Inspired by a video of Sachin Tendulkar asking riders to wear a helmet, Mumbai-based rider Vinay Maurya has, since then, travelled nearly 2,500 kilometres on his bike across the state and Gujarat requesting people who ride without helmets to do so. Armed with data on bike deaths and stickers, the Marine Lines resident has been spreading road safety awareness. “Sachin Tendulkar has inspired me to work towards spreading awareness of wearing helmets. I have been riding solo across India to talk to people about this issue,” said Vinay Maurya.Sachin Tendulkar had recently uploaded a video where he was seen creating awareness about traffic safety by insisting that people wear helmets. Maurya decided to take this issue to the next level by starting an Instagram campaign #HelmetDaalo, riding solo across India. “I am known as The Indian Motorcyclist on social media. Last week, I successfully completed the pilot leg of a trip by riding 2,500 km in Maharashtra and Gujarat in 5 days,” he said.Quoting data from Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, he says data reveals that over 400 people die every day and an average of 17 people lose their lives in road accidents every hour.Quoting data from Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, he says data reveals that over 400 people die every day and an average of 17 people lose their lives in road accidents every hour.Maurya has designed stickers which commuters can stick on a helmet, and take a pledge to never ride without a helmet. His Pan-India trip started from Mumbai and will cover Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal, Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha and south India in 45 days.”I have been working on this trip for over six months and after receiving a good response from people on Instagram, I am ready to kick off the campaign. My target is to meet around 10,000 daily commuters and welcome support from various motorcycling clubs in India to spread the message in their cities,” he added.Over half of Indian two-wheeler riders (57%) admit to not wearing a helmet when on the road, while an even higher proportion of pillion riders (74%) neglect to wear one whilst riding pillion. The survey was published by Exide Life Insurance as a part of its CSR initiative. According to the survey, riders are basing their decision to ride helmetless for a variety of reasons; Staggeringly, nearly a third (29%) admit to riding without a helmet for reasons of ‘comfort’! 13% due to the cost of a helmet, 16% believe that they are not required to by the law, 22% simply ride bare-headed due to a force of habit.
Join the discussion<!–end of artlbotbor–>
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the wake smog-induced ‘health emergency’ in the Capital, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has ordered some tough measures to help reducing air pollution in Delhi-NCR.The slew of measures include water sprinkling at all construction sites, covering of dumpers transporting construction waste including flyash, covering of exposed soil at the construction sites and adherence to air quality norms by all plants and machinery.An official release stated that the roads and highways officials have been directed by the minister to inspect the construction sites regularly to ensure that all the pollution control measures are adhered to in a strict manner.The roads minister also mentioned that a thorough research needs to be carried out to find the cause of the pollution.He said, this year the smog has descended despite the ban on crackers and restrain on burning of crops, adding that the Road Transport and Highways Ministry will offer all help to carry out such a research.The ministry has taken up a plethora of highway projects around Delhi NCR, including the Delhi-Meerut expressway and the eastern peripheral expressway surrounding Delhi.The Haryana government is also constructing the western expressway or the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal expressway slated to be inaugurated by March next year.Both eastern and western peripheral expressways are aimed at halving Delhi traffic by diverting vehicles passing via the capital and thus bring down pollution significantly.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Industry stalwarts, along with various government ministers will come under one roof on Wednesday to discuss the Indian state of economy and the way forward.The Ministerial Conclave has been organised by Zee Business and boasts of Roads, Transport and Highways minister Nitin Gadkari, Minister of state for Environment Mahesh Sharma, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, Minister for Youth and Sports Col Rajyavardhan Rathore and Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia as notable speakers. The event will also be attended by other senior executives from the industry.The main theme of the event is ‘The Growth Debate’ and the speakers will talk about the current state of Indian economy and the various measures that the government is undertaking to boost growth in the coming quarters.In September, PM Narendra Modi constituted a five-member Economic Advisory Council (EAC) headed by Niti Aayog member, Bibek Debroy.Since 2016, GDP growth has fallen for six consecutive quarters, dipping to three-year low of 5.7 per cent in the April-June quarter with India losing the fastest growing economy tag to China for the second straight quarter.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In what could be seen as an attempt to assuage an uneasy ally in Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP, the Centre is set to roll out a host of highway and waterways projects in the state.Union Minister for Roads, Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari will inaugurate highway projects worth Rs 1,928.46 crore in Andhra on October 3, and also lay stone for highway projects worth Rs 2,540 crore.”The projects include rehabilitation and upgradation of existing National Highways, besides construction of a 4-lane bypass to Vijayanagaram Town on NH 43 (New NH 26),” the release stated. The release added that about 415 km of National Highways would be inaugurated by the minister and he will lay the foundation for another 250 km NH.Gadkari will also lay stone for the development of Muktyala to Vijaywada stretch of Krishna River (National Waterways – 4), an official statement said.It is proposed to be developed in three phases – Muktyala to Vijayawada (Krishna River) (82 Km), Vijayawada to Kakinada (Eluru canal & Kakinada canal) and Rajahmundry to Polavaram stretch of Godavari (233 Km) and Commamur Canal, Buckingham canal and balance stretches of Krishna & Godavari Rivers (573km).Work on the development of the 82 km from Muktiyala to Vijayawada stretch has already started.The dredging began in the shallow areas in May this year, and the work is expected to be complete by June, 2019.National Waterway No 4 was declared in November, 2008 for a total length of 1078 km. This length was extended to 2890 km by NW Act-2016.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If you are planning a trip to Gujarat, or further to Delhi, you will have to pay more toll for commuting using the National Highway (NH)-8 between Mumbai and Delhi.From September 1, toll charges between Dahisar and Surat, on the four toll plazas namely Charoti, Khaniwade, Bhagwada and Boriach, will be levied according to the revised slab. The toll has been increased by Rs 5 and Rs 10 for several categories of vehicles at select toll plazas.Shashi Bhushan, project director, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), told DNA, “The toll will be revised between Dahisar and Surat starting from September 1. The toll revision is part of the yearly increase and the same is revised every year. The concession period of the current contractor is up to February 2021.”In the case of Charoti toll plaza at Palghar district, the toll for light commercial vehicles will be Rs 105, from the earlier Rs 100. For trucks and buses, the toll will be Rs 210, from the earlier Rs 200. The toll for light motor vehicles remains the same at Rs 60.At Khaniwade toll plaza near Vasai, the revised toll for light commercial vehicles will be Rs 115, from the earlier Rs 110. For trucks and buses, the toll will be Rs 230 from the earlier Rs 220. The toll for light motor vehicles remains the same at Rs 65.At Boriach toll plaza near Navsari in Gujarat, the revised toll for light motor vehicles will be Rs 60, from the earlier Rs 55. For light commercial vehicles, it will be Rs 100, from the earlier Rs 95. For trucks and buses, the toll will be Rs 200 from the earlier Rs 195.At Bhagwada toll plaza near Vapi in Gujarat, the revised toll for light commercial vehicles will be Rs 115, from the earlier Rs 110. For trucks and buses, the toll will be Rs 230, from the earlier Rs 220. The toll for light motor vehicles remains the same at Rs 60.TOLL UPDATEThe tolls have been revised at four plazas on the stretch — Charoti, Khaniwade, Bhagwada and Boriach.
It has been increased by Rs 5 and Rs 10 for several categories of vehicles. The toll increase is part of an annual revision.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Power supply in the twin districts of Doda and Kishtwar was restored in the wee hours today after remaining suspended for two days following damage to a 132-KV transmission tower in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir, a senior official said. “Power supply to the hilly districts was restored around 0230 hours today due to hectic efforts by the concerned agencies,” the official of Power Development Department (PDD) said. The tower manned by National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) at Thard village of Udhampur, 80 km from here, tilted from its original position on Tuesday afternoon, snapping power supply to hundreds of villages in the twin districts. Soon after, NHPC swung its men and machines into action and worked round-the-clock to ensure early restoration of the power supply. The NHPC had set a deadline of 1830 hours yesterday for completion of the job but due to several technical issues, the complete restoration was possible only in the wee hours today, the official said. The tower apparently titled due to heavy rains which hit the region intermittently over the past one week, triggering a number of landslides in the area, the official said. One of the landslides also uprooted a 220-KV Kishanpur- Pampore transmission tower in the area on July 31, the restoration of which would cost around Rs 50 lakh. However, PDD sources said many towers along the Udhampur-Banihal stretch of Jammu-Srinagar national highway have become vulnerable due to the ongoing widening and upgradation work by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The PDD wants the government to look into this issue on priority basis, form a team of experts to inspect all affected towers on the highway and prepare a plan to safeguard these towers to avert further losses, the sources said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
Thu, 3 Aug 2017-05:36pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Over 100 bridges in different parts of the country are on the verge of collapse and need immediate attention, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday. Gadkari said in the Lok Sabha that his ministry has completed safety audit of 1.6 lakh bridges in the country and found more than 100 structures in dilapidated condition.”100 bridges can be collapse anytime and they need immediate attention,” he said during Question Hour. He also referred to a tragedy where two state-run buses and some private vehicles were swept away after a British-era bridge over the Savitri river in the Konkan region of Maharashtra collapsed last year. Gadakari said his ministry had last year launched a special project to create data of all bridges and culverts in the country as part of the steps to avert mishaps.Referring to the delay in works on various road projects, the minister said this has been happening due to issues related to land acquisition, encroachment and environmental clearance. He said road projects worth Rs 3.85 lakh crore were delayed due to various reasons in the past and most of these issues were resolved and their works are in progress.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday met farmers from Amethi whose land had been acquired for widening a national highway and assured them of all possible help in resolving their problems, party leaders said.Besides the delegation of 90 farmers from his parliamentary constituency, Gandhi also met officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).Work on widening NH 56 at Kathora Gram Sabha in Amethi’s Jagdishpur block started a year ago. Three days ago, locals allege, NHAI began demolishing houses and shops in the area without compensating the affected farmers.According to local Congress leaders, the farmers had already given land for widening the highway. However, NHAI was also constructing a bylane for parking trucks on both sides of the road in an area of around 200 m in Kathora, affecting about 100 families.Gandhi, it is learnt, asked NHAI officials to adopt proper procedures to compensate those affected or shift the bylane.Ayub, one of those who had come from Amethi to meet Gandhi, alleged that their land was being acquired and old houses demolished.The farmers said Gandhi had assured them of all possible help and said he would visit Amethi soon.Gandhi, who arrived here in the morning, did not talk to the media due to heavy rain.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three Union ministers today visited Gujarat to take stock of the situation in the flood- affected areas and assess damage caused by the deluge in the state where 142 people have lost their lives. Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and Union Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala visited Palanpur and Deesa in Banaskantha, one of the worst-affected districts, and were briefed about relief measures being taken, an official release said. Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Mansukh Mandaviya also met officials to assess damage caused to the state and national highways and action plan to restore them, it said. Singh and Rupala were briefed about rescue and relief operations being undertaken in different parts of the state, including Banaskantha and Patan, the release said. They were told that so far 142 people have lost their lives in flood-related incidents, including the 46 in Banaskantha alone, it said. Army, Air Force and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel rescued 12,798 people, of which 825 were airlifted by the IAF, said the release. As many as 80,000 people were relocated to safer places, including 38,241 in Banaskantha and Patan, it said. Singh also visited Banaskantha to take stock of relief and rescue works going there, accompanied by Rupala and Gujarat Agriculture Minister Chimanbhai Sapariya, the Union minister informed on his Twitter handle later. Mandaviya also assessed damages caused to highways. He was told that several state highways and nine national highways have been damaged, the release said. Several of these affected roads are still under water which will delay the construction work, it said. The damage is assessed at Rs 10 crore for national highways and Rs 26 crore for state highways. Mandaviya asked officials to ensure that all highways are immediately restored to a condition so that vehicular movement is not affected, and asked speedy construction of damaged roads, the release added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Experienced and elderly riders figure among the main road accident victims in the state, says a report by by ministry of road transport and highways.This shocking fact came to light in a report which says that Rajasthan stands in fourth position in reporting casualties wherein the experienced age group is involved in accidents in the country. These revelations were made by ministry of road transport and highways in Lok Sabha while replying to a question about whether youngster in age group of 18-25 are mostly the two wheeler riders to die in road accident.The reply, though, categorised riders in three age groups—18-20, 21-24, 25-34—and also mentioned higher causalities in the age groups of elder and experienced people, which seems surprising as mostly young riders are blamed for rash driving.The reply states that 30,656 in age groups of 25-34, 25,269 in 21-24 and 16,499 in 18-20 age groups died in road accidents across the country from 2015 till date. The national trend reflects in Rajasthan as well. Here, 5,772 persons in three age groups mentioned above have lost their lives in road accidents while riding two wheelers.Of these, 2,579 (nearly 44 per cent) were elder and experienced people in the age groups of 25-34 years. While in a sharp contrast, 1,259 (about 22 percent of total) were the young in 18-20 years who got license after 18 and tried their hands on accelerator in a year of so. The remaining 1,934 belong to the middle age group of 20-25 years. Rajasthan is at fourth spot in the casualties in two-wheeler accidents in India, states the report. Rajasthan follows Maharashtra (2944), Uttar Pradesh (3169) and Tamil Nadu (3818) respectively. When contacted deputy transport commissioner (road safety) Nidhi Singh said that the figures quoted by the ministry are true. “To stop casualties in two wheeler accident, the department is running awareness campaign and launching enforcement drive against the offenders involved in rash driving,” said she.In the same reply the ministry denied to have establish interceptor squads on national highways to prevent and detain such two wheeler riders. “No such proposal is under consideration by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The helmet for two wheelers are standardised as per BIS 4151,” said the ministry to another question raised by the MPs.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 10,000 trees will be cut for the proposed widening of the Mumbai-Goa highway on the 84-km Panvel-Indapur stretch in Maharashtra, the assembly was informed today. Of these, 5,462 trees have already been cut. Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said the National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI) proposed widening of the Mumbai-Goa highway (NH-66) will affect 10,509 trees on the Panvel-Indapur stretch that is 84-km long. “Of the affected trees, 5,462 have already been cut. The state has also obtained necessary environmental clearances for the project. As per the agreement, the number of trees to be planted will be three time more than the number of trees to be chopped,” he said. The minister was replying to a query raised by MLAs Sunil Shinde and Jayant Patil in the Lower House. The land requirement for the four-lane road conversion on the Panvel-Indapur stretch is 217 hectares, of which legal hearing for 203 hectares has been completed, according to the written response. The road widening is taking place in several phases. The government’s proposal for constructing a connecting road and a tunnel on the Indapur-Zarap stretch of the highway was struck down by the Centre, he said. The stretch between Indapur (in Pune district) and Zarap in Konkan region is 366-km long. The government has invited e-tenders for planting some 1,600 trees on the 91-km stretch between Aravali and Waked, the response stated.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre on Wednesday sanctioned Rs 200 crore for repair of national highways in Assam which was damaged by the recent floods.Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping, promised more fund for repair of the north eastern state’s highway network after a central team completes an assessment of the exact damage.A statement from the ministry of Road Transport and Highways stated that the minister has also sanctioned Rs 400 crore for dredging work in Brahmaputra.Gadkari said the Brahmaputra Express Highway will be constructed in Assam as a highway-cum-embankment to check floods in future.A delegation from Assam, led by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, met Gadkari On Wednesday.The minister said the situation in Assam has been reviewed and Rs 200 crore was sanctioned for repairing damaged national highways, adding that additional funds of Rs 400 crore has been sanctioned for dredging in Brahmaputra river, also for the purpose of controlling floods.The minister said floods get worse in Brahmaputra as silt is not removed from the river bed.”Large scale work needs to be done and we have sanctioned Rs 400 crore for dredging in the 600-km length,” Gadkari said, adding that the work will start in September.He said it is for the first time that the Centre would construct seven bridges in Assam as against three bridges which were built after independence.”Work on two bridges are on and detailed project report (DPR) will be made for the others soon,” he said, adding that the government plans a multi-purpose express highway in Assam, for which the state government will prepare a DPR.”The dredging material will be used in the multipurpose express highway. It will also act as an embankment of Brahmaputra, for controlling floods,” he said.The proposal for the 5,000-km express highway was submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 18, and its cost would be assessed after the completion of its DPR.Aside Sonowal, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan also met Gadkari on Wednesday and discussed about Vizhinjam Port and expansion of highways in the southern state.A release stated Gadkari has assured the Kerala chief minister that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will soon be floating tenders for six laning of highways in the state.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Afraid of the BJP’s rising popularity, many people are creating “false propaganda” against the BJP in Meghalaya, party national spokesperson Nalin Kohli said today.”We only see that people are creating false propaganda against the BJP because they fear that BJP’s politics of development will be more preferred by the people of Meghalaya rather than the politics of corruption or politics with no development,” Kohli said.He said, “We (BJP) are winning elections after elections. We are doing well. Those who believe in development are not going to be misled by the false and lies being spread in the social media and otherwise ….”Speaking on the secular mindset of the party, Kohli said he would be meeting next month the Christians here to clear the air on any misconceptions they may otherwise have against the party.”When I come to the state in early August I will personally meet members of the Christian community. We believe in Sabka Saath and Sabka Vikas. We do not distinguish between a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist Parsi Jew and any community,” he said.The BJP leader, who had earlier today spent three hours in a 20-km traffic jam from Umiam Lake as he entered the city, also lambasted the ruling Congress for failing to provide connectivity.”One needs three hours from Barapani to hit Shillong city in a car. What will development come to Meghalaya? Highways are built across in states which are ruled by the BJP or not ruled by the Congress,” he said acknowledging that people here are still suffering from connectivity.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister Pon Radhakrishan today said the Sri Lankan government’s new fisheries bill could be right politically, but not for implementation. It has to be seen whether the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Amendment) Bill would be implemented in toto, the Minister for Transport and Shipping told reporters here. “The Bill can be right politically, but not for implementation”, Radhakrishnan said. The bill has drawn flak from various political parties in Tamil Nadu with some terming it a “black bill” and against Tamil Nadu fishermen. To a question on opposition for GST from various sectors, he said there were bound to be some teething problems for any new scheme or reform and the Centre and officials were trying to clear doubts about it. Noting that there was no truth in reports that Tamil Nadu government would be dismissed after the presidential election, Radhakrishnan said “BJP was not willing to dismiss any elected government in the country and if any government falls on its own weight, it is their problem.” On being asked about his remarks about Tamil Nadu becoming a battlefield, the Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping said it was a caution in the background of murder and attacks on workers and leaders of various Hindu outfits in Ramanathapuram, Theni and Kanyakumari districts.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister Nitin Gadkari has said that “there is a microscopic minority in Goa which is anti-development and proving to be an obstacle for various projects.” Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping was addressing the annual general meeting of Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Panaji last evening. “The union government has enough money to carry out development work. However, there is a microscopic minority, which is anti-development and is proving to be an obstacle in the development of the state,” the minister said. He was referring to projects like port which were planned in Goa but had to be shifted out of the state due to resistance from certain quarters. “We are serious about development of Goa. We have budget of crores of rupees for roads and ports infrastructure. We are interested in expanding the ports but people are not interested, so I decided to go to Karnataka and Maharashtra,” he said. He went on to add “If you (Goa) want, we will develop them. If you are not okay, we will not hesitate to go to other states.” Gadkari said his ministry has sanctioned Rs 600 crore for four-laning of road from the National Highway 17 to the Mopa airport, which is taking shape in north Goa. “I asked my official whether it is possible to use a river like Zuari or any other river to develop waterways up to the (Mopa) airport and he informed me that we are working on it and it is possible,” the minister said. On opposition to nationalisation of rivers project, Gadkari said “We have sanctioned Rs 40 crore to carry out dredging in Zuari and Mandovi rivers, but some people are having apprehensions that we are going to take the rivers to Delhi.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The horrific Bulandshahr incident, wherein a 13-year-old girl and her mother were dragged to a field and gang-raped for more than three hours, was yet to fade from the public memory when an even more horrendous crime took place on the Jewar highway. A man was shot dead and four women of the family were gang-raped.The highways are fast becoming a hub of criminals. May be that is the reason that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is mulling over deploying the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel to secure the National Highways in the Delhi sector. Sources in the force told DNA that a proposal has already been prepared in this regard.DNA accessed a letter dated October 24, 2000, written by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), which read: “NHAI feels that to safeguard and protect National Highways, deployment of CISF personnel would be a good option.” Sources in the ministry further said the Jammu region, NH 28 and 27 (Muzaffarpur to Bathnakuti and Muzaffarpur to Phoolparas and Purnia to Koshi Bridge) are also being considered.The people’s voice Crimes on highways are on a rise. Providing security will benefit both the commuters and the NHAI.— Ankur Saxena, Advertising professionalThis is not a permanent solution. To curb crime, we need to touch, move, and inspire people.— Bhrigu Bagga, Journalism studentThis is a great move, GPS and CCTVs should also be made compulsory at check posts on isolated highways.— Saquib Siddhqui, IT professionalArmed men in uniform will at least generate a fear among miscreants. CCTV installation will also help.— Munish Bagga, employed at a schoolHighway horrors2017: Three men gang raped a 22-year-old woman in Gurugram after throwing her nine-month-old daughter out of the auto near NH 8.2017: Six robbers attacked and looted a family on the Jewar-Bulandshahr highway in Greater Noida.2016: Criminals stopped a car and dragged a 13-year-old girl and her mother to a field, where they raped them for 3 hours.2016: A businessman’s SUV was robbed near Shankar Chowk on NH 8.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In order to provide affordable medicines to poor and the middle class people of state, 400 Jan Aushadhi Stores would be opened in Rajasthan under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra Yojana by August next year. Mansukh Laxman Mandaviya union minister of state for Road Transport & Highways informed media during his one-day visit to the state on Thursday.During a press conference at PWD office, Mandaviya asked chief minister Vasundhara Raje to take immediate action for providing affordable medicines to the poor, farmers and middle class people in the state. He said that the centre would open 400 Jan Aushadhi stores by August 2018 through MoU between Rajasthan Cooperative Department, state government and union government. He said that 1,000 such centres have been opened in the country where medicines for BP, cardiac problems and diabetes are available at upto 50 per cent less price. More than 100 medicines and more than 150 surgical items would also be available at the stores.The union minister praised state government on the issue of land acquisition for national highways. He said that CM Raje takes personal interest in land acquisitions which is why work of national highways has speeded up. He informed that works of Rs17,000 crore related to national highways is underway in the state.The union minister also said that the state used to get a grant of Rs150-200 crore during previous government rule but it has gone up to nearly Rs900-1000 crore per year from the last three years during NDA government which has helped in speeding up work. The minister also said that Road Transport and Highways ministry and NHAI would also give its support in speeding up building of national highways.He o reviewed projects at the PWD office and asserted that there is no shortage of funds for national highway projects. He told that state government could approve new projects as soon as the existing projects are complete.SIX-LANE HIGHWAYThe six-lane work of Jaipur-Delhi highway would be complete by March next year. The project was supposed to be completed by August-November 2017, but got delayed due to financial crisis faced by the highway contractor. A feasibility report for making Jaipur-Delhi highway as expressway is also being prepared and the work would proceed once the report is ready.RING ROADThe union minister has said that the Jaipur ring road project would be completed in 2018. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has taken up the project now. Earlier, the ring road project was with the state government but the work could not be completed. National Highway Authority of India would start the work soon and the project would be started in two phases.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Urban Development Secretary Rajiv Gauba was today named as the next Home Secretary as part of a major top-level bureaucratic reshuffle effected today.He will succeed Rajiv Mehrishi, who completes his term on August 30.A total of 16 secretaries have been appointed to various central government departments. The government has changed portfolios of a few secretaries in this rejig.Gauba, a 1982 batch IAS officer of Jharkhand cadre, will take over as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Union home ministry with immediate effect, an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.He has served in the home ministry as joint and additional secretaries where he looked after crucial Naxal division, among other responsibilities.Durga Shanker Mishra will replace Gauba as the Urban Development Secretary. He is the Additional Secretary in the same ministry.Culture Secretary N K Sinha will be the new Information and Broadcasting Secretary in place of Ajay Mittal, who has been appointed as the DoPT secretary. DoPT Secretary B P Sharma retires this month-end.Senior bureaucrat Subhash C Garg, Executive Director in World Bank, will be the new Department of Economic Affairs Secretary, a post that had fallen vacant after the retirement of Shaktikanta Das.Aruna Sundararajan will be the new Telecom Secretary. She is at present the Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).Ajay Prakash Sawhney will be the new MeitY Secretary in place of Sundararajan.NHAI chief Yudhvir Singh Malik has been appointed the Road, Transport and Highways Secretary. Deepak Kumar, at present the Director General Employee’s State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) will be the new chairman of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).Ajay Kumar Bhalla will be the new Power Secretary. He is at present the Director General of Foreign Trade.Bhalla, a 1984 batch IAS officer, will take over the new charge from P K Pujari, who retires on June 30.Food Processing Industries Secretary Avinash Kumar Srivastava will be the Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs in place of Jagdish Prasad Meena who has been appointed in his place.New and Renewable Energy Secretary Rajeev Kapoor has been named the Secretary, Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals.Anand Kumar, the managing director of the newly-created National Highways Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd, will replace Kapoor in the Ministry of New and Renewal Energy.Ravi Kant, a 1984 batch IAS officer of Bihar cadre, will be the new Shipping Secretary. He has been appointed in place of Rajive Kumar, who has been recently sent back to Uttar Pradesh cadre before completion of his tenure.Kant is at present the Additional Secretary in Department of Defence.Border Management Secretary Sanjeevanee Kutty has been appointed Secretary, Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare in Defence Ministry. She will take over from Prabhudayal Meena, who retires on July 31.Arun Kumar Panda has been appointed as the Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. He is at present Additional Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than 100 people were booked by the Police today for allegedly blocking national highway at various places during farmers protest in Haryana. The farmers had gathered at various places in Haryana and blocked national highways as part of their nation-wide stir against the death of five cultivators in police firing in Madhya Pradesh and “failure” of the Centre to provide relief to the farming community. Police said the Rohtak-Panipat national highway was blocked here near village Gilhor Kalan and 27 people had been booked in this connection, while 120 other people were also booked. Rohtak-Jind highway was blocked by the protesters and 15 people had been booked in this connection, they said. All the people had been booked under the National Highways Act and other relevant provisions of the law, police said. Police said they managed to clear the highways after talking to the protesters. Led by Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Gurnam Singh, farmers had also gathered near Mohra in Ambala in Haryana and blocked the highway there by parking their tractors. Apart from Ambala, farmers also held protests at Rohtak, Sonepat, Hisar, Sirsa, Jind, Bhiwani and Charkhi Dadri. In view of the farmers’ protest, the Haryana police had taken necessary steps to deal with the situation. Four companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had been deployed in Ambala, Kurukshetra, Sonepat and Jind.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and some Union ministers here to discuss the developmental projects in the state. A statement from the Uttar Pradesh government said Modi assured Adityanath of support to the developmental schemes introduced by him in the state and appreciated the works of his administration. Besides the prime minister, Adityanath met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari during his two-day stay in the national capital. Adityanath, who is still a member of the Lok Sabha, also called on BJP president Amit Shah. During his meeting with Goyal yesterday, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister discussed the issues related to power production and transmission in the state. Addressing a joint press conference with Gadkari here today, he said his government had decided to augment the internal road infrastructure for a 76-km stretch for the Kumbh Mela in 2019. Adityanath also said the work on a Rs-2,460 crore project to construct a six-lane bridge on the Ganga at Allahabad would commence soon.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has written a letter to Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari to de-notify a 7.75-kilometer-stretch on a national highway in the Capital so that sale of liquor is allowed in hotels, restaurants and resorts. Earlier this stretch was banned from serving alcohol, following a recent Supreme Court order. The order bans sale of liquor in establishments that are within 500 meters of national and state highways.Sisodia wrote to Gadkari on May 31, after a representation was made by owners and managers of various hotels, restaurants and resorts based on the National Highway 236 also known as Mehrauli-Gurugram (MG) Road. In the letter, Sisodia stated, “It has been mentioned in the representation that business has been adversely affected and huge social impact also.”He has urged Gadkari to look into the matter for “necessary action”.The representation made by hotel, restaurant and banquet owners stated the excise department has cancelled all excise licenses including temporary licences on the 7.75 kilometer-stretch from Anderia Mor to the Delhi and Haryana border on National Highway 236. They stated that the liquor ban on this stretch of road has caused huge unemployment, closure of businesses and a huge loss of revenue to the government.The representation to the deputy chief minister was made by 11 restaurants and banquets on NH-236.In its representation, the hotel, restaurant and banquet representatives stated, “We are suffering. The livelihoods of hundreds of our employees is at stake. We humbly request you to accept our plea to de-notify the above stretch of NH-236 at the earliest.”To further strengthen their point, the representatives stated that Road number 236 was made a national highway on February 2, 2010. “This was a sample highway made by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to showcase how NHAI plans to replicate the highways was building across India at that time. In 2013, NHAI gave over this highway — NH-236 — to Delhi government’s Public Works Department,” it stated.Interestingly, the representation also stated that highway NH-236 is the only highway of its kind in India which starts in the city and ends in the city. As a result, it pointed out that once the NH-236 enters Gurugram it ceases to be a highway as Haryana government treats it as a city road thereafter. Also all outlets having excise licenses are allowed to function on the rest of road.”The NH-236 has many entry and exit points leading to various farms houses, villages and laldora residential areas and does not really classify as a highway,” the representation stated.Since the ban of the sale of liquor within 500 meters of national and state highways, many are re-designating highways or seeking legal redress to circumvent it.LICENCES CANCELLEDThe representation made by hotel, restaurant and banquet owners stated the excise department has cancelled all excise licences including temporary licenses on the 7.75 kilometer-stretch from Anderia Mor.
Manish Sisodia wrote to Gadkari, after a representation was made by owners and managers of various hotels, restaurants and resorts based on the National Highway 236
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Kerala High Court today directed the state government to ensure that no liquor bar opened on the basis of its last week order on pleas of bar owners functioned till the disposal of a review petition related to the matter. Justice Devan Ramachandran issued the directive, observing that the state government had misinterpreted the court order relating to reopening of bars, which were closed following the ban on sale of liquor within 500 metres of highways. Passing orders on a petition by bar owners last week, the court had directed the state excise department to consider the application of petitioners for permission to operate the bars in the light of a August 14, 2014 government notification denotifying certain highways. The bar owners had contended that the roads from Kannur till Kuttippuram and from Cherthala to Thiruvananthapuram could not be considered as highways in view of the notification. Filing a petition seeking a review of the order, one V P Ibrahimkutty from Koyilandy in Kozhikode district, claimed that Kerala PWD Minister has openly declared that the roads were still National Highways. He alleged that the state government was now initiating steps to permit bar licences along these highways, ignoring entries in the National Highway Act 1956. Judge Ramachandran directed the state government to see that none of the bars opened on the basis of the earlier high court order shall function till the present petition was heard and posted it for tomorrow.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has expressed displeasure over the condition of NH 37 and directed officials to complete the repair work within a stipulated timeframe. Sonowal travelled from Dibrugarh to Kaziranga after complaints from different quarters were received on the poor condition of NH 37. The chief minister asked the contractors, involved in the repair works of the National Highway, to complete the work within the stipulated timeframe, a government release said today. “Though the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) engaged contractors to repair the highway, their failure to complete the repair work within a stipulated time has caused a lot of inconvenience to the public,” Sonowal said. “The government is committed to provide efficient governance to the people and no compromise on public interest would be accepted,” the release quoted Sonowal as saying. “The departments and contractors engaged in highway repairing work must perform their duty with utmost sincerity and dedication in the coming days,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today directed the forest department to launch a state-wide drive to plant indigenous tree varieties along the highways, a move aimed at environment conservation. He also asked the urban development department to go in for intensive greening of residential colonies, with amendment in rules, if necessary, to make it mandatory for builders to allocate a part of the property for green plantation in order to obtain the necessary building clearances, an official release said. The chief minister’s directives came on the World Environment Day, which the state government celebrated with a renewed commitment to protect the environment from further deterioration and to conserve the precious resources of Punjab. In a directive to the forest department, he underlined the need to undertake a mega campaign to restore the state’s green belt, especially along the highways, where it had been eroded as a result of four-laning and other development projects. Amarinder advised the department officials to undertake large-scale plantation of Punjab’s native trees such as Kikkar, Shisham, Mango, Ashoka, Jamun, Imli aomg others the highways. He also asked the urban development department to launch tree plantation drives in colonies to improve the air quality and the aesthetics of these areas. He also appealed the people to join hands with the state government in its campaign to protect the state’s ecology to ensure a better future for their children.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In another major sanction to Uttarakhand after the Rs 12,000 crore all-weather Chardham roads project, the Centre has allotted Rs 1,557 crore for the Tanakpur-Pithoragarh National Highway to boost connectivity in Kumaon region. The sanction to the long awaited project was given when Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat recently called on Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi, a CMO official said here today. The construction of the 148 km NH 125 will improve road connectivity in the Kumaon region in a significant way, he said. The project will be completed by 2020 and will be carried out simultaneously with the Chardham project, the official said. As per the plan approved for NH 125, there will be 23 bridges, 13 bus bays, three truck bays, 1,086 culverts and three wayside amenities on the route. “It is a major gift from the Centre to the state after the ambitious Rs 12,000 crore Chardham project which will ensure safe journey of pilgrims bound for the four famous Himalayan shrines in all kinds of weather, besides generating fresh employment opportunities for the local population,” the official said. The foundation stone of the Chardham project was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi just before the state Assembly polls in February this year.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The NITI Aayog has chosen four infrastructure projects of the Delhi government and will help in their execution under its development support policy. Two of these projects are related to transit-oriented development – smart city at North Delhi’s Gulabi Bagh and ISBT Sarai Kale Khan in southeast Delhi. The other two are the North-South Delhi elevated corridor from Signature Bridge to National Highways 8 (near IGI Airport) and the Elevated Cycle Corridor along Satpullah Nallah from Press Enclave to Barapullah Nallah flyover in south Delhi. The government’s premier policy think tank will provide support services like expertise to these four proposed projects being executed by the Public Works Department of the Delhi government. “The NITI Aayog has chosen the Delhi government’s four infrastructure projects under its Development Support Service to States (DSSS) policy. The Aayog will provide support services in executing these four projects in the city,” Delhi PWD Minister Satyendar Jain told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that he is not a “trader of dreams” but a person with a track record of “actualising” them, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday, said India saw awards for building 16,800 kms of roads in the last fiscal which was a world record of sorts.Claiming that giant steps are underway to overhaul the country’s infrastructure with a target for execution of works worth Rs 25 lakh crore in five years, Gadkari said projects worth Rs 6.5 lakh crore have already been awarded.”I am not a trader of dreams rather I am a person with strong commitment who has a track record of actualising dreams which he shows. I am not a man of empty words and a record can be kept of the promises I make,” Road Transport, Shipping and Highways Minister Gadkari said in reply to a query at the India Today Editors Roundtable.The country saw awards for building 16,800 kms of roads in the last fiscal which was a “world record” of sorts, he added. Gadkari said his idea of developing a city like Davos in Auli in Uttarakhand could very well be realised as it is already a ski destination in Chamoli district and falls on the way to Badrinath.A Rs 12,000 crore project is on for developing 900 km of National Highways in Uttarakhand for improving connectivity to the Char Dham pilgrimage centres — Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri in the Himalayas, he said.
ALSO READ RSS ideology is solution to all problems: Nitin GadkariThe minister said the work on the project is likely to be completed before 2018 and work orders worth Rs 6,500 crore have already been awarded. Besides, tough Himalayan rocks are being cut to make the pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar, linked to the faith of millions of Indians, easy, he said.Gadkari added the government is constructing a highway through Uttarakhand for Kailash-Mansarovar to make it easy for people to visit the pilgrimage place in the high altitudes which at present can be reached only through the arduous Lipulekh Pass route and Nathu La route, opened by China in 2015.”Air Force, BRO and Defence are working on the project. Helipad has been constructed there for MI 26 helicopters,” the minister said adding that the work is on in full swing on his dream project.Likewise, massive work is on to develop waterways, he said, adding that Rs 4,000 crore work is on to develop Varanasi-Haldia stretch of the Ganges where three multimodal hubs are being constructed. The minister exuded confidence that the work on the Ganga project is likely to be completed by December next year.Steps being taken to ease traffic on Indian roads on unprecedented growth of vehicles, he admitted that automobile sector in the country is growing at the rate of 22 per cent but at the same time massive steps are on to ease the traffic on Indian roads. He said consent from the Defence Ministry has been obtained for widening the road at Dhaula Kuan till 11 Murti.Besides, there are projects like Metrino for 70 km Dhaula Kuan – Manesar stretch. Work on National Highway 24 is also underway in full swing, he said, taking a dig at a section of media as well as NGOs, terming them a “microscopic community” who were opposed to any idea.In reply to a query, he said “land acquisition is not a problem as farmers and people are coming in large numbers to offer their land for projects after enhanced compensations” and presently no project is being awarded before completing 80 per cent land acquisition.A huge sum of Rs 25,000 crore is lying with the state governments given by the Centre for awards for land acquisition, the minister said.On augmenting infrastructure in difficult areas, he said the Chenani-Nashri tunnel, an infrastructure marvel in Jammu and Kashmir, is one of the major achievements as this is India’s longest road tunnel which has been built in record time.Many such projects are on the anvil, including the Zojila tunnel, which has to be rebid. The minister said there is complete transparency in the awards of projects and no fingers had been pointed at him in this regard ever.Regretting that India accounts for one of the highest road related mortalities globally with about 5 lakh road accidents a year in which 1. 5 lakh people die and another 3 lakh are crippled, Gadkari said that he was confident that the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill 2016, which has been passed in the Lok Sabha, will be cleared by the Rajya Sabha in the upcoming Parliament session.The Bill, once enacted, will unleash radical reforms in the transport sector by ensuring 100 per cent e-governance, checking bogus driving licenses and vehicle thefts, slapping heavy penalty on traffic violators and protecting the good samaritans, he said.Besides, he said 786 accident spots have been identified across the country where mishaps happen due to faulty road engineering and these are being mended at a cost of about Rs 11,000 crore.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former ministers Gangu Ram Musafir and Ram Lal Thakur today refuted the BJP’s allegation that the state government has failed to prepare detailed project reports (DPRs) for National Highways sanctioned by the Centre. The Centre had sanctioned 61 national highways in principle and had approved Rs 229.69 crore for preparations of DPRs through consultants, the former ministers said in a joint statement. So far, only two roads have been notified as National Highways while the financial evaluation of 10 roads has been done and technical bids have been opened for 42 roads and sent to the Union government for approval, they said. The former ministers claimed that there was no delay on the part of the national highway wing of the state PWD Department which has always been “pro-active”. Such criticism of the state government by the BJP leaders was unwarranted, they said. As far as the release of funds from the Centre was concerned, they said there was nothing unusual in it as every state got its due share from the Union government. The provision was made under the 14th Finance Commission for the period 2015-2020 but the Union government has curtailed various Centre-sponsored schemes and funds for various schemes have also been withheld, the release alleged. The Congress leaders claimed the state would suffer a loss of Rs 20,000 crore from the period between 2015-2020 due to cut in the central grants. Himachal Pradesh has also suffered a loss of Rs 1,500 crore during the last two years due to less transfer of central taxes to the state, the former minister claimed. BJP spokesman Rajiv Bindal had alleged that the state government has failed to prepare detailed project reports (DPRs) of 61 National Highways sanctioned by the Union Ministry of Surface Transport and Highways.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has requested Union Minister Nitin Gadkari for construction of an interchange facility at Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) for the Palwal-Aligarh Road. In a demi-official letter to the Union Minister of Road Transport Highways and Shipping today, the Chief Minister also thanked him for having taken keen interest in four laning and six laning of roads in the state, an official release said. Khattar, in his letter, mentioned that the Palwal-Aligarh Road connects Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. It crosses Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) at around after 126.137 km where only a 30 metres underpass has been provided and that too without an interchange facility, the release said. “Given the importance of this inter-state road, it would be appropriate to provide an interchange facility with the EPE,” the Chief Minister said. He also requested Gadkari to issue necessary directions to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in this regard. In the letter, Khattar also requested the Union minister to issue necessary directions either to make funds available to the Haryana Public Works (Building and Roads) Department for one time improvement of internal national highways or take up the improvements as per the estimates forwarded by the department to the NHAI.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Reacting to the Centre’s decision to end the VIP culture and ban the use of red beacon on vehicles belonging to dignitaries, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan on Thursday asserted that VIP culture should go as he had always stood in support of abolishing the red beacon system. ?I have always stood in support of abolishing the red beacon system. This VIP culture should go and even ministers should feel like commoners sometimes. It?s nice to see that most of the ministers have removed the red beacon and have stood in support of this cause,? Balyan told ANI. A day before, the Union Cabinet, in its meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to do away with beacons of all kinds atop all categories of vehicles in the country. The government is of the considered opinion that beacons on vehicles are perceived symbols of VIP culture and have no place in a democratic country. Beacons, however, will be allowed on vehicles concerned with emergency and relief services, ambulance, fire service etc. In the light of this decision, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will make necessary provisions in the law. As per reports, the President of India, the Vice President, the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Lok Sabha Speaker will only be allowed to use the red beacon. It was reported last week that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had called a meeting to discuss whether the red beacon should be discarded or restricted to certain dignitaries.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ending a decades-old VIP tradition, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to do away with beacon lights for all vehicles starting May 1, including those of the President and the Prime Minister. Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari led the way by taking the beacon off his official vehicle after the cabinet meeting. Emergency and relief service vehicles, ambulances, fire brigade, and vehicles belonging to the police and army have been exempted.Calling the decision “historic”, Gadkari said that beacons on vehicles have been perceived as symbols of VIP culture and have no place in a democratic country. He added that the cabinet decision will help strengthen healthy democratic values.The minister said that the government took the decision since sirens and beacons on VIP vehicles didn’t sit well with the masses.”In many states, MLAs use beacon lights and some of them use detachable beacons. Even use of sirens by ministers is not legal and these can be used only by pilot police vehicles,” Gadkari said.The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will make necessary provisions in the law based on the cabinet decision. “There is no need for any amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act. We can issue the notification and a notice will be issued for public hearing,” Gadkari said.As per the cabinet decision, Rule 108 (1) III of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, that allowed vehicles carrying dignitaries specified by the central or the state governments to fix a red beacon light on top of their vehicles, has been abolished by the government.The original rule stated that use of blue/amber light with flashers shall be determined and notified by the state governments at their discretion. This discretion now stands withdrawn.Rule 108 (3), which states that blue light with or without flasher shall be permitted as top light on vehicles escorting VIPs entitled to the use of red light beacons, has not been touched.In 2013, the Supreme Court (SC) had noted that the use of beacons by ministers and government officials should be ended immediately as they were ridiculous and synonymous with power. Later, the apex court termed beacons as status symbol and said ambulances, fire services, police and the army need red lights, apart from constitutional functionaries. The rest, it said, can be excluded and that there was no need for it to pass an order to that effect.In 2015, the apex court directed the Centre to prune the list of VIPs using red beacons.Following the order, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had proposed to trim the list of people entitled to the privilege, but failed to get an adequate response from all states. It had proposed that only governors, chief ministers, and speakers of state assemblies and chief justices of high courts should be allowed to use beacons.Gadkari, too, had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for their views.RED SIGNALRed Light With Flasher: Those allowed to sport these include 13 VVIPs. Will stop from May 1.Red Light Without Flasher: 19 dignitaries presently allowed to have these atop of their vehicles. These will be turned off from May 1.Why?Rule 108 (1) III of Motor Vehicles Act that allowed a vehicle carrying high dignitaries as specified by the Central Government or the State Government to fix a red beacon light on top has been abolished.Blue/Amber Lights: Will remain. But the rule governing use of such lights has been amended.How?The original rule stated that use of blue/amber light with flasher shall be determined and notified by the state governments at their discretion.
The amended rule now only empowers emergency services to use this category of light. The discretion from state governments stands withdrawn.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Centre today came up with the decision to end the VIP culture prevalent in India and banned the use of red beacon on vehicles attached to dignitaries, including the central and state ministers. But what may attract more eyeballs is that Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has been practising the same since the past eight years. Back in 2009, Raman Singh had decided to take the red beacon off his vehicle. However, he did not impose it on his ministers and left it in on their discretion to choose. Even when the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister goes for inspection of districts, the vehicle for him does not carry red beacon. In this regard, strict instructions have been given to the district magistrates. Captain Amarinder Singh and Yogi Adityanath, the new chief ministers of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, have already taken steps to either end or restrict the VIP culture. However, Raman Singh remains the first Chief Minister to have followed this practice for the last eight years. The decision taken by the Union Cabinet in this regard will be implemented from May 1. Union Minister for Road, Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari told ANI in an exclusive conversation today that people of the country used to get angry by the red beacon and the sirens. ?So, we decided in the Cabinet meeting that red beacon will be used only in emergency services like fire brigade, ambulances etc. A notification in this regard will be issued before May 1,? he added. With a view to strengthening healthy democratic values in the country, the Central Government took another historic step today. The Union Cabinet in its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today decided to do away with beacons of all kinds atop all categories of vehicles in the country. The government is of the considered opinion that beacons on vehicles are perceived symbols of VIP culture and have no place in a democratic country. They have no relevance whatsoever. Beacons, however, will be allowed on vehicles concerned with emergency and relief services, ambulance, fire service etc. In the light of this decision, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will make necessary provisions in the law. As per reports, the President of India, the Vice President, the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Lok Sabha Speaker will only be allowed to use the red beacon. It was reported last week that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had called a meeting to discuss whether the red beacon should be discarded or restricted to certain dignitaries.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking to end VIP culture, the Union Cabinet decided on Wednesday that beacon light will be removed from all vehicles, including that of the Prime Minister, from May 1. After the decision was announced, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis took to Twitter saying that he was “celebrating this epic step for strengthening our democracy” and will stop using red beacon from Thursday onwards.Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari showed the way by becoming the first minister to take the beacon off his official vehicle after the Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “In a historic decision, the Cabinet has decided that beacon lights will be removed from all vehicles, barring emergency service vehicles, from May 1,” he said.
ALSO READ As Captain Amarinder looks to end VIP culture, his minister threatens to suspend principal over minor gaffe!It has been decided to do away with beacons of all kinds on top of all categories of vehicles in the country. The minister said “this government is a government of common masses and has decided to abolish VIP culture of beacon lights and sirens”.The government has taken the decision with a view to strengthening “healthy democratic values” in the country. “The government is of the considered opinion that beacons on vehicles are perceived symbols of VIP culture and have no place in a democratic country. They have no relevance whatsoever,” Gadkari reasoned.
ALSO READ From cracking down on drug menace to abolition of VIP culture: Key decisions at Amarinder’s first Cabinet meetBeacons, however, will be allowed on vehicles concerning emergency and relief services, ambulance, fire service etc. In light of the decision, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will make necessary provisions in law.According to Gadkari, this is start of a healthy culture and tradition as blaring of sirens and blazing of beacons used to anger the masses.In many states, even MLAs blatantly used beacon lights, he said, adding that some of them had the practice of using detachable beacons. Even use of sirens by ministers is not legal as these can be used only by pilot police vehicles, he pointed out.The step is bound to increase faith and respect of common masses in the Narendra Modi government, he hoped. Asked what will be the punitive measures in case of violations, the minister said action will be taken as per provisions. He said a detailed notification in this regard will be issued soon and there is no need for any amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act.”We can issue the notification under respective rules and before that, a notice will be issued for public hearing,” he said.(With PTI inputs)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The work of rebuilding the British-era Mahad bridge, which had collapsed in August last year and claimed around 30 lives, is almost done and it is likely to be opened for public from June 5 this year. Maharashtra Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Chandrakant Patil gave this information to reporters. “The bridge is almost ready and we hope to open it for public on June 5. The bridge will be inaugurated by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray,” he informed. Patil was speaking after a review meeting held here with Gadkari and the authorities of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). “The state has spent around Rs 27 crore on rebuilding the bridge,” he said. When asked whether the Maharashtra government would also denotify state highways in the backdrop of the Supreme Court ban on liquor outlets along the highways, Patil said, “We do not have any such plans and in Mumbai, it was just the Western and Eastern Expressways that were transferred to MMRDA.” “We also do not have any plans of denotifying the Sion-Panvel highway,” he said. The British-era Mahad bridge across the River Savitri on the Mumbai-Goa highway, collapsed on August 2, taking with it two buses and two private vehicles, carrying over 40 persons.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Madras High Court has directed authorities to submit details of the link road and access to the National Highway at Gummidipoondi in connection with a case seeking to forebear authorities from proceeding with the construction of a petrol station. It directed the Regional officer of Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the Deputy General Manager(Tech) and Project Director National Highways Authority of India, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, and District Collector, Thiruvallur to file counter within two weeks with the details. The first bench, comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar, gave the direction when a PIL from a social activist, S Selvam, came up on Thursday. The petitioner submitted that one side of the open link road in the inter-section of state highway and national highway of Chennai Kolkata was closed for the construction of a petrol station by BPC.He submitted that the closure will lead to traffic congestion and cause hardship to the public. When the matter came up, senior Counsel KM Vijayan, who appeared on behalf of the petitioner, submitted that they are not against the construction of the petrol station provided rules and guidelines are followed and if it is built in accordance with law. He alleged that the No Objection Certificate for the construction of the petrol station was issued by violating guidelines. The petitioner submitted that the PIL was filed as an earlier representation to the authorities concerned did not evoke any action.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister J P Nadda along with MPs from Himachal Pradesh today met Transport minister Nitin Gadkari and reviewed the status of various approved highway projects in that state. “Met Hon’ble Minister of RT&H, Shri @nitin_gadkari ji along with Hon’ble MPs of H.P in Transport Bhawan today,” Nadda tweeted. “Status of NH proposal, CRF/ISC proposal approved / announced by Hon’ble Minister for HP reviewed in this meeting,” he said in a tweeted. Nadda said the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has given in principal approval to national highway projects worth around Rs 19,000 crore in Himachal Pradesh. “@MORTHIndia has given ‘in principal’ approval for 59 NH in HP, which would involve Rs. 19,400 crore (approx.) investment. “NDA govt under the leadership of Hon PM Shri @NarendraModi ji is committed for the development of road infrastructure in Himachal Pradesh,” he said in a series of tweets.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday came in for praise in the Lok Sabha from the Opposition whose members said he is “sincere” and has “impressive performance”.During a debate on the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2016, members complimented Gadkari for doing a “very good job”. Congress leader KC Venugopal, while heaping praise on Gadkari, said he has been a very “sincere” minister who has been trying hard to address major challenges facing the road transport sector. BJD member Tathagata Satpathy said Gadkari is a “hard working person” who is hell bent on proving that good work can be done even if the government is bad.”Even in the darkest of night, a single star looks bright,” he remarked. Congress’ leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Trinamool Congress’ Dinesh Trivedi and few other opposition members also complimented Gadkari for his impressive performance, bringing broad smile on the minister’s face. Kharge, while complimenting Gadkari for his performance as a Union Minister, pointed towards empty treasury benches, suggesting there was not much appreciation for his work as they were absent when an important bill has been introduced by him.Satpathy said people in Gadkari’s home town Nagpur of the view that he is doing an excellent work. “I would like to draw his attention to Bhubaneswar. Bhubaneswar is a city which is coming up and growing and you should look at Bhubaneswar with equal love and affection,” he said.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi government has formed a committee to look into the complaints of a few hotels, bars and restaurants who demanded restoration of their licences claiming their establishments were beyond 500 metres of the highways. The move comes after a representation of the owners of a few affected hotels, bars and restaurants was made before Excise Commissioner Sanjay Kumar. Sources in the department said the three-member committee, headed by Assistant Commissioner, will verify complainants’ claims and if found correct, it will be rectified. “After March 31, owners of some hotels, restaurants and bars approached the department and complained that they are out of ambit of 500 metre distance. They demanded that their licence should be restored,” a source said. Over 100 liquor vends, restaurant and hotel bars located within 500 metres of highways have been shut down in the city following the Supreme Court order that such establishments cannot function within 500 metres of highways.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The UT Chandigarh managed to register 22 per cent growth in revenue collection from the auction of 53 liquor vends, despite the ban on liquor shops within 500 meters of highways. One liquor shop was auctioned at the highest ever price of Rs nine crore. Against the reserve price of Rs 139 crore from the auction of 53 liquor vends, the UT Chandigarh excise and taxation department got bids to the tune of Rs 170 crore, an official of the department said here today. “We have seen 22 per cent growth in revenue collection from the auction of 53 liquor vends,” the official said. The department also saw highest ever revenue bid of Rs nine crore for auction of a liquor shop located in sector 42 here, followed by Rs seven crore bid for a vend in sector 44. “Under the single unit system, the liquor vend in sector 42 was auctioned at highest ever price of Rs nine crore,” he said. In the wake of Supreme court order, there will be 77 liquor vends in the city for the year 2017-18. As many as 22 liquor vends were shut down which were within the 500 meters of the highways, the official said. The department has pegged the revenue of Rs 202 crore from the auction of 77 liquor shops for the year 2017-18. “The decision for the auction of remaining liquor shops will be taken soon,” he further said. UT Chandigarh excise and taxation department has also raised the liquor quota by 10 per cent. “The quota for the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) has been raised to 74.25 lakh proof litres and for country liquor at 8.25 lakh PL,” the official said. He said efforts have also been made to keep the price of low-alchohol drinks like beer and wine low.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Several states are looking at measures like denotifying highways while others are thinking of moving court to seek exemptions, amidst concerns of the hospitality sector and fears of revenue losses following an apex court order banning liquor sale along highways. Union Road, Transport and Highways ministry officials said today that they have received “several requests” from some states a to convert National Highways as district roads apparently to protect revenues. Among the states considering moving court is Goa, whose Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said his government is contemplating approaching the Supreme Court for proper clarification (on the order), and possibly (seek) some special consideration for the state. Kerala too is considering going to the Supreme Court to “seek time” regarding the implementation of its order banning the sale of liquor along highways. The Chhattisgarh government has meanwhile constituted an 11-member committee to study the excise policy of other states where liquor is banned or is being sold under supervision. Some road stretches were denotified in Rajasthan but officials said that it had nothing to do with the Court order. In Delhi, the Road, Transport and Highways ministry officials are in a fix as they have received peculiar requests to denotify national highways when the Centre plans to take the length of such roads to 2 lakh km from the existing about 1 lakh km. “The Road Transport and Highways Ministry has received several requests from states to denotify some of their national highways stretches so that they could convert them as district roads,” an official said. The official said that the Ministry has received a request in writing from the union territory of Daman to denotify some of its NH stretches as liquor contributes a major part to the state revenues. Others like Punjab, Telangana, Kerala, Goa and Haryana had also made such requests but that is still to come in writing, the official said. Meanwhile in Gurugram, the Haryana Excise and Taxation Department allowed 43 liquor shops to resume business after relocating beyond a ‘motorable distance’ of 500 metres from the highway, in the wake of the Supreme Court ban. Several pubs and bars located in Cyber Hub, Sector 29 and premier hotels like the Leela, Trident, Oberoi and Westin have not been able to sell liquor because of proximity to the NH-8. Many hoteliers whose pubs have been closed have alleged that measuring techniques employed by the Haryana Excise and Taxation department are not reliable. They have demanded the district and town planners measure the motorable distance of their properties from the highway. In Chandigarh, Harman Sidhu, who had led a campaign against liquor vends on highways and drunken driving, has said that he keeps getting threat calls which he takes in his stride. “I keep getting such calls, there is nothing new,” Sidhu said when he was asked to comment if he gets threat calls for launching a crusade against liquor vends on highways. (More) TEAM(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Concerned about a likely hit to their revenues following a Supreme Court ruling that banned liquor sale within 500 metres of national and state highways, a few states and Union Territories have approached the Centre to denotify their NHs. The request comes at a time when the Centre plans to take the length of NHs to 2 lakh km from the existing about 1 lakh km. “The Road Transport and Highways Ministry has received several requests from states to denotify some of their national highway stretches so that they could convert them as district roads,” an official said. The official said the ministry has received a request in writing from the UT of Daman to denotify some of its NH stretches as liquor contributes a major part to the state revenues. Others like Punjab, Telangana, Kerala, Goa and Haryana have also put in such requests, but that is still to come in writing, the official said. The Centre has given in-principle approval to upgrading 57,500 km of state highways to NHs, subject to outcome of their detailed project reports, to augment the existing 1.13 lakh km of NHs across the country. Liquor vends within 500 metres of national and state highways will have to shut down from April 1, the Supreme Court said in its verdict on March 31, exempting hill states of Sikkim, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh and areas with a population of up to 20,000. In a significant order passed on pleas of various states seeking modification of the court’s December 15, 2016, verdict, a Bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar also made it clear that the judgment will also be applicable to bars, pubs and restaurants as drunken driving leads to fatal road accidents. The verdict had come on a PIL alleging that nearly 1.42 lakh people died per year in road mishaps and the drunken driving is a major contributor. Sources said some of the state governments, including Andhra Pradesh, are in the process of declaring some of their state highway stretches as district roads. Keeping in view the requirements to enhance road safety, reduce congestions and improve road connectivity, the transport ministry has taken a decision to augment the NHs. The ministry has also reduced the threshold traffic for four-laning of NHs to 10,000, 8,500 and 6,000 passenger car units (PCUs) a day, from 15,000, 11,000 and 8,000, for plain, rolling and mountainous terrains, respectively.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 26-year-old Indian Engineering Services (IES) officer has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman, police said today. The accused is posted as an assistant executive engineer in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. The victim yesterday filed a complaint at Vasunt Kunj (North) police station, alleging that the officer had been harassing her since 2012 when she was a minor. On the basis of the complaint, a case was registered against him and he was arrested. Further details are awaited.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 200 bars in Haryana will be affected by the Supreme Court order banning sale of liquor within 500 meters of highways, while Punjab is yet to work out the number of bars and pubs which will feel the burnt. “The Supreme Court order will affect 194 out of 478 bars in Haryana, most of which are located in Gurugram,” a state excise and taxation department official said today. “Of the total 292 bars in Gurugram, this order will affect 106,” the official said. As many as 500 liquor shops have been dislocated in Haryana following the apex court order, with the excise official claiming, “There is no implication on revenue because of dislocation of liquor vends.” The Supreme Court has directed that no liquor shop shall be visible and directly accessible from the highways nor it should be situated within 500 metres of the outer edge of the national or state highway or of the service lane. This order is also applicable to bars, pubs, which give rise to drunken driving and consequential fatalities. About the impact of the apex court order on revenue of the state, the official said around Rs 100 crore in revenue may have to be foregone due to shutting down of bars and pubs. Although the restaurants or bars may relocate their businesses to other areas, it is the big hotels which would face maximum brunt. In Punjab, the excise and taxation department is figuring out the number of hotels, restaurants (which serve liquor) and bars located within 500 metres of state and national highways. “The district excise and taxation commissioners have been directed to come up within a day the number of hotels, bars and restaurants which are within 500 metres of the highways in the state,” a senior official said, adding 1,300 to 1,400 liquor vends have already been closed and dislocated. “We have not suffered any revenue loss on account of dislocation of liquor vends,” the official said. In Chandigarh, about 90 bars and pubs will be affected because of the Supreme Court order. An office bearer of Chandigarh Hotel and Restaurant Association said because of closure of bars in the city, a large number of people would become jobless. The excise and taxation department of the Union Territory has started a drive to seal the liquor stock at hotels, bars and restaurants which are within the 500 meters of state and national highways.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Supreme Court making it clear that ban on liquor sale along the highways would also apply to pubs, bars and hotels, Maharashtra would be losing yearly revenue of Rs 7,000 crore, the government said today. Excise Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said in the Legislative Assembly here that of the total of 25,513 liquor licenses in the state, licenses of 15,699 outlets which are along the highways will be affected. Bawankule also mentioned that provision of `denotification’ of a part of highway was already there, as the Public Works Department had issued a notification in the past that municipal councils and Zilla Parishads should take charge of the highways passing through their areas if they are part of ring-roads or circular roads. As a fall-out of yesterday’s SC order, “the estimated loss is Rs 7,000 crore (per year),” Bawankule said. “But it’s Supreme Court’s order, we will comply with it. We will find some alternative way to increase the revenue,” he added. If the owners of affected liquor shops apply for a fresh license outside the limit of 500 metres from highways, they will be given a new license without transfer fee, he said. Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant slammed the government for its earlier decision to renew licenses of more than 13,000 bars and permit rooms along the highways, based on the legal opinion given by the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to the Kerala Government that the apex court’s order didn’t affect them. “By reinstating the licenses (of bars and permit rooms) which fall within 500 meters of highways, the government showed it supported the liquor shops rather than caring for people’s lives,” Sawant said. “Congress had opposed the decision and now with the SC stating that all permit rooms and bars along the highways will be shut from today, our stand is vindicated,” Sawant said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Parliamentary committee has targeted the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for failing to meet its targeted funding amount.In its latest report, the Parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture, headed by Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy, stated that the NHAI was allowed to raise Rs 59,279 crore through Internal and Extra Budgetary Resources (IEBR) during 2016-17, but could raise only Rs 27,831 crore till January 2017.The funds were raised through EPFO, LIC bonds, market-bidding and 54 EC capital gain bonds.The panel also questioned how the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways would complete projects planned for the next financial year when there is a huge gap of funding through market resources.It also asked NHAI to take an extra effort to generate more funds to meet its targets.Earlier, Road Minister Nitin Gadkari, too, had expressed unhappiness over NHAI’s performance and said it should have more powers.“We have to strengthen the powers of NHAI and the Board. Our proposal is pending and we are expecting that the Cabinet will enhance the powers of the NHAI. That will be useful for road construction projects,” he had said.NHAI also has to meet a target of 8,000 km (21.92 km/day) of road construction and awards of 15,000 km.Last year, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had authorised NHAI to monetise public-funded National Highway projects that are operational and generating toll revenues under the Toll-Operate-Transfer (TOT) model. Seventy-five operational National Highway projects up to 4,376 km, completed under public funding, have been preliminarily identified for monetisation under the TOT model.The government has allocated a total of Rs 64,900 crore for roads and highways under the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways and NHAI, a 12-per cent increase from the 2016-17 budget of Rs 57,976 crore for the sector.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Punjab government has ordered all Deputy Commissioners and police superintendents to take strict actions agiainst bootleggers and rid the state of the menace. “In order to uproot the menace of bootlegging and illegal sale of liquor, clear directions have been given to the DCs and Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs) to curb the illegal sale of liquor,” an official spokesman said. Only legal transfer of liquor will be allowed and strict action will be taken against bootleggers who indulge in illegal transfers from one area to another, he said. Fair competition in the trade will be ensured and licensees will be able to trade without any fears and pressures. In line with its promise of discouraging liquor consumption in poll manifesto, Amarinder Singh led Congress government has already announced to brought down the number of liquor vends and slashed the liquor quota in its new excise policy for 2017-18. The quota of PML and IMFL has been significantly reduced by 14 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively. In addition to these reforms, the group sizes have been increased. With the increase in group sizes, the number of groups has significantly come down to 148 as compared to 626 in the previous year. “Decrease in the number of groups will ensure fair competition and will eliminate the problems of under cutting and bulk sales,” he said. Further, decrease in the number of groups will also help in mitigating the effect of closure of liquor vends within 500 meters area on National and State Highways. About 550 liquor vends will close down with the implementation of the Supreme Court order, which had directed closure of liquor vends within 500 mt area on national and state highways. The quota of country liquor has been reduced by 14 per cent from 10.10 crore proof litres to 8.70 crore proof litres. Similarly, the quota of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) has been reduced by 20 per cent from 4.73 crore proof litres to 3.80 crore proof litres. Punjab is targeting total revenue of Rs 5,440 crore from liquor during 2017-18. The number of liquor vends in the state will be reduced to 5,900 from 6,384 at present, an official said. In another step towards ensuring transparency in liquor trade in the state, Punjab government has also abolished the L-1A license, which had been introduced by the previous Akali-BJP government.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has brought in norms as per which large plastic product manufaturers are expected to make attempts to get back plastic bottles and other things so that those can be recycled, the Rajya Sabha was told today. The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) norms have been brought because collection of plastic waste is a major challenge, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said while replying to questions on behalf of Environment Minister Madhav Dave who was not present in the House. He said up to 2 million tonnes of plastic remains uncollected, according to estimates. Javadekar said the Environment ministry is teaming up with the Road, Transport and Highways ministry so that both sides of the country’s highways can be made green. Similarly, the ministry is also teaming up with the Railway ministry to ensure that there are trees along rail tracks, he added. He also said that a report has been prepared by the Forest Research Institute on the kind of trees which can be planted.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union ministry for Road Transport and Highways and the Maharashtra government today signed an agreement to construct bridges on railway tracks, which is expected to cost Rs 10,000 crore, Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil said. “There are total 210 level crossings where railway tracks and roads cross each other. Such level crossings lead to either delay in movement of trains or vehicular traffic on roads. To avoid it, the Railways, Union ministry for Highways and the state government have decided to construct the road over bridge (ROBs) and road under bridge (RUBs),” Patil said. He said the total cost of the work is expected to be around Rs 10,000 crore, which is expected to be completed within three years. The agreement was signed at Vidhan Bhavan, where Union minister Nitin Gadkari and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis were present along with Patil and state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar. “Of the total expenditure, railways will contribute Rs 5,000 crore as it is in the rule books of railways. As the state does not have so much funds, Maharashtra government will get Rs 5,000 crore from Central Road Funds. The state government’s role will be in speedy acquisition of land and utility shifting on priority basis. We can manage it,” the Revenue minister said. He said there are 26 national highways that cross its route with railways in the state. “(At such places) there will be ROBs and entire funding will come from National Highways Department,” Patil said. “We are also keen on appointing a dedicated officer for these projects to obtain various types of permissions from railways,” the BJP leader said. When asked about expediting the project without escalating the cost, Patil said, “We are thinking of selecting a group of adjoining districts and treat it as a cluster. We will issue all the major clearances in one go so that work can be finished in time.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has advanced the deadline of 314 big-ticket national highway projects to December 2018 from the earlier target of mid-2019, when the next general elections are scheduled to be held.It’s an ambitious goal but one that Gadkari is determined to meet with no excuses being brooked, top officials told DNA. The minister, they added, had directed all implementing agencies such as the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the National Highways Development Authority (NHDP) to sort out issues associated with every highway so that there are no delays.A senior official from the ministry of road, transport and highways explained that highway projects often get delayed because of a variety of factors. These could include land acquisition issues, legal tangles, problems at the concessionaire’s end, delay on the part of the officials in submitting design drawings, slow disbursement of money, environmental clearances and removal of encroachments.“However, the minister has given directives to all implementing agencies to sort out issues, irrespective of their nature, so that the December 2018 deadline is met and said that no excuse will be accepted,” the official added. A list of 202 such projects accessed by DNA includes important port connectivity projects like Gujarat-Maharashtra border to Surat-Hazira port and expressway projects such as Ennore expressway projects in Chennai.Then there are road projects to decongest cities, including the eastern peripheral expressway project to decongest Delhi and strategically important highway projects in the north-east such as Assam-West Bengal border. Also in the list is the Rs12,000 crore Chardham highway project in Uttarakhand, which will improve connectivity between the pilgrimage centres of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.In a recent workshop on passenger mobility and transportation organised by government think tank Niti Aayog, Gadkari had asked vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya to come up with a solution to stop red-tape and speed up the approval process so that highway projects do not get stuck.“I do not have a problem with raising funds, but the main problem is the slow movement of files and approval process. I request you to come up with a solution for this,” he had said.Gadkari has also said the target of constructing highways would reach 30 km per day by March this year. As of now, it stands at 18.23 km per day compared to an average of 16.6 km per day in 2015-16. After assuming power, Gadkari had set the goal at 41 km per day. A total of 6,604 km (of the set target of 15,000 km) of national highways had been constructed till February 2017.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Forty-six liquor vends in the national capital are set to be closed following the Supreme Court’s order that no liquor shops will be permitted within 500 metres of highways in the country. After the apex court’s verdict on December 15, the Delhi government conducted a survey which found that 46 liquor vends comes within 500 meters from the highways. The Supreme Court had directed that no liquor shop shall be visible and directly accessible from the highways nor it should be situated within 500 metres of the outer edge of the national or state highway or of the service lane. “In its survey by the excise department, 46 liquor vends were found within the range of 500 meters from the highways. As per the SC order, these vends won’t be allowed to operate after March 31,” a senior government official said. Sources said the Delhi government may also move the Supreme Court to seek more clarity on its order of shutting down liquor vends along national and state highways by March 31. As per the top court order, licenses of existing liquor shops on national and state highways will not be renewed after March 31. The SC bench had expressed unhappiness over the alleged inaction by various states in removing liquor shops along roads which give rise to drunken driving and consequential fatalities. In its order, it had noted, “The expressways witnessed 4,208 accident cases, 4,229 injured and 1,802 deaths. Figures are also available of the distribution of road accidents by causes during 2014. 1.38 lakh persons were injured in road accidents involving dangerous or careless driving and 42,127 deaths occurred.” “Injuries caused in accidents due to over-speeding stood at 1.81 lakh while there were 48,654 deaths. 7,307 accident cases involving driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol were registered resulting in 7,398 injuries and 2,591 deaths,” the bench had noted.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Laying bare the poor standards of environmental protection, a new report from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found the Union Environment Ministry severely wanting in monitoring violations of green norms and in clearing projects on time. The report was tabled in Parliament on Friday.The auditor sampled 216 projects that had been granted EC between 2011 and July 2015 to examine how the ministry fared in granting Terms of Reference and ECs. It also sampled 352 projects that had been granted EC between 2008 and 2012 to see if project proponents are following EC conditions and the ministry is monitoring their implementation.The top auditor’s report revealed that there was a delay in granting environmental clearance (EC) within the prescribed limit of 105 days in 89 per cent cases. The highest delay recorded was of 1,002 days, or just under three years. The average delay in grant of EC increased from 86 to 316 days during 2011 and 2014. The report also noted that no errant project proponent was penalised in 2014 and 2015.According to CAG’s report, delays were seen at each and every stage of a project appraisal, beginning from screening and scoping, right down to the appraisal by expert committees.Once the projects were granted EC, there was widespread non-compliance of general and specific conditions imposed in the EC. These conditions ranged from permission to cut a specific number of trees, maintenance of green belt around projects, proper disposal of fly-ash, in the case of thermal power plants, and muck disposal in hydropower projects.To monitor defaulting companies, regional offices were not well-equipped, the CAG noted. There were only 15 scientists available for monitoring of EC conditions against sanctioned strength of 41. They also didn’t have the powers to take action against defaulting project proponents.Among the blatant non-compliance of EC conditions, negligent storage of fly-ash was commonly found. “Improper storage of fly ash was noticed in 33 per cent of the cases. Non-utilisation of fly ash generated was also noticed in 21 per cent of the cases,” the report said.In some instances, the CAG found that project proponents had cut significantly more number of trees than what was permitted. In Chhattisgarh, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) cut 18,400 trees instead of 14,956 for upgradation of Aurang – Saraipaki stretch of NH-17 from four lanes to six lanes.Another worrying factor was the undermining of public consultations. In seven hydropower projects that were inspected, none of them saw proper public consultations.”Regional offices of the ministry don’t have enough staff and they have not submitted half-yearly reports. The ministry agrees that there are huge gaps in monitoring whether project proponents are complying with conditions set during grant of environmental clearance,” said Manish Kumar, Principal Director, CAG.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on his two-day visit to Gujarat, where he dedicated a four-lane extradosed bridge over the Narmada at Bharuch on NH-8 and Petrochemicals Complex of ONGC Petro Additions Limited at Dahej to the nation on Tuesday. In a tweet on Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi said, “Gujarat will cherish the gift of 8 highways that will be converted into National Highways.”Apart from inaugurating the bridge, he also laid the foundation stone of Bharuch bus-port, PM Modi said only the people of this city, who underwent a lot of trouble, will understand the importance of the bridge. “The world will not understand what it means to build a bridge here. The people of Bharuch, who have undergone so much pain, only they will understand its importance.”Emphasising that India’s economy is getting new power on the soil of Bharuch, Prime Minister Modi said, “If the vision is clear, intentions right and ideas perfect, then nothing can hinder success.”With Bharatmala and Sagarmala projects being announced, one with a highway network of Gujarat to Mizoram and the other a string of ports to be built in the Indian Ocean to protect maritime interests respectively, the Prime Minister said, “The Bharatmala and Sagarmala projects will give a strong boost to port-led development.””Be it the road sector or railways, work is happening at a much quicker pace since the time we assumed office,” he further said.
ALSO READ PM Modi announces Rs 12,000 crore investment to upgrade 8 state highways in GujaratIn a tweet, Prime Minister Modi said, these projects will benefit the people of the state immensely.He will be visiting Somnath and Gandhinagar on Wednesday. (With ANI inputs)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Goa government today said that the task of calculating total number of liquor outlets near the highways (both state and national) would be completed tomorrow. More than 3,000 units in the state are likely to be impacted due to the recent Supreme court order banning liquor outlets within 500 metres of the State and National Highways. The Goa excise department has started survey to identify the number of Bars and Restaurants and wholesale vendors which will be covered under the Apex Court s verdict. “The survey is almost complete. There are around 3,124 outlets, which are existing within 500 metres of the highways. The final data will be available tomorrow,” State Excise Commissioner Menino D Souza told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Excise Department in Goa has started issuing showcause notices to bars, restaurants and liquor vendors situated within 500 metres of state and national highways. The move comes following a recent Supreme Court order that has banned sale of liquor within 500 metres of the highways. Such outlets have to be closed down by March 31 and their license will not be renewed. The revenue officials have compiled the data of such establishments in the state. “We have started getting tentative list of the outlets from each taluka. Till date, all talukas except Mormugao and Ponda have around 1,900 outlets which are within the 500 m stipulation laid down by the Supreme Court,” State Excise Commissioner Menino D Souza told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)