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Mumbai: Virar-Dahanu railway project soon to be quadrupled

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The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has decided to recommend to the environment ministry from the CRZ point of view the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation’s (MRVC) proposal for quadrupling of Virar Dahanu railway project under Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) phase III.

The proposed corridor is planned on the west side and parallel to the existing line. However, MCZMA has laid down 10 conditions that will have to be complied with during project development. MCZMA took this decision at its meeting held on November 10 though its minutes were released on November 30. 

MRVC has submitted that there will be a saving of about 1 hour daily in travel time of 5 lakh passengers and the corridor will serve the requirement of about 2 million population in the section from Virar to Dahanu Road in Palghar district. However, MCZMA stressed the need to strike a balance between the development and environment.

‘’The project proponent (PP) needs to exercise extra caution with the objective to have less impact on the surrounding mangroves and coastal ecology. During the construction phase, all possible efforts/measures should be taken to maintain the coastal ecology and biodiversity.  Necessary training/awareness should be imparted to contractors and workers so that adequate environmental safeguards could be implemented on site during project execution,’’ said the MCZMA.Mumbai: Western Railways floats tender for new terminus at Jogeshwari station

Further, MCZMA directed that PP should obtain prior high court permission as per its order dated September 17, 2018 since the project involves cutting of mangroves. Further, PP should seek no objection certificate from Mangrove Cell and carry out compensatory mangrove plantation with its consultation. PP will have to obtain the prior Forest Clearance under Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.

According to MCZMA, PP will ensure that noise and vibration level is within permissible limit during the construction phase of the project and it will also strictly ensure that activities of local fishermen communities would not be hampered.

MCZMA has said that PP should implement the Environment Management Plan (EMP)  effectively and efficiently during construction and operational phases to ensure that the coastal environment is protected. There should be a third party monitoring/audit of all such management initiatives by government agencies during and after completion of project from time to time.

Moreover, PP shall set up a full fledged in-house Environment Management Cell for effective implementation of the EMP including mangrove replantation plan, monitoring and Disaster Management Plan. No labour camps are allowed in CRZ area and it should also be ensured that the waste water from these entities should not be released into the sea. Mobile toilets with mobile sewage treatment plants will be provided in the work front area.

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Reliance Jio, GSMA roll out initiative to train rural women in digital skills

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Reliance Jio and global mobile network operators’ organisation GSMA on Tuesday announced the roll-out of their digital skills programme to train rural women in India.

The programme aims to provide need-based training to rural women and individuals from marginalised/low-income groups to help them make meaningful use of digital access.

The national roll-out phase is now underway, with the programme being rolled out across 10 states.

“We are proud to partner with GSMA in this programme to take digital skills training to the women across India and be the wind beneath their wings,” said Isha Ambani, Director, Reliance Jio.

As per the GSMA’s ‘Mobile Gender Gap Report 2022’, women in India are 41 per cent less likely than men to use mobile internet.

A total of 330 million women in India still do not use mobile internet, compared to 248 million men. Lack of literacy and digital skills is one of the top reported barriers to mobile internet use.

As a part of the programme, the GSMA and Jio teams worked together to assess prevalent digital skill gaps and develop need-based digital skills training toolkits that are India-specific.

Over 1,000 rural women and men from Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu participated and provided inputs for the refinement of the digital training toolkits during the trial phase.

Reliance Foundation will be supporting the roll-out through its large network and self-help groups, particularly in rural areas.

“More needs to be done to ensure women are not being left behind in an increasingly connected world. We are excited to partner with Jio and Reliance Foundation to take the Digital Skills Programme national and help accelerate digital inclusion for women,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA.

The GSMA is a global organisation unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change.

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Centre asks Vodafone Idea to convert Rs 16,000 dues into equity

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Financially-stressed telecom company Vodafone Idea said on Friday that the government has directed it to convert a portion of its dues worth Rs 16,000 crore it owes to the exchequer into equity in the government’s favour.

“It is hereby informed that the Ministry of Communications has [directed] the company to convert the NPV of the interest related to deferment of spectrum auction instalments and AGR dues into equity shares to be issued to the government of India,” the company said in a filing.

The government will take 33 per cent equity in Vodafone Idea after converting all interest related to payments for spectrum and other dues into equity.

This will make the government the largest shareholder in the telecom company.

Vodafone Idea will convert dues of Rs 16,133 crore into equity and issue shares for Rs 10 each, the company informed.

“We had sought a firm commitment that the Aditya Birla Group would run the company and bring necessary investments. The Birlas have agreed and hence we have agreed to convert. We want India to be a three-player market plus BSNL and ensure healthy competition for consumers,” Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said in a statement.

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I-T dept raids over 30 locations of five builder groups across Jaipur

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The Income Tax department on Thursday raided over 30 locations of five builder groups across Jaipur. The teams also conducted search operations at two locations of a builder group in Gurugram.

Officials said that the I-T department had received a tip-off that these builders were engaged in making cash deals while selling flats in multi-storey buildings, plots and commercial properties in Jaipur.

After verification, 40 teams of the investigating branch of the I-T department raided their locations on Thursday morning. Raids have been conducted at the premises of Manglam Group, Sanjivani, R-Tech, Jugal Derewala and Haridutt, including their offices, corporate offices and residential premises.

The I-T teams have raided places in Jaipur including Tonk Road, Mansarovar, Rajapark, Jagatpura, C-Scheme, Civil Lines, Ajmer Road, Delhi Road, Agra Road and Sanganer.

Sources said that the department had received complaints of undisclosed income running into crores of rupees. All the five builders were using cash to buy and sell land. So the I-T teams raided around 38 targets simultaneously. According to the information received so far, huge amount of cash, and documents of land purchase and sale have been found from their premises.

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