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PM lays foundation stone for new Mumbai airport, inaugurates port terminal

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navi mumbai
Prime Minister Narendra Modi iN Navi Mumbai

Raigad (Maharashtra), Feb 18: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday laid the foundation stone of the Rs 16,000-crore Navi Mumbai International Airport and inaugurated the country’s largest container terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, constructed at a cost of Rs 4,719 crore here.

He performed the ground-breaking ceremony and the inauguration electronically in the presence of Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Ramdas Athawale and state ministers.

The Navi Mumbai International Airport will be the second international aviation hub for the financial capital, presently served by the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport that has almost reached saturation point.

The new airport will be constructed by GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd (GVKPIL) as per a concession agreement signed on January 8, with the City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), the nodal authority of Maharashtra to oversee the project implementation.

The agreement has created a special purpose vehicle – Navi Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd (NMIAL), in which the GVKPIL, through its subsidiary, Mumbai International Pvt Ltd, holds 74 percent equity, while the rest is held by CIDCO.

The initial concession period is 30 years, from the appointed date, which is extendable by another 10 years, for the project in which GVKPIL was declared the successful bidder in February 2017.

The NMIAL, a greenfield airport, will be constructed in the PPP mode on 1,160 hectares on the mainland in Navi Mumbai, across the Mumbai harbour, with the advantage of the upcoming Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, a Special Economic Zone and other major infrastructure developments coming up.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust’s Fourth Container Terminal (FCT)’s Phase I in this Maharashtra district has been completed in a record time at a cost of Rs 4,719 crore and is expected to boost container trade and logistics in a big way.

In October 2015, Modi had laid the foundation stone for this terminal which will double JNPT’s current container handling capacity.

The FCT will add capacity of 24 lakh containers per annum in the first phase and after completion of the second phase in 2022, the capacity will be quadrupled to a whopping 100 lakh containers per year.

Gadkari said the FCT was developed on Design, Build, Fund, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis for a concession period of 30 years with an estimated investment of Rs 7,915 crore for both the phases.

The terminal will be able to dock mother vessels, handle the biggest container ships from a quay length of one km, handle three container ships simultaneously with sufficient yard space, and cranes which can reach 22 rows wide or more.

The FCT will be linked to the dedicated road access and a rail freight corridor and will receive around 350 containers per rake besides provision for storing 1,600 refrigerated (reefer) containers for perishables, agriculture and horticulture produce.

The commencement of operations at FCT will offer immense opportunities for the EXIM community so that trade flourishes.

The rail facilities will be the largest in India with the only on-dock Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) compliant facility in the country, capable of handling 1.5-km long, 360 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) container trains on completion of the DFC, said Gadkari.

IANS

India

North Eeast Border Row: Protesters block highway to Mizoram for 2nd day

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Assam Mizoram Border Row

Silchar/Aizawl: The Assam-Mizoram border trouble continued for the second day on Thursday as the agitators in southern Assam refused to withdraw their blockade of National Highway 306, the lifeline of Mizoram, demanding the withdrawal of its security personnel from Assam’s territory.

Assam’s Additional Director General of Police, Law and Order, Gyanendra Pratap Singh, who is camping in southern Assam since Wednesday, held a series of meetings to normalise the situation but despite his appeal, over a hundred people refused to withdraw their blockade at Lailapur, leaving more than 250 goods-laden vehicles stranded on the either side of the border.

Singh, after visiting the agitation site, told the media that the Assam government would approach the Centre to probe the October 22 bomb blasts in a school located at Khulicherra area near the Assam-Mizoram border.

“The blast at the school was possibly triggered by the miscreants to frighten the border residents. Senior police officials are closely watching the situation and the security along the inter-state borders was further tightened,” he said.

“The demarcated inter-state boundary should be respected by everyone. Necessary statutory provisions are being exploited and interactions with the Central government are being done on a regular basis,” he added.

The picketers were demanding withdrawal of Mizoram’s forces from Assam’s territory in Cachar and Karimganj districts.

“In the series of high-level meetings during the last two weeks, Mizoram officials had agreed to gradually withdraw their forces from the areas inside Assam territory. But, they are yet to withdraw,” a senior Cachar district police official said.

Mizoram ferries all its essentials, food grains, transport fuel and various other goods and machines through NH 306 which connects Vairengte in its Kolasib district to southern Assam.

Festering since October 9, the situation along the 164.6-km Assam-Mizoram border took an ugly turn with around 20 shops and houses being burnt and over 50 people injured in the attacks and counter-attacks by people on either side on October 17.

Union Home Ministry’s Joint Secretary (North East), Satyendra Kumar Garg had held a meeting with the Home Secretaries of Assam and Mizoram last week where it was agreed that both sides will maintain the status quo and hold regular talks to prevent any untoward incident.

After these meetings, over 300 stranded Mizoram-bound essential goods laden vehicles went to the neighbouring state.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah also spoke to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Mizoram CM Zoramthanga several times last week to defuse the crisis. Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla held a meeting, through video conference, with the Chief Secretaries of Assam and Mizoram.

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Rs 1,752 cr disbursed to 3 MCDs till Oct 26: Sisodia

Sisodia said the Delhi government paid MCDs their due share of taxes, but it has also paid a large sum over and above as loan.

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Manish Sisodia

New Delhi: Amid war of words over unpaid dues of healthcare workers in the hospitals run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Thursday wrote a scathing letter to three Mayors of MCDs alleging petty politics by them over the issue of delayed salaries to healthcare workers.

Sisodia claimed that it’s the MCD which owes money to the Delhi government.

The three Mayors had earlier protested in front of the CM’s residence claiming a large amount of balance payment from Delhi government to the MCDs.

Countering the claims made by the Mayors, Sisodia presented facts showing that not only had Delhi government paid all the funds due to the MCDs as per the Fifth Delhi Finance Commission, it has paid over and above the required amount resulting in a huge outstanding loans.

“As for the amount owed by the government of Delhi to the MCDs for the current financial (2020-21), as per the Fifth Delhi Finance Commission calculations, a total of Rs 1965.91 crore was due until October 26, 2020, of which Rs 1752.61 crore has already been paid,” Sisodia wrote in the letter.

“MCDs have outstanding loans from Delhi government to the tune of Rs 6008 crore, they also have arrears of Rs 2596 crore to the Delhi Jal Board. Hence, in all, they owe over Rs 8600 crore to the Delhi government,” said the letter.

Sisodia urged the three Mayors to rise above petty politics and focus on the real issue of corruption and financial mismanagement in each of the three MCDs. He urged the Mayors to demand the unpaid amount of Rs 12,000 crore from the Central government.

“I am writing this letter with much anguish and disappointment over your actions as the three Mayors of Delhi (NDMC, EDMC, SDMC) with regard to the unpaid salaries of doctors and healthcare workers in MCD hospitals.

“From your actions, it is clear that rather than finding a viable solution to the matter using all administrative options available to the MCDs, you are only interested in peddling lies and indulging in shameful politics over this issue.

“In the process, you have caused unprecedented pain to the families of thousands of healthcare workers and lowered the prestige of the national capital at a time when the entire country has united in the fight against Corona,” the letter said.

Sisodia said the Delhi government paid MCDs their due share of taxes, but it has also paid a large sum over and above as loan.

As on April 1, 2020, a total of Rs 6,008 crore loan is outstanding from the three MCDs, as per the records of the Urban Development Department. This includes Rs 1,977 crore outstanding loan from EDMC, Rs 3,243 crore from NDMC and Rs 788 crore from SDMC.

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PDP’s Srinagar Office Sealed After Protests Against Land Laws

Under the new land law, no domicile or permanent resident certificate is required to purchase non-agricultural land in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Mehbooba Mufti

Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir Thursday foiled a protest march by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the new land law and detained several leaders from the party.

The party had organized a protest rally from the party headquarters in Srinagar to the Press Enclave. However, soon after the leaders reached the party headquarters, they were detained by the police force that was already deployed there. The police detained party members including Khurshid Aalam, Waheed Parra, Suhail Bukhari, Mohit Bhan.

The party had lodged a similar protest in Jammu on Wednesday.

The PDP president and former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti in a tweet stated that the party office in Srinagar has been sealed by the administration and workers have been arrested for organizing a peaceful protest.

“PDP office in Srinagar sealed by J&K admin & workers arrested for organising a peaceful protest. A similar protest was allowed in Jammu so why was it thwarted here? Is this your definition of ‘normalcy’ that’s being showcased in the world?” Mehbooba tweeted.

“PDP’s @parawahid, Khurshid Alam, Rouf Bhat, @MohsinQayoom_& @buttkout were arrested by J&K police for protesting against the settler colonial land laws thrusted upon people of J&K. We will continue to raise our voice collectively & wont tolerate attempts to change demographics,” she tweeted.

Under the new land law, notified on October 27 by the Union Government, no domicile or permanent resident certificate is required to purchase non-agricultural land in the UT. Earlier, Article 35-A of J&K Constitution which was revoked on August 5, placed prohibitions on the sale of land to those who were not state subjects.

The central government has even empowered an Army Commander to declare any area in J&K as strategic for operational and training requirement of the armed forces.

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