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Modi to visit Paravur Puttingal temple in Kerala following fire accident

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Image source: indianexpress.com

April 10,2016: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be arriving here on Sunday to visit the Paravur Puttingal temple where 96 people lost their lives following an accident caused by a firework display.

The temple is located in the coastal town of Paravur here in Kollam district, about 60 km from state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

More than 350 people have been injured in the ghastly accident and being treated in 12 hospitals in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts.

Prime Minister Modi spoke to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who is on his way to the accident site.

“I will be reaching Kerala soon to take stock of the situation arising due to the unfortunate fire tragedy in Kollam,” Modi tweeted.

The prime minister has announced Rs.two lakh each as compensation to the next of the kin of the dead and Rs.50,000 to the injured.

Governor of Kerala P. Sathasivam has expressed deep sense of sorrow, shock and concern over the tragic deaths in the accident.

“Such tragic incidents are also a grim reminder of the urgent need to adhere to safety measures during festivals,” Sathasivam said in a statement.

Chandy told IANS that an emergency cabinet meeting will be held at Kollam on Sunday afternoon to decide on how to go about the investigation into the tragedy and related matters.

The chief minister tweeted that he had asked the chief secretary to write to the Election Commission seeking permission to help the victims as it is election time in the state.

Kerala’s Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala told reporters at the accident site that the government is focussed on ensuring that all necessary help is provided to the victims who are suffering.

“On things like whether necessary permissions were obtained for the firework display and such issues will be dealt with when the cabinet meets later in the day at Kollam. Now our priority is to see all help is provided to the grieving,” said Chennithala.

The incident occurred around 3.30 a.m. on Sunday.

Speaking to IANS, Lallu S. Pillai, a journalist covering the temple festival for Asianet News TV, said it only took a few minutes for the disaster to take place.

“I was watching the event unfold about 150 metres from the terrace of my friend’s home. The firework display was about half an hour to finish when a spark of an already lit cracker landed in the concrete building that stored the high potency crackers. In few minutes, the building came crashing down and we felt the place shaking,” said Pillai.

“Then it was absolute chaos and pieces of concrete were scattered all over the place and some of it were found about 500 metres away in a taxi stand,” Pillai added.

Numerous homes within half a kilometre radius of the accident site have been damaged.

Thiruvananthapuram Medical College principal Thomas Mathew said about 100 people are being treated at the hospital.

“Forty five of them have been admitted and most of them are being treated for broken bones in their hands and legs. Eleven of them were brought dead, while another two died after reaching here,” said Mathew.

All the leading political parties have as a mark of respect cancelled all their election programmes for the day.

“We have asked our party workers to see that they provide all the help and solace to the victims,” CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told reporters after visiting the injured in the hospital in the capital city.

The BJP has cancelled all the programme of its national president Amit Shah, who was to launch his party’s election campaign on Sunday at Pathanamthitta and is reaching the state capital to visit the injured.

The state Congress party president V.M. Sudheeran has asked his party workers to call off all election related work planned for Sunday.

The fire has been brought under control and heavy equipment machineries are now working to clear the debris.

Kollam Lok Sabha member N.K. Premachandran who visited the site demanded that all those who have been injured should be given free treatment with adequate compensation. (IANS)

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Can Modi’s ‘AIM’ Challenge Global Manufacturing Hub China’s Dominance?

PM Modi has set his eye on water management, agriculture and security issues

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Modi, AIM, Global
The prime focus of the government as well as NITI Aayog remains on accelerating the pace of manufacturing sector in India. Flickr

Eyeing the global revolution in tech-innovations, the Modi government, in its second avatar, is all set to redefine the scope of ‘Knowledge and Innovation’ at NITI Aayog. Before leaving for his foreign visit to the Maldives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a series of meetings with technocrats, top officials and key cabinet colleagues, discussing how to radically redefine innovations and technology on manufacturing front to compete with China.

Over all, the prime focus of the government as well as NITI Aayog remains on accelerating the pace of manufacturing sector in India. On domestic front, PM Modi has set his eye on water management, agriculture and security issues and he would likely underline his priorities once he chairs the first big meeting of NITI Aayog, on June 15.

In the wake of sharp criticism from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on the alleged failure of NITI Aayog, the government now seems more determined to take the Aayog to a new height, inducting domain specialists at the rank of Joint Secretary and above.

“The PM’s dream project is the success of the Atal Innovation Mission,(AIM) the flagship project of NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the country. If AIM takes off well, the country would soon be a substitute for China as a global manufacturing hub. In fact AIM complements Make In India, Digital India and Start up India mega projects,” said a senior NITI Aayog official.

Modi, AIM, Global
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a series of meetings with technocrats. Pixabay

To provide impetus to the industrial growth, the NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar recently told media that a slew of big bang economic reforms are being pursued by the Modi government. These include change in labour laws, privatization moves and land banks for new industrial development. Once the stage is set for a positive industrial environment, the innovation mission will finally accelerate the growth of the manufacturing sector.

Global tech giants such as Adobe, Amazon, Dell, IBM, Intel and Microsoft are already partnering with Atal Innovation Mission. The AIM project serves as a platform for promotion of world-class innovation hubs, and self-employment activities in technology-driven areas.

Through AIM, the government expects a radical change in country’s MSME industry.

Earlier in Modi’s first tenure as PM, his Cabinet Minister Kalraj Mishra and later Minister for State (Independent Charge) Giriraj Singh did not impress the business fraternity while running the ministry for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). In an after thought, Modi in his second innings gave the charge of this crucial ministry to Nitin Gadkari, known for delivering the goods on time.

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“Modi ji had spoken about the project to Gadkari ji. He (Gadkari) was more than willing to take up this challenge. I am sure MSME would now be one of the most important ministries in the government as it also addresses the problem of unemployment and lack of a fast-paced industrial growth,” said a BJP leader close to Gadkari.

Another big change on the scene is the Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL). It is Modi’s long-term plan for revolutionizing the young Indian minds. The ATLs are innovation workplaces where do-it-yourself kits on latest technologies like 3D printers, Robotics, Internet of Things, are installed at schools using the government grant. The mission director of AIMs , R. Ramanan, an IITian, says that by next year 10,000 ATL workplaces in the Indian schools will bring radical change in the near future in the field of innovation.

The objective of PM Modi through mega ATL project, is to enable India to become a global leader in technology and innovations, the key to rule the modern-day industries. (IANS)