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Major News and Events of 29 December 2013

What Happened on 29 December 2013

Automatic fire detection system is in proposal but not in trains

Most of the trains in India especially long distance ones lack automatic fire alarm system. This is being neglected in spite of repeated fire incidents in trains. 26 passengers were killed in a train fire accident when an AC coach caught fire in the Bangalore-Nanded Express. Under the plan all the Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Garib Rath and Duranto trains should have an automatic smoke/fire detection alarm system but it has been installed in just two Rajdhani trains. Secunderabad Rajdhani and Bhubaneswar Rajdhani trains. These automatic systems can detect smoke at the earliest and ring the alarm. Installing an alarm in a train costs about Rs 35 lakh. All the specifications of the alarm system were being laid down by the Research Designs and Standard Organisation in 2008. It included design, supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance. This system was then run on trial basis and again the changes in the design were brought in. Suggestions from the experts led further modifications in 2011. But all this include fire safety proposals only for AC coaches not for non-ACs. The general compartments are considered. As per a senior Railway Ministry official they are on their way to install it in more trains. He further added that apart from this there are other measures that were being taken such as use of fire retardant furnishing materials in coaches and provisions for installing fire barrier and thermic-lock.

Chandra Kant Birla stepped down from the position of chairman of Hindustan Motors

Chandra Kant Birla who was the chairman of Hindustan Motors (HM) has stepped down from his position as chairman. In the past 18 months, the company incurred a loss of Rs 71.20 crore that is a period from April 2012 to September 2013. The net worth of the company was negative i.e. Rs 31.59 crore by 30th September 2013. Already the firm experienced a loss of Rs 29.96 crore in 2011-12. In a statement, the company said that positive discussions with strategic and financial investors regarding its Uttarpara and Chennai units are going on. The recent change will give a way to flexibility and investors. Most of the industry observers are saying that decision of stepping down of Birla is to attract investor for company’s profitable Chennai plant. Land dispute on which the Uttarpara plant has been manufactured is still there and also the company owes money to the Bengal government. The demerger scheme is also waiting for a green signal from Calcutta High Court. Its approval  will be beneficial for the revival of the company.

Gauhar Khan won Big Boss season seven

Gauhar Khan is the winner of seventh season Big Boss a reality show on Colors. Model-turned-actress, Gauhar Khan won the show after defeating Tanishaa Mukherjee on Saturday. Gauhar Khan stayed in a house for 104 days and winning the show gave her Rs 50 lakh in cash and a trophy. Gauhar Khan thanked her family and said that she did not expect to come so far in the show. Even during the show Gauhar Khan found her love Kushal Tandon both explicitly expressed their love for each other. Nigar Khan her sister commented that both of them are very strong personalities who need time. Last season the show was won by Urvashi Dholakia, a television actress. Tanishaa was hardly seen fighting with other contestants at home and maintained a poise. She called this an unbelievable experience. Tanishaa's mother, Tanuja came to receive her on the show. She looked very emotional and added that she watched every episode of it and liked the show very much. The final contestants along with Gauhar Khan at the show were Tanishaa, Sangram Singh and Ajaz Khan. The show was hosted by actor Salman Khan.

Lalit Modi to be kept out – promises BCCI

Lalit Modi was found guilty in serious crime of misconduct and indiscipline. Owing to this he has been banned for lifetime from holding any cricket post by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Modi who is presently in London had contested for the post of president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) on December 19. Result of the same will be declared on January 6. Modi has already received support from 25 of the 33 district units in the state. But his participation has made the BCCI board very angry. They immediately called the meeting in Chennai on Saturday and decided that Modi cannot be a part of cricket any more.  In a statement after meeting the BCCI said that despite the expulsion of Lalit Modi it has been noticed that he is taking part in the election of the Rajasthan Cricket Association for the post of president. But strict action should be taken against such law-breaking members. State association has been given suspension warnings for sending teams for official domestic tournaments like the Ranji Trophy and age-group events. They even said that strict disciplinary must be taken against such members.

Feb 3 is a new date for mobile phone spectrum auction

10 days late from its original date. The new date to start mobile phone spectrum auction is February 3. In the auction airwaves in the 900 and 1800 megahertz frequency bands will be auctioned by the telecommunication ministry. This auction is important for Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Group Plc’s local unit. They need to renew their permits in some of the major cities. No reason for the delay has been mentioned by the telecommunication ministry. Carriers are asking government to check the annual spectrum fee before auction. It is expected that government would earn about 110 billion rupees ($1.8 billion) from this auction. Last date to submit application is January 15.

Shuffling in government offices and inspections begins with new government of AAP in Delhi

Delhi is seeing a great turbulence and revolution in politics and also in its government offices. After taking oath, recently appointed Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal made shuffling and transferred 9 IAS officers that include thse Finance Secretary, Power Secretary and CEO of the Delhi Jal Board (DJB). DJB CEO Debashree Mukherjee is now Chief Managing Director of the Delhi Transport Corporation. She has been replaced by Vijay Kumar. Power Secretary R K Verma is now Principal Secretary, Higher Education holding the charge as Principal Secretary, Training and Technical Education. The shifting is significant because Arvind Kejriwal said that his government has to take decisions regarding water supply by Monday and on electricity by Tuesday or Wednesday. AAP has promised that every household will get 700 liters of free water supply and there will be 50% cut off in power tariff. Rajendra Kumar Higher Education Secretary is now Secretary to the Chief Minister. Transport Secretary Puneet Goel is now Power Secretary. Arvind Ray, Principal Secretary-cum-Commissioner, Development, will also take the additional charge of Transport. Delhi Finance Secretary M M Kutty is now Principal Secretary, Social Welfare and Women and Child Development. After cabinet meeting, Kejriwal said that honest officials working for the public will not be bothered. A new Health Minister Satyendra Jain also paid a surprise visit to the government-run Lok Nayak Hospital last evening. He spent nearly an hour taking to the doctors and patients and checking the condition of the hospital.

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