.
 
The victims included 10 men and five children. Work is on to save others still feared trapped in the rubble.
 
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Two killed in accident on Maharashtra Expressway

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At least two persons were killed and 14 others injured when a tourist bus rammed into a stationary minibus on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, an official said.
 
The accident occurred around 7.30 a.m. near Khalapur on the service lane of the Mumbai-Pune arm of the Expressway, a Highway Control official said.
 
"A Volvo bus was proceeding from Vasai to Mahabaleshwar when the incident occurred on the service lane, where a minibus had halted. At least two persons, including the driver of the minibus, were killed," the official told IANS.
 
The injured were rushed to a hospital in Khalapur, where the condition of four was described as serious.
 
Traffic on the Expressway, which was disrupted following the accident, returned to normal by noon.
 
IANS
 

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25 people saved from burning Pune building

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At least 25 people were rescued from a burning residential building here on Thursday, officials said.
 
The blaze broke out at the building in Joshi Complex, near the Prabhat Talkies in the city's Shanivar Peth area. Thick clouds of white-grey smoke was seen billowing out at around 8.45 a.m.
 
Fire brigade and disaster relief teams rushed to site and fighting the thick smoke, managed to bring out the 25 occupants to safety.
 
Operations are on to ascertain if there were more people still stuck inside the building. The cause of the blaze is not yet known.
 
IANS
 

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Five FTII courses receive AICTE approval under applied arts and crafts category

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The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has granted approval to five courses of the  Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, under its newly created applied arts and crafts category.
 
This approval makes India's premier film school, FTII, the first and only Institute in this category in the country to receive such recognition.
 
A list of Institutions and approved courses published by AICTE on May 11 under its newly-constituted category pertaining to Institutes offering courses in applied arts, crafts and design, includes FTII and all its five one-year Post Graduate Certificate courses.
 
Of the five FTII courses which have received AICTE approval, four are in Television wing (Direction, Electronic Cinematography, Video Editing and Sound Recording & TV Engineering) and one in Film wing (Feature Film Screenplay Writing).
 
FTII Governing Council Chairman Brijendra Pal Singh said, "This is a historic moment for FTII to have received AICTE approval for all five PG Certificate courses. This makes FTII the first film school in India to receive this recognition.
 
“In recent years, FTII's television courses have been in the limelight winning several National awards and even international honours. The AICTE approval lends more value to the TV courses making them as attractive as the film wing specializations. Screenwriters from FTII are already making their mark in the entertainment industry,” he added.
 
“With the AICTE approval coming into effect from 2019-20, students entering TV courses and Feature Film Screenplay Writing course this year stand to gain. This is as important a watershed event as the grant of Master's degree equivalence granted to FTII's six PG Diploma film wing courses by Association of Indian Universities (AIU) in January 2017.
 
"With this, all the 11 FTII courses now stand approved by either AIU or AICTE," he said.
 
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Four killed in Pune saree shop blaze

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At least four people were killed on Thursday in a major fire that engulfed a well-known saree shop here, police said.
 
According to an official of Pune Police (Rural), the fire was reported at around 5 a.m., when the workers were asleep in a room above the shop located in the Devachi Urli area on the outskirts of the city.
 
The blaze quickly spread from the shop to the room above and the workers were suffocated to death.
 
The police said they are trying to verify whether there were more workers sleeping there amid fears the toll could go up.
 
At least five fire tenders were deployed to battle the blaze, the cause of which remains unknown.
 
IANS
 

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3 MBA students drown in Maharashtra dam

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Three MBA students, including a girl, drowned while taking a swim at the Mulshi Dam here on Thursday morning, police said.
 
A group of 10 MBA students from Bharatiya Vidyapeeth had gone for a picnic to Valne village near the dam. After a night out, some students stepped into the dam waters for a swim around 7 a.m., an official of Pune Police Control told IANS.
 
However, they apparently failed to guage the depth of the water and at least three were reported missing. The others called for help, after which rescue teams rushed to the spot.
 
So far, the bodies of two - Sangeeta Negi and Shubham Raj Sinha - have been recovered, and efforts are on by divers to trace the body of their classmate Shiv Kumar.
 
All the victims are residents of Pune and aged 22. Their families have been informed of the tragedy, said the official.
 
IANS
 

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