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World Bank clears $250 million for Kerala scheme

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Thiruvananthapuram, July 15 (IANS) The first tranche of $250 million of the $500 million fund set aside by the World Bank for the Resilient Kerala Programme (RKP) to help improve the state’s resilience against natural disasters and climate change has been cleared, according to a top bank official.

Kerala had become the first Indian state to get this fund, said Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank, India, here on Monday.

“The future of India is in the states and hence we decided to invest in state schemes besides concentrating on citizen-centric programmes. That’s what we have done in the RKP,” said Ahmad.

Ahmad along with his team was here to take part in the Development Parties Conclave, organised by the Kerala government with participation of top international agencies, like World Bank, Asian Development Bank, JAICA and UNDP, to discuss ways to help the state rebuild after last year’s floods.

Elaborating on the bank’s initiatives, he said they would invest $250 million in the state account for specific programmes, like improving the Ariver basin planning, sustainable agriculture besides improving resilience of the core road network.

“We will be providing technical assistance to the state for these programmes. Besides this, we have an urban service project. Also, the new programmes in the pipeline would look into sanitation and solid waste management,” Ahmad said.

Balakrishna Menon, World Bank India Task Team Leader for the programme, said in the RKP they “will not only bring about additional financial resources but also help leverage other development partners and connect the state to lessons from global good practices.”

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Major fire in AIIMS, Emergency wing closed

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New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) A major fire broke out on a second floor of a building in the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) complex on Saturday evening. No casualty was reported but as a precautionary measure, the adjacent Emergency department has been closed and patients shifted elsewhere even as efforts to douse the blaze are on.

The fire broke out in the PC building, which is a teaching block and mainly comprises research labs. However, the Microbiology Department’s Virology unit was completely gutted while several samples and medical reports were destroyed.

Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is currently undergoing treatment at AIIMS, is admitted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the cardio-neuro centre, housed in a different building in the complex.

According to Atul Garg, Chief Fire Officer of Delhi Fire Services, a call regarding the fire was received at around 4.50 p.m. following which 34 fire tenders were rushed to the spot.


“The fire broke on the second floor in the PC building which does not have patients but is situated near the Emergency block. The fire was brought under control at around 6.30 p.m.,” said Garg adding that no casualty was reported.

Another fire official said the exact reason behind the fire is yet to be ascertained, though initial investigation suggests a short circuit.

As panic spread among people, authorities closed some nearby buildings housing the Emergency and other facilities and shifted the patients to other wards.

“As a precautionary measure, authorities closed the Emergency department which is adjacent to the building that caught fire,” a source in the hospital said, adding that B block, ward AB1, and super specialty OPD area of AIIMS have also been shut down.

“Patients were shifted to other wards from the Emergency department soon after the building caught fire,” the source added.

Sources in the Fire Department said that the blaze spread to the Emergency Lab in the department of Lab Medicine, where electricity work was going on for some time and cable and wire being used were kept.

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Man held for duping over 20 women on matrimonial sites

He used to target middle-aged unmarried/widowed/divorced women on matrimonial and dating sites and after befriending them on the pretext of marriage, he used to take money from them.

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New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) A 46-year-old man has been arrested from Meerut for allegedly defrauding over 20 women through matrimonial and dating sites, police said on Saturday.

The accused Gaurav Dhamija, a car spare parts dealer, mostly targeted widowed or divorced women and projected his virtual identity as a handsome, successful entrepreneur earning Rs 25-30 lakhs per annum.

“We had received a complaint at the Cyber Crime Unit/CyPAD, in which the complainant alleged that she has been defrauded by a fraudster who tricked her into depositing money after she showed interest in his very impressive profile on a matrimonial site. The fraudster, Dhamija, trapped her through a volley of emotional tricks such as calling the victim ‘Mrs Dhamija’ and promising to buy expensive gifts for her,” said Anyesh Roy, DCP (Cyber cell).

Police said that once the victim was emotionally trapped, he started asking for money on various pretexts such as parents’ treatment, business investment and other.

“The accused started with small sums and gradually escalated his demands. He kept asking for money but always avoided coming forward in real life. The victims kept paying him due to escalation of their commitment. It was only when the fraudster’s act became too brazen that they started demanding their money back, only to be threatened with dire consequences,” said Roy.

On the basis of the complaint, a case under suitable sections was registered and investigation was taken up, police said.

“During the course of investigation, technical details, including the digital footprints were collected. The accused, who is a resident of Nihal Vihar, Delhi, kept changing his location to evade arrest. His movements were tracked to Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and western UP. Finally, with the help of technical data and field inputs, the fraudster was arrested from Meerut,” said Roy.

During interrogation, he disclosed that he used to target middle-aged unmarried/widowed/divorced women on matrimonial and dating sites and after befriending them on the pretext of marriage, he used to take money from them.

“When they demanded the money back, he used to threaten them with dire consequences. It was also revealed that he also used to cheat some of these women by promising to get them jobs in schools and municipal bodies and used to take huge sums from them,” said Roy.

Police said they have found names of more than 20 victims disclosed by the accused who have been cheated by him. The victims are being identified and contacted to join the investigation.

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DD News anchor Neelum Sharma no more

Neelum was honoured with Nari Shakti Puraskar by President Ram Nath Kovind earlier this year. The sudden demise of the journalist has left people in shock. Remembering her, people from all walks of life took to social media to pay condolences.

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DD News anchor Neelum Sharma

New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) News anchor Neelum Sharma, who was associated with Indias public service broadcaster Doordarshan News for over 20 years, breathed her last on Saturday. The news of her demise was flashed on the official Twitter account of DD News and, according to reports, she was batteling cancer.

“DD News mourns passing away of our dear Colleague Neelum Sharma. A founding anchor with over 20 years of association with DD news, she played a stellar role in many capacities. From ‘Badi Charcha’ to ‘Tejasvini’ her path breaking programmes won accolades including Nari Shakti Award,” the tweet read.

Neelum was honoured with Nari Shakti Puraskar by President Ram Nath Kovind earlier this year. The sudden demise of the journalist has left people in shock. Remembering her, people from all walks of life took to social media to pay condolences.

Delhi Finance Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted: “Shocked to know that Neelum Sharma is no more. Lots of memories from All India Radio and DD. The sober and gracious anchor would be missed by all.”

“Just learned of the sad demise of veteran anchor Neelam Sharma who was recently awarded Nari Shakti Award .Prayers and condolences from entire Prasar Bharati parivar to her family,” Shashi Shekhar, CEO Prasar Bharati (Doordarshan & All India Radio) wrote.

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