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Now, Shimla is just 20 minutes away from Chandigarh

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The heli-taxi service that will cut down the travel time by four hours. (Photo- AIR)

Shimla, June 4: The travel distance between this Himachal Pradesh tourist resort and Chandigarh was reduced to just 20 minutes with the launch of a heli-taxi service on Monday.

The state government in association with helicopter service operator Pawan Hans Ltd launched a to and fro heli-taxi service on the Chandigarh-Shimla route, cutting down the earlier four hours travel time.

Each sortie, with 19 passengers on board, will offer a minimum fare of Rs 2,999 per person. It will initially ply twice a week, Monday and Friday.

The helicopter will take off from Shimla’s airport at Jubbarhatti at 8 a.m. and reach the Chandigarh International Airport at 8.20 a.m.

helitaxi-shimla-chandigarh

And from Chandigarh to Shimla, the flight will take off at 9 a.m. and reach Shimla at 9.20 a.m., an official with Pawan Hans told IANS.

He said the frequency of heli-taxi service would be increased depending on response of the passengers.

Otherwise, it takes minimum four hours to travel between Shimla and Chandigarh by road.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur flagged off the first service from Shimla. He said this would greatly help to boost the tourism industry in the state.

The government is also planning to start heli-taxi service between Chandigarh and Manali and sortie service from Manali to the majestic Rohtang Pass, an official said.

Members of the tourism industry are elated as they are hopeful that high-end tourists, especially foreigners and business travellers, will prefer to visit the state capital and its nearby destinations by flights.

“We are hopeful that the heli-taxi service will give boost to the tourism industry,” D.P. Bhatia, liaison officer with Shimla-based Oberoi Group of hotels, told IANS.

IANS

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Shaikh Akleem is ‘Sita’, Afzal Ansari is ‘Lord Shiva’ in this Bihar Ramlila

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Bihar Ramlila
The stage is set for the Ramlila — the dramatic re-enactment of the life of Hindu god Lord Ram performed in the run-up to Dussehra — in this small Bihar village, with Muslims plentiful among the performers, organisers and the audience. (Credit-HT Photo)

Sato Awanti (Bihar), Oct 17: For nearly four decades, Muslims in this Bihar village have been helping Hindus celebrate Dussehra and playing mythical characters in the Ramlila — a dramatic representation of the life of Lord Rama. The village is an example of India’s composite culture and the communal harmony lived through Dussehra.

For 10 days, Shaikh Akleem is Goddess Sita, Guddu Tiwari is Lord Rama while Afzal Ansari is Lord Shiva and Amit Singh becomes Hanuman, enthralling people from far and near with their get-up and performances in Sato Awanti, a village in Kaimur district, about 200 km off Patna.

Shaikh Akleem (19) is thrilled playing the role of Sita, with Tiwari as “Maryada Purushottam Ram”.

“I am lucky to play Sita, loved and respected by all. It is a matter of pride for me,” Akleem said.

Guddu Tiwari, playing the role of Rama, said that Ramlila here was unique because it was played and organised with the help of Muslims. “Both Muslims and Hindus treat Ramlila as their own, it is special for us.”

This is a part of decades-old tradition started by a group of Muslims with the support of Hindus in Sato Awanti. Both the communities enthusiastically participate in Ramlila in the village.

“It all started 36 years ago, in 1982, when a few Muslims, including Jamaluddin Ansari and Nurul Ansari, decided to organise Ramlila. Over the years, this village has become popular for it,” said Shaikh Mumtaz Ali, the Director of Ramlila in the village.

In the first Ramlila organised in the village, Khurshid Alam played the role of Lord Rama and Jamaluddin Ansari acted out Kumbhakaran, the younger brother of Ravana. Sharfuddin Ansari, a martial expert, has been helping the troupe depict war scenes.

Shaikh Mumtaz Ali, the father of Akleem, said that “we have successfully managed the Ramlila show for the last six days, and hope to do so for the remaining three days”.

The response of the people has been overwhelming, Shaikh Mumtaz Ali said.

During the evening show, loud chants of “Siyavar Ram Chandra Ki Jai” by the audience that has several Muslims can be heard.

“Not just Hindus, but several Muslims from the neighbouring villages and some from far-off villages come to watch our rare show,” said Shaikh Mumtaz Ali.

According to Suresh Singh, the patron of Ramlila in the village, both Muslims and Hindus donate money and work together to ensure the success of the show.

“In our village, more than religious, it is a social event with participation from all. It’s a positive sign,” Suresh Singh said.

This year, Tauqeer Ansari is playing the role of Kumbhakaran. Dozens of children, both Hindu and Muslim, form the “Vanar Sena” of Lord Rama, he said.

The spirit of conviviality can be gauged from the fact that Hindus help Muslims take out the Muharram procession in the village.

“We are proud that Muslims help us, support us to celebrate Durga Puja. They have set an example of harmony. This is unheard of anywhere else,” Guddu Tiwari said.

Mahesh Prasad, a villager, said: “We can’t think of celebrating the festival in such a big way without the support of Muslims.”

IANS

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Pleasant Wednesday morning in Delhi

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delhi weather clear sky
Representative Image

New Delhi, Oct 17: Delhiites woke up to a pleasant morning on Wednesday with the minimum temperature recorded at 19.2 degrees Celsius, average for the season.

“The sky will remain mainly clear throughout the day,” an India Meteorological Department official said.

The maximum temperature was expected to hover around 34 degrees Celsius. The humidity at 8.30 a.m. was 78 per cent.

On Tuesday, the maximum temperature settled at 33.3 degrees, at par with the season’s average, while the minimum temperature was recorded at 18.5 degrees Celsius, one notch below the season’s average.

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Nowheera Shaik arrested for allegedly duping investors

According to police Nowhera Shaik is heading 15 companies under different names under the Heera Group of companies.

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Nowhera Shaik, Heera Group

Hyderabad, Oct 17 : Hyderabad police on Tuesday arrested leading entrepreneur-politician Nowheera Shaik on charges of allegedly cheating the investors.

Nowheera, Managing Director of Heera Group of Companies, was arrested in New Delhi and brought to Hyderabad on a transit remand, said Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar.

The arrest was made during the course of the investigations into a case booked against her at Banja Hills police station in Hyderabad for cheating, criminal breach of trust and criminal intimidation.

She was also booked under Telangana Deposits of Financial Establishment Act 1999 and The Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, 1978.

Police said it found incriminating evidence against Nowheera, who runs various businesses in India and the Middle East. She also floated All India Mahila Empowerment Party, which contested recent assembly elections Karnataka but drew a blank.

According to police Nowhera Shaik is heading 15 companies under different names under the Heera Group of companies.

“Many of the companies are involved in collection of deposits/investments in different modes of gold scheme from public, where in these companies commit a return of around 36% per annum for the invested amount,” a police statement said.

While the exact number of investors / depositors is not known because the companies have not disclosed complete information before the Police, it is estimated that the number of depositors could be in thousands in different states of the country, it added.

Police claimed that during investigation evidences of diversion of funds came to light. Evidence has also been found of purchase of assets in different names of individuals as well as companies, police said.

“Many investors have not been paid their dues since last few months by accused companies. The companies and other accused have not cooperated with Police or provided relevant information during course of investigation. The main accused also made efforts to mislead the Police and avoid the investigation,” the police chief said.

According to police more than 160 bank accounts have been identified across India, details of which are being sought from the concerned bank.

Different properties have been identified and necessary action under the Telangana Deposits of Financial Establishment Act 1999 and The Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (BANNING) Act, 1978 are under consideration, added the statement.

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