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AP special status: Expected my successor to fulfil my commitment, says Manmohan Singh

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Manmohan Singh in Rajya Sabha
Image: RSTV

New Delhi, July 24: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh was a commitment made by him and he had expected his successor to fulfil it.

Addressing on Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act in the Rajya Sabha, Singh said he had made a “solemn commitment” on the floor of the House as prime minister of India on February 20, 2014.

“‘For purposes of Central assistance, Special Category Status will be extended to the successor state,’ this had been decided in view of the fact that the revenue collection in Hyderabad will accrue entirely to the state of newly created Telangana,” he said.

Singh further stated “Government is a continuing entity. Commitments made on the floor of the house have to be honoured and fulfilled. They are in nature of assurance on behalf of the Parliament. I had expected that my distinguished successor to fulfil the commitments I had made after consultations with his own colleagues”.

The former Prime Minister told the house that this commitment of Special Category Status to the successor state of Andhra Pradesh had been discussed with then Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley and several other senior BJP leaders.

Meanwhile, Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of deceit over the special category status to the state.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Azad said, “You (BJP) are deceiving the nation and you have deceived the Parliament decision. This government is deceiving the people of Andhra Pradesh. I take a strong plea on behalf of the opposition that the promises made by the previous government and the promises made by the present government should be fulfilled forthwith.”

“When UPA was in power, the then Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh had promised to give special status to Andhra Pradesh for a period of five years. However, leaders of the then opposition party, BJP, had opposed the same and asked them to give special status to the state for ten years and said that it will implement it if it comes to power” the Congress leader asserted adding we just want them to fulfill the promise they had made.

Azad also targetted the BJP over the special package issue to Andhra Pradesh.

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Cities

NTPC synchronises one more unit of 3,300 MW power plant in Bihar with grid

The power producer has been setting up five units with 660 MW capacity each, spread across 3,200 acres of land at Barh in Patna district

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Power Grid Failure Nine Minutes

State-run NTPC Ltd on Sunday said it has successfully synchronised a 660-MW unit of its supercritical thermal power plant in Bihar with the grid, which would help the commercial generation of electricity from it.

The power producer has been setting up five units with 660 MW capacity each, spread across 3,200 acres of land at Barh in Patna district.

The construction work of three units of stage-I of the project was delayed due to “contractual, execution and timeline issues” with Russian firm Technoprom Export which was supposed to develop them, while two units of stage-II (2×660 MW) of Barh STPP have already been commissioned and are presently under operation, an official said.

“The first unit of 660 MW of stage -I of Barh plant was successfully synchronised with the grid at 7.32 am today. The plant has achieved desired capacity,” he said.

The construction of the Barh stage-I was initially awarded to the Russian firm but the contract was later terminated due to delay of the work schedule given by the NTPC, he said.

The successful synchronisation would pave the way for commissioning of the unit, the official said.

The remaining two units of stage-I of NTPC-Barh would be made operational by the end of March 2022, he said.

Under the synchronisation process, the 660-MW unit was connected to the grid to see the load factor and to ensure that all other aspects of it were working correctly.

Presently, Bihar is getting 1,198 MW of power from the two units of stage-II and will get additional 1,025 MW from three plants of stage-I, he said.

NTPC is supplying 4,248 MW of power to Bihar from its various plants, he added.

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India

India-Pak troops exchange fire along international border in Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba

No one was injured in the firing which started around 11.45 pm on Saturday in Mangu Chak Border Outpost (BOP) area of Ghagwal secto

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Indian Army Kashmir

Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire for nearly 30 minutes after the Border Security Force (BSF) picked up suspicious movement along the International Border in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Sunday.

No one was injured in the firing which started around 11.45 pm on Saturday in Mangu Chak Border Outpost (BOP) area of Ghagwal sector, the officials said.

They said BSF troops deployed at BOP Mangu Chak observed movement of three to four persons near Pakistani post Pir Bunker and opened fire after they were seen moving towards this side under the cover of darkness.

Pakistani Rangers retaliated and the exchange of small arms firing between the two sides continued for about half-an-hour, the officials said, adding the suspiciously moving persons returned to Pakistani side amid the firing.

A BSF official confirmed the incident and said a massive search operation was launched early this morning to sanitise the area.

The search operation is on but no incriminating material has been recovered so far, the official said.

There has been spurt in airdropping of weapons by drones and smuggling of narcotics along the IB and Line of Control (LoC) amid frequent ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir over the past few weeks.

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Cities

To avoid overcrowding Railways to run 6 more local trains, 2 ladies special

At present 500 special suburban services are being operated by Western Railway for essential services staff

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Mumbai Local Train

In order to maintain social distancing and to avoid overcrowding, Western Railway has taken the decision to increase the number of daily special suburban services by adding 6 more services including two Ladies Special trains from Monday.

500 special suburban services were being operated by Western Railway for Essential Services Staff as notified by the Government of Maharashtra. To this, 6 more trains are being added in order to bring flexibility in transportation.

According to an official press release, the increased 6 services have been added between Virar- Churchgate sector. Out of the 6 services, 3 services will be in UP direction from Virar on Slow line and 3 services will be in the DOWN direction towards Virar on Slow line. The 2 Ladies Special services will be run during the morning and evening peak hours between Virar and Churchgate stations in both UP and DOWN directions.

It’s worth mentioning that after complete closure due to the COVID-19 lockdown since March 23, 2020, Western Railway on the request of Govt of Maharashtra had commenced the selected services of special suburban trains from June 15 on the Mumbai Suburban section. The services were gradually increased for the convenience of passengers.

The latest increase was implemented from 21st September 2020, when the total services were increased from 350 to 500 by adding 150 more services over Western Railway’s suburban section. Considering the present scenario of the pandemic, the special suburban trains are regularly sanitized & cleaned to upkeep proper hygiene.

All commuters as permitted by the Maharashtra government, are requested by Western Railway to follow social distancing norms and wear a mask while travelling in special trains.

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