T H E H E A R T B E A T O F T H E I N D I A N C O M M U N I T Y
SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
DECEMBER 22, 2017
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MCI (P) 043/09/2017
care of 500
follows in the
REPORT ON PAGES 12 & 13
PAGE 4 & 5
Kolkata zoo to have four
anacondas next year
VISITORS to the Alipore Zoologi-
cal Gardens in Kolkata will be able
to see anacondas for the first time
in the city next year.
The snakes, donated by Madras
Crocodile Bank Trust in Tamil
Nadu, will be introduced to the
zoo in April next year.
Zoo director Ashish Kumar Sa-
manta said separate enclosures will
be built for the snakes in the zoo.
All 438 Central Railway
stations to have LED lights by
THE Central Railway will com-
plete its plan to install energy-sav-
ing LED lights at all its 438 stations
by March next year, in a bid to re-
duce its electricity bills.
While 250 stations have already
switched over to LED lighting, and
the remaining 188 will be provided
LED lights by March.
The Central Railway and Energy
Efficiency Services have signed an
agreement wherein the latter will
invest Rs30 crores on the project.
16 new state universities
THE Human Resource Develop-
ment Ministry has approved the
setting up of 16 state universities
under the Rashtriya Uchchatar
Shiksha Abhiyan. It is a scheme
that provides strategic funding to
eligible state higher educational
Half of the universities will have
their colleges clustered
together while the other
half will have their col-
All varsities have been
approved in Andhra
Pradesh, Jammu and
Manipur, Odisha, Uttar
Pradesh and Puduch-
No entry into
of Jagannath Temple
THE Odisha government
is imposing restrictions
on the entry of devo-
tees, including VIPs, into
the sanctum sanctorum
of Puri’s Sri Jagannath
The instruction was
given by the state’s law
department based on
the recommendation of
a Commission of Inquiry
into the affairs of the
It said entry into the
during Paramanik Dar-
shan and Sahana Mela
Darshan (public prayer)
should be stopped.
Guwahati airport to
ASSAM Chief Minister
has announced that the
government is upgrad-
ing the Guwahati air-
port to make it an inter-
“Expansion work for
the current airport has
already begun and work
on the new terminal will
begin soon,” he said.
This will enhance the
coverage of the regional
scheme “putting Guwa-
hati as the hub and cov-
ering South-east Asian
and Asean countries”.
These countries in-
clude Bangladesh, Ne-
pal, Bhutan and Singa-
pore, said Mr Sonowal,
adding that the Assam
government has collaborated with
Singapore to set up a skill develop-
ment centre in Assam.
Bandra Fort to get makeover
THE Brihanmumbai Municipal
Corporation, the civic body that
governs Mumbai, will start work
on beautifying the Bandra Fort in
March next year.
The project, which may cost
about Rs19 crores, includes a face-
lift plan for sitting areas in the gar-
den as well as a cycling track to-
wards the Taj Lands End hotel.
Municipal architect Surendra
Borale told the Hindustan Times
that the plan does not involve con-
struction work and only landscape
IAF phases out Soviet-era MI-8 helicopters
THE Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Soviet era MI-8 helicopters were phased out of service in a
ceremony at the Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru on Dec 17 (above).
The ceremony was attended by veterans headed by former IAF chief, Air Chief Mar-
shal (Ret) Fali Homi Major, who flew the last MI-8 mission along with the CO 112 He-
The MI-8 helicopters arrived in India in 1971 and were formally inducted in the IAF
helicopter inventory in 1972.
They were mainly used to transport troops and goods to remote and inaccessible areas.
Modi visits Ockhi-hit states
INDIAN Prime Minister Narendra
Modi visited victims who were hit
by Cyclone Ockhi in Kerala (above)
and Tamil Nadu and promised to
Kerala has made a detailed pre-
sentation, seeking a Rs7,340-crore
relief package to mitigate the fish-
Mr Modi flew into Kerala from
Lakshadweep where the cyclone
had damaged property.
He then went by helicopter to
Kanyakumari in neighbouring
Tamil Nadu before returning to
Kerala and going to Poonthura to
talk to families of the fishermen
whose next of kin either died or
Something for everyone
when he visited
New Delhi in
will be attending
The Asean-India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas has lined up a wide range of events
REPARATIONS for the Ase-
an India Pravasi Bharatiya
Divas (PBD) are in full swing.
The event, which will be held on
Jan 6 and 7 at the Marina Bay
Sands Expo and Convention Cen-
tre is expected to draw several
hundred members of the Indian di-
aspora from across the world. It is
billed as the biggest-ever business
event related to Asean and India.
Over two days and more than 15
sessions, some 80 speakers will ad-
dress more than 3,000 delegates.
Several dignitaries from India, Sin-
gapore and the rest of the Asean
region will attend. External Affairs
Minister Sushma Swaraj will be
the biggest name from India.
Other political leaders from In-
dia who are expected to be pres-
ent are Minister for Road Transport
and Highways, Shipping and Water
Resources Nitin Gadkari, Andhra
Pradesh Chief Minister Chandra-
babu Naidu and Assam Chief Min-
ister Sarbananda Sonowal.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee
Hean, Foreign Minister Vivian Bal-
akrishnan and Trade and Industry
Minister S. Iswaran will be among
the participants from Singapore.
Most Asean nations will be send-
ing delegations and there will be
ministerial level participation from
Around 40 business leaders
from India are attending the event.
Other prominent names from Sin-
gapore include Nanyang Techno-
logical University’s new president
Prof Subra Suresh, Ambassador
Gopinath Pillai, Prof Kishore Mah-
bubani, Ambassador Ong Keng
Yong, CEO and director of DBS
Group Piyush Gupta and Chair-
man of Blackstone Singapore Gau-
In addition, top officials from
GIC and Temasek, Ascendas and
PSA will also be attending.
High Commissioner of India to
Singapore Jawed Ashraf said that
in the process of preparing for
the PBD, “we are also connecting
“The response has been very
enthusiastic, both from Southeast
Asia and India,” he told
He added that “the great joy of
doing this is that we have been
able to work with and involve all
cross-sections of the diverse Indian
Diaspora in Singapore, supported
by the highly motivated team of
(events company) De Ideaz.”
The high commissioner said the
themes and topics of discussion at
the event cover all facets of India’s
growth story, various areas of in-
terest for the diaspora and every
dimension of the Asean-India part-
nership, focusing on the future.
The sessions will cover India-
Asean relations in business and
technology, history of the diaspora
in Southeast Asia, contribution to
social impact projects in India, cul-
ture, youth, connectivity, and me-
dia among other subjects.
During the two days, there will
be exhibitions showcasing 2000
years of links between India and
Southeast Asia, a Writer’s Festival,
Cinema Festival and exhibitions on
Art, Ayurveda and Yoga, all show-
casing Asean-based Indian dias-
Three persons from India will
give live craft demonstrations.
There will be concerts by Indian
artistes for the youth on Jan 6. Ra-
ghu Dixit and Sonam Kalra will be
performing at 6.30pm at the Ma-
rina Bay Sands Expo. Those inter-
ested in this event can buy tickets
The lunch on the first day of
the event will showcase south In-
dian cuisine and on the second day
Northeast Indian cuisine.
The gala dinner on the final day
will feature a menu consisting of
cuisine from India and Southeast
Asia – the Spice Route.
High Commissioner Ashrafsaid:
“There is something in it for every
interest, every age and every taste.
It will be thoughtful and informa-
tive. It will be enjoyable. There is a
great deal to learn about the Indian
diaspora in the region and about
the new India.
“It will open up possibilities to
connect with India more deeply.
It is a platform to showcase the
extraordinary wealth of talent in
Singapore and elsewhere in Asean,
which is as good as, if not better
than, the diaspora in any part of
“It marks 25 years of the Asean-
India Partnership, celebrates two
millennia of links and focuses on
building a future partnership of
prosperity for people in India and
Concert time... Raghu Dixit, a scientist-turned-singer and trained bharatanatyam
dancer, who will perform at Marina Bay Sands.
— High commissioner of
India to Singapore Jawed
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