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CCEA approves three new railway projects



New Delhi, May 17 :  In a bid to improve rail connectivity across the country, the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved three railway projects with a total length of 700 kms.

“The CCEA approved three railway projects of 700 kms,” Union Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said at a press conference after the CCEA meeting which was presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The government has approved the doubling and electrification of 401.47 km Guntur-Guntakal rail line project in Andhra Pradesh,” Goyal said.

“The project would cost Rs 4,201 crore. The project would also improve the traffic to Amravati, the new capital of the state, which covers the four districts — Guntur, Kurnool, Ananthpur and Prakasham,” the union minister said.

The minister pointed out that the project will be funded through cost sharing in a 50:50 ratio by the state government and the Ministry of Railways.

Goyal said that this project fulfils the central government’s commitment given in the Andhra Pradesh Bifurcation Act regarding the increased rail connectivity to the Rayalaseema region to Amravati.

“The CCEA also approved the laying of 160 km third line on Manmad-Jalgaon rail project and its electrification,” Goyal said adding that the project was approved in the 2016-17 budget.

Highlighting the benefit of the third line, Goyal said: “This project would improve the running of the trains on the Delhi-Mumbai and Mumbai-Kolkata route.”

The project would cost Rs 1,198 crore and 32 lakh man days’ employment will be generated.

Announcing the CCEA’s third decision, Goyal said, “The CCEA has approved the 150 km doubling and electrification of the Phephana-Indara and Mau-Shahganj (excluding Indara-Mau) rail line projects in Uttar Pradesh.”

He also said that the project would prove a boon for the people and create 30 lakh man days’ employment.

“This Rs 1,190.98 crore project would be completed in five years,” Goyal added.




JNU students take out rally to demand VC’s removal



jnu protest
JNU Student protesting against Vice Chancellor

New Delhi, Feb 20: At least 1,000 students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) embarked on a march towards the Human Resource Development Ministry on Tuesday, demanding the removal of their Vice Chancellor.

The students began their march from Mandi House with slogans, banners, and placards denouncing Vice-Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar for his “autocratic” ways in bringing an attendance rule into force which the students alleged was never passed in the Academic Council meeting.

More than 150 Delhi Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were deployed along with a water cannon truck at the Shastri Bhavan which houses several ministries.


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Soon, Parliament House to have a creche



Parliament Of India

New Delhi, Feb 20: The Parliament House will soon open a creche facility on its premises so as to have an inclusive work environment for its women employees.

A 1,500 square-feet creche in the House will be guarded by professionals, ensuring all-round development of children and will also have a separate feeding room for mothers, a statement by the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry said on Tuesday.

The work is in progress and a senior official has also been deputed to oversee the work under the direct supervision of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

The statement said this development will bring an impact by pushing other private establishments, Central and state-owned organisations to set up same facilities.


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Spell out stand on MPs’ salaries, allowances: SC to Central Government



Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, Feb 20: The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave a “last opportunity” to the Central government to spell out its stand on constituting a permanent mechanism for determining sitting parliamentarians’ salaries and allowances.

Giving a seven days time to the Centre, a bench of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul stated the affidavit filed by the union government on September 1, 2017, had not made its position clear,  news IANS quoted.

“Government of India policy is dynamic. However, you can’t modify it every day,” Justice Chelameswar said to senior advocate Ajit Sinha, who appeared for the Centre and told the bench that the issue was under the consideration of the government.

“You have not stated your position. Your affidavit in September 2017 was not clear about a permanent mechanism. When are you going to do it,” Justice Kaul asked, as Sinha sought a week, for the last time, for the Centre to firm up its stand.

“What is the government’s view on it? You want it or don’t want it? Your counter-affidavit (response) does not disclose anything,” Justice Kaul observed.

Apparently not happy about the delaying by the Centre on the issue, the apex said: “You may not have a last word, but you may have a last opportunity” to state your position.

Appearing for the NGO Lok Prahari, its General Secretary S.N. Shukla said that it has been 11 years since all parties in a meeting convened by the Lok Sabha Speaker had unanimously decided to have a mechanism for fixing the salaries and allowances of the members of Parliament but nothing has moved so far.

The court is hearing a plea by Lok Prahari demanding a permanent mechanism for fixing salaries and allowances of MPs. It has contended that lawmakers can’t decide on their own.

The Plea has also sought direction that former MPs can’t be given pension and other benefits after they have ceased to be the representatives of the people.

Further proceedings will take place on March 5.


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