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AMARAVATI: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Friday dedicated to the nation 10 major road projects, including two important flyovers on national highways in Vijayawada city, completed at a cost of Rs 8,038 crore in Andhra Pradesh.

Gadkari also conducted the bhumi puja (ground- breaking) for the development of another 16 projects at a cost of Rs 7,585 crore.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy presided over this event conducted in virtual mode via a video conference from New Delhi and Vijayawada.

Union Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways General (retired) V K Singh, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy, Union Secretary (MoRTH) A Giridhar, state minister for Roads and Buildings M Sankara Narayana, Principal Secretary M T Krishna Babu and others attended.

The projects inaugurated included the long-awaited 2.7-km Kanaka Durga flyover, a new jewel for Vijayawada city, built at a cost of Rs 501 crore, with the state governments contribution of Rs 146 crore.

An engineering marvel, it is only the third six-lane bridge in the country with a unique spine-and-wing design supported by a single pier.

Gadkari called it “the pride of the country.”

A four-lane road was also developed that would connect the National Highway-65 to NH-16 in Vijayawada.

The other flyover at Benz Circle on NH-16 is part of the expansion of the Vijayawada-Machilipatnam section of NH-65 into a four-lane road.

Incidentally, Gadkari laid the foundation stone for these flyovers in December 2015.

Both were delayed for many years due to various reasons but the Benz Circle flyover was completed early this year and the Kanaka Durga flyover last month.

Gadkari laid the foundation stone on Friday for a parallel three-lane flyover on NH-16, to be built at a cost of Rs 100 crore for a length of 2.47-km.

He also launched the development of a major six-lane bypass (17.88 km), including a major bridge on river Krishna, which would connect the NH-65 (at Gollapudi near Vijayawada) with NH-16 (at Chinakakani village near Guntur) at a cost of Rs 1,600 crore.

Another 30-km bypass being taken up will connect NH-16 (at Chinaavutapalli) with NH-65 (at Gollapudi) at a cost of Rs 1,225 crore.

These two projects would significantly reduce the traffic load on Vijayawada city, besides cutting the costs and easing the movement of transport vehicles on these crucial highways.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

Monkey dancing to someone else’s tunes: Bihar minister Sanjay Jha about Chirag Paswan

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PATNA: Ahead of the assembly polls in Bihar, state minister Sanjay Kumar Jha hit back at Chirag Paswan’s “will send Nitish to jail” diatribe by likening the Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) chief to “a monkey dancing to someone else’s tunes.”

“He (Chirag) starred with Kangana Ranaut, now see where Kangana has reached. Similarly, Sushant Singh Rajput without any background made his mark in Bollywood. ‘Jamura hota hai naa, usko nachata hai madari. Ye jamura bane hue hain.’ (He is the monkey who is dancing to someone else’s tunes),” Jha told ANI here.

Jha, when asked about who the behind the controller of the scene for the LJP chief said, “It is open to interpretations.”

The state minister also took a jibe at Chirag Paswan’s acting career stating that the latter will fail as a politician just like his acting career went south.

“This kind of low level of politics has not been witnessed ever in Bihar. In recent times, he worked in a movie and it was that kind of a movie where people left the theatre before the interval. After the first phase of the polls, a similar fate will meet him in politics,” he added.

Jha defended the Bihar CM by stating, “Nitish Kumar has an untainted image in Bihar. You can question his work, but the work is visible to the public and they will decide on it.”

The LJP president on Sunday had said that if his party was voted to power, all those involved in “corruption” in the Nitish Kumar government’s Saat Nischay scheme, including the Chief Minister himself, would be sent to jail.

The Bihar Assembly elections will be held in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 7. The counting of votes will be held on November 10.

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2+2 talks: India, US clinch defence pact on satellite data

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NEW DELHI: India is set to sign a military agreement with the United States for sharing of sensitive satellite data, the defence ministry said on Monday, as New Delhi tries to narrow the gap with the powerful Chinese military.

The deal will be signed during the top-level 2+2 dialogue between the defence and foreign ministers of the two countries.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defence secretary Mark Esper arrived in New Delhi earlier today for talks with external affairs minister S Jaishankar and defence minister Rajnath Singh.

Live updates: India-US 2+2 dialogue

The high-level visit comes at a time when India is locked in a serious military standoff with China along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

The landmark defence pact, known as Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement on Geospatial Cooperation, or BECA, will allow India access to topographical, nautical and aeronautical data for better accuracy of weapons like missiles and drones.

It would also allow the United States to provide advanced navigational aids and avionics on US-supplied aircraft to India, an Indian defence source said.

US companies have sold India more than $21 billion of weapons since 2007 and Washington has been urging the Indian government to sign agreements allowing for sharing of sensitive information and encrypted communications for better use of the high-end military equipment.

“The two ministers expressed satisfaction that agreement of BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement) will be signed during the visit,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

Earlier, Rajnath Singh and his US counterpart Mark Esper held talks on various defence and security issues ahead of 2+2 dialogue between both the countries scheduled on Tuesday.

The India-US talks on military issues here on Monday were “fruitful” and aimed at further deepening defence cooperation between two largest democracies in the world, Rajnath said after his meeting.

In its statement, the defence ministry said Singh and Esper reviewed bilateral defence cooperation spanning military-to-military cooperation, secure communication systems and information sharing and defence trade.

The ministry said the two ministers also called for continuation of existing defence dialogue mechanisms during the pandemic, at all levels, particularly the Military Cooperation Group (MCG).

They also discussed requirements of expanding deployments of liaison officers in each other’s facilities.

Apart from strengthening military-to-military cooperation and boosting partnership in the Indo-Pacific region, the issue of expeditious supply of contracted weapon systems by the US to India figured prominently in the deliberations.

The sources said, while deliberating on regional security challenges, the two sides briefly touched upon India’s border row with China in eastern Ladakh.

The India-US defence ties have been on an upswing in the last few years. In June 2016, the US had designated India a “Major Defence Partner” intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners.

The two countries inked the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016 that allows their militaries use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies as well as provide for deeper cooperation.

The two countries signed another pact called COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) in 2018 that provides for interoperability between the two militaries and provides for sale of high end technology from the US to India.

According to the US government, India maintains the largest fleet of C-17 and P-8 aircraft outside of the US, and as of 2020, Washington has authorised more than $20 billion in defence sales to India.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Availability of graveyards, cremation grounds should be as per community population: Sakshi Maharaj

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UNNAO(UP): In yet another statement that may stoke a controversy, BJP‘s Unnao MP Sakshi Maharaj has said the availability of graveyards and cremation grounds should be in proportion to the population of communities living in an area.

Addressing a nukkad meeting for his party‘s candidate for the Bagarmau assembly bypolls, Sakshi Maharaj said, “If there is only one Muslim in a village, the graveyard is very big. You people, on the other hand, cremate your dead on the side of a farm or Gangaji. Is this not unfair?”

“Graveyards and cremation grounds should be as per population,” The Unnao MP said.

There should not be any test of “our patience and decency”, he added.

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