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Ludhiana

Reliance Industries partners Vardhman Textiles to develop innovative R|Elan fabric

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Energy and petrochemicals major Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) entered into a partnership here today with Vardhman Textiles Ltd., one of the largest textile companies in India, to manufacture innovative R|Elan fabric. 
 
As a part of this engagement, RIL’s R | Elan technical team will work closely with Vardhman to develop a variety of new manufacturing processes to manufacture specially engineered R|Elan fabrics, sources said.
 
The innovative high-quality fabric collection will straddle across the performance and sustainable themes in formals, casuals and other women wear segments. R|Elan technical team will provide the technical knowhow, specifications and parameters to ensure the best quality fabric is produced, they said.
 
"R|Elan, the new-age fabric brand from Reliance Industries, is growing from strength to strength with the tie up with Vardhman.
 
"Vardhman is one the largest textile companies in India and a name to reckon with in quality and product superiority. Vardhman possess large capacities in yarn, sewing thread, acrylic fiber, garment and steel manufacturing. Vardhman always thrives to use its vast experience for manufacturing high quality textiles," the sources said.
 
Speaking at the signing of the agreement, Ms Suchita Jain, Joint Managing Director, Vardhman Textiles Ltd. said, “We see many exciting possibilities with R|Elan to create new fabric developments. Our strengths have always been rapid innovation and creating strong product ranges that are acceptable to brands, and Reliance is the perfect partner for our developments. The technical team at R|Elan is very supportive in enhancing our manufacturing prowess."
 
Gunjan Sharma, CMO – Polyester Division, RIL said: “We are proud to be associated with the leading player Vardhman for R|Elan. We will work together to ensure the consumer’s growing demand for high-quality performance and sustainable apparel are met with R|Elan. This partnership further emphasises our focus on creating opportunities for entire textile value chain, including brands and apparel manufactures.”
 
R | Elan technologies are outcome of RIL’s research and development efforts and its vast expertise in fibres manufacturing. R | ElanTM is a portfolio of innovative fabrics that does more than just fabrics do. R | ElanTM is next gen Fabric 2.0 and its compelling applications helps meeting diverse needs of ever demanding customers. R | ElanTM has carved its niche across apparel segments like activewear, denim, ethnic & western wear - both formals and casuals.
 
RIL has partnered with more than 30 players that are equipped to produce new-age fabrics using R|ElanTM technologies. This pan-India network of the Hub Excellence Partners (HEP), will provide assurance to brands/retailers of streamlined production, timelines and standard quality. These partners will also receive assistance for technical, leads and new product development needs.
 
"R|Elan products will thus provide consumers next generation fabrics that are in line with the latest fashion trends while also fulfilling their lifestyle needs. RIL’s efforts will give consumers the assurance that if there is R|Elan on the outside, there is something special on the inside," the sources added.
 
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(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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11 dead as factory collapses after fire in Ludhiana

 
Five-storeyed factory buildings as firefighters try to douse blaze
At least 11 people, including four fire officials, died after a five-storeyed plastic factory building went up in flames and then collapsed suddenly in the Sufiyan Chowk locality here yesterday.
 
Ludhiana district officials told NetIndian over the telephone that eleven bodies had been recovered so far and about eight or nine others are still feared trapped in the debris of the building, located in Industrial Area A.
 
They said two persons were rescued from the building and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
 
The fire broke out around 6 am yesterday and soon spread to the entire building. Even as firefighters were battling to control the flames, the entire structure came crashing down suddenly within a matter of seconds, around 12.15 pm, trapping about 20 people -- factory workers, fire fighters and some onlookers -- under tonnes of debris.
 
Some sources indicated that the building collapsed after an explosion caused by chemicals stored in the factory. Some adjoining buildings were also affected and could be at risk, they said.
 
Search and rescue teams, including personnel of the local Fire Brigade, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), went on through the night last night and were continuing today.
 
At least 15 fire tenders and earth-moving equipment were deployed at the scene of the tragedy.
 
Police have registered a case and are investigating the cause of the fire and subsequent events, the sources said.
 
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Two injured as Jhelum Express derails near Ludhiana

At least two people suffered injuries when ten coaches of the 11078 Jhelum Express from Jammu Tawi to Pune derailed near Ludhiana in Punjab in the early hours of Tuesday, official sources said.

 
Ten coaches of Jhelum Express derail, two injured
At least two people suffered injuries when ten coaches of the 11078 Jhelum Express from Jammu Tawi to Pune derailed near Ludhiana in Punjab in the early hours of today, official sources said.
 
The two injured were taken to the Civil Hospital in Ludhiana for treatment, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Railways said on Twitter.
 
The mishap occurred around 3.10 am while the train was approaching the bridge on Sutlej river on the Phillaur-Ladowal section in Ferozepur division of Northern Railway, near Phillaur, about 125 km from here.
 
The derailed coaches were B5,S1,PC,S2, S3,S4,S5,S6,S7 and S8, the Ministry said.
 
Rescue and relief teams were rushed to the scene of the mishap and buses were arranged to transport the passengers to the Ludhiana station, from where arrangements were made to send them to their destinations.
 
The derailent affected rail traffic on the Ludhiana-Jalandhar section, causing delays in the running of some trains. Efforts were being made to restore normal traffic on the route.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines to provide information to passengers: Jammu Tawi -- 0191-2470116, Jalandhar 0181-2225966, Ludhiana -- 0161-2741143, Amritsar -- 0183-2225087 and Pathankot 0186 -- 2233532
 
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Foundation stone laid for Mega Food Park in Ludhiana

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Union Minister Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal laid the foundation stone of a Mega Food Park here yesterday.
 
“Ludhiana Food Park is the gift of the Prime Minister to Punjab and will give benefit to farmers and processors of Ludhiana, Fatehgarh Sahib, Rupnagar, S.B.S. Nagar, Jalandhar, Moga, Sangrur and Barnala district of Punjab,” Ms. Badal told mediapersons.
 
She said that, in order to give an impetus to the growth of the food processing sector in Punjab, the Ministry had approved three Mega Food Parks in the state. Out of these, the first Mega Food Park located at Fazilka has already become operational, she said.
 
A third Mega Food Park (Sukhjit Mega Food Park) has been approved by the Ministry in Kapurthala District.
 
Ms. Badal said the Ministry of Food Processing Industries had been implementing the Mega Food Park Scheme in the country to give a major boost to the food processing sector along the value chain from the farm to the market with strong forward and backward linkages through a cluster based approach.
 
This Mega Food park has a Central Processing Centre (CPC) at Ludhiana and four Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) are being set up at Hoshiarpur, Amritsar, Fazilka and Bathinda to provide strong backward linkages.
 
The park is expected to provide direct and indirect employment to about 6000 people and benefit about 25,000 – 30,000 farmers in its catchment area.
 
Ms Badal said the Mega Food Park would be set up with a project cost of Rs. 117.61 crore in an area of 100.20 acres.
 
The park will have facilities of 500 kg/spiral freezer, 1000 MT cold store of onion and garlic, 1000 MT frozen cold store of vegetable produce, 10000 MT dry warehouse, 10000 MT silos, 100 MT ripening chamber (ECRC), 1 MT/Hr dehydration line (ir dried), 400 MT cold storage, reefer vans, food incubation centre (ICRESAT) and testing laboratory, she said.
 
She expressed confidence that the Mega Food Park project will create a modern infrastructure for arresting post-harvest losses of horticultural and non-horticultural produce and provide impetus to the growth of food processing sector in Punjab. 
 
The project will help in providing better prices to farmer, reduce wastage of perishables, add value to agricultural produce and create huge opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment for the youth of the state.
 
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti were also present on the occasion.
 
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National SC/ST Hub to be launched at Ludhiana on October 8

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A National Scheduled Caste (SC)/Scheduled Tribe (ST) Hub to promote entrepreneurship in the communities will be launched at Ludhiana in Punjab on October 8, Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium enterprises (MSME) Kalraj Mishra said here yesterday.
 
Chairing a meeting of the national committee to review the progress of the SC/ST Hub, he said it would be launched within a record time of seven months from the announcement in the budget speech of 2016-17.
 
The Union Government was keen to inculcate the spirit of self-employment among the SC/ST population, he said, and urged all the participants, especially industry associations, to take it up in a mission mode.
 
The Ministry has made an initial allotment of allocation of Rs. 490 crore for the period 2016-2020 for the project. 
 
he Hub would primarily aid in strengthening market access and linkage, monitoring, capacity building, leveraging financial support schemes and sharing industry best practices.
 
It would operate from National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) headquarters in Delhi, supported by a special cell created for the purpose, he added.
 
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CCEA nod for 4/6 laning of Kharar-Ludhiana section of NH-95 in Punjab

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved the development of 4/6 laning of the Kharar-Ludhiana section of national highway (NH-95) (new NH-5) in Punjab. 
 
An official press release said the cost of the project is estimated to be Rs. 2069.70 crore, including cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road to be developed is approximately 76 kms. 
 
This work will be done under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-V in Hybrid Annuity Mode, it said.
 
The sub-project (Kharar-Ludhiana) is part of the project of Chandigarh-Ludhiana. The project was divided in two sections i.e. Chandigarh-Kharar and Kharar-Ludhiana. The Chandigarh-Kharar section has already been awarded for four laning on engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode, the release added.
 
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Progress under urban missions in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh to be reviewed

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Implementation of new Urban Missions -- the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Smart City Mission and Swachh Bharat Mission -- in the States of Punjab and Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh will be reviewed at a meeting in Chandigarh today.
 
Mr Rajiv Gauba, Secretary (Urban Development), along with concerned Mission Directors from the Ministry of Urban Development, Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana, Advisor to the Administrator of Chandigarh and concerned officials besides some Municipal Commissioners will attend the day-long review meetings to be held separately state-wise at the Secretariats of Punjab, Haryana and UT Guest House. 
 
District Collectors and other field officials will participate in the review through video-conferencing, an official press release said.
 
These meetings are being held as a part of State-wise review meetings being held by the Ministry of Urban Development. Such reviews have so far been held in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Jaipur and Visakhapatnam.
 
As many as 20 cities in Haryana, 16 in Punjab and Chandigarh have been included in the Atal Mission which is aimed at improving basic urban infrastructure relating to water supply, sewerage networks, storm water drains, urban transport and open and green spaces.
 
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For the year 2015-16 under AMRUT, an expenditure of Rs. 408 crore has been approved for Haryana, Rs. 710 crore for Punjab and Rs. 573 crore for Chandigarh for improving basic infrastructure in mission cities. 
 
The Central Government has agreed to provide an assistance of Rs. 219 crore for Haryana, Rs. 276 crore for Chandigarh and Rs. 319 crore for Punjab for the State Annual Action Plans approved for 2015-16. Action Plans for 2016-17 of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh under AMRUT will be considered for approval soon.
 
Under Smart City Mission, Ludhiana in Punjab was selected among the first batch of smart cities and the Ministry has approved Ludhiana’s Smart City Plan with a proposed investment of Rs. 1,049 crore. The Ministry of Urban Development has already released Rs. 200 crore for 2015-16 for Ludhiana.
 
Faridabad in Haryana and Chandigarh have been subsequently selected among the second batch of 13 smart cities in a Fast Track Competition.
 
Under Swachh Bharat Mission, Central assistance of Rs. 56 crore has been released to Punjab, Rs. 30 crore for Haryana and Rs. 1.70 crore for Chandigarh.
 
The Coordination Committee for Development of Chandigarh will also meet today, the release added.
 
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Bharti Foundation appoints Sulabh for construction of 12,000 toilets in Ludhiana

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Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with social service organisation Sulabh International for construction of toilets in rural households across Ludhiana district of Punjab under its "Satya Bharti Abhiyan".
 
A press release from Bharti said that, as part of the MoU, Sulabh would construct 12,000 toilets in households lacking basic sanitation facilities In Ludhiana under the first phase of the campaign.
 
Bharti Foundation announced the Satya Bharti Abhiyan earlier this year with the aim of improving rural household sanitation facilities in Punjab.
 
As part of this initiative, the foundation has adopted Ludhiana district and committed an investment of Rs 100 crores over the next three years for constructing toilets in rural households lacking such facilities in over 900 villages.
 
In addition to rural household sanitation, the ‘Satya Bharti Abhiyan’ will also invest in improving sanitation facilities in Government schools in rural Ludhiana by building new toilets for girls, where no such facilities exist.
 
Sulabh works to promote human rights, environmental sanitation, non-conventional sources of energy, waste management and social reforms through education. Sulabh International is the largest non-profit organization in India.
 
As per the MoU, Sulabh will also conduct a survey of the target villages to identify beneficiaries, undertake construction of individual household toilets and carry out Information Education Campaigns over the next 12 months.
 
Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Co-Chairman, Bharti Foundation, said, “We are pleased to announce this partnership with Sulabh to roll out the first phase of the ‘Satya Bharti Abhiyan’. Sulabh has been a pioneer in providing sanitation solutions to the poor in India and we are confident that their expertise in this area will add immense value to this initiative. Sanitation for all is a big priority for the country and Bharti Foundation hopes to contribute towards the cause in a meaningful way through this initiative.”
 
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Bharti Foundation to help improve household sanitation in rural Punjab

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Bharti Foundation, the development arm of Bharti Enterprises, today announced a new initiative – Satya Bharti Abhiyan - to help improve rural household sanitation facilities in Punjab.
 
A press release from the Bharti Group said that, inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to the corporate sector in his Independence Day speech to strengthen the Government's initiative on this score, the foundation had decided to adopt Ludhiana district, the home district of its founders, as its focus area for improvement of rural sanitation.
 
As part of the programme, the foundation will invest upto Rs 100 crores in constructing toilets while reaching out to every rural household lacking such facilities in the district over the next three years.
 
In addition to rural household sanitation, the Satya Bharti Abhiyan will also invest in improving sanitation facilities in Government schools in rural Ludhiana by building new toilets for girls, where no such facilities exist.
 
Lack of proper sanitation facilities, particularly for girls in rural schools has been an important factor leading to large-scale dropouts, thereby negating the substantial improvement in enrolment that the country has achieved in recent years.
 
These initiatives will be supported by the two group companies – Bharti Airtel Limited and Bharti Infratel Limited, it said.
 
“Lack of private sanitation facilities in rural households not only constitutes a major cause of embarrassment for the women, but also points to a much wider problem of rural hygiene and cleanliness," Bharti Foundation Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said.
 
He said Satya Bharti Abhiyan would help cover a long felt gap in rural hygiene infrastructure in Punjab, besides contributing to the larger National Mission of ‘Swachh Bharat’ in its own limited way.
 
"It is our commitment that no single household or school in rural Ludhiana will be without a toilet by the end of this tenure," he said.
 
Bharti Foundation provides free education to underprivileged children in rural areas. Its programmes presently reach out to over 52,000 children from socially and economically challenged backgrounds, with special focus on the girl child. 
 
The flagship Satya Bharti School Programme offers free quality education through 254 (Primary, Elementary and Senior Secondary) schools and employs approximately 1600 teachers from the local communities. 
 
These schools provide free mid-day meals, books and uniforms to all the children. As an organization, Bharti Foundation has always been conscious of the importance of promoting the cause of health and hygiene amongst students and accordingly provides for separate toilet facilities for boys and girls in its schools, which in turn has proved to be a major factor driving girl child enrolment. Presently, around 50% of the students in these schools are girls.
 
Mr Rakesh Bharti Mittal, co-chairman, Bharti Foundation, said, “Improvement in private rural sanitation facilities will have a positive impact on public health in the long run. Separate toilet facilities for girls in village schools can bring down dropout rates drastically to help leverage the current rural school infrastructure better. Hailing from Ludhiana, we are extremely delighted to be contributing towards such an important cause having direct implication on the quality of life in rural areas of the district. I will be personally involved in monitoring the progress of the programme.”
 
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Centre okays three projects under JnNURM for Amritsar, Ludhiana in Punjab

 
The Government of India has approved three new projects for Punjab under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) -- two in Amritsar and one in Ludhiana.
 
The approval was given at a meeting of Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) under Urban Infrastructure Governance (UIG), JnNURM of Union Ministry of Urban Development here recently, an official press release said here today.
 
The projects include a sewerage & sewage treatment plant for South East Zone in Amritsar. The approved cost of the project is Rs. 89.27 crore and Centre will bear 50% of this cost which is Rs. 44.63 crore. An amount of Rs. 11.16 crore will be released as first instalment.
 
The major outcome of this project will be 100% coverage of sewerage system with sewage treatment of that area. It will also improve existing sewerage facilities and create durable public asset and quality oriented services in the city. The duration for implementation of the project is 36 months.
 
The second project is a water supply scheme in Balance Area of Amritsar (Phase-II). The approved cost of the project is Rs. 89.13 crore and the Centre will bear 50% of this cost which is Rs. 44.56 crore. An amount of Rs. 11.14 crore will be released as first instalment.
 
The major outcome of this project will be social and environmental benefits to the residents of the Amritsar town. The availability of potable disinfected water shall eradicate the problem of gastroenteritis and other water borne diseases. On completion of this project, about 1.2 lakh persons will be benefitted and 10% population out of which 8% population belonging to urban population and 2% minority population will be benefitted. The duration for implementation of the project is 36 months.
 
The third project is Integrated Municipal Solid Waste Management Facilities at Ludhiana, which is estimated to cost Rs 97.85 crore and the Centre will bear 50% of this cost which is Rs. 48.92 crore. An amount of Rs. 12.23 crore will be released as first instalment.
 
The major outcome of this project will be to improve the existing conditions of waste management in the city. The duration for implementation of the project is 24 months.
 
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Modi says he will act like a "watchman" and protect the nation's coffers

Will guard nation if I become PM: Narendra Modi
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, today accused the Congress of rampant corruption and emptying the nation's coffers of money meant for the welfare and development of the people.
 
Addressing a rally at Jagraon in Punjab, Mr Modi promised pro-people and corruption-free governance if he were voted to power.
 
He said that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would work as a National Development Alliance in government.
 
"I will not work as a Prime Minister, but as a chowkidar (watchman). I will not let any hand touch the nation's coffers," he said.
 
"It is surprising that they are accusing others of being corrupt when their government was engulfed in so many scams," he sad.
 
"It is now A for Adarsh (scam), B for Bofors, C for Coal scam," he said, referring to some of the alleged scams during the tenure of the UPA government.
 
He said the Congress spent all its energies glorifying one family, instead of remembering leaders like Lala Lajpat Rai.
 
Addressing concerns of Sikh farmers in Kutch, he assured them that not one of them would be asked to leave from the state. "An officer can go but no Sikh farmer will leave Gujarat, and I am very clear on this," he said.
 
Mr Modi spoke of the strong bond between the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in Punjab. “Our alliance with Akali Dal is not merely a political alliance to fight elections…this is an alliance highlighting our togetherness!” 
 
He said this alliance had been able to keep the Congress from practising its policies of "divide and rule" and appreciated the efforts of SAD leader and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in charting a growth story for the state.
 
He said that the people had reposed their faith in the Badal government for the second consecutive term, bucking the anti-incumbency trend. "Punjab chose development," he said.
 
He said that while Mr Badal had focused on agricultural growth, his son and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had helped boost industrial growth in the state.
 
He said there was need to boost the manufacturing, agriculture and services sectors to boost the national economy.
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Mr Modi mentioned how he had closely worked with leaders such as Parkash Singh Badal, Devi Lal, Bansi Lal and Farooq Abdullah when he was working for his party in Punjab and said he had imbibed their qualities.
 
He said the people of Punjab had contributed a great deal to the development of the country, especially in the areas of agriculture and national security. He said there was need to focus on procurement, management and distribution to give a further thrust to agriculture.
 
“Our priority should be how to increase productivity per acre and bring technology in agriculture. For this, I suggest that the FCI be divided into three parts: one that will focus on procurement of grains, second on its storage and the third on the distribution of grains," he said.
 
Accusing the Centre of being indifferent towards farmers, he said that, for instance, the implementation of the minimum support price (MSP) declared every year remained only on paper.
 
On the recent decision by the Centre on one-rank, one-pension for the Armed Forces personnel, he said similar announcements made in the past were never implemented.
 
“One Ran One Pension was a long standing demand. Sadly the Centre plays with the emotions of our servicemen,” he said.
 
He spoke about the close bonds between Gujarat and Punjab and said Sikh farmers settled in Kutch had turned barren land in the region into green fields.
 
“Go to any part of the world, and you will see a Gujarati family and a Sikh family. They are living peacefully with the society," he said.
 
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National Youth Awards presented at Youth Festival in Ludhiana

Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports Jitendra Singh and Minister for Information & Broadcasting Manish Tewari with National Youth Awardees, at the inaugural function of the 18th National Youth Festival, at Ludhiana, Punjab on January 12, 2014. Read story.

Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports Jitendra Singh and Minister for Information & Broadcasting Manish Tewari with National Youth Awardees, at the inaugural function of the 18th National Youth Festival, at Ludhiana, Punjab on January 12, 2014.
Read story.Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports Jitendra Singh and Minister for Information & Broadcasting Manish Tewari with National Youth Awardees, at the inaugural function of the 18th National Youth Festival, at Ludhiana, Punjab on January 12, 2014.

 

National Youth Festival 2014 to be held in Ludhiana from January 12-16

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More than 5000 youth from around the country are expected to participate in the 18th National Youth Festival will be held in Ludhiana, Punjab from January 12-16.
 
The festival is held every year on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand on January 12, which is observed as the National Youth Day.
 
The festival is being organised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India and the Government of Punjab. 
 
Each State and Union Territory is expected to send a contingent of 100 participants for the various competitive and non-competitive events such as classical vocal solo, classical dance, folk dance, one act play and so on.
 
The festival will be inaugurated by Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports Jitendra Singh on January 12 at the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana. Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Manish Tewari wil be the guest of honour while Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal will preside over the function.
 
During the ceremony, National Youth Awards and Awards to Outstanding Youth Clubs will be conferred. 
 
The closing ceremony will be held on January 16, when prizes will be distributed for the various competitive events held during the festival.
 
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The theme of the festival this year is ‘Youth For Drugs Free World’. In recent years, there is a worrying trend of increasing drug abuse among the youth of the country, which is fast threatening to derail the promise of the much talked about demographic dividend. 
 
Today, many young people and their families are being affected by the menace of drugs and the festival will be used as a platform to increase awareness about the problem.
 
YuvaKriti, a social development fair, will be organised during the festival to provie an opportunity for young artisans to showcase their talent.
 
There will also be a national youth convention as well as "Suvichar", an event in which young men and women will get a chance to interat with eminent personalities.
 
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President's Standards awarded to IAF's 220 Sqn and 32 Sqn at Halwara

President Pranab Mukherjee presenting the Standard to the 220 Squadron of Indian Air Force, at  a ceremony at Halwara, Punjab on November 20, 2013.
President Pranab Mukherjee presenting the Standard to the 220 Squadron of Indian Air Force, at a ceremony at Halwara, Punjab on November 20, 2013.
President Pranab Mukherjee presented Standards to two of frontline fighter squadrons of the Indian Air Force (IAF) -- 220 Squadron and 32 Squadron -- at an impressive ceremonial parade at the Air Force Station at Haldwara near here today.
 
Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal,  Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne, AOC-in-C, Western Air Command, Air Marshal S S Soman and AOC-in-C South Western Air Command Air Marshal Daljit Singh were present on the occasion besides a host of other serving and civil dignitaries. 
 
The Standard for 220 Squadron was received by Group Captain Sharad Aneja, Commanding Officer, and the Standard for 32 Squadron was received by Group Captain G V N K Varma, Commanding Officer.
 
The parade witnessed a spectacular fly-past primarily consisting of the aircraft flown by the units being awarded the President’s Standards. A total of 12 aircraft participated in the fly-past displaying clockwork precision.The breath taking fly-past was synchronised with significant events of the parade. 
 
The fly-past commenced with three Mi-17 IV helicopters in Victory formation with the lead aircraft carrying the national flag and the other two aircraft carrying the IAF flag. 
 
The fly-past was coordinated with the National Salute given by the parade to the President, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
 
This was followed by three Su-30MKI aircraft flown in a Victory formation. The fly-past of the three Su-30 MKI aircraft was timed with the presentation of the President’s Standards to 220 Sqn. 
 
Three Bison aircraft in Victory formation followed the Su-30MKI aircraft while the President’s Standards were being handed over to 32 Sqn. 
 
The three Su-30MKI aircraft paid tribute by forming a Trishul in the sky over the parade ground as the uniformed personnel saluted the President’s Standards being marched out of the parade.
 
The fly-past was followed by a display of low level aerobatics by a single Su-30MKI. The display portrayed the aircraft as an extension of the pilot’s mind and body as it executed breath taking manoeuvres which demonstrated the capabilities of the man and the machine. Just like the flypast, the ‘Air Warrior Drill Team’ mesmerised the audience by their precise and coordinated drill movements. 
 
The President’s Standard is the highest and most prestigious honour bestowed upon any unit of the Armed Forces in recognition of its invaluable contribution to the security of the nation, both during hostilities and peace.
 
220 Sqn has a rich history spanning over five decades. The Squadron was raised at Palam as 51 Auxiliary Air Force (AAF) Squadron and was equipped with Vampire aircraft. The Squadron moved to Pune in November 1962. It was at Pune, on 9 January 1963, that 220 Squadron was formed. It was initially called the ‘Fighting Tigers’. The Squadron was later re-equipped with the indigenous HF 24 ‘Marut’ aircraft in April 1969 and re-located to Jodhpur in December 1970. 
 
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The unit effectively and innovatively employed the Marut during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan air campaigns. It was during its stay in Jodhpur that the squadron was rechristened as 'Desert Tigers'. After flying the Marut for 12 years, the squadron converted to the newly inducted Mig-23 BN aircraft in Jodhpur in 1981. After flying the MiG-23 BN over deserts of Rajasthan from 1981 to 1997, the squadron moved to Air Force Station Halwara on 31 August 1997. 
 
The unit operated from this base till 2005, when it was number plated. It operated from Leh and Pathankot during operation Safed Sagar in 1999. The squadron was resurrected at its present location on 1 September 2011 with the state of the art SU-30 MKIs. 
 
32 Sqn AF, the ‘Thunderbirds’, was formed with the Mystere IV ac on 15 October, 1963 at Air Force Station Adampur. This premier frontline fighter squadron later operated the Vampire (1965) aircraft followed by the Sukhoi-7 (1969), the MiG-21 Bis (1984) and is currently operating the versatile Bison (2003). 
 
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Mukherjee to visit Ludhiana on November 20

 
President Pranab Mukherjee will visit Halwara, Ludhiana in Punjab on November 20, an official press release said here today.
 
During the visit, Mr Mukherjee will present the standard to the 220 Sqn and 32 Sqn of Indian Air Force (IAF), the release added.
 
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Ludhiana to soon have a campus of NIFT: K S Rao

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Union Minister for Textiles K S Rao said that a campus of the prestigious National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) would soon be set up at Ludhiana in Punjab.
 
At an interaction with representatives of the Ludhiana Integrated Textile Park and Knitwear Club, at which Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari was also present, he said they would take up the issue of anti-dumping duty on some goods with the Union Finance Ministry.
 
Mr Rao announced Rs 10 crore for an exhibition centre, within the upcoming Apparel Park, for the textile sector in the town. He also assured all possible support from the Government of India to promote the knitwear industry. 
 
Agreeing to the industry demand for a training centre in the city, the Minister said that District Industries Centre (DIC) will be asked for immediate action.
 
In order to promote training of unskilled labour, Mr Rao announced that the Centre will provide Rs. 10,000 for each trainee whom the industry undertakes to train. 
 
Mr Tewari suggested that the public-private partnership (PPP) mode could be considred for the NIFT campus at Ludhiana. He said the institute would help develop the industry and provide employment opportunities to local youth.
 
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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.
 
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President says economic viability of agriculture still a challenge

President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture for Food & Livelihood Security, at the Golden Jubilee of Punjab Agriculture University, at Ludhiana on November 27, 2012. Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal are also seen.
President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture for Food & Livelihood Security, at the Golden Jubilee of Punjab Agriculture University, at Ludhiana on November 27, 2012. Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal are also seen.

President Pranab Mukherjee has called for reflection on why, despite all the successes and efforts in the area of agricultural research and despite India's overall improved economic performance, the economic viability of the agricultural sector is still a challenge.

"There are, even today, so many regions in our country where subsistence farmers and small farmers remain susceptible to failure, risk and desperation," he said in his inaugural address at the International Conference on “Sustainable Agriculture for Food and Livelihood Security” at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, yesterday.
 
"Despite various programmes and schemes of Government- complemented by the efforts of the scientific and corporate community, why is it that prosperity has eluded a large part of this sector?" he asked.
 
Mr Mukherjee said that it was ironical that, although India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, value addition to this produce is just 7 per cent and processing only around 3 per cent of production. 
 
"There is hardly any value addition at the farm level - and 98 per cent of farm produce is sold as it is harvested. Due to our tropical / subtropical conditions, more than 25% of production is lost during harvest and post harvest operations. We import a large amount of the pulses we consume. In the agriculturally advanced regions, there are problems of over-exploiting ground water resources and vulnerability to pests and crop diseases; over-mining of nutrient reserves has led to multi-nutrient deficiencies. Excessive use of fertilizers is taking its toll on the productivity of soil," he said.
 
He said the Indian farmer must be provided the wherewithal that he urgently needed - the financial, technological, infrastructural, transportation and other requirements for a sustainable approach for the increased productivity that we seek. 
 
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The President said there was an urgent need for a re-think on agriculture in India to ensure food security for its people.
 
"We must have in place a coherent and comprehensive policy that has synergy among its various elements. Government initiatives are of little use without efficient systems for their implementation. Equally important is the necessity for collaboration between the state and central governments on the monitoring and appraisal of various schemes. A co-ordinated and integrated approach should start at the grassroots, taking into account all the factors," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee said many policies were susceptible to failure because of inaccurate feedback. 
 
"Collation of information and policy integration is essential. As I am among academia and experts, I would like to suggest that we identify the priorities and act swiftly. I would put training and entrepreneurship development high in my list of items requiring urgent attention. To this I would add the task of developing and reaching appropriate technology to farmers, agriculture marketing reforms, studying the present yield gaps and methods to harvest wastelands, address wastage and overuse of fertilizers and develop simple IT tools for farmers - that are user friendly and can provide relevant and timely information relating to weather forecasts. Enhanced productivity would reduce per unit cost, enhancing the global competitiveness of our produce," he said.
 
"Farm mechanization, linking farms with markets and adding value at each stage will help in employment generation, entrepreneurship development, increased profits to farmers and safe and healthy food to consumers. Investments in food processing sector have multiplying benefits for all, and hence a major boost needs to be given to the processing sector. Fiscal incentives and land leasing policies of State Governments should be such that agro-processing, especially in the rural areas, becomes a lucrative option both for the farmers and the private sector," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee said that a useful part of the re-assessment would be a mapping and indexing of crops and livestock to anticipate market demands, plan resource allocation and ensure its optimal utilisation to ensure maximum output. 
 
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"This would give an edge in the global market. Similarly, the agro-industry, in partnership with research institutions can plan relevant and standardised crop production and efficient agricultural supply chains, which are vertically integrated. Improved connectivity between agricultural universities and the farmers could be very beneficial for both. 
 
"Most importantly, innovation—of new varieties, technologies and methods for post harvest processes--should move up on our priority list. The percentage of GDP from Agriculture and allied activities spent on research and development must be increased from the current level of 0.6 per cent to 1.0 per cent in the Twelfth Five Year Plan," he said.
 
He said that a multi-pronged strategy involving technology development, new marketing methods, precision in farm operations and innovative policy instruments was required to ensure agricultural sustainability and food and livelihood security and stressed the importance of due attention to modernising food storage and its distribution. 
 
Mr Mukherjee was all praise for the achievements of the Punjab Agricultural University, saying that the institution was synonymous with the Green Revolution which transformed Indian agriculture, making the country self reliant in feeding its population. 
 
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Mukherjee to visit Ludhiana in Punjab on Tuesday

President Pranab Mukherjee will undertake a day's visit to Ludhiana in Punjab tomorrow during which he will inaugurate an international conference on “Sustainable Agriculture for Food and Livelihood Security” as part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Punjab Agricultural University.

Besides, he would also lay the foundation stone of the auditorium of Sat Paul Mittal School, Ludhiana, an official press release added.
 
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Two brothers among three youths found murdered in Punjab

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Three youths were found murdered early this morning on the outskirts of Jassowal village under Dehlon police station in this district of Punjab, police said today.
 
The murders were committed last night with sharp-edged weapons and were suspected to be the fallout of personal enmity, they said.
 
The dead were identified as brothers Gurpreet Singh and Jasbir Singh and their friend Inderjit Singh, all in the age group of 25-30, police added.
 
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2 workers killed as mill boiler explodes in Ludhiana

Two workers were killed and five injured when a boiler in a wool factory exploded here today.


The incident occurred in Youngmen Woollen Mill situated on the Rahon Road early this morning. Ramu, a labourer working in the mill, died on the spot while another worker, identified as Ram Kumar, succumbed to his injuries later in CMC hospital.


Two of the seriously injured workers were referred to the CMC hospital and three were admitted in other hospitals.


Irate workers gathered outside the mill after the incident and started shouting slogans against the management. Police resorted to a mild baton charge to disperse the workers.


Police have registered a case and started investigation, the sources added.


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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.

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2 girl students killed, as car rams into tree in Punjab

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Two girls were killed and three others injured, one of them seriously, when their car hit a roadside tree on the Mullanpur-Jagraon road today.

Police said that a group of five girl students of Dashmesh Dental College, Faridkot was on their way from Ludhiana to Faridkot in a car when the girl driving the car lost control over the wheels and the vehicle hit a roadside tree.

The deceased were identified as Ramandeep Kaur and Mandeep Kaur.

A seriously injured girl was referred to a hospital in Ludhiana while two others were admitted to civil hospital at Jagraon, police added.

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Two injured in firing by wrestler Khali's gunmen in Ludhiana


Two people were injured when the gunmen of WWE wrestler Khali opened fire at an unruly crowd outside the residence of Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Sat Pal Gosain here late last night.


The incident occurred when Khali was surrounded by an overwhelming crowd of his fans as he came out from Mr Gosain's residence in Kidwai Nagar where he was invited for a dinner last night.


Some of Khali's fans wanted to have snaps with him and they got angry when his gunmen pushed them back.


This led to a scuffle between the irate fans and the gunmen who later opened fire at the unruly crowd.


Two people, identified as Gurpreet Singh Shanty and Ashok Kumar received gunshots injuries and they were admitted to the Appolo hospital and CMC hospital, respectively.


Khali was reportedly invited for dinner by the Deputy Speaker's grandson Amit Gosain.


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