Gujarat: Government proposes 1,630km coastal corridor

With the objective of giving an impetus to tourism and economic activities in the state, the Gujarat government has proposed a new 1,630km long coastal corridor from Umargam in south Gujarat to Narayan Sarovar in Kutch. To be completed under the PM Gati Shakti scheme, the government proposes to set aside a stipulated area along the highway for various industrial and allied activities.

The state government has already earmarked the first 300 kilometres of the project covering the districts of Valsad, Navsari, Surat and Bharuch in south Gujarat. A key source close to the development confirmed that the state government has proposed a new coastal corridor highway under the PM Gati Shakti project. “This will probably be the longest coastal highway in the country. Out of the total length of 1,630km, a stretch of 140km will be developed as greenfield coastal area while the remaining 1,490km will be brownfield road,” sources said.

Providing more information, sources said that the corridor will be minimum ten metres wide with three driving lanes, while at present, the existing roads are less than five metres wide. “A fixed area along the coastal corridor will be declared as a buffer area and will be reserved for future development. This will truly be a coastal highway corridor,” sources said. Sources said that the total estimated project cost will be around Rs 2,400 crore and is expected to be completed in three years. “For the first phase, 300km has been earmarked in four districts of south Gujarat for development of the project. The objective is boost coastal tourism, transport and other economic activities,” said informed sources.

Under the PM Gati Shakti project, a detailed plan has been prepared for first 300km stretch. Sources said that the entire corridor is being planned keeping in mind the CRZ (coastal regulation zone) restrictions, forest regulations and the like. “We have followed all guidelines to avoid delays in clearances. All highway points have been designed to be 500 metres from the HTL (high tide level) so that people can enjoy the beauty of the sea coast. The government aims to link all tourism attractions and industrial hubs to the coastal corridor. The tourism and other departments will also prepare their respective roadmaps to optimize the outcomes of this ambitious 1,630km long project,” said sources.

Somewhere in Hyderabad....


Seven years after Telangana government first kicked off start-up incubator T-Hub in 2015, one of the world’s largest innovation hubs, T-Hub 2.0 is all set to open its doors to start-ups in what is being touted as the world’s largest innovation campus in Happening Hyderabad’s IT hub of Madhapur on Tuesday.

The 18acre innovation campus, which will be unveiled on Tuesday evening by Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, will also house T-Works — India’s largest prototyping centre, and the IMAGE (Innovation in multimedia, animation, gaming & entertainment) Tower project. T-Hub, in its new avatar called T-Hub Phase-II, will be housed in an iconic 10-storeyed T-shaped building made of concrete, steel and glass spread over 3.75 lakh sq ft that has been designed by a South Korean architectural firm to resemble a spaceship.

“The new T-Hub building has been built at a cost of ₹400 crore with state government funds,” Telangana IT & industries principal secretary Jayesh Ranjan said on Monday. Ranjan said, T-Hub Phase II, which is five times bigger than the first phase of T-Hub, will have the capacity to house about 4,000 start-ups as well as other key elements of the innovation ecosystem, including venture capital funds,
trade offices of about 45 countries, centres of excellence and collaborative spaces. It will also house an Atal Innovation Mission Centre, which has been sanctioned by the Department of Science & Technology, a centre of the Startup India Mission, CII’s Centre for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Centre of Excellence in Cybersecurity, among others.

Once the new T-Hub campus becomes operational from July 1, the 200-odd startups that are currently housed in T-Hub Phase I in IIIT-H campus, will move into the new building, he said. So far, T-Hub has helped incubate and support about 1,100 startups that have gone on to raise about ₹10,000 crore by way of funding, Ranjan added.

T-Hub CEO M Srinivas Rao said one entire floor in the new building will be dedicated to venture
capital funds, which have been a key missing piece of Hyderabad’s start-up ecosystem. “Telangana is the youngest state, but it has the most mature innovation ecosystem in the country. Hyderabad is all about pearl chains to blockchain and mangoverse to metaverse. From student entrepreneurs to soonicorns and unicorns, investors and trade commissioner offices, we want to have every stakeholder in this new T-Hub building,” said M Pannerselvam, vice-president and chief innovation officer, T-Hub.

The opening day will see the founders and top honchos of about 25 of India’s most celebrated
unicorns such as Bigbasket, Swiggy, Darwinbox, Urban Company, Meesho, Xpressbees, Dream11,
UpGrad, Zomato, Delhivery, RedBus, among others, as well as top guns of the funding ecosystem.

Mann-led AAP govt’s first Punjab budget

The Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government tabled its first budget on Monday for a “new Punjab”, headlining it with the prepoll sop of 300 free units of electricity to each household from July 1, no new taxes and increased allocation to health and education.

Another of AAP’s big promises — Rs 1,000 a month to every woman — didn’t make it to the Rs 1.5-lakh crore budget that FM Harpal Singh Cheema termed “a gamechanger”. Reading out the budget provisions from a tablet, Cheema said the free-electricity scheme would cost the exchequer Rs 1,800 crore, which the government was “prepared to finance by cutting wasteful expenditure and enhancing revenue”. The increased outlay for key sectors include a 16.2% hike in the amount earmarked for school and higher education, 48% more for technical education, 57% extra for medical education and an additional 23.8% for health care. Promising 16 new medical colleges over the next five years, Cheema announced Rs 200 crore for “Schools of Eminence” .


Centre renews hunt for Nizam treasure —world’s biggest gold coin

After an almost four-decade futile search for the missing “12kg gold coin”, touted as the world’s biggest coin ever minted, the Centre has renewed its hunt for the priceless artefact. It was last seen in the possession of the titular Nizam VIII of Hyderabad, Mukarram Jah, who purportedly tried to auction the coin at a Swiss bank, but India’s premier investigation agency, the CBI, failed to locate the coin that was passed on to Jah through his grandfather and last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan.

The last Nizam had inherited the coin minted by emperor Jahangir. Eminent historian, Professor Salma Ahmed Farooqui of HK Sherwani Centre for Deccan Studies, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, who conducted research on the history and inheritance of the world’s biggest gold coin, said it is priceless and Hyderabad’s pride. Now, renewed efforts to locate the coin have begun after 35 years. “In 1987, when Indian officials in Europe alerted the central government about the world-famous auctioneer Habsburg Feldman SA auctioning the 11,935.8gm gold coin in Geneva at Hotel Moga on November 9, through Paris-based Indosuez Bank’s Geneva branch, the CBI came into the picture. Investigations started and much information was unearthed,” Professor Salma said. She said that CBI officials donned the role of historians, building up on the history of the gigantic coin. Many CBI officials, who were part of the investigations are not in office anymore, so the search remained inconclusive. Former joint director of CBI, Shantonu Sen, in his book said that CBI officials found that Jahangir had minted two such coins; while one was presented to Yadgar Ali, ambassador of the Shah of Iran, the other had become the property of the Nizams of Hyderabad. Salma said that the CBI special investigation unit XI headed by a superintendent rank officer in 1987 registered an FIR under the Antique and Art Treasures Act, 1972.

PM Modi : India impatient to fulfil dreams

In his address to the Indian diaspora in Munich, Germany, PM Narendra Modi underscored the country’s achievements in a short span of time and said India is impatient to fulfil its dreams. “India is now ready and impatient. India is impatient for progress, for development. India is also impatient for the fulfilment of its dreams,” he said.

Modi arrived in Munich on Sunday to attend the G7 summit where he will hold meetings with G7 and partner countries and will hold discussions on several issues, including environment, energy and counter-terrorism. The PM interacted with the Indian community at Audi Dome, Munich. “The way crores of Indians have achieved big goals together is unprecedented. Today, every village in India is open defecation-free,” he said. “Electricity has reached every village and almost every village is connected by road. Today, over 99% people in India have a gas connection for clean cooking,” he added.

Modi also highlighted India’s growth story and mentioned various initiatives undertaken by the government to further achieve the country’s development agenda. He also lauded the contribution of the diaspora in promoting India’s success story and acting as its brand ambassadors.

“Today, we can proudly say India is the mother of democracy. . . The diversity of culture, food, clothes, music makes our democracy vibrant. India has shown that democracy can deliver and has delivered,” he said. “There was a time when people said India will take 10-15 years to vaccinate its population against Covid. Today, 90% of adults have taken both doses and 95% of adults have taken at least one dose. ” PM Modi also said 21st century India is at the forefront of Industry 4.0 and asserted that the country is shining at every front whether it is in the field of information technology or digital technology. He said India has the third-largest startup ecosystem and it is the second-largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world.


Teledensity Snapshot

With remote working moving back to offices and schools and colleges going from laptops and mobile devices to classrooms, the need for additional mobile connections declined. As people reduced additional connections month after month since July, teledensity in Gujarat dropped from 100.17% in July 2021 to 95.01% in April 2021. According to the latest telecom subscription report from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the number of subscribers fell from 7.01 crore in July 2021 to 6.7 crore in April 2022.

Industry players say the decline is because of the consistent reduction in number of mobile connections needed. “Since the pandemic began, most people bought and kept multiple connections for consistent internet connectivity because of remote working and online education. Subscriber numbers thus rose sharply as did teledensity. When educational institutes and offices reopened, additional connections began to be surrendered,” said a telecom industry source. This phenomenon has been seen in all the states over these months. According to the latest data from TRAI, teledensity was 72.9% in rural Gujarat and 119.53% in urban areas as of December 31, 2021.

In July, Gujarat was among eight Indian states with teledensities above 100%. Even though the state continues to be among the ten states in terms of highest teledensity, its share of subscribers went down. Telecom operators also attribute the reduction to tariff revisions and network problems. “Recently, tariff revision was announced by one telco, and most of them have raised tariffs. This impelled customers to opt out of additional connections. Some connections which were not cancelled were automatically disconnected after being unused for more than three months,” said a source.

Bangladesh opens its longest bridge, bringing India closer

Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the long-awaited Padma Bridge, the country’s biggest development project since its birth in 1971, that is expected to give the nation’s development index a big boost and connect India directly to Dhaka, through road,rail and ports. The nearly 6.2km road rail four-lane bridge over the mighty Padma river is expected to directly impact the lives of at least 30 million people of the country, according to the government’s estimates.

The inauguration of the Padma Bridge carries a lot of significance as the structure was built entirely with domestic financing, defying speculations by several financial analysts if Bangladesh could mobilise the fund depending on domestic resources. In 2012, the World Bank cancelled a $1.2 billion loan to build Bangladesh’s longest bridge citing corruption, which the government said was never proven.

Hasina expressed deep gratitude to the people involved with the construction of the bridge. “I have no complaints against anyone, but I reckon those who opposed the construction plan and called it a‘pipe dream’, lack self-confidence. I hope this bridge will boost their confidence,” she said. “This bridge is not just bricks, cement, iron, and concrete. This bridge is our pride, a symbol of our capacity, our strength and our dignity. ”

Extending greetings on the achievement, the Indian embassy said, “The completion of this much-awaited project testifies to the courageous decision and visionary leadership of PM Sheikh Hasina. This success proves the decision of the PM and we firmly believe in it, which we have unwaveringly supported when Bangladesh decided to take this project forward. ”

The distance of Dhaka from the Indian border at Benapole by road will now be reduced by 70km and travel time by 4.30 hours. It will also reduce the Kolkata-Dhaka train journey time by half.

The Padma Bridge, connecting India, Nepal, China, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand, will be a major link of the Trans Asian Highway Network. Of the TAHN’s 16 road routes, three run through Bangladesh. The rail link will connect another two routes.