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Heavy snowfall closes highways in J&K, triggers avalanche warnings

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Heavy snowfall is being witnessed in higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir while torrential rains have lashed the plains leading to the closure of highways and other roads in many areas.

The Machil sector of Kupwara in North Kashmir is witnessing heavy snow. The sector saw a brief exchange of fire during the previous night that alerted security forces near the border. No combing operation could be started due to the bad weather and heavy snowfall going on in the Machil sector, said the local police.

Reports said that Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was closed as the snowfall and rains triggered landslides in various areas of the highway, especially in Ramban. Police said that 300-400 vehicles were stranded due to the closure of the highway and said efforts were on to clear the landslides in many areas.

The Srinagar-Leh highway, as well as Bandipora-Gurez road, were on Monday closed for traffic given fresh snowfall, traffic officials in Srinagar said and advised people to undertake any journey on these roads only after contacting the traffic control room.

The MeT office has issued an “Orange Colour” weather warning for the higher reaches of J&K and Sonmarg-Zojila axis on the Srinagar-Leh road, asking the administration and people to be prepared and to maintain vigil and the disaster management department has issued avalanche warnings in the higher reaches of the different district because of fresh snowfall.

Heavy snowfall is being reported from Gulmarg and Pahalgam, the two famous health resorts of Kashmir, and this has given relief to the people living in these areas from the sub-zero temperatures.

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Mumbai: 10 restaurant staff test positive for COVID-19

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 5 (ANI): After 10 staff members of Radhakrishnan restaurant on Mumbai’s SV Road tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, the restaurant was closed for two days.
Speaking to ANI, a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official said, “10 out of 35 staff members have tested positive at Radhakrishnan restaurant on SV Road, hence it is closed for two days.”
“After sanitisation and new staff deployment, the restaurant will be allowed to operate,” the official added.
The restaurant staff, who tested positive for coronavirus, have been shifted to Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) Jumbo Covid Centre.
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Maharashtra has 86,359 active COVID-19 cases, 20,49,484 recoveries and 52,340 deaths so far.
Meanwhile, India has a total of 1,76,319 active cases with 1,08,39,894 discharges. The death toll stands at 1,57,548. (ANI)

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PM Modi, Shah greet Shivraj Singh Chouhan on his birthday

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday extended greetings to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on his birthday.
“Happy birthday to the energetic BJP leader and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chauhan. He has given new heights of development to the state under his leadership. I wish him a happy, healthy and long life,” PM Modi tweeted.
Taking to Twitter, Shah said: “Wishes to Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan on his birthday. With such dedication and dedication, you should continue to work for the welfare of the people and the development of the state. I pray to God for your good health and long life.”
BJP national president Jagat Prakash also extended greetings to Chouhan.
“Greetings to Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and senior BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan on his birthday. During your tenure, the state is constantly on the path of development. I pray to God for your good health and long life,” Nadda tweeted.
Chouhan planted a sapling at his residence in Bhopal on the occasion. (ANI)

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Hike in platform ticket rates ‘temporary measure’ to prevent overcrowding at stations: Railways

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Railways has termed the hike in platform ticket rates as a “temporary measure” in the interest of the safety of passengers and to prevent overcrowding at stations.
This comes after the Indian Railways in a notification reportedly announced a hike in platform ticket rates at most stations.
Issuing the clarification, the Ministry said that regulation and controlling of the crowd at stations is the responsibility of the Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs).
“It is a temporary measure and field activity undertaken by the railway administration in the interest of the safety of passengers and to prevent overcrowding at stations,” Ministry said in a statement.
“Deterring more persons to visit the station, the platform ticket charges are increased from time to time after assessing the ground situation. The power to change charges of platform tickets has been delegated to DRMs due to field management requirements,” it added.
The Ministry said the measure is in practice for many years and is used occasionally as a short-term crowd control measure and “there is nothing new about it.”
In February, the Railways had announced the “slight hike” in the ticket fares of short-distance passenger trains to discourage people from unnecessary travel. (ANI)

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16,838 new coronavirus infections in India, 113 deaths in last 24 hrs

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): As many as 16,838 new COVID-19 cases and 113 deaths were reported in India in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry informed on Friday.
With 13,819 new discharges, the cumulative recoveries reached 1,08,39,894.
The country’s coronavirus tally has reached 1,11,73,761 including 1,76,319 active infections while the death toll has mounted to 1,57,548.
According to the health ministry, a total of 1,80,05,503 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 so far.
Maharashtra continues to remain the most affected COVID-19 state in India with 86,359 active cases, followed by Kerala with 44,734 active infections.
A total of 21,99,40,742 samples tested for COVID-19 up to March 4, 2021, of these, 7,61,834 samples were tested yesterday, as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). (ANI)

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Bandh observed in Andhra against privatisation of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant

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Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) [India], March 5 (ANI): A bandh is being observed in Andhra Pradesh against the Central government’s decision to privatise the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) Visakhapatnam, popularly known as Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP).
Nearly all political parties and other organisations in the state, except the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are taking part in the bandh, in response to a call by VSP workers unions.
The YSRCP-led state government has also expressed solidarity with the bandh and announced that RTC buses will not run today till 1 pm. Buses have been confined to depots and passengers were seen leaving as no transport is available.
A demonstration has been staged at the Pandit Nehru Bus Station.
“Telugu Desam Party, 10 Left parties, YSRCP and the Congress are supporting this bandh call. I request Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy to have an all-party meeting. He should also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi with representatives of all the parties. PM Modi stated very clearly that 100 PSUs will be privatised. This is not a small matter,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) K Ramakrishna told ANI.
“The privatisation of the steel plant is very much opposed in Andhra Pradesh. For the last several days, protests have been taking place. Trade unions and almost all political parties in the state are supporting the bandh. We are glad to see this is support,” P Madhu, State secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) added.
He further hit out at the Central government saying, “The LIC has also been privatised. The sea, the air – everything is going to be handed over to corporates. The Government should take this decision back.”
P Gowtam Reddy, YSRCP leader also demanded the withdrawal of the decision and said, “The government should verify the practicality of this kind of privatisation.” (ANI)

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First consignment of ‘red rice’ from Assam flagged off to US

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New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): In a major boost to India’s rice exports potential, the first consignment of ‘red rice’ was flagged off on Thursday to the United States of America (USA).
Iron-rich ‘red rice’ is grown in the Brahmaputra valley of Assam, without the use of any chemical fertilizer. The rice variety is referred as ‘Bao-dhaan’, which is an integral part of Assamese food.
The red rice is being sourced by leading rice exporter – LT Foods. The flagging off ceremony of the export consignments was carried out by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) Chairman Dr M.Angamuthu at Sonepat, Haryana.
As the exports of ‘red rice’ grow, it would enhance the incomes of farming families of the Brahmaputra flood plains, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a release.
APEDA, which comes under the department of Commerce of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has been promoting rice exports through collaborations with various stakeholders in the value chains.
“The government had set up the Rice Export Promotion Forum (REPF), under the aegis of the APEDA. REPF has representations from the rice industry, exporters, officials from APEDA, the ministry of commerce and directors of agriculture from major rice-producing states including West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Odisha,” the release said.
During the April to January period of 2020-21, the shipment of non-Basmati rice witnessed an impressive spike.
The non-basmati rice exports were Rs 26,058 crore (3506 US$ Million) during April-January, 2021 against Rs 11,543 crore (1627US$ Million) reported during April-January, 2020 period. The exports of non-Basmati witnessed a growth of 125 per cent in Rupee terms and 115 per cent Dollar terms, the release said. (ANI)

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