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Rohtang Pass reopened for motorists

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Manali, April 30: The majestic snow-marooned Rohtang Pass, located at an altitude of 13,050 feet in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district, has been reopened for motorists after four months of closure, officials said here on Sunday.

For tourists, it will be opened this week.

“The road link to the tribal Lahaul valley through the Rohtang Pass has been reopened,” Mohan Lal, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) Chief Engineer, told IANS.

“Snow clearing operation was crucial on the 85-km-long stretch between Manali and Sissu that received the maximum snow (during winter) and is prone to snow avalanches,” he added.

He said the civil administration would now take a decision on allowing the tourists bound for Lahaul Valley in Lahaul-Spiti district from Manali to cross the Rohtang Pass.

Regarding the complete opening of the 475-km Manali-Leh National Highway 21, Lal said the work of clearing snow was going on at a fast pace at different locations.

“Our target to reopen Manali-Leh highway is May 25,” he added.

Official sources said currently only small vehicles are allowed to ply across the Rohtang Pass, some 51 km from here.

IANS

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Is operating ratio of Indian Railways the worst: Chidambaram

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi, April 21: Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Saturday asked if the operating ratio of Indian Railways is the worst and added that if the ratio is close to 100 per cent or has exceeded it, that indicated a “comprehensive failure of management.”

He also asked if it was true that the accounts are being “dressed” to show an Operating Ratio just a little less than 100 per cent.

“What is the Operating Ratio of Indian Railways in 2017-18? Is it the worst ratio in recent years,” Chidambaram tweeted.

“Is it correct that the true Operating Ratio has exceeded 100 per cent? Is it correct that the accounts are being ‘dressed’ to show an Operating Ratio just a little less than 100 per cent,” he asked.

“If the Operating Ratio is close to 100 per cent or has exceeded 100 per cent, that indicates a comprehensive failure of management of the Indian Railways,” Chidambaram said.

IANS

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No parole for mafia don Abu Salem to get married

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A file photo of gangster Abu Salem being taken to jail after a Mumbai court sentenced him life imprisonment in the Pradeep Jain murder case in 2015.

Mumbai, April 21: The Maharashtra government on Saturday rejected an application by incarcerated mafia don Abu Salem seeking 45 days parole for getting married, official sources said here.

Among the grounds cited by the authorities are that parole is not permitted for those accused or convicted of terror charges under the revised parole rules of the Maharashtra government in 2016, an official, who declined to be identified, told IANS.

Abu Salem, who is currently undergoing life imprisonment in Taloja Central Jail, Navi Mumbai, had applied in March to the Konkan Divisional Commissioner for parole for his second marriage with Sayed Bahar Kauser alias Heena.

The marriage was scheduled for May 5 in Mumbai and he had also provided the names and details of two of his cousins who were willing to stand guarantee for him.

He planned to stay temporarily at the Mumbai home of his prospective wife Heena during the parole duration.

In his application, Abu Salem cited how he was in jail continuously since the past more than 12 years without stepping out on parole/furlough even once.

In September 2017, Abu Salem – a close confidante of absconding mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar – was convicted and sentenced to a life sentence for his role in the March 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai which killed 257 and wounded over 700 others.

IANS

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Cabinet approves restructured scheme for making local bodies self-sustainable

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Saturday approved a restructured Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA) scheme aimed at making rural local bodies self-sustainable, financially stable and more efficient.

Addressing a press conference here, Union Panchayati Raj Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said Prime Minister Narendra Modi — who chaired the CCEA meeting — will officially launch the scheme on April 24 in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandla.

The total outlay for the scheme during 2018-19 to 2021-2022 would be Rs 7,255 crore, of which 60 per cent would be borne by the Centre.

Tomar said the RGSA will help more than 2.55 lakh Panchayati Raj Institutions to develop governance capabilities to deliver on sustainable development goals through inclusive local governance, with a focus on optimum utilisation of available resources.

IANS

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