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Rajasthan

15 dead, 31 injured as high-tension wire falls on bus in Rajasthan

At least 15 people were electrocuted and 31 others suffered injuries when the bus they were travelling in came in contact with a high-tension electricity wire in the Tonk district of Rajasthan on Friday afternoon, official sources said.

 
At least 15 dead as high-tension wire falls on bus in Rajasthan
At least 15 people were electrocuted and 31 others suffered injuries when the bus they were travelling in came in contact with a high-tension electricity wire in the Tonk district of Rajasthan this afternoon, official sources said.
 
Police officials in Tonk told NetIndian over the telephone that the injured were initially taken to nearby hospitals from where they were referred to a hospital in Jaipur.
 
All the victims were men and were going to attend a marriage when the mishap occurred in the Malpura area of the district around 3 pm.
 
Senior district admininstration and police officials rushed to the spot to oversee the rescue and relief efforts, the sources said.
 
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje condoled the loss of lives in the incident and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh each to the next-of-kin of those killed.
 
She also asked State Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria and other senior ministers and officials to rush to the spot and ensure the best possible medical care for the injured.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the incident. 
 
"The bus incident at Tonk, Rajasthan is very heart-rending. My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
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Denied LS ticket by BJP, Jaswant Singh says will file nomination on Monday

Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh, who is upset at being denied a ticket by the party to contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from his home town of Barmer, confirmed on Sunday that he would file his nomination from there on Monday, presumably as an independent candidate.

Not furniture that BJP can adjust me: Jaswant
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaswant Singh, who is upset at being denied a party ticket to contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from his home town of Barmer in Rajasthan, today confirmed that he would file his nomination from there tomorrow, presumably as an independent candidate.
 
At the same time, he ruled out joining the Congress or any other party, saying it was insulting to him for any party to even think on such lines.
 
Reacting to media reports that the Congress might try and rope him in, Mr Singh, 76, told newspersons in his village that he had spent his entire political life in the BJP and had never thought of joining any other party.
 
"If the Congress is thinking along those lines, it is a waste of their time," he said.
 
But, despite repeated queries, he refused to confirm or deny whether the Congress had, in fact, made any overtures to him or not.
 
To another question, Mr Singh said he would go to Barmer tomorrow and file his nominations. "I will go to Barmer, will discuss the issue with others and act accordingly," he said.
 
Asked if he would resign from the party before filing his nomination, he said these things would be known tomorrow.
 
Mr Singh was particularly unhappy with senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley's statement that the party could not "adjust" Mr Singh in its list of candidates and that it would find other ways of using his abilities.
 
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"I saw on television a party leader saying that the could not 'adjust' me. The choice of words shows their way of thinking and their arrogant nature. It is insulting to me. I am not a piece of furniture, a chair or a table, which can be moved to some other part of the room if it does not fit in one place.
 
"I don't want to be 'adjusted'," he said. "All my life, I have worked for the party, in its best interests, to the best of my ability," he said.
 
About Barmer, he said it was the place where he was born and where he had grown. "All that I know today, I learnt from here," he said.
 
Asked about the caste equations in the area, Mr Singh regretted that the social fabric of the region was being torn by such considerations. He said he had never practised such politics. "You cannot divide society and people in this manner. If we persist in doing so, the state will end up as a second-rate UP, a third-rate Bihar," he said.
 
The BJP had, on Friday, announced that its candidate from Barmer would be Col Sonaram Chaudhary, a former MLA, who had recently joined it after resigning from the Congress, ignoring Mr Singh's claims and his wish that he be allowed to contest what could possibly be his last election from his home turf.
 
Reacting to the move, Mr Singh had hit out at the party yesterday, saying that it had been encroached upon by "outsiders", an obvious reference to the fact that it had given tickets to several people who had joined it in recent weeks, ignoring the claims of party loyalists.
 
He also made it clear to journalists at Jodhpur on his way to barmer that he would not indulge in any kid of bargaining with the party for post-election positions or any other officers from it.
 
"My sense of honour is not subject to trading," he said, even as Mr Jaitley and BJP President Rajnath Singh said that the party would utilise Mr Singh's abilities in some other way.
 
Mr Rajnath Singh said the importance that the BJP acccorded to Mr Singh could not be judged on the basis of an election ticket alone. "He is far above that," he said.
 
"The challenge today is between the real BJP and the fake BJP," Mr Singh said. "Only the people can decide on the difference between the two," he said.
 
He said he had lived and struggled all these years to uphold the principles on which the BJP was founded and it was important that he continued to do so.
 
He said it was for the BJP to realise what would add value to the party, to India and to the people of India.
 
The BJP's decision to deny the ticket to Mr Singh is being seen as yet another indication that the old order in the party is being forced to yield place to the new.
 
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According to media reports, Mr Singh had conveyed to the BJP leadership that he would contest the election from Barmer as an independent candidate if the party decided against nominating him.
 
He has never contested from Barmer, having been elected to the Lok Sabha from Chittorgarh in Rajasthan in 1991 and 1996, and from Darjeeling in West Bengal in the last general elections in 2009.
 
According to sources, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje had pushed for a ticket for Col Choudhary, a Jat leader, after he joined the BJP some time ago.
 
Col Choudhary had lost the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from Barmer to Mr Jaswant Singh's son Manvendra Singh, who now represents Sheo - a part of the Barmer Parliamentary constituency - in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly.
 
The move to deny Mr Singh a ticket has also upset a section of BJP workers in Barmer, who staged protests and tore party posters to express their anger.
 
The denial of the party nomination to Mr Singh came just a day after the BJP had, on Thursday, managed to mollify its veteran leader Lal Krishna Advani into accepting the party's decision to field him from Gandhinagar in Gujarat, though he had expressed his wish to shift to Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
 
Earlier, another party veteran, Murli Manohar Joshi, was reportedly upset after he had to make way for BJP Prime Ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who wanted to contest the Lok Sabha elections from his constituency of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. He was persuaded finally to move to Kanpur.
 
Another senior leader, Lalji Tandon, had to give up his claim over Lucknow, the seat held by him, to accommodate Mr Rajnath Singh, who decided against contesting from Ghaziabad, the seat he had won the last time.
 
In Punjab, three-time MP and former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu had to make way in Amritsar for senior leader Arun Jaitley.
 
Yesterday, the BJP denied renomination to seven-time MP Harin Pathak from Ahmedabad East and fielded well-known actor Paresh Rawal as its candidate from the constituency. Mr Pathak is known to be close to Mr Advani and was reportedly not on very good terms with Mr Modi.
 
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Minor earthquakes shake Rajasthan, Uttarakhand

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Two minor earthquakes shook the Jodhpur region of Rajasthan and Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand today.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the first quake, measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale, had its epicentre at latitude 26.4°N and longitude 73.8°E in Rajasthan and occurred at 1521 hours at a focal dpeth of 10 km.
 
The second tremor, measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale, had its epicentre at latitude 29.9°N and longitude 80.2°E in Uttarakhand and occurred at 1832 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, the bulletin added.
 
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13 dead, more than 20 injured as transformer explodes in village near Jaipur

 
13 dead in transformer explosion near Jaipur
At least 13 people died and more than 20 others suffered injuries when an electrical transformer exploded suddenly at Khatulai village near Shapura in Jaipur district of Rajasthan yesterday.
 
The injured were rushed to the SMS Hospital here where the condition of some of the victims was stated to be serious.
 
Jaipur (Rural) Superintendent of Police Rameshwar Singh told NetIndian that five of the victims had died on the spot.
 
The explosion occurred when a marriage procession was making its way past the transformer. Media reports quoted eyewitnesses as saying that scalding oil from the transformer fell on many of the victims -- mainly women and children -- and that their clothes caught fire.
 
Officials of the electricity department rushed to the scene, even as an angry mob gathered on the spot. The cause of the explosion could not be immediately ascertained. The state government has set up a committee to conduct an inquiry into the incident.
 
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje visited the SMS Hospital and met the injured persons, their families and doctors treating them. 
 
"Saddened by the unfortunate incident at #Shahpura near #Jaipur. Took feedback and directed Officials to take necessary measures and actions," she said on Twitter.
 
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SpiceJet puts Jaisalmer on country’s aviation map, to introduce more flights to Rajasthan

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Low-cost carrier SpiceJet today said it would it would introduce a flight between Jaipur and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan as part of its plans to launch a slew of flights to connect key tourist and business destinations in the state from October 29.
 
The Jaipur-Jaisalmer service would be SpiceJet's fourth daily flight under UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik), a regional connectivity scheme, a press release from the airline said.
 
"SpiceJet will be the only airline to offer daily direct flight connectivity on this route which has a heavy demand from both business and leisure travellers," it said.
 
On the same day, SpiceJet will also launch a new direct flight between Jaisalmer and Delhi, making it the first and only airline in the country to provide direct air connectivity between the two cities.
 
The day will also mark the launch of SpiceJet’s new Jaipur-Varanasi flight – a sector that no other airline in the country operates.
 
SpiceJet will also recommence operations on the Delhi – Jodhpur and Mumbai – Udaipur sectors the same day. With the addition of Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, SpiceJet will be operating to 45 domestic destinations, the release said.
 
SpiceJet already connects Jaipur with Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jammu and Surat with direct flights and connects Goa and Mumbai via Ahmedabad and Surat respectively and a host of other Indian cities on the domestic network. Internationally, SpiceJet connects Jaipur with a daily flight to Dubai and convenient via connections to Muscat, Colombo and Bangkok.
 
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SpiceJet’s Bombardier Q400 aircraft - SG 2981 will ceremoniously be flagged off on October 29 from Jaipur at 11:00 am for its first flight to Jaisalmer. On its return journey the flight SG 2982 will depart at 4:55 p.m. and reach Jaipur by 6:15 p.m.
 
The announcement about the flights was made in the presence of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
 
SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Singh said, "SpiceJet is proud to connect Rajasthan like never before. Today is a very special day for us as we announce the launch of multiple new flights to Rajasthan, India’s most vibrant and colourful state, which will greatly aid both leisure and business travellers. We are proud of the fact that SpiceJet will be the first and only airline to offer direct air connectivity between Jaipur-Jaisalmer; Jaisalmer-Delhi and Jaipur-Varanasi and we hope to continue to serve the people of Rajasthan with the same vigour in future.”
 
SpiceJet is India’s largest regional player operating a fleet of 20 Bombardier Q400s in addition to 35 Boeing 737s. SpiceJet is already operating on three UDAN sectors which include Mumbai-Porbandar-Mumbai, Mumbai-Kandla-Mumbai and Hyderabad-Puducherry-Hyderabad.
 
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Bye-election to RS from Rajasthan to be held on November 16

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) will hold a bye-election on November 16 to fill a casual vacancy in the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Parliament, caused by the resignation of sitting member M. Venkaiah Naidu on August 10 after his election as the Vice-President of India.
 
In the normal course, Mr. Naidu's term of office as a member of the Rajya Sabha would have been up to July 4, 2022.
 
An official press release said the notification for the bye-election would be issued on October 30 and the last date for making nominations would be November 6. 
 
Polling will be held between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on November 16 and counting of votes will be taken up at 5 p.m. on the same day, the release added.
 
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Rajnath Singh inaugurates West Zone Regional Training Centre of IB in Jodhpur

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday inaugurated the West Zone Regional Training Centre of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), in Jodhpur, Rajasthan which is expected to strengthen and professionally empoer the State Police Special Branches in the region.
 
The West Zone includes the states of Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, an official press release said.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Rajnath Singh said the centre would play an important role in enhancing the professional and behavioural skills of the police officers posted in the region. He said that intelligence plays an important role in the effective execution of internal security system of the country. 
 
Mr. Rajnath Singh said that IB has been playing an important role in tackling the challenges of terrorism, separatism and Left-wing extremism. He appreciated the officials of IB for fulfilling their duties within limited resources. He also said the Central Government or IB alone could not meet all challenges of internal security. The role of states’ police is very important for internal security, he added. 
 
He also emphasized on coordination among special branch of state police, IB and police forces for meeting the challenges. 
 
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Modi launches major highway projects at Udaipur, visits Pratap Gaurav Kendra

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the inauguration and laying of foundation stone of various major highway projects, at Udaipur, in Rajasthan on August 29, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the inauguration and laying of foundation stone of various major highway projects, at Udaipur, in Rajasthan on August 29, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of several major highway projects worth Rs 15,100 crore during a day[s visit to Udaipur in Rajasthan.
 
Altogether, Mr Modi inaugurated 12 National Highways projects worth Rs 5610 crore and performed "bhoomi poojan" for 11 projects worth Rs 9490 crore.
 
Among the projects was a 6-lane cable stayed bridge across river Chambal at Kota. Built at a cost of Rs 278 crore, the bridge marks the completion of the East-West corridor, an official press release said.
 
The construction of the bridge was stuck since 2006.  This bridge will now enable heavy vehicles to bypass Kota city, thus bringing down pollution and traffic congestion. The bridge design is also friendly for wildlife, ensuring minimum noise pollution for them, it said.
 
The other projects that were  inaugurated include 4-laning of Gomati Chauraha - Udaipur section of NH-8 at a cost of  Rs 1129 crore,  4-laning of Rajsamand-Bhilwara section of NH-758 at Rs 1360 crore, Nagaur Bypass to Netra village on NH-65 at a cost of  Rs 301 crore and 48 road safety projects at a cost of  Rs 381 crore.
 
Mr Modi said projects worth over Rs 15,000 crore were either being Inaugurated or initiated today in a single function.
 
He said India can no longer afford a delay in infrastructure projects, especially connectivity projects.
 
Referring to the Golden Quadrilateral initiated by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he said it benefited farmers by connecting them to markets.
 
Rajasthan could benefit a lot from tourism, through better infrastructure connectivity, which would bring in employment, he added.
 
He also referred to the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, under which LPG connections are being given to rural households, which will especially benefit women.
 
The Prime Minister said GST had hugely benefited the nation's economy, by eliminating long waiting time at inter-state borders.
 
He later visited the Pratap Gaurav Kendra, which celebrates the life, valour, and achievements of Maharana Pratap, the great king of the erstwhile kingdom of Mewar.
 
The 11 projects for which Prime Minister did the bhoomi poojan include 4-laning of Bar-Bilara-Jodhpur section of NH-112 at Rs 1249 crore, 6-laning of Kishangarh-Gulabpura section of NH-79A  and 79 at Rs 1184 crore. 
 
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari announced that the Centre proposed to spend Rs 2 lakh crore in the next five years for building national highways in Rajasthan.
 
The state had just 7498 km of national highways till June 2014. This length has nearly doubled to 14465 km in the last three years under the present Government. The number of national highways in the state has gone up from just 35 in June 2014 to 85.  
 
National highways construction work worth Rs 10,430 crore was completed in Rajasthan since 2014.  This includes 44 large projects totaling 1938 km length.
 
The prominent projects  include 4-laning of 244 km Beawar- Pali-Pindwara section of NH 14, 4-laning of 88 km Deoli- Kota section of  NH 12, 4-laning of Gomti- Udaipur section of NH 8 , 4-laning of Rajsamand - Bhilwara section of NH 758 and 6-laning of Kishangarh- Ajmer- Beawar section of NH 8.
 
Mr Gadkari announced that further work worth Rs 50,000 crore would be completed soon. This includes the 132 km Jaisalmer - Barmer section of NH 15  by November  2017,  the 107 km Barmer-Sachaur section on the same highway by February 2018 and the 204 km Uniyara- Gulabpur section of NH 148 (D) and 160 km Bikaner-Falaudi section of NH 15 by April 2018.
 
The DPR for the highway from  Swarupganj- Dungarpur- Banswara to MP border on NH 927( A) was ready. The work on six lane Delhi-Jaipur highway was 90% complete and work on  Falaudi- Jaisalmer section on NH 15 was proceeding fast.
 
A 195 km greenfield expressway will also come up between Delhi and Jaipur. This will start from Kherki Daula in Gurgaon, connect with Dwarka Expressway, then, going via Pataudi, it will connect with NH 8 at Chandwaji near Jaipur. Feasibility study for this project was being done.
 
The Prime Minister was earlier welcomed by Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh and Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.
 
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Modi to visit Rajasthan on Tuesday, to launch key national highway projects

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Rajasthan tomorow when he will inaugurate and lay the foundation stone of several major highway projects with a total outlay of over Rs. 15,000 crore.
 
“Tomorrow I will be visiting Rajasthan, the land of the brave, where I will inaugurate and lay the foundation of key National Highway projects," he said on Twitter.
 
"I will address a public meeting in Udaipur. I will also visit the Pratap Gaurav Kendra and pay my respects to the great Maharana Pratap," he said.
 
Among the projects which  will be inaugurated are: 6-Lane Cable Stayed Bridge across river Chambal at Kota; 4 Laning of Gomati Chauraha - Udaipur section of NH-8; and 4-Laning of Rajsamand-Bhilwara section of NH-758. 
 
Among the important projects for which the foundation stone will be laid is the Jaipur Ring Road. 
 
The Prime Minister will also address the gathering at the function, an official press release said.
 
The Prime Minister will later visit the Pratap Gaurav Kendra in Udaipur. The Kendra provides information through various exhibits, about the life, valour and achievements of Maharana Pratap, the famous king of the erstwhile kingdom of Mewar, it added.
 
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Modi to inaugurate, perform bhoomi poojan for NH projects worth Rs. 15,000 crore in Rajasthan

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate or lay the foundation stone for National Highway (NH) projects worth nearly Rs 15,000 crores in Rajasthan during his visit to Udaipur on August 29.
 
An official press release said Mr. Modi would dedicate to the nation eleven completed National Highway projects totaling a length of about 873 km. These include a six-lane Cable Stayed Bridge across river Chambal at Kota.
 
In addition to this, he will perform bhoomi poojan for six NH projects of about 556 km.
 
The 11 completed projects ready for inauguration include 4-laning of Gomati Chauraha – Udaipur section of NH-8; 4-laning of Rajsamand – Bhilwara section of NH-758; upgradation to 2-lane with paved shoulder of Bheem – Parasoli section of NH-148-D; upgradation to 2-lane with paved shoulder of Parasoli – Gulabpura section of NH-148-D.
 
The six projects ready for bhoomi poojan include 4-laning of Bar-Bilara-Jodhpur section of NH-112; 6-laning of Kishangarh-Gulabpura Section of NH-79A & 79; 6-laning of Gulabpura-end of Chittorgarh Section of NH-79; and 6-laning of Chittorgarh to Udaipur Section of NH-76.
 
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6 MW model solar power plant in Neemrana commissioned

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India’s first 1MW smart micro grid demonstration project (off-grid) that uses Japanese technology to integrate solar power with diesel generators to provide reliable green energy supply for industrial use, along with a 5MW model solar power plant, was inaugurated in Neemrana today, setting an example for how large industrial units can successfully make the switch to renewables and reduce their carbon footprint.
 
The Neemrana Solar Power Project, built by the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC) in partnership with the Government of Japan, was dedicated to the nation by Mr. Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy (DIPP), in the presence of Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu, the Ambassador of Japan to India, and senior government officials and business heads from both the countries.
 
The 6MW model project consists of a 5MWp solar power plant which uses thin film technology and feeds power directly to the state grid, and a 1MWp plant that uses poly crystalline technology with 2MW Diesel Generator Set integrated with a Smart Micro Grid feeding power to Japanese industrial consumers in the Neemrana Industrial Park.
 
The project has been implemented in partnership with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Government of Japan, with the solar panels and other equipment like inverters, Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) System and so on procured from Japanese companies including Hitachi, Kyocera, Itochu, Sharp, Solar Frontier and Kaneka.
 
The power project, managed by the DMICDC Neemrana Solar Power Company Limited (DNSPCL), a wholly owned subsidiary of DMICDC, is spread over an area of 36 acres of land allocated by the Rajasthan State Industrial Development & Investment Corporation (RIICO) in the Japanese Zone, Neemrana.
 
The DNSCPL has a power purchase agreement with NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited (NVVNL) for the 5MW Solar Power Plant for a period of 25 years.
 
Japanese automotive parts manufacturer Mikuni India Pvt. Ltd., is the first industrial consumer of the 1MW micro grid project and has been receiving power from the unit since July this year under a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement. Operational since 2008, Mikuni manufactures a wide range of auto components including electronic control fuel injection system, carburetors, pumps and heaters.
 
“Projects such as these are part of the larger goal to minimize India’s dependence on fossil fuels as we move towards a manufacturing economy,” said Mr. Abhishek in his inaugural address at the commissioning. “We deeply appreciate the Japanese Government’s assistance in setting up the plant and will look to execute more such projects along the industrial corridors and manufacturing zones that we are developing.”
 
In his keynote address Mr. Hiramatsu reaffirmed the Japanese Government’s desire to partner with India in large scale infrastructure projects.
 
"This project is a symbol of strategic partnership between the two countries. The DMIC itself is a unique initiative under this partnership. I am delighted to witness the commissioning of this project using the latest technology from Japan, contributing to India in the field of energy, here in Neemrana," he said.
 
Mr. Kazuo Furukawa, Chairman, NEDO, who delivered a special address, said: “NEDO, in partnership with Government of India, has always promoted the use of the latest, cutting edge technologies from Japan. This project will help in reducing overall carbon footprint in the region and it has the potential of scaling up at every industry level and will help in meeting the energy requirement as the Govt. of India expands its manufacturing base under the Make in India policy.”
 
Mr. Rajeev Swarup, Chairman, RIICO; Mr Rajan Vishal, District Collector, Alwar; Mr. Hisataka Ikuta, President and COO of Mikuni Corporation; Mr. Kojin Nakakita, Corporate Officer, Hitachi Ltd; Mr. Yasuhiko Yoshida - Deputy Director General for Trade Policy; Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Govt. of Japan, and Mr. Takamasa Murakami, Chief Representative, NEDO; also spoke on the occasion.
 
DMICDC, which has set up the 6MW project in Neemrana to give a fillip to the large-scale use of solar power and smart micro grid technology, hopes to promote indigenous development of solar panels and other equipment and technology.
 
Neemrana falls in Khushkhera-Bhiwadi-Neemrana Investment Region, one of the eight industrial nodes being developed in Phase I of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
 
Mr. Alkesh Kumar Sharma, CEO and MD of DMICDC, who welcomed the delegates, said, “The wider adoption of green energy systems for industrial use is limited by concerns with regard to reliability and uninterrupted supply. With the integrated 1MW micro grid, it is amply demonstrated that such systems are viable and will become even more efficient over time.”
 
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Lok Sabha member and former Union Minister Sanwar Lal Jat passes away

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Sanwar Lal Jat, former Union Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha member from Ajmer in Rajasthan, passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here early today after a brief illness.
 
He was 62. He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.
 
Mr. Jat, who had served as the Minister of State for Water Resources in the Narendra Modi government, had been in coma for more than a week before the end came at 6.15 am today.
 
He had suffered a heart attack during a meeting of the party in Jaipur on July 22, sources said.
 
Born on January 1, 1955, Mr. Jat had a Master's degree in Commerce and a Ph.D. from the Rajasthan University. He initially worked as a supervisor at the Ajmer Dairy and later taught at the local government college.
 
He was a five-time member of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly and had also served as a Minister in the State Government. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in May 2014 and served as Minister of State for Water Resources from November 9, 2014 to July 5, 2016.
 
He had also served as the Chairman of the Rajasthan Farmers' Commission.
 
His body was flown to Jaipur today and kept at the State BJP headquarters there for people to pay their last respects. His last rites will be performed at Gopalpura, his native village, tomorrow.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled his passing away. " Anguished by the demise of MP & former Union Minister, Shri Sanwar Lal Jat. This is a big loss for the BJP & the nation. My condolences," he said on Twitter.
 
"Shri Sanwar Lal Jat worked extensively for wellbeing of villages & farmers. My thoughts are with his family & supporters in this sad hour," he added.
 
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255 sorties flown by IAF during HADR operation in Gujarat, Rajasthan

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The Indian Air Force (IAF) flew 255 sorties during a dedicated Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations in Gujarat and Rajasthan that experienced heavy rains and floods in past few days.
 
A press release from the Ministry of Defence said here today that, considering the gravity of the situation, the State Emergency Operation Cell in Gujarat requested the IAF for rescue operations in flood affected areas of Mehasana, Deesa, Banaskantha and Patan. 
 
Accordingly, the IAF team swung into action and deployed Mi-17V5 and Chetak helicopters at various location of the State for rescue and relief operations, it said.
 
A dedicated HADR Cell was activated at South Western Air Command, Gandhinagar to monitor the relief operations round the clock. Under the challenging weather conditions, with limited ground reference, these helicopters carried out rescue operations to save stranded people, the release said.
 
The rescue operation included a patient in dire need of dialysis who was airlifted from the rooftop in the shortest possible time, along with a pregnant woman with small child and husband.
 
Despite inclement weather, a total of 220 sorties were flown by IAF rescue team in Gujarat area and 35 sorties in Rajasthan area. During the rescue operations, the crew dropped a total of 86 tonnes of food packets in flood affected areas of Gujarat. A radar was also operationalised at Deesa for communication which was specially transported by An-32 aircraft till Ahmedabad and thereafter moved by road to Deesa.
 
The C-17 and C-130J aircraft airlifted National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel and load to the airports nearest to the flooded areas, the release added.
 
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Nine dead as bus from Gujarat overturns near Udaipur in Rajasthan

 
Nine dead as bus overturns near Udaipur
Nine persons died and 22 others suffered injuries when a private bus carrying pilgrims from Gujarat overturned near Nehla village, about 10 km from Udaipur, this morning, police said.
 
The mishap occurred around 8.45 am today when the driver of the bus apparently lost control over the wheel while trying to avoid hitting a motocyclist on a bridge, they said.
 
The deceased included six women and three women, the sources said.
 
Police and other emergency services personnel reached the spot and helped extricate the victims from the bus. The injured were taken to a nearby hospital, they said.
 
The pilgrims had left Ahmedabad yesterday night and were on a fortnight-long tour of various religious places in North India, including Haridwar in Uttarakhand, the sources said.
 
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Power supply begins from DMICDC’s 1MW Smart Micro Grid Solar Project in Neemrana

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A model 1 MW Smart Micro Grid Solar Power Plant built in Neemrana, Rajasthan, by the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC) to demonstrate integration of solar power with backup diesel generators, has begun commercial operations, supplying clean, stable, renewable energy to its first industrial consumer – Japanese automotive parts manufacturer Mikuni India Pvt. Ltd.
 
A press release from DMICDC said the 1MW unit is a part of a larger project by the DMICDC — which also includes a 5 MW Model Solar Power Plant that uses thin film technology — being implemented in partnership with the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), Government of Japan, with Japanese firms supplying solar panels and equipment.
 
The project, which now has a total capacity of 6 MW, is spread over 36 acres of land allocated by the Rajasthan State Industrial Development & Investment Corporation (RIICO) in the Japanese Zone, Neemrana.
 
The DMICDC Neemrana Solar Power Company Limited, which manages the project, has a power purchase agreement (PPA) with NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited (NVVNL) for the 5MW Solar Power Plant and has been supplying power to the state grid in Rajasthan since September 2015.
 
Mikuni India Pvt. Ltd., which is operating in the Industrial Area since 2008, manufacturing a wide range of auto components including electronic control fuel injection system, carburetors, pumps and heaters,  executed a 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for the 1 MW Micro Grid Solar Power Project in May 2016.
 
Power began flowing to Mikuni India Pvt. Ltd., from yesterday. The plant, which has a 1 MW Solar PV integrated with 2 MW Diesel Generator sets, has been built with the support of NEDO and Hitachi Ltd.
 
DMICDC has set up the 6 MW project in Neemrana to give a fillip to the large-scale use of solar power and smart micro grid technology, and promote its replication in other industrial areas. Neemrana falls in Khushkhera-Bhiwadi-Neemrana Investment Region, one of the eight industrial nodes being developed in Phase I of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
 
“We are encouraging a shift to clean energy, for instance combining renewable solar power with reliable backup from diesel generators, to help reduce the overall industrial carbon footprint,” said Mr Alkesh Kumar Sharma, CEO and MD of DMICDC. “It would also give a boost to indigenous manufacture of solar panel and other equipment and technology.”
 
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ADB to provide $ 220 million loan for improving state highways in Rajasthan

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India yesterday signed an agreement for a $ 220 million loan for improving connectivity as well as transport efficiency and safety on State Highways of Rajasthan.
 
The loan is the first tranche of the $ 500 million Rajasthan State Highways Investment Program, approved by ADB Board in May this year, that will upgrade about 2,000 kilometers of state highways and major district roads to two-lane or intermediate-lane standards to meet road safety requirements, an official press release said.
 
The signatories to the loan agreement were Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, who signed on behalf of the Government of India, and Mr. Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission, who signed for ADB. The project agreement was signed by Mr. S. L. Sharma, Chief Engineer and Additional Secretary, Public Works Department, the Government of Rajasthan.
 
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Raj Kumar said that the project would help improve State Highways and major district roads in Rajasthan. He said that it would also enhance the capacity of the State public works department in the areas of road asset management, road safety and project management.
 
Mr. Yokoyama said one of the focus areas of the program is to attract private sector financing through government capacity building on public private partnership (PPP) development. He said that ADB would finance part of the construction costs for the annuity-based PPP concessions and engineering procurement construction (EPC) contracts, enhance the stability of contract regime, and ensure good governance during project implementation.
 
The first tranche loan will improve about 1,000 kilometers of State Highways and major district roads. It will have a 25-year term, including a grace period of 8 years, and carry an annual interest rate determined in accordance with ADB’s London interbank offered rate-based (LIBOR) lending facility. 
 
The total cost of the project is $ 1.415 billion, with the government contributing $ 465 million and $ 450 million coming from the private sector and other concessionaries, the release added.
 
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"Gau rakshaks" in Rajasthan attack trucks carrying cattle purchased by TN Govt

 
Trucks carrying cows attacked by vigilantes over suspicion of smuggling
Police in Rajasthan have filed a case against 50-odd self-styled "gau rakshaks" (cow protection vigilantes), who stopped and attacked five trucks, which were carrying cattle bought by the Tamil Nadu government from the state under a Central government scheme for breeding, outside Barmer town late on Sunday night.
 
The gau rakshaks, who numbered almost 200, suspected that the 80 cows were being smuggled out of the state for slaughter.
 
The police have so far arrested four of the 50 people on charges of causing hurt and obstructing government personnel from performing their duty. The gau rakshaks damaged the five trucks, tried to set one of them on fire and beat up the drivers and others travelling in the trucks.
 
According to sources, the cows were being transported under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission, a programme of the Union Ministry of Agriculture aimed at preserving indigenous cattle breeds.
 
The transporters said they tried to plead with the group of gau rakshaks and explain that they had all the legal documents and permissions for transporting the cows but they were not prepared to listen to them.
 
The incident occurred just outside Barmer on National Highway 15, and the situation turned ugly as the gau rakshaks pelted stones at the trucks and roughed up the truckers.
 
Police arrived on the scene and restored order. Police officials said they explained to the vigilantes that the cows were being transported legally.
 
The Tamil Nadu officials had purchased the cows and calves from Jaisalmer and were transporting them to Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu in the five trucks, accompanied by a veterinary doctor and five assistants.
 
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Mukherjee calls for collective thinking by political parties to ensure smooth running of Parliament, Assemblies

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President Pranab  Mukherjee has underlined the need for collective thinking by political parties and leaders of the country on how to ensure the smooth running of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies.
 
"Legislation is the first and foremost responsibility of a Parliamentarian. It is most unfortunate that time devoted towards legislation has been gradually declining in our Parliament," he said while delivering the first Bhairon Singh Shekhawat memorial lecture on the topic ‘History of Parliamentary Democracy in India’  here yesterday.
 
Mr. Mukherjee spoke at length on the country's modern Parliamentary system of governance and legislative institutions, which owe their origin and growth to its British legacy. He also pointed that these institutions attained organic growth on the Indian soil because India was home to republican forms of government, deliberative representative bodies and self-governing institutions in many parts of country from as early as the Vedic age, circa 3000-1000 B.C. 
 
"I have expounded in such great detail the history of representative Government for a specific purpose. It is to underline the fact that if prominent legislators of pre-independence days with limited powers, could have done so much, how much more can be done by our MPs, MLAs and MLCs of today," he said.
 
"Our modern day legislators must recognize that the Constitution of India places our Parliament and Assemblies at the centre of governance and conceives them as the primary instrument of good governance and socio-economic change. The job of a legislator is a 24x7 responsibility. Legislators must at all times be sensitive and responsive to the problems and concerns of the people. They must give voice to the grievances of the public by raising them on the floor of the Legislature and act as the link between the people and the Government," he said.
 
He pointed out that the first Lok Sabha from 1952-57 had 677 sittings in which 319 bills were passed. In comparison, the fourteenth Lok Sabha from 2004-2009 had 332 sittings and passed just 247 bills. The fifteenth Lok Sabha had 357 sittings and passed 181 bills while the sixteenth Lok Sabha has had 197 sittings and passed only 111 bills (upto the 10th session). 
 
He also citied figures to point out that 9.95% of total time was lost due to interruptions in the Tenth Lok Sabha, 5.28% in the Eleventh Lok Sabha, 11.93% in the Twelfth Lok Sabha, 18.95% in the Thirteenth Lok Sabha, 19.58% in the Fourteenth Lok Sabha, a shocking 41.6% in the Fifteenth Lok Sabha and about 16% in the Sixteenth Lok Sabha (upto the 10th session). 
 
"Presiding Officers Conferences have time and again reiterated the need for holding a minimum of 100 days of sittings every year. With the heightened complexity of administration, legislation must be preceded by adequate discussion and scrutiny, if not, it will fail to deliver the desired results or meet its objectives. There is need for collective thinking by political parties and leaders of our country on how to ensure smooth running of our Parliament and Legislative Assemblies," he said.
 
The President said that, at independence in 1947, India was faced with apparently insurmountable challenges such as poverty, illiteracy, ethnic and linguistic diversity, diverse castes and classes and the rural base of the economy all of which militated against India’s democratic transition. "The odds were stacked high against its political consolidation as civil strife on grounds of religious identity tore society apart at Partition. But, our critics have been proved completely wrong," he said.
 
"Today, India has a vigorously free press, a robust system of political parties, an independent and active judiciary, an apolitical military and a thriving civil society. Its democracy has an array of institutions such as an effective Election Commission, an autonomous Union Public Service Commission, a proactive watchdog of public accounts in the Comptroller and Auditor General, an independent National Human Rights Commission, to name but a few. The institutional efficacy of these democratic institutions is beyond doubt," he said.
 
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Mr. Mukherjee said India's democratic transition was a courageous leap for a country that was emerging from colonial rule.
 
"It was an audacious decision of India’s leaders to adopt a constitution that enshrines liberal democracy as the guiding principle for its polity in one masterly stroke, while democracy evolved in a gradual manner over a long period in the older democratic states in the West. India’s democratic transition and consolidation owes much to the dominant legacy of the national freedom movement. Men and women, in millions, rose to the nationalist call and took active part in the mass movement. India has not only sustained its democracy but is today the world’s largest democracy and a thriving one," he said.
 
"India’s parliamentary democracy is safeguarded by the zeal of the Indian people for democracy. Our people have through their overwhelming and enthusiastic participation in 16 General Elections given the seal of approval for our political system. In the last general elections in 2014, nearly 66.3 percent of the 84.3 crore plus electors voted to choose 543 representatives to the Lok Sabha," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said India's institutions of democratic governance are hailed across the developing world as a model political system, just as India’s hugely multi-cultural society is seen as a beacon light for those transitional societies, which are struggling to cope with complexities of race, religion, language and culture. "Today, the developing world looks up to India with admiration and rightly so, as India successfully treads the difficult path of democratic governance with a billion-plus people," he said.
 
He pointed out that, despite the successful working of parliamentary democracy, many people still live under conditions of poverty, deprivation and illiteracy. "A substantial section of our society still remains untouched by the lofty ideals and objectives of our governance. It is only when we succeed in making a positive impact upon the lives of those sections of people, can we claim that the democratic system of governance we adopted has become relevant for all our people," he said.
 
"The challenge before us is to realize the guiding principle of Indian democracy as envisioned by our Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, namely, 'It is one where the weakest should have the same opportunity as the strongest'. Democracy should provide for an enabling environment which helps every section of the society to fully participate in the process of governance," he said.
 
The memorial lecture has been instituted in memory of Mr. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who served as Vice-President of India from 2002-07. He had also served as Chief Minister of Rajasthan for three terms.
 
Mr. Mukherjee described the late Mr. Shekhawat as "an outstanding statesman, humble son of the soil and a man of the masses". He said that, as Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Mr. Sekhawat had extensive knowledge about problems being faced by the people and had the will to eradicate them. "I was deeply impressed by his commitment to the downtrodden and poor," he said.
 
"As ex-officio Chairman, Rajya Sabha he conducted the proceedings of the Upper House with great distinction and added grace and elegance to the office. Besides holding these high offices, Shri Shekhawatji was associated with several welfare projects which touched the lives of ordinary citizens. Today, his rich legacy remains with us and he is fondly remembered as a sagacious statesman, a distinguished legislator and a committed votary of humanitarian values," he added.
 
Mr. Mukherjee also presented the 1st Bhairon Singh Shekhawat Life Time Achievement Honour in Public Service to Mr. Pawan Kumar Chamling, Chief Minister of Sikkim on the occasion. He said Mr. Chamling had made unique contribution to the State of Sikkim which has emerged as a role model. 
 
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23 people dead, 28 injured as wall of wedding hall collapses in Bharatpur

 
23 dead in wedding hall wall collapse in Bharatpur
As many as 23 people died and 28 others suffered injuries when a wall of a wedding hall collapsed during a heavy storm in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan late last night, official sources said.
 
The deceased included 11 men, seven women and five children, police officials in Bharatpur told NetIndian over the telephone.
 
The tragedy occurred around 10 pm when a heavy storm struck the area at a time when a wedding ceremony was going on in the hall, located in the Sewar Road area, in the presence of a large number of guests.
 
According to various accounts, many people took shelter from the heavy rains in a shed attached to a wall, about 90 feet long and about 12 feet tall, which collapsed suddenly and trapped them under the debris. Tables for serving food had also been set up against the wall, officials said.
 
Police and other emergency personnel rushed to the scene and removed the injured to nearby hospitals for treatment. One person was referred to the SMS Hospital in Jaipur, the sources said.
 
The bodies of those who died were taken to a mortuary and will be handed over to their families after post-mortem examination, the sources added.
 
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Rajnath chairs high-level committee meeting for Central assistance to Rajasthan

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today chaired a meeting of the High-Level Committee (HLC) here today to discuss central assistance for Rajasthan in the wake of drought during Kharif season of 2016-17.
 
Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs and Defence Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare S. S. Ahluwalia, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and senior officers of the Ministries of Home, Finance, Agriculture and NITI Aayog attended the meeting.
 
The committee examined the proposal based on the report of the Inter-Ministerial Central Team which visited the drought-affected state.
 
The HLC approved the assistance from the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) in respect of Rajasthan to the tune of Rs 588.34 crore, an official press release said.
 
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Modi hands over "chaadar" to be offered at Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti

Prime Minister Narendra Modi handing over Chaadar to be offered at Dargah Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Ajmer Sharif to Union Ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Jitendra Singh, in New Delhi on March 24, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi handing over Chaadar to be offered at Dargah Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Ajmer Sharif to Union Ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Jitendra Singh, in New Delhi on March 24, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi handed over a "chaadar" to be offered at the Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, Ajmer Sharif, to Minister of State for Minority Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Minister of State in the PMO, Dr. Jitendra Singh, here today.
 
The Prime Minister also conveyed greetings and best wishes to Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’s followers across the world, on the occasion of his annual Urs.
 
In a message, Mr. Modi said that Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti is a symbol of the great spiritual traditions of India. He said Gharib Nawaz’s service of humanity would remain an inspiration for future generations. He offered his best wishes for the successful conduct of the Urs.
 
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17 people die in collison between jeep, truck in Rajasthan

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As many as 17 persons died when a jeep they were travelling in collided with a truck in the Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan today, police said.
 
The mishap occurred around 9.45 am on the Rawatsar-Hanumangarh highway in Hanumangarh town police station limits, police sources said.
 
They said the deceased included three women and 14 men. The jeep was on its way from Rawatsar to Hanumangarh while the truck was on its way from Jammu & Kashmir to Indore in Madhya Pradesh when the mishap occurred.
 
The driver of the jeep was among those injured and hospitalised, while the driver of the truck was arrested.
 
Police said 16 of the 17 deceased passengers had been identified and their bodies were handed over to their relatives after post-mortem examination. The victims belonged to various villages of Hanumangarh district, they said.
 
Senior district and police officials, including the district collector and the superintendent of police, rushed to the spot to supervise the relief efforts.
 
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Minor earthquakes recorded in Chamba region of HP, Jaipur in Rajasthan

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale, shook the Chamba region of Himachal Pradesh in the early hours of today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 32.3 N and longitude 76.6 E, occurred at 0139 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin said.
 
Later, at 0436 hours today, an earthquake of magnitude 2.7 was recorded in Jaipur district of Rajasthan, the IMD said.
 
The quake had its epicentre at latitude 27.3°N and longitude 75.8°E and occurred at a depth of 10 km, the bulletin added.
 
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Ernakulam-Howrah Antyodaya Express, Sri Ganganagar-Tiruchirappalli Humsafar Express flagged off

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Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu today flagged off two trains -- the first Antyodaya Express between Ernakulam in Kerala and Howrah in West Bengal and the fourth Humsafar Express between Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan and Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu.
 
Antyodaya Express is a long-distance, fully unreserved, superfast train service, for the common man to be operated on dense routes. It will have facilities like  cushioned luggage racks which can serve as seats additional hand holds in doorway area, J-Hook near longitudinal luggage racks, multiple unit cables at both ends of the coach, vestibuled ends for internal movement of the passengers, drinking water dispenser, mobile phone charging points, fire extinguisher with anti-theft lock, FRP (Fibre Reinforced Plastic) modular toilets, toilet occupation indication display board, LED lights, anti-graffiti coating for exterior painting, and so on.
 
Humsafar Express is a fully air-conditioned 3-AC service with facilities like GPS-based Passenger Information System, Passenger announcement System, fire and smoke detection and suppression system, CCTVs, comfortable seats, mobile and laptop charging points, integrated Braille display, LCD display above compartment doors in the aisle, fire retardant curtains, and so on.
 
Mr. Prabhu said the Railways would soon launch Tejas and Uday Express trains also.
 
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Ranikhet Express derails near Jaisalmer, no one injured: Railways

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Ten coaches of the 15014 Ranikhet Express derailed in Jaisalmer on the Jodhpur-Jaisalmer section of North-Western Railway in Rajasthan late last night, but none of the passengers was injured, official sources said.
 
The incident occurred at 2316 hours yesterday when the train was on its way from Kath Godham to Jaisalmer, they said.
 
Senior railway officials rushed to the spot to investigate the cause of the mishap, while a special train was arranged for the passengers to continue their journey, they added.
 
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