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Uttarakhand

Six coaches of Utkal Express derail near Muzzafarnagar in Uttar Pradesh

Six coaches of the 18477 Utkal Express, from Puri in Odisha to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, derailed at Khatauli, about 25 km from Muzzafarnagar, in Uttar Pradesh, this evening.
 
The mishap occurred around 5.46 pm today, railway sources said, adding that details of casualties were not immediately available.
 
Television pictures from the scene showed that one of the coaches had climbed on to the top of another coach, and one of its ends had crashed into a building on the side of the track.
 
Gas cutters were being used to cut through the mangled steel to pull out those trapped inside the coaches. 
 
"Our focus right now is on rescue and relief operations. Officers and staff from the nearby railway stations have reached the spot," Ministry of Railways spokesman Anil Saxena told journalists in New Delhi.
 
Khatauli is located on the Meerut-Saharanpur section of the Delhi Division of Northern Railway.
 
"We have geared up our rescue and relief machinery. Senior officials of Delhi Division have rushed to the accident site. Staff and officers from the nearby stations have already reached there," Mr. Saxena said.
 
He said personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) would also reach the site soon.
 
The train had left Puri yesterday and was due to reach Haridwar at 9 pm today, they said.
 
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said on micro-blogging site Twitter that he was personally monitoring the situation and had instructed senior officers to reach the spot immediately and ensure speedy rescue and relief operations. He said medical vans had been rushed to the site of the accident.
 
"Have instructed Chairman Rly Board, Member Traffic to oversee rescue and relief operations. I am personally monitoring situation," he said. "Instructed General Manager, other senior officers to ensure all possible help to the people."
 
"In close touch with @CMOfficeUP , State Government officials, district administration to coordinate rescue and relief operations," he said.
 
Mr. Prabhu said he had instructed the Member, Engineering of the Railway Board, the Director General, Health and other senior officers to rush to the scene.
 
"Have ordered inquiry into the unfortunate accident to ascertain the cause. Strict action will be taken against any lapse," he added.
 
Mr. Prabhu said Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha and Minister of State for Water Resources Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan were on their way to the scene of the accident.
 
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath told journalists that two State Ministers -- Satish Mahana and Suresh Rana -- have also left for the spot.
 
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Assembly elections: Counting of votes to be taken up on Saturday

Counting of votes will begin on Saturday morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and most of the results are expected to be out within a few hours after that.

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Counting of votes will begin tomorrow morning in the crucial elections to the State Legislative Assemblies of five States -- Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa -- and the keenly-awaited results are expected to have far-reaching implications for national politics.
 
The elections in five States have taken place mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just weeks after the sudden decision of the government on November 8 to demonetise Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 banknotes.
 
Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- was held in seven phases between February 11 and March 8, while Manipur had polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. Punjab and Goa had single-phase polling on February 4 and Uttarakhand had single-phase voting on February 15.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
The Election Commission will give out counting trends and results of the elections through its website from 8 am tomorrow.
 
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Among other things, the website will give details such as the number of votes secured by the candidates round-wise and constituency-wise and political party-wise and candidate-wise trends.
 
The website can also be accessed through the main website of the Election Commission of India.
 
For the first time, the Commission will also provide analytics through interactive dashboard in the form of clickable infographics. Users can download data, crosstab, PDF and images for analysing the elections further at their end. It will include comparative analytics between 2012 and 2017. 
 
An official press release said users will get constituency analysis with respect to participation of electors (constituencies with more female electors, constituencies by slabs of voter turnout, turnout by poll days) and candidates (gender wise participants, winners and major competitors). To assess performance of political parties, analysis on seats won by them, the percentage vote-share in the State and the profile (age and social category)of candidates fielded by them have been included. Candidates have been mapped to their constituencies and the votes polled in their favour, it said.
 
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Nine killed in fire on Mumbai-Dehradun Express near Dahanu in Maharashtra

Nine passengers including a woman, were killed when a fire broke out in the speeding 19019 Mumbai-Dehradun Express near Dahanu in Thane district of Maharashtra in the early hours of Wednesday.

Fire kills nine on Mumbai-Dehradun Express
Nine passengers including a woman, were killed when a fire broke out in the speeding 19019 Mumbai-Dehradun Express near Dahanu in Thane district of Maharashtra in the early hours of today.
 
Western Railway sources said the fire broke out in S3 coach of the train and then spread to the adjoining coaches S2 and S4, taking the passengers, most of whom were asleep, unawares.
 
The cause of the fire, which broke out at around 0235 hours today while the train was running between Dahanu Road and Gholwad stations , could not be ascertained immediately, the sources said.
 
According to them, the fire was noticed by a gateman at a level crossing, and he alerted the station master of Gholwad station, who quickly contacted the driver and asked him to stop the train.
 
Fire tenders and ambulances rushed to the spot and the blaze was brought under control soon. The affected coaches were detached and the rest of the train was later brought to Gholwad station, about 145 km north of Mumbai, on the Maharashtra-Gujarat border, around 0530 hours.
 
Accident and medical relief vans were rushed to the spot from Mumbai and Valsad in Gujarat to assist in the relief efforts.
 
Five persons who felt suffocated due to the smoke were given first aid in the acident relief vans and later discharged, te sources said.
 
The Divisional Railway Manager of Mumbai Central Division and other top railway officials rushed to the spot to supervise the relief operations.
 
Five of the deceased have been identified by the Railways as Ms Deepika Shah , 65, Mr Dev Shankar Upadhyay, 48, Mr Surendra Shah, 68, Mr Nasirkhan Ahmedkhan Pathan, 50, and Mr Feroz Khan, 38. 
 
The bodies of the victims were sent to Civil Hospital, Dahanu Road (Telephone No. 02528 222371) by the Government Railway Police.
 
The  Railways have offered free accommodation in the train to the relatives of the deceased up to Dahanu Road.
 
Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge has expressed his grief at the loss of lives and announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh to the next-of-kin of those killed in the fire.
 
He has also announced an inquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Western Circle, into the incident.
 
Meanwhile, services on the up line resumed at 0640 hours, the sources added.
 
About 500 food packets along with tea and drinking water were arranged for the passengers of the train at Valsad where five more coaches were added to the train before dispatching it for its o­nward journey.
 
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The Railways have opened helplines to provide information to relatives of the passengers.
 
The numbers are:
 
Mumbai: 022 23011853 and 022 23007388
Valsaid: 241903- Valsad; 
Dahanu Road: 022 67649632
Bandra Terminus: 022 26435756
Surat: 0261 2423992
New Delhi: 011 23342954
Dehradun: 0135 2624002, 2624003
 
Just 11 days ago, on December 28, 2013, as many as 26 passengers were killed and eight others suffered injuries when a major fire broke out in an air-conditioned coach of the 16594 Bangalore-Nanded Express shortly after it left the Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilayam station in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.
 
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Widespread rainfall likely over J&K, Himachal, Uttarakhand from April 22: IMD

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Scattered to fairly widespread rains or thundershowers, with isolated thunderstorms and gusty winds, are very likely to occur over Jammu and Kashmir, and isolated to scattered over Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, from April 22 onwards under the influence of a fresh western disturbance (WD), the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said.
 
A bulletin from IMD said on Thursday that, due to trough and wind discontinuity over south peninsular India, isolated to scattered rainfall with isolated thunderstorms and gusty winds very likely to occur over coastal Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rayalaseema, Tamilnadu, south interior Karnataka and Kerala during many days of the week.
 
Isolated to scattered rainfall with isolated thunderstorms and gusty winds were also very likely to occur over West Bengal, Sikkim, Jharkhand and Odisha during most days of the week. Thundersquall (wind speed reaching 50-60 kmph) accompanied by lightning at isolated places was very likely to occur over Odisha and over Gangetic West Bengal today.
 
Scattered to fairly widespread rain/thundershower along with gusty wind were very likely to occur over northeastern states (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura) on most of the days during the week, it said.
 
Thundersquall (wind speed reaching 50-60 kmph) accompanied with lightning at isolated places were very likely to occur over Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura on April 20-21, the bulletin said.
 
Cumulatively, above normal rainfall was likely over Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rayalaseema, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala and south interior Karnataka. It will be near normal elsewhere except northeastern states, where it is likely to be below normal during the week up to April 24.
 
Rainfall activity was likely to decrease drastically over south Peninsular India during the following week, and hence below normal rainfall activity was likely to occur over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala and south interior Karnataka. The rainfall activity was likely to increase over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura; and be near normal over the rest of the country during the week from April 25-May 1, the bulletin said.
 
Day maximum temperatures are very likely to rise by 4-6°C over most parts of Northwest and central India and by 2-4°C over Gujarat and interior Maharashtra during the first half of the week ending April 24.
 
Overall, in the week as a whole, day maximum temperatures are likely to be below normal to normal over most parts of the country outside Jammu & Kashmir, east coast and some parts of west coast of India, where these are likely to be above normal during  the week. However, heat wave conditions may prevail over isolated pockets of Rajasthan and Gujarat state towards the second half of the week.
 
During the week from April 25-May 1, day maximum temperatures are likely to be near normal or below normal over most parts of the country except Odisha, Chhattisgarh, north Andhra Pradesh, west coast and Tamil Nadu, where these are likely to be above normal.
 
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Uttarakhand: Student bludgeoned to death, buried in school

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An Uttarakhand government body on Thursday asked the police to arrest the owner of a boarding school where a student was bludgeoned to death for stealing biscuits and his body buried in the school premises.
 
The directive came after the police on Tuesday arrested five people -- the school manager, warden, physical training teacher and two students -- for the grisly murder of 12-year-old Vasu Yadav, a Class 7 student, of Hapur area in Uttar Pradesh this month.
 
The incident came to light after Usha Negi, Chairperson of the Uttarakhand State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, visited the the Ranipokhri-based boarding school and ordered an inquiry into the death of Yadav. 
 
"The police has failed to arrest the owner of the school who is still at large. We have directed the police to arrest him," said Negi.
 
A group of students were taken on an outing when Yadav allegedly stole biscuits from a shop. The management cancelled the trip and brought the students back to the school. Angry over this, some senior students started hitting Yadav with bats and then poured cold water on him. 
 
The boy was later taken to the hospital where he was declared dead.
 
Instead of reporting the matter to the police, the management buried his body in the school premises to hush up the matter, a police official said.
 
IANS
 

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Congress announces all five candidates from Uttarakhand

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The Congress has announced candidates for all the five Lok Sabha seats in Uttarakhand.
 
The party has fielded Congress general secretary Harish Rawat from Nainital, former MLA Ambrish Kumar from Haridwar, former Chief Minister B. C. Khanduri's son Manish Khanduri from Pauri, state Congress president Pritam Singh from Tehri and Rajya Sabha member Pradeep Tamta from Almora.
 
"The Congress' central election committee cleared names of all the candidates," Suryakant Dhasmana, the state party vice president, said on Saturday. 
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party had declared its candidates on Thursday. 
 
The last day for filing nominations is Monday. 
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Cricket: Afghanistan notch up maiden Test win, beat Ireland

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Afghanistan registered their maiden win in the longest format of the game on Monday after hammering Ireland by seven wickets in the one-off Test here.
 
Chasing 147 for victory, Afghanistan comfortably crossed the line on the fourth day of the contest, thanks to the 139-run second wicket partnership between between Rahmat Shah (76 off 122) and Ihsanullah Janat (65 off 129). 
 
It was also Shah's second fifty of the match as he had played a 214-ball 98-run knock in Afghanistan's first innings score of 314.
 
With just three runs needed for victory, Afghanistan lost Shah and Mohammad Nabi in successive deliveries before incoming batsman Hashmatullah Shahidi hit the winning boundary to hand Afghanistan a memorable win.
 
Earlier opting to bat, Ireland were bundled out for 172 runs, courtesy some decent bowling by the Afghan bowlers -- Yamin Ahmadzai (3/41), Mohammad Nabi (3/36) and Rashid Khan (2/20).
 
The war-torn nation then rode Shah, Shahidi (61) and skipper Asghar Afghan's (67) knocks to post 314 runs, taking a healthy 142-run lead.
 
Ireland then witnessed some fight from Andy Balbirnie (82) and Kevin O'Brien (56), helping their side put 288 runs on board in their second innings.
 
It was Rashid's impressive show which once again denied Ireland reach a strong total as the leg-spinner returned with figures of 5/82.
 
This was Afghanistan's second Test outing after making their debut in 2018 against India, while Ireland have also played two five-day games.
 
Brief Scores:
 
Ireland: 172 (Tim Murtagh 54 not out; Mohammad Nabi 3/36) and 288 (Andrew Balbirnie 82; Rashid Khan 5/82) lose to Afghanistan: 314 (Rahmat Shah 98,; Stuart Thompson 3/28) and 147/3 (Rahmat Shah 76, James Cameron 1/24).
 
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Former Uttarakhand CM B C Khanduri's son joins Congress

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Manish Khanduri, the son of former Uttarakhand Chief Minister B. C. Khanduri, on Saturday joined the Congress in the presence of party President Rahul Gandhi at an election rally here.
 
Welcoming the younger Khanduri, Gandhi claimed that his father, also a retired Army General, was shunted out as the chairman of the defence committee just because he had raised a valid question on national security.
 
"B. C. Khanduri is a true son of the soil. I want to tell you that he was shunted out of the defence committee just because he had raised a question on national security," Gandhi said at the Parade Grounds rally.
 
Gandhi also garlanded Manish Khanduri to formally induct him into the party.
 
IANS
 

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World Bank to provide $ 96 million loan for Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project

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The World Bank, the Government of India (GoI) and the Government of Uttarakhand (GoUK) signed here today a $96 million loan agreement to provide additional funds to the state of Uttarakhand in its post-disaster recovery plans, ongoing since the floods of 2013, as well as strengthen its capacity for Disaster Risk Management. 
 
 The World Bank, through the Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project, has been supporting the State Government since 2014 to restore housing and rural connectivity, and to build resilience of communities, an official press release said.
 
So far, the project has completed more than 2,000 permanent houses and 23 public buildings and restored over 1,300 kilometers of roads and 16 bridges. The additional financing of $96 million will further help in the reconstruction of bridges, road and river bank protection works, and in the construction of a training facility for the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF).  The project will also help to increase the technical capacity of the State Entities to respond promptly and more effectively to such crises in the future, it said.
 
Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance said that India is vulnerable, in varying degrees, to many natural as well as man-made disasters.  The Government of India is committed to develop a holistic, proactive, multi-disaster-oriented strategy, using technology effectively to build a safe and disaster resilient India, he said.
 
He said that the Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project has been delivering on these objectives and the additional finance will help expand its impact. 
 
The loan agreement was signed by Khare on behalf of GoI; Amit Negi, Secretary, Finance and Disaster Management, GoUK and Program Director, Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project on behalf of GoUK; and Hisham Abdo, Acting Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank.
 
In June 2013, a heavy deluge caused devastating floods and landslides in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. The disaster, the worst of its kind since the 2003 tsunami, hit more than 4,200 villages, damaged 2,500 houses, and killed 4,000 people. 
 
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Abdo said that natural disasters cost the country an average of $9.8 billion annually. The Government of India has made great strides in moving from reactive emergency response to proactively implement disaster preparedness and risk reduction initiatives. He said that the World Bank was committed to supporting Uttarakhand in its efforts towards a resilient recovery and rehabilitation. The project has helped in strengthening the state’s disaster risk management capacity which has led to enhanced investment in long-term resilience through policies and institutions. The capacity of the SDRF, meant to be at the forefront during emergency situations of the state, has also been significantly strengthened and it has so far conducted over 250 operations rescuing over 3,500 people, during the high pilgrimage season. 
 
The extent and pace of recovery since 2013 has been significant, however, connectivity remains a challenge. Landslides and river bank erosion are common and continue to disrupt movement and cause accidents, affecting the livelihood and access to services of the local community. In the aftermath of the floods, the number of tourists visiting the State dropped from over 2.5 million in 2012 to less than 350,000 in 2014. 
 
After signing of the agreement, Mr. Ignacio Urrutia, Task Team Leader for the project, said that while the impacts of climate change in future disasters remain uncertain, efforts to ensure that the state has additional capabilities and resilient infrastructure to reduce the potential damages and recover more quickly from disasters will translate into important beneficial ripple effects on the state’s economy and livelihoods in the long term. 
 
The $96 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 5-year grace period, and a final maturity of 15 years.
 
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Gadkari launches projects worth Rs 5,894 crore at Chandi Ghat in Haridwar

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Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for projects worth Rs 5,894 crore at Chandi Ghat here yesterday. 
 
The projects included six newly constructed sewage treatment plants (STPs) along with 18 pumping stations across the state of Uttarakhand under National Mission for Clean Ganga. 
 
Chandi Ghat, the venue of the inauguration is among the 36 ghats which have been completed.
 
The STPs and Ghats are part of 48 projects in the field of sewerage management, ghats and crematoria work, riverfront development works, afforestation, bio-remediation, rural sanitation and river surface cleaning works at the cost of Rs 1354.33 crore which are at different stages of implementation.
 
The Union Minister laid the foundation stone for seven National Highway projects worth Rs 5,555 crore. These included work for preparing detailed project report (DPR) for construction of ring road in Haridwar, balance work of Haridwar-Dehradun National Highway among others in the hill state.
 
Gadkari also announced river rejuvenation plans for Banganga and Sonali rivers. He inaugurated Iqbalpur Canal works which will serve 33,000 hectares of farmlands.
 
While releasing the books ‘The Making of Chandi Ghat’ and ‘Ghats in Uttarakhand’. he said that the 700-metre-long Chandi Ghat can accommodate 10,000 people simultaneously. The projects for constructing ring roads in Dehradun and Haldwani were under consideration, he added.
 
The Minister exhorted the state government to convert waste into wealth and use biofuels in transportation. Once completed, the Char Dham Highway Development Project will provide all-weather connectivity from Rishikesh to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. 
 
This project covers a total route length of 900 KM covering the state of Uttarakhand with the estimated cost of about Rs. 12,000 crore.
 
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Car falls in gorge due to poor visibility in Uttarakhand, three dead

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Three youngsters were killed in Tehri on Thursday night after their vehicle lost way due to heavy fog and fell into a gorge, police said on Friday.
 
The incident happened on a road near Banali village late in the evening. All the victims worked on a project of laying electricity wires.
 
A police official told IANS that the Bolero car fell into a deep gorge at the Kandakhaal road apparently due to poor visibility. 
 
The deceased have been identified as Sachin, Ankur and Harjeet. All the deceased were from Haridwar. 
 
"We have informed their families, the bodies have been pulled out of the gorge and the post-mortems will be done later on Friday" the police official informed.
 
The bodies for now have been kept at the Pratapnagar hospital. 
 
Uttarakhand has been facing fog and snow in the past one week leading to poor visibility in the hilly regions.
 
IANS
 

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Cold wave intensifies in Uttarakhand

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Extreme cold wave conditions continued to prevail in most parts of Uttarakhand as the temperature plummeted to sub-zero level in more than six towns in the state, an official said on Thursday.
 
The Regional Met Office said the weather would continue to be harsh for the next three days and gutsy chilly wind would continue to bring down the mercury. 
 
The cold wave is likely to intensify in Haridwar, Rishikesh and Udhamsingh Nagar. 
 
The minimum temperature recorded in Almora was minus 3.5 degree Celsius while the mercury touched minus one degree Celsius in Mukteshwar and Pithoragarh in Kumaon.
 
According to reports, in the hilly regions like Yamuna valley in Uttarkashi and some parts of Pithoragarh, natural water bodies have frozen as well.
 
State capital Dehradun is also reeling under cold wave with the mercury recording a three-year low of 4.2 degrees Celsius. While the days are sunny, early morning and evening remain extremely cold, an official told IANS. 
 
Foggy conditions in Roorke and Haridwar have further added to the winter woes. 
 
Besides, landslides have been also reported from an area near Banswada in Rudraprayag on the Kedarnath highway. 
 
Also, the fog has affected road and rail traffic. Several trains were running hours behind their schedule, and a few cancelled due to bad weather.
 
IANS
 

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Seven labourers crushed to death under boulders in Uttarakhand

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Seven labourers were killed in a rockfall on the Rudraprayag-Gaurikund highway on Friday.
 
Three persons were also injured in the mishap. 
 
All the labourers were from Jammu & Kashmir.
 
Huge boulders came tumbling down from the hill and crushed the labourers working on a road project, said an official.
 
There were 23 labourers working at the time of the incident. Thirteen managed to run to safety while seven were killed and three were critically injured.
 
The district magistrate has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident and officials said action has been initiated against the contractor for not taking adequate precautions while undertaking the work.
 
IANS
 

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'Kedarnath' director urges Uttarakhand government to lift 'ban'

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"Kedarnath" director Abhishek Kapoor has urged the Uttarakhand government to lift a ban on the movie.
 
"I plead with the Uttarakhand government to please lift the ban on my film 'Kedarnath'. It is an attempt to bring peace, harmony and healing to the people of this country. Please don't deprive us of this opportunity," Kapoor tweeted.
 
While there has been no official ban on the film by the state government, it wrote to all district magistrates about the film and the controversies surrounding it. 
 
The decision followed a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat that reviewed a report submitted by a committee headed by Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj.
 
The government asked the district administration to take a call on their own and left it to their discretion whether or not the film should be released in their respective jurisdictions.
 
Following which Dehradun, Haridwar, Pauri, Tehri, Nainital, Almora and Udhamsinghnagar banned the film. 
 
The Hindi film, with the 2013 flash floods in Kedarnath as the backdrop, was being opposed by the right-wing activists from the day its shooting began in the hill state and they alleged that it hurt Hindu sentiments and promoted the idea of "Love Jehad".
 
The film, starring Sushant Singh Rajput and debutante Sara Ali Khan, was shot extensively in Triyuginarayan, Gaurikund, Soneprayag, Rambada, Kedarnath and Chopta, and it had to face protests even then.
 
The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday refused to ban the film and asked the petitioners to approach the District Magistrate with their complaints.
 
On its opening day, the movie garnered Rs 7.25 crore in India.
 
IANS
 

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'Kedarnath' not to release in Uttarakhand

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The Sara Ali Khan-Sushant Rajput starrer Bollywood film "Kedarnath' will not be released in the hill state of Uttarakhand, an official said on Friday.
 
While there has be no official ban on the film by the state government, it has written to all district magistrates (DMs) about the film and the controversies surrounding it. It has asked the DMs to take a call on their own and has left it to their discretion whether or not the film should be released in their respective jurisdictions.
 
Following this, all the DM's have banned the film's release in their districts. A decision to this effect was taken after a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat reviewed the report submitted by a committee headed by Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj.
 
The Hindi film, with the 2013 flash floods in Kedarnath as the backdrop, was being opposed by the right-wing activists from the day its shooting began in the hill state and they alleged that it hurt Hindu sentiments and promoted the idea of "Love Jehad".
 
With the latest orders by the DMs, it would mean that the film will not release now in state capital Dehradun, Haridwar, Pauri, Tehri, Nainital, Almora and Udhamsinghnagar. Other districts of the state do not have a film theater. 
 
The film was shot extensively in Triyuginarayan, Gaurikund, Soneprayag, Rambada, Kedarnath and Chopta, and it had to face protests even then.
 
The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday refused to ban the film and asked the petitioners to approach the District Magistrate with their complaints.
 
IANS
 

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Modi celebrates Diwali with Army, ITBP in Uttarakhand

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday celebrated Diwali with the personnel of Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police, mandated to guard 3,488 km Sino-India border, in Uttarakhand and said that India was taking great strides forward in the defence sector.

 
Modi rings in Diwali with Indian Army, ITBP personnel in Uttarakhand
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday celebrated Diwali with the personnel of Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), mandated to guard 3,488 km Sino-India border, in Uttarakhand and said that India was taking great strides forward in the defence sector.
 
The Prime Minister reached Harshil village at around 7.50 a.m. in a special Indian Air Force plane and distributed sweets to the personnel, according to an ITBP spokesperson. 
 
Harshil is situated at the confluence of Jalandhari Gadh and Bhagirathi rivers and at the foot of the mountain that lies at the head of the Baspa Valley at the height of around 8,000 feet. 
 
Modi was flanked by Army chief Bipin Rawat. 
 
Greeting the Army and ITBP personnel on the occasion, Modi said their devotion to duty in the remote icy heights was enabling the strength of the nation and securing the future and the dreams of 125 crore Indians. 
 
"Diwali is the festival of lights which spreads the light of goodness and dispels fear. The jawans, through their commitment and discipline, are also helping to spread the sense of security and fearlessness among the people," Modi said. 
 
The Prime Minister recalled that he has been visiting soldiers on Diwali ever since he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. He also spoke of his interactions with the ITBP personnel, years ago when he was part of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. 
 
Modi said: "India is taking great strides forward in the defence sector" and spoke of various measures being taken for welfare of ex-servicemen, including OROP (One Rank, One Pension)." 
 
He said that the Indian Armed Forces draw admiration and appreciation across the world and in UN Peacekeeping operations. 
 
The Prime Minister also interacted with people from nearby areas who had gathered to greet him.
 
Later, Modi left for the Kedarnath shrine where he is scheduled to offer prayers and review the reconstruction of the shrine. 
 
Many parts around the shrine were devastated in the 2013 flash floods. 
 
The Prime Minister has taken personal interest in the reconstruction and has visited the shrine twice in the last six months. 
 
It has been snowing in the region for the past few days and the road from the VIP helipad to the shrine that had been covered with snow has been cleared. 
 
Modi is also scheduled to watch a video presentation prepared by the state government officials on the reconstruction work of the guesthouse near the shrine.
 
IANS

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Modi reaches Uttarakhand, to pray at Kedarnath shrine

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on Wednesday and left for Kedarnath in a chopper, officials said.
 
The Prime Minister flew into the state capital in a special Indian Air Force (IAF) plane. He was received at the Jolly Grant airport by Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat and other senior officials.
 
Besides praying at Kedearnath's Lord Shiva shrine, Modi will also review the reconstruction work of the famous temple which was devastated in the 2013 flash floods that killed thousands. 
 
The Prime Minister has taken personal interest in the reconstruction and has visited the shrine twice in the last six months.
 
It has been snowing in the region for the past few days and the road from the VIP helipad to the shrine that had been covered with snow has been cleared. 
 
Modi is also scheduled to watch a video presentation prepared by the state government officials on the reconstruction work of the guest house near the shrine. 
 
According to reports reaching here, the Prime Minister might visit Harshil where he will spend Diwali with Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) troopers. 
 
On Tuesday, Army chief Bipin Rawat visited Harshil and reviewed the preparedness of the troopers.
 
IANS

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Yamunotri shrine to close for winters on Nov 9

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The famous Yamunotri temple in Uttarakhand will close for the winter break on November 9, it was announced on Monday.
 
At around 12.15 p.m. the Yamunotri shrine will close, joining the three other 'Chaar Dhaam' shrines for the winter break, an official said. The Gangotri will be closed at 12.30 p.m. on November 8, and Badrinath on November 20 at 3.21 p.m.
 
The Kedarnath shrine, which houses one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva in India, will close its gates at 8.30 a.m. on November 9, on the auspicious occasion of 'Bhaiyya Duj'. 
 
The dates were decided by priests and astrologers, keeping in mind certain planetary positions. 
 
The annual 'Chaar Dhaam Yatra' (pilgrimage) remains suspended for six months due to intense cold and inclement weather conditions.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Former Uttarakhand, UP CM N.D.Tiwari passes away on his 93rd birthday

File photo of Narayan Dutt Tiwari.
File photo of Narayan Dutt Tiwari.
Former Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand Chief Minister Narayan Dutt Tiwari died on Thursday -- his 93rd birthday -- at a private hospital in the national capital following prolonged illness, doctors said.
 
Suffering from renal and old-age problems, the former Union Minister passed away at 3 p.m. at Max Hospital in Saket. He is survived by his wife Ujjwala and son Rohit Shekhar. 
 
He was in hospital since September last year and was in and out of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) since July this year. 
 
Tiwari is the  only politician to have served as Chief Minister of two States.
 
Born on October 18, 1925 in Nainital, he was thrice Chief Minister of undivided Uttar Pradesh -- 1976-77, 1984-85, and from 1988-89. He served as Chief Minister of Uttarakhand from 2002-2007.
 
He also served as Union Minister in the Chaudhary Charan Singh government and later in then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's cabinet, holding key portfolios including finance and external affairs.
 
Appointed as the Governor of Andhra Pradesh in 2007, Tiwari subsequently stepped down from the post in 2009 over his involvement in a sex scandal.
 
He became an MLA from Nainital constituency in the first election after independence in 1952. He joined Congress in 1963 and later quit the party in 1994 to form his own All India Indira Congress (Tiwari). He rejoined the grand old party in 1996.
 
In January 2017 he had met BJP President Amit Shah and extended support to the BJP, but did not formally join it. 
 
President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were among a host of political leaders condoling Tiwari's death. 
 
Kovind in his message hailed Tiwari's contribution to development and public welfare of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. 
 
"A towering leader, he was known for his administrative skills. He will be remembered for his efforts towards industrial growth and working for the progress of UP & Uttarakhand, a state he steered in its initial days," tweeted Modi. 
 
Shah in his message said Tiwari's death was an irreparable loss to Indian politics. 
 
"Today we mourn the loss of one of our strongest leaders," the Congress tweeted. 
 
IANS

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Minor earthquake recorded in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand early this morning.
 
A bulletin  from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which  had its epicentre at latitude 30.7°N and longitude 78.6°E, occurred at 0406 hours at a focal depth of 5 km.
 
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Environmentalist G D Agarwal passes away

G. D. Agarwal
G. D. Agarwal
Environmentalist G. D. Agarwal, who was on a fast for the last 111 days demanding a clean Ganga, died after a heart attack in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand on Thursday.
 
The 86-year old former IIT-Kanpur professor had been on hunger strike since June 22 for a pollution-free and uninterrupted flow in the Ganga. 
 
He had demanded that steps be taken to make the river free-flowing for natural cleansing, and also a ban on construction of all hydroelectric projects along the tributaries of the Ganga besides enactment of the Ganga Protection Management Act. 
 
Agarwal had sent several letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had in 2014 pledged on the banks of the Ganga in Varanasi that immediate steps would be taken to ensure cleaning of the holy river. 
 
However, the government paid no heed to his demands, said 'IITians for Holy Ganga', a forum formed to preserve the heritage and ecology of the river.
 
Agarwal, who is also know as Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand, had given up water a couple of days ago after government failed to respond to his satyagraha. 
 
He was moved to the AIIMS, Rishikesh, on October 9 from the protest site.
 
Activists and politicians criticised the government for not listening to Agarwal.
 
Calling the BJP government "insensitive", Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh said the BJP, which garnered votes in the name of the Ganga, could not save the son of the Ganga (Agarwal).
 
In a tweet, he said he had raised the issue in Parliament to save Agarwal.
 
Senior Supreme Court lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan criticised the government saying Agarwal was forcibly picked up by the Uttarakhand police and hospitalised.
 
"He passed away today after his pleas to save the Ganga fell on Modi's deaf ears. RIP Dear Sir. This world is not for pure souls," Bhushan tweeted.
 
Union River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari had in August this year said nearly 70-80 per cent of the cleaning work of the Ganga would be completed by March 2019 and the holy river would become completely clean by 2020.
 
IANS
 

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Uttarakhand developing 13 new hill stations: CM

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Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Sunday said the hill state was in the process of developing 13 new hill stations to give a boost to tourism as older destinations such as Nainital and Mussoorie had reached saturation.
 
Speaking at an investors summit here in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rawat said: "From the point of view of tourism, the 170-year-old Nainital and the around 200-year-old Mussoorie have reached saturation point. 
 
"We have started working on 13 new destinations in 13 districts. We have also identified the locations and to develop the infrastructure a detailed project planning is being prepared. We have earmarked a budget for that," he said.
 
He said the newly introduced land reforms in the state would do away with earlier hurdles and help investors from outside the state to invest in Uttarakhand. 
 
Prime Minister Modi appreciated the state government's efforts in identifying new destinations to be developed as hill stations.
 
Modi said that with Chardham, Ganga, yoga, adventure sports and scenic beauty, Uttarakhand was a "complete tourism package" and emphasised the need for the state to be developed as a "Special Eco-Zone" in contrast to the traditional Special Economic Zones.
 
IANS
 

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India going through major transformation: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said India is going through major social and economic changes and the resultant New India will prove to be a catalyst for global growth.

 
Doing business became easier due to insolvency bankruptcy code: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said India is going through major social and economic changes and the resultant New India will prove to be a catalyst for global growth.
 
"India is witnessing rapid economic and social changes. The country is going through a big transformation. We are marching towards a New India," Modi said at Uttarakhand's maiden Investors Summit here.
 
"Every major institution in the world is predicting that in the coming decades, India is going to be the driving engine of world growth," he said, adding that the country was witnessing the "best conducive environment" for business and investment.
 
Modi said India's economy had stabilized over the last few years, fiscal deficit had come down, inflation was under control and the middle class was rising.
 
"The scale and speed at which reforms are happening are unprecedented. In the last two years, the central and state governments have ushered in more than 10,000 reforms. Thanks to this, India has made a significant jump of 42 points in the global 'ease of doing business index," the Prime Minister said.
 
"As part of these reforms, more than 1,400 laws have been repealed. Major tax reforms have been brought in. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) has made doing business easier and strengthened the banking system."
 
Modi said the Goods and Services Tax (GST) had been the "biggest tax reform since independence" that had made the entire country a single market and widened the tax base.
 
He said infrastructure development was taking place at a "record speed" with more than 10,000 km of national highways built in just the last one year.
 
"It means over 27 km road built per day. This rate is double as compared to road development during previous governments."
 
Modi said the government had initiated modernization of 400 railway stations, was building 100 new airports and helipads and was working on setting up 100 waterways. He also listed down schemes like 'housing for all', 'health for all', 'banking for all' among others.
 
Inviting investors to participate in the world's largest healthcare scheme, Modi said the 'Ayushman Bharat' had opened up huge opportunities in the health sector, mainly in the tier-2 and tier-3 cities, in terms of hospitals, doctors, paramedics and medicines.
 
"The scheme gives coverage to a population more than America, Canada and Mexico combined. This population is more than that of entire Europe. And for this market, the payment is ready. This offers the biggest opportunity in the country."
 
Turning his focus to Uttarakhand, the Prime Minister said the young state was a shining example of what the New India represents and there was great potential to be tapped.
 
"Today, Uttarakhand is moving fast on the economic development path," he said and expressed his hope that the agreements signed during the two-day event soon comes on the ground so that the people get jobs and other benefits.
 
Modi recalled how as Chief Minister of Gujarat he said he wanted to emulate South Korea when people expected him to mention America or the UK. He said there were a lot of similarities between Gujarat and South Korea.
 
"Our states have more potential than many countries and each state can work towards it based on its competence," he said. "Today, fortunately there is a healthy competition among the states and no state would lag behind if they work on their respective strengths."
 
Modi said Uttarakhand nestled among the Himalayas and was blessed with the Ganga. It also had a special SEZ which was different from the usual Special Economic Zone. 
 
"It is Spiritual Eco-Zone which is many times more powerful than the typical SEZ."
 
IANS
 

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World Bank to provide $ 74 million loan for Uttarakhand Workforce Development Project

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The Government signed a loan agreement for IBRD credit of $74 million equivalent for the Uttarakhand Workforce Development Project (UKWDP) here yesterday.
 
The agreement was signed by Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. Jorge Coarasa, Acting Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of the World Bank.
 
A Project Agreement was also signed by Dr. Iqbal Ahmed, Additional Secretary, Skill Development and Employment, Government of Uttrakhand and Mr. Coarasa.
 
An official press release said the project objective is to improve the quality and relevance of training at priority Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and to increase the number of labor-market-relevant workers through short term training in Uttrakhand. 
 
The project has three components: Improving the quality and relevance of ITI Training; Increasing the number of skilled workers certified under National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQE) - Compliant Short Term Training; and Policy and Institutional Development and Project Management.
 
Twenty-five ITIs have been selected – 13 located in District Centres and 12 ITIs that are well-linked to industries. Two out of four women’s ITIs in the State will be included in the list.
 
The project has a 5-year grace period, and a maturity of 17 years. The closing date for the project is 30th June, 2023, the release added.
 
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Class 10 student gang raped in Dehradun boarding school

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The principal and two other officials of a boarding school here in Uttarakhand were arrested on Tuesday after a Class 10 girl student accused them of suppressing the matter of her gang rape by senior students in August, police said.
 
Four students of the school have also been detained for questioning. The two other school officials arrested are the administrator and the hostel warden.
 
The victim, who lives with her elder sister in the girls hostel, has alleged that a school official tried to spike her drink with medicines to terminate her pregnancy after the rape. 
 
The 16-year-old has said that on the eve of Independence Day, on the pretext of preparations for an August 15 event, the four senior boys sexually assaulted her.
 
The police said the matter came to light after the victim complained to her sister. 
 
The school has been accused of trying to suppress the matter, first by requesting the girl not to take the matter ahead and then by trying to mix drugs into her drinks for abortion, an officer said.
 
The girl has since recorded her statement before a Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) in the presence of officials of the Child Welfare Department of the Uttarakhand government. 
 
The girl has named four students of Class 12 who allegedly raped her. 
 
IANS

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