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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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New memory device to boost miniaturization of digital gizmos

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Scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee, have developed a high density memory device that promises to provide high speed data reading and writing even while requiring extraordinarily low power to operate it.
 
The new type of memory could potentially be used in future memory chips for digital devices like smartphones and tablets, as well as for large data storage. It may also find applications in memory-intensive computing tasks like video and multimedia signal processing, pattern recognition, virtual reality, and machine learning.
 
In order to move towards further miniaturization of digital devices, scientists have been looking for new materials and processes including quantum mechanical phenomenon. Novel materials and material combinations are needed to fabricate what are called tunnel junctions with improved functionalities. 
 
One such potential contender is the Multiferroic Tunnel Junction (MFTJ)—a device made up of two ferromagnetic metal layers set apart by an ultrathin ferroelectric barrier. The aim is to obtain multiple logic states or precisely what is called ‘four logic levels’.
 
Researchers in the past have been able to achieve the four logic states, but these logic states have to be distinguishable and separable. The team at IIT,Roorkee, has achieved this. It has developed Ferromagnetic Shape Memory Alloy (FSMA)-based MFTJ nonvolatile memory device. 
 
“Our memory device has shown tremendous improvement of near 140 per cent in the memory function,” Prof. Davinder Kaur, who has developed the device along with her research student Kirandeep Singh, told India Science Wire.
 
One of the key features of the device is that it shows a ‘four logic state’ resistance at room temperature that can be tuned both by electric as well as magnetic field. Further, it utilizes voltage instead of large electric current to switch the magnetic bits and write data into memory. Hence it is more energy efficient and dense and can bring down the cost per bit. The researchers have published their findings in journal Applied Physics Letters.
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Rajnath exhorts IAS probationers to help realise PM’s dream of New India

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today exhorted young Indian Administrative Service (IAS) probationers to help realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of a New India.
 
Addressing the officer trainees of the 92nd Foundation Course at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) here, the Minister said, “You need to work hard to help the people. You have to create a sense of confidence among the people with your hard work.”
 
Noting that God has given them an opportunity to serve humanity and common citizens of the country, Mr. Rajnath Singh said the officers should empathise with the citizens who come out with their problems. “You should not try to postpone the resolution of their problems,” he said.
 
“Your approach should never be individual centric. Always be system-centric,” he added.
 
Cautioning the young officers against harbouring egos, Mr Rajnath Singh said, “Ego is like a decimal point which if added before a number reduces the value of that number.
 
“You will become a role model for others only when you adhere to high moral values. You should always be cautious in public life,” he said, wishing the probationers a bright future and successful career.
 
The Union Home Minister will visit the Mana Border Outpost (BOP) of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) later in the day. During his four-day visit to Uttarakhand, he will also visit the Lapthal and Rimkhim Border BOPs of ITBP and witness Rock Climbing and Commando Storming Operations at ITBP’s Mountaineering and Skiing Institute, Auli. He will inaugurate the Civic Action Programme and Blood Donation Camp at Joshimath.
 
Yesterday, Mr Rajnath Singh was received by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat as he arrived in Dehra Dun. The two leaders later held talks on various issues.
 
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Earthquake alert system in Uttarakhand to be expanded

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The India Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee is setting up a network of 100 earthquake sensors between Chamoli and Dharchula in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand as part of an exercise to provide an alert in case of any high magnitude earthquake occurs in the Himalayas.
 
The project, supported by the Uttarakhand government, includes installation of sirens in the state government’s Emergency Operation Centres at Dehradun and all district headquarters. It builds upon the existing network of 84 sensors between Uttarkashi and Chamoli in the Garhwal region put in place as part of a pilot project supported by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
 
Speaking to India Science Wire, Prof. M.L.Sharma of the Department of Earthquake Engineering at IIT Roorkee and Principal Investigator of the project, said the deployment of additional sensors will go a long way in providing protection not only to the people of Uttarakhand but also those living further down south.
 
“Data compiled over the last two centuries has shown that large magnitude earthquakes have occurred in different regions of the Himalayas except one segment in its central part. It is called Central Seismic Gap. Scientists apprehend that it has potential to generate a major earthquake and that it is overdue.
 
"Areas within a radius of 200 km from the Gap could be vulnerable and these include Chandigarh, Delhi, Lucknow, Patna and other parts of the highly populated Indo-Gangetic Plain, apart from Uttarakhand itself,” Sharma said.
 
The new 100 sensors along with the existing 84 spread over a distance of 200 km would cover the Gap area and help monitor the seismic activity there. The sensors will stream data in real-time basis to a server at the Institute using network of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and SWAN network of the Uttarakhand government. The computer will process the data and issue an alert immediately. 
 
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When an earthquake occurs, different types of waves with different velocities are generated. P-waves travel the fastest at a speed of 5 to 6 km per second followed by S-waves which move at a speed of about 3 km per second. But P-wave itself is slower than electromagnetic wave transmitted through telephone. The sensors would send out a signal to the Institute through telephone towers of BSNL as soon as a P-wave is detected.
 
Dr. Sharma said Dehradun would get a lead time of about 10 seconds. “It may not be much. Not all may be in a position to respond that quickly. But, at least measures could be in place for the immediate shut down of hazardous units."
 
IIT Roorkee, he said, was working on scaling up the alert system to cover cities like Delhi and Chandigarh which were in the vulnerable zone. Delhi, for instance, could get a lead time of 70 to 80 seconds. The system is being designed to issue an alarm for any earthquake with a magnitude of over 6 on the Richter scale.
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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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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Two IMA cadets die after falling ill during training camp

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Two gentlemen cadets of the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun died last Friday after falling ill due to dehydration during Exercise Pahla Kadam, a training camp for first term cadets conducted in the general area of Badshahi Bagh in Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh, official sources said here today.
 
"During the runback of the exercise, seven gentlemen cadets fell unwell due to dehydration. All the gentleman cadets were administered first aid by the medical officer present at the exercise location and evacuated in specialized ambulances with paramedic support to Military Hospital, Dehradun," an official press release said.
 
"Gentleman cadet Deepak Sharma whose condition was critical, was however rushed to the nearest medical centre (Lehman Hospital) at Vikasnagar. The individual succumbed to exhaustion and dehydration and passed away at 1:30 pm on 18 Aug despite best efforts made by the doctors," it said.
 
The release said that, meanwhile, the other cadets were shifted to Military Hospital, Dehradun where they were administered medical treatment. 
 
"Gentleman cadet Nabin Kumar Chhetri, the second individual, who was under treatment, however, eventually passed away at 11:50 pm despite best efforts made by the doctors. The best medical treatment by specialized doctors at Military Hospital, Dehradun was provided and all efforts were made to treat the individual," it said.
 
"Wreaths were laid for both the departed Gentlemen Cadets in separate ceremonies which were attended by all Officers, JCOs and Gentlemen Cadets of the IMA. 
 
"The remaining Gentleman Cadets have been treated at the Military Hospital and are stable," the release added.
 
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21 dead, 97 injured as 14 coaches of Utkal Express derail near Muzaffarnagar in UP

At least 21 passengers died and 97 others suffered injuries when 14 of the 23 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, on Saturday evening.

 
21 dead as Utkal Express derails in UP
At least 21 passengers died and 97 others suffered injuries when 14 of the 23 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, yesterday evening.
 
Northern Railway spokesman Neeraj Sharma told NetIndian over the telephone that 26 of the injured passengers had suffered grievous injuries while 71 had minor injuries.
 
Rescue and relief teams have completed the search for victims in the affected coaches and railway officials were now working to restore normal traffic on the route. "We hope to restore traffic on the line by 7 pm today," Mr. Sharma said.
 
Mr. Sharma said two of the derailed coaches had been re-railed and efforts were on to re-rail the other affected coaches at the earliest.
 
Senior Northern Railway officials, including the General Manager and the Additional General Manager, were at the scene of the tragedy, overseeing the restoration works as well as the relief operations.
 
Official sources said five coaches at the rear of the ill-fated train were taken to Khatauli station at little after midnight last night, while five coaches at the front were taken to Mansurpur.
 
Some of the seriously injured were referred to hospitals in Meerut and Delhi, the sources said.
 
The mishap occurred around 5.46 pm yesterday, and affected the eighth coach from the  engine and those behind it.
 
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. Cranes were requisitioned to bring it down and to lift the capsized coaches.
 
Gas cutters were used to cut through the mangled steel to pull out those trapped inside the coaches. More than 60 ambulances from government and private hospitals as well as charity organisations were deployed to take the injured to hospitals.
 
Scores of local people joined the district administration, police and other emergency services personnel in the rescue and relief efforts.
 
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The Railways rushed medical vans from Delhi and Saharanpur and an accident relief team from Ambala to the scene of the derailment. Arrangements were being made for buses to clear the stranded passengers from the site.
 
Various sources said that some workers were carrying out maintenance work on the track before the ill-fated train crossed the spot, and that the driver of the speeding train was not made aware of this in time.
 
As a consequence of the accident, the Railways have cancelled, short-terminated or diverted some trains. Today's 18478 Haridwar-Puri Kalinga Utkal Express has been cancelled due to yesterday's derailment.
 
Khatauli is located on the Meerut-Saharanpur section of the Delhi Division of Northern Railway, about 115 km from Delhi.
 
Senior railway officials of the Delhi Division, and staff and officers from nearby stations rushed to the scene as soon as news of the accident was received.
 
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) also reached the site and massive search and rescue operations continued till late last night.
 
The train had left Puri on Friday and was due to reach Haridwar at 9 pm yesterday, 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.
 
Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha and Minister of State for Water Resources Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan also rushed to the scene of the accident.
 
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath told journalists that two State Ministers -- Satish Mahana and Suresh Rana -- had been sent to the spot.
 
The Ministry of Railways announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 3.50 lakh for the next-of-kin of those killed in the accident, Rs. 50,000 for the seriously injured and Rs. 25,000 for those with minor injuries.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the accident. "Extremely pained by the derailment of the Utkal Express in Muzaffarnagar. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased," he said on Twitter.
 
"I wish those injured a speedy recovery. The situation is being monitored very closely by the Railways Ministry," he said.
 
"Railways Ministry & UP Government are doing everything possible & providing all assistance required in the wake of the train derailment," he added.
  
The Railways have set up the following helpline numbers for the benefit of the passengers and their relatives:
 
Muzaffarnagar Railway Station: 0131-2433099
Delhi Railway Station: 011-23962389/23967332
New Delhi: 011-23342954/23341074
Nizamuddin: 011-24239748
Ghaziabad: 09412715210
Haridwar: 9760534054, 01334227477/4227478/4227479/4227480
Moradabad: 05912420324
Roorkee: 9760534056
Bhubaneswar: 9674-2301525, 2301625, 203060, 2492611, 2534027, 845885936
Cuttack: 0671-2200568
Puri: 06752-226717, 1072
 
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19 dead, 60 injured as 14 coaches of Utkal Express derail near Muzaffarnagar in UP

At least 19 passengers died and 60 others suffered injuries when 14 of the 23 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, on Saturday evening.

 
19 dead as Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derails
At least 19 passengers died and 60 others suffered injuries when 14 of the 23 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.
 
Northern Railway spokesman Neeraj Sharma told NetIndian over the telephone that the number of casualties could go up as the rescue and relief teams complete searching of the worst-affected coaches. He said several of the injured had been discharged after first aid at nearby hospitals.
 
However, the seriously injured were referred to hospitals in Meerut and Delhi, sources said.
 
The mishap occurred around 5.46 pm today, he said and affected the eighth coach from the  engine and those behind it.
 
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. Cranes were requisitioned to bring it down and to lift the capsized coaches.
 
Gas cutters were being used to cut through the mangled steel to pull out those trapped inside the coaches. More than 60 ambulances from government and private hospitals as well as charity organisations had been deployed to take the injured to hospitals.
 
"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.
 
Scores of local people joined the district administration, police and other emergency services personnel in the rescue and relief efforts.
 
The Railways have rushed medical vans from Delhi and Saharanpur and an accident relief team from Ambala to the scene of the derailment. Arrangements were being made for buses to clear the stranded passengers from the site.
 
Various sources said that some workers were carrying out maintenance work on the track before the ill-fated train crossed the spot, and that the driver of the speeding train was not made aware of this in time.
 
As a consequence of the accident, the Railways have cancelled, short-terminated or diverted some trains. Tomorrow's 18478 Haridwar-Puri Kalinga Utkal Express has been cancelled due to today's derailment.
 
Khatauli is located on the Meerut-Saharanpur section of the Delhi Division of Northern Railway, about 115 km from Delhi.
 
"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.
 
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had also reached the site and massive search and rescue operations continued till late into the night.
 
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.
 
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Mr. Prabhu said Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha and Minister of State for Water Resources Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan also rushed to the scene of the accident.
 
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath told journalists that two State Ministers -- Satish Mahana and Suresh Rana -- had been sent to the spot.
 
The Ministry of Railways announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 3.50 lakh for the next-of-kin of those killed in the accident, Rs. 50,000 for the seriously injured and Rs. 25,000 for those with minor injuries.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the accident. "Extremely pained by the derailment of the Utkal Express in Muzaffarnagar. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased," he said on Twitter.
 
"I wish those injured a speedy recovery. The situation is being monitored very closely by the Railways Ministry," he said.
 
"Railways Ministry & UP Government are doing everything possible & providing all assistance required in the wake of the train derailment," he added.
 
As a consequence of the accident, the Railways have cancelled, short-terminated and diverted various trains.
 
The Railways have set up the following helpline numbers for the benefit of the passengers and their relatives:
 
Muzaffarnagar Railway Station: 0131-2433099
Delhi Railway Station: 011-23962389/23967332
New Delhi: 011-23342954/23341074
Nizamuddin: 011-24239748
Ghaziabad: 09412715210
Haridwar: 9760534054, 01334227477/4227478/4227479/4227480
Moradabad: 05912420324
Roorkee: 9760534056
Bhubaneswar: 9674-2301525, 2301625, 203060, 2492611, 2534027, 845885936
Cuttack: 0671-2200568
Puri: 06752-226717, 1072
 
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13 dead, 58 injured as ten coaches of Utkal Express derail near Muzaffarnagar in UP

At least 13 passengers died and 58 others suffered injuries when ten 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, on Sunday evening.

 
13 dead as Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derails
At least 13 passengers died and 58 others suffered injuries when ten 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, but said details of casualties were not immediately available.
 
However, Union Minister of State for Water Resources Sanjeev Kumar Baliyan, who was among those who reached the spot to oversee rescue and releif efforts, told a television channel that 13 people had died and 58 others had been taken to nearby hospitals.
 
Mr. Baliyan said efforts were being made to shift the seriously injured to Meerut and New Delhi.
 
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. More than 60 ambulances had been deployed to take the injured to hospitals.
 
"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.
 
Scores of local people joined the district administration, police and other emergency services personnel in the rescue and relief efforts.
 
The Railways have rushed medical vans from Delhi and Saharanpur and an accident relief team from Ambala to the scene of the derailment.
 
Arrangements were being made for buses to clear the stranded passengers from the site.
 
Various sources said that some workers were carrying out maintenance work on the track before the ill-fated train crossed the spot, and that the driver of the speeding train was not made aware of this in time.
 
As a consequence of the accident, the Railways have cancelled, short-terminated or diverted some trains. Tomorrow's 18478 Haridwar-Puri Kalinga Utkal Express has been cancelled due to today's derailment.
 
Khatauli is located on the Meerut-Saharanpur section of the Delhi Division of Northern Railway, about 115 km from Delhi.
 
"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) had also reached the site and massive search and rescue operations continued till late into the night.
 
The train had left Puri yesterday and was due to reach Haridwar at 9 pm today, they said.
 
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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.
 
The Ministry of Railways announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 3.5 lakh for the next-of-kin of those killed in the accident, Rs. 50,000 for the seriously injured and Rs. 25,000 for those with minor injuries.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the accident. "Extremely pained by the derailment of the Utkal Express in Muzaffarnagar. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased," he said on Twitter.
 
"I wish those injured a speedy recovery. The situation is being monitored very closely by the Railways Ministry," he said.
 
"Railways Ministry & UP Government are doing everything possible & providing all assistance required in the wake of the train derailment," he added.
 
The Railways have set up the following helpline numbers for the benefit of the passengers and their relatives:
 
Muzaffarnagar Railway Station: 0131-2433099
Delhi Railway Station: 011-23962389/23967332
New Delhi: 011-23342954/23341074
Nizamuddin: 011-24239748
Ghaziabad: 09412715210
Haridwar: 9760534054, 01334227477/4227478/4227479/4227480
Moradabad: 05912420324
Roorkee: 9760534056
Bhubaneswar: 9674-2301525, 2301625, 203060, 2492611, 2534027, 845885936
Cuttack: 0671-2200568
Puri: 06752-226717, 1072
 
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ONGC plans to double gas production over next 5-6 years: Sarraf

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Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Chairman and Managing Director Dinesh K. Sarraf today said that the company planned to double its gas production in the next five to six years.
 
Addressing a gathering during Independence Day celebrations here, he said that, in the past three years, despite the tumbling of oil prices to record lows, ONGC had not only sustained production from its existing fields through incremental inputs but also taken large meaningful and calculated investment decisions to ensure sustained volumes and financial growth.
 
“The share of gas in India’s energy basket is set to increase from 6.5% to 15%. The Government is focused on making our economy gas based," he said.
 
Mr. Sarraf siad many of ONGC's new projects are gas based. “We have flagged off 17 production related projects with a capex of Rs. 76,000 crore in the last three years. These projects will produce 69 MMT of crude oil and 118 BCM of natural gas during their profile period. Cumulative production from these projects would peak during 2020-21 at 6.65 MMT of crude and 13.38 BCM of gas, which is 45% of our oil and gas standalone production during FY '17,” he said.
 
He said ONGC’s flagship project -- development of Cluster-2 of KG-DWN-98/2 -- continued to be on stream and all activities were going on at a fast pace.
 
Mr. Sarraf said the project would produce about 25 MMT of oil and 50 BCM of gas with peak production of 4 MMT of oil and 5.5 BCM of gas. This would be equivalent to 17% and 24% of current standalone oil and gas production respectively – from a single project.
 
“During the last three financial years, we have completed 15 production related projects (including 8 brownfield and 7 greenfield) with capital investment of Rs. 54,000 crore. These would produce 87 MMT of crude and 56 BCM of gas during their profile period,” he said.
 
During FY '17, ONGC produced 5 MMT of crude and 3.5 BCM of gas from these projects, which is 22% and 16% of its standalone crude and gas production, respectively.
 
Mr. Sarraf said the Prime Minister has envisioned a 10% reduction in hydrocarbon imports by 2022. "As India’s premier E&P company, we have a major responsibility to fulfill this vision," he said.
 
"In FY '17, we made 23 hydrocarbon discoveries with a total reserve accretion of 65 MMtoe. Our overall 2P Reserve Replacement Ratio (RRR) was 1.45, making it the 11th consecutive year that the company has recorded an RRR in excess of ‘one’. While our exploration track record has been consistently noteworthy, the fact that we successfully put 8 out of the 13 onshore discoveries on production within the same year i.e. FY '17, reflects our desire to immediately monetise these discoveries."
 
"Our onshore assets have reversed declining trend in production, persisting for several years, by registering crude production at 5.97MMT in FY '17 as against 5.82 MMT in FY '16. I am sure that ONGC will demonstrate this production growth in FY '18 also. Production numbers till date support this belief," he added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Chamoli region of Uttarakhand

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale, shook the Chamoli region of Uttarakhand in the early hours of today.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.4 N and longitude 79.2 E, occurred at 0308 hours at a focal depth of 70 km.
 
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Conference of Collectors of ODF districts held at LBSNAA, Mussoorie

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A conference of Collectors of Open Defecation Free (ODF) Districts was held here over the past two days to discuss, among other things ODF verification guidelines, sustainability, successful ODF models and best practices from successful districts and States across the country.
 
The conference was held at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA). Organised by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, it was also a part of the Swachhta Pakhwada (Cleanliness fortnight) celebrations of the Department of Personnel and Training.
 
The LBSNAA has been renamed the Swachh Bharat Academy for the duration of a fortnight-long workshop that concluded with an address by the Cabinet Secretary, delivered via video conference.
 
An official press release said that, while the momentum of making India ODF is on the rise, ODF verification and sustainability have emerged as key focus areas. The conference was attended by collectors of 100 districts, 20 State representatives, development partners working in the field of sanitation, sectoral experts, along with other senior officers from the Ministry.
 
Delivering his inaugural address at the conference, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Parameswaran Iyer, said, “Behaviour change and usage is at the heart of Swachh Bharat. The Prime Minister personally championing the Sanitation Programme of the nation has been a game changer for sanitation in India.
 
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“Swachh Bharat Mission has become a true people’s movement. And this has been possible because of sincere community-led efforts and the growing behaviour change amongst the people of India. This shift in behaviour and dedication towards a Swachh Bharat is the fundamental difference between Swachh Bharat Mission and other sanitation programs run so far,” he added.
 
The conference included group exercises among participants on themes such ODF process, verification, sustainability, solid liquid waste management, behaviour change communication, and other key aspects of Swachh Bharat Mission. Officers Trainees at LBSNAA who have each worked towards making one village ODF during their field training also shared their experiences and best practices learnt by them.
 
Information, Education and Communication (IEC) plays a pivotal role in bringing behaviour change in the community. To highlight the IEC efforts made by different states, an exhibition on Swachh Bharat Mission IEC material put together by participating states was also organised.
 
Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) is a crucial aspect of Swachh Bharat that needs to be focused on in order to limit the waste generated by rural India and to convert it into wealth through proper processing. Sectoral experts in the field demonstrated various innovative technologies being used for SLWM in the country and underlined the need to scale them further, the release said.
 
The conference concluded with Union Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha addressing the participants through video conferencing. “After achieving ODF, sustaining it is going to be the most important step. This cannot happen without behaviour change and community participation. We would like to see more innovative steps to convert waste to wealth towards Swachh Bharat,” he added.
 
Stressing the importance of cross-learning, Mr Sinha said it would be useful to document the lessons from this workshop and share with all districts across the country. The workshop ended with distribution of certificates to districts that have been declared ODF recently.
 
According to the release, more than two 2 lakh villages and 149 districts across the country have turned Open Defecation Free (ODF). The overall sanitation coverage has risen from 42% to 64%. As on today, five states have been declared ODF, namely, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh, the release added.
 
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288 LPG cylinders explode in truck on Rishikesh-Badrinath highway in Uttarakhand

 
Gas cylinders explode in truck on Rishikesh-Badrinath highway
As many as 288 liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders exploded when the truck carrying it caught fire in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand this morning, but luckily no one was hurt, official sources said.
 
Rudraprayag District Magistrate Mangesh Ghildiyal told NetIndian over the telephone that the incident occurred around 8 am near Khankra village on National Highway (NH)-58 between Rishikesh and Badrinath.
 
He said that all 288 Indane gas cylinders in the truck, which was on its way from Sringar, Garhwal to Rudraprayag exploded in the space of about half an hour. The flames from the explosions and the sound of the blasts could be seen and heard from a long distance away.
 
No one was hurt in the incident. The driver and the cleaner of the truck managed to escape from the truck unharmed, he said. 
 
The cause of the fire is yet to be established. Mr. Ghildiyal said he had set up an inquiry committee, headed by the sub-divisional magistrate, Rudraprayag, to probe the incident. The district administration has also written to the public sector Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to investigate the matter.
 
The highway had been cleared since then and normal traffic restored to and from Badrinath, he added.
 
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Uttarakhand, Haryana declared Open Defecation Free States

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Under the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G), rural Uttarakhand and rural Haryana have declared themselves as the 4th and 5th Open Defecation Free (ODF) States of India.
 
The two today joined the league of Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala, which were the first three states to be declared ODF. 
 
Nationally, the sanitation coverage has increased from 42% to over 64% in just two and a half years since the launch of SBM, an official press release said.
 
Uttarakhand has 13 districts, 95 blocks, 7256 gram panchayats and 15751 villages while Haryana has 21 districts, 124 blocks, and 6083 gram panchayats - all of which have declared themselves as ODF in formal declarations in Dehradun and Chandigarh, respectively.
 
Speaking at the event in Dehradun, Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation said, “On 2nd October 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, started the Swachh Bharat Mission. Today, it has become a true people’s movement. People of Uttarakhand and Haryana, the government officials and representatives of other institutions have contributed towards this milestone.”
 
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, said, “Collaborative community participation has led Uttarakhand to achieve this ODF status. The Prime Minister’s call for a Swachh Bharat has resulted in this special achievement. I would like to laud the role of the gram pradhans in making Uttarakhand ODF.”
 
Congratulating the newly declared ODF States, Mr. Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation said, “Following the tremendous progress being made in ODF declaration across the country, the next step for Swachh Bharat Gramin will be to focus on sustaining this ODF status and systematic solid and liquid waste management in rural India.”
 
With the total number of ODF States now rising to five, more than two lakh  villages and 147 districts have also been declared ODF across the country, the release added.
 
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24 pilgrims from MP dead after bus falls into Bhagirathi river in Uttarakhand

 
24 pilgrims dead after bus falls into river in Uttarakhand
As many as 24 pilgrims, mainly from Indore in Madhya Pradesh, died when a private bus carrying them fell into the Bhagirathi river in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand yesterday evening, official sources said.
 
Official sources said six other passengers of the bus suffered injuries and are undergoing treatment in hospitals in Uttarkashi.
 
In all, there were 30 people on board the bus, including its cleaner and driver, both of whom are among those who died.
 
The deceased included 13 women and 11 men, while the injured included three men, two women and a 17-year-old girl. Two of those who died were in their 80s, four in their 70s and eight in their 60s.
 
The pilgrims were on Chardham pilgrimage since May 12 and had already visited Yamunotri and Gangotri and were on their way to Kedarnath when the tragedy occurred around 6.30 pm yesterday near Nalupani in Uttarkashi, about 25 km from the district headquarters.
 
Police, men of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and personnel of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and other emergency services were involved in the search and rescue operations.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the accident. “My prayers and solidarity with those who lost their loved ones in the unfortunate bus accident in Uttarkashi. May the injured recover soon," he said.
 
He also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 2 lakh from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) for the next of kin of those killed and Rs. 50,000 for those seriously injured in the accident.
 
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18 pilgrims from MP dead, six missing after bus falls into Bhagirathi river in Uttarakhand

 
18 pilgrims dead, 6 missing after bus falls into river in Uttarakhand
At least 18 pilgrims, mainly from Indore in Madhya Pradesh, died when a private bus carrying them fell into the Bhagirathi river in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand yesterday evening, official sources said.
 
Uttarkashi district Ashish Kumar Srivastava told NetIndian over the telephone that 18 bodies had been recovered from the river and a search was being conducted for six others who were still missing this morning, more than 15 hours after the mishap.
 
In all, there were 30 people on board the bus, including its cleaner and driver, Mr. Srivastava said.
 
The pilgrims were on Chardham pilgrimage since May 12 and had already visited Yamunotri and Gangotri and were on their way to Kedarnath when the tragedy occurred around 5.30 pm yesterday near Nalupani in Uttarkashi, about 25 km from the district headquarters.
 
Police, men of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and personnel of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and other emergency services were involved in the search and rescue operations.
 
The injured passengers were taken to hospitals in Uttarkashi and other places.
 
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Prabhu to lay foundation stone for final location survey for rail connectivity for Chardham pilgrimage

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Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu will lay the foundation stone on May 13 for the Final Location Survey for single broad gauge line rail connectivity to facilitate Chardham pilgrimage at Badrinath.
 
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat will be the chief guest at the function, an official press release said.
 
Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Radha Mohan Singh, and Members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha of the region along with the Members of the Legislative Assembly will also be present, it said.
 
The public sector Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) will undertake the Final Location Survey for rail connectivity to Chardham and Chardham Yatra (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath & Kedarnath via Dehradun & Karanprayag) in Uttarakhand.
 
As the alignment will pass through the rugged mountainous terrain of the Himalayas, the Railways have to meet the challenges of railway construction integrating the unique challenges of the terrain and adverse geology along with limits of load, capacity, safety and speed.
 
The four Dhams have their varied and distinctive elevation levels along with unique spiritual significance. The Yamunotri tracing the origin of River Yamuna is situated at 3293 m above mean sea level (MSL) while the Gangotri tracing the origin of River Ganga is situated at 3408 m above MSL. 
 
Kedarnath housing the shrine of Lord Shiva, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, is at 3583 m above MSL, while Badrinath housing the shrine of Lord Vishnu is at 3133 m above MSL. The existing railheads or the nearest railway stations to the proposed Chardham connectivity are Doiwala, Rishikesh and Karanprayag (on the upcoming Rishikesh-Karanprayag new rail line under construction by RVNL) at mean MSL ranging from 400-825 m. The proposed Chardham rail line connecting to 2000 m MSL and above will be a challenging engineering feat.
 
RVNL has undertaken a Reconnaissance Engineering Survey in 2014-15 of the rail connectivity project and has submitted its report in October 2015, recommending two take-off points, one from existing Doiwala station and one from Karanprayag station (under construction).
 
For the Gangotri alignment, the proposed rail link takes off from Doiwala station to connect up to Manneri at 1270 m above MSL marking a route of 131 km via Uttarkashi. For Yamunotri, the alignment is proposed to take off midway from Gangotri link at Uttarkashi making a “Y” connection and terminating at Palar (1265 m above MSL) with a take- off route length of 22 km.
 
For the Kedarnath alignment, the proposed line will take off from proposed Karanprayag station and terminate at Sonprayag (1650 m above MSL) via Saikot with a route length of 99 km. The Badrinath alignment will take off midway from Kedarnath link at Saikot making a “Y” connection and terminating at Joshimath (1733 m above MSL) with a route length of 75 km.
 
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As per the Reconnaissance Survey, the total route length is 327 km at estimated cost of Rs. 43,292 crore. The Survey recommends 21 new stations, 61 tunnels totalling to 279 km tunnel length and 59 bridges. The alignment will have ruling gradient of 1 in 80 with a maximum degree of curvature of 5 degrees.
 
Chardham is one of the unique cornerstones of Hindu pilgrimage which is intertwined to mystical and spiritual aspirations of every devout Hindu. A large number of pilgrims flock to Chardham while foreign and domestic tourist are attracted to trekking & sightseeing in the state of Uttarakhand.
 
The Railway envisages bringing in a new era of safe and comfortable travel through this Chardham Rail Connectivity Project. Alongside, Indian Railways through Rail Vikas Nigam Limited is concurrently pursuing its ambitious project of construction of new rail line between Rishikesh and Karanprayag and efforts are underway to fast-track the completion of the project, the release added.
 
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Mukherjee to visit Uttarakhand on May 5-6

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President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a two-day visit to Uttarakhand on May 5-6, an official press release said here today.
 
During the visit, Mr. Mukherjee will address the annual convocation of the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy (IGNFA) in Dehradun. 
 
He will return to Delhi on May 6, the release added.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Rudraprayag region of Uttarakhand

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Rudraprayag region of Uttarakhand early this morning.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.5°N and longitude 79.1°E, occurred at 0439 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
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Minor earthquakes recorded in Uttarakhand, Tripura

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Two earthquakes of slight intensity, measuring 3.8 and 3.2 on the Richter scale, shook the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand and Tirap region of Arunachal Pradesh, respectively, today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake in Uttarakhand, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.7°N and longitude 78.6°E, occurred at 1420 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin said.
 
The tremor in Arunachal Pradesh had its epicentre at latitude 27.0 N and longitude 95.6 E, occurred at 1054 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, the bulletin added.
 
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World Bank to provide $ 100 million credit for Uttarakhand Health Systems Development Project.

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The Government has signed a financing agreement with the World Bank for IDA credit of $ 100 million (equivalent) for the "Uttarakhand Health Systems Development Project".
 
IDA (International Development Association) is the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries with loans and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people’s living conditions.
 
The agreement was signed by Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of Government of India and Mr. Hisham Abdo, Acting Country Director, World Bank (India) on behalf of the World Bank. A Project Agreement was also signed by Dr. Neeraj Kharwal, Additional Secretary (Health), Government of Uttarakhand and Mr. Abdo.
 
An official press release said the objective of the project is to improve access to quality health services, particularly in the hilly districts of the State, and to expand health financial risk protection for residents of the State. The project will benefit the residents of hilly districts in particular. 
 
The project has two main components, Innovations of engaging the private sector; and Stewardship and system improvement. Out of the total project size of $ 125 million, $ 25 million will be the counterpart contribution of the State Government. 
 
The planned design of the project consists of multiple self-contained clusters of clinical services managed by operators on a public private partnership (PPP) basis, providing services for free or at nominal charges, backed up by a robust oversight and monitoring mechanism fully integrated with the expanded health insurance program in the State. This will be concurrent with strengthening the state’s capacity to implement the project, the release said.
 
The closing date of Uttarakhand Health Systems Development Project is 30th September, 2023, it added.
 
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India-Nepal joint exercise Surya Kiran ends

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The two-week long India-Nepal joint military training exercise, Surya Kiran-XI, which began on March 7, ended at Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand yesterday.
 
The Ekta Shakti battalion of The Punjab Regiment of the Indian Army and Durga Bahsh battalion of the Nepalese Army participated in the 11th edition of the annual exercise.
 
The exercise was aimed at training troops in counter insurgency operations and enhancing defence cooperation and military relations between the two countries. It provided an ideal platform for the personnel of the two armies to share their experiences, an official press release said.
 
The training was conducted in the hills adjoining Pithoragarh, which provided the participants a realistic environ to practise their skills. The training culminated with a 48-hour outdoor exercise in which troops of both contingents carried out a cordon and search operation in a mock village.
 
Besides training, troops also rubbed shoulders in friendly matches, spent spare time in local sightseeing and engaged in other traditional military activities. A customary exchange of mementoes marked the successful completion of the training, the release added.
 
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Trivendra Singh Rawat sworn in as new CM of Uttarakhand

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Trivendra Singh Rawat was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Uttarakhand in Dehradun on Saturday after his party scored an overwhelming victory in the February 15 elections to the state legislative assembly.

 
Trivendra Singh Rawat sworn in as Uttarakhand CM
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Trivendra Singh Rawat was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Uttarakhand here today after his party scored an overwhelming victory in the February 15 elections to the state legislative assembly.
 
The BJP bagged 57 seats in the 70-member House, while the ruling Congress got just 11. Two seats went to independent candidates.
 
Governor K. K. Paul adminstered the oaths of office to Mr. Rawat at a ceremony here this afternoon. Along with him, seven Cabinet Ministers and two Ministers of State were also sworn in.
 
The new Cabinet Ministers are Saptal Maharaj, Prakash Pant, Harak Singh Rawat, Madan Kaushik, Yashpal Arya, Arvind Pandey and Subodh Uniyal while the two Ministers of State are Rekha Arya and Dhan Singh Rawat.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Uma Bharti, outgoing Chief Minister and Congress leader Harish Rawat and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar were among those present at the ceremony held at the Parade Ground here.
 
Mr. Rawat, 57, had been chosen as the leader of the BJP Legislature Party at a meeting of the party's newly-elected MLAs here yesterday. Later, he had met the Governor, along with other leaders of the party, and staked claim to form the next government in the state. Mr. Paul appointed him as the Chief Minister and invited him to form the new government.
 
Mr. Rawat, a former pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the BJP, has been elected to the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly from the Doiwala constituency, from where has won twice earlier.
 
He had played a key role for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and also in Jharkhand during the Assembly elections there.
 
Mr. Rawat has served as president of the Uttarakhand BJP as well as Minister in the BJP governments headed by Mr. B. C. Khanduri and Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal "Nishank".
 
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