Morning brief kishanganga hydro electric project set for inauguration despite pakistan’s objection; repoll ordered in 568 booths in wb; 19 dead in varanasi flyover collapse gas hydrates are used

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 330-megawatt hydroelectric project on the Kishanganga river in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district on 19 May, during his visit to Srinagar. The project, completed despite Pakistan’s objection, is the first run of the river scheme that involves the inter-basin transfer of water. Water from Kishanganga river in the Gurez valley will be transferred to Bonar Nallah in Bandipora using a 23.65-km-long tunnel dug across mountains. Pakistan had objected to the construction of the dam, which it claimed will affect the flow of water into its territory. Although the International Court of Arbitration upheld India’s right to use the water for non-consumptive proposes, the height of the project was reduced to 37 metres from 98 meters. When operational, Jammu and Kashmir will receive 13 per cent of the total power produced free of cost.

After Trinamool Congress (TMC) goons resorted to violence, booth capturing, rigging and burning of ballot papers in different parts of West Bengal to get favourable results in the Panchayat Polls, state election commission on Tuesday ordered repoll in 568 of 41,000 booths where votes were cast. These booths lie in 19 of the 20 districts of the state where polling took place. Repoll will take place on Wednesday, and the votes will be counted on Thursday. While at least 15 died in poll-related violence, the government has confirmed only six cases. In Murshidabad, a Bharatiya Janata Party worker was shot dead by TMC goons. According to reports, goons also attacked journalists in different parts of the state. When asked why the state government failed to maintain law and order, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s close aide Derek O’Brien accused the media of “agenda driven news gathering”.

At least 19 people died after two pillars of an under-construction flyover collapsed in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi late on Tuesday. The incident occurred in the city’s Cantt area at a time when the volume of traffic was high. A huge slab of concrete crushed cars and a local bus under it. Teams of the National Disaster Response Force reached the accident site within an hour and were joined by the army. While the rescue teams pulled three people alive from the debris, several are feared trapped. The bridge was being built by the Uttar Pradesh State Bridge Corporation at a cost of Rs 129 crore and 56 per cent construction had been completed. The part which collapsed yesterday was built in February. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered the authorities to complete the inquiry into the incident within 48 hours.

Inflation could rise in the second half of the fiscal and average 5.1 per cent this financial year compared to 3.6 per cent last year, an HSBC report has said. The factors that will affect inflation include higher oil prices, a weaker rupee, higher Minimum Support Prices and more currency in circulation, the report notes. It adds that "with appropriate action now, it (inflation) is likely to inch lower in 2019-20, and even fall back towards the RBI’s 4 per cent target by the second half of 2019-20". While retail inflation inched up to 4.58 per cent in April, the Wholesale Price Index-based inflation too rose to 3.18 per cent during the same month.

Giving partial relief to former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in the solar scam case on Tuesday, the Kerala High Court said that the allegations of sexual exploitation against him need not be taken into account. The court ordered that all remarks made by the probe commission based on a letter reportedly written by the main accused be expunged. Allegations of sexual exploitation can only be investigated under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure and not by a Commission of Inquiry formed by a government. The state government, however, said that the letter alleging sexual exploitation was relevant in the solar scam inquiry and stated that there was no proof to suggest that the letter was a fabricated one.

A Chinese county has banned Tibetan monks “wrongly educated” in India from teaching Buddhism to prevent the spread of “separatist” ideas in the country. Litang county in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province, which is located close to Tibet, has been conducting ‘patriotic education classes’ every year for those educated and awarded the Gexe Lharampa – the highest academic degree in Tibetan Buddhist studies – in India. According to state-run Chinese media, around 105 monks in Tibet have been awarded the Chinese version of the degree since 2004. Monks who show "any signs of separatist intent" are strictly monitored. China does not acknowledge degree awarded to monks overseas and they are not qualified to teach Buddhism in the country, a report in the Global Times said.