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Andhra Pradesh: 27 pilgrims killed in stampede

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Rajahmundry (Andhra Pradesh): At least 27 pilgrims were killed and over 60 injured in a stampede during Godavari ‘pushkaralu’ here in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday, officials said.

Image from news.indiaonline.in
Image from news.indiaonline.in

The victims, all hailing from coastal Andhra, include 11 women and four children.

The bodies of the victims were shifted to the Rajahmundry government hospital. The injured were also brought to the hospital where the condition of some of them was stated to be critical.

The tragedy occurred on the first day of the festival at one of the bathing ghats in Rajahmundry in East Godavari district on the banks of the Godavari river.

A large number of pilgrims at Kotagummam pushkar ghat rushed towards the three gates and tried to scale them, leading to the stampede.

Officials said pilgrims tried to vie with each other to reach the ghat as taking a holy dip in the early hours is considered auspicious.

The failure of the authorities to anticipate the huge crowds at the ghat and the lack of proper arrangements to regulate the pilgrims apparently led to the incident.

The pilgrims coming out after a dip and those trying to reach the ghat were caught in the rush at the gates. A survivor said officials did not heed to repeated appeals to open the gates.

The Godavari maha pushkaralu, a once in 144-year event, began on Tuesday morning.

The 12-day pushkaralu, described as the Kumbh mela of the south, began in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who had a holy dip in Rajahmundry on Tuesday morning, rushed to the control room to monitor the situation.

He appealed to people to form queues. He also requested the pilgrims to move to other ghats.

The incident forced authorities to open the VIP ghats to the public. Crowds were also diverted from overcrowded ghats.

Naidu, who later visited the hospital to call on the injured, announced an ex-gratia of Rs.10 lakh each to the families of the dead.

In a voice chocked with emotions, the chief minister said the incident occurred despite all precautions taken by the administration.

He said a comprehensive probe would be conducted after completion of the pushkaram.

(IANS)

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Microsoft takes ‘Project Sangam’ to Middle East and Africa

"Project Sangam" was commenced from Andhra Pradesh

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Microsoft. (Wikimedia commons)

In a bid to bridge the widening skill gap, Microsoft on Monday announced expansion of the capabilities of its Cloud-powered “Project Sangam” to the Middle East and Africa.

Launched in India by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella last year, “Project Sangam” is a Cloud-hosted platform that leverages Azure services and professional networking platform LinkedIn to support new entrants to the job market, enabling key stakeholders across the skilling ecosystem find the right talent.

Microsoft to pay $250,000 to help them catch chip bugs. Wikimedia Commons
Microsoft’s Sangam is a cloud-based platform. Wikimedia Commons

“Lack of skilled resources is one of the key issues that governments across the world are facing. There is an enormous scope for technology to come in to address the skill gap that exists in the workforce today,” Anil Bhansali, Corporate Vice President, Cloud & Enterprise, said in a statement.

Nadella launched “Project Sangam” to help the Indian government not only train but also assist people get jobs via LinkedIn that was acquired by the company for $26.2 billion in an all-cash deal in 2016. “Project Sangam” was commenced from Andhra Pradesh.

Also Read: Microsoft brings enhanced security features to Office 365

“‘Sangam’ is the first project that wields the combined strength of LinkedIn and Microsoft to tackle the challenge of how to provide every person the opportunity to skill themselves,” added Bhansali who is also Managing Director of Microsoft India (R&D) Private Limited. As part of the expansion, Microsoft South Africa and the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) have launched “Thint’iMillion”, an online mass learning system.

Microsoft Kaizala
The project was first launched in Andhra Pradesh. VOA

Part of the “Tshepo 1Million Digital Mass” learning programme, the “Thint’iMillion” programme will be deployed on “Project Sangam”, allowing young people to access content via an on-phone app (Android only), tablet mode (Windows and Android) as well as an interactive web portal. IANS

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