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Viksit Bharat Ambassador: India added 31,000 km rail network, equal to Germany in 10 years, says Ashwini Vaishnaw

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New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) Union Minister for Railways, Communications and IT Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday reeled out data to showcase transformative changes in the Indian Railways in the past 10 years of the Modi government while also highlighting its neglect during Congress-led regimes.

Addressing the Viksit Bharat Ambassador event in Mumbai’s Lower Parel, the Union Minister gave a detailed account of how the Railways, seen and treated as ‘milch cow’ in previous regimes witnessed all-round development under the Modi government.

In his detailed presentation, leaving the audience mesmerised, the Minister informed how the Railways added a huge tranche of networks and underwent wide-scale electrification and modernisation, so much so, that the developed economies are finding it tough to match steps with India.

“Today, a 4 km rail track per day is being built in the country. In the last financial year alone, we built a 5,300 km rail network, which is equal to Switzerland’s entire train network. In the past 10 years, 31,000 km railway track was added, which is equal to Germany’s entire network,” the Union Minister told the Viksit Bharat Ambassadors.

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Giving a low-down on the electrification and modernisation of Railways under the Modi government, Vaishnaw said that 44,000 km of railway networks were electrified in the past 10 years, as compared to 20,000 km in the past 60 years of Congress governance.

“Today, we are heading towards 100 per cent electrification in the Indian Railways,” he added.

Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the Railways despite being the biggest public carrier remained in despair because of the previous government’s neglect and ignorance.

“Conversion from Meter gauge to broad gauge networks should have been initiated during 1950-60s but that was taken up during NDA government,” he said.

The Minister also elaborated on the renovation of railway stations and the manufacturing of home-grown modern trains under the Modi government.

Redevelopment of more than 300 railway stations across the country is under progress, with 120 stations alone in Maharashtra. Shivaji Maharaj railway station is one such state-of-the-art model.

He said that Vande Bharat and Bullet trains are the realisation of the government’s consistent and committed focus on developing Railways as one of the key growth engines of the country.

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He said that the Bullet trains connecting eight cities along the way between Maharashtra and Gujarat will bring unprecedented development in the region while the homegrown Vande Bharat trains will re-write the way the countrymen commute and travel.

“Modi government has made a sincere effort to indigenously develop Vande Bharat trains, rather than importing the modern units from developed economies,” he said.

Stating that Vande Metro is included in the first 100-day programme of the Modi government’s third term, he elaborated that the next few years will see transformational change after the roll-out of the Vande Bharat series.

“Vande Metro (connecting two cities), Vande Chair car (covering cities within 500 km distance) and Vande Sleeper (connecting cities over 500 km) will enhance comfortable travel while waiting tickets will be completely done away with,” said the Union Minister.

He also said that India is set to emerge as a global hub in semiconductor manufacturing and telecom services and will see generational change in years to come.

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Highlighting the tectonic shift in mobile manufacturing, the Minister informed, “10 years ago, 98 per cent of mobile phones were imported, today 99 per cent of mobile phones are Made in India.

He added that mobile manufacturing remained non-existent during previous regimes, today India is emerging as a global hub of mobile manufacturing and export.

“Apple exported phones worth 8,500 crore in April alone and is slated to grow exponentially in years to come,” he informed.

The Union Minister, citing an example of a girl from Bihar said that today youngsters are re-writing the growth story of India.

“I recently met a girl from a remote location in Bihar who worked at a mobile manufacturing unit and ran complex machines. When I asked how she felt about this, she told him that she was getting more recognition and respect than her village pradhans enjoyed,” he told the Viksit Bharat audience.

–IANS

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TN likely to announce special Kuruvai package after Lok Sabha poll results

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Chennai, May 26 (IANS) Tamil Nadu government is likely to announce the special ‘Kuruvai’ package for farmers in delta districts of the state.

This follows the demand by farmer associations and political parties that the farmers of the region will have to depend on groundwater as the water level in Mettur dam have gone down drastically.

The Kuruvai package includes 45 kg of urea, 50kg of diammonium phosphate and 25 kg of potash per acre at no cost.

R. Muthuraman, leader of the Tircuchi farmers movement, while speaking to IANS, said: “The water level in Mettur dam has gone down drastically as there are no rains in Karnataka and hence farmers of this region will have to depend on groundwater. If the government announces the Kuruvai package at the earliest, then we will have the confidence to commence cultivation.”

Farmers also demand free and regular supply of electricity to pump sets and quality paddy seeds for better crop.

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N. Veerasekaran, state secretary of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), while speaking to IANS, said: “A large number of farmers in the Delta region are dependent on groundwater now as the Mettur dam opening will be delayed. The government should bring out a special package that would help farmers.”

He also said that in addition to the Kuruvai special package, timely loans are also important for the sustenance of the farmers.

It may be recalled that in 2023, the Kuruvai package was announced for 6,500 acres of paddy farming and Tamil Nadu Agricultural Department is likely to increase the area of cultivation in the 2024 Kuruvai package.

–IANS

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Three killed as fire breaks out in four-storey house in Delhi

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Three people died after a fire broke out in a four-storey residential building in Delhi’s Krishna Nagar area on Sunday, a fire department official said, adding that one charred body was recovered and 12 people were rescued after flames were doused.

The officials said that the charred body of Parmila Shad (66) was recovered from the first floor of the building while 18-year-old Keshav Sharma and Anju Sharma (34) were declared brought dead by the doctors.

Delhi Fire Service (DFS) Director Atul Garg said that a call regarding the blaze at a house Near the Bank of India, Krishna Nagar was received at 2:35 a.m.

“The flames were doused by 7:20 a.m. and it was found that the fire was in 11 two-wheelers in the stilt parking of the house and spread to the first floor. The building comprises ground (stilt) +4 floors having an area of 100 sq yards,” said Garg.

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“The second, third and fourth floors were affected by heat and smoke. One charred body was found on the first floor and 12 persons were rescued from upper floors and taken to different hospitals,” said Garg.

“Two of them were declared dead at GTB hospital while one serious person was referred to Max hospital,” said Garg, adding that a total five fire tenders were rushed to the spot.

–IANS

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LS polls: PM Modi to campaign in UP; HM Shah to visit Bihar, Punjab today

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will campaign in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday for the seventh phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

The Prime Minister will address public meetings in Mirzapur at 11:00 a.m., Ghosi at 1:00 p.m., and Bansgaon at 2:30 p.m.

Major political developments that will unfold across the country on Sunday:

* Union Home Minister Amit Shah will campaign in Bihar and Punjab on Sunday. He will address public meetings in Bihar’s Ara at 12:30 p.m., and Kaimur at 2:00 p.m. From there, he will go to Punjab to hold a public meeting in Ludhiana at 5:30 p.m.

* BJP President J.P. Nadda will hold three public meetings in Bihar on Sunday. The BJP chief will address his first public meeting of the day at 12:15 p.m. in Jehanabad, followed by another two in Ara at 2:00 p.m. and Bihar Sharif at 4:10 p.m.

* Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge will also campaign in Bihar on Sunday. He will reach Patna airport at 10:00 a.m. From there, he will proceed to address a public meeting in Mohaniya of the Sasaram Lok Sabha constituency. Later, he will address another public meeting in Patna at 5:00 p.m.

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* Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will address public meetings in Himachal Pradesh’s Nahan (Shimla) at 11:45 a.m. and Una (Hamirpur) at 1:40 p.m.

* Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann will hold a roadshow in Hoshiarpur at around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

* Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav will address public meetings in Uttar Pradesh’s Salempur at 12:45 p.m. and Ballia at 1:50 p.m. on Sunday.

* RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, Vikassheel Insaan Party President Mukesh Sahni and Bihar Congress President Akhilesh Singh will address a joint public meeting in Arwal at 2:55 p.m. on Sunday.

–IANS

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Seven newborns die in Delhi hospital fire (Ld)

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New Delhi, May 26 (IANS) Seven newly born babies died after a fire broke out in a baby care centre in Delhi’s Shahdara, police said on Sunday.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) Surendra Chaudhary said that on Saturday at around 11:30 p.m. a police control room (PCR) call regarding a fire at Baby Care NewBorn Hospital was received at Vivek Vihar police station, following which a police team rushed to the spot.

Upon reaching the spot, the fire was found in the hospital and its adjacent building.

“In the hospital, there were 12 newborn babies admitted and one was already dead before the fire incident. All the 12 newborn babies were rescued from the hospital with the help of other people and shifted to East Delhi Advance NICU Hospital, for treatment,” said the DCP.

The DCP said that fire tenders also reached the spot and doused the flames.

Delhi Fire Service (DFS) Chief Atul Garg said that seven children were declared dead at the hospital while five newly born babies are undergoing treatment.

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“All 7 dead bodies have been further shifted to GTB Hospital for postmortem. Appropriate legal action is being taken against the owner of the hospital namely Naveen Kichi, a resident of Bhairon Enclave, Paschim Vihar, Delhi,” said the DCP.

–IANS

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UP: Teen detained for killing his 50-year-old rapist

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Muzaffarnagar (UP), May 26 (IANS) A 15-year-old boy has been detained for allegedly killing a man of 50, who had raped him multiple times in a village in Muzaffarnagar.

The body of the man was found in his home on May 20, and the teenager was detained on Saturday after a police probe.

The boy has been charged with murder. A case under IPC section 302 (murder) was filed after the man’s family filed a police complaint.

The boy has been sent to a juvenile facility.

SP (Rural) Aditya Bansal said: “Weeks ago, the deceased had sodomised the minor and recorded an obscene video clip.”

“The boy was being blackmailed and repeatedly sexually harassed. On Monday, the man forced the boy to come to his home after threatening to upload the video online. As he was being harassed, the boy picked up a sharp object lying next to him and attacked the man’s head and throat,” he added.

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–IANS

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