BHEL wins order for 120 MW hydel project in Uttarakhand

Logo of BHEL.
The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had won a contract, valued at Rs 125 crore, for setting up a 120 MW hydro-electric project (HEP) in Uttarakhand.
This is the first major order for electro-mechanical equipment in the hydro sector, to be finalised by a Government utility company in Uttarakhand, after the devastating flash floods of mid-June last year, a press release from the company said.
The order for setting up hydro generating sets and associated electro-mechanical works for the 120 MW Vyasi HEP has been placed on BHEL by Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (UJVNL).
The order comes close on the heels of the hydro order bagged by BHEL for the 206 MW Shahpur Kandi HEP from Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) in January this year.
Located in Dehradun district, the Vyasi HEP is a run-of-the-river scheme on the Yamuna. Water from the Vyasi reservoir will be diverted by constructing an 86 m high dam through a 2.7 km head race tunnel to the surface power house at Hathiari village. The project comprises two hydro generating sets of 60 MW each with vertical Francis turbines.
BHEL’s scope of work in the contract envisages design, manufacture, supply, installation and commissioning of hydro generating sets and associated electro mechanical works. While the hydro generating sets shall be supplied by BHEL’s Bhopal unit, the transformers and control & monitoring system will be supplied by the company’s Jhansi unit and Electronics Division, Bangalore, respectively. 
The erection & commissioning of the equipment shall be carried out by BHEL’s Power Sector - Northern Region (PS-NR). 

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Uttarakhand Congress leader Satpal Maharaj joins BJP

Satpal Maharaj quits Congress, joins BJP
Just weeks ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Uttarakhand Congress leader and Lok Sabha member Satpal Maharaj joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of its president Rajnath Singh here today.
Welcoming Mr Maharaj to the party, Mr Singh said his entry would strengthen the organisation. He said the party would utilise Mr Maharaj's capabilities in the most appropriate manner.
Mr Maharaj, 62, represents the Garhwal constituency of Uttarakhand in the current Lok Sabha.
He told newspersons that he was pained by the lack of proper rehabilitation and resettlement programmes for the victims of last year's devastating flash floods and landslides in Uttarakhand, which claimed hundreds of lives and left thousands homeless. He said the Congress government in the state had just handed out some compensation amounts instead of drawing up a comprehensive rehabilitation plan.
He said he was confident that India would record the kind of growth under BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi that China had achieved in the past few decades.
He said India lacked nothing but proper leadership, and Mr Modi would provide that.
Mr Maharaj had served as Union Minister of State for Railways from July 1996 to June 1997 and as Union Minister of State for Finance from June 1997 to March 1998.

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GVK's Shrinagar hydel project inaugurated, 88% power from ito go to UP

The GVK Group's 330 MW Shrinagar hydro-electric project, located on the Alaknanda river near the town of Shrinagar in Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, was inaugurated by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today.
GVK Group chairman G V K Reddy and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav were amongst those present on the occasion.
The hydel plant has been developed as a run-of-the-river project, from which 12 per cent energy wuld be supplied to Uttarakhand at no charge. The remaining 88 per cent offtake would go to the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) under a firm Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) based on two part tariff calculation.
“The inauguration of the Shrinagar Hydro Electric project marks a significant milestone for the state of Uttar Pradesh. This project will supply 88% power to the state of UP. I congratulate GVK for successfully completing this project.  This project will be a boon for the state of UP and will fuel the dreams and aspirations of its economic growth," Mr Akhilesh Yadav said.
The project, which is 248 m long and has a 90 m high (from deepest foundation level) dam, will utilize the net head of around 66 m between the diversion dam and the pwer houe to generate electricity. The water conductor system consists of two head race tunnels, RCC troughs, power channel and penstocks. The power house accommodates four vertical Francis turbines rated at 82.5 MW each. The water released from turbines will flow into the river through a tail race channel.

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Minor earthquake jolts Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand this evening, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.5°N and longitude 79.2°E, occurred at 1945 hours at a depth of 5 km, an IMD bulletin added.

Minor quake recorded in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.3 degrees North and longitude 79.9 degrees East, occurred at 0600 hours at a focal depth of 5 km, an IMD bulletin said. 
Earlier, late last night, another minor quake, measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale, shook the Rudraprayag district of the state.
The quake had its epicentre at latitude 30.5 degrees north and longitude 79.2 degrees east, at 0032 hours today at a focal depth of five km, the bulletin added.

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Azad inaugurates AIIMS at Rishikesh in Uttarakhand

Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad inaugurated a new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Rishikesh in Uttarakhand.
The institute is among the six new institutions being set up around the country on the lines of the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.
The other new AIIMS are coming up at Patna in Bihar, Raipur in Chhattisgarh, Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, Bhubaneswar in Odisha and Jodhpur in Rajasthan as part of the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).
The Rishikesh institute is being set up at an estimated cost of Rs. 840 crore and it will have 960 beds, including 500 beds for specialty departments, 300 beds for super specialty departments, 100 beds for intensive care unit (ICU) and trauma care, 30 beds for physical medicine and rehabilitation (PMR) and 30 beds for Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).
An official press release said that, in all, the institute will have 40 departments of super specialty and specialty care. The Ministry of Finance initially approved creation of 1,145 posts of faculty and other positions in the institute.  Subsequently, it has approved 2,936 additional posts, the release said.
During the current academic year, 2013-14, the intake for MBBS course has been increased to 100.  The first batch of 50 MBBS students commenced in September, 2012.  The first batch of 60 students in the B.Sc, Nursing course has also been admitted in 2013-14. 
"All new AIIMS under the AIIMS Act are at par with AIIMS, New Delhi. The brand AIIMS has always been held in high esteem, throughout the country for high quality and affordable tertiary health care; world class medical and allied health education; producing faculty in specialties and super-specialties; and research.
"AIIMS, Rishikesh will provide the best possible health-care services to the people of the State, region and country in times to come. Institute Body and various committees have been constituted for smooth functioning of the Institute," the release added.

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ADB to provide $ 200 m loan for Uttarakhand Emergency Assistance Project

The Government of India and Asian Development Bank (ADB) today signed an agreement for a $ 200 million loan for the Uttarakhand Emergency Assistance Project. 
The signatories to the loan agreement were Mr Nilaya Mitash, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India; and Ms. M. Teresa Kho, Country Director, INRM, on behalf of ADB.
The project agreement on behalf of the State Government was signed by Mr  Rakesh Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary (PWD), Government of Uttarakhand and Mr Bhaskaranand Joshi, Secretary, State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA). 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mitash said that the project would assist the Government of Uttarakhand to meet reconstruction needs arising out of the  flash floods that caused large-scale devastation in the state in June 2013.
He said that the project would help the State to rehabilitate/construct the damaged roads, bridges, urban infrastructure and will also help by improving disaster preparedness. It will help economic and social recovery in Uttarakhand in the aftermath of the disaster, he added. 
An official press release said the project’s objective is to improve economic and social conditions in Uttarakhand after the 2013 disaster. The project will (i) rehabilitate and/or reconstruct damaged sections of state highways and/or district roads for a total length of 1,800 kilometers (km) along with 16 damaged bridges, and will also rehabilitate sections of roads built in the past with ADB finance (total length 600 km); (ii) repair and upgrade water supply facilities in 8–10 towns, water treatment plants, 56-km water pipeline, and about 20 km of urban roads; (iii) rehabilitate and/or reconstruct tourism infrastructure in 5 districts, including 10 trekking routes, eco-trails, rest houses, and public amenities; and (iv) build about 50 helipads, heliports, or helidromes with associated amenities for emergency evacuation and relief operations. The project is expected to be completed by 30th September, 2016. 
The loan of $200 million from ADB’s ordinary capital resources makes up to 97.56% of the total project cost of $205 million, with the Central And State Government providing counterpart finance of US $5 million. 
Uttrakhand being a Special Category State the loan assistance to the State will be on 90:10 basis (90% grant and 10% loan).The loan has a 25-year term, including a five-year grace period with an annual interest rate determined in accordance with ADB`s LIBOR-based lending facility.
A $2 million technical assistance on grant basis from ADB will also help Uttrakhand in implementing the project, the release added.

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Harish Rawat sworn in as Chief Minister of Uttarakhand

Video: Harish Rawat sworn-in as Uttarakhand Chief Minister
Mr Harish Rawat, who was the Union Minister for Water Resources, was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Uttarakhand at a simple ceremony here this evening, succeeding Mr Vijay Bahuguna, who had resigned yesterday.
Mr Rawat was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Aziz Quresh at Raj Bhavan, along with all the other 11 Ministers of the Bahuguna cabinet.
Mr Rawat, 65, who represents Hardwar in the Lok Sabha, was widely expected to take over as the Chief Minister after the Congress won 32 seats in the 70-member Uttarakhand Assembly in the 2012 elections and secured support from three Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs, three independents and the lone Uttarakhand Kranti Dal legislator.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ended up with 31 seats in the keenly-contested elections.
But Mr Rawat lost out, apparently because of the canvassing he made for the post, and Mr Bahuguna got the job. The party finally turned to him again to salvage its image after it took a beating in the aftermath of the devastating floods of last year, which left hundreds killed and about 4000 missing.
According to various sources, the Congress leadership was unhappy with the tardy pace of rehabilitation efforts made by the state government after the floods and had asked him to hand in his papers, which he did yesterday.
The other members of Mr Rawat's cabinet are: Indira Hridiyesh, Yashpal Arya, Harak Singh Rawat, Surendra Singh Negi, Pritam Singh, Amrita Rawat, Dinesh Aggarawal, Mantri Prasad Naithani, Pritam Singh Panwar, Harish Chandra Durgapal and Surendra Rakesh. 
Earlier this afternoon, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) met to choose a successor to Mr Bahuguna.
Congress General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi, who had attended the meeting as an All India Congress Committee (AICC) observer, said Mr Bahuguna moved a proposal that the CLP request Congress President Sonia Gandhi choose the new leader and also authorise her to make such a decision. The meeting passed a resolution to this effect.
Mr Dwivedi said Ms Gandhi was on a tour of Karnataka and, therefore, it took some time to establish contact with her. When they finally managed to get in touch with her, she named Mr Rawat as the person who should succeed Mr Bahuguna, he said.
The other AICC observers at the meeting were Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ms Ambika Soni.
Born on April 27, 1948 in Almora district, Mr Rawat has a B.A. and an LL.B. degree from Lucknow University. 
In the early part of his political career, he held various posts in the Youth Congress, the Congress Seva Dal and as president of the National Confederation of Central Government Employees and workers.
He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980 and re-elected in 1984 and 1989. He was the president of the Uttarakhand Sanyukta Sangharsha Samiti, which spearheaded the movement for statehood for Uttarakhand from December 1999 onwards.
He served as president of the Uttarakhand Pradesh Congress Committee from 2001-07. He was elected in 2002 to the Rajya Sabha before returning to the Lok Sabha in 2009.
He served as Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment from May 2009 to January 2011, when he was shifted as Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries. In July 2011, he was also given additional charge of Parliamentary Affairs.
On October 28 2012, he was made Cabinet Minister for Water Resources.

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Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna resigns

Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna resigns
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna resigned from his position today and Congress legislators in the state are slated to meet here tomorrow to choose his successor.
Mr Bahuguna, who will turn 67 next month, is reported to have been under pressure from the Congress leadershp to quit after accepting responsibility for the unsatisfactory rehabilitation wor carried out by the state government after the flash floods of mid-June last year which left hundreds killed and about 4000 missing.
The Chief Minister told newspersons here today that he had decided to hand in his papers and said that a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP)will be held tomorrow.
He hoped the legislators would unanimously decide to authorise Congress President Sonia Gandhi to select the new leader of CLP. He also urged all MLAs to lend their whole-hearted support to the new leader.
Union Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat, who is believed to enjoy the support of a majority of the legislators, is considered to be the frontrunner in the race to succeed Mr Bahuguna.
Mr Bahuguna is the son of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Union Minister Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna. His younger sister Rita Bahuguna is a senior leader of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh.
In the January 2012 elections to the 70-member Uttarakhand Assembly, the Congress won 32 seats while the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ended up with 31. The Congress received support from three Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs, three independents and the lone Uttarakhand Kranti Dal legislator, which enabled it to form the government.
Born on February 28, 1947, Bahuguna has degrees in Arts and Law and has practised as an advocate and serve as judge of the Allahabad and Bombay High Courts.
He served as Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission in Uttarakhand from 2002-2007. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in a bye-election in February 2007 and re-elected in 2009.

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CBI unearths alleged recruitment scam in Indian Military Academy

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had registered two cases against three former officers of the Indian Military Academy (IMA) and the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC), Dehradun and others regarding alleged irregularities in recruitment for Group C and D posts.
A press release from the agency said the cases had been registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) against the then MTO and then Catering Officer of IMA and then Administration Officer of RIMC, all of Lieutenant Colonel rank.
Cases were also registered against 21 candidates selected in the recruitment held by IMA in 2011-12 and other unknown persons regarding the alleged irregularities, it said.
These cases were registered after conversion of a Preliminary Enquiry which was being enquired by the CBI against unknown officers of Indian Military Academy, Dehradun and unknown private persons, the release said.
The enquiry was registered on the allegations that irregularities were committed by the officers of IMA during the process for recruitment of 59 Group ‘C’ and 227 Group ‘D’ category employees. It was alleged that candidates who did not fulfill the minimum eligibility criteria were recruited on false experience certificates and forged documents and answersheets of certain candidates were found to have been not written by them, the release added.

Documentary film "Satyagraha - Truth Force" to be shown at Mumbai festival

Australia-born filmmaker LisaSabina Harney's documentary film, Satyagraha - Truth Force, has been selected by the 13th Mumbai International Film Festival to be held in Mumbai from February 3-9.
The film, which revolves around the mining and stone crushing mafia operating in Uttarakhand and the mysterious dath of social activist Swami Nigamanand in June 2011, had won the award for the Best International Documentary Film at the recent Dehi International Film Festival here.
Harney, in association with the Harvard Club of India, organized a private screening of the film at the Alliance Francaise here last evening for the film's cast and crew.
There has been a controversy around the death of Swami Nigamanand, who was on a "satyagraha" for 68 days,  about whether he died as a result of starvation or was poisoned.
Ms Harney was praised at the Delhi festival for her efforts to bring out the facts of illegal mining in Uttarakhand and the battle undertaken by the "sadhus" to save the river Ganga.
“The film shows in detail why mining the river is so disastrous. It’s crazy that they are considering mining again; they still haven't even begun the environmental impact assessment which was promised to the saints in 2011. In fact, they've never done one, ever. It's criminal in fact.  It is clear that mining is destroying the river, and the powers that be are turning a blind eye to it, unfortunately it’s the next generation which will pay for their mistakes," Harney said.
Swami Shivananda Saraswati, head of Matri Sadan in Haridwar, present at the screening said “There is a nexus of politicians, administration and sand mining contractors. Several islands have disappeared in front of our eyes in the last twelve years. Every time we sat on fast, mining stopped. But each time the mafia was influential in it starting up again. This will not stop us from raising our voice against mining in the state; we will not let the sacrifice of Swami Nigamanand Ji go in vain. We are extremely happy that this story has been filmed by Lisa who has spent two years with us extensively researching the facts of the story.”
At the screening, Devashish Bharuka, Secretary, Harvard Club of India said, “The documentary film was truly touching and an eye opener. There is much we need to do to save our waters and the environment. This is the least we can do for the generations to come.”
Ramkishore Parcha, President, Delhi International Film Festival said, “I  believe that Delhi International Film Festival is aimed at reaching out to the audiences with not just Indian cinema but take it to the next level by bringing in global filmmakers and their work to be showcased in India. The platform is to bring together the diaspora of films from across all genres and create awareness about the films made in India covering all subjects. Satyagraha is a documentary that touches many serious issues being faced in Uttarakhand and those fighting for a cause to protect the Ganges from being destroyed by the mining mafia. We believe the film deserves to be seen by large number of audiences to increase the awareness about such serious issues.”

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World Bank to provide $ 250m loan for Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project

India and the World Bank today signed the loan agreements for World Bank (IDA) assistance of $ 250 million for the Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project.
The Loan Agreement was signed here by Mr Nilaya Mitash, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India and Mr Onno Ruhl, Country Director (India) of World Bank on behalf of the World Bank.
The Project Agreement was also signed by Mr Rakesh Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary, Uttarakhand on behalf of the Government of Uttarakhand. 
An official press release said the objective of the project was to restore housing, rural connectivity and build resilience of communities in Uttarakhand and increase the technical capacity of the State entities to respond promptly and effectively to an eligible crisis or emergency. 
The primary beneficiaries of the project would be the communities in the State that would benefit from the restoration of housing, rural connectivity, and risk mitigation infrastructures. By strengthening disaster risk management systems and institutions, the project has the potential to benefit the entire state of Uttarakhand. 
The project will have six components which are (i) Resilient Infrastructure Reconstruction, (ii) Rural Road Connectivity, (iii) Technical Assistance and Capacity Building for Disaster Risk Management, (iv) Financing Disaster Response Expenses, (v) Project Implementation Support, and (vi) Contingency Emergency Response. 
The release said the project constituted a large multi-sector engagement on risk and vulnerability reduction, with assistance for reconstructing damaged infrastructure, restoring connectivity and improving technical support for enhancing disaster risk management systems.
The Project Design has incorporated lessons learned from previous national and global post-disaster recovery projects to ensure that the recovery is targeted, effective and is built back “smarter” in order to build resilience of local communities to risks in the future. 
It is a loan for an implementation period of four years. Government of Uttarakhand is the implementing agency. 

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Minor earthquake jolts Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale, jolted the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 31.2°N and longitude 78.3°E, occurred at 0826 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, a bulletin from IMD added.

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HCC wins Rs 1597 crore contract from THDC India Ltd

Infrastructure major Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) today said it had secured a contract worth Rs 1597 crore from THDC India Limited to construct the Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Power project in Chamoli district of Uttrakhand. 
This is an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract for civil works and hydro-mechanical works, including penstock steel liner of the hydro electric power project. 
The project will be completed in 54 months, a press release from the company said here.
The Vishnugad Pipalkoti project is a 444 MW (4x111 MW) run of river scheme on Alaknanda river, which is a major tributary of the mighty Ganga. 
The scope of work involves construction of concrete gravity dam (65m high), coffer dam, de-silting chamber, head race tunnel (13.4 km long, 8.8m dia), surge shaft, pressure shaft, underground power house and cavern, surge tank, tail race tunnel and hydro mechanical works. Around 12.5 km head race tunnel will be excavated using tunnel boring machine, the release said.
HCC has recently completed three hydel power projects in Jammu & Kashmir including Uri stage II, Chutak and Nimoo Bazgo and is currently executing eight hydro-electric power projects, including two in Himachal Pradesh, two in Bhutan and one each in Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, the release added.

Azad lays foundation stone for Doon Medical College at Dehradun

Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad laid the foundation stone for the Doon Medical College at Dehradun and the Agriculture University at Sehaspur in Uttarakhand, today. 
He also launched Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakaram, Free Drug Service, National Iron Plus Initiative and National Ambulance Service in the state.
Mr Azad launched a fleet of 220 ambulances under National Ambulance Service of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). He expressed the hope that this would lend strength to referral and emergency transport facility in the state. 
He said that 13 Mobile Medical Units (MMUs) have also been funded under NRHM in the state. The Minister said NRHM has injected about 18000 ambulances into the health system of the country with the aim of expanding the referral and emergency transport services. 
Mr Aza said the aim of the Government was to upgrade and strengthen healthcare systems at all levels across the country as part of its aim to provide accessible, equitable and affordable healthcare services to the people.
He said that so far more than Rs. 96,000 crores had been released to the states under NRHM and about 54000 new constructions or renovations of public health facilities have been taken up in the country. 
The Minister said that interventions and strategies introduced under NRHM had started showing discernible results and the health indicators are improving consistently. 
Referring to two significant interventions to improve maternal & child health, Mr Azad said that the Janani Suraksha Yojna (JSY) and the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) had increased the number of pregnant women availing the health facilities. He said these services were being made more comprehensive and efficacious to provide best care to the beneficiaries. 
Mr Azad said the Union Cabinet had recently approved a Cancer Programme worth Rs 4750 crore which aimed to set up 20 State Cancer Institutes and 50 Tertiary Cancer Centres. He announced the setting up of one State Cancer Institute (SCI) at Government Medical College, Haldwani and one Tertiary Cancer Centre (TCC) at Himalayan Institute Medical Sciences, Dehradun. 

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ADB to provide $ 200m loan to help Uttarakhand rebuild after June disaster

The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $200 million to help Uttarakhand recover from unprecedented floods and landslides in mid-June this year which claimed hundreds of lives and affected close to a million people.
“The June disaster took many lives and wiped out the livelihoods of thousands,” said Mr Juan Miranda, Director General of ADB’s South Asia Department. 
“With rescue and evacuation activities completed, we now need to rebuild roads, power and water supply systems, and other infrastructure so that families can start to rebuild their lives. We need to act fast and do the rebuilding well," he said.
In mid-June 2013, major cloudbursts, heavy rainfall, and floods washed away several towns, with the districts of Bageshwar, Chamoli, Pithoragarh, Rudraprayag, and Uttarkashi worst affected. 
Almost 600 people were reported killed and more than 5,400 people are still missing.
A press release from ADB said a joint damage and needs assessment by the government of Uttarakhand, ADB, and World Bank estimated the preliminary cost of rehabilitation at close to $700 million. However, the final cost could rise to more than $1 billion.
ADB’s loan will be used to rebuild 2,400 kilometers of state roads and repair or reconstruct 16 damaged bridges. In eight to 10 towns, the funds will be used to repair 20 kilometers of urban roads and rehabilitate water supply facilities, including water treatment plants and 56 km of water pipelines. This rebuilt infrastructure will improve access to services, markets, and jobs, benefitting people and companies, the release said.
On top of the $200 million loan, ADB will also provide $15 million to repair damaged energy sector facilities under an already approved $300 million ADB financing facility that has been earmarked for the Uttarakhand power sector.
The rehabilitation works, due to be completed by the end of 2016, will be designed to better withstand future disasters, it said.
The State Disaster Management Authority of the state government of Uttarakhand will execute the project, the release added.

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Three months after floods, prayers resume at Kedarnath temple

Prayers resume at Kedarnath Temple
Nearly three months after flash floods and landslides wrought unprecedented destruction in many parts of Uttarakhand and killed hundreds of people, prayers resumed this morning at the Kedarnath temple, which bore the brunt of the tragedy.
The prayers resumed at the revered 6th century shrine, dedicated to Lord Shiva, around 0730 hours and continued till 1100 hours.
Rawal Bhima Shankar Ling Shivacharya, the chief priest of the temple, opened the portals of the temple and went into the sanctom sanctorum for the prayers.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna was among those who could not make it to the temple for the prayers because of bad weather.
The temple wore a festive look today, as it was decorative flowers and reverberated with the blowing of conch shells and recital of Vedic hymns.
With only a part of the area around the temple cleared of debris, it will be a while before pilgrims are allowed to visit the temple.
The date for resumption of pilgrimage to the temple is expected to be decided at a meeting on September 30.

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Minor earthquake recorded in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Uttarkashi district late last night, the India Meteorological Department said today.
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.9°N and longitude 78.5°E, occurred at 0005 hours today at a focal depth of 11 km, an IMD bulletin added.

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Public Relations Society of India contributes for Uttrakhand flood relief

The Public Relations Society of India (PRSI) has contributed Rs. 2 lakhs to the  Uttarakhand Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the rehabilitation and relief activities in the areas of the state hit by the devastating floods and landslides in mid-June.
A cheque for the amount was handed over by PRSI national president Ajit Pathak to Uttarakhand Governor Aziz Qureshi here yesterday.
Dr Pathak was accompanied by  Ms Nivedita Banerjee, National Secretary Treasurer  and Ms Madhulika Burman, Chairperson, PRSI [ Dehradun Chapter]. Dr Qureshi also launchedthe new committee of the Dehradun Chapter at the function organized in Raj Bhavan.
The Public Relations Society of India is the apex body of public relations professionals in India, with a network of 25 chapters across the country.

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Govt. cancels batches 15-18 of Kailash Manasarovar Yatra 2013

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) today said it had decided to cancel all the remaining batches (15-18) of this year's Kailash Manasarovar Yatra in view of the situation arising out of the large-scale devastation wrought by flash floods and landslides in Uttarakhand in June.
"In view of continuing disruption of roads, bridges and tracks on the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra route, in the interest of safety and security of the yatris it has been decided to further cancel all remaining batches 15-18 of the Yatra-2013," an official press release from the MEA said.
The Ministry had, immediately after the tragedy, cancelled batches 2-10 of the pilgrimage on June 19.
Later, on July 8, it had announced the cancellation of batches 11-14 after a review of the situation.

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Uttarakhand floods: Families of 5748 missing people to receive relief

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said on Sunday that as many as 5748 people were still listed as missing after last month's flash floods which ravaged many parts of the state and the state government would now start the payment of monetary relief to their families.

Families of missing people to be paid relief: Uttarakhand CM
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna today said that as many as 5748 people were still listed as missing after last month's flash floods which ravaged many parts of the state and the state government would now start the payment of monetary relief to their families.
Talking to newspersons here, Mr Bahuguna said that the legal procedure for declaring a person dead was a separate matter.
He said that since these 5748 people had been reported missing and had not been found even after a month of the tragedy, the government had decided to go ahead with the disbursement of relief to the affected families.
The state government had earlier given out an official death toll of 560 in the floods and landslides that had followed two days of torrential rainfall on June 15-16.
More than a lakh people stranded in different parts of the state had been evacuated to safety by air and by land over the next many days in an unprecedented search and rescue effort by the Armed Forces, paramilitary forces and various other agencies.
Mr Bahuguna said that the state government would not issue death certificates yet for the missing persons and would continue its efforts to trace them.
At the same time, taking into account the difficulties and the grief of the affected families, the government had decided to start disbursing the relief payments.
The 5748 people listed as missing are from 18 states across the country, and many of them were in the state to visit the pilgrimage centres of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri when the tragedy struck.
The Chief Minister said that if the missing persons were found, their families would have to return the money.
Of the total number of people missing, 924 are from Uttarakhand itself. Their families will receive Rs 1.5 lakh from the National Disaster Relief Fund, Rs 2 lakh from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund and Rs 1.5 lakh from the State Disaster Relief Fund.
In the case of people from other states listed as missing, their families will receive Rs 1.5 lakh from the National Disaster Relief Fund and Rs 2 lakh from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund along with payments announced by their respective state governments, he said.
About 2000 people from Uttar Pradesh and 1000 from Madhya Pradesh figure in the lost of those missing, along with people from Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana, among other places.

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IAF pilots "evacuate" helicopter to safety on Thursday night in Uttarakhand

Pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF) flew a helicopter to safety at the Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at Gauchar in Uttarakhand last night after there was a possibility that the aircraft could be damaged in landslides.
A press release from the IAF said that the pilots, who were resting at the ITBP mess at Gauchar, were woken up by whistles after a landslide warning was issued for the area last night.
Everyone was asked to vacate the area and the sound of stones rolling down the hill created scary rumbe.
The pilots realised that their helicopter, an ALH MK I parked at the ITBP helipad, was likely to be damaged in the landslide.
Despite the fact that it was dark and that there was a drizzle and bad weather, they decided to fly the chopper to the ALG, which was just 5-7 minutes of flight away but did not have any night aids or even basic airfield lighting.
Since the rules do not permit night flying in the hills, the pilots  took advice from the Task Force Commander (TFC), Air Cmde Rajesh Isser. 
"After speaking to them the TFC was assured of the pilots confidence and ability to undertake the task. He briefed them for the mission and simultaneously activated other pilots and ATC at Gauchar to reach the ALG with torches and use vehicle lights to provide whatever assistance they could with the available resources. 
"At 2355 h the helicopter started in the dark drizzling valley and negotiating the weather, successfully relocated to Gauchar ALG," the release added.

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Minor quakes recorded in J&K, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand

An earthquake of slight intensity shook the Doda area of Jammu & Kashmir late last night, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 33.2°N and longitude 75.7°E, occurred at 0109 hours today at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin said.
Earlier, at 0018 hours today, a minor tremor, measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale, was reported from the Dibang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh. It had its epicentre at  28.8°N and 95.9°E and occurred at a depth of 10 km, the bulletin said.
At 2131 hours yesterday, a minor quake, of magnitude 3.2, was recorded in the Ukhimath area of Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. It had its epicentre at  30.4°N and 79.1°E and occurred at a depth of 5 km, the bulletin said.

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MNRE sanctions 20,000 solar lanterns for flood-hit people of Uttarakhand

The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has sanctioned central financial assistance of Rs. 4.4 crore for the distribution of 20,000 solar lanterns to people in the flood-ravaged areas of Uttarakhand. 
The Ministry will meet the full cost of solar lanterns to be distributed, an official press release said. Each lantern costs approximately Rs. 2200. 
This project will be implemented by the Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency, Dehradun, it said.
The release said Union Minister for New & Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah had instructed his Ministry to enquire from the Uttarakhand government about the ways in which it could help the affected people.

Govt. cancels batches 11-14 of Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra 2013

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) today said it had decided to cancel batches 11-14 of this year's Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra after a review of the situation in Uttarakhand, many parts of which were ravaged by flash floods and landslides following torrential rains on June 15-16.
The Government had earlier, on June 19, cancelled batches 2 to 10 of the pilgrimage.
A press release from MEA said three key bridges along the yatra route at Elagad, Tawaghat and Kanjoti, which were washed away, were yet to be repaired and restored. 
"The State and local administrative authorities estimate that such restoration work may take upto one more month to complete. 
"A decision on whether Batch Nos. 15-18 will proceed on the Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra will be taken at a further review in the last week of July 2013.
"Those Yatris who may desire to obtain further information may kindly contact the Ministry at e-mail ID: or telephone number 23014900," the release added.

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