The Prime Minister ShriNarendraModi, today dedicated
the Bogibeel bridge in Assam, to the nation. The bridge, which spans the
River Brahmaputra between Dibrugarh and Dhemaji districts of Assam, is of
immense economic and strategic significance for the nation.
At a massive public meeting in KarengChapori, on the
northern bank of the Brahmaputra,the Prime Minister also flagged off the
first passenger train passing through the bridge.
The strategic bridge, which connects Dibrugarh
district on the river’s south bank in Assam to Dhemaji district on the north
bank, would not only improve the livelihoods of millions of people in Assam
and Arunachal Pradesh, Mr.Modi said, but would also serve as a boon to the
The project was conceived by the Rail India Technical
Economic Services in 1973, and the foundation stone was laid by former Prime
Minister H.D. DeveGowda in January 1997.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister paid
homage to the famous Assamese singer DeepaliBorthakur, who passed away
recently. He also paid homage to many other famous and historical figures
from the State, who have brought laurels for the State and the country in
He greeted the people on the occasion of Christmas. He
said that today is the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister,
ShriAtalBihari Vajpayee, and is also celebrated as "Sushaasan Divas" or
"Good Governance Day".
At least 260 leopards were poached in the country
between 2015 and 2018, with Uttarakhand accounting for 60 cases and Himachal
Pradesh reporting another 49, according to information given to Parliament
by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
Of this, 64 cases of leopard poaching were recorded in
2015, 83 in 2016, 47 in 2017 and 66 till October 2018, the data tabled in
the LokSabha earlier this month show.
Central Indian States like Chhattisgarh and Madhya
Pradesh also recorded a high number of cases of leopard poaching in the past
four years, at 25 and 21 respectively. Poaching of leopards was reported by
19 States including Assam and West Bengal in the east, Punjab in the West
and Telangana and Tamil Nadu in the south.
Wildlife organisations, however, estimate leopard
poaching to be at a much higher level based on the seizures of body parts.
According to the Delhi based Wildlife Protection Society of India, 163 cases
of poaching and seizures of body parts were recorded in 2018, an increase
from 159 in 2017.
Tasked with helping recover unpaid corporate loans,
the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has helped resolve insolvency and
bankruptcy proceedings involving more than Rs. 80,000 crore in 2018. The
kitty is expected to swell beyond Rs. 1 lakh crore in 2019 with several
big-ticket default cases pending.
Plans are afoot to further strengthen the NCLT by
increasing the number of judges and benches, and providng adequate
infrastructure to fast-track the process, according to government officials.
The new year will not only test the mettle of the
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), but also of the NCLT and its appellate
body NCLAT, as several high-profile cases need to be resolved Essar Steel
(involving over Rs. 80,000 crore) and Bhushan Power & Steel (about Rs.
45,000 crore due to its lenders) are just a few, experts said.
In 2018, more than Rs. 80,000 crore was recovered from
various corporate debtors, who had defaulted on payments, under the IBC
through various insolvency proceedings at the NCLT and the NCLAT, Corporate
Affairs Secretary InjetiSrinivas said.
As per estimates, the IBC has helped address stressed
assets worth Rs. 3 lakh crore directly or indirectly since the new law came
into force in December 2016.
For the Indian equity markets, year 2018 will end as
the worst in terms of foreign money outflows since 2008 when markets across
the globe were reeling under the sub-prime crisis and Lehman Brothers filed
for the largest bankruptcy in history.
In the Indian context, 2018 would also be only the
third such year in the last decade when foreign portfolio investors (FPIs)
would end a calendar year as net sellers of Indian shares.
Foreign investors, who have always been looked upon as
the prime drivers of any bull run in the Indian equity market, have been net
sellers at almost $4.8 billion or Rs. 33,344 crore during the current
calendar year, till date.
There was also heightened volatility globally due to
the concerns related to the trade war between U.S. and China that made
investors stay away from the emerging market pack, including India. The
bubble kind of situation in the mid-cap and small-cap segments at the start
of the year also led to profit booking from such investors.
Meanwhile, most market participants believe that the
potential losses this year have been largely mitigated due to the strong
buying support, especially in index constituents, from domestic
institutional investors such as mutual funds and the Life Insurance
Two IIT Hyderabad professors and their graduate
students have come up with an innovative material to lay roads which reduces
cost, is environmentally friendly and also stronger than asphalt roads. This
material reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) uses a mix of fly ash (a
coal-combustion by-product) with reclaimed asphalt concrete. It reduces use
of virgin asphalt by about 30%.
Further, the material has also been tested on sections
of the road built as “part of the State highway (SH 2213) connecting Nuzvid
and Mylavaram [in Andhra Pradesh] designed for a traffic of 1,213 commercial
vehicles per day,” SireeshSaride, the Principal Investigator of the project
Reclaimed asphalt concrete is by itself not strong
enough to lay roads with. Among the several additives that have been tried
out to bolster its strength are limestone and industrial waste such as fly
In the method used by the researchers, fly ash is
treated with sodium hydroxide, an alkali, before adding it to the RAP
material. The treatment converts the fly ash into geopolymer that binds the
RAP particles thereby rendering it stronger.
Creating higher amount of geopolymer around the RAP
particles lead to less voids in the matrix, which will reduce the
permeability of water through the matrix.