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Online helicopter service booking begins for Amarnath Yatra

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Srinagar, June 17 (IANS) Online booking of helicopter service for this year’s Amarnath Yatra began on Sunday. Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) has started the facility for both Baltal and Pahalgam yatra routes for this year’s 52-day long Shri Amarnath Yatra starting on June 29.

A statement by SASB said on Sunday that the annual pilgrimage of Amarnath is starting on June 29 and will conclude on August 19 on the day of Raksha Bandhan coinciding with Shravan Purnima festival.

Officials said that for the north Kashmir Baltal route, helicopter service is being provided on Neelgrath- Panjtarni-Neelgrath, and for Pahalgam route, it will be available on Pahalgam-Panjtarni-Pahalgam route.

However, officials added that online booking of the helicopter service can be availed by visiting the official website JKSASB.nic.in

“Offline tickets or priority will not be available, hence the booking will be on a first come first serve basis and will be provided directly to the devotees,” an official said, adding that one way fare from Pahalgam to Panjtarni has been fixed at Rs 4,900; two-way fare at Rs 9,800; one way fare from Neelgrath to Panjtarni has been fixed at Rs 3,250 and both way fare at Rs 6,500.

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Pilgrims undertaking the yatra must have a health certificate while booking the helicopter tickets.

Journey from Panjtarni helipad to the holy cave and back takes time, so the available slots for the pilgrims will be visible with a gap of at least 5 to 6 hours between the trips.

“The traveller must carry original photo identity card and a health certificate during the journey while the pilgrims must reach the respective helipads at least 30 minutes before the booked time slot.

“Charter booking is only allowed for travel between Srinagar and Neelgrath with priority seats on the connecting service running between Neelgrath and Panjtarni,” a statement noted.

“The preparations for the pilgrimage are in full swing. The advance registration for pilgrims has already started from April 15. This year, 125 langars have been permitted to be installed up to the holy cave,” an official said.

J&K Lt. Governor, Manoj Sinha, on May 16, during his visit to Katra, urged devotees to become messengers and spread the message of Lord Shiva.

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–IANS

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J&K: Youth jumps in Chenab, body found in Pakistan

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Jammu, July 14 (IANS) The body of a youth who reportedly ended his life by jumping into river Chenab in Akhnoor area of Jammu district, was recovered in Pakistan. His family sought the Prime Minister’s intervention to bring back his body.

Officials said that a youth named Harash Nagotra went missing on June 11 while his motorcycle was found on the banks of the Chenab in Akhnoor.

The family lodged a missing report in the concerned police station and preliminary investigation revealed that the youth might have ended his life by jumping into the river.

Before he went missing, he had lost Rs 80,000 through an online gaming app.

The family got to know about Nagotra’s death through a WhatsApp message from a Pakistani official.

“Subash, father of the youth, said that he had got the WhatsApp message from a Pakistani official who said he was working in the post-mortem department. The official told the family that the youth’s body had been recovered from a canal in Sialkot area of Pakistani Punjab on June 13,” officials said.

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“The relatives of the youth said that they have written to the PMO, Ministry of External Affairs and MHA. The family has appealed to the Prime Minister to intervene and get the body of the youth back to India for last rites,” officials said.

–IANS

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Bengal govt avoiding 'tiff' with Raj Bhavan for oath of 4 newly elected MLAs

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Kolkata, July 14 (IANS) After the recent controversies over the oath ceremony of the two legislators elected from Baranagar and Bhagawangola, the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal is cautious this time to avoid any tiff with Raj Bhavan over the swearing-in ceremony of the four newly elected MLAs.

In a clean sweep, Trinamool won all four constituencies in the Assembly bypolls the results of which were declared on Saturday.

Insiders from the state cabinet said that the right protocol for approaching Governor V. Ananda Bose will be followed strictly to get the latter’s nod for the oath ceremony of the four newly elected MLAs namely Madhuparna Thakur from Bagda, Supti Pandey from Maniktala, Krishnas Kalyani from Raiganj and Dr Mukut Mani Adhikari from Ranaghat-Dakshin.

A communique from the state Parliamentary Affairs department will be sent to the office of the Governor this week only, where the latter will be requested to either administer the oath ceremony of the four newly elected MLAs or nominate anyone for the same, said a member of the state cabinet who refused to be named.

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As per the protocol, such initial communique regarding the oath-ceremony of newly elected MLAs has to go to the office of the Governor from the office of the state Parliamentary affairs minister.

However, in the earlier case of Sayantika Banerjee from Baranagar and Reyat Houssen Sarkar from Bhagawangola, the initial communique was sent from the office of the assembly Speaker and the assembly secretary.

The state cabinet member further said that the reaction from the Governor will determine the next course of action and if the Governor adopts the same path of prolonging the process, the Speaker of the House using his own authority under Section 5 of Chapter 2 of the ‘Rules of Business’ of the state assembly, will himself administer the oath-ceremony of the four newly elected MLAs at any forthcoming session of the House.

In the cases of Sayantika Banerjee and Reyat Houssen Sarkar, a special one-day session of the assembly had to be convened for the Speaker to administer their oath ceremony. However, in the case of the four newly elected MLAs that special session will not be necessary as the oath ceremony can be conducted in the forthcoming monsoon session of the assembly resuming this month — probably from July 22.

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However, in that case too uncertainties will prevail on how far the four elected MLAs will be able to participate in the proceedings of the House in the backdrop of Article 193 of the Indian Constitution which gives the power to the Governor to impose such a financial penalty on newly elected MLAs participating in the assembly proceedings or even occupying their allotted seats in the House without the ascent of the Governor.

–IANS

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NITI Aayog launches hackathon to accelerate zero-emission truck adoption in India

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) NITI Aayog, on Sunday, announced the launch of the GearShift challenge as part of the e-FAST India initiative.

The hackathon is in collaboration with Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore, Smart Freight Centre India, CALSTART/Drive to Zero, and WRI India.

It “will help foster innovative business models for the adoption of zero-emission trucks (ZETs) in India, and also address the nation’s pressing economic and environmental challenges,” NITI Aayog said.

As part of the hackathon, students, transport service practitioners, academics, and researchers will develop innovative business models that address financial, technical, and operational challenges in the adoption of electric trucks.

In the first round, teams will submit their initial business models addressing a specific barrier — technical, operational, or financial — that is supported by high-level strategies and research.

Those shortlisted will then present detailed business models with an implementation roadmap, backed by both primary and secondary research.

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The proposals will be mentored by industry leaders to ensure practical and impactful solutions, NITI Aayog said.

“India’s freight sector is vital to the economy, ensuring the smooth delivery of goods to over 1.4 billion people. With road freight accounting for a staggering 55 per cent of India’s annual diesel consumption and nearly 40 per cent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from road transport, there is an urgent need to transition to more sustainable solutions,” the apex public policy think tank said.

It noted that the “electrification of freight transportation is a key priority, as electric trucks offer a transformative opportunity to reduce emissions, improve air quality, and enhance energy security.”

“The GearShift Challenge marks a pivotal move towards sustainable freight transportation in India,” NITI Aayog said.

The hackathon will tap into the creativity and expertise of participants, and help generate practical solutions that will accelerate the adoption of zero-emission trucks. It will both benefit the economy and the environment.

ALSO READ:  Delhi HC seeks JNU's stand on plea challenging students' union elections process

–IANS

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Congress appoints Gaurav Gogoi as Deputy Leader, Kodikunnil Suresh as Chief Whip in Lok Sabha

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) Congress, on Sunday, wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, informing him about the appointment of Gaurav Gogoi as the party’s Deputy Leader in the House.

Alongside Gogoi, eight-time MP from Mavelikara in Kerala, Kodikunnil Suresh has been appointed as the Chief Whip, while Virudhunagar MP Manickam Tagore and Kishanganj MP Md Jawaid are named as Whips, Congress General Secretary K. C. Venugopal announced in a post on X.

“Hon’ble CPP Chairperson Smt Sonia Gandhi ji has written to the Hon’ble Lok Sabha Speaker informing him about the appointment of the Deputy Leader, Chief Whip, and two Whips for the Congress Party in the Lok Sabha. Deputy Leader – Shri Gaurav Gogoi, Chief Whip – Shri Kodikunnil, and Whips – Shri Manickam Tagore and Md Jawaid,” Venugopal wrote, congratulating the new appointees.

The Congress General Secretary wrote that the party will “champion” the public’s concerns in the lower house of the Parliament.

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“Guided by LoP Shri Rahul Gandhi ji, the Congress and INDIA parties will energetically champion the people’s causes in the Lok Sabha,” the Alappuzha MP added.

Last month, Rahul Gandhi was appointed Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha by the Congress party.

–IANS

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BJP cautions Akhilesh against continuing alliance with Congress

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Lucknow, July 14 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party, on Sunday, cautioned Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav against continuing his alliance with the Congress.

UP BJP president Bhupendra Chaudhary, while addressing the inaugural session of the party’s state executive here, said that the Congress has no base, no ideology of its own and wins with the support of other parties.

He said that the Congress has never done good to anyone and Dr B. R. Ambedkar understood this very well.

The UP BJP president further said that the weaker sections and Dalits had never benefitted from Congress regimes.

“SP is a party of a family that considers Lohia as an ideal and should follow his principles,” he said.

Chaudhary further said that the soul of India resides in Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura.

“Narendra Modi ji became the Prime Minister of the country for the third time, and it is under his guidance that the country is progressing. A grand Ram temple was built in Ayodhya after 500 years. Prime Minister Modi did the work of removing Article 370 and wrote a new chapter in the country’s history. Earlier, Kanwar Yatra was stopped but today, they are being taken out with much fanfare,” he said.

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He further said that the respect of every party worker was of prime importance for the BJP and there would be no compromise on this issue.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Deputy Chief Ministers Brajesh Pathak and Keshav Prasad Maurya, along with ministers legislators and MPs are attending the one-day meeting that will be addressed by party president J. P. Nadda, later in the day.

–IANS

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