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PM Modi launches Urja Ganga, Varanasi stamp among other schemes worth Rs 5,000 cr

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With an aim of boosting development in his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched seven schemes on Monday at the total cost of Rs 5000 crore amid his assertion that his government believes in timely completion of projects. The schemes launched included “Urja Ganga”, an ambitious gas pipeline project which will bring piped cooking fuel to residents of this ancient temple town besides catering to millions of consumers in neighbouring states.Other programmes launched were expansion of Diesel Locomotive Works, dedication of 765/400 KV GIS Varanasi Power Sub-station and inauguration of Varanasi Postal Region. Modi also laid foundation stone for second line and electrification of Allahabad-Varanasi rail line and unveiled setting up of perishable cargo centre at Rajatalab Railway Station.Speaking at the occasion, he said his government has focused on timely completion of projects and has worked towards ensuring that not only are foundations laid, but projects are also inaugurated on time. He said the real aim of government initiatives is proper execution and touching people’s lives. “In a way, projects worth Rs 5,000 crore are being dedicated to Kashi,” the Prime Minister said.According to information made available by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, “Urja Ganga is a 2540-km-long gas pipeline which will ensure supply of clean and eco- friendly fuel to at least seven major cities – Varanasi, Patna, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack”. “The project, which is likely to be completed by 2020, will also help revival of a number of moribund fertiliser manufacturing units. Besides bringing piped natural gas to millions of households, the project will also enable at least half a million vehicles to switch over to CNG mode, which will go a long way in development of smart cities”, the Ministry said.Modi also laid the foundation stone for doubling and electrification of 120-km-long Varanasi-Madhosingh-Allahabad railway line involving an expenditure of Rs 750.66 crore. He also dedicated to the nation an expansion project of the Diesel Locomotive Works, which had commenced in 2014, months after he became the Prime Minister.He felicitated select beneficiaries of Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, and handed over LPG connections to select Ujjwala beneficiaries. He also released a commemorative postage stamp on Varanasi City. Modi spoke about environment friendly initiatives, and the government’s new vision for the Indian Railways, which can emerge as a growth engine for the economy. “Usually a work started by one regime sees the light of the day much after a change of guard. Ours is a government which believes in completing projects in time and leaving little scope for cost escalation,” the Prime Minister said.Releasing a commemorative stamp dedicated to Varanasi, Modi urged the people of the city to make sure that they used it whenever they sent a dispatch and claimed “this will go a long way in promoting tourism in this ancient town, which is already famous across the world for its cultural heritage, especially its music”.He also inaugurated the Varanasi Postal Region, dedicated a 765/400 KV Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS) power station based in the city, and laid the foundation stone for a perishable cargo centre developed by CONCOR.Speaking barely a couple of hours after a rally in Mahoba, where he had decried the custom of triple Talaq, Modi also gave away passbooks to five girls, aged one to five years, under the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana. He also felicitated pradhans of two villages where bank accounts of more than 400 persons had been opened, enabling them to avail of the various welfare schemes undertaken by his government.This was Modi’s eighth tour of his Parliamentary constituency since he assumed office in May, 2016. Four of these have taken place this year itself. BJP, which had shown a spectacular performance in 2014 Lok Sabha polls by bagging 73 out of 80 seats, is now aiming at capturing power in Uttar Pradesh in the next Assembly polls slated early next year.

Elaborate security arrangements in Varanasi ahead of PM Modi’s visit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Elaborate security arrangements are in place in this ancient temple town in view of the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi later in the day when he is scheduled to launch a number of projects including a 1500-km-long gas pipeline costing Rs 51,000 crore. Modi will arrive in his Lok Sabha constituency immediately after addressing a rally in Mahoba, a district in the impoverished Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh.At the function organized in the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) here, the Prime Minister is scheduled to launch a number of projects, including “Urja Ganga”, a 1500-km-long gas pipeline costing Rs 51,000 crore, which will cater to millions of people in UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha. The Prime Minister will be welcomed by UP Governor Ram Naik and Union Ministers of State Dharmendra Pradhan, Manoj Sinha, Mahendra Nath Pandey and Anupriya Patel. Although an invitation for the function has been sent to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, he has deputed his cabinet colleague Brahmashankar Tripathi to receive the Prime Minister in case pressing engagements at Lucknow prevent him from coming to Varanasi.The DLW Inter College ground, where the function will be held, is all decked up for the function. Half-a-dozen LED screens have been installed in various corners of the ground so that those seated far from the stage may get a clear view. The function will begin with performances by noted Bhojpuri singer and BJP MP Manoj Tiwari and renowned folk artiste Malini Awasthi.Meanwhile, the city has been transformed into a virtual garrison with thousands of police personnel patrolling the streets to ensure fool-proof security. Twenty-one Superintendents of Police, 17 Additional SPs and 43 Deputy SPs will be supervising 22 inspectors, 326 ASIs, 400 head constables, 1199 constables and 105 women constables.The police personnel will be assisted by eight companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary, four companies of NDRF and two companies each of CISF and ITBP. As many as 100 CCTV cameras have been installed in the vicinity of the DLW premises while overhead water tanks have been transformed into watch towers with security personnel perched atop.The elite Special Protection Group (SPG), which is directly responsible for the Prime Minister’s security, has been camping in the city since Friday.

PM Modi to visit Varanasi, launch gaspipeline project ‘Urja Ganga’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit his Lok Sabha constituency on Monday where he is set to launch a number of ambitious projects including a 1500-km-long gas pipeline costing Rs 51,000 crore and doubling of railway tracks on a busy route. On his eighth visit here since becoming Prime Minister, Modi will launch “Urja Ganga”, the gas pipeline project which promises to provide piped cooking gas to residents of Varanasi within two years and, in another year thereafter, cater to millions of people in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha. Modi is also scheduled to flag off projects like doubling of railway tracks on the busy Allahabad-Varanasi section and expansion of the Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) here besides laying foundation stone for a fully air-conditioned perishable cargo centre. He will also release a stamp dedicated to the ancient temple town, which is believed to be among the oldest surviving ones in the world. Besides, he will lay the foundation stone for widening of a road passing through the city’s crowded Cantonment area.Tight security arrangements are in place across the city where the Special Protection Group (SPG) has been camping since Friday to oversee preparations for the Prime Minister s visit. The sprawling DLW premises, where the PM is likely to reach by a helicopter, has been declared a “no fly zone” until his departure tomorrow evening.The city has been abuzz with activity for the past few days during which a number of Union Ministers like Piyush Goyal (Power), Dharmendra Pradhan (Petroleum) and Manoj Sinha (Railways) have visited the venue of the function and supervised preparations for the Prime Minister’s tour of his parliamentary constituency, which comes close to six months after his previous trip on May 1 this year.Local unit of the BJP, on its part, has launched a cleanliness drive across the city besides putting up posters at various places highlighting the various welfare schemes launched since Modi assumed power. Recently, the party’s Uttar Pradesh unit had also issued a statement welcoming the Prime Minister on his “first visit to Varanasi after the surgical strikes”. Modi’s visit to the city comes at a time when assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are just a few months away and political temperatures are soaring. His arrival in Varanasi will immediately follow a rally, earlier in the day, at Mahoba district in the state’s impoverished Bundelkhand region.

Petrol price cut by 89 paise per litre, diesel cheaper by 49 paise a litre

New Delhi: Petrol price was on Friday cut by 89 paise a litre and diesel by 49 paise a litre, the first decrease in rates in two months.

A worker holds a fuel nozzle at a petrol pump in Mumbai June 11, 2010. India's oil ministry wants free pricing of petrol and diesel to help state firms who are forced to sell fuel at low, state-set prices. India's cabinet did not discuss any proposal to raise fuel prices or reform the sector on Thursday, a government minister said, continuing the uncertainty over a move that faces strong political resistance.REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui (INDIA - Tags: ENERGY)A worker holds a fuel nozzle at a petrol pump in Mumbai June 11, 2010. India's oil ministry wants free pricing of petrol and diesel to help state firms who are forced to sell fuel at low, state-set prices. India's cabinet did not discuss any proposal to raise fuel prices or reform the sector on Thursday, a government minister said, continuing the uncertainty over a move that faces strong political resistance.REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui (INDIA - Tags: ENERGY)

A worker holds a fuel nozzle at a petrol pump in Mumbai June 11, 2010. India’s oil ministry wants free pricing of petrol and diesel to help state firms who are forced to sell fuel at low, state-set prices. India’s cabinet did not discuss any proposal to raise fuel prices or reform the sector on Thursday, a government minister said, continuing the uncertainty over a move that faces strong political resistance.REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui (INDIA – Tags: ENERGY)

Petrol will cost Rs 64.76 a litre in Delhi from midnight tonight as compared to Rs 65.65 per litre currently, Indian Oil Corp, the nation’s largest fuel retailer, announced.

Similarly, diesel will cost Rs 54.70 per litre as against Rs 55.19 a litre currently.

This is the first reduction in rates in two months. Petrol price was last hiked by 5 paise a litre on 16 June and
diesel by Rs 1.26 a litre. Petrol prices in the four hikes since May 1 had been raised by Rs 4.52 a litre, while diesel rates had gone up by Rs 7.72 per litre.

“The current level of international product prices of petrol and diesel and Rupee-US Dollar exchange rate warrant
decrease in selling price of petrol and diesel, the impact of which is being passed on to the consumers with this price revision,” IOC said in a statement.

Barring an exemption on 16 April, when price of petrol was cut by 74 paise a litre and diesel by Rs 1.30, the upward trend in rates had been a phenomenon since 17 March.

After discounting the 16 April reduction, petrol prices have jumped by Rs 9.04 per litre since mid-March and diesel by Rs 11.05 per litre.

The movement of prices in the international oil market and Rupee-USD exchange rate shall continue to be monitored
closely and developing trends of the market will be reflected in future price changes, IOC said.

PTI

Indian Oil to raise diesel prices by 2.3 percent from Thursday | Reuters

NEW DELHI Indian Oil Corp (IOC) will raise the price of diesel by 2.3 percent from Thursday and that of gasoline by 0.08 percent, reflecting changes in global fuel prices, the company said in a statement.

India’s three state-run oil companies, IOC, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd, tend to adjust retail prices of fuels in concert.

A litre of diesel will sell for 55.19 rupees in the Indian capital, New Delhi, while gasoline will cost 65.65 rupees a litre from Thursday.

(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Mark Potter)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Delhi: 33 diesel-run taxi drivers booked for violating Supreme Court ban

New Delhi: Delhi Police on Tuesday booked 33 diesel-run taxi drivers, most of them working for app-based aggregators, for plying their vehicles in the city violating the Supreme Court ban.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“As many as 33 drivers were booked today and challans were issued to them. Almost all of them worked for app based cab aggregators,” Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sandeep Goel said.

Traffic crawled across the national capital for the second successive day on Tuesday as drivers of diesel-cabs blocked key roads connecting the city to neighbouring Noida and Gurgaon while repair work led to a number of diversions.

The congestion, reported from crucial arteries such as the Delhi-Noida Direct flyway, during the morning rush hours affected thousands of office-goers, who were forced to sweatit out on the roads with an unrelenting heat adding to their woes.

Cab drivers blocked traffic at DND Flyway for about 45 minutes protesting against action by enforcement agencies following the Supreme Court’s decision to ban diesel taxis in Delhi.

Traffic Police have launched a massive drive towards booking and impounding violators of the ban, riling a large number of cab drivers which has prompted the Centre to consider urging the apex court to review its decision.

NGT raps Delhi police for inaction against old vehicles, air pollution

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal rapped the Delhi Police asking why it has not taken any action against vehicles more than 15 years old from plying on the roads in the national capital.

“Why do not you (police) take action against 15-year-old vehicles which are plying on roads here? What have you done so far? Why do not you challan them?” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar asked.

Responding to it, the police told the bench that they have challaned around 1,000 such vehicles and have also started to impound them.

The bench was also informed by the petitioner that only diesel taxis were impounded in pursuance to Supreme Court’s order which had on April 30 refused to extend deadline fixed for conversion of diesel taxis plying in national Capital into less-polluting CNG mode.

To this, the bench asked the police, “Are there any petrol vehicle more than 15 years old which you have impounded.” It asked the police to furnish by tomorrow the entire data of vehicles challaned and impounded by it.

During the hearing, the bench also pulled up the Delhi government over the issue of pollution from dust and municipal waste burning.

Action needs to be taken against vehicles older than 15 years plying on the road. Representational image. PTI

Action needs to be taken against vehicles older than 15 years plying on the road. Representational image. PTI

“What NCT of Delhi is doing about dust and municipal waste burning? We have told your (government) Chief Secretary to hold meeting and finalise a plan for it,” the bench said.

The advocates appearing for the government and the civic agencies told the bench that they were taking steps in this regard after which the green panel asked them to file complete details before it and fixed the matter for hearing tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the bench asked Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) about the data of ambient air quality in Delhi recorded during the recently concluded second phase of odd-even scheme.

CPCB’s advocate informed the bench that data was “under compilation” and they would furnish it soon.

The NGT had yesterday taken Delhi government to task for its failure to implement its order banning vehicles more than 15 years old from plying on the roads here.

It had also slammed the government over incidents of waste burning and dust pollution in the national capital.

Earlier, the tribunal had asked Delhi government and other authorities to create awareness about air pollution caused by vehicular emissions and burning of municipal solid waste and issue advertisements on the lines of the odd-even scheme.

Previous govts named schemes after members of one family: PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday charged the Congress-led governments of the past with pursuing “vote bank politics” and naming schemes after members of one family and reached out to the numerically significant Nishad community in Uttar Pradesh as he launched solar-powered boats for plying on river Ganga.Addressing a gathering on the famous Assi Ghat on the banks of the river Ganges here, Modi said, “Our approach is in stark contrast with the governments of the past which cared only for vote banks and devised poverty alleviation schemes which never aimed at eradicating poverty as such but only garnering votes of the poor during elections”. .<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Without naming the Nehru-Gandhi family by name, the Prime Minister recalled that after the launch of seven satellites recently, “we felt a desire to name these after Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Shayma Prasad Mukherjee.”After all, have we not seen so many schemes being named after members of just one family. But ultimately we heeded the call of our conscience and called these satellites Navik which means boatman”.”In this way we have aimed at imparting dignity to the boatmen who have rendered invaluable service towards making the ancient city of Kashi famous around the world,” he said.PTI”Earlier when something was talked about our Nishad brothers, the price of diesel was brought down by one rupee or so in the hope that they will cast their vote in favour. But we have made schemes, which empower the poor to fight and defeat the poverty themselves. We are working in that direction,” he said listing a number of other schemes.Reaching out to the backward fishermen and boatmen communities (kevat, nishad, machchuara) and addressing them as “brothers”, the Prime Minister said his government is “for the poor”.Modi, who is also the local Lok Sabha member, was speaking after the launch of “e-boats”, which are traditional motorboats wherein diesel engines are replaced with batteries which are charged through solar panels retrofitted on the top.”The poor of this country have demonstrated that they can change their own destiny with just a little help, a little empowerment. Millions of poor, whom the banks were viewing with suspicion, have deposited crores out of their own savings. Any number of persons have started their own businesses or brought about innovations in their respective trades with the help they have received under the Mudra Yojana”, Modi said.”Similar has been the experience with e-rickshaws. Now, with e-boats, boatmen too would experience dramatic improvement in their lives. They will now no longer need to invest money on diesel. With lower noise pollution levels, there is the likelihood of people showing greater enthusiasm for boat rides”, the PM added.PTIThe introduction of e-boats has come against the backdrop of concerns over the pollution in the river Ganga caused by fumes of diesel emanating from the motorboats which have also said to be a menace for the tortoise sanctuary spread over a 7-km-long stretch on the river bed.The Prime Minister was accompanied, among others, by UK High Commissioner to India Dominique Asquith. During his nearly 45-minute-long speech, he said “earlier in the day, I was in Ballia district where we launched a scheme aimed at bringing LPG connections to nearly five crore poor families. This is unlike the stance of the previous governments which never looked beyond effecting marginal reductions in price of cylinders ahead of elections”.”In Varanasi, my first function marked distribution of e-rickshaws among those who drove manual rickshaws for a living. With less physical effort, the rickshaw pullers will now be able to ply greater distances and earn much more than they used to in the past. This is our approach when it comes to the commitment towards uplifting the poor”, Modi said.The Prime Minister was referring to a function held at Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) premises earlier in the day where a total of 11000 e-rickshaws were distributed. Out of these, 16 got their e-rickshaws personally from Modi.After the DLW function and before coming to Assi Ghat, Modi also visited Jnana Pravaha, a city-based centre for cultural studies where he spent close to 45 minutes.

SC stays ban on 2000 cc diesel cars in Delhi and NCR; hearing on 9 May

New Delhi: The ban on registration of diesel-run SUVs and high-end cars with engine capacity of 2000 cc and above in Delhi and NCR will continue as the Supreme Court on Saturday did not modify its earlier order which said the ban would remain in effect till further orders.

Representational image.

Representational image.

A bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices AK Sikri and R Banumathi will now resume on 9 May the hearing on various pleas including those of automobile giants like Mercedes, Toyota, Mahindra and General Motors for allowing registration of big diesel cars and SUVs.

The apex court, on 16 December last year, had barred registration of cars and vehicles with engine capacity of 2000 cc and above till 31 March.

“Interim order dated 16th December, 2015 passed by us restraining registration of diesel cars with a capacity of 2000 cc and above, shall continue pending further orders from this Court,” it said on 31 March.

As the court on Saturday did not pass any direction with regard to the registration of these vehicles, the order banning it would now continue till further orders.

During the hearing on Saturday, senior advocate KK Venugopal, appearing for three minors, who had moved the apex court, seeking direction to curb Delhi’s spiralling pollution graph cited the example of California and said that the corrective steps taken there can be taken here also to reduce pollution.

He said that both diesel and petrol vehicles ply in California.

If diesel vehicles use “catalytic converter or retro-fitted”, the pollution can substantially be reduced, he said.

Venugopal said that when CNG was introduced, some people said that it is not possible and others said it is too expensive but ultimately people started using it.

“Earlier, it took more than three months to convert a vehicle into CNG but now it takes around two-three days and costs just Rs 40,000 to Rs 80,000,” he said, adding that similarly if diesel vehicle “retrofit themselves” then it would help in reducing the emission of particulate matter substantially.

To this, the bench said no one has made this argument before it and asked Venugopal whether the efficacy of the research or such retrofit engines have been checked.
Venugopal said the efficacy of research could be checked by the government, but the point is that it could be a solution to the vehicular pollution.

He said that the cost on “retrofit engines” comes at around Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 and it would help the older vehicles reduce emissions.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for an automobile manufacturer, sought modification of the earlier order of the apex court banning registration of diesel vehicles and said that although diesel vehicles pollute more than petrol vehicles, the percentage is not that huge.

“Diesel vehicles contribute to the pollution only 25 per cent but 75 per cent is contributed by non-diesel vehicles. Four-wheel passenger vehicles contribute only 1.5 per cent,” Singhvi said while referring to the data of pollution.

To this, the bench said that it was earlier looking forward to doing something like adopting ‘polluters pay’ principle and ask the polluters to pay compensation but now several others suggestions have come on record which need to be considered.

Singhvi said that BS IV vehicles are 96 per cent less polluting and complete ban on diesel vehicles is ban on BS IV compliance vehicles.

He further said, “to say diesel cars cause more pollution and therefore we should ban them will solve no problem.”

The matter was fixed for further hearing on 9 May.

The bench which is hearing a PIL filed by M C Mehta in 1985 on reducing pollution had earlier asked the reputed car makers not to treat the petition as an “adversarial litigation” and “treat it in public interest”.

Earlier, the court had come out with harsh measures including specifying four more entry points through which no heavy commercial vehicle, unless bound for Delhi, will be allowed entry.

Petrol price hiked by Rs. 2.19/litre, diesel by 98 paise

New Delhi: State-run Indian Oil Corp (IOC) hiked transport fuel rates from Tuesday, increasing petrol by Rs.2.19 a litre and diesel by 98 paise — both at Delhi, with corresponding increase in other states, on the back of a further hardening of global crude oil rates.

Representational image.Representational image.

Representational image.

“The current level of international product prices of petrol and diesel and the INR-USD exchange rate warrant increase in prices of petrol and diesel, the impact of which is being passed on to the consumers with this price revision,” IOC said in a statement here.

Petrol per litre now costs Rs.61.87 in Delhi, Rs.65.48 in Kolkata, Rs.67.96 in Mumbai and Rs.61.32 in Chennai

The price of diesel per litre is Rs.49.31 in Delhi, Rs.51.58 in Kolkata, Rs.56.09 in Mumbai and Rs.50.09 in Chennai.

The latest increase follows a stiffer hike of Rs.3.07 a litre on petrol and Rs.1.90 a litre in diesel rates effected on March 17.

The Indian basket of crude oils, composed of 73 percent sour grade Dubai and Oman crudes and the rest by sweet grade UK Brent, closed trade on Friday at $36.58 a barrel of 159 litres as per official data, after having fallen to around $25 earlier in the year.

Supreme Court declines relief to auto majors, ban on diesel-run SUVs stays

New Delhi: Automobile giants like Mercedes, Toyota, Mahindra and General Motors on Thursday failed to get any relief from the Supreme Court, which extended till 30 April the bar on registration of diesel-run SUVs and high-end cars with engine capacity of 2000 CC and above in the National Capital Region.

“The interim order banning registration of diesel-run vehicles with engine capacity of 2000 CC and above will continue till 30 April,” the three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said.

Supreme Court. File photo. AFPSupreme Court. File photo. AFP

Supreme Court. File photo. AFP

The bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi, however extended by one more month the deadline, which was ending today, for converting all diesel-run taxis into CNG in the national capital.

While extending deadline for converting diesel-run taxis into CNG and continuing with the status quo on registration of diesel-run vehicles, the bench asked the reputed car makers not to treat the PIL as an “adversarial litigation” and “treat it in public interest”.

It asked them to sit together and come out with the “propositions” so that some solutions could be arrived at by holding a full-fledged hearing on Saturdays, a non-working day for the apex court, to save some “judicial time”.

When a counsel sought some relief on the registration of trucks in Delhi and NCR, the bench got irked and said, “no trucks will be registered as the city is already choked”.

It rather went further and observed: “Heavens will not fall, if trucks are not registered.”

“Rather, there is congestion on the roads due to trucks and why not impose congestion charge on them,” it said, adding there was no space for their parking too.

While continuing with the ban on registration of diesel-run vehicles of 2000 CC and above, the bench said, “We are conscious of the fact that the order is going to affect the companies, market and economy.

Jayalalithaa slams petrol, diesel price hike; says ‘not acceptable’

Chennai: Opposing the latest hike in prices of petrol and diesel, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday said the revision will impact the lower and middle classes and sought its rollback.

In a statement, she said Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) effecting such a revision citing depreciation of the Indian rupee against US Dollar was “not acceptable”.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa. PTITamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa. PTI

Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa. PTI

“Vehicles transporting goods run on diesel. The hike in diesel price will result in prices of goods going up. Due to this the lower and middle classes will be affected,” she said in a statement here tonight.

The petrol price hike, she said, would impact the motorists who hail from the middle class.

Stating that OMCs had effected a 102 per cent and 85 per cent excise duty increase, she said such high taxation was generally levied on cigarettes in the form of sin tax.

“But it is not fair to impose such high excise duty on petrol and diesel,” she said.

Excise duty on petrol and diesel had been increased by Rs.11.77 and Rs.13.57, respectively, since November 2014, she said.

The US Dollar-Indian rupee value, US Central bank increasing interest rate, dip in Chinese foreign exchange among others will lead to fluctuations in the value of the Indian currency but it was “not acceptable” that fuel prices could be hiked as a result, she said.

The revision would spur an increase in prices of essential commodities which would impact the monthly expenses of the lower and middle class people, she said and sought for the withdrawal of the hike.

PTI

SUVs rev up at Delhi auto show despite pollution crackdown

New Delhi: India’s flagship auto show opened its doors in New Delhi on Wednesday, with a new batch of diesel-guzzling SUVs on proud display despite industry uncertainty over a pollution crackdown targetting motorists in the capital.

More than 80 vehicle launches were expected at the Auto Expo 2016, the biggest edition in the show’s 30-year-history, with Fiat-Chrysler-owned Jeep making its India debut hoping to capitalise on the popularity of sports utility vehicles in the country.

A visible theme at this year’s show was the proliferation of “compact SUVs” — smaller, lower-cost versions of the off-road lifestyle cars that can more easily navigate chaotic city streets and aimed at young, urban car buyers.

SUVs are aplenty. ReutersSUVs are aplenty. Reuters

SUVs aplenty in Auto Expo 2016. Reuters

Among those unveiling scaled-down SUVs was Maruti Suzuki, the Indian subsidiary of the Japanese car-maker better known for its dominance in the small car segment, which chose the Delhi show for the global launch of its Vitara Brezza.

“India’s SUV market has been growing at a very fast pace. This is a segment in which we were not present for a long time and we are proud to say in this case the design has been done by an Indian team,” CV Raman, executive director of engineering at Maruti Suzuki India, said.

The biennial show comes less than a month after a trial measure by the Delhi government took more than a million cars off the city’s roads daily for two weeks in a bid to improve the capital’s toxic air.

And a recent Supreme Court ruling banned the registration of new diesel cars with an engine capacity of two litres or more — typical of large SUVs or luxury cars — in Delhi until March 31, rattling the industry.

India’s biggest car maker Tata Motors showed off a slew of new models as it seeks to revive its flagging market share, including two forthcoming SUVs and the Zica hatchback, which it plans to rename following the spread of the Zika virus.

“We recognise the need to improve air quality, but when we look the targets being set they should be set based on emissions — limits on emissions, not on technology,” Timothy Leverton, Tata’s head of research and development said.

“Diesel will play its role because it is the most efficient in terms of combustion systems.”

After two days of press previews the show will open to the public on Friday and runs until February 9.

AFP

PM Modi to visit Varanasi on Friday, to distribute aids among differently-abled

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be highlighting the need to ensure a life of dignity for the differently-abled with distribution of aids among nearly 8,000 people in Varanasi on Friday.The Prime Minister, who will undertake fifth visit to his constituency after assuming office in May, 2014, is likely to personally hand over the aids to some of the beneficiaries, besides interacting with children from various parts of the country who have overcome disabilities relating to speech and hearing with the help of the ADIP (Assistance to Disabled Persons) scheme of the Centre.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>More than 25,000 aids like wheelchairs, hand-driven tricycles, smart crutches and hearing implants will be distributed among 8,000 beneficiaries and the Union Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment has reportedly written to the Guinness Book of World Records to take note of the event, which is touted to be one of the largest of its kind.The Prime Minister had in a radio address recently made a plea for doing away with the word ‘vikalang’ (handicapped) and calling the differently abled as ‘divyang’ (born with a divine limb/organ) in a bid to sensitise the society towards their right to live a life of dignity and honour.Related Read: Mann Ki Baat: Address the disabled as ‘divyaang’, not ‘viklaang’, says PM ModiThere have also been reports that a new Disabilities Act may be passed by his government wherein the word ‘handicapped’ may be replaced with ‘impairment’, in all national institutes, as a mark of ‘changing attitudes’ towards persons with disabilities.The Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) premises, where the function will be held, is also likely to witness the flagging off of the ‘Mahamana Express’ by the Prime Minister.Named after Mahamana Madan Mohan Malaviya, renowned educationist and founder of the Benares Hindu University (BHU), the thrice-a-week superfast train promises to cover the nearly 800-km distance between Varanasi and New Delhi in less than 14 hours.The last tour, on December 12 last, was marked by Modi witnessing the famous Ganga Arti on the banks of the holy river, accompanied by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Falling price: Petrol becomes cheaper by 32 paise, diesel by 85 paise a litre

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