Only I can make India strong, superpower: Modi

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

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Modi to launch development projects in Solapur on Tuesday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch several development projects here tomorrow including the foundation stone laying of 30,000 houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana besides unveiling an underground sewerage system and sewage treatment plants.  
Mr Modi will also inaugurate the four-laned section of Solapur-Tuljapur-Osmanabad of NH-52. The four-laning of the highway will help improve the connectivity of the city with Marathwada region of Maharashtra, an official press release said.
Laying of the foundation stone of 30,000 houses will primarily benefit poor homeless people like rag pickers, rickshaw drivers, textile workers and beedi workers. The total cost of the project is Rs 1811.33 crore, out of which total Rs 750 crore will be provided by the Central and State Government as assistance, the release said.
"In keeping with his vision of Swachh Bharat, the Prime Minister will dedicate to the nation an underground sewerage system and three sewage treatment plants. It will increase the sewer coverage of the town and improve sanitation in the city. It will replace the existing system and also connect to the trunk sewers being implemented under the AMRUT Mission," it said.
The Prime Minister will also lay the foundation stone of the Combined Project of Improvement in Water Supply and Sewerage System, as part of Area Based Development in Solapur Smart City. It also includes augmentation of drinking water supply from Ujani Dam to Solapur City and Underground Sewerage System under AMRUT Mission. 
The sanctioned cost of the project is Rs 244 crore under the Smart City Mission. This project is expected to bring significant improvement in service delivery and improve public health enabled by technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens.
He will also address a public gathering in the city.  This will be Mr. Modi's  second visit to the city. In his earlier visit on August 16, 2014, he laid the foundation stone for four-laning of Solapur - Maharashtra / Karnataka Border section of NH 9 and inaugurated the 765 KV Solapur-Raichur power transmission line, the release added.

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'Chowkidars' have become thieves, says Thackeray in fresh salvo on BJP, PM

Seen as a slanted attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid growing unease in ties with the BJP, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Monday said that, with various scams in the country, "it seems chowkidars have become thieves" -- a takeaway from a Congress slogan.
Referring to what he termed as "scams" in the defence and agriculture sectors besides 'jumlas' of other schemes such as Rs 15 lakh in every Indian's bank account or the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, Thackeray attacked the ruling ally Bharatiya Janata Party on various fronts.
Addressing a much-anticipated rally in the temple town of Pandharpur, Solapur district, he hit out at the BJP for getting "possessed" by the spirits of gods in raking up the Ram temple before elections, but achieving nothing in the past over three decades.
"I went to Ayodhya (November) and have come to the holy land of Pandharpur. I want to wake up the sleeping Kumbhakarna -- you exploited Ram temple to win elections and now you are in a slumber. We will not rest till the Ram temple is constructed," Thackeray roared.
"The PM makes all kinds of promises which he says will be implemented by 2022 - this means people must vote for him in 2019. After that, he will again say everything was a 'jumla' to be said during elections," Thackeray said.
He said when the BJP is questioned about the temple construction, it says the matter is "in courts". "But was it not aware of this 30 years ago?" he asked.
Congratulating Janata Dal (U) chief Nitish Kumar and Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan for their pacts with the BJP, Thackeray countered: "What is their stand on the Ram temple? Why are they silent on it?"
He demanded a parliamentary debate on the Ram temple and Hindutva issues, where "it will become clear who is with NDA and against."
Dwelling on the farmers issues, he said the government has indulged in 'jumlas' such as doubling farmers' incomes, but there is no such scheme. Despite tall claims, crop insurance and debt waiver have not reached the common peasantry, he said.
"There is a scam bigger than Rafale in the agriculture sector. Despite having four state-run insurance companies, the government has given out contracts to 12 companies who have nothing to do with crop insurance. The poor farmers may be debt-ridden, but they will not flee like Vijay Mallya or Nirav Mod-Mehul Choksi," Thackeray said.
Touching upon Rafale, he said most questions raised on it have not been answered yet, but the government claims it has got a "clean chit' from the courts. He alleged that "there are scams in defence purchases sector" undermining the crucial requirements for the country's security.
"The government is now invading privacy of individual Indians and blaming Congress for everything. Tomorrow, they will impose Emergency and say even the Congress did it," Thackeray said.
Barely a week after BJP President Amit Shah in Mumbai expressed "confidence" in working out an alliance with Sena for the 2019 elections, Thackeray hinted otherwise. "The Shiv Sena will form the next government. We are not interested in seat-sharing talks -- that can go to hell. We want to first resolve the farmers issues and construct the Ram temple."
However, probably leaving a small window open for negotiations, he added in the same breath that "the people of the state will decide whether to go for alliance", but vowed to unfurl the Sena flag over the state.
Claiming that the defeat in the five state elections recently has "shattered the BJP's arrogance", he said the people of those states voted courageously without bothering about "options and alternatives" (to the BJP).
Referring to the drought situation in the state, he said recently a Central team came and carried out a hurried survey. "But now he (Thackeray) would go on a tour of all the drought-hit regions of Maharashtra in January and every Shiv Sena 'shakha' (branch) will act as relief centres for farmers."
Meanwhile, BJP state President Raosaheb Patil-Danve, reacting to Thackeray's hard-hitting speech, said the Rafale verdict has been given by the Supreme Court and said 90 per cent farmers have already got the benefit of the loan waiver announced in June 2017.

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CCEA nod for four-laning of Solapur-Bijapur section of NH-52 in Maharashtra, Karnataka

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday gave its approval for the four-laning of the Solapur-Bijapur Section of the new National Highway (NH)-52 (formerly NH-13) in Maharashtra and Karnataka. 
The project, involving four-laning of about 110 km, is estimated to cost approximately Rs. 1889 crore, including the cost of land acquisition and pre-construction activities, an official press release said.
At present, the existing road is a two-lane one and passes through congested towns of Solapur, Takli and Nandani in Maharashtra and Zalki, Horti and Bijapur in Karnataka. It connects Southern India with Northern India and its development will serve as an alternative route to North South Corridor of the National Highways Development Programme, the release said.
The project will have bypasses at Solar and Bijapur and involve construction of six flyovers, it said.
The road is part of the high-density traffic corridor Banglore-Chitradurga-Bijapur-Solapur-Aurangabad-Dhule-lndore-Gwalior.
The provision for two by-passes will ensure decongestion of the urban areas of Solapur and Bijapur. Similarly, the six flyovers would facilitate fast movement of traffic in Solapur, Mandrup, Zalki and Bijapur towns while simultaneously decongesting the areas. The two trucks lay-bys will facilitate smooth movement of freight traffic. The truck drivers would also benefit from the amenities in the two rest areas being developed. On both sides, provision for service roads in 14 km of the project stretch, slip roads in about 40 km and bus shelters at 24 locations will benefit safe, comfortable and smooth movement of long distance commercial traffic as well as movement of local traffic in inhabited/urbanized areas.
Tourists will also get benefit of better connectivity to nearby important tourist places of Bijapur, Hampi and Chitradurga, the release added.

CCEA okays four-laning of Solapur-Bijapur section of NH-13 in Maharashtra, Karnataka

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday gave its approval for four-laning of the Solapur-Bijapur section of National Highway (NH) – 13 in Maharashtra and Karnataka. 
The project will be implemented under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-III and the approval is in BOT (Toll) mode on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (BOT/DBFOT) basis, an official press release said.
The cost of the project is estimated at Rs.1537.64 crore including cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be approximately 109.07 kms, the release added.

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DRI seizes recreational drug mephedrone worth Rs 30 crore from Delhi

Sleuths of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) have, in a major operation, seized 500 kg of contraband pshychotropic substace of the amphetamine class, suspected to be mephedrone, late in the night on February 20 from Delhi.
An official press release said this was one of the biggest seizures of psychotropic substances in recent times in India and the biggest catch of mephedrone, a stimulant, which gets its street name Meow Meow from its chemical name 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC) or 4-methylephedrone.
The seized consignment was believed to be heading towards the West where its value is estimated at more than $5 mllion (approximately Rs. 30 crore). 
The contraband is suspected to have been loaded at Kurutuwadi in Solapur district of Maharashtra.
According to the release, acting on specific intelligence inputs, a truck coming from Kurutuwadi was intercepted after a hot chase after it reached Delhi.
The truck was stated to be carrying a consignment of papayas, but detailed search resulted in the recovery of 13 sacks containing 500 kgs of mephedrone along with the cover cargo of fruits. The contraband was kept along with papaya and was concealed under the tarpaulin used for covering the truck. 
Two persons including the driver of the truck and a person who accompanied the truck after it reached Delhi have been arrested and produced before the Saket Court, New Delhi which has remanded both the accused to judicial custody. The factory, where the seized drug was manufactured, has also been located in Solapur. Further investigations are in progress, it said.
In view of its abuse, mephedrone was included under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act on 5th February 2015 after a prolonged campaign by various enforcement agencies and state governments. This is the first case in the country after its inclusion in the schedule to NDPS Act. Commercial quantity for this drug is fixed at 50 gm. 
The contraband is extremely popular in the West and increasingly becoming a major drug of abuse in India. Extremely addictive with several debilitating side effects , its popularity in India is due to the fact that it was not considered a psychotropic substance and available easily, the release added.

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IRB Infra wins Rs. 1500 crore project for four-laning of Solapur-Yedeshi highway

Construction major IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd today said it had emerged as a preferred bidder for the project of four laning of the Solapur-Yedeshi section of National Highway (NH)-211 from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
The project, from km 0.000 to km 100.000 (design length 98.717 km) Maharashtra, will be executed on build, operate, transfer (BOT) (Toll) basis on DBFOT pattern under National Highway Development Programme (NHDP) Phase – IV.
A press release from the company said the estimated project cost is approximately Rs. 1500 crores with construction period of 910 days. The concession period for the same is 29 years.
This project will add up to IRB’s present construction order book of Rs. 5,050 crores which is to be executed in the next two to three years.  This will also provide increased visibility to IRB for the next three to four years, the release added.

CCEA nod for 4-laning of Solapur-Yedeshi section of NH 211 in Maharashtra

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday approved a proposal for four-laning of the Solapur-Yedeshi section of National Highway (NH)-211 in Maharashtra.
The project will be taken up under Phase IV of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase IV on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT-Annuity) in Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) pattern. 
An official press release said the cost of the project is estimated to be Rs.1,057.82 crore, including the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be approximately 99 kms. 
According to the release, the project will expedite improvement of infrastructure in Maharashtra and also reduce the time and cost of travel for traffic, particularly heavy traffic, plying between Solapur and Yedeshi.

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We have to improve our death bowling: Dhoni

Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni stressed the importance of death bowling after Chennai Super Kings stole a thriller against Royal Challengers in the Indian Premier League (IPL) here tonight.

"The performance was great, we need to improve our death bowling drastically. We didn't get off to a good start, the pressure was there on the middle order. You can't really afford to play too many dot balls, you have to be there till the 15th or 16th over to cash in," said Dhoni.
Man of the Match Ravindra Jadeja, who nowadays is ridiculed as Sir Jadeja on the social media, said he was not trying to play silly shots.
"(With reference to Sir) they are just making fun in a lighter way, not a serious way. I was confident about my batting, I scored two triple-hundreds this season. I was not trying to play any silly shots, it was a good wicket," he said.
Royal Challengers skipper Virat Kohli said his team lost the match in the last six over.
"It was our game to lose in the last six overs. We are relying on big partnership as of now, a few small partnerships will do good for us. RP, T20 is a game like that, I'm still proud of him," he said.

Solapur-Bijapur section of NH-13 in Maharashtra, Karnataka to be widened


The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure (CCI) yesterday approved an investment proposal for the four laning of the Solapur–Bijapur section of National Highway (NH) 13 in Maharashtra and Karnataka under National Highway Development Programme (NHDP) Phase III on DBFOT basis in BOT (Toll ) mode of delivery. 

The cost of the project will be Rs.1091.89 crore out which Rs.89.41 crore will be towards land acquisition, rehabilitation, resettlement and pre-construction, an official press release said.
The total length of the project is 110.542 km. The concession period will be 20 years including construction period of 30 months, it said.
The project covers the districts of Solapur in Maharashtra and Bijapur in Karnataka, the release added.

4 from Hyderabad killed in road mishap in Maharashtra

Four people from Hyderabad died on the spot and two others were injured seriously when their jeep collided head-on with a cement-laden truck near Nibhe-Chiroli village here today.

The jeep was proceeding to Akalkot from Solapur while the truck was travelling in the opposite direction when the incident occurred, the sources in Solapur police control room said.

The injured persons have been admitted to the civil hospital in Solapur, where they were stated to be out of danger, police said.

The deceased have been identified as Gunderao Malikaarjun Birajdar (50), Apparao Mailkaarjun Birajdar (20) and Shamrao Birajdar (18), all members of a family. The identity of the fourth victim was yet to be ascertained.

The bodies has been sent to civil hospital at Solapur for autopsy and their relatives of the victims had been informed, police said.

The victims hailed from Hyderabad city, they said, adding that the truck driver had fled from the scene after the accident.


Man accused of 1992 murder of Indian family in Dubai sentenced to death

A CBI court in Ahmedabad has convicted Ravjibhai Manubhai Pawar of the murder of his Indian employer and four other members of his family in Dubai in 1992 and sentenced him to death.

A press release from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that its investigations had shown that Pawar, while working as a domestic servant in Dubai, had kileld Mr Ramesh K Sagar and four others of Mr Sagar's family on January 4, 1992.

He was also accused of rape and of stealing household articles, including clothes, ornaments and cash.

Pawar feld from Dubai on January 5 and came to India. On the basis of an Interpol alert, he was nabbed on January 10 by the Gujarat police and a first information report (FIR)was registered.

Since the accused was an Indian national and the offence took place outside India, the case was entrusted to the CBI. The Dubai Police had also registered an FIR and collected evidence, which was used by the CBI during investigation and trial of the case, the release said.

The chargesheet was filed on January 23, 1992 in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Chikhli. The trial court found him guilty and convicted him.

The case was registered by the CBI, Ahmedabad (now Gandhinagar) Branch on April 27, 1992 on the basis of the request and consent of the Government of Gujarat for futher investigation of the case filed at the Chikhli Police Station, the release added.


5 killed, 14 hurt in road accident near Solapur in Maharashtra

Five passengers were killed on the spot and 14 others injured when a tourist bus fell into a gorge near the Naldurg in Osmanabad district of Maharashtra, 40 km from here today.

Talking to UNI, Assistant Police Inspector J D Kalaskar of Naldurg police station said the bus, belonging to the Neeta Travels, was on its way to Mumbai from Hyderabad when the mishap occurred.

Mr Kalaskar further said the bus driver lost control of the vehicle and it fell into the gorge.

He said the bodies of the victims had been sent to the government hospital here for post-mortem examination and would be handed over to their relatives later.

The deceased were identified as S Prasad, Shriniwas Bhadrakota, Shivkumar Padgir, Deepika Pawankur and Taufik.

The injured have been admitted to a private hospital where their condition is stated to be out of danger, he added.


Six killed, ten injured in accident in Maharashtra

Six people, including a nine-year-old girl, were killed and ten others seriously injured when an Andhra Pradesh state transport bus rammed into a stationary truck at Tandulwadi village on the Solapur-Hyderabad Highway, about 150 km from here, in Maharashtra yesterday.

According to Solapur Rural Police, the passengers in the bus were fast asleep when the accident occurred.

The police told UNI that four of the deceased were identified as Kanyashri Balraj Koshkulu (9), Ashappa Shivappa Tirulapuram (29) and Amobji (58), all from Mehboobnagar, and Alvyappa (35) of Rangareddy district. The two others were yet to be identified, they said.

The injured were admitted to the government-run hospital in Solapur, where their condition was improving, police said.

The bus, carrying 54 passengers, was going from Mumbai to Andhra Pradesh. The driver apparently lost control over the vehicle and hit the stationary truck, parked by the roadside, police added.


4 killed, 13 injured in mishap on Pune-Solapur highway

Four people were killed and 13 others injured, five of them seriously, when a state transport bus, coming from Hyderabad, collided with a container, near Warkhade village, about 25 kms from here today.

Police Inspector of Solapur Highway Police station Gorakh Darekar told UNI that the bus was proceeding towards Pune when the mishap occurred this morning.

The injured have been admitted to government-run Solapur hospital, where the condition of five people was stated to be critical, while the eight others were out of danger, Mr Darekar said.

The deceased were yet to be identified but they were residents of Hyderabad, police said. The bodies of the deceased have been sent to a hospital for post-mortem examination.

The police have registered cases against both the drivers and further investigations were on, Mr Darekar added.


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