Monday, June 24, 2013

Anand Sharma Invites Investment from Northern Ireland 
The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Shri Anand Sharma, while delivering the opening session of the Global India Business Meet at Belfast yesterday said that he “remains optimistic that the emerging idea of India will infuse similar confidence to other countries to partner with India. I also invite investors and businesses to invest in India and assure them of long term benefits from engaging with India.” The Global India Business Meet is organized by Horasis along with Northern Ireland (NI) Government and Belfast City Council.

Speaking during the opening session, Shri Sharma outlined the current global economic environment and said that while last year has been difficult for the Indian economy, he hopes a rebound in the Indian economic scenario this year. He also outlined the initiatives taken by the Government of India for further improving the investment attractiveness of India including National Manufacturing Policy for giving a boost to manufacturing, reforms in FDI and the ambitious skills upgradation programme.

Highlighting the strong business ties between India and North Ireland, Shri Sharma said that over thirty North Ireland companies have commercial operations in India. “Indian IT companies like Wipro, Tech Mahindra, L&T Infotech, HCL and Polaris are significant contributors to inward investments and employment in N Ireland,” he added. He also focused on the fact that North Ireland is a leading supplier of diagnostic kits to India. “A plant for local manufacturing is being established in Bangalore, making life science and health care an ideal sector for forging joint ventures,” said Shri Sharma. “With North Ireland known for its development of telecom payment software and software for DTH set top boxes in India, collaborative arrangements in IP and cyber security are the areas of interest between the two nations,” stressed Shri Sharma.

Ms. Arlene Foster, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment of NI Government, and Lord Mayor of city of Belfast Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir were also present during the opening session. They addressed a gathering of about 300 businesspersons from NI, UK and Indian business delegates. Ms. Naina Lal Kidwai, led the FICCI delegation from India to GIBM. 

Uttarakhand Crisis:Unmanned aerial vehicle Netra deployed

Unmanned aerial vehicle Netra deploye, bad weather predicted for today and  rescuers have intensified their efforts to evacuate 10,000 people still stranded in flood and landslide affected areas of Uttarakhand.

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi Principal Director General of Press Information Bureau Neelam Kapoor said that a total of 83 aircrafts are being used in the relief and rescue operations being carried out by army, airforce, ITBP and NDRF.

She said, the main focus of today's operation will be Harsil where about 2,000 people are still stranded.

About 5,000 people are stranded in Badrinath. The NDRF has also deployed unmanned aerial vehicle 'Netra' to locate survivors in affected areas. NDRF DIG SS Guleria said that the UAV will operate today also to ensure that all survivors are located and evacuated.

The army, ITBP and NDRF will also launch a combing operation today in the affected areas to ensure that no one is left out in the devastated areas.

Our correspondent reports that the two-day combing operations will be launched from Gauri Kund to Kedarnath temple complex in Rudraprayag district.
Army Evacuates All 1000 Stranded Pilgrims from Jungle Chetti
The Indian Armed Forces today put to use some of the best military skill-sets to great effect in the flash-flood affected zones of Uttarakhand and rescued hundreds of fatigued and exhausted stranded tourists almost seven days after the tragedy struck the Kedar Valley.

Army today evacuated all 1000 stranded pilgrims in the mountain folds around Jungle Chatti in Kedar Valley.

Using cliff assault techniques, skilled mountain rescue troops of Army evacuated 460 by foot through one of the most dangerous Zones in Kedar Valley. The pilgrims were given food, fresh water, medical aid, blankets and plastic sheets at Gauri Kund Army Camp before further evacuation to Sonprayag.

Launching two columns simultaneously from Dharasu and Barkot, Army reached Hanuman Chetti yesterday and surged towards Janak Chatti and Yamunotri this morning and evacuated all stranded pilgrims from Yamunotri.

Army launched Phase 3 of ‘Surya Hope’ today which would focus on contingency plan of evacuating people by road from the hubs at Harsil, Gauri Kund and Badrinath. Inclement weather conditions did not stop Army from continuing its operations both with helicopters and ground troops. Army helicopters were pressed into service by afternoon at Govindghat and Jungle Chatti. Evacuation was completed within a short span of time due to continuous and relentless efforts.

Army also air lifted hygiene and sanitation stores and chemicals, blankets, food packets and medicines. More than 3000 Kgs have been dumped at major rescue centres. Two medical aid centres each have been opened at Gaurikund, Goucher, Joshimath and Harsil.

With the launch of Burma Bridge across Alaknanda River at Lam Bagar on Joshimath – Bardrinath road, it is now possible for pilgrims to be evacuated by foot from Badrinath to Govindghat. Vehicular movement is already underway between Govindghat and Joshimath. More than 1300 people have been motivated by the Army to move on foot cum vehicles along the 74 Km stretch of road from Harsil to Uttarkashi. While the intra land slide sectors would be by vehicles, land slides per se will be negotiated on foot. Two administrative and logistics staging areas have been set up at Sukhi and Gangnani for the benefit of people travelling by road.

Indian Air Force 

Unfavourable weather prevailed in all sectors of Uttrakhand in the morning hours, yet IAF operations continued.

The C130 J aircraft undertook a weather recce mission in the morning based on which the IAF helicopters started operation in Harsil Sector and another one carried fuel. Six AN- 32 sorties airlifted bridging equipment, 50 Para troops with 2000 kg load, fuel barrels and two IAF Disaster Management Communication Vehicles.

Today the IAF had airlifted about 2094 persons till 3 PM. It flew about 180 sorties, dropping/landing 20,000 kg of relief material and equipment besides airlifting 210 NDRF and Army personnel.

The progressive effort of the IAF for Óp Rahat` shows a total of 1088 sorties flown, 8222 persons airlifted and about 1,48,550 kg load dropped /landed. 
BRO’S Road Rehabilitation Programme in Uttarakhand and HP is in full Swing

            A massive road rehabilitation programmetaken up by the BRO in flood affected areas of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh has gained further momentum.BRO has pressed in to service more than 95 excavators and Bull dozers and many more are on the way. About 4000 BRO personnel and laborers are working day and night.Shri KKRazdan Chief Engineer, Project Shivalik which is located at Rishikesh, is supervising the work. He has surveyed the whole damaged areas and more resources are being pumped in priority area on Rudraprayaga– Gaurikund axis andGovindgaht–Badrinath axis. A wooden foot bridge and 300 m foot tract across hard rock has been made. 300 Pilgrims and 2000 Mules have been rescued   fromGaurikund. On Joshimath - Badrinath axis the construction of a foot track is under progress and a ready made foot Bridge is being launched across river Alaknanda.It is expected that after completion of these, the stranded passengers from Badrinath side may also be rescued by land route. The road wise status is as under:
·         Road Rishikesh-DharasuUttarkashi - Gangotri :- Road up to Uttarkashi is open for all  traffic. Beyond Uttarkashi there are major breaches in roads at many locations. Road clearance work has also been  startedfrom Gangotri side and  road has been  opened up to Harshil.Efforts are on to open the road between Uttarkashi andHarshil which has suffered major damages.
·         Road Rishikesh-Joshimath-Badrinath-Mana:- Road has been opened upto km 496 (Govindghat). There are major breaches beyond Govindghat. 50 m bridge at Lambagarh has been washed away. Efforts are on to link the road from bothGovindghat and Badrinath sides.  Efforts are on to make a foot track bypassing breach area and a foot bridge which was airlifted will be launched across river Alaknanda  for speedy evacuation of stranded passengers fromBadrinath and HemkundSaheb area.
·         Rudraprayag-Gaurikund Road:- This road is the worst affected road in Uttarakhand. Presently the road from Rudraprayaga side has been cleared upto 15 km. Now efforts are on to clear the road between km 15 to 35. The road from Km 35 to Km 70 is generally clear. 6 Attack points have been opened on this road to clear the road.Songanga Br at km 70.30 has been washed away. The bridge at 35.60 (Rawanganga) has also been damaged which has since been repaired.  BRO has also helped in clearing many lateral roads on this axis to help people to evacuate through alternate routes. Lately a wooden foot bridge across near the damaged bridge near Songanga River and 300 m foot tract across hard rock has been made. 300 Pilgrims and 2000 Mules have been rescued  fromGaurikund. Now the people can come freely from Gaurikund across SongangaShri Chandrasekhar, Commander 36 Border Road Task Force is supervising the work.
·         Road Tanakpur – Pithoraghat  Tawaghat – Ghatiabagarh :- BRO has pressed in to service about 30 Bulldozers & excavators on this route. The road uptoPithoragarh is through for all traffic. Beyond Pithoragarh, the road is through up to Km 80. Beyond Km 80 uptoTawaghat, about 4 km road has been breached at more than 30 locations.Road has been opened between km 80 to 96 for light vehicles. Major breaches are at Km 82.50, 84.30, 97.42, 99.35, 101.80, 106 and 107. Two bridges are also damaged before Tawaghat at km 100.57 and km 102.09. A 150 Ft bridge at Tawaghathas also been washed away. A massive operation of road clearance has been taken up on this axis. As a first step efforts foot track connectivity has been established  for essential communication at breached portions of roads.
·         Road Jauljibi – Munsiyari :- This axis is closed due to major breaches at about 10 locations. Total road breached is more than 3.5 Km. However efforts are on to clear the road with the help of 8 Bulldozers & excavators. About 10 km road has been cleared, both  fromJauljibi and Munsiari side. Foot track connectivity has been established in the most of the road portion for transportation of ration and general public.
·         Other roads in Uttarakhand :- Many other lateral roads with BRO in Uttarakhand have also suffered extensive damages and are closed. Focus will shift to these roads once the major axis are open.
·         Roads in Himachal Pradesh:-The roads Wangthu-Pooh and Pooh-Kaurik on charge of BRO have also suffered extensive damage and are closed. The roads have been partly cleared and efforts are on to completely clear the road. A massive road Clarence work is going on. The roads have suffered major damages affecting about 4 km of road at about 80 places. Road axis Sumdo-Kaza-Grampu has since been opened and further improvements are in progress.
Official  Uttarakhand rescue and relief operations of dated 23 June 2013

·         Rescue and relief operations continued in full swing today despite bad weather in the morning. Jungle Chetti area which was a matter of concern yesterday has been fully cleared by joint efforts of Army, ITBP and Air Force.  12,000 people were rescued and evacuated today.
·         About 125 people have been evacuated from Gauri Kund and about 100 more are still there.
·         About 2,000 people are in Harsil but under the charge of the Army.  The focus of the rescue efforts tomorrow will be on the Harsil.
·         A total 83 aircrafts from all agencies have been deployed in the area of which 45 are from IAF, 13 from Army and 25 from the State Government.
·         Local police have reached Kedarnath and Gauri Kund and process of identification of the dead bodies has begun.
·         The State Government is making arrangements for transporting the pilgrims in response to reports that some taxi drivers are making exorbitant charges and are fleecing pilgrims.

·         3100 persons have been evacuated with 250 sorties despite bad weather conditions.
·         1.5 lakh kg of load has been air lifted and dispatched.
·         Five choppers have functioned out of Dharasu to evacuate 608 persons.


Organizing for Action
Naresh, this is huge news:

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Add your name today -- say you'll do your part to help fight climate change:

Thanks -- more on this soon.


Jon Carson
Executive Director
Organizing for Action

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