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Commission probing 'irregularities' in Telangana power sector serves notice to KCR

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Hyderabad, June 12 (IANS) The Justice L. Narasimha Reddy Commission, probing alleged irregularities in the power sector during the previous Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government in Telangana, has served notice to former Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and others.

The Commission has served notices to 25 officials and others, seeking their explanation.

They include BRS President and then Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao, then Energy Minister G. Jagadish Reddy, Genco and Transco’s former Chairman and Managing Director D. Prabhakar Rao and officials who served as Secretary of the Energy Department from 2014 to 2023.

Justice Reddy told media persons on Tuesday that Chandrasekhar Rao sought time till July 30 to submit his written explanation but the Commission asked him to give his explanation by June 15.

The Commission has also sought explanations from bureaucrats Arvind Kumar, Suresh Chanda, Sunil Sharma and others who served as Energy Secretary during the period. The Commission has summoned some of them to give their version in person and sought written explanations from some others.

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Prabhakar Rao and Suresh Chanda appeared before the Commission on Monday and gave their statements. Justice Reddy said that the Commission would ask some of the persons on whom the notices were served in case their explanation lacked clarity.

The Commission was appointed in March this year to probe alleged irregularities in the 1,000 MW Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Chhattisgarh Power Distribution Company Ltd and alleged irregularities in the execution of 4×270 megawatt Bhadradri Thermal Power Station (BTPS) and 5×800 MW Yadadri Thermal Power Station (YTPS).

It received the information due diligence was not followed in the case of the PPA with Chhattisgarh. Though the MoU was signed in 2014, power was not supplied till 2017 and even that was stopped after three years. For BTPS, the then government used sub-critical technology instead of super-critical technology, leading not only to environmental issues but also to a higher cost of supply. The use of sub-critical technology for the 1,070 MW plant would consume additional coal worth Rs 250 crore to Rs 300 crore every year.

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The Commission is also probing the allegation that the contract for YTPS was given to BHEL on a nomination basis, not by calling for tenders.

–IANS

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J&K: Trial run begins on world's highest railway bridge in Chenab, rail services to begin soon (Ld)

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) In a major advancement towards its ‘dream project’, the Indian Railways on Sunday conducted the first train trial run from Sangaldan to Reasi, including crossing the Chenab bridge in Jammu and Kashmir — the highest railway bridge in the world.

The railway officials also conducted an inspection of the newly constructed line and also took stock of the railway stations between Sangaldan in Ramban district to Reasi in Jammu and Kashmir.

Situated at about 359 metres above sea level, the Chenab bridge not only makes for a breathtaking view but also shows how the engineering marvel continues to surprise the world.

Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw took to his social media handle and shared a video of the first trial run passing through the Chenab bridge.

“All construction works for the USBRL are nearly finished, with only Tunnel No 1 remaining partially incomplete,” he wrote.

The Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) will see trains plying on the 272 km stretch while also passing the picturesque Chenab bridge.

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The USBRL, expected to be completed by the end of the year, will provide all-weather connectivity to the valley.

The engineering marvel will not only cut down the geographical obstacles to the region but will also bring it at par with modern and multi-pronged infrastructure.

The 1.3 km Chenab rail bridge, located 35 meters higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, forms a crucial part of the project.

The Jammu and Kashmir Administration has already revealed its plans to develop the bridge as a ‘tourist spot’.

The ambitious project was expected to be completed by February this year, but it missed the deadline.

The Railways under Ashwini Vaishnaw’s stewardship has kept this project on a high focus and as reports suggest, it has also been listed in Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s first 100 days of work.

–IANS

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Act tough to save youth from drug menace, Punjab BJP chief tells CM

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Chandigarh, June 16 (IANS) Expressing shock and anguish over 14 deaths reported in Punjab in 14 days owing to drug abuse, Punjab BJP President Sunil Jakhar on Sunday urged Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to act tough to save Punjab’s youth from this menace.

“These tragic deaths have shaken the people and a Chief Minister, who every other day sells fake dreams of making a ‘Rangla Punjab’, must be forced to understand his duty towards the state,” Jakhar said in a statement.

“Punjab today needs an effective and urgent crackdown against those directly responsible for this heinous crime of killing our youngsters,” he said, adding the government has failed miserably to control drug menace with daily reports of drugs being available easily in villages and towns.

Jakhar reminded Bhagwant Mann of his own AAP MLAs publicly disclosing names of those under whose direct patronage drug trade is flourishing in the state and yet no action had been taken ever in the past two years.

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“What more information does the CM need to at least order a probe and bring those, however powerful, behind these deaths to book,” Jakhar asked.

–IANS

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First trial run of Sangaldan-Reasi train on USBRL successfully completed

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Jammu, June 16 (IANS) The first trial train successfully ran from Sangaldan to Reasi in J&K on Sunday, completing the rail link between the Valley and the rest of the country, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw announced.

“1st trial train has successfully run from Sangaldan to Reasi including crossing the Chenab Bridge. All construction works for the USBRL are nearly finished, with only tunnel No.1 remaining partially incomplete”, he said in a post on X.

Once work on tunnel 1 on this rail track is completed, the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link (USBRL) will become functional and make the dream of connecting the Valley with the rest of the country possible.

The 48.1-km-long Banihal-Sangaldan section of the USBRL was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 20 this year and includes the 359 m (1,178 ft) high Chenab Bridge, which is the tallest railway bridge in the world, and higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

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The total project cost in 2022 was Rs 28,000 crore.

Once operationalised, the USBRL will provide an all-weather surface rail link from the Valley to other parts of the country. The running of the train between the Valley and other parts of the country will provide cheaper transport facilities for the horticultural produce of Kashmir including apples, pears, cherries, walnuts, almonds etc. The industrial problem of bringing in the raw materials and transporting the finished products from the Valley will also become cheap and easily accessible.

–IANS

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BJP conspiring against Delhiites to create water crisis, alleges Atishi

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Delhi Water Minister Atishi on Sunday alleged that the BJP is conspiring against Delhiites and the party is responsible for the water crisis in the national capital.

She said that the conspiracy is three-fold.

First, the BJP is not allowing the Haryana government to release Delhi’s share of Yamuna water.

Second, she questioned BJP leaders for posing before the broken water pipelines, adding that the South Delhi Rising Mains — the main pipeline that carries water from Sonia Vihar WTP to South Delhi — was deliberately damaged to disrupt the supply of drinking water.

Third, she alleged that none other than supporters of former BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri vandalised the office of Delhi Jal Board in Chattarpur, disturbing law and order of the area.

“We have complained to the Delhi police and I have myself sent the video (of the incident) to DCP of South Delhi. We will await to see if an FIR is filed against former BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri by the Delhi Police. Will Delhi Police take cognizance of this video and file FIR against BJP goons?” Atishi questioned in a press conference held on Sunday.

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Earlier in the day, Atishi urged the city’s Police Commissioner to deploy police personnel to patrol and protect major water pipelines in the national capital for the next 15 days.

She said that the Delhi Jal Board ground patrolling team reported a major leakage in South Delhi Rising Mains since several large 375 mm bolts and one 12 inch bolt had been cut from the pipeline, causing the leakage.

“The fact that several large bolts had been cut seems to indicate foul play and sabotage.Our maintenance team worked for six hours continuously and repaired the leakage, but this meant that we had to stop pumping of water for six hours and 20 MGD of water was not pumped during that time. As a consequence, a further 25 per cent of water shortage will be experienced in south Delhi,” said Atishi, in a letter posted on X.

–IANS

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Union Home Minister directs security forces to ensure safe, smooth, incident-free Amarnath Yatra

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New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday urged security forces and the J&K administration to ensure a smooth, safe, and incident-free Amarnath Yatra this year.

The Union Home Minister chaired a high-level security review meeting here in the national capital, attended by J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, NSA Ajit Doval, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, IB Director Tapan Deka, Army chief, Gen Manoj Pande, Army chief-designate Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, J&K Chief Secretary, Atal Dulloo, J&K DGP, R.R.Swain, CRPF DGP, Anish Dayal Singh, J&K’s ADGP, Law & Order, Vijay Kumar, IGP Jammu, Anand Jain, and senior army and intelligence officers.

Amit Shah advised the security forces that all needed measures should be taken to ensure a smooth, safe and incident-free Yatra that begins on June 29 and will end on August 19. He directed the security forces to maintain 24×7 vigil and surveillance on the national highway and other roads and streets which are used by the Yatris to reach the Valley.

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He also advised the security forces to ensure that the Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage and Shiv Khori temple pilgrimage take place without any hassles or inconvenience to the pilgrims.

He also directed the security forces to crush terrorism in the Jammu division and also ensure that it was wiped out from the Kashmir Valley at all costs. He assured all support in terms of resources and manpower to the security forces in their fight against terrorism.

–IANS

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