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Varanasi to be ‘gateway to East India’: Modi

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Narendra Modi

Varanasi, Sep 18 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that the Centre was making serious efforts to develop Varanasi, his parliamentary constituency, as the “gateway to East India”.

Addressing a large gathering at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) amphitheatre, the Prime Minister detailed the many projects being launched and inaugurated in the city and nearby villages so that the face of Varanasi could change.

He said in the bid to make Kashi a smart city, care was being taken not to disturb the ancient flavour of the temple city and conserve its rich history and culture.

The Prime Minister who celebrated his 68th birthday on Monday with school children and party workers in the city, also said he was “doubly” delighted each time he saw the people of Varanasi posting pictures of the city on social media.

“The changed face of the city can be seen by people right from the time they step down from the trains that bring them here,” the Prime Minister said alluding to the pictures of the railway stations here posted on the social media.

He also exhorted the people to roll out a never-before hospitality to the hundreds who would coming here for the ‘Uttar Pradesh NRI (Non-Resident Indian) Diwas’ in January 2019.

Modi also launched and inaugurated projects worth Rs 557 crore.

He was earlier welcomed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and state BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey and gifted a ‘Panchmukhi Hanuman’ (five-faced Hindu monkey god) made of wood, a major handicraft product of the region.

Modi started his address in Bhojpuri, much to the delight of the hundreds of youngsters present at the rally.

The Prime Minister was on a two-day visit to his parliamentary constituency. On his birthday he visited the Kashi Vishwanath temple to propitiate Lord Shiva and seek his blessings.

Modi is slated to leave for New Delhi in the afternoon.

India

As army prepares for long winter at LAC, DRDO works on developing vegetables under intense weather

DIHAR’s Director, Dr Om Prakash Chaurasia said that the focus is now on to augment the availability of fresh vegetables in winters like summers.

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India China Ladakh Border

New Delhi: As the troops are set to spend harsh winters at the China border, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is working on cultivating vegetables in the tough conditions here, for the Indian Army, with the technologies like passive greenhouse technology, zero energy-based technique storage, and microgreens.

The research for the same is being done by DRDO’s Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR).

While speaking to ANI, DIHAR’s Director, Dr Om Prakash Chaurasia said that the focus is now on to augment the availability of fresh vegetables in winters like summers.

“With DRDO technology and hill council, all vegetables can be grown in summer but now our focus is on winters that how to augment the availability of fresh items in winters. There are two approaches, one is to standardise the greenhouse technology. This (Leh) place has high intercity of solar even during peak winter period so we are working on a passive greenhouse. We will be able to grow cabbage, cauliflower, and even tomato even in the month of January where the temperature drops till -25 degrees. We have an underground greenhouse as well. Another approach is to develop the storage of vegetables grown in summers. It is zero energy-based storage technology. Potato, cabbage, cauliflower, Raddish, carrot can be stored for 4-5 months,” said Chaurasia.

Chaurasia also highlighted that DISAR is also cultivating superfoods like Quinoa, chia seed, seabuckthorn, and Goji Berries which are exclusively grown in Leh.

“Oxygen level is low and under stress condition in this area. So, we require foods which are enriched with nutrition. We are cultivating a superfood which is a food which you consume less and it is more effective. We are cultivating foods like Quinoa, chia seed, seabuckthorn, and Goji Berries,” he added.

In August last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned a special plant named ‘solo’ which is also known as the Sanjeevani herb that is found in Ladakh.

Describing the utilities of solo herb which is known as Sanjeevani, Dr Chaurasia said, “Himalaya is a treasure of herbs. Sanjeevani is one of the herbs found in the Himalayas. Its scientific name is Rhodiola. It cures fatigue, mountain sickness, and works on memory boosting. The roots of Sanjeevani have the fragrance of a rose. DRDO is working with UT administration for mass cultivation of it.”

DIHAR has worked on the microgreen plant which will help jawans grow plants in harsh conditions and can be grown in 10-15 days. The product can be used as a seasoning for farmers.

Talking about microgreens, Dr Dorjee, a scientist in DIHAR said, “In the far area, Army is deployed in harsh conditions and there is no availability of substrate or soil to grow vegetables. Through technology, we will be able to provide these microgreen plants to army jawan when he is having lunch or breakfast in those areas.”

“To grow these plants, we have to ensure that ingredients need to remain minimum like cocopeat, and after 10-15 days, these plants are ready for consumption. It can be used for seasoning too,” he added.

Dorjee further said that around 20 vegetables can be grown in this medium and it is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

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‘New Parliament building to cost around Rs 970 crore’: Centre in Lok Sabha

The tender for construction of the new Parliament building is under scrutiny, while architectural plans for other buildings are under planning stage, Puri said in response to a question raised by All India Trinamool Congress(AITC) MP Mala Roy in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

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Parliament

The estimated cost of construction of the new Parliament building is Rs 971 crore, union housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Puri informed Parliament on Tuesday. It is an increase of Rs 82 crore from the Centre’s initial estimate.

The tender for construction of the new Parliament building is under scrutiny, while architectural plans for other buildings are under planning stage, Puri said in response to a question raised by All India Trinamool Congress(AITC) MP Mala Roy in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

“The estimated cost for Construction of new Parliament Building is Rs 971 crore. Estimated cost of other buildings and development/ redevelopment of Central Vista Avenue shall be worked out after finalization of plans,” Puri said.

Last week, Tata Projects Limited emerged as the lowest of the two bidders for the tender to construct the new Parliament complex by quoting a bid of Rs 861.90 crore. According to the Central Public Works Department’s (CPWD) tender, the estimated cost of construction for the new building is Rs 889 crore.

In response to a question from Trinamool MP, seeking “the rationale behind the project in light of the fact that economy is in doldrums,” Puri said that the facilities and amenities of the 93-year-old existing Parliament building “are highly inadequate to meet the current demand of the Parliament.”

The Central Vista redevelopment project has come under criticism from different quarters. While the Opposition has called for suspending around Rs 20,000 crore project due to the pandemic, some conservationists have argued that it would change the historic nature of Lutyens’ Delhi.

“The existing Parliament House Building was started in 1921 and commissioned in 1927; this “building is already 93 years old and has since been declared heritage grade-I building. Its facilities and amenities are highly inadequate to meet the current demand of the Parliament. There is an acute shortage of office space and there are no individual chambers for Members of Parliament. This building was not meant for bicameral Parliament and has been over-stressed through large scale retrofitting done over the years,” Puri said.

“The other buildings on the Central Vista were built after Independence, i.e. Krishi Bhawan, Udyog Bhawan, etc. These buildings are more than 50 years old and there is a shortage of working space, parking, amenities and services in these buildings for an efficient office atmosphere… The Central Vista, which is the main boulevard of New Delhi extending from Rashtrapati Bhawan to India Gate, is one of the most visited tourist places in Delhi. However, it lacks basic public facilities, amenities and parking, etc. The unorganized vending and haphazard parking leads to congestion and gives a poor public perception. Therefore, there is a need for its upgradation of the central vista,” Puri added.

Puri said that in the current economic scenario, the project will generate a large number of direct and indirect employment.

The new Parliament building with a built-up area of approximately 60,000 metre square, is set to come up on plot number 118 of the Parliament House Estate, which currently houses a reception, boundary walls and other temporary structures. Work on the new Parliament, a ground plus two-storey triangular-shaped building, is expected to begin after the ongoing monsoon session.

According to the tender for its construction, the new building is required to be completed strictly within the prescribed time limit of 21 months.

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Cities

Nitish gets livid over documentary showing pind-daan in Gaya

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Nitish Kumar

Patna, Sep 22 : Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday become angry with the water resources development ministry over a representative video documentary showing a pind-daan, a ritual conducted at the cremation of a person.

In the run-up to the Bihar assembly elections, Kumar has laid down the foundation stone of 77 projects worth Rs 2814.47 crore.

One of these projects relates to a rubber dam project on Falgu river in Gaya.

During its inauguration, the water resources development ministry played a video documentary in which a pind-daan ceremony on Falgu river in Gaya was shown.

As soon as it went on screen, CM Nitish Kumar got livid. He shouted in the middle of the documentary for wrong selection of visuals by the ministry concerned.

He said the Gaya district is renowned around the world for the Bodhi Temple where Lord Buddha gained wisdom. The pictures inside the temple are unique. “People go to Gaya to see this temple. It is an icon of Gaya and not the area where the pind-daan takes place on Falgu river,” Kumar said during the virtual inauguration.

“I have repeatedly told the ministry concerned to avoid representing Falgu river in Gaya, still they are making the same mistake again,” Kumar said.

The video documentary showcased the rubber dam and renovation on the either side of the river banks.

Since, elections are round corner in Bihar, there is an assumption that showing rituals related to death isn’t auspicious.

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