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Three trapped for two days in Himachal tunnel

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source: ANI news
source: ANI news
source: ANI news

By Newsgram Staff Writer

Shimla: Rescue workers failed to reach the three labourers trapped since Saturday in an under-construction tunnel in the town of Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh, officials said.

The Border Roads Organisation, which operates under the defence ministry that has been involved in the construction of the Rohtang tunnel, was deployed for the rescue operation.

“The continuous rolling down of debris from the hilltop is hampering the rescue operation,” National Highways Authority of India project director Satish Kaul told reporters.

“We are trying to insert a pipe into the debris so that the struck workers could be safely evacuated,” Kaul said.

Rescue workers are hopeful that the trapped workers are alive as machines have been deployed to pump oxygen into the tunnel.

The tunnel, which is part of the under-construction four-laning of the Kiratpur-Manali national highway, is located at Tihra, 13 km from district headquarters Bilaspur and 100 km from the state capital.

Workers involved in the construction work blamed the Himalayan Construction Company for lack of safety measures. All the trapped workers belonged to the hill state.

“For the past few days, huge cracks and fissures surfaced in a rock inside the tunnel. The company had been ignoring it and it is due to its negligence that the accident occurred,” one of the survivors told police.

The cave-in took place around 8.30 pm on Saturday when the night shift workers were coming to work. The first shift was over at 8 pm, said officials.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Rajkummar Rao will soon Be back in Action

Actor Rajkumar Rao will be seen on screen soon after recovering from his injury.

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Rajkummar Rao
Rajkummar Rao. ians
  •  Actor Rajkummar Rao, who injured his leg last month, says everything is on track now and he will soon be “back in action”.

Rajkummar Rao’s another film is set to release soon

“I’ve lost three days when I was in the hospital otherwise everything is on track. I have been dubbing and also promoting ‘Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana’. The only unfortunate part is that we had to push the shooting of ‘Fanney Khan’. I feel bad for my team and producers Kriarj, ROMP and T-Series, but they have been so supportive and wonderful to me. I’ll be back in action…four to five weeks max,” he said.

The “Trapped” actor considers 2017 to be “certainly one of the best years of my career but I never planned it like this”.

“I was just shooting for all these films last year and this year and they all released. It was just a coincidence. But no complains. I feel very blessed that I’m part of all these wonderful films. I know not every year is going to be the same but I’ll try and keep doing different films and push myself with every film,” said the “Newton” star.

His another film is set to release soon.

“Yes, ‘Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana’ is a very sweet romantic drama. It’s a first for me in this genre, but I had a really good time shooting for it. We had a great team and a really wonderful script. It gave me a lot of scope to perform as an actor because there are two different personality traits of my character in it,” said Rajkummar Rao.

It looks like another small town romance-comedy like “Bareilly Ki Barfi”. Isn’t that becoming a bit of a problem?

“‘Shaadi…’ is set in a small town, but it’s not our usual small town rom-coms. As an actor, I try to keep it as versatile as possible…I feel the small town rom-com has a charm and you can find so many characters in them that it’s fun to explore. Even if it’s a formula also, it’s a sweet formula to experiment with,” he said.

His other film “Omerta” has been received well at film festivals.

“‘Omerta’ is a very powerful film I feel. As an actor, it took a toll on my mental health. It wasn’t an easy character to portray, but Hansal (Mehta) sir pushed me to my limits.

“We made this film with a lot of honesty and passion, and it’s an antagonist story so that way it was a first for us. It feels great when audiences like our effort and can see the honesty in our films. Toronto, MAMI and Busan are all major festivals and I am really happy that we had such an overwhelming response,” he said.

How does he manage to be so effective in spite of doing so much work?

“I wish I knew if am effective or not. I always feel very nervous before starting any new film and probably it’s this fear only that pushes me to work harder every time. I try and live all my characters sincerely and try and make them believable,” he said.(IANS)

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Gotthard Base Tunnel: Switzerland completes the construction of the world’s largest tunnel in 17 Years

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Swiss Federal President Johann Schneider-Ammann, right, speaks with French President Francois Hollande, left, on the opening day of the Gotthard rail tunnel, the longest tunnel in the world, at the fairground Rynaecht at the northern portal in Erstfeld, S. Image source: Reuters
  • It took 17 years for the Swiss tunnelers to complete World’s largest tunnel
  • It is called Gotthard Base Tunnel, officially opened on June 1, 2016
  • Celebrations started on Wednesday June 1, 2016
  • The rail will be open for travelers this year, in December 2016

In this day and age everyone wants fast. Faster internet connection, faster customer service, faster results. In 1947 Swiss engineer Carl Eduard Gruner was dreaming about faster transportation. Switzerland’s Gotthard base tunnel is a staggering 35.4 miles long, and a mile and a half under the Gotthard mountain range. This tunnel stretches from Erstfeld and Bodio. The tunnel cuts commute time from Zurich to Milan by 45 minutes; that is fast.

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Before opening the tunnel as a means of public transportation, the Swiss wanted to take the time to commemorate and celebrate such an amazing feat. The tunnel’s website says that the tunnel presents to the world, “Swiss values such as innovation, precision and reliability.” The celebration was far from just being a combination of Swiss values. Modern dances accompanied the opening of the tunnel, and drew much of the attention.

Swiss police officers stand beside of mock gates of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel inside the event hall for the upcoming opening ceremony near the town of Erstfeld, Switzerland May 31, 2016. Image source: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Swiss police officers stand beside of mock gates of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel inside the event hall for the upcoming opening ceremony near the town of Erstfeld, Switzerland May 31, 2016. Image source: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

One dance number featured dancers who wore orange construction suits an boots. They danced on and near a flatcar. Another dance featured an angelic like creatures. The dancers danced in what appeared to be white briefs. One dancer suck out wearing wings and an oversized head. One other dance number spectators watched the dancers move about the tunnel wearing suits that were said to be, “a cross between a pom-pom and a hay bale.” These dance numbers all pay tribute to the Gotthard mountain range, and the significance it holds in Swiss society.

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Dancers and spectators were the majority of people who attended the opening of the tunnel. The inauguration of this milestone also drew attention from the leaders of the EU; German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The opening also featured the traditional playing of alphorns. With this, the tunnel was blessed and the tunnel’s theme song was played.

The festivities do not stop there. This weekend a festival is planned to occur on both sides of the tunnel. There will also be a train commuting people through the tunnel from one end to the other.

This $12 billion monstrosity of a tunnel was completed on time, and Gruner’s dream came true. After 17 years of construction, 9 deaths, and $1,300 of taxes added to each person, this marvel of a tunnel has been opened. In December, the rail will be open for travelers.

Abigail Andrea is an intern at NewsGram. Twitter handle: @abby_kono

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Himachal people celebrate Diwali in unusual way

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Dhami: This Himachal Pradesh town, once a hunter’s paradise of British India, is known for a unique cultural life – a virtual shower of stones to appease Hindu goddess, Kali.

A day after Diwali, the festival of lights, male adults of the town in their colourful best gather in the former princely state of Dhami, some 25 km from state capital Shimla, and pelt one another with small stones.

At least, six people were injured on Thursday and the pelting lasted for more than 15 minutes. It was subsequently stopped as one of the participants started bleeding profusely, a government official told IANS.

In local parlance, the ritual is known as ‘pattharon ka mela’ (fair of stones).

The pelting of stones is between two groups – one representing the royal family of the erstwhile princely state of Dhami and the others comprising the commoners – over a circular structure, where a rani or queen had committed ‘sati’ or the former practice of a widow throwing herself onto her husband’s funeral pyre.

Old-timers say it was a bloody affair in the past.

“The practice was introduced centuries ago to shun the tradition of ‘narbali’ (human sacrifice) that was prevalent here also like other parts in the state,” octogenarian Dhyan Chand told IANS.

Earlier, there used to be a bloody affair at the stone pelting ritual, he said. “Nowadays with the intervention of human rights groups and the deployment of adequate police, it has become more a ritual exercise and the participation is getting lesser each year.”

A local committee, mainly comprising descendants of the erstwhile royal family, is the ritual organiser.

To avoid a bloody clash, the government deployed adequate police and medical teams.

The ‘battle’ of stones commences after the deity of the Narsingh temple in over 250-year old Halog, the crumbling palace, arrives at the Kali temple also located in the town.

The stone pelting exercise takes place between the residents of Halog, the erstwhile capital of Dhami estate, and neighbouring village Jamog.

As per the belief, a devotee who gets injuries in stone-pelting is considered a devout of goddess Kali. The oozing blood is applied as a ’tilak’ to the goddess.

The one-day fair was attended by locals and tourists in good strength.

On this day, the locals buy farm implements to ensure prosperity and protection from natural calamities.

“We normally buy implements on this auspicious occasion,” farmer Bhim Sen said.

Goddess Kali personifies ‘shakti’ or divine energy and considered the goddess of time and change and is widely worshipped in Hinduism.

(IANS)