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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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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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Five killed as bus falls into gorge in Uttarakhand

 
5 killed as bus falls into gorge in Uttarakhand
 
 
Five persons were killed and 21 others injured in Almora district of Uttarakhand on Thursday when the driver of the bus they were travelling lost control and the vehicle fell into a deep gorge, police said.
 
The condition of 14 injured is stated to be critical. They have been rushed to Haldwani for treatment. 
 
The accident took place at Saingda Gadhera near Garunkhet on the Ramnagar-Badrinath road. 
 
Officials said the accident appears to have taken place due to brake failure. The bus had 26 persons in all, including the bus driver and conductor. 
 
The deceased include the bus conductor. 
 
District Magistrate Nitin Singh Bhadauria and Senior superintendent of police (SSP) P Renuka Devi rushed to the spot to oversee rescue and relief efforts, a state government official said.
 
IANS
 
 

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13 killed in Uttarakhand as mini-bus falls into gorge

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Thirteen persons were killed and two critically injured when rubble from a landslide hit a mini-bus on the Gangotri highway in Uttarkashi on Monday, police said.
 
There were 15 locals in all in the vehicle, police said, adding they were returning after offering prayers at the Gangotri temple. 
 
Most of the victims are from one family, an official said. The bodies of the 13 victims have been taken out of the gorge. 
 
"The vehicle when hit by the falling rubble of the landslide tumbled down into a deep gorge. Two girls, however, survived with serious injuries as they managed to cling on to a rock," he said. 
 
Locals, including the village head of Sanglai, rushed to the accident site and tried to rescue the passengers. Police personnel from the Bhatwali police station and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams also reached the site.
 
The district administration roped in personnel from Indo-Tibetian Police Force (ITBP) in the rescue operation, officials said. 
 
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has condoled the death of 13 persons and has directed district officials to ensure treatment of the two survivors.
 
IANS
 

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Rains pound Uttarakhand, schools to remain shut

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With heavy rain forecast in Uttarakhand till Monday and showers continuing in most parts on Saturday, schools have been shut down in Dehradun, Paudi, Tehri and Haridwar, an official said.
 
"Keeping in mind the safety of the students and teachers, all schools up to Class 12 have been shut down," an official told IANS.
 
Vigil has been stepped up in the state capital here, and the hill station of Nainital, Chamoli, Rudrprayag, Paudi, Champawat and Udhamsingh Nagar districts. 
 
The state and national disaster management bodies SDRF and NDRF have been put on high alert. 
 
The Regional Met Office has predicted that the hill state will receive heavy to very heavy rains till September 3. 
 
Landslides have been reported from the Badrinath, Kedarnath and Yamunotri highways and trekkers have been asked to stay put at safe places. 
 
More than 200 link roads in the hill regions are out of bounds for traffic owing to damage inflicted by continuous and heavy showers.
 
The Ganga river is in spate in Haridwar and is flowing near the danger mark. District authorities have asked people living in Haripurkalan, Gaziwali and Kangdi to shift to safer places. 
 
Water entered low-lying areas in Haripurkalan as the Ganga was flowing at 292.80 metres late on Friday after extra water was released by the Srinagar barrage. The danger mark is at 294 metres.
 
"We are keeping a close watch," Meera Kaintura, the district disaster management officer of Haridwar said. 
 
This is for the first time this monsoon season that the Ganga is flowing so close to the danger mark.
 
IANS
 

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Three of a family die as vehicle gets swept away by river in spate in Uttarakhand

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Three members of a family were killed when the vehicle they were travelling in was washed away by a river in spate near the Jim Corbett National Park, police said on Tuesday.
 
The victims were on their way back to Delhi from their native village Bainjaro in Paudi Garhwal on Monday, when the incident happened.
 
The police said that, due to the torrential downpours in the region, the river in the Paniyali causeway was in spate. The family was trying to cross it in their car but the driver could not hold it against the heavy currents.
 
As a result, the car was washed away. One person was rescued.
 
IANS
 

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Two killed in Uttarakhand rains

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At least two people were killed as incessant rains continued to batter Uttarakhand, an official said on Monday.
 
The victims were a woman from Pithoragarh and a 65-year-old man, who was washed away in Roorkie by the Sukro river, which is in spate.
 
The heavy rains have battered the state for the last one week, with plains being the most affected. 
 
In Kotdwar district, over 400 houses were inundated. Authorities have evacuated residents to a school. 
 
Water logging was reported in Haridwar, Rishikesh, Udhamsingh Nagar and Dehradun. 
 
There has been some damage to a reception hall at the entry gate of the Corbett National Park due to the heavy rains and flooding.
 
In Kumayun region, the Tanakpur-Pithoragarh highway has been blocked due to landslides, an official told IANS. 
 
More than dozen houses were damaged in Bageshwar.
 
The Ganga river is flowing a metre above the 293 metres danger mark in Haridwar. 
 
More rains are expected this week, according to an official from the regional Met Office.
 
IANS
 

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Goyal flags off new Naini-Doon Janshatabdi Express between Kathgodam and Dehradun

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Railways Minister Piyush Goyal flagged off the 12091/12092 Naini-Doon Janshatabdi Express between Kathgodam and Dehradun in Uttarakhand through video conferencing from Rail Bhavan here on Saturday.
 
Ashwani Lohani, Chairman, Railway Board, Girish Pillai, Member Traffic, Railway Board & other senior official were present on the occasion. 
 
The new train will run five days a week to provide additional service between Kathgodam and Dehradun, an official press release said.
 
“The new train will connect two important destinations for tourism i.e. Dehradun (Mussorie) & Kathgodam (Nainital). It will also bring development to the region as it will connect important business cities like Rudrapur and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh,” Mr Goyal said,
 
The new train will help daily passengers who travel on this route and want to reach home the same day.
 
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Heavy rain alert issued in Uttarakhand

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A "heavy to very heavy rain" alert was issued on Thursday in Uttarakhand for the next three days by the regional Met Office.
 
The state has been receiving widespread rains. This time the warning is of a massive downpour in almost all the districts.
 
Dehradun and districts of Uttarkashi and Udham Singh Nagar have been receiving heavy rains in the past 24 hours, forcing the district administration to step up vigil. Bajpur area in Udham Singh Nagar district is facing flood like situation, an official said.
 
In Bajpur, water logging has become a major scourge with most busy thoroughfares and localities like Teachers colony, Beria road and Ramraj road getting inundated with rain water, he added.
 
Following the warning from the Met office, the state government has asked authorities in all the districts to be extra vigilant and have asked people living on the embankment areas of rivers to go to safer places. 
 
 
IANS
 

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