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PM Modi launches cheap fight scheme ‘UDAN’ from Shimla

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Shimla, April 27, 2017: You can now fly to Shimla from the national capital for just Rs 2,000, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched a regional air connectivity with low-cost flights scheme ‘UDAN’.

Modi during his day-long visit to the Queen of Hills launched the central government’s UDAN “Ude Desh ka Har Nagarik” scheme, building efficient regional air connectivity, from Jubbarhatti, the tabletop airport located 2,196 metre above sea-level and some 22 km from here.

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Accompanied by Himachal Governor Acharya Devvrat, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Union Ministers P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Jayant Sinha and J.P. Nadda, Modi simultaneously flagged off the inaugural UDAN flights on the Kadapa-Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors through video conferencing.

The Shimla Airport had been shut for scheduled flights since September 6, 2012, affecting tourists and business travellers to the state.

Air India subsidiary Alliance Air will operate the Delhi-Shimla flight.

‘UDAN’ (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) is a scheme under which the fares of flights will be capped at Rs 2500 per seat per hour.

PM Modi flaged off the first UDAN flight on Shimla-Delhi sector at Shimla’s Jubbarhatti airport. Simultaneously, he will also flag off the inaugural UDAN flights on Kadapa-Hyderabad and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors, the PMO said in a statement.

The PMO said in a series of tweets:

It added:

These flights would connect airports spread across over 20 states and union territories including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The airports that would be connected under UDAN include Bhatinda, Shimla, Bilaspur, Neyveli, Cooch Behar, Nanded and Kadapa.

On each flight, 50 percent of the flight capacity would have a cap of Rs 2,500 per seat/hour and a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 13 on helicopters with the same price cap. Airline Allied Services would operate on 15 routes, SpiceJet 11, Turbo Megha Airways 18, Air Deccan 34 and Air Odisha Aviation 50.

Under UDAN, the operators would be extended viability gap funding — for which money is partly raised through a levy of up to Rs 8,500 on flights operating on major routes like Delhi and Mumbai. The amount is estimated to be around Rs 205 crore per annum for the operators chosen in the first round of bidding. The viability gap funding would be in place for three years for the airlines concerned from the date of starting operations in a particular UDAN route.

The scheme also provides for various benefits including no airport charges and three-year exclusivity on the routes.

While in Shimla, the Prime Minister will also address a rally at the historic Ridge Maidan.This will be his first visit to Shimla after becoming the Prime Minister. He had visited the capital of Himachal Pradesh last in 2003 when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

However, it is his second visit to the state. Last year, he had addressed a BJP rally at Mandi.

Modi was in-charge of organisational affairs of Himachal Pradesh for eight years till 2002.

Wefornews Bureau

India

Farmers Call Bharat Bandh On December 8

Thousands of farmers continue protests at the national capital’s border points on Friday amid heavy police deployment.

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Farmers on Protest

Hardening their position ahead of the fifth round of talks with the government, agitating farmers on Friday announced a ”Bharat Bandh” on December 8 and said they would occupy toll plazas on that day.

Addressing a press conference, farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chadoni said if the Centre does not accept their demands during Saturday’s talks, they will intensify their agitation against the new farm laws.

“In our meeting today, we have decided to give a ‘Bharat Bandh’ call on December 8 during which we will also occupy all toll plazas,” said Harvinder Singh Lakhwal, another farmer leader.

“We have planned to block all roads leading to Delhi in the coming days if new farm laws are not scrapped,” he also said.

Delhi’s border points remained choked as thousands of farmers from Haryana, Punjab, and other states held demonstrations for the ninth consecutive day, after talks with the government failed to yield any resolution on Thursday.

The farmer community has expressed apprehension that the new laws are “anti-farmer”, and would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the “mercy” of big corporations.

However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture.

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Kangana Ranaut reacts to legal notices against her

She had retweeted the post with pictures of two elderly women, including Bilkis Bano, and wrote that the “same Dadi” who featured in Time Magazine was “available in 100 rupees”.

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Kangana Ranaut

Mumbai: Actress Kangana Ranaut on Friday reacted to legal notices piling up against her.

“Film mafia filed many cases on me, last night Javed Akhtar filed one more, Maharashtra government filing one case every hour now congress in Punjab is also joined the gang…. Lagta hai mujhe mahan banake he dum lenge (I think they will take a break only after making me great.) Thank you,” Kangana Ranaut tweeted from her verified account on Friday reacting to a news piece talking about the legal notice.

Earlier on Friday, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee sent a legal notice to Kangana, seeking an “unconditional apology” for her “derogatory” tweets against farmers and activists involved in the farmers protest against the Centre’s three Farm Laws, the committee’s president.

“We have sent a legal notice to Kangana Ranaut for her derogatory tweet calling the aged mother of a farmer as a woman available for Rs 100. Her tweets portray farmers protest as anti-national. We demand an unconditional apology from her for her insensitive remarks on farmers protest,” Manjinder Singh Sirsa, President of DSGMC tweeted.

The notice comes in the wake of a tweet from the actress alleging that the ‘Shaheen Bagh dadi’ also joined the farmers’ agitation over the new agri laws at various border points of the National Capital Region.

She had retweeted the post with pictures of two elderly women, including Bilkis Bano, and wrote that the “same Dadi” who featured in Time Magazine was “available in 100 rupees”.

On Thursday a petition had been filed in Bombay High Court against Kangana. The petitioner seeks the suspension of the verified Twitter account of the actress for allegedly spreading hatred and disharmony.

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India

Dalai Lama congratulates Maha teacher who won global prize

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Dalai Lama

Dharamsala, Dec 4 : Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Friday congratulated Ranjitsinh Disale, a primary school teacher in Maharashtra, on winning this year’s Global Teacher Prize, saying educating the young children, especially the poor, is perhaps the best way to help them as individuals.

“I would like to congratulate you,” His Holiness wrote, “on being named the world’s most exceptional teacher and to express my admiration for your generosity in sharing half the prize money with runners-up in the competition”.

“Educating young children, especially from poor and needy backgrounds is perhaps the best way to help them as individuals, and actively contributes to creating a better world.

“Your work to ensure that disadvantaged girls go to school, as well as your efforts to prepare study materials for them in their own language, the online science lessons you offer pupils in 83 countries and your project building connections between young people in conflict zones are all vivid examples of compassion in action.

“When you say, ‘Together we can make a difference — we can make this world a better place’, you are absolutely right. I am sure your exemplary service will encourage other brothers and sisters to follow in your footsteps.”

The spiritual leader ended his letter with an offering of prayers and good wishes.

The 31-year-old Ranjitsingh Disale declared that he will split half of the prize money of $1 million with his top 10 fellow finalists.

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