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IIIT Basara students end protest after Telangana minister’s assurance

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Students of Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge and Technologies (RGUKT) in Telangana’s Nirmal district called off their week-long protest after education minister P. Sabitha Indra Reddy gave an assurance that their problems will be solved in a phased manner.

The breakthrough came in the early hours of Tuesday after the minister held talks with the protesting students at RGUKT, popularly known as IIIT Basara.

The students announced that they will resume attending classes from Tuesday as the minister has given the assurance that all their demands will be met in a phased manner.

They had been demanding appointment of a regular vice chancellor and improvement in quality of food and other basic amenities.

With the students insisting for an assurance from the chief minister’s office or the minister, Sabitha Indra Reddy rushed to Basara from Hyderabad on Monday.

She was accompanied by Nirmal district collector Musharraf Ali Farooqi, IIIT Basara incharge vice chancellor Rahul Bojja, Telangana State Higher Education Council vice chairman Venkat Ramna, IIIT Basara director Satish Kumar, education commsioner Vakati Karuna, superintendent of police Praveen Kumar and local MLA Vithal Reddy.

The minister first held talks with the officials, who briefed her on the students’ demands and the progress made in the talks held with them by the collector and director.

Sabitha Indra Reddy subsequently held talks with 20-member Students’ Governing Council. The talks continued past midnight.

After the talks, the students said they were satisfied with the assurance of the minister to address their problems in the order of priority.

The students decided to call of the protest and resume attending classes.

The district collector said Rs 5.6 crore will be released immediately to the institution.

Earlier, students continued their protest for a seventh day on Monday to press for their demands.

Braving rains, they continued the sit-in at the main gate of the building.

The talks held by district collector andA director till early Monday morning failed to break the deadlock as the students insistedAhat a statement be issued from the chief minister’s office or education minister Sabitha Indra Reddy or information technology minister K. T. Rama Rao give a written assurance to solve their problems.

The students have complained that the food being served in the hostel mess is of poor quality. They alleged that on several occasions, small insects and frogs were found in the hostel food.

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High alert in Telugu states in view of ‘Bharat bandh’ call

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Police and railway authorities remain on high alert in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in view of the ‘Bharat bandh’ call given by some organisations to protest against recently announced scheme Agnipath for Army recruitment.

Security was tightened at all major railway stations, offices of the Central government and Army recruitments authorities in both the Telugu states to prevent any protest by the Army job aspirants.

Railway police were keeping a tight vigil at all the major railway stations in the wake of June 17 violence at Secunderabad railway station.

Additional forces were deployed around the stations to prevent any attempt to stage a protest. The security personnel were checking vehicles and tickets of passengers to ensure that the protestors did not enter the stations.

There was high security at Secunderabad, Nampally, Kachegua stations in Hyderabad, Kazipet, Jangaon, Vijayawada, Guntur, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati and other major stations.

Police have made it clear that there is no permission for Bharat bandh or protests. They have warned of stringent action against those participating in the protests.

Vijayawada Police Commissioner Kanti Rana Tata, Eluru SP Rahul Dev Sharma and other police officials have warned students and youth that if they indulge in any illegal activity and if cases are booked against them, this would render them ineligible for government jobs in future. They have also been told that if cases are booked they will not be issued passports.

Ever since the violence rocked Secunderabad station, authorities at other key stations in both the states remained on high alert. On June 18, Visakhapatnam railway station was closed for a few hours as a precautionary measure.

Following intelligence reports that army job aspirants may resort to similar protest, police in Andhra Pradesh were keeping a close vigil on suspects. As the role of some coaching institutes in instigating violence at Secunderabad has been confirmed by railway police, the owner of an institute has been detained.

Private coaching institutes train youth aspiring for jobs in the Army. There are about 2,000 aspirants in the Telugu states who had cleared the physical test and were awaiting the written test to be conducted. They were agitated as the written test was postponed several times due to various reasons, including the Covid-19 pandemic. After the Centre announced the Agnipath scheme on June 14 and the written exam was cancelled, the aspirants felt that they will be deprived of employment opportunities.

Railway police probing violence at Secunderabad station found that the owners of coaching institutes misguided these youth to stage protests on the lines of the one witnessed in Bihar on June 15 so that they could draw the attention of the Central government.

Several WhatsApp groups were created to mobilise youth from various districts. Police said they reached Hyderabad with a plan to create disturbances at Secunderabad station.

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72 trains cancelled following violence at Secunderabad station

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Railway authorities have cancelled as many as 72 trains following large-scale violence that rocked Secunderabad railway station on Friday.

The South Central Railway (SCR) also partially cancelled 12 trains and diverted three others.

All trains originating from Secunderabad or passing through the station were cancelled following violent protest by hundreds of youth against the Central government’s new army recruitment policy “Agnipath”.

A SCR official said train services were suspended to ensure safety of the travelling public.

The cancellation of trains and the confusion that prevailed about operation of some trains caused severe inconvenience to passengers.

The cancelled trains include Hyderabad-Shalimar, Umdanagar-Secunderabad, Secunderabad-Umdanagar, and Secunderabad-Sainagar Shirdi.

Secunderabad-Repalle, which was to originate at Secunderabad, originated at Cherlapalli station.

Howrah-Secunderabad, Sirpur Kaghaznagar-Secunderabad, Hyderabad-Kurnool City and Guntur-Vikarabad were partially cancelled.

East Coast Railway announced cancellation of Danapur-Secunderabad and Patna-Ernakulam trains.

The SCR has set up a special help desk. Passengers can reach out to Help Desk No 040-27786666 for updates on train cancellations/ diversions and partial cancellations of trains.

The SCR also cancelled 66 MMTS trains or suburban local trains following the violence.

The protestors set afire bogies of at least four trains, vandalised the station and also torched goods being transported in trains.

One person was killed and four others injured when police opened fire to control the situation.

The protestors continued their sit-in on the tracks at the station for more than six hours.

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Why are oustees of Gauravelli reservoir project in Telangana on the warpath?

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Gudatipally village in Siddipet district of Telangana is on the boil as people whose lands were acquired for building a reservoir are on the warpath demanding fair compensation.

The village and its surroundings have been witnessing protests, arrests and police lathicharge for the last three days.

The entry of opposition parties Congress and the BJP in support of the oustees has turned Gauravelli reservoir into a flashpoint.

The protest by the oustees turned violent on Tuesday when they staged a sit-in after police foiled their attempt to lay siege to local MLA V. Satheesh’s official residence. Some people, said to be workers of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), attacked the protesters, injuring a few.

The protesters were enraged at the police allowing TRS workers to attack them. The oustees and those supporting them pelted stones at the police injuring a few personnel. The police then resorted to a lathicharge and arrested some youths. The oustees later staged a protest at the police station demanding their release.

This came a day after a heavy police force entered Gudatipally village in the wee hours of Monday and took several people into custody. The police said it took some people into preventive custody as they were planning to stop officials from conducting a survey for trial runs.

The police came under attack from all opposition parties for its action. All India Congress Committee member Bakka Judson lodged a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission against the police.

The area remained tense on Wednesday as the villagers continued their protest. “There is no question of calling off our protest. We will continue to fight till we get the compensation,” said a farmer.

The oustees have vowed not to allow the authorities to go ahead with the work till they are given fair compensation.

Kisan Congress national vice-president Kodanda Reddy and former Congress MP Ponnam Prabhakar visited Husnabad and expressed solidarity with the protesters.

They demanded that the relief & rehabilitation package, double bedroom houses and compensation as per the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 be extended to all those eligible.

The Congress leaders along with the protesters tried to march to Finance Minister Harish Rao’s house with a convoy of trucks but were stopped by the police.

Police officials held talks with the Congress leaders and protesters and allowed 10 persons to proceed.

Meanwhile, Harish Rao alleged that the opposition parties have conspired to deny water for irrigation to the farmers of Husnabad. He said the Congress and the BJP were trying to extract political mileage from the issue.

He said the opposition parties had similarly stalled the work on Mallanna Sagar and Kondapochamma Sagar reservoirs.

Stating that the government has paid compensation to 98 per cent of the oustees, he appealed to the people not to fall into the trap of the opposition parties.

Harish Rao said the officials have already acquired 3,816 acres of land and only 84 acres are left to be acquired. He pointed out that the oustees are being paid a compensation of Rs 15 lakh per acre.

Out of the 937 families identified for the relief and rehabilitation package, compensation is to be paid to only two per cent oustees. “The reservoir is designed to provide irrigation water to one lakh farmers in Husnabad. Should we stop the project for the sake of two per cent people,” he asked.

The reservoir, which will get Godavari river water, was first designed in 2007 in undivided Andhra Pradesh for 1.14 tmcft. After the formation of Telangana state, it was redesigned as part of the Kaleshwaram project and the capacity was increased to 8.3 tmcft.

Godavari water will flow from the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) to the Mid Manair Dam and from there the water will be diverted to Thotapalli reservoir and then to the pump house of the Gauravelli project.

The authorities are going ahead with the work for the initially proposed dry run for 1.141 tmcft. As the motors to pump water into Gauravelli reservoir were brought from China and Japan, the officials are working to conduct the dry run to test their functioning.

The project is likely to submerge Gudatipally village. If the work is taken up for the full capacity of 8.3 tmcft, it is likely to submerge seven other surrounding villages.

The problems cropped up due to the difference in the amount of compensation paid to the oustees. Some oustees who were minors when their lands were acquired and have now become major are refusing the Rs 2 lakh compensation being offered to them. Some who had agreed to take plots are now demanding money as compensation.

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Drunk man hops on to moving police vehicle in Hyderabad

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A man, who was in inebriated condition, created ruckus in Asif Nagar area of Hyderabad by climbing on to a moving police patrol car.

The incident occurred late on Monday night in Jhirra locality. A video of the man sitting on a moving police vehicle went viral over social media on Tuesday.

The man, who was later identified as Ajay Singh (28), damaged the windshied and side mirrors of the police patrol car.

The police patrol had reached the area after receiving information that a youth created ruckus and attacked some vehicles.

When the police team reached there and the patrol vehicle was moving slowly to clear the traffic, the man took the cops by surprise as he climbed on the moving vehicles. He continued screaming and damaged the vehicle.

Police personnel finally overpowered the man and arrested him. He has been booked for creating nuisance and damaging public and private property.

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Seven from Hyderabad killed in K’taka road accident

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Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has expressed shock over the ghastly road accident that claimed lives of seven from Hyderabad in Karnataka’s Kalaburagi district on Friday and announced ex-gratia of Rs 3 lakh each to their families.

A private bus coming to Hyderabad from Goa caught fire after a head-on collision with a DCM van near Kamalapur Friday morning.

According to reports reaching here, the bus fell into a ditch after the collision and caught fire. Twenty people were injured in the accident and they have been admitted to a hospital at Gulbarga.

A group of people from Secunderabad here had gone to Goa for a tour last week and were returning home when the tragedy struck them.

KCR has condoled the death of people and extended heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members.

He announced Rs 3 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each for the injured. He also directed Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar to take necessary steps in this regard.

The chief minister has directed ministers Harish Rao and Srinivas Yadav to take steps for transportation of the bodies and for best possible treatment to the injured.

Earlier, soon after coming to know of the incident, the Chief Minister alerted the government administration and instructed them to take up rescue operations immediately. He directed the authorities to coordinate with Karnataka government officials and provide the required medical treatment to the injured persons in the accident.

The chief secretary asked the district collector of Sangareddy to coordinate with counterpart of Karnataka and arrange to shift the bodies and injured.

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Another drug haul at Hyderabad Airport, heroin worth Rs 11.53 crore seized

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In yet another major drug haul at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Customs officials seized heroin worth Rs 11.53 crore from a Tanzanian national.

The Customs officials said 1,389 kg of heroin was seized from the male passenger who arrived from Johannesburg via Abu Dhabi on April 26.

The passenger purged 108 capsules containing the contraband heroin over a period of six days.

The passenger was arrested and remanded to judicial custody. Further investigation is on, the officials said.

This is the fourth seizure of heroin at Hyderabad in less than two weeks.

Eight kilogram cocaine worth Rs 80 crore was seized from two passengers by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) late on May 1.

The contraband was seized in two separate cases. A male Tanzanian national, travelling from Cape Town to Hyderabad on a business visa and a lady passenger from Angola, with itinerary Angola – Mozambique – Lusaka – Dubai – Hyderabad on a tourist visa were arrested.

A total of eight kg of cocaine, each passenger carrying 4 kg, were seized from the passengers from the packets concealed in the false bottom of their trolley bags.

Earlier, the Hyderabad Customs along with DRI had seized 1,157 grams of cocaine worth Rs 11.57 crore from a Tanzanian national. The passenger had arrived at Hyderabad Airport from Johannesburg via Dubai on April 21.

A total of 79 ingested capsules were recovered over a period of 5 days.

According to DRI, the instances of smuggling drugs through air have increased with easing restrictions on air travel and increased passenger traffic.

While Indian Customs have facilitated the clearances smoothly, the alert officers have busted the drug smuggling syndicates and nabbed carriers on multiple occasions across the country.

Ingenious ways of transporting the contraband have been noticed by way of laminating drugs finely into their baggage which are almost invisible to the naked eye or by concealment in shampoos and food items or at times the passenger becomes body carrier by ingesting drugs in laminated capsules.

Sustained efforts of DRI has led to seizure of more than 350 kg of cocaine, estimated to be worth Rs 3,500 crore in illicit market, across the country after January, 2021. This includes a big haul of about 303 kg of cocaine, seized from a containerised cargo at Tuticorin Port.

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Work on Hyderabad regional ring road to begin in 3 months: Gadkari

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The work on the Regional Ring Road (RRR) around Hyderabad will commence in three months, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari announced on Friday.

He said that the northern part of the RRR has already been sanctioned by the Centre and a Detailed Project Report (DPR) is in the final stage of preparation. He also assured the Telangana government that the Centre will consider its request for sanctioning the southern part of the project.

Gadkari was speaking at a programme in Hyderabad for laying foundation stone and dedication to the nation of 12 national highways and 7 Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) projects.

The projects of a total length of 460 km are estimated to cost Rs 8,000 crore.

The Union Minister praised the Telangana government for its offer to bear 50 per cent cost of the acquisition of lands for the project.

He suggested to the state government to have planned cities, industrial clusters, logistic parks along the RRR and acquire lands for them. He pointed out that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is also developing logistic parks.

The proposed RRR Ring Road will traverse around Hyderabad at an average distance of 40 km to 50 km and it will have a length of about 340 km. The overall cost of the project will be Rs 16,003 crore.

Telangana’s Roads and Buildings Minister Vemula Prashanth Reddy said land acquisition work for the 158-km long northern part will be expedited and completed during the current financial year.

The southern part, which will be 182 km long, is yet to be notified as a National Highway by the Union Ministry.

Gadkari described Hyderabad as a world-class city in the information technology sector and a growth engine for the country. He said a lot of development is happening around the city.

He said if Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and $5 trillion economy is to be achieved, Telangana will also have to become a strong and prosperous state.

He assured that by the end of 2024, the road infrastructure of Telangana will be at par with the US.

He said from 2014 to 2024, a total amount of Rs 3 lakh crore would have been spent on national highway infrastructure in the state.

Stating that 26 green express highways are being developed in the country, he said 5 of them will pass through Telangana. the Indore-Hyderabad highway, which is 787 km long and being developed at a cost of 17,000 crore, will pass through Telangana to a length of 136 km.

Surat-Solapur-Kurnool-Chennai highway, being developed at a cost of 50,000 crore, will pass through Telangana to a length of 78 km.

Hyderabad-Visakhapatnam highway is being developed at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore while Rs 12,000 crore will be spent on the Nagpur-Vijayawada highway.

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Hyderabad gets ‘Tree City of the World tag’ for second year

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For a second consecutive year, Hyderabad has been recognised as a ‘Tree City of the World’ by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

“Matter of immense pride that Hyderabad city is recognised for the 2nd consecutive year, among the tree cities of the world by the Arbor Day Foundation and FAO -UN,” tweeted Arvind Kumar, special chief secretary, urban development, government of Telangana.

As per the organisation, 3,50,56,635 trees are planted in Hyderabad with 500 volunteer hours.

Last year, Hyderabad had become the only city in India to be recognised as a ‘Tree City of the World’ but this year Mumbai also joined the list.

Hyderabad and Mumbai are placed alongside 136 other cities from 21 countries. The United States, the United Kingdom and Canada are the countries with the maximum cities featured on the list, with 37, 19 and 18 cities, respectively. The countries have been recognised for their commitment to growing and maintaining urban forests in building healthy, resilient and happy cities.

According to Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA), trees reduce costs for energy, storm water management and erosion control, boost property values as much as 7-20 per cent, build stronger ties among community members and increase community pride.

Other benefits of the trees include contribution to food and nutrition, creating jobs and alleviating poverty, increasing community resilience to severe weather events, supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation and having a positive impact on physical and mental health.

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CJI lays foundation stone for IAMC building in Hyderabad

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Chief Justice of India, N.V. Ramana on Saturday laid foundation stone for permanent building India’s first International Arbitration and Mediation Centre (IAMC).

The building of Hyderabad International Arbitration and Mediation Centre (HIAMC) is coming up behind IKEA in HITEC City on a piece of land allotted by the government of Telangana.

The CJI thanked government of Telangana and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao for allocating valuable land in the heart of the city for HIAMC and Rs 50 crore for construction of the building.

Justice Ramana termed IAMC a “big” step in promoting arbitration and mediation in this part of the world. He said during the international arbitration conference to be held in Dubai on March 17-18, HIAMC will showcase their progress and functioning of the centre and hoped that this will help attract international arbitration to this centre.

The CJI hoped that IAMC Hyderabad will emerge as an arbitration and mediation centre on par with such centres in Dubai, London and Singapore.

Life trustee of the centre, Justice R.V. Raveendran, Supreme Court judges L. Nageswara Rao, Hima Kohli and judges from the Telangana High Court attended the event.

Telangana’s ministers Indrakaran Reddy, K. T. Rama Rao, Mahmood Ali, T. Srinivas Yadav, Srinivas Goud, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar were also present.

The centre was jointly inaugurated by CJI and the Chief Minister in December. The centre started functioning from 25,000 sq ft temporary accommodation at VK Towers in Gachibowli.

Those who empanel the centre include internationally acclaimed arbitrators and mediators from countries such as Singapore and the UK.

The CJI had then lauded Telangana government for the speed with which it launched the project. He recalled that he broached with the Chief Minister on June 12, 2021 during his first visit to Hyderabad. The trust deed was signed on August 20 and the MoU between the government and the trust was signed on October 27.

“The setting up of IAMC at Hyderabad is an important step towards enhancing the ADR landscape of the country. While arbitration centres have already been set up in India, most prominently in Delhi and Mumbai, domestic and international parties still appear to prefer to go to foreign countries for dispute resolution,” Ramana had said, as he exuded confidence that this trend will change with IAMC at Hyderabad.

“Domestic and international parties will increasingly come to this centre, which has world class facilities. Its location in Hyderabad will also be an attraction,” he had said.

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Microsoft announces India datacenter region in Hyderabad

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Microsoft today announced its intent to establish its latest datacenter region in Hyderabad, Telangana. This strategic investment is aligned with Microsoft’s commitment to help customers thrive in a cloud and AI-enabled digital economy and will become part of the world’s largest cloud infrastructure.

Customer demand for cloud as a platform for digital transformation, driving economic growth and societal progress across India, is increasing. According to IDC*, Microsoft datacenter regions in India contributed $9.5B revenue to the economy between 2016 and 2020. Beyond GDP impact, the IDC report estimated 1.5 million jobs were added to the economy, including 169,000 new skilled IT jobs.[1]

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Electronics & Information Technology of India shared, “Today’s commitment to the people and businesses of India will position the country among the world’s digital leaders. A Microsoft datacenter region provides a competitive advantage to our digital economy and is a long-term investment in our country’s potential. The cloud is transforming every industry and sector. The investment in skilling will empower India’s workforce today and into the future.”

The Hyderabad datacenter region will be an addition to the existing network of three regions in India across Pune, Mumbai, and Chennai. It will offer the entire Microsoft portfolio across the cloud, data solutions, artificial intelligence (AI), productivity tools, and customer relationship management (CRM) with advanced data security, for enterprises, start-ups, developers, education, and government institutions.

To support customer needs for high availability and resiliency, Microsoft launched Azure Availability Zones in December 2021 in its Central India datacenter region. This forms the most extensive network of datacenters in the country with disaster recovery provisions and coverage of seismic zones.

Stephanie Trautman, Chief Growth Officer, Wipro said, “Wipro and Microsoft have been working together for more than two decades to help enterprises drive business growth, enhance customer experience, and provide connected insights. Microsoft’s new datacenter in India will help advance our collaboration and drive ongoing innovation for shared client relationships. As Indian enterprises continue to transition and expand their involvement in cloud computing, this facility will provide the critical infrastructure foundation for developers and organizations of all sizes to create new customer experiences, support their business, and harness innovation at scale.”

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Telangana to permanently solve drinking water problem in Hyderabad

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The government of Telangana plans to bring the Godavari river water to Hyderabad from Kondapochamma Sagar and Mallanna Sagar reservoirs to permanently solve drinking water problem in Greater Hyderabad and surrounding municipalities.

The two reservoirs were built as part of Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation scheme, described as the world’s biggest lift irrigation project.

The Telangana capital and surrounding municipalities are currently getting the Godavari and Krishna river water from Ramagundam and Sunkishala respectively.

Minister for municipal administration K. T. Rama Rao said the Kaleshwaram project has brought Godavari water nearest to the city with construction of Kondapochamma Sagar and Mallanna Sagar reservoirs.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who is working on long-term plans to take care of drinking water needs of Hyderabad and surrounding municipalities till 2051, is keen to draw water from Kondapochamma Sagar to Gandipet (Osman Sagar lake), one of the oldest sources of drinking water to the city.

“Kondapochamma Sagar is 612 metres above sea level while Hyderabad is 535 metres above sea level. If water is brought from there by gravity, the city will have abundant water for all its future needs,” Rama Rao said.

He was speaking after laying the foundation stone for the Outer Ring Road (ORR) Phase-II drinking water supply scheme at Alkapoor Township, Manikonda on Monday.

The project being taken up at a cost of Rs 1,200 crore will cater to drinking water requirements of 980 colonies and gated communities within ORR jurisdiction.

Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) has already completed ORR project Phase-I at a cost of Rs.775 crore providing water to 190 villages situated beyond Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and within ORR limits.

KTR, as the minister is popularly known, said Hyderabad and 25 surrounding municipalities are being currently supplied 600 Million Gallons per Day (MGD) water and the requirement by 2051 in estimated to be 1,000 MGD.

The minister pointed out that Hyderabad is the fastest growing city in the country as it has many advantages, including its central location and good climate, while metro cities Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai were facing their own problems.

He said the state government was making plans not only to meet the current requirements but also cater to the city’s needs in future. The government was working to ensure supply of 140 litres per capita per day (LPCD).

KTR claimed that since the formation of Telangana state, the government has been focusing on providing basic amenities to people and has achieved success in ensuring 24X7 quality electricity to all sectors and drinking water to all households.

He said during the last seven-and-a-half years, the state government spent Rs 6,000 crore on improving water supply to Hyderabad and its surrounding municipalities.

In its first term, the TRS government took up Rs 2,000 crore drinking water scheme in all municipalities and corporations around Hyderabad. Work is currently on to lay an additional pipeline from Sunkishala reservoir at a cost of Rs 1,400 crore. The first phase of ORR drinking water supply was taken up at a cost of Rs 775 crore while the foundation stone was laid on Monday for the second phase at a cost of Rs 1,200 crore.

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Hyderabad Traffic Police use ‘Akhanda’ scene to drive home message on seat belts

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The Hyderabad Traffic Police has used a scene from director Boyapati Srinu’s blockbuster film ‘Akhanda’, starring Nandamuri Balakrishna and Pragya Jaiswal, to underline the importance of wearing seat belts while driving.

The film has a scene in which Balakrishna and Pragya Jaiswal are seen travelling together in a four-wheeler. Balakrishna, who is driving the vehicle, is forced to suddenly apply the brakes on the vehicle, to avoid colliding with a lorry.

As a result, Pragya is about to hit her head on the windshield when Balakrishna saves her. He then urges her to wear her seat belt and says, “Life is precious.”The Hyderabad police have picked this scene and have now posted it on their Twitter handle with the message, “No Matter How Far, No Matter Whose Car, Always Buckle Up!”

Apart from tweeting this message with the hashtags #WearASeatBelt, they also thanked both the director and the hero of the film for the message.They tweeted, “Thank you Nandamuri Balakrishna garu and Boyapati Srinu garu for promoting Road Safety. #Akhanda.”

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Demolition of illegal buildings continue around Hyderabad

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Continuing their drive against unauthorised constructions in the municipalities surrounding Hyderabad, the authorities on Wednesday razed 10 more structures.

The District Task Force and Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) intensified the drive by pulling down major illegal structures that included five-storied buildings and warehouses spread over two acres.

The Task Force has cracked down on 33 major unauthorised constructions in three days.

On Wednesday, Task Force teams pulled down illegal buildings in Thumkunta, Manikonda, Shamshabad and Pedda Amberpet municipalities.

Five structures were demolished in Thumkunta municipality, two each in Manikonda and Shamshabad and one in Pedda Amberpet.

The demolished structures include two constructions spread over 2.25 acres in Thumkunta and another construction on 1.20 acres in Shamshabad municipality.

The officials had razed 10 unauthorised constructions on the first day and 13 on the second day of the demolition drive.

Earlier, the drive was carried out in Shankarpalli, Badangpet, Dundigal, Boduppal and Pocharam municipalities.

Town planning officers were also pulled up for failing to identify the unauthorised buildings during their construction.

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Hyderabad’s Numaish shut due to Covid situation

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Numaish, the popular annual trade fair of Hyderabad, has been suspended till January 10 in view of the curbs imposed by Telangana government to check the spread of Covid-19.

Authorities on Sunday night ordered closure of Numaish, a day after it was inaugurated by Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and state Home Minister Mahmood Ali.

Hundreds of visitors were at the fair when officials stopped the ticket bookings and ordered all those who were in Exhibition Grounds to leave immediately.

About 10,000 people visited the exhibition from Sunday afternoon till night when authorities ordered the All India Industrial Exhibition Society (AIIES) to close it.

The action was taken in view of the state government extending restrictions to check the spread of Covid-19 till January 10. The government has prohibited rallies, public meetings and mass gatherings of all types, including religious, political and cultural.

The 45-day long annual exhibition was inaugurated on January 1 and the first day saw lukewarm response from visitors.

The AIIES, which has been organising the fair for 80 years, had put in place various measures to adhere to Covid-19 safety rules like compulsory wearing of masks, maintaining social distance, and vaccination of all stall owners.

The organisers had allotted 1,600 stalls to traders and various business organisations from different parts of the country to sell their products at the fair.

The exhibition could not be held last year due to Covid-19 situation. This was only the third time in its history that it could not be held.

Numaish-e-Masnuaat-e-Mulki, or Numaish in short, made a humble beginning in 1938 as an event to promote locally produced goods.

The fair begins on January 1 every year and continues for 45 days. Traders from various parts of the country set up their stalls during the exhibition, which is visited by 45,000 people every day. Over 20 lakh visitors had visited the exhibition in 2019.

A unique blend of economy and culture, the event is organised on the sprawling grounds and revenues from the fair are spent on a group of educational and charitable institutions run by the Society.

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Tissue culture lab for endangered plant species come up at Kanha Shantivanam

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A modern tissue culture laboratory to help propagate critically endangered plant and tree species in the country has come up at Kanha Shantivanam on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

This project by Heartfulness Tree Conservation Centre was inaugurated by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Wednesday. While Heartfulness Institute aims at growing the plantlets at the ashram, a good share will also be given to the forest department, NGOs, and other plantation bodies that are involved with afforestation in India.

In his remarks, Tomar said that Kanha Shantivanam is very inspiring. “It is the centre for spirituality, which is important for human life’s development, continuity and durability. We all know that for humans with spirituality, deeds are equally important. So, when spirituality and deed stands together a creative power emerges. During my visit to the Heartfulness centre, I feel under Daaji’s guidance and vision. The ashram makes you feel like being touched by nature,” he said, adding that protecting nature’s beauty is everyone’s responsibility.

The minister said after his visit, he realised that species which are getting endangered can be saved and further developed which would create employment and bring revolution in agriculture as well.

Heartfulness guide Daaji claimed that much before the West proved that plants are living beings, the Vedic knowledge had always recommended putting trees ahead in priority. “Many trees are not only worshipped but also find a spiritual significance in Indian culture. Our proprietary medical knowledge is also plant-driven and trees have always been given their due as revered species in most parts of the country. By safeguarding the many species of plants, it is only a minuscule effort in the direction for the benefit of our future generations and the overall ecosystem,” he said.

The Heartfulness Tree Conservation Centre has a 5,000 square feet facility with 10,000 cleanroom technology, 15,00,000 annual sapling production capacity with the finest equipment and infrastructure with the tissue culture processes being overseen by a team of experts from India and Israel. More experts will be joining the team in the next three months, Heartfulness Institute said.

At least five endangered varieties are propagated at the rate of 1.5-2 lakh saplings per year per variety by the Heartfulness Tree Conservation Centre. The raw material sources are obtained from native locations of the endangered species with the help of the Forest Department. Elite plant materials are obtained from fields of Kerala, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and elsewhere.

Kanha Shantivanam already has ongoing conservation projects such as the Rainforest Project, the Deccan Plateau Project, the Food Forest Project and the Yatra Garden with volunteers helping in mass plantations. So far over 6 lakh trees have been planted and more than 10,000 trees saved through translocation efforts and an in-house nursery that has over 6 lakh varieties of saplings.

The have resulted in impacting the microclimate of the region in a very positive way transforming a once barren stretch of land to a fertile green oasis resplendent with a variety of flora and fauna not seen before in the region, the institute said.

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Hyderabad’s latest flyover under SRDP named after Abdul Kalam

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Hyderabad added another flyover under Strategic Road Development Project (SRDP) as Owaisi-Midhani Junction Flyover was thrown open on Tuesday.

The 1.36 km long flyover has been named after former President and father of India’s missile programme Dr A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.

Telangana’s minister for municipal administration and urban development K. T. Rama Rao, who inaugurated the flyover, called it a small tribute to a great great man who worked at DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and also lived in the neighbourhood for over a decade.

Built at an estimated cost of Rs 80 crore, the flyover will facilitate hassle-free traffic movement over Owaisi Junction, a busy intersection near Owaisi Hospital and Research Centre in Santosh Nagar, the area which has several defence research laboratories including DRDO, Defense Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited (Midhani) and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

Home minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali, education minister P. Sabitha Indra Reddy, Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi and Chandrayangutta MLA Akbaruddin Owaisi attended the inaugural ceremony.

The flyover has been constructed under SRDP, an initiative of the state government to improve the infrastructure in Hyderabad. The multilevel flyover will ease traffic congestion and help provide better connectivity between eastern part of the city and the old city.

During the last four years construction of 19 flyovers, underpasses and bridges was completed during the last four years.

These include iconic Durgam Cheruvu cable-stayed bridge is a four-lane elevated corridor which reduces the distance between Jubilee Hills to Hitec City, Gachibowli areas, Mindspace Junction flyover, Mindspace Junction Underpass in the heart of Hitec City, the second level flyover at Biodiversity Junction which provides a conflict-free corridor for the traffic in Hitec City, Madhapur, Gachibowli and IT corridor, Biodiversity Flyover (Level I) which eases the traffic congestion on Old Bombay Highway from Gachibowli towards Raidurg.

Minister KTR had told the state Assembly in September that the government is making all efforts to complete SRDP on priority to ease traffic congestion in the city. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) had taken Rs 5,900 crore loan for the project.

He had revealed that of the total 46 projects proposed under SRDP, about 22 were completed and 24 were under progress. The 22 works have been thrown open to traffic.

The remaining 24 works (21 by GHMC and three by NHAI and R & B Department) are under various stages of construction, he had said.

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Dissidence grows in TRS against lady mayor!

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Hyderabad Mayor Gadwal Vijayalaxmi is facing opposition not just from BJP and Congress corporators in GHMC but also from her own TRS corporators.

There is already a buzz in TRS circles that TRS working president K.T.Rama Rao himself opposed selection of Vijayalaxmi as GHMC mayor in February 2021.

But TRS chief and Telangana CM KCR selected her as GHMC mayor under pressure from TRS secretary general and Rajya Sabha member K.Keshava Rao. Vijayalaxmi is daughter of Keshava Rao.

Now TRS corporators are also opposing Vijayalaxmi as mayor accusing her of remaining inaccessible even to TRS corporators. They complained to KTR that Vijayalaxmi does not respond on any issues concerning pubic or on their requests and simply remain inaccessible to all by always being confined to her home in Jubilee Hills.

TRS corporators requested KTR to ask her to mend her ways and if not, the party should remove her from mayor post and appoint someone who is accessible to all. Her continuance as mayor will only damage TRS further under GHMC limits, they warned.

But KTR reportedly expressed helplessness on this issue saying she has the backing of her father Keshava Rao as well as CM KCR.

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Alert in Hyderabad’s Paramount Colony after 2 Omicron cases detected

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The health authorities on Thursday sounded an alert in a residential area in Hyderabad where two cases of Omicron were detected among foreigners.

Teams of health workers along with the employees of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) were conducting door to door surveys in Paramount Colony in the Toli Chowki area.

All the foreign nationals living in the area and their contacts were being traced and tested under the special drive. The municipal staff also formed a containment zone as part of the precautionary measure.

A 23-year-old female from Kenya and 24-year-old male from Somalia had tested positive for Covid on arrival at the Hyderabad International Airport on December 12. Since they came from countries other than ‘at-risk’ countries they were allowed to go home, but their samples were sent for genome sequencing. The results available on Wednesday showed them to be positive.

The health officials traced both the persons in Paramaount Colony and shifted them to Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS), the government designated isolation facility for Omicron cases.

Director of public health Dr G. Srinivasa Rao said the contacts of the two persons were also sent for RT-PCR tests.

The health workers conducted Covid tests on all the residents of the two apartment buildings where the two foreigners were living. All those who came in contact with them were also subjected to RT-PCR tests.

As the Somalian, who tested positive for Omicron, had visited two corporate hospitals for checkup and went to a couple of other places in the city on Monday and Tuesday, the authorities were trying to trace those who came in contact with him.

About 100 Covid tests were conducted in the areas during the last 24 hours. The results are likely to be available later in the day. Officials said the samples of those found positive will be sent for genome sequencing. The GHMC staff also took up spraying disinfectants in the area.

Foreign nationals, mostly from African countries, take houses on rent in Paramount Colony and surrounding localities in Toli Chowki.

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Pak tank sitting as war trophy on Hyd’s iconic Tank Bund

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The bund of picturesque Hussain Sagar in the heart of Hyderabad is thronged by hundreds of tourists everyday and battle tank there is a centre of attraction.

Visitors to Tank Bund, a key city landmark linking twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, are seen taking photographs with the tank in the background but not many are aware of its significance.

The only piece of information available about the tank is on a stone inscribed plate but very few bother to find out why a tank is lying on Tank Bund.

This is Pakistan’s M-47 Patton tank, which was given as war trophy to 54th Infantry Division after the 1971 war. It was installed on Tank Bund after the battalion gifted it to the city.

“Bash On Regardless. Presented to the citizens of the twin cities on 26 Nov 1973 by Major General, WAG Pinto, PVSM, and all ranks 54 INF Division (The Bash-on-Regardless Bison Division) as a token of esteem and appreciation for their unstinted support ever since the division was raised in Hyderabad-Secunderabad in Oct 1966. This M-47 Patton Tank is one of the 66 tanks knocked out by the Division in the wake of its swift advance and capture of 988 SQ KMS of enemy territory during the 14 days war of Dec 1971,” reads the plate.

The tank which was disabled during Battle of Basantar, one of the major events in the war, is sitting as the enduring testimony of the valour of the Indian Army, especially the Bison division which had played a key role in foiling the plans of Pakistan to take over Shakargarh Bulge.

During his visit to Hyderabad in 2011, Lieutenant General Walter Anthony Gustavo Pinto (retired), who had commanded the 54th Infantry Division during the Battle of Basantar, had recalled the story behind the tank.

He had to convince the then Andhra Pradesh administration to accept the war trophy as a gift to the city. The state was then under President’s rule and the officials were reluctant to accept and install it for public display. The advisor to the governor thought that this might unnecessarily arouse old sensitivities and animosities. He, however, agreed after some persuasion and second thought.

The war hero, during 2011 visit, had also released a book on his war experiences. The title of the book is ‘Bash on regardless’, which is also the motto of the 54th infantry Division.

The phrase, Lt Gen Pinto had recalled, originated from a sign he had erected in the Pakistani territory after capturing it. The signs read “You are now entering Pakistan. No passports required. So Bash on Regardless.”

Well-known heritage activist Anuradha Reddy described the M-47 Patton Tank as a very good reminder of the sacrifices made by the Army at that time. “By gifting it to the city and in public visual state, it is a constant reminder for people with that memory and it is an introduction to the newer generation that see, learn and value the role of the defence forces in safeguarding India,” she told IANS.

She, however, laments lack of proper protection and the poor maintenance of the war trophy by the civic authorities concerned.

Over the years, the iconic symbol was dilapidated. There are no railings to protect the tank and visitors are often seen climbing and playing on it. A closer look shows the tank catching rust at a few points. The negligence has led to the serial number and other signs on the tank getting erased.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

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