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Friday,22-January-2021

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In 3 days, Railways moved 181 freight, 25 passenger trains in Punjab

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Two days after the agitating farmers cleared most of the rail tracks in Punjab, the Indian Railways has been able to move a total of 25 passenger or mail or express trains and 181 goods trains from the state, officials said on Wednesday.

According to Northern Railway officials, 27 loaded freight trains and 20 empty rakes entered Punjab, while 11 empty and four loaded rakes exited the state on Monday.

An NR official said, on Tuesday, 78 freight trains entered Punjab of which 51 were loaded and 27 empty rakes, while 41 freight rakes exited the state of which 20 were loaded and 21 empty.

The NR official said that from Monday to Wednesday till 6 a.m. 20 trains entered Punjab and five exited from the state.

The official said that on Monday only passenger trains managed to enter Punjab, while on Tuesday 12 trains entered and four exited from the state.

He said, on Wednesday till 6 a.m. seven trains entered the state and one exited.

The agitating farmers had blocked rail tracks at several places in Punjab since September 24. The farmers have been agitating against the three controversial Agriculture Laws passed in Parliament in September and have been demanding revocation of these laws.

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Panaji restaurants to use biogas: Pramod Sawant

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Pramod-Sawant

Select restaurants in Panaji will soon be hooked into a biogas supply network being set up by the city municipal corporation, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Friday.

A network of a dozen biodigester plants has been created in the city by the muncipal corporation.

Sawant said that biogas would be provided free of cost to the city’s restaurants for some time, as part of the initiative taken by the Corporation of the City of Panaji, which he said was in sync with the Goa government’s sustainable development goals (SDG).

“It is a new innovative system, where we will use the biogas generated by these biodigester plants and supply it free of cost to restaurants located near these plants at the initial stage,” Sawant said.

“The restaurant owners will see merit in using biogas because it will reduce their cost of LPG cylinder dependency by half,” the Chief Minister also said.

A network of 12 biodigesters is being set up in the state capital, Sawant said.

“The biodigesters will promote clean energy in a big way. Food and vegetables which are routinely wasted and strewn in the open in municipal markets will be processed in these machines to create biogas,” he also said.

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Yogi Adityanath boost for startups: 4 get Rs 20 lakh

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Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. (File Photo: IANS)

As part of the ‘Start in UP’ programme, the policy implementation unit in the state has approved marketing assistance of Rs 5 lakh each to four startups, including one that aims to use artificial intelligence for face recognition to provide safety for women and children.

Alok Kumar, additional chief secretary (IT and electronics), who heads the unit, said that the funds would be released to the four startups over a period of a year to allow them to launch a ‘minimum viable product’ in the market.

The four startups, which have been granted approval, include G. Systems of Prayagraj for farming, Enray Solutions LLP of Ghaziabad for solar power, Bhurak Technologies of Saharanpur for a face recognition project and Matfusion Weld Pvt. Ltd. of Lucknow for a project in the biofuel sector.

Bhurak Technologies of Saharanpur has been founded by Kumar Satyam who has developed a prototype of artificial intelligence-based face recognition system, mainly to ensure safety of children and women through facial recognition.

G. Systems, founded by Ashish Kushwaha, aims to promote smart farming systems based on the Internet of Things (IoT) with machine learning-based sensors for automated irrigation and other farm-related activities.

Enray Solutions LLP founder Rishabh Bhardwaj has developed a prototype of a water-free automatic solar panel cleaning system to mitigate wastage of drinkable water.

Matfusion Weld Pvt. Ltd. has been registered by Vivek Kumar which is working on the concept of converting waste cooking oil into biofuel. It has already entered into a 10-year contract for supplying biofuels to Indian Oil Corporation.

Alok Kumar said that the objective of facilitation and incentives in the early stages of product development was to encourage innovators to stimulate commercialisation of their inventions.

He said that under the new startup policy, seed capital in the form of marketing assistance up to Rs 5 lakh per startup will be given to 10 startups, per incubator per year to launch a minimum viable product in the market.

“Under this provision, seed capital will be disbursed in milestone-based instalments in three tranches, 40 per cent as advance and 30 per cent in two instalments on the completion of milestones,” he said.

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Plant closure: SC declines Vedanta’s plea for early hearing of appeal

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Supreme-Court

The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain a plea by Vedanta seeking early hearing on its appeal filed against the Madras High Court order, which declined to allow the reopening of its Tuticorin plant.

As the Tamil Nadu government had filed a special leave petition in the top court for expunging certain remarks in the Madras High Court order, a bench headed by Justice R. F. Nariman and comprising Justices Navin Sinha and K. M. Joseph admitted it and tagged it with the main matter.

In the meanwhile, during the hearing, counsel appearing for Vedanta requested the top court for an early hearing on its appeal against the Madras High Court order but the bench declined to entertain this plea.

The mining major had moved the top court in August against the High Court order declining to allow the reopening of the Tuticorin plant as it had upheld the orders of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) which directed the closure of the plant in May 2018.

On December 2, the Supreme Court had declined to entertain an interim plea by Vedanta Ltd seeking permission to inspect and operate Sterlite Copper unit at Tuticorin for four weeks to assess the pollution level.

Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, appearing for the company, had submitted that Vedanta is producing 36 per cent of the copper demand of the country and it is a case of mala fide closure of the plant. Vedanta sought handing over of the plant for three months, where two months would be needed to start the unit, and in order to find out whether the plant is polluting, the company should be allowed to run it for four weeks.

The Tami Nadu government objected to these submissions and submitted before the top court that the plant has been polluting consistently. But, Singhvi contended the court should allow the company to run the plant, which would help in ascertain whether the plant is polluting beyond the acceptable limit.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing some villagers in the vicinity of the plant, had submitted the unit should not be allowed to operate, as it is contaminating the water and people are suffering from diseases like cancer.

After a detailed hearing in the matter, the bench said: “Having heard Abhishek Manu Singhvi, C.S. Vaidyanathan, K.V. Viswanathan and Colin Gonsalves, all senior advocates, for some time, we are of the view that the relief(s) in this IA cannot be granted. Accordingly, this IA is dismissed.”

However, the top court said the main matter, the appeal against the High Court order, can come up for hearing after physical hearing resumes in the top court.

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