Online news channel!

Tag: gandhinagar

Coast Guard fires DIG who ‘blew up’ Pakistani boat

Loshali was found guilty of all charges during the inquiry that was held in Mumbai.

File photo

Coast Guard deputy inspector general (DIG) B K Loshali, who ‘ordered’ the blowing up of a Pakistani boat on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1, 2015, has been dismissed from service. “Court martial was carried out on Saturday evening as per the outcome of the Board of Inquiry that went on for over three months,” said an officer. Loshali was found guilty of all charges during the inquiry that was held in Mumbai. A year ago, during New Year night, a Pakistani fishing boat with four occupants, suspected to be having terror links, went up in flames. This led to a diplomatic row between India and Pakistan, with India maintaining that the boat had suspected terrorists and they themselves blew up the boat.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> But on February 15, Loshali, while addressing officers of the Coast Guard and a private company, claimed that he ordered that the boat be destroyed. “I was there at Gandhinagar, and I told at night, ‘blow the boat off. We don’t want to serve them biryani'”, he said. This put India in an embarrassing spot. Soon after, the defence ministry removed him from the position of Chief of Staff, North West, and attached him to the force’s Gandhinagar-based regional headquarters.

After poll debacle, Gujarat government announces land bonanza

Sources said the BJP’s poor performance in the district and taluka panchayat polls too was discussed at the meeting

In a major pro-farmer decision following the loss in Panchayat elections, the BJP government in Gujarat on Thursday said it would allot 6,000 acres of land to co-operative societies and agricultural produce committees at concessional rates for infrastructure.The decision to allot the government-owned land worth Rs 5,667 crore was taken at today’s cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister Anandiben Patel at Gandhinagar. These societies and committees will get 10 to 30 acres of land each at 10 to 35 per cent of ‘Jantri rates (rates specified by the state government), an official release said. Godowns to store agricultural produce, pesticides, seeds and fertilisers etc., offices for milk co-operative societies, dairies and bulk milk coolers can be constructed on these lands.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said the BJP’s poor performance in the district and taluka panchayat polls too was discussed at the meeting. Of the 31 district panchayats, Congress won 21 while BJP won only six. In 2010, BJP had won 30 district panchayats. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Panchayat and Rural development minister Jayanti Kavadia admitted that results, announced yesterday, were disappointing.”The results of district and taluka panchayats were not as per our expectations….we will do introspection about how that happened. We will double our efforts to make sure that everyone gets benefits of development,” Kavadia said. Asked what was his own analysis, he said panchayat elections are “more or less” individual-centric. “Candidates become more important than party’s image or work done in the area. Issues are different in each village. Perhaps we might have failed to communicate the true picture to the rural voters,” Kavadia said.

Rout in Bihar ended BJP’s Gujarat model: Ahmed Patel

Ahmed Patel

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Friday said the drubbing suffered by the BJP in Bihar Assembly elections marked the “end” of the “so-called” Gujarat model.Taking a dig at the saffron party, Patel said, “Two things may look appealing but don’t last long. They are jalebi (a sweet) made from poorly cooked oil and the BJP’s Gujarat model. The shelf life of their model has ended with the conclusion of Bihar elections”. He said the poll results in Bihar and Delhi underline the “decline” of the BJP.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the forthcoming local bodies elections in Gujarat as a “semi-final” to the 2017 Assembly polls, Patel said the Anandiben Patel government is on its way out of power in the state. “It is not just in Bihar but the BJP has also been wiped out in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s (Lok Sabha) constituency of Varanasi in recently-held elections to the local bodies,” the senior Congress leader told PTI. “The PM, who used to tweet even if his party won a stray local body election, remained silent when the defeat struck his own backyard…Time has come for the people of Gujarat to bid good bye to their (BJP’s) model,” he said.While six municipal corporations–Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar–will go to polls on November 22, elections to 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities will take place on November 29. Counting of votes will be done on December 2. Patel said the NDA’s claim of developing as many as 100 towns as smart cities in future is actually the “smart real estate cities of Gujarat”.”Those who ruled Gujarat for the past 20 years could not build even a single smart city in the state and they are now talking about building 100 smart cities across the country in next five years,” he said sarcastically. “Under the name of smart city, they will take away power of local bodies and form a company that will manage the entire area of about 50 acres of land which will be smart real estate and will make money (sic),” he said.Patel also questioned the imposition of the ‘Swachh Bharat’ cess.”Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar stand at 79th and 310th positions respectively in the list of dirtiest cities in the country,” he said.

Ink attack on Jammu and Kashmir MLA Abdul Rashid Sheikh by Hindu Sena

Photos: 1 of 2

<![CDATA[.social_sharing_panel li{float:left;margin-right:7px}.social_sharing_panel li .sos_fb_icon, .social_sharing_panel li .sos_tw_icon, .social_sharing_panel li .sos_gp_icon{float:left;width:42px;height:28px;background:url(http://s2.firstpost.in/wp-content/uploads/promo/social_icons.png) no-repeat}.social_sharing_panel li .sos_fb_icon{background-position:0 0}.social_sharing_panel li .sos_tw_icon{background-position:-53px 0}.social_sharing_panel li .sos_gp_icon{background-position:-105px 0}.soscial_count{border:1px solid #d1d1d1;border-left:none;border-radius:0 3px 3px 0;height:26px;padding:0 10px;float:left;color:#a3a3a3;font:600 18px/27px Arial;box-shadow:inset 2px 2px 1px #f2f2f2}.social_sharing_panel li .grybox{background:#ababab;height:28px;padding:0 10px;min-width:35px;border-radius:3px}.social_sharing_panel li .grybox a.PT7{padding-top:7px;display:block}.social_sharing_panel li .grybox a.PT4{padding-top:4px;display:block}.social_sharing_panel li .email_ic{background:url(http://s2.firstpost.in/wp-content/uploads/promo/social_icons.png) no-repeat -166px 0;width:19px;height:13px;display:block;margin:0 auto}.social_sharing_panel li .print_ic{background:url(http://s2.firstpost.in/wp-content/uploads/promo/social_icons.png) no-repeat -202px 0;width:23px;height:22px;display:block;margin:0 auto}]]>

Now, Asaram wants fast track trial of rape case against him

Ahmedabad: Self-styled godman Asaram has written a letter to a local court in Gandhinagar seeking fast track trial in a case filed by a Surat-based girl accusing him of raping her.

“He (Asaram) has sent a letter through Jodhpur prison authorities, where he is lodged at present, to expedite the trial of the rape case against him,” Asaram’s advocate Chandrashekhar Gupta told PTI.

Asaram Bapu. AFPAsaram Bapu. AFP

Asaram Bapu. AFP

“He has urged in the letter that he is an elderly person and he has been framed in a false case. He said he has been in jail for a long period of time and the case against him is not proceeding further,” said Gupta.

After considering the contents of the letter, Additional Sessions Court judge RA Ghoghari posted the case for hearing on October 26.

Two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai accusing them of rape, sexual assault and illegal confinement.

The elder sister, in her complaint against Asaram, had accused him of repeated sexual assaults between 2001 and 2006 during the time she was living at his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

The 73-year-old controversial religious preacher had also sought temporary bail in the alleged rape case in March this year, which was rejected by the Gandhinagar court.

The rape case against Asaram is pending at the stage of charge-framing in the Gandhinagar court.

Asaram is currently lodged in a Jodhpur jail after being arrested in September 2013 for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl at his Jodhpur ashram.

PTI

Self-styled godman Asaram seeks fast track proceedings in rape case against him

Two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai accusing them of rape, sexual assault and illegal confinement.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Self-styled godman Asaram has written a letter to a local court in Gandhinagar seeking fast track trial in a case filed by a Surat-based girl accusing him of raping her.”He (Asaram) has sent a letter through Jodhpur prison authorities, where he is lodged at present, to expedite the trial of the rape case against him,” Asaram’s advocate Chandrashekhar Gupta told PTI.”He has urged in the letter that he is an elderly person and he has been framed in a false case. He said he has been in jail for a long period of time and the case against him is not proceeding further,” said Gupta.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After considering the contents of the letter, Additional Sessions Court judge R A Ghoghari posted the case for hearing on October 26.Two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai accusing them of rape, sexual assault and illegal confinement. The elder sister, in her complaint against Asaram, had accused him of repeated sexual assaults between 2001 and 2006 during the time she was living at his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.The 73-year-old controversial religious preacher had also sought temporary bail in the alleged rape case in March this year, which was rejected by the Gandhinagar court. The rape case against Asaram is pending at the stage of charge-framing in the Gandhinagar court.Asaram is currently lodged in a Jodhpur jail after being arrested in September 2013 for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl at his Jodhpur ashram.

Ahead of polls, Gujarat BJP to promote special scheme for economically weak students

BJP appoints ‘page pramukhs’, whose task is to ensure that the voters listed in a particular page of the voters’ list can exercise their franchise in favour of the party.
File Photo
AFP photo
In a bid to reach out to people amid the ongoing Patel quota agitation, which might affect BJP’s chances in the upcoming local body polls in Gujarat, the ruling party has planned to promote the state government’s recently-announced scheme for bright students of the Economically Backward Category (EBC).”We will reach out to the people and inform them about the recently-announced Mukhyamantri Svavlamban Yojana and for that we have decided to conduct group meetings and we will appoint ‘page pramukhs’, who will go to each and every booth and also conduct village meetings,” Gujarat BJP spokesperson I K Jadeja told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP appoints ‘page pramukhs’, whose task is to ensure that the voters listed in a particular page of the voters’ list can exercise their franchise in favour of the party. Jadeja was answering a query about the ruling party’s strategy to promote the Gujarat government’s EBC scheme in the upcoming local body polls when the state has been facing the brunt of the Patel quota agitation.BJP leaders and workers held a meeting in Gandhinagar today to brainstorm on how to tackle the negative impact of the Patel quota agitation on their poll prospects in the coming local bodies polls. When asked if the Patel agitation will negatively impact the ruling BJP, Jadeja claimed the stir has settled down due to the special package for EBCs.”The Patel agitation has settled due to the scheme which has been recently announced…If some incidents happen in the society, it will have both negative and positive impact. But for now we believe that the stir has settled down after the scheme announced by the Gujarat government,” he said.Jadeja claimed that most of the Patel community members have welcomed the special package for EBC. “Some of them may have opposed it, but rest of them (Patels) have joined us and welcomed the scheme,” he said.On a query about using page pramukh formula for the local body polls, Jadeja said, “We initiated this concept in the state assembly polls in 2012. It is a good formula which you can use in any polls and for the first time it is being used in local body elections.”Earlier, the party used to give such responsibility to the booth level workers, but now dedicated workers will be there to campaign for the party among voters listed in a page of voter’s list. The state government had, on September 24, announced the package for the economically backward category irrespective of caste including scholarship for students and age limit relaxation for its jobs.The ‘Mukhyamantri Yuva Swavlamban Yojna’ (Chief Minister’s Youth Self-Reliance Scheme) will benefit the students, irrespective of caste, whose family income is not more than Rs 4.5 lakh per annum. However, the package could not satisfy the leader of the Patel agitation seeking reservation under OBC category-Hardik Patel- who dubbed the scheme as “lollipop” and announced that he will continue his movement.Patels, an effluent community of Gujarat, which is believed to be a traditional vote-bank of the BJP, has been agitating against the Gujarat government pressing for their demands for OBC quota.

dna 5 Must Reads at 6 pm: BJP hits back at Rahul, Smriti Irani belligerent, Indian squad for SA series picked and more

Here are 5 of the must read stories on dna at 6 pm.

dna Must Reads at 6 pm

dna Research & Archives
Here are 5 of the must read stories on dna at 6 pm.1) BJP hits back at Rahul Gandhi, calls him childish: Hitting out at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for his “suit boot” remarks against Narendra Modi, Union Minister M Venkaiah Nadu on Sunday termed it as “childish and immature” and accused him of taking the name of Prime Minister to remain in the news.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2) Smriti Irani dismisses Congress notice against her: Union Human Resource and Development Minister (HRD) Smriti Irani on Sunday hit back at the Congress Party over the legal notice issued to her, saying she is not afraid and is ready to face 100 such notices for raising the voice of the people.3) India pick squad for SA series, Gurkeerat in: Young Punjab all-rounder Gurkeerat Singh today earned his maiden call-up into the Indian ODI team while Karnataka left-arm seamer Srinath Aravind was a surprise inclusion in the T20 squad picked by the selectors for the limited overs leg against South Africa.4) Iraqi soldiers flee to Europe for better life: Some Iraqi soldiers are abandoning their posts and joining a wave of civilian refugees headed to Europe, raising new doubts about the cohesion of the country’s Western-backed security forces in the fight against Islamic State militants.5) Internet ban lifted in Gandhinagar, Vadodara: The mobile internet ban was lifted on Sunday in Gandhinagar and Vadodara as the situation remained peaceful in Gujarat, a day after sporadic incidents of violence took place in some parts of the state following Patel quota leader Hardik Patel’s arrest.

Patel quota row: Congress won’t gain anything from recent developments, says Gujarat BJP

In his address, Gujarat BJP president R C Faldu indirectly targeted Congress by claiming that the current situation in the state is the result of wrong policies framed under past governments.

PTI
The BJP on Friday accused the Congress of misguiding the people of Gujarat by taking advantage of the current situation in the state and said it will not “gain any political advantage”.Amid the recent disturbance in Gujarat, a meeting of all key BJP leaders, MLAs and MPs was held at party headquarters in Gandhinagar to discuss the party’s roadmap in the upcoming local body polls in the state. Chief Minister Anandiben Patel was also present in the meeting. Gujarat BJP spokesperson I K Jadeja said after the meeting, “Taking advantage of the current situation, Congress leaders are giving various statements to misguide the people of Gujarat. However, people very well know where they stand and what is their past. Congress leaders are opportunists and always indulged in vote bank politics. While BJP’s path is of development.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his address, Gujarat BJP president R C Faldu indirectly targeted Congress by claiming that the current situation in the state is the result of wrong policies framed under past governments. He also mentioned that offices and houses of several BJP MLAs and MPs were damaged in the recent violence in the state, a press release issued by the party said.”Policies of past government (Congress government in Gujarat) are responsible for the prevailing problems. They only did vote bank politics here,” Faldu said. “Though offices and houses of our MPs and MLAs were targeted, BJP workers stood their ground and remained with people to help them. Our workers are still determined to go among the masses to work for them,” added Faldu.National General Secretary of BJP Parshottam Rupala stressed on the need to increase contact with people ahead of elections. He also claimed that though some elements are trying to hard to destabilise BJP-led Gujarat government, they won’t succeed. In her address, Anandiben Patel expressed confidence that BJP will sweep the upcoming local body polls. She appealed to the party workers to reach out to people and inform them about pro-people work done by her government.In the meeting, it is decided that all the party leaders and local workers will celebrate Rakshabandhan in their areas by gifting ‘Suraksha Bandhan’ to local women tomorrow, stated the release. PTI PJT PD

2002 riots: CBI starts investigation into Shanti Express coach burning case

After taking over the probe of Shanti Express coach burning incident of 2004, a CBI team on Thursday inspected the train at the Gandhinagar railway station.

CBI

After taking over the probe of Shanti Express coach burning incident of 2004, a CBI team on Thursday inspected the train at the Gandhinagar railway station.In the wee hours of November 1, 2004, S-3 coach of Shanti Express caught fire after the train arrived on platform number 1. No one was hurt as all the passengers had alighted. However, the police probe made no headway.The UC Banerjee Commission — appointed by the then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav to probe Godhra train burning incident of 2002 which had triggered riots — had also inspected Shanti Express. The Commission was later dissolved by the Gujarat High Court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In May this year, Gujarat government decided to hand over the case to CBI. In June, the Centre asked the agency to take over the case. According to an FIR filed by CBI in the special CBI court in June, previous forensic analysis had suggested that the fire was not caused by short circuit but “someone with bad intentions” might have intentionally set the coach on fire, as presence of petroleum and hydrocarbon particles was traced.On Thursday, the CBI team was accompanied by forensic experts as well as the police officer who had probed the case in 2004, police sources said. CBI team took some photographs of the coach and collected some samples for forensic analysis.

Mysuru may not get an IIT due to lack of space

While the stipulated space for setting up the institute is 500 acres, Mysuru can only provide 499 acres of land.

File Photo

The proposed Indian Institute of Technology in Karnataka may not be set in Mysuru as the stipulated space cannot be provided, a leading daily reported. Mysuru lost out on the opportunity by 1 acre of space, an official of the Ministry of Human Resources Development’s Site Selection Committee told the daily. The guidelines say the location of the institute should provide space of 500 acres while Mysuru has set aside 499 acres.While the SSC has to look into other requirements also, this rule in the guidelines may be prioritised as two other cities seem to provide more space. One being Raichur which offers 688 acres of space and second, Dharwad that offers 500-600 acres of space for the site, the official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also told the daily that “finalisation of the land for setting up the IIT will be based on the recommendation of the SSC. The committee will visit Karnataka and finalise it by the end of August and as things stand now, 500 acres is a compulsory requirement.”The stipulated space for IIT has been an issue in other cities too, like Hyderabad, Patna, Jodhpur, Bhubaneswar, Indore, Ropar, Gandhinagar and Mandi. The official told the daily that even though the institutes were all established during the 11th Plan period, they still operate in temporary campuses as the respective state governments have not been able to find the required land space. Since the state government made the announcement of establishing an IIT in the state, it has taken them almost six months to identify encumbrance free land, the daily reported.

Gujarat’s Patels to go on statewide stir seeking OBC status

Leaders of the Patel community on Sunday announced that they will organise public rallies in major districts of Gujarat to demand Other Backward Class (OBC) status and benefits of reservation under it in government jobs.

Representational Image

PTI photo
Leaders of the Patel community on Sunday announced that they will organise public rallies in major districts of Gujarat to demand Other Backward Class (OBC) status and benefits of reservation under it in government jobs.”We will not cancel our rally in Vijapur (in Mehsana district) and it will be held on July 28 where at least 50,000 Patels will participate. On the same day another rally will be held in Mandal taluka of Ahmedabad district,” Hardik Patel, member of the Patidar Anamat Samiti told reporters here.Giving an ultimatum to Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, he said, “The Patel community remained deprived of its rights since four decades and neither the BJP nor the Congress improved our condition”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Despite our representations to mamlatdars of various talukas, they (government) did not consider our demands,” Patel said.”We are giving an ultimatum to fulfil our demands before the 2017 assembly elections. Otherwise they will make a promise to fulfil it and then put our demand on the backburner after the election,” Patel said.”In other states including Uttar Pradesh, Patels get reservation as OBCs. If the Chief Minister will not listen to us, then we will say that even she failed to satisfy our demands,” Patel said.”Massive public rallies will be organised in places like Viramgam on July 29, in Gondal on July 30, in Himmatnagar on August 3, in Gandhinagar on August 3, in Rajkot on August 5 in Vadodara on August 13 and in Surat on August 18,” Patel said.

PM Narendra Modi’s desire to have NSG hub in Gujarat remains on paper

Incidentally, the glitch happens to be at the end of BJP ruled Gujarat government which is yet to respond to Home Ministry’s request to confirm transfer of suitable land to the elite commando force.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s keen desire to have a National Security Guards (NSG) hub in Gujarat to handle terror exigencies about which he first spoke as chief minister in 2011 still remains on paper because of bureaucratic delay.Incidentally, the glitch happens to be at the end of BJP ruled Gujarat government which is yet to respond to Home Ministry’s request to confirm transfer of suitable land to the elite commando force.On the request of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, the then union home minister P Chidambaram had approved a NSG hub for Gujarat March 18, 2011 on condition that the state government would provide land free of cost at the location found suitable by the NSG. But it kept hanging fire because of bureaucratic delays.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon after becoming prime minister, Modi gave fresh push to the proposal and the Gujarat government responded by offering land measuring about 41 acre suitable enough for establishing a NSG hub.Without wasting time, the PMO drafted a Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) Note and circulated it for inter-ministerial consultation on December 5, 2014.On January 6 this year, the union home ministry, the nodal ministry, sent a letter to the Gujarat government requesting it to hand over the identified 41 acre land to NSG.Keen to give shape to PM’s pet project, a team of senior NSG officials visited Gandhinagar the same month but to their dismay it found out that the land that is being offered measures not 41 but 36 acres.On May 8, the union home ministry again wrote to the Gujarat government asking it to confirm the status of transfer of the land to NSG free of cost so that requisite approval Centre can be conveyed on the project.Despite home ministry asserting that finalisation of the CCS note is held up for want of confirmation of handing over suitable land to NSG, the Gujarat government is yet to respond to the Centre.

Death toll rises to 70 due to heavy rains, flooding in Gujarat

Ahmedabad: The death toll due to heavy rainfall, followed by a flood-like situation in many parts of Gujarat has gone up to 70, including 26 casualties in the worst affected Amreli district, it was officially announced on Thursday.

“Around 70 people died due to heavy rains,” Gujarat state health minister and spokesperson Nitin Patel said.

Representational image.  AFPRepresentational image.  AFP

Representational image. AFP

According to figures provided by the Gujarat state emergency control room, 26 people died in Amreli, which is the worst hit district, while five deaths each have been reported in Bharuch, Jamnagar, Kutch and Rajkot districts.

Four died in Devbhoomi-Dwarka, while three deaths each have been registered in the districts of Bhavnagar, Junagadh and Surendranagar. Two deaths were registered in Dahod, Mehsana, Morbi and Surat, while one death each have been registered in Kheda, Porbandar, and Valsad, as per official figures.

Meanwhile, the Gujarat government has announced Rs 4 lakh each as compensation to families of the deceased. “We have decided to give a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to famalies of all the deceased. In addition, we have also decided to give cash doles for the next ten days to people in affected areas,” Gujarat health minister and spokesperson of the government Nitin Patel said.

Besides this assistance, the Gujarat state government plans to provide financial aid to those who lost their property and livestock.

“We have asked local administrations of the affected districts to carry out an extensive survey to determine the loss. We will provide financial aide to those who have lost crops, livestock, houses and other properties as per norms,” Patel said.

Earlier during the day, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel conducted an aerial review of several parts of the Saurashtra region, like Amreli and Gondal, which are badly flooded due to heavy rains yesterday.

Later, Patel held a meeting with Amreli’s top officials and asked the administration to take all necessary steps for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people.

Patel tweeted that it would take at least four to five days to bring back normalcy. “Gujarat will complete the relief work in coming five days to bring life back to normalcy in affected areas,” stated one of her tweets.

Later in the evening, Patel held another high-level meeting at Gandhinagar to assess the flood-like situation in many parts of state.

During the meeting, Patel asked officials to expedite the works related to restoring electricity, building new roads, cleaning pipelines, restoring water supply, disposing off animal carcasses, and providing medicines in affected regions.

She was also informed that epidemic control teams including doctors and medical students have already reached these places with more than 1 lakh chlorine tablets, a press release stated.

During the relief and rescue operations carried out on Wednesday and Thursday, at least 87 locals of Amreli and Gondal were air lifted by the Indian Air Force. They also distributed six tonne of foods packets and water pouches in affected region, the release stated.

Meanwhile, heavy rains due to deep depression over the Arabian sea, which lashed Saurashtra and South Gujarat regions for 24 hours ceased after the deep depression moved towards Madhya Pradesh, officials said.

“The deep depression has moved out of the state. It has turned into a low mark pressure and is now centred at Madhya Pradesh. It will weaken further in the next 24 hours,” State Meteorological Department Director Jayanta Sarkar told reporters on Thursday.

“We expect that rainfall, which occured during the last 48 hours, will decrease,” Sarkar said.

On Wednesday, around 60 villages in Amreli district were cut off from the rest of Gujarat. The situation worsened after waters of the Shetrunji river entered surrounding villages.

Villages of Dhari (511 mm), Bagasara (636 mm) and Variyav (400 mm) recorded very heavy rainfall in Amreli district.

While, Rajkot district was also witnessed heavy rainfall, reporting more than 323 mm of rain on Wednesday.

PTI

Gujarat BSF to use solar energy to power its remote border outposts

Ahmedabad: In an innovative effort to fight electricity crisis in forward areas, Gujarat Frontier of the Border Security Force (BSF) is all set to use solar energy for its outposts located in remote border areas, where no electrification is possible till date.

Union Minister of State for Home and top BSF officials confirmed that Gujarat frontier will soon set up a five megawatt solar energy plant and also separately electrify 20 Border Out Posts (BoPs) by solar energy

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

.

“Gujarat frontier BSF has given me a proposal about the solar power project. It will come up soon,” Haribhai Chaudhary, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs told PTI over phone.

Chaudhary however did not divulged details like cost of the same project.

“I can only tell about the cost aspects once I will reach Delhi on Tuesday,” the minister said.

Inspector General of Gujarat Frontier of BSF Santosh Mehra said there are two projects on solarisation, one is a five megawatt solar plant in Nalabet area in border district of Banaskantha and in another project 20 BoPs will be lightened up with solar energy.

“In Nalabet area we are going to have about five megawatt solar plant. Some progress is there. The land has been identified and this solar plant will come up,” Mehra told PTI.

“In another project, we have identified about 20 BoPs (in Banaskantha and Kutch districts),which will stand alone on solar power generation system. No electrification has taken place in these BoPS. Only source of electricity over there is generator,” he said.

“Now, for generators we have to send diesel through tankers. But if the generator is not working there then there would be no electricity,” he added.

“So we have proposed to Centre and in fact the MoS for Home Affairs Haribhai Chaudhary promised to do it and we had sent a list to him through proper channel requesting that these 20 BoPs can be electrified with stand alone system of the photo-voltaic solar system itself,” Mehra said.

“These photo voltaic cells will be laid on roofs and terraces of the composite BoPs and will make them (BoPs) stand alone solar system,” he explained.

BSF officials said that electricity produced from this plant will be used in various centres of BSF.

The photo-voltaic system is a method of converting solar energy into direct current of electricity by using the semi-conducting materials.

BSF Gujarat frontier, which consists of three sectors namely Barmer in Rajasthan, Gandhinagar and Bhuj sectors, is securing an border area of 741 kms sharing with Pakistan.

And unlike other frontiers of BSF, Gujarat frontier has three distinct types of topography like desert, marshy region and creek areas, due to which electrification has not become possible.

PTI

Gujarat govt promotes IPS officer accused in Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case

Ahmedabad: Gujarat government promoted 1999 batch IPS officer Abhay Chudasama, who is an accused in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, to the rank of a Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) on Monday.

Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel. Reuters

Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel. Reuters

Chudasama currently serves as Superintendent of Police (SP) in the State Monitoring Cell in Gandhinagar. He was reinstated in service by the Gujarat state government in August 2014, after he was granted bail by the Bombay High Court in April 2014.

As per a notification issued tonight by the Gujarat state Home Department, Chudasama has been promoted as DIG with effect from 29 July. He will now serve as DIG of the State Monitoring Cell, the notification stated.

Besides him, 1992 batch IPS officer ND Solanki, serving as SP (Intelligence) in Surat, has also been elevated to the rank of IG by giving him two promotions.

The Gujarat state government also promoted two DIG rank officers to Inspector General of Police (IGP) grade, including Vadodara Range DIG Anupam Singh Gehlot and Principal of Police Training School in Vadodara Khursheed Ahmed.

PTI

GSEB.org SSC Class 10 Results 2015: Gujarat Board SSC Class 10th X Exam Results 2015 declared

Over 9 lakh students appeared for the exam conducted in the month of March between 12 to 23 this year.

Wait of students who appeared for Class 10 exam conducted by Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) is finally over. GSEB declared the results at 6 AM today.Over 9 lakh students appeared for the exam conducted in the month of March between 12 to 23 this year.Situated in Gandhinagar, board is responsible of conducting these exams across Gujarat on various school levels. Students need to log on to board’s official website www.gseb.org and follow the instructions.Students can download PDF copies of their score cards for reference purposes. They must keep it in mind that these copies are not authorised by the board. Therefore, candidates are advised to obtain their marksheets from their respective schools.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>We would also like to advise parents to support their kids regardless of outcome.Best of luck!

Have separate high security jails for terrorists; segregate them from ordinary prisoners: MHA to states

Representational image.

Taking cue from Narendra Modi’s idea to have a separate jail for terrorists so that they cannot influence, indoctrinate and recruit other convicts that he put forward as chief minister of Gujarat in 2010, the union home ministry has advised all states to set up new security prisons outside cities for exclusively housing terrorists. It has asked them to give serious consideration for being implemented on priority.Till the time it is not possible, movement of high-risk prisoners should be restricted within the jails so that they cannot indoctrinate other prisoners, the home ministry has said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five years ago around the same time, Gujarat home minister Amit Shah had said, “With both the terror convicts and those convicted under CrPc sharing the same prison, there is a chance that these convicts could become potential sleeper cells for terror groups.”As chief minister of Gujarat, Modi wanted to build a new jail in Gujarat exclusively for terrorists and had even laid out the plan for Rs20 crore prison near Gandhinagar to accommodate 600 prisoners.In a letter written to the principal secretaries of all states on April 28, the union home ministry says, “(There is) immediate need to decongest the jails by setting up security prison for terror accused outside the city. If that is not feasible, then very high-risk prisoners and other under-trial prisoners under the category of terrorist/security suspects are required to be segregated effectively from the ordinary prisoners within the complex of Central and District jails.”Home ministry’s move seem to have been prompted by the jail successful jail break attempt by six alleged SIMI operatives from Khandwa jail in October 2013 who are still at large and a constant cause of worry for the security agencies.The ministry also wants the states to put restriction on the movement of high-risk prisoners within the jails and their mixing with other prisoner even during transit to court, hospital etc. to avoid the chance of indoctrination and for strictly monitoring the activities of visitors inside the jails.The idea to have a separate prison is not new. In 2009, while hearing a lawsuit seeking enhanced security for jails in the wake of a spate of jail breaks in 2004, a bench of Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam had passed the ruling to have separate high-security prisons in states to house terrorists and gangsters. Complete securityThe letter also eggs states to install CCTV cameras, mobile jammers with state of the art prison surveillance system and enforcement of a regular security classification protocol for screening and risk assessment of prisoners so that level of security within a prison is categorized in terms of risk to prisoners.

Asaram Bapu seeks temporary bail to perform last rites of nephew

Ahmedabad: Self-styled controversial godman Asaram, accused in a rape case filed against him by one of the two Surat-based sisters, has applied for a bail for one month in a Gandhinagar court to perform the last rites of his nephew who died recently.

Additional District Judge RA Ghoghari of Gandhinagar court is likely to hear the bail plea of Asaram on 23 March.

Controversial godman Asaram Bapu has been accused of sexual assault. PTIControversial godman Asaram Bapu has been accused of sexual assault. PTI

Controversial godman Asaram Bapu has been accused of sexual assault. PTI

In his plea, Asaram has stated that he should be released for thirty days to perform the last rites of his sister’s son Shankar Pagrani (68) who died on 19 March.

Pagrani had expressed a wish that his cremation and other post-death rituals must be performed by his maternal uncle Asaram as his parents died long ago, it said.

Asaram had earlier moved a regular bail plea before the Gujarat High Court, which was rejected in January.

Two Surat-based sisters had lodged separate complaints against Asaram and his son Narayan Sai accusing them of rape, sexual assault, illegal confinement and levelling other charges.

The elder sister, in her complaint against Asaram, had accused him of repeated sexual assaults between 2001 and 2006 during the time she was living at his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

The 73-year-old controversial religious leader is currently lodged in a Rajasthan jail after being arrested in September 2013 for allegedly sexually assaulting a minor girl at his Jodhpur ashram.

PTI

Gujarat: Swine flu claims 9 more lives, toll rises to 176

As part of its exercise to control swine flu outbreak and reach out to maximum number of people who need information and treatment, the state government today said that the ‘108’ emergency number would also be used as a swine flu helpline now onwards.

Swine flu claimed nine more lives in Gujarat, taking the toll to 176 since January this year, according to an official statement issued on Thursday.180 new swine flu cases were recorded across the state today, taking the total number of such cases to 2,371 so far.”Gujarat reported nine swine flu deaths today, taking the total number of deaths to 176, while 180 new H1N1 cases were reported today,” the release said.Of these nine deaths, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Gandhinagar and Kutch district recorded two deaths each, while one death was recorded in Patan district today.As part of its exercise to control swine flu outbreak and reach out to maximum number of people who need information and treatment, the state government today said that the ‘108’ emergency number would also be used as a swine flu helpline now onwards.
Meanwhile, Gujarat Minister of State for Health Shanker Chaudhari visited Kutch and held a meeting with health officials at Bhuj today.Talking to reporters, Chaudhari said that swine flu cases are on the decline.”Due to steps taken by the local administration and health department in Kutch, there is 50 per cent decline in new H1N1 cases. They will decline further since the temperature is rising,” Chaudhari said.

DIG Loshali never said he ordered ‘Pak terror boat’ to be blown up: Coast Guard

After a controversy over statements indicating that he had asked for a suspicious fishing boat from Pakistan to be ‘blown up’ on 31 December, a senior Coast Guard official has said the statement was wrongly attributed to him and he had not been privy to the operation.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said DIG BK Loshali had issued a statement saying that the statement in the media had been wrongly attributed to him and had also quoted him wrongly.

“I had made a statement that anti-national elements should not be served biriyani and should face the law of the land,” the spokesperson quoted Loshali as saying.

PTI imagePTI image

PTI image

In an exclusive report, the Indian Express today quoted Loshali, as saying that he was there at Gandhinagar and he had ordered officials to ‘blow the boat off’ as opposed to the government’s claim that the boat  had blown itself up under suspicious circumstances.

In his latest statement however, Loshali said that he had been quoted out of context and had not in fact made the comment attributed to him.

The report had sparked controversy given that the defence establishment and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar have consistently maintained that the occupants of the boat had blown themselves up after  leading the Coast Guard on a chase.

The official stand of the coast guard, was that after receiving an intelligence input they had pursued the ship with an aircraft and a vessel. They said that instead of surrendering, “the boat started moving in a zig-zag way and switched off lights.”

The occupants of the boat allegedly ignored warning shots that were fired at it and after some time its occupants were accused of setting the vessel on fire, resulting in it sinking. No evidence had emerged of the occupants carrying explosives.

The government had also claimed that they had evidence of call intercepts that were made from the boat to Pakistan, which proved that the occupants were suspected terrorists.

Pakistan had said it expected India to conduct a “transparent” probe and had said that its own investigation has shown that there was “no sound evidence” to substantiate India’s assertions.

Time for humanitarian forces to unite against terrorism, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar

PTI
Calling for zero tolerance on terrorism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the time has come for all humanitarian forces to join hands to end the menace.In his remarks at the CEO Conclave this evening, being held as a part the three-day the Vibrant Gujarat Summit here, Modi said terrorism is a threat to the humanity.”…the time has come for all humanitarian forces to join together to resolve the problem of terrorism,” he said.His comments came on a day when more than 40 world leaders marched through Paris to rally for unity and freedom of expression and to honour 17 victims of three days of terrorist attacks, including on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo’s office.Emphasising the need for zero tolerance on terrorism, Modi said “this required political will” and added that “products should reach the needy and not terrorists”. The Prime Minister also discussed counter-terror co-operation with senior leaders of the US and Canada visiting India for the Summit.In his meeting with the US Secretary of State John Kerry, discussions focused issues like counter-terror co-operation, besides the upcoming visit of US President Barack Obama and other matters.Counter-terror co-operation was also a key theme in the Prime Minister’s meeting with Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander.Earlier in the day in his speech at the Summit, Modi had expressed solidarity with the people of France as they mourn their loss and come to terms with the brutal terrorist attack.”As we see it spread around the world, let us pledge to work together to make sure that it will not succeed against the life that we have all gathered here to build, and the values that we stand for,” he said.Kerry in his speech said no act of terror will ever stop “the march of freedom” and the entire world is with the people of France.

Witness in Asaram Bapu’s Surat rape case shot dead

A witness in the Asaram Bapu’s Surat rape case, 35-year-old Akhil Gupta, was shot dead by unidentified assailants on Jansath Road under New Mandi police station area here when he was returning home this evening. Police said Gupta was shot at when he was on his way home and was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared brought dead.Gupta was cook and personal aide of self-styled Godman Asaram Bapu, who is in jail in connection with another case of sexual assault on a minor girl.Two sisters in Surat have accused Asaram and his son Narayan Sai of raping them. Gupta was a witness in the case of rape against Asaram and had recorded his statement before a Gandhinagar court.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley adopts four villages in Gujarat

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday formally adopted four villages of Karnali group panchayat in Vadodara district in Gujarat as part of the ‘Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana’ for MPs. Jaitley made this announcement at Karnali village, around 60 kms from Gandhinagar, which is one of the four villages he has adopted.”I am very fortunate to have adopted four villages of Karnali, Pipaliya, Vadiya and Baglipura, which fall under the Karnali group panchayat. I will visit these villages from time to time and ensure their development,” Jaitley said.”Rs 20 crore will be spent on various development works in these villages, which includes water supply schemes, construction of roads, construction of a bridge between Chandod village and Karnali,” the Minister added.He also announced that he would adopt Chandod village near here next year to transform it into a tourist spot. The minister laid the foundation stone for the construction of Chandod-Karnali bridge and also performed a ‘puja’ at the Kuber temple in Karnali.Jaitley said the bridge will be constructed at a cost of Rs 16.5 crore, while the remaining amount of Rs 3.5 crore will be used for water supply schemes, roads, construction of toilets in homes and providing homes for poor in the villages.He also promised to look into the riverfront development at Chandod village, which is known for religious places like the Kuber Temple and Lord Dattatraya temple. The Minister had written a letter to Vadodara District Collector Vinod Rao on December 17 informing him that he would adopt these four villages.The collective population of these four villages is 2,506 (Karnali 736, Pipaliya 717, Vadiya 631 and Baglipura 422). Jaitley further said that in the past seven months 11 crore bank accounts have been opened under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana’.He added that Gujarat has shown a path of development to the country by hosting biennial Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit. “The event has received a tremendous response this year which was today inaugurated in Gandhinagar by PM Narendra Modi in the presence of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon,” he said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon arrives for Vibrant Gujarat Summit

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon arrived at Ahmedabad city airport on Saturday ahead of Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit which kicks off on Sunday. He is headed for the state capital of Gandhinagar from the airport.A Gujarat government spokesperson and state minister Saurabh Patel said that Ban was also likely to visit Sabarmati Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad and few other places in the state. The global investor summit would be inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to attend Vibrant Gujarat Summit

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will hold talks with the country’s top leadership and participate in the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar during his four-day visit beginning tomorrow.Ban will meet President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar among others during the visit, his fourth to India as the UN Secretary-General.He will be accompanied by his wife Yoo Soon-taek and a team of senior officials.The Secretary General and his delegation will leave for Gandhinagar tomorrow evening where he will deliver a keynote speech at the Inaugural Session of the 7th Vibrant Gujarat Summit on January 11.His visit to Gujarat include a tour of Sabarmati Ashram and inauguration of the 10 MW Canal -Top Solar Power Plant in Vadodara.The UN Secretary General is also scheduled to meet Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi.On January 12, Ban is expected to deliver the 13th Sapru House Lecture, organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs.He would conclude his visit to India on January 13, following his meetings with UN staff and heads of UN agencies working in India.

India an opportunity waiting for you, PM Narendra Modi tells PIOs

PM Narendra Modi releases the special coin to commemorate 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s homecoming in Gandhinagar on Thursday

PTI
A dose of Gandhi, mixed with emotions and a promise of opportunity is what prime minister Narendra Modi gave to nearly 2,500 persons of Indian origin (PIOs) taking part in the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) in Gandhinagar on Thursday. Appreciating the PIOs and NRIs for making India ‘global’, Modi asked them to contribute towards India’s growth.“A hundred years ago, a pravasi Indian came back to India. Today, exactly after 100 years, a pravasi Gujarati is welcoming you,” Modi said in Hindi at the inaugural Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, referring to Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa on January 9, 1915.Modi said that the Mahatma’s thoughts continue to inspire the world. He mentioned how October 2, the Mahatma’s birth anniversary, is celebrated in Mauritius with greater rigour than it is done in India. The prime minister – wearing an off-white kurta-pyjama and his trademark sleeveless jacket – was welcomed with whistles and loud cheers by the delegates as he arrived at the Mahatma Mandir, the venue of the PBD’s inaugural ceremony. Before reaching the main venue, he inaugurated Dandi Kutir, the salt-mound-shaped Gandhi museum situated in the same complex.The prime minister appreciated the role played by PIOs the world over in increasing the country’s stature. “Indians are present in more than 200 countries across the world. It is because of you that India is global. I can confidently say that even if there is a single NRI in any country, India is alive and present in that part of the world. I believe that Indians settled abroad are huge assets who can help in further strengthening India’s position,” he said.Exhorting PIOs and NRIs to come back and contribute to India’s growth, Modi said, “There was a time when you left your country, family and friends in search of opportunity, or to gain knowledge and exposure. Our ancestors went abroad for opportunities. Today, I assure you that opportunities are waiting for you in India.” The prime minister said that time had changed and the world was looking at India with hope and optimism. “The richest and the poorest nations in the world have their eyes on India. They feel they can work shoulder-to-shoulder with India. It’s an opportunity we must make the most of,” he added.There were no new announcements for the Indian diaspora, but Modi told them that his government had fulfilled whatever he had promised. “Issuing of life-long visas to PIO card holders has been approved. The rule of PIO card holders being required to visit a police station once in a week has been removed. The merger of PIO and OCI schemes has been approved. PIOs from 43 countries now get visa on arrival. The electronic travel authorisation is also being issued. Very soon, Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in Delhi start functioning,” he said.The prime minister asked NRIs to contribute to various projects his government had announced, especially the Namami Gange (Clean Ganga) project. “Not only are there religious, spiritual and environmental aspects of cleaning the Ganga, but it will also help in economic uplift of 40 per cent of the country’s population which lives in states from where the Ganga passes,” he said.Earlier, South Africa’s minister for international relations, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the guest of honour at the PBD, spoke about the strong relation between India and South Africa, and how the two countries could play a key role in shaping world policies.Guyanese president Donald Ramotar, the chief guest at the function, recalled how India’s independence from British Rule, had inspired his countrymen to fight for freedom.

Conversions happening for over 200 years with foreign aid: Venkaiah Naidu

Amid a raging row over ‘ghar wapsi’ programme of right wing Hindutva groups, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday said religious conversions have been happening for over 200 years with the help of foreign money.He reaffirmed that the government had nothing to do with the re-conversion efforts of Hindu hardliners and was prepared to enact a law to ban conversions provided there is a consensus across the political spectrum.”Conversions and re-conversions are happening for the last 200 years, much before formation of the Modi government. A lot of foreign money is being spent for conversion. It’s an open secret to everybody,” Naidu said addressing the 13th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas in Gandhinagar which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.Arya Samaj founder Dayanand Saraswati had undertaken re-conversion programmes way back in 1923 and that was supported by many Congress leaders of the time, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister claimed.However, taking a libertarian line, the government had not acted against foreign funding for religious conversion because it felt faith and religion were matters of personal choice, he said. Maintaining that development and delivery of good governance were the only agenda of the NDA government, he said the government will step in and enact a law to ban conversions if there was a political consensus.”The government is willing to go for a law provided there is a consensus, provided there is a request from all political parties, then only govt will step in. The government is in no way involved in this, none of my ministers or none of my party people, please try to understand,” he said.”If re-conversion is bad, then conversion also is bad. We do not support any religion, government has no religion. People have religion, we respect the people’s wish. Religion is their worship.”This is Indianness, this is Hindutva. The word Hindu is not linked to a particular religion. This should be clear in everybody’s mind,” he said. The minister said people with “empty upper chamber” were not getting the government’s point of view on the issue.

Indian economy is showing new dynamism, says Sushma Swaraj at 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj interacting with the curator of Gandhi Gallery at Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 2015 in Gandhinagar
Source @PBD2015,

Twitter
External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj along with Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Wednesday inaugurated the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas – a three day event being held in Gujarat. The External Affairs Minister also interacted with the curator of the Gandhi Gallery – Celebrating 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s Return to India – and inaugurated the books art exhibit at the event. Addressing Indian diaspora at the event Sushma Swaraj said, “Skilling our people, particularly young, is our priority”. “What excites the world today is India’s economy, which is showing new dynamism under the new government. Swacch Bharat movement, Make in India programme, Digital India Initiative; young pravasis can contribute to the country,” she said while speaking on the occasion. Swaraj said the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative indicates the commitment to turn India into a manufacturing hub. “Swachh Bharat campaign for cleanliness has become a mass movement. You will always be considered one of us, our own, regardless of the colour of your passport. Even though situated 1000 miles away, you have kept the spirit of India alive. Young global Indians, should come, connect, celebrate and be a part of our initiative to build ek Bharat shrestha Bharat,” she added.She further added, “The country will always consider you as one of its own, regardless of colour of your passport or land of your citizenship.”Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs and Priti Patel, MP, UK Prime Minister’s Diaspora Champion spoke at the inauguration along with other eminent dignitaries. The live streaming of the eventPravasi Bharatiya Divas is the world’s largest annual gathering of people of Indian origin aimed at enhancing networking and reinforcing the economic and cultural bonding. The 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas – Apna Bharat, Apna Gaurav, is being held from the 7th to 9th January, 2015 at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India.The prestigious annual event of Indian Diaspora will be formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Prime Minster will also inaugurate Dandi Kutir- a permanent exhibition on life and message of Mahatma Gandhi at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar.Gujurat Chief Miniter Anandiben Patel’s handle tweeted photos of the elaborate preparations in Gandhinagar for the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.Also Read: Pravasi Bharatiya Divas: PM Narendra Modi to be given grand welcome says Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben PatelThe closing ceremony will be attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari on January 9. He will also be presenting the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman awards. The President of Guyana Donald Ramotar will be the Chief Guest of the event. He is also to be presented the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, the highest honour conferred on overseas Indians and people of Indian origin. South African Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane is also attending the event to mark Mahatma Gandhi’s return from South Africa 100 years ago. Gujarat is the partner state for the event. Other states participating in the event are Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra, Kerala and Nagaland. However even as Pravasi Bhartiya Divas begins in Gandhinagar, the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in Chankyapuri area of New Delhi is still under construction.Also Read: Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra still a dream for NRIs(With Agency Inputs)

Ordinance to amend Citizenship Act promulgated; Person of Indian Origin to get lifetime Indian visa

On the eve of the opening of the three-day meet of Indian diaspora in Gujarat, government on Tuesday promulgated an ordinance that seeks to merge Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) schemes, by which PIOs will also get life-long Indian visa.The President has signed the Citizenship Ordinance, President’s press secretary Venu Rajamony said in response to queries. The amendments through the ordinance to the Citizenship Act will benefit PIOs and will give them benefits like life-long visa and exemption from appearing before the local police station on every visit.The ordinance fulfils Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance in New York to Indian diaspora where he had promised a merger of the two schemes. He had also announced grant of lifetime visa to PIOs.Subsequently, Modi had said the Home Ministry was working on the new programme that will merge the PIO and OCI schemes and that instructions had been issued to embassies and consulates that apart from special circumstances, US nationals should get visas for 10 years.The decision to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 was taken after large number of complaints were received from PIOs, who often complained of visits to local police stations and stringent visa norms that debarred them from buying property in India, in comparison to those holding Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card. PIO cardholders were now eligible for only 15-year visas in comparison to lifelong visas given to those having OCI cards.It will also do away with the clause of foreigners who marry Indians to continuously stay in the country for a period of one year before they get an Indian citizenship. The amendment will give foreigners a relief of 30 days in a year when they can travel outside the country. The Citizenship Amendment Bill of 1955 was first introduced by the UPA government in 2013. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is being held in Gandhinagar in Gujarat between January 7 and 9 to be addressed by among others Prime Minister Narendra Modi.This is the ninth ordinance promulgated by the Modi government since it came to power over seven months ago.

Sushma Swaraj hands over Pravasi Bharatiya Divas logo to Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel

Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday handed over the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas logo to Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel at Gandhinagar.Swaraj pinned a badge with the logo on Patel’s dress. She said that the logo, with the message ‘Apna Bharat, Apna Gaurav’ reflects the spirit of ‘Our India, Our Pride’, according to an official release issued here. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is scheduled to be held from January 7 to January 9.On the second day of her Gujarat visit, Swaraj supervised arrangements being made at the Mahatma Mandir as well as a ground in Gandhinagar’s Sector-17 for the forthcoming event, it said. Swaraj also complimented Gujarat for hosting the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas this year and wished that NRIs from around the world would identify themselves with this gala event, it said.Swaraj had arrived here on Thursday to take stock of the ongoing preparations for the event at Kankaria lake, the Sabarmati Riverfront and Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to officially inaugurate the event on January 8, while Vice President Hamid Ansari would remain present during the event’s closing ceremony on January 9.

Vigilance enhanced in Gujarat following boat incident

After a Pakistani boat carrying explosives was intercepted in Indian waters, the security agencies have enhanced vigilance along the Indo-Pak border to avert any terrorist attack ahead of Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit-2015 in the state.Indian Coast Guard, Border Security Force and Gujarat police have initiated a high vigil after the incident in the Arabian sea. Inspector General Kuldip Singh Sheoran, Commander, Coast Guard Region (North-West) today said the ICG has been monitoring the coastal area closely and has pressed six aircrafts into service. A high-ranking BSF official said the force has been putting in extra efforts to ensure that no terrorist incident took place ahead of the summit.”We are taking extra efforts to ensure foolproof security as the guests are coming from different countries,” he said. Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit-2015 which will be held in Gandhinagar from January 11 to 13, is to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with heads of some foreign countries.”Gujarat police is already on alert due to upcoming summit. Though the Pakistani boat was spotted almost 360 km away from Porbandar, I have asked the IG of Coastal Security to keep a strict vigil across Gujarat coast and supervise the whole security setup in co-ordination with Coast Guard, Navy as well as BSF,” said Gujarat Director General of Police (DGP) P C Thakur.