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Bookings open for Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Expr, to start Oct 5

The Vande Bharat Express will run on all days of the week except Tuesday, and will cut the travel time between Delhi and Katra to just 8 hours

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New Delhi, Sep 29 : Bringing cheer to people planning to visit the Vaishno Devi shrine near Jammu, Indian Railways have opened bookings for the high-speed Vande Bharat Express that will ply between Delhi and Katra from the coming October 5.

Bookings have opened on the IRCTC website www.irctc.co. for the indigenuosly built Train 18, which has been rechristended as Vande Bharat Express. It will be flagged off by Home Minister Amit Shah on October 3, and will be available for regular passengers from October 5.

The railways have not applied the dynamic pricing principle for its fares on the new train. The minimum fare for travelling between New Delhi to Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra station in the chair car is Rs 1,630, while the fare for the executive chair car is priced at Rs 3,015.

The Vande Bharat Express will run on all days of the week except Tuesday, and will cut the travel time between Delhi and Katra to just 8 hours, as compared to 12-14 hours required earlier to cover the distance of 655 km. The

The train will depart from the New Delhi Railway Station at 6 a.m. and will reach Katra at 2 p.m. It will commence its return journey on the same day from Katra at 3 p.m. and reach New Delhi at 11 p.m.

Railway officials here pointed out that the train would be run at a maximum speed of 130 kmph on the Delhi-Katra route with three stops – Ambala, Ludhiana and Jammu Tawi -before reaching Katra.

According to them, the decision to run the indigenously built high speed train between Delhi and Katra, the base for the trip to Vaishno Devi, was taken following the success of the Vande Bharat Express currently plying plying between New Delhi and Varanasi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had flagged off the first Vande Bharat Express on February 15 this year.

The official said the route was identified by the Railway Board in order to capitalize on the high traffic volume on account of the Vaishno Devi temple pilgrims.

The Train 18 manufactures, Integral Coach Factory (ICF), have made changes to the existing design of the train.

“To avoid damage due to stray cattle, the train has been equipped with a sturdy aluminium-clad nose cover. And to guard the window shields against stone pelting, a special film on windows has been provided,” a railway official said.

More space has been provided to store meals for passengers. Besides the changes in the exterior and interior designs, the ICF has added a slew of modern features like adjustable seats, improved wash basins, automatic doors, WiFi and infotainment system, among others.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])

India

President Kovind donates ₹5 lakh for Ram Temple construction

His Excellency Ram Nath Kovind along with his family donated in their individual capacity to the donation drive and conveyed their warm greetings for the nationwide fund campaign,” VHP President Alok Kumar said after receiving the donation from the President.

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Ram Nath Kovind

New Delhi, President Ram Nath Kovind has given the first donation for the construction of the grand Ram temple at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. He donated ₹5,00,100 to a joint delegation of office bearers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Ram Mandir Trust at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday.

With this donation by President Kovind, the fund collection drive for the Ram temple started across the country. The campaign will run till February 27.
“We went to President Ram Nath Kovind for the launch of the Ram Mandir Fund Donation Drive. He donated Rs 5,00,100 under the Shri Ram Mandir Fund Donation Drive which kicked-off across the country from Friday. His Excellency Ram Nath Kovind along with his family donated in their individual capacity to the donation drive and conveyed their warm greetings for the nationwide fund campaign,” VHP President Alok Kumar said after receiving the donation from the President.

Vinod Bansal, the VHP national spokesperson, told that a massive public outreach campaign would be launched to cover 13 crore families across 5.25 lakh villages in the country for the construction of the grand Ram temple at Ayodhya. As many as 65 crore people from 13 crore families would be directly linked with the Ram Mandir fund donation drive.

The delegation to meet President Kovind comprised the treasurer of the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust, Govind Dev Giri Maharaj, VHP President Alok Kumar, Ram Mandir Construction Committee Chairman Nripendra Mishra and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s Delhi state Head Kulbhushan Ahuja.

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Supreme Court to take up pleas connected to farm laws on Jan 18

The Supreme Court is likely to hear on Monday the pleas challenging the three farm laws and also the pleas seeking the removal of farmers camping at various Delhi borders.

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Supreme Court

New Delhi: A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Vincent Saran will take up the petitions on January 18. On January 12, the top court stayed the implementation of the three farm laws until further orders.

The hearing assumes significance after Bhartiya Kisan Union President Bhupinder Singh Mann, a key member of the court-appointed expert panel, recused himself.

In a statement, Mann said he would give up any position to prevent farmers’ interests from being compromised.

He said that in view of the prevailing sentiments and apprehensions amongst the farm unions and the public in general, he is ready to sacrifice any position offered or given so as to not compromise the interests of Punjab and farmers of the country.

“I am recusing myself from the committee and I will always stand with my farmers and Punjab,” Mann added.

Apart from Mann, Shetkari Sanghatana (Maharashtra) president Anil Ghanwat, International Food Policy Research Institute’s Pramod Kumar Joshi and agriculture economist Ashok Gulati have been appointed by the apex court on the expert panel.

Staying the implementation of the farm laws, the top court had expressed hope that this step may help resolve the deadlock.

However, amid the ninth round of talks on Friday, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait, who is part of the negotiations between farmer unions and the Centre, said the unions have made it clear that the committee formed by the Supreme Court is “not acceptable” to us.

Thousands of farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been agitating at various Delhi borders since November end.

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India

Accept mistake and repeal farm laws: Justice Katju to PM Modi

Markandey Katju also suggested that a statutory farmers’ commission be set up to deal with their problems

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farmers-protest

The former Supreme Court judge, Justice Markandey Katju, on Thursday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately repeal the three new farm laws through an ordinance and urged him to accept his “mistake” of hurrying the three laws through.

“All human beings make mistakes. By doing this, far from losing face, you will be applauded. If you do it your popularity, far from going down, will soar,” Justice Katju wrote in a letter to Modi. He also suggested that a statutory farmers’ commission be set up to deal with farmers’ problems.

Without such concessions, he contended, the protesting farmers’ plan to enter Delhi on Republic Day with their tractors and the likely police action could lead to another Jallianwala Bagh or massacres similar to Bloody Sunday in St Petersburg (January 1905) or 13 Vendémiaire in Paris (October 1795).

“Bloody Sunday” refers to firing by the Tsar’s forces on unarmed demonstrators in St Petersburg on January 22, 1905. Estimates of the death toll range from around 100 to 4,000.

On 13 Vendémiaire (first month in the French Republican Calendar) of Year 4 — or October 5, 1795 — revolutionary troops under Napoleon Bonaparte, then a general, quelled a rebellion by royalists. Some 1,400 royalists are estimated to have been killed.

Justice Katju, who was a Supreme Court judge till 2011, warned that angering the farmers, now united across castes and religions, could cost Modi politically and using violence against them could trigger turmoil in the states and affect the armed forces, whose personnel come mostly from farming families.

He wrote: “The farmers in huge numbers are presently camped at the border of Delhi but are determined to enter Delhi on 26th January and join the Republic Day parade with their tractors. This will obviously not be allowed by the Government, and consequently, violence in the form of police and paramilitary lathi charges and firing seems inevitable, and a Jalianwala Bagh type massacre (or like the massacre on Bloody Sunday in St Petersburg in Russia in January 1905, or as on Vendemiarie in Paris in October 1795) may ensue.”

Saying that he was sure Modi would like to avoid that, Justice Katju added: “The Government should issue an Ordinance immediately repealing the 3 laws. If you do this, you will be hailed by all for doing it. If anyone asks why the laws were made at all, you can say that we made a mistake, and we realise our mistake and are correcting it. All human beings make mistakes. By doing this, far from losing face, you will be applauded. If you do it your popularity, far from going down, will soar.

“Simultaneously, the Government should appoint a High Powered Farmers Commission having as its members representatives of the leading farmers’ organisations, government representatives, and agricultural experts, tasked with the duty of considering all aspects of the problems of our farmers, the principal one being that they are not getting adequate remuneration for their produce (because of which 3 to 4 lac farmers have already committed suicide).

“This Farmers Commission should hold several meetings, perhaps stretching over several months, and then the consensus which emerges, to which everyone agrees, should be enacted as a comprehensive law.”

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