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MORNING NEWS

0815 HRS

20.08.2017


THE HEADLINES:

  • Death toll in Utkal Express train derailment in Uttar Pradesh goes upto 23, over 100 people reported injured; Rescue operation completed; President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi express grief over the accident.
  • Railways announce ex-gratia of 3 lakh 50 thousand rupees and UP government 2 lakh, to the next of kin of those killed in the accident.
  • Flood situation in Bihar worsens as  new areas in North Bihar inundated; Death toll rises to 205; Over Six lakh people shifted to safer places.
  • Army Chief General Bipin Rawat begins a 3-day visit to Ladakh today; likely to discuss key operational matters with top commanders.   
  • Last date for filing returns and payment of taxes under GST system extended by five more days.

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Fourteen coaches of the Utkal Express derailed in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh last evening, killing at least 23 people. The train was coming from Puri in Odisha to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, when it jumped rails near Khatauli town around 6 last evening. About 100 people were injured in the incident and they have been admitted to different hospitals. The local administration and Railway personnel carried out rescue and relief operations with the help of National Disaster Response Force and Provincial Armed Constabulary of State police. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said in a tweet that the rescue operations have been completed, and the restoration work has commenced. The Minister has also ordered an inquiry into the incident. He said, strict action will be taken against any lapse.      

Muzaffarnagar administration has opened a helpline and the numbers are 0131-243-6918 and 0131-243-6103.

The Railways has announced an ex-gratia of 3 lakh 50,000 rupees each for the kin of those who lost their lives in the derailment. Fifty thousand rupees each for seriously injured and 25 thousand for minor injuries who have been injured.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also announced financial assistance of two lakh rupees each for the kin those killed and 50 thousand for the injured.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced five lakh rupees each to the next of the kin of Odia passengers. A statement from the Chief Minister's office said, Mr Patnaik also announced 50 thousand rupees for those injured.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Sonia Gandhi have expressed sadness over the incident. In a tweet, Mr Kovind said, his thoughts are with the deceased and their families. Mr Modi said, the Railway Ministry and the UP government are doing everything and providing all assistance required. Mrs Gandhi called upon party workers to provide assistance to the affected families.

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In Bihar, the flood situation worsens as new areas in North Bihar have inundated.The death toll due to floods has risen to 205, with the recovery of 33 more bodies in the last 24 hours. Maximum deaths have been reported from Araria followed by Sitamarhi, West and East Champaran and Darbhanga. Over one crore 23 lakh people in 20 districts are reeling under floods.The relief and rescue operations are in full swing. Our correspondent reports that over Six lakh 22,000 people have been shifted to safer places.

"Several teams of NDRF, SDRF and Army are engaged in relief and rescue work. Around 4 lakh 30,000 people have taken shelter in over 1,330 relief camps. The situation has worsened as new areas in Darbhanga, Samastipur, Gopalganj and Siwan districts have been inundated. Surging water of Burhi Gandak, Bagmati and Kamla Balan has entered urban areas of Chapra, Muzaffarpur and Samastipur. Rail track and roads have been swept away at several places. Rail traffic between Katihar and Kishanganj has not resumed yet. All trains going Guwahati via Katihar have been cancelled. Efforts are on to restore the traffic on this section. WITH KK LAL'S REPORT FROM PATNA, ARTI RANA FOR AIR NEWS."

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The flood situation in East Uttar Pradesh is still grim. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made an aerial survey of the affected areas of the three districts, met the affected people and provided relief material to them. Here is a report from our correspondent.

"Ghaghra, Rapti & Rohin rivers are flowing above danger level in Gonda, Basti, Gorakhpur, Ballia, Balrampur & Maharjganj. Gorakhpur city is surrounded by the flood water and the roads connecting other districts are badly affected. Gorakhpur-Lucknow Nation Highway is damaged near Nausarh on the outskirts of the city. Diverted route is being adopted by the vehicles. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath reviewed the situation in Gorakhpur, Maharajganj & Kushinagar yesterday. R.C. Shukla, AIR NEWS, Gorakhpur."

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In West Bengal, a civic police personnel was killed in a grenade attack at Kalimpong police station last night. Talking to AIR, District Magistrate of Kalimpong, Dr Bishwanath said, a Home guard and an SSB jawan were also injured in the attack. Police and security personnel cordoned off the entire area following the incident.

The grenade attack in Kalimpong took place hours after a blast shook Darjeeling earlier in the day. Though there were no reports of any casualty in the blast, several shops were destroyed. Police accused Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) for the blast, however it has the denied the allegations.

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Army Chief General Bipin Rawat will be on a three-day visit to Ladakh from today. During his stay, he will take stock of the security preparedness along the border with China. Sources said, General Rawat is likely to discuss key operational matters with top commanders.

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Defence Minister Arun Jaitley reviewed the operational readiness of the Western Naval Command in Mumbai yesterday. An official spokesperson said, Mr Jaitley interacted with the Commander-in-Chief Western Naval Command and senior Navy officers. He was briefed on the operational readiness of the command and other relevant aspects of maritime and coastal security.

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The last date for filing returns and payment of taxes under the GST regime has been extended by five days. The cut-off for filing maiden GST returns for July was scheduled to end today. The returns can now be filed till the 25th of this month. In a statement, the Finance Ministry said that certain flood-hit states as well as Jammu and Kashmir had sought an extension. There were also reports of GSTN portal facing technical issues because of a huge rush.

For taxpayers who have to claim credit for past taxes paid by filing form TRANS 1, the last date for returns will be August 28.

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Street Lighting National programme has illuminated 50 thousand Kilometres of the Indian roads with installation of 30 lakh LED street lights across the country. With this milestone, Energy Efficiency Services Limited, a government company has become the world’s largest street light management company. The installation of the LED street lights has resulted in saving of 39 crore kilowatt hour of annual energy. In an official release, Power Ministry said, this programme has helped in reduction of 3.29 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

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The Meghalaya High Court has ordered the state government to stop felling of more trees till further orders. The court also ordered yesterday if it is necessary to cut a particular tree it should be informed to the court in an affidavit by the concerned forest officer. The state government had begun an exercise to cut trees and identified 550 trees in Shillong which are reportedly posing threat to public life. The matter will again come up for hearing on Wednesday.

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The nation is remembering former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 73rd birth anniversary today. Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, paid tribute to Rajiv Gandhi at his Samadhi, Vir Bhumi in the national capital. Several programmes are being organised in different parts of the country on the occasion.

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In Cricket, the first One Day International of the 5-match series between India and Sri Lanka will be played at Dambulla today. The match will begin at 2:30 in the afternoon Indian Time. Team India had recently white-washed the 3-match Test series against the Lankans and will be looking to take that momentum into the limited-overs' leg of the tour as well.

For Sri Lanka, on the other hand, the ODI series is more than just avenging the Test defeat. They need two more wins to confirm their spot in the 2019 ODI World Cup by way of automatic qualification. If they manage to do that, the West Indies will not be able to overtake them even if they win all the six ODIs against Ireland and England.

India had blanked Sri Lanka, 5-0, the last time the two sides played a bilateral ODI series, back in November 2015, in India.

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In Football, India defeated Mauritius, 2-1 in their opening match of the All India Football Federation Tri-Nation tournament in Mumbai last evening. This was the ninth win on the trot for the 97th ranked Indian team. India will next take on St Kitts and Nevis on Friday.   

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Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti held a high-level meeting in New Delhi yesterday to review the flood situation in the country and the action being taken in this regard. She directed the concerned organizations under her Ministry to extend all possible help to the affected people. Ms Bharti also directed Central Water Commission, Ganga Flood Control Commission and Brahmaputra Board to undertake an exercise to identify area vulnerable to erosion and landslide along the banks of the rivers.

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister EK Palaniswamy has expressed confidence that the O. Panneerselvam-led AIADMK PTA would soon merge with the AIADMK Amma party. Talking to reporters in Tiruvarur, he said differences of opinion among the two offshoots of the parent party the AIADMK would be removed after talks. When asked if the cabinet would be expanded to accommodate Panneerselvam faction leaders after possible merger, he said talks are going on now and a decision would be made after they come to a conclusion. O. Panneerselvam also indicated that there are consultations between the two factions for a merger.

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NEWSPAPERS HEADLINES:

  • The train tragedy in Khatauli in UP is the lead story in most papers. The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age, The Hindu have a picture of the accident site.  'Unattended, under repair track leads to tragedy in UP' writes the DNA, while the Statesman says '23 dead, 60 injured'.
  • The Janata Dal (United) returning to NDA after 4 years finds front page coverage in many dailies. 'JD(U) walks into NDA's waiting arms' writes the DNA. 'Janata Dal divided' says the Hindustan Times, adding 'Sharad Yadav says voters betrayed. Rival factions hold parallel meetings, supporters clash'.
  • 'Stage set for merger of ADMK factions' says the Indian Express, of the political scenario in Tamil Nadu. 'Merger talks on, we will give you good news soon, says EPS and OPS' writes the Pioneer.
  • Yogi Adityanath taking a jibe at Rahul Gandhi over his visit to Gorakhpur finds place in the press. 'Yogi says Gorakhpur no picnic spot, Rahul hits back' says the Statesman. 'Rahul, Yogi in war of words over Gorakhpur' writes the Hindustan Times.
  • The crisis in Infosys is featured prominently in the business dailies. ' Infosys approves buyback of shares worth 13000 crore rupees' writes the Financial Express, while the Business Standard says 'Lawsuits likely in U.S. after shareholders suffer losses.'
  • In the Hindu Sunday special, the NHAI chairman saying that 'Indias' roads to be safer, greener' is good news. Apparently, there are plans of quick response ambulances to be stationed every 50 km and CNG fuel stations as part of wayside amenities.
  • And finally, in an inspirational story, the Times of India tells us about Akram. The paper writes' Jailed 21 times in 23 years, he is now a star performer at Tihar.' The paper adds that Akram today runs a theater group and provides acting classes for underprivileged youngsters and earns enough. Just goes to show that its never too late to turn over a new leaf and start afresh.

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