Archive For The “General” Category

Bhopal gas tragedy: 37 years, 37 questions

Bhopal, Oct 31 : NGOs fighting for the cause of the Bhopal gas victims have launched "37 saal par 37 sawaal", a campaign highlighting concerns of the victims ahead of the 37th anniversary of the tragedy.

The campaign will raise 37 questions on issues like treatment and compensation to the victims; their social rehabilitation;

pollution and cleanliess of the abandoned factory premises; punishment to the guilty, among others.

At least 5,295 lives were lost on the intervening night of December 2 and 3 in 1984 when poisonous gas leaked from the

now defunct Union Caribde plant.

Several others are still battling heart, kidney, liver and other health ailments.

For the past 37 years, organisations including the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationary Karamchari Sangh, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, have been fighting fot the victims's rights.

This campaign aims to put the government in the dock.

The organisations have accused the government of not fulfilling its responsibilities towards the victms after the tragedy.

The victims were neither properly compensated nor any step taken for their employment.

No efforts were made to provide better treatment, while toxic waste accumulated outside the premises also were also not removed, they alleged.

Rachna Dhingra of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action said that according to the government 5,295 people had lost their lives, but why are only 5,000 widows being provided pensions? What about the women, youth, unmarried and and children who also died in the tragedy?

The organisations have further alleged that it has been 37 years of the tragedy but still the justice to the victims and punishment to the guilty are still not in sight.

"This forced us to launch the campaign," they said, adding that the 37 questions will be completely based on reasoning and will also reveal facts through Right To Information.

The groups have also questioned the government for not demanding compensation from Bhopal Union Carbide and Dow Chemical for polluting the soil and water.

The land for the Union Carbide had been given on lease for 99 years by the government and it was to be returned in original condition.

Reports suggest that there is a large number of toxic chemicals in the plant premises.

Ground water is also polluted but the government has not demanded compensation.

The government is yet to respond to ths charges.



Source: IANS

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These women are lighting your lives

Shahjahanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Oct 31 : These 80-odd women in the Katri area of Shahjahanpur district are lighting up your lives -- quite literally.

They are being trained to assemble LED bulbs and decorative lights that are competitively priced.

The district unit of Indian Industries Association is providing training in an effort to help these women earn a decent living and uplift themselves economically.

These women are assembling good quality LED bulbs -- which are on par with the branded ones available in the market -- and are selling these at Rs 50 or even Rs 35 per piece.

Ashok Agarwal, national president of Indian Industries Association, told reporters, "The initiative is aimed at providing financial help to women in the rural areas and also develop it as a cottage industry."

He said that most of the women have acquired the skill to assemble a 9W bulb in 12-15 minutes, and are honing their skills on how to assemble strings of lights.

"We have two manufacturing units running at present -- one of these is located at the reserve police lines.

We will soon be shifting one of our units to a village in Mirzapur. As of now, we have provided transportation to the women to come over to Shahjahanpur for training," he said.

He further informed, "We provide raw materials to the women.

A 9W bulb is not only energy efficient but also lasts a minimum of two years. The women are selling the bulbs for Rs 50 or even less. The profit earned is shared with the women. We have not thought about branding of the product as of now, and so the product does not have a name."

Shahjahanpur District Magistrate Indra Vikram Singh, who recently spent some time with these women workers, has placed an order for 1,000 LED bulbs to encourage them.

Interestingly, Mirzapur and Kalaan areas fall under the Katri belt, which was once infested by dacoits.

Several women, now making bulbs, used to make a living by providing shelter and food to dacoits in the region.



Source: IANS

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Jaipur students become the preferred choice of MNCs

Jaipur, Oct 31 : In recent years, Jaipur has established its own identity in terms of quality education.

Now the students of educational institutions here are becoming the choice of multinational companies who are hiring them at whopping packages irrespective of the threats being posed by pandemic challenges.

Companies, which have so far turned to institutes like IIT-NIT for campus placements, are now recognising the talent of the students of Jaipur and offering them lucrative jobs.

Prajwal Gidwani, a student from Jaipur Engineering College and Research Campus (JECRC) Foundation has been offered a package of Rs 44 lakh.

He said, "It is because of practical training conducted throughout the course that I have been able to get Amazon offers of Rs 44 lakh per annum."

Another trend being seen in the city is that the female candidates have been selected in large numbers.

Top companies have offered excellent salaries to about 70 per cent of the female candidates. Krati Mitra, a student, got a package of Rs 23 lakh from Cloudera.

A package of Rs 7 lakh has been offered to more than 140 students and a package of Rs 5 lakh per annum given to more than 360 students in JECRC.

According to the released data from the first phase by the Jaipur Engineering College and Research Campus (JECRC) Foundation, so far 847 students have got job offers with a salary hike of 40 per cent compared to last year.

World's top multinational companies included in Fortune-500; Companies like HPE, Deloitte, Infosys, LTI, Amazon, Capgemini, Accenture and Cloudera, Infoedge, ZS Associates have offered much better packages this time to Jaipur students.

Arpit Agarwal, Director, JECRC Foundation, said that the growing faith in JECRC among the students have inspired us to work harder as an institution.

"After Covid-19 phase, companies are now offering jobs to students by taking interviews in virtual mode as well.

This has given our students more opportunities to showcase their talents," he added.

Rakesh Bhatnagar, President (Vice-Chancellor), Amity University Rajasthan, Jaipur said that over 365 organisations conducted their placement drive with Amity Jaipur campus during 2021.

He said, "Universities must nurture the students not only to discover new perspectives but also to see things differently and develop an entrepreneurial mindset.

"We are transforming young minds into competent professionals with human values and are giving a wide exposure of industry to our students to make them industry-ready besides strengthening the industry-academia relationship."



Source: IANS

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Vegan lifestyle: Look how these Udaipur-based companies lead the world!

Jaipur, Oct 31 : World Vegan Day, which falls on Sunday, comes as a reminder to know about the health benefits of being vegan and makes the world aware of various advantages of a vegan lifestyle.

A few Udaipur-based companies have carved a niche in spreading the benefits of being vegan and have clocked a 250 per cent growth even during the pandemic while marking a global presence.

GoodDot, formed in 2016 by Abhishek Sinha and Deepak Parihar, has been growing at almost 100% YoY since the start.

However, this financial year, the company's growth has been 250%.

"When we formed our company in 2016, the category of plant based meat was extremely small.

The consumer awareness about such products was non-existent. But now, people across India are looking for plant based meat options. And this demand is from metros as well as from smaller towns and cities in India. We believe no human being wants to intentionally hurt animals. In that sense, everyone is a Vegan because the essence of Veganism is to avoid inflicting pain on our fellow sentient beings, the animals", said Abhishek Sinha on the eve of World Vegan Day.

GoodDot's manufacturing facility is in Udaipur in Rajasthan and the company has recently launched its flagship products in Canada, Dubai, Nepal, South Africa, Mauritius, and Singapore.

They are also planning to launch their products in the US and European markets too in the near future.

The company's products are now being used in almost 1,00,000 meals everyday all across India and they range from Curries, Tikkas, Keema, Noodles, Biryani, and Pulao to chunks of plant-based meat.

Another QSR outlet GoodDo is also offering tasty, healthy and affordable plant-based meat alternatives that can be used to replace meat in any recipe.

GoodDo is India's first and largest chain of Vegan Quick Service Restaurants which is again headquartered in Udaipur and has its branches in Mumbai, Delhi and Nepal.

GoodDo has been awarded the 'Best Vegan Restaurant' by the Indian Restaurant Association and its food truck in Udaipur has been recognized as the 2nd Best Vegan Food Truck in the world by Lonely Planet.

"Patrons absolutely love our offerings and come from afar specifically seeking our unique offerings.

Several of our outlets have exceeded their pre-pandemic levels and the interest in this sector is really growing.

Team GoodDo is focused on taking vegan food to the masses in a delicious, fun, innovative and affordable avatar", said Abhinav Sinha.



Source: IANS

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Thousands of Puneeth’s fans make beeline for last glimpse

Bengaluru, Oct 30 : The queues are never ending near the Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru where the mortal remains of Kannada superstar Puneeth Rajkumar is being kept for final viewing.

The police force is trying hard to contain the situation.

The authorities have however, banned the public from observing the last rites which will take place later in the day.

As the entry is limited to only family and close circle, giant screens are erected outside Kanteerava Studio to enable his fans to witness the final moments before his body is being laid to rest.

Rockline Venkatesh, Kannada film producer who was overlooking arrangements near Kanteerava Studio for conducting last rites, appealed to fans not to try to enter into the studio as arrangements are being made for them to view the final rites ceremony from outside.

He said Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai spoke to Puneeth's family before finalising decisions.

He also helped his daughter to start the journey by getting necessary clearances in the US.

Usha Uthup, the famous pop singer stated that the news of the untimely death of Puneeth is horrible.

"He belonged to the whole film fraternity of India, he is not confined to Karnataka. I am personally devastated. I had a wonderful time with him," she said.

Siddaramaiah, opposition leader, remembers how Puneeth called him 'maama' (uncle).

"He was so fit. He used to exercise every day. He was a brilliant dancer. Death is inevitable, but Puneeth's is untimely, too early," he added.

Ramana Rao, the family doctor who was consulted by Puneeth before the cardiac arrest explained that Puneeth walked into his clinic with his wife Ashwini on Friday.

"He called me 'Appaji' (father). He explained that, after usual exercise and did some extra boxing and took extra steam. Puneeth said he did not experience any pain," he said.

Puneeth's blood pressure was normal, heart pulse was normal.

Since Puneeth was sweating, ECG was conducted. Puneeth kept on saying that he sweats normally. ECG tests recognized too many strains in the pattern. It was informed to Puneeth's wife Ashwini. When she went to make calls, Puneeth complained of giddiness. He was asked to lie down and then shifted to hospital, Ramana Rao explained.

"Puneeth had no history of diabetes or hypertension.

Even though ECG showed strains, I had confidence that he would survive. His body was used to exercising. It happened so suddenly, all humanly possible efforts were made to save him," he explained.



Source: IANS

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After China promised major aid to Afghanistan, only (Dollar) 1 million reaches the war torn country

New Delhi, Oct 30: After Chinas much publicized promise to help Afghanistan with about (Dollar) 31 million in aid to rebuild the war torn country, it seems only a tiny fraction of the total amount has reached the Taliban led regime.

TOlO News in a tweet said that China has provided (Dollar) 1 million to Afghanistan and has promised to provide (Dollar) 5 million more in humanitarian aid, especially medicine and food.

Just for better understanding, (Dollar) 1 million, if converted into Indian Rupee, amounts to a mere Rs 7.5 crore.

Former acting governor of Da Afghanistan Bank - the country's central bank tweeted, "I often get asked whether China could replace the financial power of the US/EU/WB/IMF in Afghanistan.....I think this pledge clearly answers that question: (Dollar) 1M + (Dollar) 5M."

Earlier India Narrative reported that the first tranche of aid reached the country only on September 30.

"China makes commitments but how much of those commitments actually flow is not analysed in details, It is impossible for China to rebuild Afghanistan..until the US or EU steps in, China alone will be an insignificant player," the late Shakti Sinha, who was director, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Policy Research and International Studies told India Narrative in an exclusive interview.

That apart, China is typically risk averse and with its economic slowdown, it will tread a more cautious path before opening its purse strings.

While China has expressed its interest in extending its Belt and Road Initiative into Afghanistan, there is no blueprint of actual investments.

"Will China invest? That is the big question. I believe it will not and even if it does, these are long term projects which take time to generate the desired results," an analyst told India Narrative earlier.

According to the International Monetary Fund, Afghanistan's economy could contract 30 per cent this year, resulting in a refugee crisis.

The refugee crisis may impact its neighbouring countries, it said.

According to a Reuters report, with non-humanitarian aid halted and foreign assets largely frozen after the Taliban seized power in August, Afghanistan's aid-reliant economy currently faces multiple challenges.

For a country, where grants have financed around 75 per cent of the public spending, choking of aid would lead to crumbling of the economy.

The US has frozen the (Dollar) 9.5 billion reserves that the country has in overseas accounts.

Besides, flow of remittances has choked too.

(The content is being carried under an arrangement with


Source: IANS

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Elon Musk is first person ever to be worth over (Dollar) 300bn

New Delhi, Oct 30 : Tesla CEO Elon Musk has become the first person to cross the (Dollar) 300 billion net-worth threshold after his fortune surged by (Dollar) 10 billion in a day thanks to a Tesla share spike, a day before Microsoft regained the title of world's most valuable company, Daily Mail reported.

Musk's net worth hit (Dollar) 302 billion as of Thursday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires' Index.

The increase of (Dollar) 10 billion was due to a rise in Tesla shares on Thursday, after the electric car firm inked a huge deal with Hertz for the rental giant to buy 100,000 of its vehicles.

The mogul is now worth over (Dollar) 100 billion more than the second-richest person on earth, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

His fortune sits at (Dollar) 199 billion.

On Friday, Microsoft regained its perch as the world's most valuable company, with a (Dollar) 2.46 trillion market cap, after an Apple share slump saw the iPhone maker's overall value plunge around four per cent to (Dollar) 2.41 trillion.

This came after Apple fell just under 4 per cent after lower than expected fourth-quarter revenues.

Microsoft climbed 1.1 per cent to blow past Apple after higher than expected revenue estimates for an 11th straight quarter, the report said.

Microsoft is now more valuable than Apple for the first time since early 2020.

The company is on pace for its biggest weekly gains since January, the report said

Musk is now worth more than the annual GDP of nations like Egypt, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Greece, Qatar and Finland.

He's also worth more than the market value of PayPal, the company he co-founded, as well as streaming giant Netflix.



Source: IANS

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Ellenabad by-election a test of farmers’ ballot power

Ellenabad, Oct 30 (IANS/ 101Reporters) All eyes are on Saturday's by-elections in Haryana's Ellenabad constituency, which has emerged as a prestige issue for the three main political parties in the fray - the ruling BJP, the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).

The biggest and most emotive issue in the election is the farmers' agitation sparked by the passage of three contentious farm laws in late 2020.

Haryana's farmers are among those taking an active part in the movement and resentment against the BJP has been brewing ever since.

Whether the saffron party wins or loses Ellenabad will not affect Haryana's Manohar Lal Khattar government, but the election has become a prestige issue for the BJP, and the state machinery is employing its full force to win the seat.

For the Congress and INLD, the by-election has become a question of survival with dignity.

A total of 19 candidates are in the fray, of which 11 are Independents, but the main contest is believed to be between the INLD, Congress and BJP.

Candidates in slugfest

The political atmosphere in the state is already charged.

Among the heavyweights is INLD's Abhay Singh Chautala, who resigned from the state Assembly early this year in protest against the agricultural laws.

Taking on him from the Congress is Pawan Beniwal, while the BJP has fielded Govind Kanda after inducting him into the party.

Traditionally, the Ellenabad seat in Sirsa has been the stronghold of former Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal.

Abhay, his grandson and son of the former chief minister and INLD supremo Om Prakash Chautala, was victorious here in the 2019 elections when he defeated Beniwal, then in the BJP.

Abhay's resignation from the seat is what led to the by-election here.

While he is standing again from the INLD, his rival Beniwal switched to the Congress a few days before the announcement of the election date.

All parties campaigned diligently for their candidates from village to village, though flags and banners are not visible due to the fear of the Election Commission.

In his rallies, Abhay campaigned against the agricultural laws and alleged scams during the rule of the Khattar government in Haryana, while Beniwal spoke about the lack of development in the state.

BJP's Kanda assured the electorate of all-around progress.

Former CM Chautala is not leaving any stone unturned for the victory of son Abhay.

He is visiting dozens of villages every day seeking support. On the other hand, the entire Haryana government is working to take BJP candidate Kanda to the finish line.

State BJP president Om Prakash Dhankar, all ministers, MLAs, and chairmen of Khattar government corporations and boards are scouring the villages of Ellenabad in their bid for victory.

In the Congress, leaders including state president Kumari Selja and former CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, are making efforts to ensure a win.

Odds of victory

All three candidates have their pros and cons.

The Ellenabad seat has long been dominated by the Chautala family, and in 11 of 15 previous elections, a member of the family or a candidate of their choice has won.

In the 1970 by-election here, Om Prakash Chautala became the MLA.

From 1977 to 2005, the seat was reserved for the Scheduled Castes. In this time, Bhagiram, who was close to the Devi Lal family, won from here five times. After delimitation in 2009, the seat was declared for the general category, after which Chautala senior became the MLA.

Chautala had then also won from Uchana seat, due to which he resigned from the Ellenabad seat and in the 2010 by-election it was won by Abhay.

In 2014 and 2019, Abhay won again by defeating Beniwal.

Now Abhay is in the fray here for the fourth time and is confident of the support of the farmers and Jats who are agitating against the BJP government.

Yet, the challenges before him are no less.

By winning from Ellenabad in 2019, Abhay was able to register his presence as the lone MLA of INLD in the 90-member Haryana Assembly, all thanks to infighting in the Chautala family.

One of Abhay's rivals has turned out to be his own nephew, Dushyant Chautala, son of Omprakash Chautala's elder son Ajay.

Dushyant is currently the deputy chief minister of Haryana - a post he got by forming a joint government with the BJP on the strength of ten MLAs from his Jannayak Janata Party.

Abhay has to thus face not only the Congress-BJP candidates but also the supporters of his nephew, a participant in the rival Khattar government.

If Abhay wins, then it will give new strength to INLD in Haryana, but in case of defeat, the future of the party will be in question.

There are also strengths and weaknesses associated with Congress's Pawan Beniwal.

In Ellenabad, Beniwal's uncle, former MLA Bharat Beniwal, had been contesting elections on a Congress ticket.

But this time the party gave his ticket to the nephew - which did not go down well with Bharat. The Congress high command has so far persuaded Bharat to remain in the party fold, but fears of rebellion remain.

On the pro side, Pawan Beniwal's biggest advantage is that he is a Jat and the Congress is banking on him to get votes from the farmers as well as the Jats.

The majority of Ellenabad's nearly 2 lakh voters stay in villages and according to estimates, 37 per cent of voters are from the Jat community, with Jat Sikhs making up 7 per cent of the voters.

BJP on backfoot

The BJP in Ellenabad is facing the displeasure of farmers, who threw out party candidate Kanda and other leaders from the local gurdwara.

Even in villages, farmers are raising slogans against the party. The United Kisan Morcha has taken out a Kalash Yatra with the ashes of the farmers killed in Lakhimpur Kheri to different villages in Ellenabad.

So the farmers are leaving no stone unturned to make BJP's path to victory here difficult.

The majority of Jat votes are likely to be divided between Abhay and Beniwal.

In such a situation, the BJP is trying hard to get its candidate to win by mobilising non-Jat voters. Govind's elder brother Gopal Kanda, former Minister of State for Home in Haryana, has also jumped on the campaign ground with full strength.

Palaram Jat, a farmer from Dholpaliya village, admitted to the impact of the farmer agitation on the Ellenabad election.

In this case, Abhay has an upper hand as he resigned from the Assembly in protest against the agricultural laws.

(The author is a Hanumangarh-based freelance journalist and a member of, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters.)



Source: IANS

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RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das silences critics with right monetary policy mix in tough Covid timee

New Delhi, Oct 30: When Shaktikanta Das was appointed governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in December 2018, many pundits were quick to write volumes about how his coming would mark the end of the Central Banks autonomy.

He was appointed right after his predecessor Urjit Patel abruptly quit citing interference from the Centre.

Three years have rolled and now Das has been given another three years' extension.

He will now remain at the helm till December 2024.

This time, however, those voices that vehemently criticized him, have remained rather muted.

"One of the key achievements of Das is that he has shown that to maintain autonomy you do not have to be at loggerheads all the time," a former colleague of his who worked with him in the finance ministry told India Narrative.

People who have worked with him said that his inclusive and open minded nature allows him to stand out.

"When he took over the top job at the RBI, many within the Central Bank were suspicious about him especially since at that time RBI and the government had got entangled in a nasty battle.

He, many felt, would be the government's voice," the person said, adding that his interpersonal skill has helped him in steering the RBI through the most difficult times in recent history.

Das, unlike his predecessors does not hold a Doctorate in Economics-he holds a Master's Degree in History-- has proved that work can be done productively "without brawls."

His tenure as RBI chief will be marked by the outbreak of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Das, known to have his eyes focused on economic growth, kept his emphasis on the same even during the pandemic.

His emphasis of "accommodative stance" over inflation continues. The RBI even let inflation rise above the 6 per cent level in 2020. But Das maintained that the Central Bank has a "laser focus" on prices and will not allow it to rise beyond a certain level.

Amid unprecedented economic challenges and geopolitical shifts, India's foreign exchange reserves swelled.

When he took over as RBI governor, the forex reserves were at about (Dollar) 450 billion. Today it is (Dollar) 641 billion.

"RBI had continuously made forex purchases. In FY21, RBI purchased Rs 5.1 trillion worth of forex and its forex reserves swelled by (Dollar) 103.72 billion," the State Bank of India analysis said.

Das, whose strength lies in open communication-he is the first RBI governor who is active on social media including the Twitter-has been repeatedly assuring businesses that the Central Bank is "battle-ready" and would do whatever it takes to keep up the momentum in the economy.

While a few big-ticket frauds including the Punjab (and) Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank and Yes Bank hit the country under his tenure, his achievement lies in the fact that the Central Bank did not allow these to affect the system and the sentiments.

Analysts also said that his biggest test has been the Covid 19 pandemic.

Das, who as economic affairs secretary carefully steered through the demonetization period, was perceived to be close to the ruling party.

Congress leaders and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram had tweeted, "Government has appointed two persons who vocally supported demonetization to two key posts.

What does it say about the Modi government? Is government telling the people of the country 'we don't care what you think, we will do exactly as we please'?" However, it was not just the Congress.

Even BJP leader Subramanian Swamy attacked Das.

"No one can say that RBI has lost its autonomy or that the institution has weakened under Das," the colleague said.

(The content is being carried under an arrangement with


Source: IANS

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DMRC gets ‘Best Passenger Service and Satisfaction’ award

New Delhi, Oct 30 : The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has bagged the award for excellence in urban transport for its "Best Passenger Service and Satisfaction".

"We are delighted to inform you that Delhi Metro is conferred with the 'Award for Excellence in Urban Transport' by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs under the category 'Metro Rail with the Best Passenger Services and Satisfaction," the DMRC tweeted on Friday night.

DMRC Managing Director Mangu Singh received the award from Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri at the 14th Urban Mobility India (UMI) Conference 2021 in Delhi.

"Very happy and proud to receive this award for Metro Rail with best passenger services and satisfaction on behalf of DMRC at MoHUA's 14th Urban Mobility India awards.

Public satisfaction and safety has always been the core of Arvind Kejriwal model of governance," Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot tweeted.

Delhi has bagged the award for excellence in urban transport under the "Best Non-Motorized Transport" category for its Chandini Chowk redevelopment project by the Centre on Friday.

"Urban Development Minister Satyendar Jain was felicitated with the honour in the category of the city with the best non-motorised transport system by Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri," a statement issued by Delhi government read.

"The Chandni Chowk redevelopment project has been honored by the Government of India.

This has come true only because of the vision and leadership of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Congratulations to the entire team working behind this project," Jain said.

Other cities who have made it to the list are Surat for the best public transport, Indore for the city with the most innovative financing mechanism, Kochi for the most sustainable transport system and Nashik for the best record of public Involvement in its transport planning.



Source: IANS

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