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India’s first ‘water-grid’ in Maharashtra: PM



Jal Jeevan Mission first water-grid
Jal Jeevan Mission Pic Credit (Business Standard)

Aurangabad (Maharashtra), Sep 7 (IANS) The country’s first-ever ‘water-grid’ costing Rs 3,50,000 crore will come in the parched Marathwada region of Maharashtra in the next five years as part of the Jal Jeevan Mission (JMM), Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Saturday.

“The Marathwada region will benefit in a big way from this as it will increase water availability for the people. It will free women from the hassles of having to toil hard to fetch water,” Modi said.

To be implemented over the next five years, he said the JJM involves saving water and delivering it to the people’s doorsteps to resolve their water problems.

Recalling Ram Manohar Lohia’s words that “toilet and water are the two biggest problems confronting Indian women”, Modi added that when these twin issue is resolved, women can lead the country.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis explained that the government plans to bring 168 tmc water to the River Godavari basin and then, through the water-grid, will connect all the dams and distribute it through pipelines to the people.

Earlier, the state government cleared a Rs 4,802 crore water-grid project for Beed district and is working on a Rs 15,000 crore water-grid project for the region, along with the ongoing Jal Yukt Shivar Abhiyan.

The Marathwada region – encompassing Aurangabad, Beed, Jalna, Osmanabad, Latur, Nanded, Parbhani and Hingoli – has been the perpetual dry bowl of the state with regular droughts and water shortages, stunting its development and progress, said a state government official.

Earlier, Modi dedicated to the nation the state-of-the-art Aurangabad Industrial City (AURIC) Shendra Project, India’s first ‘Walk-to-Work’ Smart City, which targets an investment of Rs 600-Rs 700 billion from global investors.

The concept of the hi-tech AURIC city encompasses housing schemes, workplaces, shopping plazas to be developed in each other’s vicinity including walkable streets, blocks and reachable public spaces.

“In the new age digital era ecosystem, the requirement of business and industries rapidly evolve and such businesses and industries which frame their value proposition on the newer aspects of intelligence and related smart technologies, it makes sense to provide them a comprehensive ecosystem that itself is smart in nature,” Modi said.

He said the AURIC City in Aurangabad has not only shown the country but the entire world how such ecosystem can work for the overall benefit of all stakeholders involved.

Keeping in view one of the core focus areas of AURIC, which is technology-driven solutions, Modi also launched systems like Chat-Bot feature with Investor Management System and E-Land Management, which would cater to the needs and queries of investors, businesses and citizens in a ‘smart’ way, with further technological advancements in the pipeline.

Maharashtra Industry Minister Subhash Desai said that besides attracting an investment of around Rs 60,000-Rs 70,000 crore, it will also help generate employment for lakhs of people in the region.

Already having attracted investments of around Rs 36 billion last year from investors, the value of output is expected to be exports worth USD 11.6 billion and industrial output of USD 46.2 billion at AURIC.

AURIC has allotted around 50 plots of 5,25,000 sq mt, infrastructure packages of Rs 79.47 billion to offer high-value, sustainable infrastructure to support long-term economic vitality, high quality of life and a knowledge-based ecosystem with breakthrough in innovation and efficiency, he said.

Prominent investors include Hyosung Corporation, Perkins, Caterpillar Group, with more companies from USA, Europe, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea and others showing interest here.

The AURIC vicinity already has Skoda, Siemens, Johnson & Johnson, Perkins, Liebherr, Crompton & Greaves, Bajaj, Lupin, Endress+Hauser and Wockhardt among others.

The AURIC will showcase Smart Governance features like the specially-developed E-LMS (learning management system) which makes land allotment simpler and efficient, fully digital and paperless transactions, besides other features.


Private players to run trains on key routes: Railways



New Delhi, Sep 24 : The Indian Railways is mulling the idea of handing over operations of more trains to private players in the coming days on several important routes with improved services and amenities for passengers.

The decision comes under the 100-day agenda of the national transporter to hand over operations of the trains to private players on key routes.

Earlier, the Indian Railways had announced to grant operations of two of its luxurious Tejas Express trains to Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) between Lucknow-New Delhi and Mumbai-Ahmedabad.

According to a railway ministry official, the national transporter has called a meeting of senior railway officials on September 27 under the chairmanship of Member, Traffic of the Railway Board to decide the operational issues relating to private operation of passenger trains.

In a letter to all the Principal Chief Operations Managers of the Central, Northern, North Central, South Eastern, South Central and Southern Railway dated September 23, Principal Executive Director of Coaching of the Railway Board, A. Madhusudan Reddy said, “As part of the 100-day action plan, the ministry has proposed that private operation of passenger trains be introduced to provide world class services.”

He said, “Under the railways proposal, private operators would be identified through a participative bid process to run private passenger day or overnight trains connecting important cities.”

“It is contemplated that the private operators shall induct modern passenger trains and operate them on paths allocated to them on payment of haulage charges,” Reddy said.

“Thus in order to prepare the RFQ (Request for quote) and concession documents, it is necessary to identify the routes and the number of services that can be run,” he said.

According to the railway ministry plans, besides the Lucknow-New Delhi and Mumbai-Ahmedabad being given to the IRCTC for operations, the national transporter is mulling to give trains to private operators on inter-city services on 14 routes, while 10 on overnight and long distance services and four suburban services.

The railways has proposed giving trains to private operators on long distance or overnight journey trains on the routes of Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Lucknow, Delhi-Jammu/Katra, Delhi-Howrah, Secunderabad-Hyderabad, Secunderabad-Delhi, Delhi-Chennai, Mumbai-Chennai, Howrah-Chennai and Howrah-Mumbai.

It has proposed to invite the private players for the intercity express on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Mumbai-Pune, Mumbai-Aurangabad, Mumbai-Madgaon, Delhi-Chandigarh/Amritsar, Delhi-Jaipur/Ajmer, Howrah-Puri, Howrah-Tata, Howrah-Patna, Secunderabad-Vijaywada, Chennai-Bengaluru, Chennai-Coimbatore, Chennai-Madurai and Ernakulam-Trivandrum routes. The railways has also proposed the operation of suburban trains in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Secunderabad by private players.

The railways had earlier clearly said that before engaging private operators to run the trains, the national transporter will consult the trade unions and other stakeholders.

The IRCTC has started the booking of tickets for the Tejas Express between Lucknow-New Delhi from October 5 onward journey. The IRCTC’s Tejas Express will be flagged off from Lucknow on October 4.

The minimum fare for the Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express has been kept at Rs 1,125 for the AC chair car, while the fare for Delhi-Lucknow Tejas Express AC chair car will be Rs 1,280.

On the other hand, the ticket price for Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express Executive chair car has been kept at Rs 2,310 and the Delhi-Lucknow fare for Executive Chair Car will be Rs 2,450.

The passengers travelling on Tejas Express from Lucknow to Kanpur in AC chair car will have to shell out Rs 320 and Rs 630 for the Executive Chair car (ECC). For Lucknow to Ghaziabad travel, the passenger needs to pay Rs 1,125 for the AC chair car, while Rs 2,310 for the ECC. On the return journey, the fare is Rs 1,155 for AC Chair car from Delhi to Kanpur while for the ECC it is Rs 2,155.

All these fares are subject to the application of dynamic fare, just like airlines, the IRCTC has said.

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File affidavit detailing guidelines to regulate social media: SC to Centre




New Delhi, Sep 24 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to file an affidavit within three weeks detailing statutory guidelines to balance online privacy, state sovereignty and the reputation of an individual.

A Bench, headed by Justice Deepak Gupta, gave the order while hearing a case on linking of Aadhaar with Facebook and regulating of the social media.

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Police can’t seize property during investigation: SC




Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, Sep 24 The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that police has no power to seize immovable property during an investigation.

The top court upheld the Bombay High Court order.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna had heard the matter relating to powers of the police under section 102 of the Criminal Procedure Code in respect of seizure of property during investigation.

The court was hearing Maharashtra government plea challenging a Bombay High Court order which held that the police has no power to seize property during the course of an ongoing probe.

The ruling was announced by the bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.

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