18th June, 2013
- Monsoon continues to play havoc in Uttarakhand flood and landslides claim 44 lives in the state 1,700 people remain stranded at different places in Himachal Pradesh.
- Indian Air Force launches operation Rahat to rescue stranded pilgrims in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
- BJP sponsored Bihar Bandh evokes mixed response; affects road and rail services in the state.
- Afghan forces formally take over security of entire country from NATO-led forces.
- Sensex loses 36 points in afternoon trade; Rupee weakens by 59 paise to 58.46 against the Dollar.
- Sri Lanka advances to the knock out stage beating Australia by 20 runs; To meet India in the semi finals.
The Monsoon continued to play havoc in Uttarakhand. The death toll in flood and landslides has risen to 44. About 10 thousand pilgrims have been evacuated so far. Chopper sorties have resumed on as the weather cleared a bit. However, incessant rains and landslides have crippled communication, severely hampering rescue operations. The Dehradun Met department says the state capital received a record of 340 mm of rainfall on Monday and has forecast more heavy rains in the next 24 hours. Several roads, including National Highway- 24, have been blocked to avoid any more traffic jams. Landslides have been continuing in various parts of the state. The river Ganga at Haridwar is now flowing in high flood situation. Several highways between Delhi and Haridwar, Rishikesh and Yamunotri and Gangotri and Badrinath are blocked. Our correspondent has filed this report:
"At least 500 Jawans from NDRF are carrying out rescue work. Food packets are being air dropped in affected areas. In Uttarkashi 1 kilometer road at Joshiyada washed away and more than hundred houses has been swept away. Tiloth bridge has come under dangerous zone due to which vehicular movement has been stopped completely. The water levels of Bhagirathi, Alaknanda and Mandakini have started receding. Supply of electricity and water has been disrupted completely. More than thousands of pilgrims are still trapped in affected areas. Sanjeev Sundriyal, AIR News, Dehradun."
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who was stranded in tribal Kinnaur district for nearly 60 hours due to land-slides triggered by incessant rains, was evacuated this morning. Over 1700 people are still stranded at various places. A chopper hired by the Congress party airlifted the chief minister this morning as rains abated and the weather cleared about a dozen persons, including some old and ailing persons were brought to Rampur in the state helicopter. Secretary, General Administration, coordinating the rescue operations, Bharat Khera said that the state chopper has been pressed into service and people stranded at Pooh in the border area and other places are being evacuated. A large number of tourists, were stranded at various places in Kinnaur district for the past three days and efforts were on to rescue them. The Hindustan-Tibet National Highway, has been breached and blocked beyond Tapri at several points due to massive land-slides triggered by incessant rain. We bring you more form our correspondent:
"The biggest challenge before local administration is to reopen Hindustan-Tibbet National Highway as early as possible because in the district. This highway has been blocked at several places due to heavy landslides. PWD and BRO workers have started their clearance operation. State helicopter has been pressed into service to evacuated tourists and other people. SHISHU SHARMA /SHIMLA /AIR NEWS."
The Indian Air Force has launched operation Rahat to rescue stranded pilgrims in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh after heavy rains reeked havoc in northern India on June 16. Two additional helicopters were put into service today along with the National Disaster Response Force teams in Himachal Pradesh. Relief operations are in full swing providing aid to thousands of stranded pilgrims and tourists.
In Uttar Pradesh, the flash flood has created a grim situation in many sub Himalayan districts including Lakhimpur Kheri, Pilibhit, Bahraich, Shrawasti and Balrampur. In Lakhimpur Kheri over 200 villages are imminently facing the threat of inundation by the water of Ghahgra river which is inflated with 5.2 million cusec released water from the Banbasa barrage. The Sharda and Suheli rivers swelled with heavy downpour in hilly areas are also posing a grave threat in Kheri and Shrawasti. The water level of Ghaghra river is reportedly rising three centimeters per hour in Bahraich where flood water is feared to submerge at least half a dozen villages by three pm today, which are being evacuated.
The Delhi government has begun evacuating people from low-lying areas along the banks of the Yamuna as it crossed the danger mark today. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said the government has taken all precautionary measures to take people to safer places. According to the Delhi Flood Control Department, the river has crossed 204.83 metres and is fast approaching 205 metres at the old railway bridge in central Delhi. The Yamuna, which enters Haryana from Uttrakhand at Hathnikund barrage in Yamunanagar district, had swelled since early Saturday after over eight lakh cusecs of water was released yesterday morning through the Hathnikund barrage.
In Bihar, the day long bandh called by the BJP has evoked
mixed response. The party called for the bandh to protest against the snapping
of their 17 year old alliance with the JDU. Shops and business establishments
are closed. A tussle broke out between the BJP and JD (U) supporters in capital
several of them sustained injuries. National highways and railway lines are
also disrupted at several places despite the BJP's promise of not disrupting
train services. More from our correspondent:
"The BJP is observing betrayal day today. The party is set to play the role of opposition after 8 years. Party workers are allegedly adopting all means to make the bandh successful. Inspite of their assurance, party workers disrupted rail services at Biharsarif and Shekhpura. Security forces have been deployed at all prominent places in Patna. A Special session of the state Assembly will be held tomorrow where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will seek vote of confidence. Hectic parleys are on for the session. With Diwakar Kumar, from Patna this is Zakir Malik/ AIR/ NEWS"
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today met senior BJP leader L.K. Advani at his residence in New Delhi. The meeting is the first since Modi was made Chief of the BJP's election campaign committee earlier this month. Later, Modi also met former Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee. Mr. Advani had resigned from three party posts apparently expressing displeasure at the appointment of Mr. Modi. Mr. Advani has since withdrawn his resignations after BJP President Rajnath Singh assured him that he will personally look into concerns raised by him. Mr. Modi also met party leader Murli Manohar Joshi this morning.
In Assam, the railway police has sought help from the Narcotics Control Bureau, NCB to swiftly deal with the drugs rackets being operationalised in the region. Superintendent of the Railway Police Rounak Ali Hazarika said that the decision was taken after the Government Railway Police seized more than 7 quintals of drugs at Guwahati Railway Station yesterday and arrested 6 persons. All of them are from Mizoram."Government Railway Police sources said that in a bid to curb the menace of drug racket; they sought help form the central agency. Yesterday's incident was the second in Guwahati within a period of 4 days. Railway police recovered more than 9 quintals of drugs form the Rajdhani Express and also arrested 10 persons. On both the occasion, drugs were sent form Delhi. Preliminary investigation revealed that anti-social elements are using Guwahati route to smuggle banned items to Myanmar. Manas Pratim/Sharma/Guwahati."
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram today launched the maiden Infrastructure Debt Fund, IDF Scheme of IIFCL Mutual Fund in New Delhi for catalyzing investment in the Infrastructure sector. Speaking on the occasion Mr. Chidambaram said that it is important to mobilize resources from insurance and pension sectors for IDFs as these funds are available for a long period. The Finance Minister said that in order to give thrust to investment in the infrastructure sector, there is an immense need for financial products such as IDFs.
The newly appointed Union Labour and Employment Minister Mr Shishram Ola today assumed charge of his portfolio. Talking to reporters after taking the charge in New Delhi, Mr Ola said his ministry will find out more ways to combat the increasing child labour in the country. He said that he will hold a meeting with the Ministry officials to discuss the issues related to labour and employment so that the right priorities can be set.
Goa is celebrating its Revolution Day today. Several functions are organised all over the State to mark the occasion. The main State level function was held at Azad Maidan at Panaji where the State Governor Mr. Bharat Vir Wanchoo led the people of the State to pay homage to the sacred memory of the revered martyrs who laid down their lives for the noble cause of the liberation of Goa from the shackles of the erstwhile Portuguese colonial rule.It was on this day in the year 1946 that the great patriot and freedom fighter late Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia gave a clarion call to the people of the state for liberating the territory of Goa from Colonial subjugation. This historic event marked the beginning of a peaceful but purpose oriented movement by the people of Goa to achieve freedom for the territory and its people. The continued struggle of the freedom fighters finally culminated in the liberation of Goa on 19th of December 1961 which marked the beginning of a new era of progress for the people of Goa on democratic lines. B.V Prabhugaoker AIR News Panaji.
In a ruling which might have a far reaching impact, the Madras High Court has said if a couple in the right legal age indulge in sexual gratification, it will be considered a valid marriage and they could be termed as husband and wife. Justice CS Karnan, said in his order that marriage formalities of tying a mangalsutra, garlands and rings were only for the satisfaction of society.
Afghan forces have formally taken over security for the whole country from NATO-led forces, completing a process which began in 2011. President Hamid Karzai announced the move at a ceremony during which NATO forces handed over control for the last 95 districts of the country. The event marks a significant milestone since US-led forces ousted Taliban.
The Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange dropped 36 points, or 0.2 percent, to 19,290 in afternoon trade, a short while ago. Earlier in the morning, the Sensex had opened 80 points, or 0.4 percent in negative territory, at 19,246 on profit-booking by investors, after two days of gains. Stock markets in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea were trading mixed, today.
The Rupee weakened by 59 paise to 58 rupees 46 paise against the US dollar in late morning trade on sustained dollar demand from banks and importers on the back of higher dollar overseas amidst capital outflows. The rupee resumed lower at 58 rupees 25 paise per dollar as against the last closing level of 57 rupees 87 paise per dollar at the Interbank Foreign Exchange Forex Market. A forex dealer said persistent dollar demand from banks and importers in view of firm dollar overseas mainly affected the rupee value against the dollar.
Sri Lanka knocked out defending champions Australia, after winning the final ICC Champions Trophy Group match by 20 runs at the Oval in London yesterday. Put into bat, Sri Lanka scored 253 for 8 in their alloted 50 overs, with Mahela Jayawardene top scoring with a brilliant 84 not out. Lahiru Thirimanne also chipped in with 57. For the Aussies, Mitchell Johnson bagged the maximum of 3 wickets. Chasing 254 for victory, Australia were bundled out for 233 in 42.3 overs. With 3 wickets, Nuwan Kulasekara was the leading wicket taker for the Lankans. Jayawardene was adjudged man of the match. With this victory, Sri Lanka has become the second team from Group-A, after England, to book a semi-final berth. Sri Lanka will now meet India in the second semi-final at Cardiff on Thursday. In the first semi-final tomorrow, co-hosts England will take on South Africa at the Oval. The final match of the competition is slated for June 23 at Birmingham.