Accor to bring its iconic Raffles brand to India with hotels in Udaipur, Jaipur

Hospitality major Accor today announced that it was bringing its iconic Raffles brand to India with two new hotels in Rajasthan, one in Udaipur and the other in Jaipur.
The move to bring Raffles -- a brand that is synonymous with luxury -- to India signals a new direction for Accor in India, with a stronger focus on luxury and premium brands, a press release from the group said.
Both hotels will deliver a palatial experience in an extraordinary setting along with the famously discreet and personalised Raffles service, it said.
"Raffles is renowned for setting the standard for luxury hospitality for over 130 years. With 13 properties across 11 countries, each Raffles hotel represents a carefully curated experience in the most distinguished addresses in the world. Since joining the Accor network in 2015, the brand has undergone a renaissance, with a strong pipeline that will see the portfolio double in the next few years," the release said.
"India’s state of Rajasthan is unique for its rich heritage and tradition and is famous for its spectacular palaces and forts, which makes it the perfect setting to continue the Raffles legend. Jaipur forms part of the culturally rich tourist circuit known as The Golden Triangle, which comprises New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur; while Udaipur is a natural extension of this given its proximity to Jaipur. Both cities are renowned as epicentres for the highest levels of luxury, so it makes sense that the Raffles brand will make its presence in both. For the well-travelled, both Rajasthan and Raffles represent a perfect confluence of adventure, luxury, gastronomy and discovery," it said.
Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO Accor, said: “It is with immense pride that we announce the arrival of the Raffles brand in India, a hallmark of luxury and sublime service in a country that is famous for delivering luxury at the highest level. With our strategic partners, we look forward to providing an oasis of calm and charm in two of the most incredible destinations in India. 
"We thank Ratankant Sharma and our partners for entrusting us with these landmark properties and we look forward to delivering the distinctive Raffles experience to travellers in India. We also thank Mr. Sharma for bringing the first Fairmont to India in Jaipur and extending this partnership to the Raffles brand," he said.
“Today’s signing of the Raffles Jaipur and Raffles Udaipur marks an historic moment for Accor in India and certainly for tourism in India,” said Jean-Michel Cassé, Chief Operating Officer (COO) – India and South Asia, Accor. “We are seeing increasing demand for luxury travel in India and are looking forward to expanding Accor’s globally renowned portfolio of luxury brands in this incredible country. The addition of the iconic Raffles brand signals a new era for our group.”
Sharma, said, “Bringing the Raffles brand, which is synonymous with excellence, taste and luxury, to India is a perfect fit for our vision. The opening of Raffles Udaipur and Raffles Jaipur is a key moment in our strategic growth in India and represents a new era of highly differentiated ultra-luxury experiences for both destinations."
The Raffles Udaipur is set on a 21-acre private island in the midst of Udai Sagar Lake, one of the five prominent lakes of Udaipur.
"The 101 lake-facing rooms are surrounded by spectacular hill scenery, with views of the 400-year-old temple in the background. The suites additionally boast private pools. It will provide a rare and authentic experience of one of India’s most scenic destinations. Expected to open by mid-2020, the Raffles Udaipur is truly set to be an oasis for the well-travelled, at a short 15-20 minutes’ drive from the Udaipur Maharana Pratap Airport, followed by a short boat ride," the release said.
The Raffles Jaipur is being built at Kukas in the city as a set of secluded private residences and courtyards adjacent to the larger hotel complex that presently houses the Fairmont Jaipur. The development is planned as a discreet destination for guests to "be themselves". The hotel is anticipated to commence operations in 2022 and is located close to key tourist destinations in Jaipur including the Amer Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort and Jal Mahal complexes.

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Singer Beyonce arrives in Udaipur to perform at Isha Ambani's pre-wedding celebrations

Grammy Award-winning singer Beyonce arrived in the City of Lakes on Sunday to perform at a pre-wedding celebration for Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal.
Beyonce sported a white printed ensemble and a pair of shades as she stepped out of the Maharana Pratap Airport. A red lip colour brightened up her look as she let her curly tresses loose.
The "Crazy in love" singer will perform on Sunday night for a star-studded audience, which includes US former First Lady Hillary Clinton and a slew of Bollywood celebrities including newlywed Priyanka Chopra and her American singer husband Nick Jonas.
Beyonce's arrival for a private concert here has been much talked about since September when American singer John Legend performed at Isha and Anand's engagement in Italy's Lake Como.
The wedding celebrations are as grand as expected.
On Saturday night, a glitzy sangeet ceremony saw the bride and groom's family in a celebratory mood.
Among those who joined the party were business tycoons, as well as Bollywood celebrities like Aamir Khan with wife Kiran Rao, Abhishek Bachchan with mother Jaya, wife Aishwarya and daughter Aaradhya, Karan Johar, Salman Khan, Parineeti Chopra, Anil Kapoor and wife Sunita, Boney Kapoor with daughters Janhvi and Khushi, Siddharth Roy Kapur with wife Vidya Balan, John Abraham with wife Priya Runchal, Ronnie Screwvala with wife Zarine, Karisma Kapoor, Varun Dhawan and Karan Tacker.
Veteran actress Rekha also arrived here on Sunday.
Isha and Anand, scions of the Ambani and Piramal business families respectively, will wed as per Indian traditions, customs and culture at the Mumbai residence of the Ambani family on December 12.
On Friday, the families started the pre-wedding functions with a special four-day 'Anna Seva' to feed 5,100 people, a majority of them with special abilities, here.

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Ambanis seek Udaipur’s blessings for their daughter’s wedding through special ‘Anna Seva’

Isha Ambani, daughter of Mukesh and Nita Ambani (seen in the background), serving food to people at an
Isha Ambani, daughter of Mukesh and Nita Ambani (seen in the background), serving food to people at an "Anna Seva" organised ahead of her wedding with Anand Piramal, in Udaipur on December 7, 2018.
Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani and his family today commenced a special "Anna Seva" in Udaipur as a mark of respect and gratitude to  the city in Rajasthan and seek its people's blessings for the upcoming wedding of their daughter Isha.
As part of the Anna Seva, the family has taken up the auspicious task of feeding 5,100 people (a majority of them with special abilities) three times every day from today till December 10 to coincide with the pre-wedding functions of Isha Ambani and Anand Piramal on December 8-9.
Family members, including Mukesh and his wife Nita Ambani, Ajay and Swati Piramal, Isha and Anand, were present at the Anna Seva function, serving people and interacting with them. The Anna Seva functions will continue for four days and will be performed three times a day at the Narayan Seva Sansthan, Udaipur, a representative of the family said in a statement.
In addition, the pre-wedding festivities will also see the setting up of a specially curated exhibit called the Swadesh Bazaar that will showcase 108 traditoinal Indian crafts and  art forms from different regions of the country for the national and international guests. Presenting the art will be master craftsmen and craftswomen themselves, who are keeping these traditional arts alive, creating an interesting experience as also an immersion into India’s cultural heritage.
"Swadesh Bazaar is a unique concept to encourage the craftsmanship of traditional Indian artisans, especially for a lot of indigenous crafts that need conservation and revival and have been supported by Reliance Foundation over the years. The Foundation aims to broaden and deepen its support to the goals of Swadesh Bazaar on a bigger and more sustainable scale in future," the statement said.
From the rich Kanjeevaram, exclusive Patola, intricate Chikankari to fine Bandhani, exhibits cover over 30 types of textiles and weaves. Depicting folktales and local legends, artists will showcase ancient painting forms like Gond, Madhubani, Phad, Warli and Thangka. Weavers, potters and sculptors from all around the country will make this a mega celebration of art and culture.
"This unique exhibit has not just provided livelihoods to thousands of such artisans, but also giving an opportunity to showcase their rare works from every nook and corner of India, for people’s interest, appreciation and support," the statement added.

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Modi used surgical strikes to avoid defeat in UP polls: Rahul

Army did 3 surgical strikes when Manmohan Singh was PM: Rahul
Congress President Rahul Gandhi launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he exploited the surgical strikes of 2016 to prevent defeat in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls last year and claimed that the UPA government did three similar strikes but kept them a secret.
He also accused Modi of claiming to be the repository of all wisdom and interfered in the "domain" of others whether it was demonetisation, foreign or agriculture ministry or the surgical strikes.
Responding to a question during an interaction with the business community and professions, Gandhi said Modi was fighting a losing political battle in Uttar Pradesh in 2016 and turned the surgical strikes into a political asset.
"He was fighting an election in UP. He was fighting a losing election. He turned a military asset (surgical strikes) into a political asset. He reached into army's domain, told them I don't care what you think. I am going to make it public.
"Narendra Modi actually reached into army domain and shaped their surgical strikes. He turned their surgical strike into a political asset when it was a military decision," he said.
Gandhi said the Congress governments were very clear about military responsibility and military domain. 
"We listen to the army. If army says that this is what we want to do, we say, yes sir, it's your job, please do it. Political domain, if they (army) come and say, we say sorry. You have no business. Please stay out.
"When army came to Manmohan Singh ji and said we want to retaliate, he (Singh) said we need to keep it a secret for our own purposes," he said adding that there were three strikes during the UPA regime and they were kept a secret as a military asset.
Rahul Gandhi's remarks came in response to a question on the alleged attack on institutions like the Supreme Court, CBI, RBI, the CVC by the Modi government and the way people from the army were entering politics. 
"The Prime Minister reaches into the military domain, tells them what to do, forces them to do something and then obviously he required V. K. Singh (former army chief)." 
Hitting out at Modi, he said that this was the confusion in the Prime Minister's mind as he was convinced that he knew better than the army what should be done in their area. 
"He knows better than the Foreign Minister with regards to what needs to be done in foreign ministry. He knows better than Agriculture Minister about what needs to be done in agriculture ministry because he has a sense that all knowledge flows from his brain. 
"Because Modi believes that the entire knowledge is with him and others know nothing. That is why he announced demonetisation. He locked up the Cabinet before the announcement. Jaitley (Finance Minister Arun Jaitley) did not know it. And you (Modi) destroyed the major economy of the world. Because you (Modi) believe that you know everything," he said.
Gandhi said that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had utmost respect for his Cabinet, for his ministers and even for Advani ji. 
"The second phone call that went from Manmohan Singh's office was to Advani after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks because the Prime Minister felt that he needs to tell him (Advani) what is going on, because he represented opposition," he said. 
"But Modi has never called me. He never called Manmohan Singh ji. Not even Advani ji," he added.

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What kind of Hindu is Modi, who does not understand foundation of Hinduism: Rahul

Congress President Rahul Gandhi attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday and asked what kind of a Hindu he is that he does not understand the foundations of Hinduism.
"It is fascinating for me that what is the essence of Hinduism. You please study Hinduism. What does Gita say? It says that Knowledge is with everybody. Knowledge is all around you. Our Prime Minister says that I am a Hindu but he does not understand the foundation of Hinduism. 
"What kind of Hindu is he? That is the contradiction," Gandhi said during an interaction with the business community and professionals here.
Gandhi alleged that Modi thought he was the repository of all wisdom and because of it he took decisions like demonetisation without consulting anybody and the surgical strikes. 
"Modi says knowledge is with me, knowledge is with me, everything .....," he said.
Drawing a comparison with late Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Congress chief said his party and Vajpayee used to fight each other "but his (Vajpayee's) tone, his language was different. He had character and respect," he said.

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SpiceJet puts Jaisalmer on country’s aviation map, to introduce more flights to Rajasthan

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.
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.

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.

Modi to inaugurate, perform bhoomi poojan for NH projects worth Rs. 15,000 crore in Rajasthan

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.

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.

BRICS Ministers for Disaster Management to meet at Udaipur on August 22-23

The 2nd Meeting of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China & South Africa) Ministers for Disaster Management will be held in Udaipur, Rajasthan on August 22-23.
The two-day meeting will focus on two distinct but inter-related themes:  Flood Risk Management; and Forecasting of Extreme Weather Events in the context of Changing Climate. 
It is a follow up of the first meeting convened by Russia in St. Petersburg on April 19-20.
Recognizing the common challenge posed by natural and man-made disasters, BRICS countries have identified disaster management as an important area of collaboration.
The Ufa Declaration signed by BRICS Nations at the 7th BRICS Summit on July 9, 2015 identified the need to promote cooperation in preventing and developing responses to emergency situations.
The declaration also acknowledged the fruitful discussions on natural disasters within the context of BRICS cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation. It also reiterated BRICS commitment to mitigate the negative impact of climate change.
All the five BRICS countries have signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. They are also parties to the adoption of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in March, 2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015.
A number of SDGs have specific targets related to Disaster Risk Management (DRM).
The country delegations to the Udaipur Meeting will be led by the Ministers of Disaster Management from the respective BRICS countries and other senior officials/ technical experts from Disaster Management Ministries/ Departments.
The participants at the meeting would share experiences on flood risk management particularly with regard to flood risk assessment, flood forecasting, early warning and emergency response.
They would also share experiences on current systems in each country for forecasting extreme weather events -- heat and cold waves, and episodes of extreme rainfall– particularly in the context of a changing climate.
The meeting would identify opportunities for collaboration between institutions of respective BRICS countries in the area of flood risk management and extreme weather related events.
During the Ministerial Meeting in Udaipur three technical sessions with key thrust areas will be held on Challenges for Disaster Risk Management, Mainstreaming DRR in key development sectors, capacity building at local level and strengthening of response mechanism.
It would also take up forecasting and early warning on floods and extreme weather events, key early warning challenges, highlights of recent scientific and technical developments, lessons learnt for ensuring last mile connectivity/community level action on early warning,  disaster risk in a changing climate, emerging disaster risks as a result of climate change and DRM practices evolving in view of emerging disaster risks in a changing climate.

IRB Infra bags Rs. 2,100 crore Udaipur-Rajasthan/Gujarat border project from NHAI

IRB Infrastructure Developers Ltd (IRB), one of the largest BOT road developers in India, today said it had emerged as a preferred bidder for National Highway Authority of India's (NHAI) project of six-laning of the 113 km Udaipur-Rajasthan/Gujarat border stretch of national highway (NH)-8.
The project, from km 287.400 to km 401.200, will be implemented on DBFOT (Toll) basis under National Highways Development Programme (NHDP) Phase V (package-V).
The estimated project cost of the company is approximately Rs. 2,100 crore and the concession period is 21 years, including construction period of 910 days.
Subject to award, IRB’s construction order book will increase to approximately Rs. 10,000 crore, to be executed in the next four years, a press release from the company added.

SpiceJet adds new flight between Udaipur, Mumbai from April 16

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet today said it would launch a new flight on the Udaipur-Mumbai route from April 16.
A press release from the airline said that, to cater to the peak summer rush, from March to October, SpiceJet had upgraded equpment and added three new flights and six new frequencies, offering more seats and connecting key metros and cities.
Ms Shilpa Bhatia, Sr. VP, Commercial, SpiceJet, said, “Our new summer schedule is an extension of our existing strategy that will cater to the robust market demand for the coming holiday season."
With the introduction of the summer schedule, the airline will increase its operation to 306 daily flights from 240 flights operated in last summer schedule, the release added.

CBI conducts raids at 10 locations in probe into Rs. 1000 crore fraud in Syndicate Bank

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today conducted raids at ten locations, including Jaipur and Udaipur in Rajasthan and in New Delhi, in connection with a major cause of fraud that has caused an alleged loss of approximately Rs. 1000 crore to the public sector Syndicate Bank.
A press release from the agency said further investigations and searches were continuing.
The agency has registered a case against a then General Manager and four other officials of the bank as well as four other persons, including a chartered accountant.
The case has been registered on a complaint from Syndicate Bank under sections 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), read with sections 409, 420, 467, 468, 471 of IPC and Sec. 13 (2) and 13 (1) (c) & (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Those against whom the case was registered inlcude the then General Manager, FGM Office, Syndicate Bank, New Delhi; then DGM, Regional Office, Syndicate Bank, Jaipur; then Chief Manager, MI Road Branch, Syndicate Bank, Jaipur; then AGM, Malviya Nagar Branch, Syndicate Bank, Jaipur; then AGM, Syndicate Bank, Udaipur; a chartered accountant and two private persons from Udaipur; a private person of Jaipur; certain private companies and other unknown public servants and private persons.
According to the release, the complaint alleged that the accused persons in connivance with the bank officials committed a fraud of approximatly Rs.1000 crore by resorting to discounting of fake cheques and bills against fake letters of credit (LCs) and arranging overdraft limit against non-existent Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) policies. 
It said the fraud was allegedly committed at branches of Syndicate Bank at Malviya Nagar & MI in Jaipur and Udaipur branch(Rajasthan). It was further alleged that since 2011, the bank officials of said branches at Jaipur and Udaipur colluded with private persons and customers and resorted to discounting of fake cheques, fake Inland Bills and arranging overdraft limit against non-existent LIC polices. The amount involved in individual transactions ranged from Rs. 40 lakh to Rs. 5 crore, approximately. A majority of the transactions were in the range of Rs. 2.50 crore to Rs. 4 crore. 
To avoid detection, many of these transactions were nullified from the proceeds of new fraudulent transactions, the release added.
As news of the raids came in, shares of Syndicate Bank slipped by 2.02 percent to Rs. 60.55 from the previous close of Rs. 61.80.

16 dead in road accident in Pratapgarh district of Rajasthan

16 dead, 22 injured in Rajasthan road mishap
At least 16 people, including 11 women, died and 22 others suffered injuries when a pick-up van carring them rammed into a stationary truck in Pratapgarh district of Rajasthan yesterday evening.
The mishap occurred around 7.15 pm in the Dholapani area of the district when the victims, mainly labourers, were on their way from Pratapgarh to Chotisadri.
Police sources in Pratapgarh said 14 people died on the spot while two others succumbed to their injuries on way to hospital.
They said 21 of the injured had been taken to Udaipur for treatment while one person was admitted to a hospital in Chotisadri.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje expressed grief over the loss of lives and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 50,000 for the next-of-kin of those killed in the accident, Rs 25,000 for those with grievous injuries and Rs 2500 for those who had minor injuries.

IndiGo adds Udaipur as its 39th destination

Low-cost carrier IndiGo today announced Udaipur in Rajasthan as its 34th domestic and 39th overall destination with effect from November 1.
The airline will introduce two daily non-stop flights from Delhi to Udaipur and Mumbai to Udaipur from date, a press release from IndiGo said.
“The announcement of new flights to and from Udaipur is a progressive step and a landmark occasion for us. We are sure that connecting Udaipur with Delhi and Mumbai will boost trade, business and tourism and benefit thousands of customers," Mr. Aditya Ghosh, President, IndiGo, said
"Adding Udaipur in our network is testimony of our commitment towards connectivity across the country’s corners bringing more and more people closer to their dreams and new opportunities. It is our constant endeavour to provide more flexibility of choice for our customers as IndiGo continues to offer them on time, hassle free and always affordable flying experience," he said.

Centre to celebrate 475th birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap in big way: Rajnath

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said the Centre had decided to celebrate the 475th birth anniversary year of Maharana Pratap all over the country in a big way and had set up a commitee for the purpose.
Inaugurating the year-long celebrations at Pratapgarh in Mewar region of Rajasthan, hesaid Maharana Pratap was a true national hero who valiantly fought to defend his motherland.
"He not only inspired the Indians but his name also became a source of inspiration for people living in other countries," he said after unveiling a statue of Maharana Pratap on the occasion.
"Maharana Pratap became an icon for freedom fighters because his name evoked a strong feeling of love and sacrifice for motherland. Even the Vietnamese people were inspired by him and it helped them in defeating a powerful country like the United States during U.S.-Vietnam war," he said.
Mr Singh said school text books in India had not been able to fully recognize Maharana Pratap's contribution and significance in the country's history.
“If Akbar can be called 'Akbar the Great' for his contribution in the history then why can't Maharana Pratap be recognised as 'Maharana Pratap the Great',” he asked.
Referring to VS Naipaul's book 'India: A Wounded Civilisation' the Minster said, "Naipaul has observed that he found India the only country in the world where history written by foreign historians is taught in textbooks. The Indian historians should pay attention to eminent authors like Naipaul and take corrective measures."
Welcoming the Rajasthan government's decision to include a chapter on national heroes like Maharana Pratap in school text books, Mr Singh said that he would speak to Union Human Resource Development Minister to consider the inclusion of chapters on these icons in CBSE text books as well. 
"Maharana Pratap was loved and admired by all sections of the society. He was loved by his subjects. On the one hand Maharana Pratap had the respect and love of a rich man like Bhamashah who gave all his wealth to him and on the other hand there were people from 'Bheel' tribe who faithfully fought many battles with him against a mighty army. Even the animals like his horse Chetak and his elephants loved him till their last breath," he added.

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Lakshyaraj Singh of Mewar family gets engaged to Nivritti Kumari of Balangir

Lakshyaraj Singh, the only son of Arvind Singh Mewar and Vijayraj Kumari of the Mewar family, the erstwhile ruling dynasty of Udaipur, got engaged to Nivritti Kumari Singh Deo of the former royal of family of Balangir at a ceremony at the Fateh Prakash Palace in the City Palace here yesterday.
Lakshyaraj of the Mewar family at the 'tilak shrifal dastoor' ceremony, marking his engagement to Nivritti Kumari of Balangir family, in Udaipur on December 5, 2013.
Lakshyaraj of the Mewar family at the 'tilak shrifal dastoor' ceremony, marking his engagement to Nivritti Kumari of Balangir family, in Udaipur on December 5, 2013.
The ceremony was performed in true Mewari tradition in keeping with the commitment of living heritage, a statement from the House of Mewar said.
Lakshyaraj Singh is a direct descendant of luminaries in Indian history such as Maharana Sanga and Maharana Pratap. Following the footsteps of his father, he has taken over several key responsibilities in the family business and was recently promoted to the position of Executive Director of HRH Group of Hotels. 
Nivritti Kumari is the only child of Odisha Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo and former Balangir MP Sangeeta Singh Deo.
The engagement ceremony, known as the ‘Tilak Shrifal Dastoor’, is a ceremony, during which the bride’s father, her brother and other close male relatives brought the 'tilak' for the groom from Patna Balangir. In this ceremony, only the men from the bride's side participate while all from the groom’s side are present.
This ceremony is so called because, according to tradition, the bride’s brother applies a tilak on the groom’s forehead which makes the alliance or engagement official. A sword, clothes, fruits, sweets and other presents are offered to the groom. 
The event marked the beginning of the festivities for Lakshyaraj’s wedding with Nivritti Kumari on January 21.
The House of Mewar, is said to be the world's oldest serving dynasty.


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Magic Holidays launches three new properties in India, one in Singapore

The United-21 Royal Resort at Todgarh, Rajasthan, one of the four new resorts launched by Magic Holidays
The United-21 Royal Resort at Todgarh, Rajasthan, one of the four new resorts launched by Magic Holidays
Magic Holidays, a timeshare product from the Panoramic Group, has announced the launch of three new properties at Todgarh, Udaipur and Mahabaleshwar in India and one in Singapore.
The United-21 Royal Resort, Todgarh is a heritage style property, surrounded by the Aravalli mountains, is located near Todgarh in Rajasthan, acessible from Jodhpur airport as well as the Todgarh railway station.
A press release from the company said the United-21 Lake City Resort, Udaipur in Rajasthan is spread over three lakh square feet and has 23 rooms with business amenities and other facilities. It is located close to the Udaipur airport on National Highway 46 and is aimed at both business travellers as well as leisure tourists.
The United-21, Mahabaleshwar is in the hill station of Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra and will cater to both busines and leisure traellers.
Magic Holidays Resort, Singapore is located in St Thomas Walk and is close to the major shopping malls in Singapore. 
“Our expansion is driven by a strategic and focused approach of adding new properties to deliver an improved, unique vacation experience. We are catering to needs of our customers with global expansion too. We strive to provide best-in-class holiday experience with variety of options and giving ‘Unforgettable Times’ to our valued customers," Mr. Hitesh Kshatriya, COO of Panoramic Group of Companies, said.
"With a tool like timeshare holidays, we are positive about guaranteeing our customers with memorable holidays for the next 25 years at a cost that doesn’t burn a hole in their pockets," he said.
Magic Holidays has a tie-up with Resort Condominium International (RCI) to facilitate a range of holiday options. In addition to this, to aid their expansion plans the company has also adopted a franchise model that has helped them spread their network throughout the country, the release added.

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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.

World’s first silver museum opens at City Palace Complex, Udaipur

A haudah, one of the exhibits at the newly-opened Silver Museum at Udaipur in Rajasthan.
A haudah, one of the exhibits at the newly-opened Silver Museum at Udaipur in Rajasthan.

Mr Arvind Singh Mewar, head of the erstwhile ruling Mewar dynasty of Udaipur, has unveiled a silver museum, said to be the first of its kind of the world, filled with family heirlooms dating back to 743 AD.

Mr Mewar is the Chairman & Managing Trustee of Maharana of the Mewar Charitable Foundation (MMCF) and 76th Custodian of the House of Mewar.
The opening of the museum coincided with the MMCF’s annual award ceremony in recognition of international and national scholars for their work of permanent value to society.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mewar dwelt upon the personal value of some of the exhibits, including the 1939 custom-made buggy, which formed part of his late mother’s dowry, and the wedding mandap where he gave away his daughter two years ago.
The museum is housed in the renowned Amar Mahal, which is located at the entrance of Zenana Mahal and said to be the inspiration for the Taj Mahal in Agra. It includes pieces ranging from objects used in rituals such as Ram Rewaris (portable shrine for religious deity), traditional royal transport like the haudah used for mounting elephants in religious, state and military processions.
Royal buggies and palanquins are also part of the exhibition. The works on display illustrate the result of the longstanding historical relationships between the House of Mewar and both the Rajput courts and the Mughal establishment, as well as showcasing indigenous artisan techniques.
The current modernization and renovation of the Zenana Mahal at the City Palace Museum is being undertaken with financial assistance from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India,  under the scheme 'Setting Up, Promotion & Strengthening of Regional & Local Museums'.

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Mewar's 1924 Rolls-Royce first Indian entry to win at Pebble Beach, USA

Mr Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur, the scion of the House of Mewar, said to be the world's oldest-living dynasty, has becomes the first Indian ever to win at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California, United States.

A press release from the House of Mewar said his 1924 Rolls-Royce 20 HP, Barker Tourer (GLK 21), which was selected by the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance panel to participate in the event, won the Lucius Beebe Trophy on August 19, 2012. 
The trophy is awarded to the Rolls-Royce considered most in the tradition of Lucius Beebe who served among Pebble Beach’s early judges.
On this occasion, the House of Mewar also released a 194-page coffee table book dedicated to the history and restoration of this favourite royal car of Udaipur along with the family’s association with Rolls-Royce over seven generations. 
The release said the House of Mewar has always encouraged various car rallies by actively supporting them. The participation in the Pebble Beach event is another illustration of the royal family’s commitment to protect and showcase their living heritage in order to promote the idea and its importance, it said.
The coffee table book titled ‘The Royal Udaipur RR GLK 21 Classic drive from Derby to Udaipur to Pebble Beach and…Continues’ relives the car’s journey from being bought to be cannibalized for its spare parts to becoming a family favourite.
After being put out to pasture in a corner in Zenana Mahal in The City Palace, the RR GLK 21 was spotted by Mr Mewar, who then gave expression to his passion for restoring classic cars and resurrected it to its former glory.
“India was the ultimate destination for many of Rolls-Royce’s early cars because the Indian Maharanas and Maharajas were only too happy to make the transition from horse-drawn carriages to a car. Back in the old days, this venerable marquee found pride of place for state visits, ceremonies and festivals. In some instances they were also used for hunting and were retro-fitted to accommodate cricket teams. By participating in this event, we want to showcase our legacy and our heritage – because today ‘Living Heritage’ has more currency than luxury whose definition is so dynamic,” the 76th Custodian of the House of Mewar said on the eve of the conclusion of Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California. 

L&T bags Rs 2164 crore highway six-laning project from GMR Infrastructure

Engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said it had bagged a major order valued at Rs 2164 crore from GMR Infrastructure.
A press release from L&T said the order was for construction of stretches consisting of six laning of Kishangarh-Udaipur-Ahmedabad Highway. The development would be executed on EPC (engineering, procurement & construction) basis, it said.
The Kishangarh-Udaipur-Ahmedabad project is a mega project and part of Phase V of the National Highways Development Programme (NHDP) of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
It is aimed at upgrading the existing four lane section of the Golden Quadrilateral to six lane.
The National Highway-8 (NH-8) connects the national capital, Delh, and the business capital, Mumbai.

Shakira in Udaipur

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira in Udaipur
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador singer Shakira with  a group of poor  adolescent girls  to talk about  educating and empowering girls to break the cycle of poverty and inequity – nationally and globally in Udaipur on November 16, 2011. UNI PHOTO
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador singer Shakira with a group of poor adolescent girls to talk about educating and empowering girls to break the cycle of poverty and inequity – nationally and globally in Udaipur on November 16, 2011. UNI PHOTO

Sohrabuddin encounter case : escaped witness-accomplice nabbed


A witness in the infamous Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, who escaped from the Gujarat Police's custody here, was re-arrested last night, police said.

Sylvester Daniel, a vital witness and accomplice of slain criminal Sohrabuddin Sheikh - who was allegedly killed by the Gujarat Police - in a fake encounter in 2005 - was re-arrested by the local police last night near his residence here.

Sylvester, a member of Sheikh’s gang, fled from custody on Friday night while being escorted back to Vadodara by the Gujarat police after attending a court hearing in a 2007 case.

Sohrabuddin Sheikh case: Slain Sheikh's accomplice flees

A witness in the infamous case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter escaped from the Gujarat police's custody here last night.

Police said today that Sylvester, a vital witness and accomplice of slain criminal Sohrabuddin Sheikh who was allegedly killed by the Gujarat police in a fake encounter in 2005, was being escorted back to Ahmedabad by the Gujarat police after attending a court hearing here when he succeeded in giving the slip to the police.

The undertrial requested the police to allow him to answer nature's call while their jeep was passing by Hiran Magri area here last night.

The police let him go to bushes along the roadside but he escaped from there, the sources said adding that a manhunt has been launched to nab him.

An FIR has been lodged at the local police station by the Gujarat police, sources said.


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