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Uttarakhand

EC to hold elections to RS on Nov 20 for 10 seats from UP, one from Uttarakhand

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The Election Commission today said it would hold biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha on November 20 to fill 11 vacancies -- 10 from Uttar Pradesh and one from Uttarakhand -- that will arise due to the retirement of sitting members.
 
An official press release said the notification for the elections would be issued on November 3 and the last date for making nominations is November 10.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up at 5 pm on November 20 after polling ends an hour earlier, it said.
 
Members from Uttar Pradesh whose terms of office will expire on November 25 are Akhilesh Das Gupta, Amar Singh, Avatar Singh Karimpuri, Kusum Rai, Brijlal Khabari, Brijesh Pathak, Rajaram, Ram Gopal Yadav, Veer Singh and Mohammed Adeeb.
 
The member from Uttarakhand whose term of office will expire on the same day is Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
 
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Air India to start flights to Pantnagar from Oct 14

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National carrier Air India today said it would start a direct flight from Delhi to Pantnagar in Uttarakhand from October 14.
 
A press release from the airline said this was part of its initiatives to expand air connectivity to smaller cities and towns.
 
It said the airline had, in the recent past, launched flights to six regional stations -- to Bhuj from Mumbai and to Lilabari, Tezpur, Silchar, Guwahati and Shillong from Kolkata.  The airline also operates flights from Port Blair to Car Nicobar under charter agreement with the Andaman Nicobar Island Administration.  
 
Air India’s regional fleet of 8 ATR and CRJ aircraft covers 28 stations in India, the release said. 
 
The four times a week flight will operate on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, with an ATR aircraft. Flight 9I 815 from Delhi (DEL) will depart at 1430 hrs and reach Pantnagar (PGH) at 1530 hrs. The return flight 9I 816 will leave Pantnagar at 1550 hrs, to arrive in Delhi at 1650 hrs. 
 
"The flight will provide quick and convenient connection to government officials, business travellers, students and tourists, among others," it said.
 
Pantnagar is well known for the G.B.Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, India’s first agriculture university.  It is also close to the integrated industrial town Rudrapur, which has large industrial houses based there and to the High Court of Uttarakhand.  Pantnagar is a gateway point to the famous Jim Corbett Wildlife National Park, and picturesque tourist destinations like Nainitial, Ranikhet and Bheemtal, the release added.
 
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India, Nepal to hold military training exercise, Surya Kiran-VII, from August 18-31

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The Indo-Nepal Combined Training Exercise, Surya Kiran-VII, will be held from August 18 to 31 in the mountain terrain of Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand in the Northern Himalayas as part of the ongoing military cooperation between the two countries.
 
The training will be carried out at an altitude of 5000-6000 feet under the aegis of the Garud Division.
 
The two countries had commenced the combined training at platoon level in 2011 on the basis of an agreement during the 7th Indo-Nepal Bilateral Consultative Group on Security.Later, it was enhanced to company level in 2012 and currently stands upgraded to battalion level.
 
This will be the second battalion level combined exercise and approximately 300 personnel including officers and junior commissioned officers (JCOs) from both the armies will participate in the two week-long exercise. 
 
An official press release said the aim of the exercise will be to hone sub-unit level tactics and develop interoperability between Indian Army and Nepalese Army in jungle warfare and counter terrorism operations in mountainous terrain, as also to provide working knowledge of disaster management to include pandemic/ epidemic diseases control and aviation aspects. 
 
Senior officials of Indian Army and Nepalese Army are expected to attend the two week long exercise and they will also interact with the members of the contingents. 
 
This combined training, mutual interaction and sharing of experience amongst both the countries would not only further the strategic cooperation between both the armies but also aid in strengthening cultural and historical ties, the release added.
 
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Heavy rains claim 12 lives in Pauri district of Uttarakhand

 
Landslide after heavy rainfall in Dehradun, CM calls for rescue
At least 12 people were killed in heavy rains that lashed several villages in the Pauri district of Uttarakhand in the early hours of today.
 
Pauri District Magistrate Chandrashekhar Bhatt told NetIndian over the telephone that several people had suffered injuries in the incidents.
 
He said the "cloudburst"  had affected villages in the Yamkeshwar, Pauri and Lansdowne tehsils. 
 
Official sources said the rains had caused landslides at some places, blocking a few roads.
 
Mr Bhatt said teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), police and other emergency personnel had rushed to the affected areas and were helping the stranded people.
 
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Three dead, three missing after cloudburst in Uttarakhand

 
Cloudburst kills 4 in Uttarakhand
At least three people died and three others were reported missing in a cloudburst in the Ghansyali block of Tehri district in Uttarakhand in the early hours of today, official sources said.
 
Tehri District Magistrate Yugal Kishore Pant told NetIndian over the telephone from the scene of the tragedy that rescue and relief teams had found three bodies, while efforts were on to locate three others reported missing.
 
He said about three to four houses were damaged in the incident, which occurred around 3 am today, while another seven to eight houses were partially damaged.
 
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Minor earthquake jolts Pithoragarh region of Uttarakhand

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, jolted the Pithoragarh region of Uttarakhand tonight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.2°N and longitude 80.3°E, occurred at 2018 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquake jolts Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale, shook the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand this evening.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.2°N and longitude 80.2°E, occurred at 1705 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.
 
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Rajnath Singh reviews reconstruction efforts in Uttarakhand after 2013 disaster

 
Uttarakhand disaster: Man still awaits return of 15 family members
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the progress of restoration works in Uttarakhand following the devastating flash floods and landslides that hit the state in June last year and discussed the steps being put in place to prevent the recurrence of such disasters.
 
At a high-level meeting here, he also reviewed the position in respect of the number of missing persons and the progress in the issuance of death certificates.
 
An official press release said the Uttarakhand Government stated that it had taken precautionary measures this year to avoid disaster like the last year.
 
It was noted that the State Government had made arrangements for registration of pilgrims and tourists for regulating the pilgrimage to prevent any mishaps. The road restoration works in each of the pilgrimage routes --  Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri, Gangotri and Hemkund -- were also reviewed and the Home Minister was informed that most of the roads had been made operational for vehicular traffic. 
 
India Meteorological Department (IMD) informed the meeting that it would be issuing three-day advance weather bulletins for 14 identified locations in Uttarakhand from June 20 and these would be updated on 12 hourly basis. 
 
The IMD was advised to use simple language in their warnings and bulletins to enable their effective implementation on the ground. It was decided that the State Government would share the contact numbers of the registered pilgrims and tourists with the Ministry of Communication & Information Technology, so that nowcasting weather forecasting to be issued by IMD could be shared with them through bulk SMSs. 
 
On the request of the State Government, the Department of Space was advised to check the possible artificial dam/lake formation and vulnerable areas on the basis of IMD warning through satellite images and share them with the State Government on a daily basis.
 
It was decided that the Central Water Commission should share its hydrological reports and warnings on Uttarakhand with the State Government on a daily basis. 
 
IMD would also be taking steps to install three Doppler weather stations in Uttarkashi, Nainital and Mussoori. 
 
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has already pre-positioned two teams in Srinagar and Almora in consultation with the State Government. The State Government was offered some satellite phones from the stock of NDRF as emergency communication system. 
 
Mr Singh emphasised the need for regular interaction among the concerned stakeholders and directed that all possible measures should be taken to avoid a repeat of last year's disaster.
 
He directed that all possible support should be extended in a timely manner by all the Central Ministries, Departments and agencies to authorities of Uttarakhand to meet any eventuality in the monsoon season. 
 
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BJP leader from Uttarakhand found dead in Bareily district of UP

 
BJP leader's body found in car on Baheri-Nainital Highway
A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader from Uttarakhand, Rakesh Kumar Rastogi, who was reported missing since Friday, was found dead in the back seat of a car in the Bareily district of Uttar Pradesh yesterday, UP police said today.
 
His body was found, with his hands tied, in the Baheri area on the Bareily-Nainital highway, they said.
 
Rastogi, an architect, belonged to the Kichha area of Uttarakhand and was the vice-president of the BJP's Udham Singh Nagar district unit. He had left his office on the Rudrapur highway for Panchpeda and was not seen since then.
 
His family registered a complaint with the police when there was no response to calls made to his mobile telephone. On Saturday morning, people in Mandanpur village spotted a body in a Santro car and informed the local police and it was later identified as that of Rastogi.
 
Police said Rastogi's body had been sent for a post-mortem examination and that the car had been seized. They said investigations were on with the assistance of their counterparts in Uttarakhand and that it appeared to be a case of murder. They hoped to nab the killers soon.
 
Uttar Pradesh BJP president Laxmikant Bajpai said he had talked to the authorities in the state and urged them conduct a proper probe into the murder.
 
This is the third attack on a BJP leader in recent weeks in Uttar Pradesh after Vijay Pandit and Omveer Singh were shot dead in Greater Noida and Muzaffarnagar, respectively.
 
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2 killed, 1 missing, 10 injured as bus carrying Russians falls into river in Uttarakhand

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At least two persons died, one was reported missing and 10 others suffered injuries when a mini-bus carrying 12 Russians to Gangotri veered off the road and fell into the Bhagirathi river, a tributary of the Ganga, in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand this afternoon.
 
Uttarkashi district officials told NetIndian over the telephone that, according to preliminary information they had gathered, the mishap occurred around 12.30 pm at a spot near Harsil when the bus was on its way from Uttarashi to Gangotri.
 
They said there were 13 people on board the Tempo Traveller, including the driver.
 
Some of the passengers who had suffered serious injuries were being shifted by helicopter to Dehradun for treatment while the others were admitted to a nearby hospital in Harsil, they said.
 
Senior administration and police officials have rushed to the spot, along with search and rescue teams.
 
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CBI arrests Income Tax officer in Uttarakhand in bribery case

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had arrested an Income Tax Officer at Rudrapur in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 5 lakh for a resident of the town for settling a case against him.
 
A press release from the agency said it had registered a case under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act on a complaint from the man, who alleged he had been asked to pay the bribe for settling the income tax assessment case of Income Tax return for 2011-12.
 
The CBI laid a trap and the accused was caught while allegedly demanding and accepting the bribe from the complaint.
 
Searches are being conducted at the premises of the accused at Rudrapur, te release said, adding that he would be produced tomorrow in the Court of Special Judge for CBI Cases, Dehradun.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Pithoragarh area of Uttarakhand

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Pithoragarh area of Uttarakhand this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 29.8°N and longitude 80.1°E, occurrd at 0724 hours today at a focal depth of 7 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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19 dead, 4 hurt in bus mishap in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand

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As many as 19 people were killed and four others suffered injuries when a bus they were travelling in veered off the road and fell almost 120 metres downhill in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand today.
 
Chamoli District Magistrate S A Murugesan told NetIndian over the telephone that those killed in the mishap included about eight women.
 
Two of the injured were flown by a helicopter to Dehradun for treatment while the other two were being treated at the district hospital in Gopeshwar, he said.
 
The bus was on a regular trip from Haridwar to Ghat and had almost reached its destination when the mishap occurred around 12.30 pm, he said.
 
Most of the victims belonged to Ghat and villages around it, he added.
 
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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

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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.
 
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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

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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

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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.
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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.
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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

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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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