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Varanasi

Modi performs ‘Swachhta Shramdaan’ in Varanasi, visits ‘Pashudhan Arogya Mela’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday performed ‘shramdaan’ for the construction of a twin pit toilet at Shahanshahpur village in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, the national cleanliness campaign.

 
Governance is not about vote banks: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today performed ‘shramdaan’ for the construction of a twin pit toilet at Shahanshahpur village in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, the national cleanliness campaign.
 
Mr. Modi, who was on a two-day visit to his Lok Sabha constituency, interacted with the people, who have resolved to make the village open-defecation-free (ODF). He appreciated their initiative of naming the toilet "Izzat Ghar."
 
Mr Modi also visited a ‘Pashudhan Arogya Mela’ organised at the village. He was briefed on various health and medical activities being performed at the premises. These included surgeries on cattle, ultrasonography, and so on.
 
Addressing a gathering on the occasion, the Prime Minister congratulated Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the State Government for the successful setting up of the Pashudhan Arogya Mela. This is a new effort which would benefit the animal husbandry sector in the State, he said.
 
The increase in milk productivity will lead to economic benefit for the people. Cooperatives can help consolidate the gains in the dairy sector, as has been the case in other parts of the country.
 
Describing the well-being of people as the priority for governance, the Prime Minister reiterated the pledge to double farm incomes by 2022. He noted that soil health cards are benefiting farmers significantly. “Each one of us should resolve to make a positive contribution by 2022, to achieve the India that our freedom fighters dreamt of,” he added.
 
Mr. Modi said the feeling of "cleanliness being our responsibility" needs to be inculcated among all. He said this would go a long way towards ensuring wellness, and protecting the health of the poor. He said Swachhta is like a prayer for him and cleanliness a way to serve the poor.
 
On the first day of his Varanasi visit yesterday, Mr Modi visited the historic Tulsi Manas temple in the evening. He released a postal stamp on “Ramayana,” on this occasion.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said stamps have a special place in society. “They are a wonderful way to preserve our history,” he added. The Prime Minister also spoke of how the life and ideals of Lord Rama continue to inspire everyone. He later visited the Durga Mata Temple and Durga Kund.
 
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Modi files papers from Varanasi; vows to clean up Ganga, serve weavers

BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Thursday filed his nomination papers for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and vowed to turn it into the spiritual capital of the world, clean up the mighty Ganga river and put its famed weavers back on the road to prosperity.

 
Modi files his nomination papers from Varanasi
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi today filed his nomination papers for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections from  Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and vowed to turn it into the spiritual capital of the world, clean up the mighty Ganga river and put its famed weavers back on the road to prosperity.
 
"Mother Ganga has called me to Varanasi. I don't think anyone has sent me here nor have I come here. Like a child returning to his mother's arms, I have come here to Ganga," he told mediapersons outside the district collectorate before filing his papers.
 
Mr Modi's main rivals in Varanasi are Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and local Congress leader Ajay Rai.
 
Well-known classical vocalist Channulal Mishra, retired Allahabad High Court judge Giridhar Malaviya, a boatman Virbhadra Nishad and Ashok, a weaver, were among those who signed Mr Modi's nomination papers as proposers.
 
Senior BJP leaders Amit Shah, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
Mr Modi is also contesting for a seat in the Lok Sabha from Vadodara in Gujarat, where his main rival is senior Congress leader Madhusudhan Mistry. 
 
Vadodara will go to the polls on April 30, while Varanasi will vote on May 12 in the final round of the nine-phase elections.
 
“The Modi wave in the country has turned into a tsunami after Mr Modi filed  his papers from here today and it will wipe out all other parties such as the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Congress in Uttar Pradesh,” Mr Shah, one of Mr Modi’s closest confidants, told reporters later.
 
Earlier, Mr Modi, 63, arrived in Varanasi this morning to a resounding welcome by thousands of his party's supporters who lined up both sides of the streets on his route to the collectorate. On the way, he paid tributes at the statues of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, the renowned educationist, and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India's first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister. Incidentally, Mr Giridhar Malaviya is a grandson of Madan Mohan Malaviya.
 
Mr Modi, who has been the Chief Minister of Gujarat since late 2001, told reporters that he had been able to change the fortunes of kite makers, who are mainly Muslims, in his state by modernising the industry and introducing new technology and marketing tools and was confident he would be able to achieve similar changes for the weaver community of Varanasi, again made up largely of Muslims.
 
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He also spoke about his success in cleaning up the Sabarmati river that flows through Ahmedabad, the main city of Gujarat, and building a modern waterfront there, and hoped to develop the Ganga in Varanasi in similar fashion.
 
"Varanasi is the cradle of India’s glorious culture, a confluence of tradition, history, culture and harmony. This is the blessed land of the Sankat Mochan temple. The spiritual power of this land is exceptional. It drew people from all over the world, who came to this land in search of peace and Moksha. It was in Sarnath, that Gautama Buddha delivered his first sermon after attaining Enlightenment. Varanasi is the birthplace of the venerable Sant Ravidas. It was in Benaras that Mahatma Kabir was born, lived and shared his wisdom. Mirza Ghalib described Benaras as ‘Kaba-E-Hindustan’ and ‘Chirag-E-Dair’ or the light of the world.  When Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya had to select a place to set up a centre of learning, it was not a surprise that he chose Benaras. No mention of Varanasi is complete without remembering (shehnai player) Ustad Bismillah Khan, arguably the greatest symbol of Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb. Ustad Bismillah Khan Sahab’s love for Varanasi is legendary," Mr Modi said in his blog today before he reached Varanasi.
 
"We envision Varanasi as a World Heritage Site that is able to draw both devotees and those who wish to understand and absorb India’s culture. This means creating state-of-the-art tourist and infrastructure facilities for Varanasi. And it is my firm belief that once we are able to give the required impetus to tourism, it will not only bring more tourists but also enhance the livelihood of the poorest of the poor. More tourists means more income for those associated with temples, those who are living on the Ghats, those who ride the ferries on the Ganga…the entire town and surrounding areas will receive a much needed facelift," he said.
 
"Ganga is the lifeline of Varanasi and is at the core of our identity- She is our Mother. Unfortunately, governments have not been able to devote the attention that should have been given to Ganga. The condition of the Ganga in several parts of UP is pitiable. We can’t let this go on anymore! Need of the hour is to work towards cleaning the Ganga and restoring it to its previous glory. In 1986 the Government of the day brought the Ganga Action Plan but it merely remained a plan, the action was missing. Budgets were allocated but the money was never used for the intended purpose. The condition of the Varuna too is similar. Now is the time for urgent action to solve this anomaly!
 
"And when I talk about my commitment to clean the Ganga, it is not a mere promise. When I took over as CM in 2001 the condition of Sabarmati was similar. It was better known for hosting circuses and children playing cricket. Switch to 2014 and things are very different! We have brought water from the Narmada and now water flows through the Sabarmati. A world class Sabarmati River Front was created, which has emerged as a popular recreation and cultural spot in Ahmedabad. With the blessings of Baba Bholenath, this is what we intend to replicate in Varanasi.
 
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"It is not only the Ganga that has become the victim of sheer negligence. We are firm in our commitment to address the issues of cleanliness in Varanasi so that we can give the citizens of Varanasi a clean and green city. We will focus on solid waste management right from collecting the waste to treating it. Similarly, the poor waste disposal practices over the years have not served the people of Varanasi well. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that such occurrences are history within a very short period of time. Within a fixed timeframe, the problems of solid waste management, sewer and chemical waste will be successfully mitigated," he said.
 
Mr Modi said the weavers of Varanasi had suffered due to apathy of the governments in Delhi and Lucknow.
 
"It is my firm resolve to infuse this sector with latest technology and qualitative value addition so that the weavers of Varanasi become our pride at the world level. From ensuring that they get quality raw material to better marketing of their products, it is my resolve to ensure that they stand on their own feet with pride and their future generations have a bright future," he added.
 
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Modi dedicates Bansagar canal project to the nation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the Bansagar canal project to the nation at Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.

 
Fulfilled our promise to give 1.5 times of MSP: Modi
 
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the Bansagar canal project to the nation at Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh today.
 
This project will provide a big boost to irrigation in the region and benefit farmers in Mirzapur and Allahabad districts of the state.
 
Mr Modi also laid the foundation stone of the Mirzapur Medical College. He inaugurated 100 Jan Aushadhi Kendras in the state. He also dedicated a bridge over the Ganga at Balughat, Chunar, which will facilitate connectivity between Mirzapur and Varanasi.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said the Mirzapur region holds immense potential. In this context, he referred to his previous visit along with French President Emmanuel Macron for the inauguration of a solar plant.
 
The Prime Minister also mentioned the various development projects and works that he has either inaugurated or laid the foundation stone, over the last two days.
 
He said the Bansagar project had been first conceptualized about four decades ago, and the foundation stone was laid in 1978. However, the project was unduly delayed. After 2014, this project was made a part of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, and all efforts were made to complete it.
 
Talking about measures taken for the welfare of farmers by the Union Government, Mr Modi mentioned the recent increase in MSP for Kharif crops.
 
He spoke of the measures taken to provide affordable healthcare to the poor, including Jan Aushadhi Kendras. The Swachh Bharat Mission was also proving effective in controlling diseases. The health assurance scheme ‘Ayushman Bharat’ would be rolled out soon, he added.
 
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Modi launches development projects worth Rs. 900 crore in Varanasi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated or laid the foundation stone of important projects, cumulatively worth over Rs 900 crore, his Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh today.
 
Among the projects inaugurated are the Varanasi City Gas Distribution Project and the Varanasi-Ballia MEMU train. Foundation stones were 0laid for the PanchkoshiParikrama Marg and several projects under the Smart City Mission and Namaami Gange. 
 
Mr Modi also laid the foundation stone for an International Convention Centre in Varanasi.
 
Addressing a public meeting on the occasion, the Prime Minister began by congratulating the young athlete Hima Das for winning the gold medal in the 400 meters event in the Under 20 World Athletics Championship.
 
He said for the last four years, efforts were being made to develop the city of Kashi in accordance with the requirements of the 21st century, keeping its ancient identity intact. A new Banaras that blends spirituality and modernity was being developed for a new India, he added.
 
He said a glimpse of this new Banaras is now visible all around. Significant investment has been made in Varanasi over the last four years. The projects that were either inaugurated or for which the foundation stone was laid today, form a part of this ongoing exercise.
 
The Prime Minister elaborated upon his vision of Transformation through Transportation, and said laying of the foundation stone of the Poorvanchal Expressway at Azamgarh was part of the exercise.
 
He said Varanasi was emerging as a centre for medical science in the region. The Banaras Hindu University (BHU) will work with AIIMS to develop a world-class health institute.
 
Mr Modi referred to the poor condition of roads and other infrastructure in Varanasi, four years ago. The waste of the city was going unchecked into the Ganga. Today, he said, by contrast, efforts were underway to clean the Ganga from Gangotri till the ocean.
 
Elaborating on the various projects for sewage treatment, he said the fruits of all these efforts would become apparent in the future. Work was in full swing for an Integrated Command and Control Centre, that would make Varanasi a Smart City.
 
The Smart City Initiative is not just a mission to improve infrastructure in cities, but also a mission to give India a new identity. He complimented the State Government for its Industrial Policy, and investment climate and said the results have started to become evident. 
 
He mentioned the mobile manufacturing unit of Samsung, inaugurated recently in Noida. Mobile manufacturing units were creating lakhs of jobs.
 
Speaking of the city gas distribution project, the Prime Minister said that 8000 houses in Varanasi have already received piped cooking gas connections. He also mentioned the use of CNG as fuel for public transport in the city.
 
Referring to how the city had welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and French President Emmanuel Macron, he said another occasion for Varanasi to showcase its hospitality was coming soon, with the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in January 2019.
 
Laying the foundation stone of the Poorvanchal Expressway in Azamgarh, he described the occasion as the start of a new chapter in the development journey of the State. The 340 km-long expressway would transform the towns and cities that it passes through. It would also provide swifter connectivity between Delhi and Ghazipur, he added.
 
New industry and institutions can develop along the Expressway. It would also boost tourism in the places of historical significance in the region.
 
Connectivity is necessary for development today. The National Highway network in Uttar Pradesh has almost doubled in four years. In this context, he also spoke of initiatives in air connectivity and water connectivity. An effort was being made to make the eastern part of the country into a new corridor of development.
 
On digital connectivity, he mentioned that optical fibre connectivity had been provided for one lakh Panchayats so far, and added that three lakh Common Service Centres are now making the lives of people simpler.
 
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The Union Government has also taken initiatives for the weavers of this region including modern machines, loans at low interest and the Trade Facilitation Centre in Varanasi, he added.
 
A press release from public sector natural gas major GAIL (India) Limited said the Varanasi CGD network, which is being implemented by it at a cost of Rs. 755 crore, would cover 1,535 sq. km. and cater to a population of 36.76 lakhs. 
 
Two Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations have started commercial operations while another 18 will be set up in the coming years. Overall, 20,000 vehicles are expected to use CNG in the city.
 
Besides, Piped Natural Gas (PNG) connection work for 8,000 houses has been completed which are expected to be connected by March 2019. About 1 lakh households are likely to be covered in the project.
 
Steel pipeline has already been laid for 28 km and medium density polyethylene (MDPE) pipe laying for 102 km completed. About 800 km of steel and MDPE pipelines will be laid in the city as part of the project.
 
The CGD network will also cover four industrial areas and can cater to 150 industries and 500 commercial enterprises. It is expected to give direct employment to 1,000 people and indirect employment to many more.
 
The Varanasi CGD project was developed simultaneously with the Jagdishpur – Haldia & Bokaro – Dhamra/ Barauni- Guwahati Pipeline Project (JHBDPL/BGPL), popularly known as the ‘Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga’.
 
The pipeline project of total length 3,291 km is being executed at the cost of about Rs. 13,000 Crore. It will cater to the energy requirements of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Assam covering 70 districts and 3,150 villages.
 
Besides Varanasi, CGD networks are also being developed by GAIL at Patna, Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack enroute the pipeline.
 
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Modi to visit eastern UP on July 14-15

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay a two-day visit to Varanasi, Azamgarh and Mirzapur districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh on July  14-15.
 
At Azamgarh tomorrow, Mr. Modi will lay the foundation stone of the 340 km Poorvanchal Expressway.
 
The road will connect several important and historical towns of eastern Uttar Pradesh, including Barabanki, Amethi, Sultanpur, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Mau and Ghazipur – with the State capital – Lucknow. Once it is complete, Delhi will be connected via an expressway, to several major towns and cities of the State of Uttar Pradesh, from Noida in the west, to Ghazipur in the east.
 
In Varanasi, the Prime Minister will dedicate, or lay the foundation stone of important projects, cumulatively worth over Rs. 900 crore. Among the projects to be dedicated are the Varanasi City Gas Distribution Project, and the Varanasi-Ballia EMU train. Foundation stones will be laid for the Panchkoshi Parikrama Marg, and several projects under the Smart City Mission and Namaami Gange. He will also lay the foundation stone for an International Convention Centre in Varanasi.
 
At a separate event, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Yogi Adityanath, will release a book titled “Meri Kashi,” in the presence of the Prime Minister.
 
On July 15, Mr. Modi will visit Mirzapur, where he will dedicate the Bansagar Canal Project to the Nation. This project will provide a big boost to irrigation in the region, and will be greatly beneficial for the farmers of Mirzapur and Allahabad districts of Uttar Pradesh, an official press release said.
 
At the same event, he will lay the foundation stone of the Mirzapur Medical College. He will inaugurate 108 Jan Aushadhi Kendras in the State. He will also dedicate a bridge over the River Ganga at Balughat,Chunar, which will facilitate connectivity between Mirzapur and Varanasi, the release added.
 
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His pleas unheard, UP minister himself starts work on road

 
Message to govt that we are not dependent on them: Rajbhar
 
 
In a major embarrassment to the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, senior Cabinet Minister and Suhaildev Bahujan Samaj Party (SBSP) President Om Prakash Rajbhar on Saturday took up labour work for construction work of a road outside his house in Fatehpur Khonda village of Varanasi.
 
Sporting a yellow turban, symbolic of his party, the miffed Backward Classes Welfare and Disabled People Development Minister started leveling the road and clearing the mud, accusing the state government of doing nothing on his request, made six months ago, for construction of a road outside his house in the village.
 
"If a minister cannot get a road made, just think of what people would be going through," the angry son of Rajbhar told IANS over phone.
 
Rajbhar's elder son Arvind Rajbhar was married on June 21 and the reception is scheduled at his native village on Sunday, which is likely to be attended by many VVIPs and dignitaries, including BJP national President Amit Shah, state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Organisational Secretary of the party Sunil Bansal and many state ministers.
 
National General Secretary of the SBSP Arun Rajbhar said the Minister and his family had brought to the attention of the district administration and senior officials about the pitiable condition of the road and the impending wedding for the last six months but the "petitions had fallen on deaf ears". 
 
"We were left with no option but to start working ourselves as there is very little time for the marriage reception," Arun Rajbhar said.
 
Rajbhar has been critical of Yogi Adityanath government for the past one year and has publicly castigated the alleged wrongs of the state government of which he is a part of.
 
He revolted and almost voted against the BJP candidates in the Rajya Sabha biennial elections in April, until Amit Shah intervened and salvaged the near-certain embarrassment for the ruling party.
 
Earlier this month, Rajbhar also met senior SP leader Shivpal Singh Yadav, triggering speculation of a possible realignment of the backward forces in the state in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. 
 
IANS
 
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18 die as under-construction Varanasi flyover collapses

 
16 dead as under-construction flyover collapses in Varanasi
 
 
At least 18 persons were killed when a section of an under-construction flyover collapsed in Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an official said on Tuesday.
 
Two dozen persons were injured in the tragedy near the Cantonment railway station here. The flyover was being constructed by the Uttar Pradesh State Bridge Corporation.
 
Many cars were buried under the collapsed structure, district officials said, adding that the death toll could go up once the debris was cleared.
 
Three persons were pulled alive out of the crashed structure. Two persons admitted at a medical facility were said to be in a critical condition, an official spokesman told IANS. 
 
A crane belonging to the National Highways Authority of India pulled out all vehicles that were crushed under the collapsed flyover portion.
 
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath would reach Varanasi late in the night to take stock of the situation, the official said.
 
Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar said that seven NDRF teams comprising 325 rescuers have been deployed at the spot to carry out rescue. 
 
"Sixteen bodies have been recovered so far. Three persons have been pulled out alive from under the debris," he told IANS earlier, adding that three-four people could still be trapped.
 
The Uttar Pradesh government constituted a three-member committee of Agriculture Production Commissioner Raj Pratap Singh, Irrigation Department Chief Engineer Bhupendra Sharma and Jal Nigam Managing Director Rajesh Mittal to probe the collapse and submit a report within 48 hours.
 
The team had been asked to immediately leave for Varanasi and hold investigations.
 
Varanasi District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra said their prime focus for now was on rescue and relief.
 
Work on the flyover between Chauka Ghat bus stand and Lahartara had been initiated during the Samajwadi Party rule.
 
The Chief Minister mourned the loss of lives and directed officials to ensure prompt rescue and relief, a state government spokesman said.
 
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya has already left for the spot.
 
A compensation of Rs 5 lakh each has been announced for the families of the dead and Rs 2 lakh for critically injured.
 
IANS
 
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16 killed in Varanasi flyover collapse, probe ordered

 
16 dead as under-construction flyover collapses in Varanasi
 
 
At least 16 persons were killed and another four were trapped under rubble after a span of an under-construction flyover collapsed in Varanasi -- the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an official said on Tuesday.
 
The mishap took place in front of the local Cantonment railway station. Two dozen persons have been injured in the incident, a police official said.
 
Many cars have been buried under the heap of rubble, district officials said, adding that the death toll could go up once the operation to clear the debris is completed.
 
The flyover was being constructed by the Uttar Pradesh State Bridge Corporation.
 
Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar informed that seven NDRF teams comprising 325 men have been deployed at the mishap site. "16 dead bodies have been recovered so far and three persons have been pulled out alive from under the debris," he told IANS, adding that three or four people could still be trapped.
 
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government has constituted a three-member committee comprising Agriculture Production Commissioner (APC) Raj Pratap Singh, Irrigation Chief Engineer Bhupendra Sharma and Rajesh Mittal, the Managing Director of UP Jal Nigam, to probe the incident and submit a report within the next 48-hours.
 
The team has been asked to immediately leave for Varanasi and hold investigations.
 
Varanasi District Magistrate Yogeshwar Ram Mishra said for now their prime focus is on rescue and relief work.
 
Work on the flyover between Chauka Ghat bus stand and Lahartara had been initiated during the regime of the Samajwadi Party (SP).
 
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has mourned the loss of lives in the mishap and directed officials to ensure prompt rescue and relief, a state government spokesman informed. 
 
Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya has already left for the site of mishap, he said. 
 
A compensation of Rs 5 lakh each has been announced for the families of dead and Rs 2 lakh for those critically injured in the mishap.
 
IANS
 

12 killed, 50 injured as under-construction flyover collapses in Varanasi

 
12 dead as under-construction flyover collapses in Varanasi
 
 
An under-construction flyover collapsed in Varanasi on Tuesday, killing 12 people while over 50 persons are feared trapped under the debris.
 
Many cars have been buried under the heap of rubble, district officials said, adding that the death toll could go up.
 
Rescue operation has been initiated to clear the debris of the flyover, which was being constructed by the Uttar Pradesh State Bridge Corporation. 
 
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the loss of lives in the incident.
 
Modi tweeted: "Extremely saddened by the loss of lives due to the collapse of an under-construction flyover in Varanasi. I pray that the injured recover soon. Spoke to officials and asked them to ensure all possible support to those affected."
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Ozone pollution can damage wheat crop: Study

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Air pollution is not only injurious to human health, but also to plant life. Scientists from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have found that most wheat cultivars developed after the year 2000 are more sensitive to damage due to ozone, a by-product of air pollution. This can affect wheat productivity under field conditions.
 
On the ground, ozone is produced by reaction of nitrites and volatile organic compounds released in abundance by automobiles and industries. There has been a rise in ozone levels since the industrial revolution and the levels are projected to increase further.
 
“Once it enters plants, ozone can cause oxidative stress and affect their photosynthetic machinery. Often the leaves start yellowing and lose the ability to fix carbon dioxide into food. All these changes can decrease crop yield,” Dr Shashi Bhushan Agrawal, Professor at the Department of Botany, BHU, who led the study, told India Science Wire.
 
Wheat crop is particularly sensitive to ozone. So researchers assessed the extent of ozone toxicity in 14 varieties of wheat that have been developed over a period of 42 years (1970-2012). Selected wheat cultivars were grown in specially designed open top chambers at BHU campus between December2014 and March 2015. One group of cultivars was grown in ambient ozone concentration, while the other group was subjected to elevated ozone levels.
 
At the end of the experiment, plants were uprooted and compared in terms of yield, total biomass, growth and functional leaf area. The researchers found that all the plants exposed to higher ozone levels carried greater signs of ozone damage. There were spots on leaves, decreased root and shoot length and reductionin dry weight.
 
The intensity of ozone toxicity varied highly between all the 14 cultivars. Only 5-8% of leaf area was damaged in old cultivars as opposed to 12-19% non-functional leaf area in new varieties.
 
Similar trends were also found for plant height, root growth and shoot growth. Scientists also noticed that grain yield was adversely affected in most varieties developed after the year 2000.
 
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“This is because while developing new varieties, breeders try to maximize the photosynthetic rates of crops. But to make more food, plants need to absorb more carbon dioxide. So they open their pores --stomatas -- for longer periods of time. Ozone present in the environment can also gain easy entry into the plants through their stomata and damage the cells,” said Prof. Agrawal.
 
Dr. Vivek Pandey, senior scientist at the National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow finds this study useful as it tested a large number of wheat varieties against ozone toxicity. “The study has identified certain important traits which provide tolerance to wheat varieties against high ozone and these traits could be potentially useful for developing future ozone tolerant wheat varieties,” Dr Pandey, who is not involved with the BHU study, told India Science Wire. 
 
Prof. Agrawal believes that this study will prompt more breeders to select ozone resistance as a desirable trait for wheat varieties. This has implication for prominent wheat producing regions in India like the Indo-Gangetic plain that suffer from heavy ozone pollution.
 
The research team included Aditya Abha Singh, Adeeb Fatima, Nivedita Chaudhary, Amit Kumar Mishra, Arideep Mukherjee and Madhoolika Agrawal from BHU. The study, published in journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, was funded by the Science and Engineering Research Board of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Once decrepit, Varanasi's Balaji Ghat gets a makeover

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It's a city considered sacred by Hindus and is among the oldest in the world to have been continually inhabited. As the Ganges river flows past its ghats, all 88 of them, each one has a historical tale to tell -- if only the walls could speak.

One such is the Balaji Ghat, which is more popularly known as the abode of legendary shehnai artist Ustad Bismillah Khan for his early morning "riyaaz". It is said that the late musician would start his day from the 'naubatkhana' of the Balaji Ghat Palace and enthral listeners.

Built in 1735 by Maratha king Balaji Peshwa, it is an integral part of the riverfront and forms a part of the larger Panchganga Ghat. But the place turned into a pile of debris when four floors of the building completely collapsed in 1999. And again in September 2009, the floor of the naubatkhana also collapsed.

Realising the survival crisis that this culturally-rich structure was facing, INTACH carried out an initial documentation of the building in 2009. And, in 2012, INTACH nominated it for World Monuments Watch (WMW) and decided to take the initiative for renovating it -- after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) granted it permission to do so.

After seven years of hard work and much effort, the building has been restored to its past glory and has also been thrown open to the public. A bonus to this heritage building is the museum which has placed all the antique pieces for display.

"We realised the need for immediate work and started off. Since it was a very vital project we involved only INTACH members for the restoration work," Bindu Manchanda of INTACH told IANS.

And for the smooth functioning of the restoration project, American Express extended its helping hand towards INTACH and contributed Rs 1.5 crore for the entire work.

"It is a partnership between INTACH and American Express. The hard work has paid off and we are very happy with the outcome. It was great to be able to contribute"to the protection of a heritage monument, Manoj Adlakha, SVP and CEO, American Express Banking Corp., India, told IANS.

For the past two decades, American Express has partnered with a number of leading preservation organisations, including World Monuments Fund, to preserve and build awareness for at-risk heritage sites, and engage the public in preservation efforts around the world. Till date, American Express has granted more than $60 million in support for hundreds of preservation projects globally.

"Varanasi is a spiritual place; it is deeply rooted in culture and heritage. We have been doing a lot of work related to our CSR initiatives and we will continue doing so from time to time," Adlakha added.

According to INTACH, some prime reasons for the poor condition of the building were natural calamities, earthquakes, floods, lack of regular maintenance and decay of timber due to exposure to excessive moisture.

But when INTACH started off, there were many obstacles it needed to overcome, some major ones being encroachment, dumped waste in and around the building, inappropriate wiring, stagnant water near the building and clogged drains, to name just a few.

"Another problem that we faced was clearing the debris. We had to be very careful while doing so because many of the portions were in stable condition and we had to save and keep them intact. This was a challenge," Manchanda explained.

The restoration was not easy. There was a need to be sensitive and carry it out in a manner that the integrity and authenticity of the palace were not damaged.

"The choice of building materials needed to complement this historic palace. Achieving structural stability was another important component of the activity," Manchanda said.

However, she lamented that some of the front portions of the building couldn't be completed as the Varanasi Development Authority (VDA) didn't grant permission to do so.

"It is unfortunate that some parts have been left out; this doesn't complement the restored part. VDA should give us the permission to complete the work because it is a piece of history. Also, we are looking for more financial cooperation from other MNCs," she added.

IANS

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Unnao rape case: CBI detains accused BJP legislator

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday detained BJP legislator Kuldeep Singh Sengar who has been accused in the alleged gang rape of a 17-year-old girl, officials said.
 
He has been taken to the CBI office here where he is currently being interrogated. 
 
However, Sengar, the Bharatiya Janata Party legislator from Unnao, has yet not been arrested.
 
The girl tried to set herself on fire outside the Chief Minister's residence on Sunday, claiming police inaction in the gang rape case. 
 
Later on Sunday, her father was picked up by police and allegedly roughed up by Senger's brother Atul Singh and his aides after which he died.
 
The incident has triggered a political storm and public outrage in the state. 
 
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Varanasi, a spiritual city, on its way to becoming a Smart City: Kovind

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President Ram Nath Kovind has stated that Varanasi, a spiritual city, was on its way to becoming a Smart City with the government focus on improving infrastructure and connectivity to make it an economic hub.
 
The President, who arrived here yesterday, attended various functions of Uttar Pradesh Government and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). These included the laying of the foundation stone for five projects of NHAI and distribution of appointment letters to candidates selected at a job fair organised by the Vyavasaik Shiksha Evam Kaushal Vikas Vibhag (Industrial Training & Skill Development Department) of the State Government.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kovind said that, since ancient times, Varanasi has linked northern India with eastern India through waterways on the Ganga as well as by road. The Ganga has contributed to the culture and civilisation of city, and the region, and also to trade and development.
 
Today, the effort is to renew this spirit. Varanasi, through the National Waterways-1, the Eastern Freight Corridor and various highway projects, is re-emphasising its location as the gateway for the northern states to eastern India. The Government is focusing on infrastructure and connectivity to make Varanasi an economic hub, he said.
 
Mr. Kovind said that Varanasi offers enormous opportunities in tourism, which can lead to large-scale employment generation. Its handicrafts are well-regarded and world famous. He said he was happy to note that several schemes have been undertaken to provide modern facilities to craftspersons and connect their traditional skills to modern technology as well as new markets. He expressed confidence that the Deendayal Upadhyay Hastkala Sankul, where the function was being hosted, would help artisans in the Varanasi region enhance incomes and create jobs.
 
He said he was certain that with its legacy and heritage — and the knowledge, wisdom and talent of its people — Varanasi would continue to be a leading city in the 21st century. Later in the day, the President received the first copy of the Sanskrit translation of the book ‘Charaiveti! Charaiveti!!’, written by Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik.
 
The President said Mr. Naik has left a distinct impression on public life through five decades of dedication and selfless service. In this book, he has shared his experiences and has spelt out his philosophy — to work relentlessly, without being affected by setbacks and successes.
 
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Kovind to visit Uttar Pradesh on Monday

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President Ram Nath Kovind will visit Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh tomorrow to lay the foundation stone of five projects of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
 
He will also distribute appointment letters to candidates selected during a job fair organised by the Vyavasaik Shiksha Evam Kaushal Vikas Vibhag of the Government of Uttar Pradesh.  
 
The President will also receive the first copy of the Sanskrit translation of the book ‘Charaiveti! Charaiveti!!’, written by Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, before returning to Delhi, an official press release added.
 
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Modi flags off train between Varanasi and Patna

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off a train for Patna from Manduadih Railway Station, launched various development projects and addressed a public meeting at the DLW Grounds here yesterday.
 
Mr Modi complimented the people of the pilgrim city for extending a warm welcome to French President Emmanuel Macron. He said the Government is committed to the continuous development and upgrading of the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW), that manufactures diesel-electric locomotives and its spare part, describing it as  a symbol of the industrial development of Varanasi.
 
He appreciated the efforts of the State Government in the housing sector and urged it to ensure that more people get access to housing facilities. The Prime Minister also commended the exhibition of various “waste to wealth” initiatives at the venue.
 
There is immense potential for tourism in Varanasi, and all efforts should be made to keep the city clean, he added. Referring to the recently announced Ayushman Bharat scheme, he said it will transform the health sector by providing top quality healthcare to the poor.
 
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Modi to receive French President Macron in Varanasi on Monday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will receive French President Emmanuel Macron in Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh, tomorrow.
 
An official press release said the two leaders would leave for Mirzapur, where they shall inaugurate a solar power plant, before returning to Varanasi. 
 
In Varanasi, the two leaders will visit the Deen Dayal Hastkala Sankul. They shall interact with artisans and view a live demonstration of their crafts. 
 
Prime Minister Modi and President Macron will then arrive at the famous Assi Ghat in Varanasi, where they will board a boat for a ride along the Ghats of the Ganga, culminating at the historic Dashashwamedh Ghat. 
 
Prime Minister Modi will host a lunch in honour of the French President. 
 
In the afternoon, the Prime Minister will flag off a train between Maduadih Railway Station in Varanasi, and Patna. He will launch various development projects and address a public meeting at the DLW Grounds in Varanasi.  
 
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CCEA nod for doubling of Bhatni-Aurnihar railway line in Uttar Pradesh with electrification

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday approved a proposal for doubling of the 116.95 km long Bhatni-Aurnihar railway line with electrification at a completion cost of Rs. 1300.9 crore.
 
The project, expected to be completed by 2021-22, will cover the  districts of Deoria, Ballia, Mau and Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh, an official press release said.
 
Aurnihar is junction station of Varanasi division having connectivity towards four sides -- Aurnihar-Chhapra, Aurnihar-Bhatni, Aurnihar-Jaunpur and Aurnihar-Varanasi. Present line capacity utilization of the section is 118% leading to congestion and slower train movement. The doubling project will ensure higher speed, reduce train delays, enhance safety by allowing more time for track/block maintenance, and provide additional capacity for future increase in traffic, the release said.
 
The Allahabad-Mughalsarai route of North Central Railway is over saturated and there is heavy congestion at Mughalsarai. Doubling of this route will allow shifting of traffic from Mughalsarai-Allahabad route to this route, thereby decongesting it. This will benefit passengers traveling to Eastern India especially Bihar, West Bengal and the North East, the release said.
 
 "Further, by easing the connectivity in Varanasi district, often referred to as the Spiritual Capital of India it will give a boost to pilgrimage, tourism and the local economy," it said.
 
"Electrification will lead to faster trains, reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable environment. Further, it will reduce fuel import dependence, and result in energy costs savings for Railways and forex savings for the country," the release added.
 
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Transport infrastructure in Varanasi undergoing major overhaul

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Union Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways Mansukh L Mandaviya today reviewed the progress of national highways works in and around the city, visited the Multi-Modal Terminal Hub being constructed under the World Bank aided Jal Marg Vikas project on river Ganga and inaugurated a Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra.
 
 Mr Mandaviya held a meeting with the officers of Project Implementation Unit (PIU) of Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Regional Officers of NHAI.
 
At present, seven National Highways works worth Rs 5260 crore are being executed in  Varanasi city.  Two road projects with the estimated cost of Rs 5,764 crore are in the pipeline.
 
The Minister visited the Multi-Modal Terminal hub at Varanasi, being constructed at a cost of Rs. 169.70 crore under Jal Marg Vikas project. The terminal will have a capacity of 0.54 million tonnes per annum.
 
The construction work of the terminal is expected to be completed by November 2018. A proposal to establish a Freight Village and Logistic Hub in Varanasi -- the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- is also under consideration of the Government.
 
These would provide the required infrastructure with state of the art equipment and all modes of transport -- rail, road and waterways – resulting in reduced logistics cost and transportation time and facilitate ease of doing business, an official press release said.
 
In order to make available quality generic medicines at affordable prices, Mr Mandaviya also inaugurated a Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra at Ramarepur Pahariya in the city.
 
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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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Modi launches handicrafts trade facilitation centre in Varanasi, flags off train to Vadodara

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday dedicated to the nation the Deendayal Hastkala Sankul – a trade facilitation centre for handicrafts – at Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the Deendayal Hastkala Sankul, a trade facilitation centre for handicrafts, in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on September 22, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the Deendayal Hastkala Sankul, a trade facilitation centre for handicrafts, in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on September 22, 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated to the nation the Deendayal Hastkala Sankul – a trade facilitation centre for handicrafts – at Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
 
On the first day of a two-day visit to this city, he also flagged off the Mahamana Express, which will connect Varanasi with Surat and Vadodara in Gujarat, his home state, through a video link.
 
Mr. Modi had laid the foundation stone of the handicrafts centre in November 2014. Today, when he visited the centre, he was given an overview of the facilities developed there.
 
He also unveiled plaques to mark the laying of the foundation stone and dedication of various development works in the city. He inaugurated banking services of Utkarsh Bank, and unveiled a plaque to mark the laying of foundation stone of its headquarters building.
 
The Prime Minister dedicated a Jal Ambulance service, and a Jal Shav Vahan service to the people of Varanasi, through a video link. He distributed tool-kits and solar lamps to weavers and their children.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that in one programme from one dais, projects worth over Rs. 1000 crore had been either dedicated, or their foundation stone laid.
 
He described the Trade Facilitation Centre as one of the biggest projects for Varanasi for a long time. He said the centre would help artisans and weavers showcase their skills to the world, and facilitate a brighter future for them. He asked the people to encourage all tourists to visit this centre. He said this would result in increased demand of handicrafts, and also boost the tourism potential of Varanasi, and indeed the economy of the city.
 
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Mr. Modi said the solution to all problems lay through development. He said the Government is focused on bringing about positive change in the lives of the poor and of succeeding generations. In this context, he praised the efforts of Utkarsh Bank.
 
Referring to the Jal Ambulance and Jal Shav Vahini launched today, the Prime Minister said that these represent the drive for development even through water-ways.
 
In the context of the Mahamana Express, the Prime Minister observed that Vadodara and Varanasi, which happen to be the two constituencies from which he contested the 2014 Parliamentary elections, are now connected via railway. (Mr. Modi had won from both, but retained the Varanasi seat and resigned from the Vadodara constituency.)
 
He  said the country is progressing rapidly today, and firm decisions are being taken in the interest of the nation. He said eastern India must match the progress of the western part of the country, and the projects being launched today would go a long way in achieving this objective.
 
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Modi to pay two-day visit to Varanasi, launch several development projects

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay a two-day visit to Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh, on September 22-23, during which he will launch several development projects.
 
An official press release said Mr. Modi would dedicate to the nation the Deendayal Hastkala Sankul – a trade facilitation centre for handicrafts – at Bada Lalpur. He will briefly visit the facilities at the centre.
 
He will later flag off the Mahamana Express through a video link. This train will connect Varanasi with Surat and Vadodara in Gujarat. 
 
At the same venue, the Prime Minister will also unveil plaques to mark the laying of foundation stone or dedication of various development works in the city. He will inaugurate banking services of the Utkarsh Bank, and will also unveil a plaque to mark the laying of foundation stone of the headquarters building of the bank. The Utkarsh Bank specializes in micro-finance. 
 
Mr. Modi will also dedicate a Jal Ambulance service, and a Jal Shav Vahan service for the people of Varanasi, through a video link. 
 
In the evening tomorrow, the Prime Minister will visit the historic Tulsi Manas Temple in Varanasi. He will release a postage stamp on “Ramayana.” He will later visit the Durga Mata Temple in the city. 
 
On Saturday, the Prime Minister will briefly participate in a sanitation related activity in the village of Shahanshahpur. He will then visit a Pashudhan Arogya Mela. He will distribute certificates to beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Rural & Urban), and will address the gathering. 
 
The release said Mr. Modi would lay the foundation stone of a 50 MLD Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) based on Hybrid Annuity-PPP model in Ramana in Varanasi tomorrow.
 
This is the first time ever that Hybrid Annuity-PPP model is adopted in sewage sector. It is a major step forward in realising the dream of Nirmal Ganga under Namami Gange programme, the release said.
 
The work to construct, operate and maintain the 50 MLD STP has been awarded to a consortium led by Essel Infra Projects Limited at an estimated cost of Rs 153.16 crore.
 
The Union Cabinet has given its approval to implement the Hybrid Annuity based PPP model with 100% central sector funding. Under this model, the development, operation and maintenance of the STP will be undertaken by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) at the local level.
 
While 40% of the capital cost would be paid during construction, the remaining 60% of the cost will be paid over the life of the project as annuities along with operation and maintenance cost (O&M) expenses for the next 15 years.
 
One of the most important features of this model is that both the annuity and O&M payments are linked to the performance of the STP. This will ensure continued performance of the assets created due to better accountability, ownership and optimal performance, the release added.
 
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CCEA approves doubling of Barabanki-Akbarpur railway line

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday approved a project for doubling the 161 km long Barabanki-Akbarpur railway line in Uttar Pradesh at a completion cost of Rs. 1,310.23 crore.
 
The project, which is likely to be completed by 2021-22, will cover the districts of Barabanki and Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh and will benefit the entire route from Lucknow to Varanasi via Faizabad, an official press release said.
 
At present, there is a lot of delay in the running of trains on the route and express trains take up to 7 to 15 hours to cover the 323 km from Barabanki to Varanasi.
 
"Present capacity utilization from Barabanki to Faizabad is 146.5% and from Faizabad to Akbarpur it is 152.6%. The doubling project will ensure higher speeds, reduce train delays, enhance safety by allowing more time for block maintenance and provide additional capacity for future increase in traffic," the release said.
 
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Clean Ganga contracts for three STPs on Hybrid Annuity Mode

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In a big push to the Namami Gange programme, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has awarded first-time contracts for three sewage treatment plants (STPs) under hybrid annuity model.
 
An official press release said here yesterday that two STPs of 68 MLD and 14 MLD would be set up at Haridwar and one STP of 15 MLD at Varanasi.
 
This hybrid annuity model is the first of its kind in the country’s waste water management sector, it said.
 
The Central Government will completely fund the construction of the STPs,  ensuring that there is no shortage of resources for the project. The financial model will ensure the transparency and accountability of the running of sewage treatment infrastructure.
 
The contractors will not only establish the sewage treatment plant but will also operate and maintain it for a period of 15 years.
 
Thereafter it will be handed over to the local bodies. This will ensure that no waste water is dumped in the holy river. The payment of the operations and management of the projects and the worth of the cost will be provided to the agency over a period of 15 years ensuring that the project runs smoothly, the release added.
 
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Cabinet approves establishment of IRRI South Asia Regional Centre at Varanasi

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The Union Cabinet today approved the establishment of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) at the campus of National Seed Research and Training Centre (NSRTC) at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
 
Under the proposal, a Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA) will be set up in Varanasi, an official press release said.
 
This will include a modern and sophisticated laboratory with capacity to determine quality and status of heavy metals in grain and straw. The centre will also undertake capacity building exercises for stakeholders across the rice value chain. 
 
The release said the centre would be the first such international facility in eastern India and play a major role in harnessing and sustaining rice production in the region. It is expected to be a boon for food production and skill development in eastern India and similar ecologies in other South Asian and African countries. 
 
According to it, the centre will help in utilizing the rich biodiversity of India to develop special rice varieties. This will help India to achieve higher per hectare yields and improved nutritional contents. India's food and nutritional security issues will also be addressed. The centre will support in adopting value chain based production system in the country. This will reduce wastage, add value and generate higher income for the farmers. The farmers in Eastern India will benefit in particular, besides those in South Asian and African countries. 
 
ISARC will operate under the governance of the IRRI Board of Trustees who will appoint an appropriate IRRI staff member as Director. A Coordination Committee will be headed by Director General, IRRI as Chair and Secretary, Government of India, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DACFW) as Co-Chair. The other members of Coordination Committee are Deputy Director General (Crop Sciences), ICAR; Director, NSRTC; IRRI representative in India, representative of Government of UP and representatives of Governments of Nepal and Bangladesh and the private sector. 
 
For setting up of the centre, A Memorandum of Agreement, will be signed between DAC&FW and IRRI, Philippines. DAC&FW will provide physical space for laboratories, offices, training classes, and so on with associated infrastructure and land at NSRTC, Varanasi. The Centre will be commissioned within six months, the release added.
 
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Prabhu flags off weekly train to Varanasi, daily service to Mysuru from Hubbali

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Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu flagged off two trains -- 17323/17324 Hubballi - Varanasi - Hubballi Express (Weekly) and 17325/17326 Hubballi - Mysuru - Hubballi Express (Daily) -- through video conferencing from here today.
 
Railway Board Chairman A. K. Mital, Member Traffic Mohammad Jamshed and other senior officials were present on the occasion.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Prabhu said Hubbali in Karnataka was coming up as an important training centre. He said the train to Mysuru, also in Karnataka, would be named as Vishwa Manav Express.
 
The Hubballi - Varanasi Express will serve pilgrims going to Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, he said.
 
The Hubbali-Varanasi Express will have commercial stoppages at Gadag, Badami, Bagalkot, Almatti, Bijapur, Solapur Jn, Daund Jn, Ahmadnagar, Kopargaon, Manmad, Bhusaval, Khandwa, Itarsi, Pipariya, Narsinghpur, Jabalpur, Katni, Maihar, Satna, Manikpur Jn, Chheoki and Mirzapur.
 
The Hubbali-Mysuru Express will have commercial stoppages at Yalvigi, Haveri, Byadgi, Ranibennur, Harihar, Davangere, Chikjajur, Ajjampur, Birur Jn, Kadur Jn, Arsikere, Tiptur, Tumakuru, Yesvantpur, KSR Bengaluru City, Kengeri, Bidadi, Ramanagaram, Channapatna, Maddur, Mandya, Pandavapura and Shrirangapattana.
 
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