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Uttarakhand

PM announces Rs 1000 crore for disaster relief efforts in flood-hit Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand floods: PM announces Rs 1000 cr package
 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced an amount of Rs 1000 crore for disaster relief efforts in Uttarakhand, where torrential rains over the weekend killed at least 102 people and caused widespread destruction of public and private property.
 
Talking to reporters after an aerial survey of the worst-affected areas, including Kedarnath, Dr Singh said that, of the amount, Rs 145 crore would be released immediately.
 
"I have also directed all Central agencies to render all possible assistance in their domain to the state," he said.
 
Dr Singh, who was accompanied on the aerial survey by ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, said they had seen for themseles the large-scale devastation that had been caused by the rains, floods and landslides in the state.
 
"Our hearts go out to the families of those who have lost their lives and those who have suffered injury or loss of property in this huge tragedy," he said.
 
Dr Singh said that assessing the magnitude of the losses, both in terms of lives lost and houses destroyed, or the damage to buildings, roads and other infrastructure, was an exercise that would take some more time. 
 
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"The priority for the authorities at the moment is to rescue the stranded and provide urgently needed succour to those most in need of it," he said.
 
"What Chairperson UPA and I saw today was most distressing. While the most recent estimates put the death toll at 102, it is feared that loss of lives could eventually be much higher. So far, more than 10,000  people have been rescued and are being provided food, clothing and shelter. Many persons still remain stranded. The maximum damage has been in Kedarnath and its vicinity," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said the immediate need was for rescue and relief operations and the Government would not spare any effort in this regard.
 
He said the Central and State Governments had deployed all possible resources to deal with the immediate aftermath of the ghastly tragedy.  About 5500 jawans and officers of the Army, 3000 men of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and 600 personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) are engaged in relief and rescue efforts. Thirteen teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)have been deployed. The Air Force has deployed 18 helicopters and a C-130 aircraft. Private helicopters have also been engaged by the State Government.  
 
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"The Central and State Governments will continue to work in close coordination to ensure that every possible effort is made not only to provide immediate relief to the affected persons but also to help them reconstruct their lives," he said.
 
Dr Singh said an ex-gratia assistance of Rs. 2 lakh each to the families of those who have lost their lives and Rs. 50,000 each to those who have been injured will be provided from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF). 
 
"Further, we will also provide from the PMNRF ex-gratia assistance of  Rs.1 lakh each to those whose houses have been completely destroyed and Rs. 50,000 each to those whose houses have been damaged," he added.
 
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PM, Sonia Gandhi to conduct aerial survey of flood-hit areas of Uttarakhand

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi will conduct an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of Uttarakhand, including Kedarnath, this afternoon after torrential rains over the weekend left a trail of death and destruction in many parts of the state.
 
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told mediapersons that Dr Singh and Ms Gandhi had been briefed about the situation in the state at a meeting held at the Prime Minister's 7, Race Course Road residence here this morning.
 
He said a team of senior officials of the Home Ministry would leave by a special flight for an assessment of the damage caused by the rains, landslides and floods in Uttarakhand.
 
Dr Singh had spoken to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna yesterday evening and inquired about the flood situation in the state.
 
He assured Mr Bahuguna of all possible assistance from the Centre in the rescue and relief operations.
 
The Prime Minister shared the anguish and distress of the affected people of Uttarakhand. He said that assistance was already being provided by the Army and Air Force to rescue stranded people and to provide relief. 
 
Dr Singh has also directed all agencies of the Union Government to assist in rescue and relief operations in the flood affected areas of the state.
 
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Rescue, relief efforts continue in flood-hit Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh

Rescue and relief teams continued their round-the-clock operations on Wednesday in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh where torrential rains over the weekend wrought havoc in several areas, leaving at least 54 killed and hundreds more missing.

Monsoon rage in Uttarakhand: Kedarnath almost submerged
Rescue and relief teams continued their round-the-clock operations today in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh where torrential rains over the weekend wrought havoc in several areas, leaving at least 54 killed and hundreds more missing.
 
The incessant rains on Saturday and Sunday also caused large-scale devastation of public and private properties.
 
According to official sources, at least 44 people have died in Uttarakhand -- 20 in Rudraprayag district, nine in Dehradun, eight in Almora, two each in Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Tehri and one in Haridwar.
 
At least 44 others suffered injuries in the floods and landslides, while 11 were officially listed as missing.
 
Unofficial reports, however, put the death toll at more than a hundred and the number of missing at 500, but this could not be confirmed.
 
Official sources said more than a thousand heads of cattle had perished in the floods, while 175 houses and buildings had been completely destroyed.
 
Six bridges were damaged, while several vehicles and a helicopter were washed away by the swirling waters of the swollen rivers in the state.
 
More than 71,400 pilgrims and tourists were stranded at different places in the state, especially on the way to the Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri temples.
 
In Himachal Pradesh, at least ten persons were killed in landslides in the tribal district of Kinnaur in  Himachal Pradesh three days ago.
 
Once the waters recede and rescue teams are able to access some of the more remote areas, the death toll could rise, the sources said.
 
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna yesterday evening and assured him of all help for the flood-affected areas of the state from the Centre.
 
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde also spoke to the Chief Ministers of the two states and assured them of all possible assistance.
 
More than 5000 Army personnel have been deployed in the relief and rescue efforts in the two states as well as parts of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, which also experienced heavy rains and flooding. Indian Air Force helicopters were deployed to evacuate the stranded tourists.
 
An idea of the devastation caused by the rains, floods and landslides could be had from television pictures of multi-storeyed buildings, houses and bridges crashing, after the earth below them caved in, and being washed away by the swirling waters.
 
A tall statue of Lord Shiva in Rishikesh was covered upto the neck by the flooded river yesterday.
 
The Border Roads Organization (BRO) has mobilized its personnel to try and facilitate restoration of road communication across the different routes. 
 
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PM assures all assistance for flood-affected areas of Uttarakhand

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna this evening and inquired about the flood situation in the state after three days of torrential rain which caused widespread devastation.
 
Dr Singh assured Mr Bahuguna of all possible assistance from the Centre in the rescue and relief operations.
 
The Prime Minister shared the anguish and distress of the affected people of Uttarakhand who see their homes facing the ravages of floods. 
 
He said that assistance was already being provided by the Army and Air Force to rescue stranded people and to provide relief. 
 
Dr Singh has also directed all agencies of the Union Government to assist in rescue and relief operations in the flood affected areas of the state, an official press release added.
 
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Massive rescue, relief efforts continue in rain-hit Uttarakhand, Himachal

Massive rescue and relief operations continued on Tuesday in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh where torrential rains in the past three days have wrought havoc in several areas, claiming at least 44 lives, and caused large-scale devastation of public and private properies.

60 dead due to flash floods in many states
 
Massive rescue and relief operations continued today in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh where torrential rains in the past three days have wrought havoc in several areas, claiming at least 44 lives, and caused large-scale devastation of public and private properies.
 
In Uttarakhand, which has borne the brunt of the monsoon's fury, at least 34 people have died and several more have been reported missing as rescue teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Armed Forces, paramilitary forces and state government agencies made their way into remote parts.
 
Unofficial reports put the death toll in Uttarakhand at more than 50.
 
In Himachal Pradesh, at least ten persons were killed in landslides in the tribal district of Kinnaur in  Himachal Pradesh two days ago.
 
Thousands of tourists and pilgrims were stranded at various places in the two states.
 
According to reports reaching here, the weather had improved today and the water level in the Ganga and its tributaries had receded.
 
An idea of the devastation caused by the rains could be had from television pictures of multi-storeyed buildings, houses and bridges crashing, after the earth below them caved in, and being washed away by the swirling waters.
 
A tall statue of Lord Shiva in Rishikesh was covered upto the neck by the flooded river yesterday.
 
A press release from the Ministry of Home Affairs here said that the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was asked to swing into action on June 15 and start providing assistance in conjunction with the district administrations to help the stranded travellers.
 
The Inspector General of ITBP in Uttarakhand was asked to get in touch with the state Chief Secretary and provide whatever assistance was required by the state government.  
 
It said two teams of the NDRF were already available in Uttarakhand and 12 additional teams were dispatched. The Ministry of Defence also made available helicopters at the request of the state government.
 
Due to bad weather, the helicopters could start operating only this morning. As many as 50 pilgrims have been rescued from Kedarnath and brought to Gupt Kashi. Further sorties are in progress to evacuate the stranded travellers.
 
Union Home Secretary R K Singh held a meeting with representatives of the state government, the Border Roads Organization (BRO), ITBP, the NDRF, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Ministry of Defence here yesterday to review the steps being taken and plan for the operations.
 
The BRO has mobilized its personnel to try and facilitate restoration of road communication across the different routes. 
 
Two teams of NDRF reached Kedarnath today and have started relief and rescue operations. As many as 72 persons were rescued by this afternoon.
 
An advance party has reached Gaurikund to assess the requirements and intensify the relief efforts.
 
The Home Secretary has been in continuous touch with the Chief Secretary, Uttarakhand. Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has had a telephonic conversation with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and assured the state of all possible support from the Centre.
 
About 1000 tourists were stranded in Rekong-Peo and 500 in Sangla Valley. Helicopters were dispatched to Sangla Valley this morning for rescuing the stranded. 
 
The BRO has been asked to assist the state public works department (PWD) in restoring the communication links to both Rekong Peo and Sangla Valley. 
 
One team of NDRF has reached Sangla and the other team is on way to Po to assist the district administration in relief work, the release said.
 
A spokesman for the Army said more than 5000 of its personnel were deployed in various parts of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to render aid to the distraught people.
 
In Govindghat, Uttarakhand, an Army column on Hemkund Sahib route evacuated more than 4000 pilgrims across the broken bridge and constructed a foot track for their safe passage. About 1800 pilgrims have further been moved from Govindghat to Joshimath. 
 
In addition, medical facilities, refreshments and lodging facilities have been extended to over 1300 persons at Joshimath. Over 200 sets of blankets, sleeping bags, combat jackets and balaclavas have been provided to the evacuated pilgrims.
 
Another Army column has been employed for clearing a major landslide near Patal Ganga, in order to restore connectivity.
 
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With the road from Rudraprayag to Badasu blocked because of landslides at  Silchatti and Kund Chatti and the bridge at Rudraprayag being flooded, Badasu has been virtually cut off. One Army column has been inducted to Badasu by helicopter this morning and is presently undertaking relief and rescue work.
 
The Narendranagar – Dharasu road is blocked at 10 locations due to landslides and washing away of bridges and culverts. An Army column has been deployed along the road for rescue and relief work.
 
An Army column constructed a log bridge near Harsil and evacuated 600 pilgrims. In addition, the column opened a medical relief camp at Harsil for stranded civilians and is providing food, water and shelter. A foot track has been constructed and help provided for evacuation of 100 pilgrims stranded on Harsil-Gangotri axis.
 
An Army column has been deployed at Raigarhi village on the Moradabad-Haridwar road to evacuate stranded civilians.
 
An Army column is currently assisting civilians stranded between Badrinath and Mana, and providing them with medical aid, food and refreshments.
 
In Yamunanagar, Haryana, two Army columns have been working around the clock and have so far rescued 103 persons including 37 children from villages Lapra, Udhri, Kalanaur, Jathlana and Gumthala.
 
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One Army column undertook relief work and evacuation of civilians from affected areas around Saharanpur city in Uttar Pradesh. The column is now moving to Shamli for evacuating a marooned family.
 
One Army column has been deployed at Rawali village near Bijnor in UP, to evacuate 150 stranded civilians. Efforts to reach the stranded persons are in progress, the spokesman added.
 
A press release from the IAF said it had undertaken relief operations in Yamunanagar, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Rudraprayag, Kurcham and Puh.
 
Air Force station Sarsawa was made the hub of the operations with helicopters converging from Bhatinda and Hindon. A number of medium-lift helicopters including the newly inducted MI -17 V5 were positioned yesterday  at Jollygrant helipad at Dehradun despite inclement weather.
 
A total of 17 people were evacuated from the Karnal area in Haryana by helicopters yesterday.
 
Another 21 people, including 15 children, were rescued from Nakud by an advanced light helicopter (ALH) operating from Sarsawa.
 
Today, two more MI -17 V5 helicopters were put into service along with the NDRF teams in the general area of Rampur- Rekongpeo in Himachal Pradesh. 
 
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IMD warns of heavy rainfall in Uttarakhand in next 24 hours

 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned of heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places in Uttarakhand during the next 24 hours.
 
The state has borne the brunt of the monsoon fury in the last two days, with several people killed and many more feared washed away following incessant rains which have caused widespread devastation.
 
The IMD also said that heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur at one or two places over Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, west Uttar Pradesh, east Rajasthan and west Madhya Pradesh during the next 24 hours and over Gujarat, Konkan & Goa, central Maharashtra, Kerala and coastal Karnataka during the next 48 hours.
 
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10 killed, 50 missing as incessant rains wreak havoc in Uttarakhand


 
Uttarakhand: Early monsoon strikes hard
At least 10 people have died and another 50 have been reported missing as incessant rains for the past two days have wrought havoc in several parts of Uttarakhand and caused large-scale devastation of property.
 
Official sources said some of the areas of the state received 370 mm of rainfall in the past 48 hours, the highest since June 28, 1925, triggering off massive landslides in many places.
 
The rains, which started on Saturday night, have continued without let, causing roads to cave in at many places and buildings to collapse. Scores of vehicles were said to have been washed away by the swirling waters. All the rivers of the state are in spate.
 
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Army, para-military forces and the state government's agencies have launched massive rescue efforts but these were hampered by the continuing bad weather, the sources said.
 
They said light teams were moving into the affected areas first and they would be followed by teams with heavy equipment, including boats, later. With roads washed away in many places, there were also long traffic jams on many routes. Telecommunication links have also snapped in many areas.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted more rains in the state in the coming days.
 
About 50 people have reportedly been swept away after a cloudburst in Rambada area, the sources said, adding that officials were making efforts to ascertain facts in this regard.
 
Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi and Chamoli were the worst-affected districts.
 
Official sources said that relief camps and control rooms had been set up in all the affected areas.
 
Thousands of pilgrims who were on a visit to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri and other holy places in the state have been stranded on the way.
 
A spokesman for the Army said it had established assistance centres at  Harsil, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Joshimath, Govindghat, Hanuman Chetti and Dharchula in the last 24 hours to provide information, medical aid, food and water to stranded and hungry pilgrims.
 
The Army provided succor to paramilitary personnel at Sela in Pithoragarh district and detachment of mules at Gauri Kund near Kedarnath.  
 
Eight Quick Reaction Medical teams have established medical aid posts at Rudraprayag, Joshimath, Govindghat and Dharchula to provide immediate life saving medical assistance.  Besides, stranded pilgrims are being given expert and specialist medical advice on telephone via virtual network through Medical Emergency Helpline.
 
Hundreds of pilgrims have been evacuated by the Army on foot from Govind Ghat to Joshimath this morning.  Further evacuation got disrupted due to extensive landslides in the area.  Food, medical aid and shelter have been provided to hundreds of stranded pilgrims in the area.
 
Army has also launched a dozen reconnaissance parties to inaccessible areas to obtain first hand information.  Five columns are already in location to provide assistance on ground.  Ten columns have been kept on stand by to move at short notice to flood affected areas.  
 
To provide immediate succour to affected people and to save lives and property, army mobilized these columns without waiting for any request from civil administration, the spokesman added.
 
In Haryana, personnel of the NDRF rescued about 52 people who were marooned in a village in Yamuna Nagar district.
 
In Himachal Pradesh, the continuous rains over the past two days have triggered landslides in the Sangla valley, where Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was among nearly 1500 people who were stranded.
 
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RailTel, IIT Roorkee to set up Telecom Centre of Excellence

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The public sector RailTel Corporation today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee for etablishing a Telecom Centre of Excellence (TCOE).
 
The RailTel IIT Roorkee Centre of Excellence in Telecom (RICET) will be the eighth TCOE in the country.
 
The MoU was signed in the presence of Union Minister for Communications & Information Technology Kapil Sibal.
 
RailTel will fund the TCOE through 100 per cent budgetary support over a five-year period for carrying out research and development activities in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Broadband Applications.

Uttarakhand's annual plan finalized at Rs 8,500 crore

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna meeting Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia in New Delhi on May 23, 2013. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs & Planning Rajiv Shukla is also seen.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna meeting Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia in New Delhi on May 23, 2013. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs & Planning Rajiv Shukla is also seen.
Uttarakhand's annual plan for 2013-14 was finalized at Rs 8,500 crore at a meeting between Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and state Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna here yesterday.
 
In his comments on the plan performance of the State, Mr Ahluwalia said the Commission is fully aware of the infrastructure deficit in the State and constraints in meeting the cost of infrastructure development. 
 
He said the State needed to further encourage private sector participation in infrastructure development. Improved infrastructure would help the State in fully tapping the potential in sectors like tourism while catalysing economic activity in all regions, he said.
 
Mr Ahluwalia said that, despite development constraints, the State had done well in picking up the pace of development. Although it is still not at par with the national average on human development indices, noticeable improvements have been registered in various segments, he said.
 
Achievements in education and health sectors were specially appreciated. 
 
Members of the Commission recognised the relevance of developing Tehri Dam area as an international tourism destination and asked State Government to give a full presentation on the project so as to evolve a plan to fund this project. 
 
Mr. Bahuguna said that the industrial package given by the Central Government for the ten-year period from 2003 to 2013 has been prematurely withdrawn in 2010 which is adversely affecting industrial development in the State.
 
He also requested for a special grant to provide adequate facilities to  tourists and pilgrims as the State had dual responsibilities of facilitating a population which is 3-4 times the population of the State. Creating civic amenities for tourists and pilgrims was an extra burden on the State’s limited resources, he said. 
 
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Drawing attention to the problems being faced in the development of physical infrastructure, he said more than 200 villages are situated at the mouth of land slides. Resettlement and rehabilitation of these villages needed huge resources,he said.
 
He said more than Rs. 500 crore would be required to relocate and rehabilitate these villages before disaster strikes. 
 
In order to remain an attractive location for further investment, the State Government has to support creation of attractive industrial and social infrastructure, he said.
 
He said infrastructure development through public private partnership (PPP) is being encouraged. To fast track PPP projects a new policy has been approved and 12 projects are being successfully implemented in PPP mode. Another 57 projects are in the pipeline. The investor-friendly policies initiated by the Government has resulted in an investment of more than Rs.35,000 crore and would generate employment for 2 lakh persons, he said.
 
The Chief Minister sought th Planning Commission's support in getting green bonus for protecting forests and compensation for power projects stalled due to environmental clearances. He said despite constraints the State was well set to achieve the growth rate target for the 12th Plan. Agriculture would continue to be the focus of development strategy as over 60% population is dependent on this sector, he added.
 
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Three minor quakes recorded in different parts of India

Three minor earthquakes, measuring between 3.0 and 3.2 on the Richter scale, were recorded in different parts of India tonight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The first quake was recorded in the border region between Uttarakhand and Nepal, measuring 3.2, at 2008 hours. It had its epicentre at latitude 29.5 degrees North and longitude 80.4 degrees East and occurred at a depth of 15 km.
 
The second one, of magnitude 3.0, occurred 14 minutes later in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. It had its epicentre at latitude 32.4 degrees North and longitude 76.0 degrees East and occured at a depth of 5 km.
 
The third tremor was reported from Tripura in the North-East and measured 3.1 on the Richter scale. It had its epicentre at latitude 24.7 degrees North and longitude 91.7 degrees East and occurred at 2025 hours at a depth of 10 km.
 
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Army's Mahar Regiment, Red Eagle Division to launch expedition to Mt Trishul

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The Indian Army's Mahar Regiment and the Red Eagle Division will jointly launch a mountaineering expedition to Mount Trishul (7120 metres) in the Garhwal Himalayas.

Trishul, a group of three peaks, is located in the Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand.
 
A press release from the Army said the expedition would be flagged off from Lucknow by Maj Gen Surinder Singh, GOC, Red Eagle Division, on April 26.
 
The team will consist of 16 climbing members and 8 support staff members. They will make their way by road to Bagad road head via Nandprayag, 786 km from Lucknow, and then traverse 34 km over inhospitable and challenging trail through the outer route of the Nanda Devi Sanctuary.
 
To prepare for this challenging climb, the team has been undergoing training at the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, Uttarkashi.
 
"The expedition aims at inculcating a spirit of adventure and daring amongst its soldiers, thereby developing leadership values, initiative and camaraderie. The expedition also aims at encouraging and motivating our budding youth to join the noble profession of arms," the release added.
 
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Air India to connect Lucknow to Dehradun from May 2

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National carrier Air India today said it would operate four flights a week between Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand, and Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, from May 2.

A press release from the airline said the flight would provide a fillip to tourism and trade between the two states and, more specifically the two cities.
 
Flight AI9615 will leave Dehradun at 1250 hrs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and reach Lucknow at 1335 hrs. The return flight AI9616 will take off from Lucknow at 1405 hrs and arrive at Dehradun at 1450hrs. The flight will be operated with a CRJ-700 aircraft. 
 
Air India directly connects Lucknow with New Delhi with two daily flights and with one daily flight to Mumbai from where convenient connections are available to all major cities in India and abroad. Air India currently has a daily flight operating to Dehradun from Delhi. 
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Rudraprayag region of Uttarakhand

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale, shook the Rudraprayag area of Uttarakhand in the early hours of today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.5 degrees North and longitude 79.1 degrees East, occurred at 0359 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor quake recorded in border region between Pithoragarh district and Nepal

 

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 2.9 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the broder region between Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhan and Nepal in the early hours of today.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.9 degrees North and longitude 80.6 degrees East, occurred at 0547 hours at a focal depth of 5 km.
 
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Mukherjee attends first convocation of IIM Kashipur

President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the first convocation of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kashipur, in Uttarakhand. on March 17, 2013.
President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the first convocation of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kashipur, in Uttarakhand. on March 17, 2013.

President Pranab Mukherjee today said that, for India's political and economic stability, it was important to have truly inclusive growth that benefited each and every citizen, especially those who are at the margins of society and at the base of the socio-economic pyramid.

"The challenges being large and diverse, India needs grass-root leaders who place people and their problems at the centre of the social, economic and political discourse," he said in his address at the first convocation of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kashipur, in Uttarakhand, which was founded three years ago.
 
The first batch of 37 post-graduate programme students received their diplomas at the convocation.
 
Mr Mukherjee said it was only when people worked together and each Indian felt empowered to contribute to the task of nation-building that the country would be ableto combat poverty, malnutrition, hunger and disease.
 
"I call upon the faculty and students of IIM Kashipur to focus on the problems of the bottom of the pyramid and develop innovative solutions to address their concerns," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee said India today stood at the cusp of greatness. "While there are many challenges ahead, there are also boundless opportunities," he said.
 
"We are passing through a phase of unprecedented demographic change which is likely to contribute to a substantially increased labour force. The bulk of this increase is likely to take place in the relatively younger age group of 20-35 years which would make India one of the youngest nations in the world. In 2020, the average Indian will be only 29 years old as compared to an average age of 37 for China and the US, 45 for West Europe and 48 for Japan. It is clear that the youth of India, who are the leaders of tomorrow, shall aspire for higher standards of living, better service delivery and increased transparency and accountability," he said.
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"On the eve of India’s 66th Independence Day on August 14th last year, I had observed that the glass of modern India is more than half-full. I had said that we are equal children before our mother; and India asks each one of us, in whatever role we play in the complex drama of nation building, to do our duty with integrity, commitment and unflinching loyalty to the values enshrined in our Constitution. If each of us follows this principle, I am confident that India will become a more vibrant, dynamic and prosperous nation," he said.
 
Mr Mukherjee congratulated the management and faculty of the institute for nursing it in its nascent stage and IIM Lucknow for mentoring it.
 
"As the youngest of IIMs, IIM Kashipur should strive to build a unique image for itself, while maintaining the high quality that IIMs are known for," he said.
 
He expressed happiness that IIM Kashipur was considering the setting up of two Centres of Excellence, on Sustainable Development and on Competitiveness.
 
"Many have felt the need for a renewed focus by our management institutions towards courses on entrepreneurship. At a time when IIM Kashipur is consolidating its course structure, it should leverage this opportunity and design management programmes in a manner that will become a model for others to follow," he said.
 
He said the unique geography of the institute's location, in an industrial belt surrounded by  a predominantly rural area, provided them with the opportunity to develop ‘extension education’ courses. 
 
"Students should be encouraged as part of their academic curriculum to contribute to positive social development by helping people of the region learn better ways of running their farms, small businesses and other community ventures. This will instill in the students a sense of obligation to society, which they carry with them throughout their professional lives," he said.
 
He said there was need for a strategy to make the Indian industry compete successfully with the best in the world. Skilled manpower has to play a key role in this strategy. A healthy growth of Indian business will be greatly facilitated by the availability of a competent cadre of management professionals, he said.
 
"The pool of such professionals in our country is unfortunately not enough to meet the needs of our industry. The annual enrolment in commerce and management streams has increased from around 23 lakh in 2006-07 to around 34 lakh in 2011-12. The need for graduates and post-graduates from these streams will be much higher in the future and we must be ready to meet the demand," he said.
 
He also noted that no Indian university figured among the top 200 universities of the world and called for efforts to take Indian universities into the top league.
 
"Innovation is also an important driver for growth. Unfortunately, we also lag behind our major competitors in this aspect. The number of patent applications filed in India in 2011 was about 42,000, which is far below the 5 lakh plus applications in both China and the US. A culture of innovation must be encouraged in our country and for that, we must create more opportunities for collaborative research, set up industry incubation parks in educational institutions and provide more research fellowships,," he said.
 
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Minor quake recorded in Uttarakhand-Nepal border region

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale, was recorded this morning in the border region between the Indian state of Uttarakhand and Nepal, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The quake had its epicentre at latitude 29.7 degrees North and longitude 80.4 degrees East and occurred at 0958 hours today at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor quake recorded in Uttarkashi region of Uttarakhand

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An earthquake of slight intensity measuring 3.1 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Uttarkhashi region of Uttarakhand this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.9 degrees North and longitude 78.4 degrees East, occcurred at 0758 hours at a focal depth of 11 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor quake recorded in Uttarkashi region of Uttarakhand

A minor earthquake, measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Uttarkashi region of Uttarakhand tonight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.9 degrees North and longitude 78.4 degrees East, occurred at 2157 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor quake rocks Uttarkashi region of Uttarakhand

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale, rocked the Uttarkashi region of Uttarakhand this afternoon, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 31 degrees North and longitude 78.4 degrees East, occurred at 1619 hours at a focal depth of 5 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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ADB to provide $100m loan for sustainable urban services in five Uttarakhand towns

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The Government yesterday signed an agreement for a $100 million loan with the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) as the second tranche of the Uttarakhand Urban Sector Development Investment Programme which will support rehabilitation and expansion of basic urban infrastructure in five major urban centers of Uttarakhand and ensure sustainable municipal service delivery.

An official press release said the project would supplement the urban infrastructure programme already initiated under the first tranche in Dehradun, Haridwar and Nainital and will be extended to cover in addition Haldwani, Roorkee and Ramnagar towns specially for improving the water supply infrastructure that will benefit about 800,000 residents. 
 
A comprehensive sewerage system will also be developed under the project, which will provide improved sanitation facilities to about 100,000 residents of Roorkee town, it said.
 
The documents were signed by Dr. Anup Wadhawan, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of Government of India, Mr. Hun Kim, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission on behalf of ADB and Mr. M.H. Khan, Secretary (UD) on behalf of Government of Uttarakhand.
 
Ms Radhika Jha, Project Director and Dr. Anwar A. Khan, Deputy Programme Director from Uttarakhand Government were part of the loan signing team. 
 
Dr. Wadhawan said that it is important for urban infrastructure to keep pace with population levels and its future growth. The project will address this objective and help alleviate infrastructure deficiencies, tap economic potential, and improve the living environment, he said.
 
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Mr. Hun said that the project will improve the quality life and employment opportunities for the people living in five project towns. It will also improve the ability of participating institutions to manage sector reforms and deliver better services. The contribution of tourism in the state economy is significant, so upgrades to key infrastructure will also help draw visitors and generate more employment opportunities. 
 
The second tranche loan from the ADB’s Ordinary Capital Resources has a 25-year term including a grace period of five years, commitment charges of 0.15% and interest rate to be determined in accordance with ADB’s LIBOR-based lending facility. The Government of India will provide counterpart funds of $42.86 million for a total second tranche project investment cost of $142.86 million. 
 
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PM monitoring availability of water in Ganga at Allahabad during Kumbha Mela

A scene during the last Kumbh Mela in 2001
A scene during the last Kumbh Mela in 2001

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been monitoring the availability of adequate water from Tehri Dam in river Ganga at Allahabad during the Kumbh Mela, which will begin on January 14 and end on March 10, and directions have been given to control the pollution load flowing in river Yamuna during the period.

An official press release from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited (THDCL) had agreed to release 250 cumecs water from 21st December 2012 to 20th February 2013 and 220 cumecs water from 21st February 2013 to 28th February 2013 in view of demand of water for Allahabad `Kumbh Snans`.

Instructions have also been given by PMO that Delhi Jal Board should ensure that the performance of the 72 MGD sewage treatment plant (STP) at Keshavpur renovated and commissioned recently is stabilized so that it functions optimally and the effluent meets the norms.

The Delhi Government has been asked to ensure that the performance of the STPs and Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) is optimized to meet the effluent quality norms.

At Sangam, Allahabad, the BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) of Yamuna and Ganga is generally less than 6 mg/ltr but the main issue is of the colour of effluents discharged by the pulp and paper industries into the river Ram Ganga and Kali (both tributaries of Ganga), the release said.

The Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) have been directed to ensure that all the paper units discharging their effluents into river Ganga or its tributaries comply with the prescribed norms.

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Monitoring of water quality in river Ram Ganga and river Kali and their tributaries is being initiated on a daily basis by the State Boards of Uttrakhand and Uttar Pradesh with the coordination of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the release said.

Action will be taken against the industries for violating the norms. CPCB has issued show cause notices for closure to 23 tannery units in Unnao and Banther and, based on the response received and action taken, further course of action will be decided, the release added.

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Minor earthquake rocks parts of Uttarakhand

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale, rocked the Uttarkashi and other parts of Uttarakhand this evening, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.9 degrees North and longitude 78.4 degrees East, occurred at 1745 hours at a focal depth of 12 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
Media reports reaching here said the tremor, which lasted a few seconds, was also felt in Tehri, Dehradun and other places. In many areas, people rushed out of their homes in panic but there were no immediate reports of any casualties or damage to property.
 
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Minor quake recorded in Bageshwar area of Uttarakhand

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 2.8 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Bageshwar area of Uttarakhand this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.3 degrees North and longitude 80.0 degrees East, occurred at 0604 hours today at a focal depth of 5 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor quake recorded in Pithoragarh, Bageshwar districts of Uttarakhand

A minor earthquake, measuring 3.0 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Pithoragarh and Bageshwar districts of Uttarakhand today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.2 degrees North and longitude 80.1 degrees East, occurred at 1216 hours today at a focal depth of 5 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Bye-elections for LS seats of Jangipur, Tehri Garhwal on October 10

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The Election Commission today said bye-elections would be held on October 10 to fill up casual vacancies in two Lok Sabha constituencies -- Jangipur in West Bengal and Tehri Garhwal in Uttarakhand.

The Jangipur seat fell vacant when Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee resigned after being elected as the President of India while the vacancy in Tehri Garhwal arose because of the resignation of Mr Vijay Bahuguna, also of the Congress, after he became the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand.
 
An official press release said the notification for the bye-elections would be issued on September 15 and the last date for making nominations will be September 22.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up on October 13, the release added.
 
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