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Railways conduct trial run on world's highest rail bridge in J&K

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Railways conduct trial run on world's highest rail bridge in J&K

Srinagar, June 20 (IANS) Indian Railways on Thursday conducted a successful trial run of an eight-coach MEMU train on the newly electrified 46-km section between Sangaldan and Reasi in Jammu and Kashmir passing through the world’s highest Chenab Rail Bridge.

Sharing the news, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in a post on X said: “Successful trial run of MEMU train between Sangaldan-Reasi section of USBRL project. Jammu & Kashmir.”

The trial run was conducted at a speed of 40 km per hour. The MEMU train started at 12:35 p.m. from Sangaldan and reached Reasi at 2:05 PM, passing through nine tunnels with a combined length of 40.78 km.

The USBRL project was inaugurated in multiple phases, starting with the 118-km Qazigund-Baramulla section in October 2009, followed by the 18-km Banihal-Qazigund section in June 2013, and the 25-kilometer Udhampur-Katra section in July 2014.

The latest phase, including the 48.1-km Banihal-Sangaldan section, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 20, 2024.

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The successful trial run signifies the nearing of the completion of the USBRL project. This project after completion is expected to enhance social integration, facilitate easier movement of people and goods, and boost economic activities such as tourism and trade in the region.

–IANS

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Goa CM hails Centre lifting ban on govt employees joining RSS activities

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Goa CM hails Centre lifting ban on govt employees joining RSS activities

Goa CM hails Centre lifting ban on govt employees joining RSS activities

Panaji, July 22 (IANS) Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Monday welcomed the decision of the Central government to lift the ban on government employees who want to take part in Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) programmes.

“I welcome the decision taken by the Union government to withdraw the restrictions on the government employees to participate in the programmes of RSS,” the Chief Minister said.

He said that the unconstitutional restrictions imposed by the then successive Congress government show their reluctance to accept a different view.

“The Bharatiya view must be carried forward. I congratulate the Union government for the decision,” the Chief Minister added.

RSS Goa Chief Rajan Bhobe said that with this decision there will be no fear among government servants to partake in ‘Shakhas’.

“There were no such restrictions earlier also and whoever was willing to work for Sangh, used to engage in programmes of RSS. There were no restrictions. Hence, I don’t find anything to welcome in this decision. People participate in Shakhas on Sundays, wherein we discuss ongoing issues,” Bhobe said.

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He said that the organisation does not allow anyone to work for RSS by taking leave or by remaining absent at their workplace and nobody has done such things in the past.

In November 1966, the Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi imposed a ban on participation in the RSS affiliated programmes, which was removed on July 9.

–IANS

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Delhi HC judge recuses from hearing Umar Khalid's bail plea in UAPA case

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Delhi HC judge recuses from hearing Umar Khalid's bail plea in UAPA case

Delhi HC judge recuses from hearing Umar Khalid's bail plea in UAPA case

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) A Delhi High Court judge on Monday recused himself from hearing the bail plea of former JNU scholar and student activist Umar Khalid who is behind bars since September 2020 under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the “larger conspiracy” case related to the 2020 North-East Delhi riots.

After Justice Amit Sharma withdrew himself from hearing the case, the bench presided over by Justice Prathiba M. Singh directed the matter to be listed before a different combination on July 24 after obtaining approval from the Acting Chief Justice.

Before this, a court here on May 28 had rejected Khalid’s application seeking bail on the grounds of delay in completion of trial proceedings and parity with other co-accused who had been enlarged on bail.

Earlier, a trial court in April 2022 dismissed Khalid’s first bail application, and later his appeal was also rejected by the Delhi High Court.

In February this year, Khalid withdrew his special leave petition filed before the Supreme Court seeking bail due to a “change in circumstances” and sought liberty to apply afresh for bail before the trial court.

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Khalid has been booked under the stringent anti-terror law and several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and has been in custody since September 2020.

–IANS

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MP Sahney demands direct flights to Britain, Canada from Amritsar & Chandigarh

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MP Sahney demands direct flights to Britain, Canada from Amritsar & Chandigarh

MP Sahney demands direct flights to Britain, Canada from Amritsar & Chandigarh

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) Rajya Sabha MP Vikram Sahney on Monday raised the issue of direct flights to Britain and Canada from Amritsar and Chandigarh airports in the House.

He said lakhs of Punjabis travel to and from Britain and Canada to Punjab.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Muralidhar Mohol replied that granting points of call to the designated carriers of foreign countries depends on the benefit to the Indian aviation sector, the presence of the Indian diaspora in the country, and the future plans of Indian carriers.

The minister said various airlines of India are free to select destinations they wish to service and operate within the ambit of the bilateral Air Service Agreement (ASA).

Sahney said the government should impress upon carriers like Air India to start more direct flights from Punjab to Britain and Canada and also consider new points of call for any foreign carriers to use the Amritsar and Chandigarh airports as it satisfies the condition of a considerable presence of the Indian diaspora in these countries.

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–IANS

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Sharad Pawar discusses Maratha-OBC quota, woes of milk, sugar producers with Maha CM

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Sharad Pawar discusses Maratha-OBC quota, woes of milk, sugar producers with Maha CM

Sharad Pawar discusses Maratha-OBC quota, woes of milk, sugar producers with Maha CM

Mumbai, July 22 (IANS) NCP(SP) chief Sharad Pawar on Monday met Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and held detailed discussions on issues relating to irrigation, milk prices and the problems faced by sugar producers in Maharashtra.

In addition, the senior Pawar reportedly raised the ongoing protests by Maratha and OBC communities over the contentious reservation issue.

The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) confirmed the meeting between Sharad Pawar and CM Shinde.

“They discussed issues concerning irrigation, milk prices, and sugar factories,” the CMO said.

These are critical issues currently faced by the agriculture and dairy sectors in the state.

Sharad Pawar last week had extended his support to the agitating milk producing farmers who are demanding Rs 40 per litre for milk, implementation of Fair and Remunerative Price and Revenue Sharing policies for the dairy sector, curbing milk adulteration and reducing the prices of cattle feed.

The NCP(SP) supremo had assured the agitating farmers that he would meet CM Shinde and take up these issues for an early resolution to their woes.

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Sharad Pawar has also sought the Maharashtra government’s intervention to help the sugarcane growers who are facing financial problems as they cannot export surplus sugar.

Sharad Pawar pressed the Mahayuti government to take up the matter on a priority basis with the Centre for an early resolution.

Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar is believed to have sought information with regard to the discussion between CM Shinde and pro-Maratha activist Manoj Jarange Patil on the Maratha reservation issue.

Besides, Sharad Pawar also asked for the details pertaining to the talks held between a group of ministers and OBC leaders with regard to the quota issue.

The senior Pawar’s move to raise the reservation issue comes days after NCP minister and Samta Parishad chief, Chhagan Bhujbal sought his mediation to address the present stalemate over the reservation issue.

Sharad Pawar had assured Bhujbal that he would discuss the issue with CM Shinde.

CM Shinde has briefed him about the line of action on Jarange-Patil’s demand for the execution of draft “sage-soyare” notification that recognises Kunbis as blood relatives of the Maratha community members.

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The discussion on the Maratha quota issue coincided with the fresh indefinite fast launched by Jarange Patil from last week.

–IANS

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Lalu Prasad demands Nitish Kumar’s resignation after Centre rejects Bihar’s special status

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Lalu Prasad demands Nitish Kumar’s resignation after Centre rejects Bihar’s special status

Lalu Prasad demands Nitish Kumar’s resignation after Centre rejects Bihar’s special status

Patna, July 22 (IANS) After the Central government turned down the special status for Bihar, RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

“Centre has refused to give the special status to Bihar so Nitish Kumar should resign from his post. We will fight for special status at any cost,” the RJD Chief said.

He also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi over not granting special status to Bihar.

“PM Modi and Nitish Kumar shamelessly gave Bihar a ‘Jhunjhuna’ (toy). If not the status of a special state, then give anything to Bihar in the name of a special package! JD-U bowed down to BJP,” he wrote on X.

The demand for special status for Bihar has been a recurring issue, with various leaders from the Janata Dal (United) advocating for it.

JD-U Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Jha had brought up the issue in an all-party meeting, stating that the Central government should either grant special state status or arrange for a special package for Bihar.

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Similarly, JD-U MP Rampreet Mandal raised the issue in the Lok Sabha, emphasising that special state status is essential for promoting economic development and industrialisation in backward states.

Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, the Water Resource Minister of Bihar, said, “We have a longstanding demand of special status for Bihar but if any technicalities arise in it, Centre should consider at least a special package for a backward state like Bihar.”

–IANS

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