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Patna

Three dead, 10 injured as Vasco da Gama-Patna Express derails near Manikpur in UP

 
3 dead, 10 injured as Vasco da Gama-Patna Express derails in UP
Three people died and ten others suffered injuries as 13 coaches of the 12741 Vasco Da Gama-Patna Express derailed near Manikpur railway station in Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh early this morning.
 
The accident occurred at around 0418 hours when the train was passing through Manikpur railway station in Allahabad division of North-Central Railway, about 250 km from here, after passing the starter signal, railway sources said.
 
The injured were admitted to hospitals at Manikpur and Chitrakoot, they said.
 
All the stranded passengers were moved to Allahabad in the unaffected coaches of the train, which left at 0725 hours from the spot. 
 
A special train will be arranged from Allahabad for the passengers of the affected coaches to travel to Patna, the sources said.
 
The derailed coaches were the ninth to the 22nd coaches -- S3 to S11, two general coaches and two extra coaches, the sources said.
 
Uttar Pradesh Police identified two of the deceased passengers as Deepak Patel and his father Ram Swaroop of Betiya, Bihar. Both of them died on the spot, while a third passenger succumbed to his injuries in hospital, they said.
 
An accident relief train from Allahabad was rushed to the spot and senior railway officers had reached there to oversee rescue and relief operations.
 
Movement of trains on the Patna-Allahabad section was affected for some time as a consequence of the accident. The Railways said normal traffic had been restored on the route, with the first Up train passing through Manikpur at 0810 hours and Dn train at 0835 hours.
 
The Railways announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 5 lakh for the next-of-kin of those who died in the accident, Rs. 1 lakh for those with  grievous injuries and Rs. 50,000 for those with simple injuries.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines for passengers and their relatives:
 
Allahabad 0532-2408149/2408128/2407353
Patna  0612-2206967
Mirzapur 05442-220095/ 220096
Jabalpur 0761-2677746
Mughalsarai 05412 - 254148
Satna 07672 - 228510
Katni 07622-297468
 
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Kovind launches Bihar Krishi road map 2017-2022

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President Ram Nath Kovind launched the Bihar Krishi Road Map 2017-2022 here today.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kovind said it was a moving and emotional experience for him to come to Bihar for the first time as President of India. He would always remember the regard and affection received from people of all sections and regions of the State during his tenure as the Governor.
 
The President stated that the centenary year of the Champaran Satyagraha is being commemorated from April 2017. As such this was the best time to introduce the new 'Agricultural Road Map' in the interests of farmers. Mahatma Gandhi had emphasised through the Satyagraha that farmers are at the centre of Indian life and policy making. And this remains true even today.
 
Bihar had launched the first ‘Agricultural Road Map’ in 2008 after consulting farmers, agricultural scientists and other stakeholders. The 2017 road map is the third. It provides comprehensive and coordinated plans for the development of agriculture.
 
All concerned departments have been directed to design their policies keeping the welfare of farmers in mind. This is a fundamental change, Mr Kovind said. The President expressed confidence that the 3rd Agricultural Road Map' will further energise the agricultural sector's performance in Bihar and empower the farming community.
 
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President Kovind to visit Bihar on Thursday

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President Ram Nath Kovind will be on a day's visit to Bihar today -- his first visit to the state since assuming office.
 
Mr. Kovind was the Governor of Bihar when he was nominated by the ruling BJP-led NDA government as its nominee for the elections to the post of President earlier this year.
 
An official press release said Mr. Kovind would commence his engagements by paying tributes to Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, at his statue at the Dr Rajendra Prasad Golambar in Patna, the state capital.
 
Later in the day, he will launch the Bihar Krishi Road Map 2017-2022 at Samrat Ashok Convention Centre, Patna.  He will also pay tributes to late political and social activist Jayprakash Narayan at his statue at the Jayprakash Golambar, Patna, before returning to Delhi, the release added.
 
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PM: India must understand changing trends, make its place in competitive world

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday that, in the era of globalisation, India needed to understand the changing trends across the world and the increased spirit of competitiveness and make its place in the world in that context.

 
Bihar is blessed with both 'Gyan' and 'Ganga', says Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that, in the era of globalisation, India needed to understand the changing trends across the world and the increased spirit of competitiveness and  make its place in the world in that context.
 
Addressing the centenary celebrations of Patna University here, he also urged students to think about innovative solutions to problems faced by people. He said that, by applying what they learn and through the Start-Up sector, there was a lot they could do for society.
 
Stating that he considered it an honour to visit the university and be with its students, Mr. Modi said, "I bow to this land of Bihar. This University has nurtured students who have contributed greatly to the nation."
 
He observed that, across States, the top levels of the civil services had people who had studied in Patna University. "In Delhi, I interact with so many officials, many of whom belong to Bihar," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said that the commitment of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar towards the progress of the State was commendable. The Union Government attaches topmost importance to the development of eastern India, he added. 
 
He said that Bihar is blessed with both 'Gyaan' and 'Ganga.' This land has a legacy that is unique, he added. He said that from conventional teaching, Indian universities need to move towards innovative learning. 
 
On the way back from Patna University to the airport, the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister of Bihar, and other dignitaries, visited the Bihar Museum, which showcases the rich culture and history of the State. 
 
Earlier, Mr. Modi laid the foundation stone for four sewerage projects under the Namami Gange programme; and four National Highway projects, at Mokama in Bihar. The total outlay of these projects is over Rs. 3700 crore. 
 
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Addressing a public meeting, he said that he was delighted to visit a land closely associated with the great poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. He assured everyone that the Union Government and the State Government will do everything possible for Bihar's growth. 
 
The Prime Minister said that the Government is working tirelessly to fulfil the aspirations of the people. He said the projects whose foundation stones are being laid today will give impetus to Bihar's development. 
 
He added that the Government is focussing on increased pace of road construction. The projects related to Namami Gange will help preserve the River Ganga, he said. 
 
Referring to the recent launch of the Antyodaya Expresses, he said these trains will improve connectivity between Bihar, eastern India and other parts of the country. Asserting that good connectivity will lead to greater development, the Prime Minister said stress is being given to roads, railways, and waterways. 
 
The four National Highway projects for which foundation stones have been laid include: 4-laning of Aunta-Simariya section of NH-31 and construction of 6-lane Ganga Setu; 4-laning of Bakhtiyarpur-Mokama section of NH-31; 2-lane construction of Maheshkhunt-Saharsa-Purnea section of NH 107; and 2-lane construction of Biharsharif-Barbigha-Mokama section of NH-82.
 
The four sewerage projects include Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at Beur, Sewerage System with Sewer Network at Beur, Sewage Treatment Plant at Karmalichak and STP and Sewer Network at Saidpur. These projects together will create new STP capacity of 120 MLD and upgrade the existing 20 MLD for Beur. 
 
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Modi to visit Bihar on Saturday, launch various development projects

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Bihar tomorrow when he will address the centenary celebrations of Patna University and launch various development projects.
 
An official press release said that, at Mokama, Mr. Modi would lay the foundation stone for four sewerage projects under the Namami Gange programme; and four National Highway projects. The total outlay of these projects will be over Rs. 3700 crore. He will also address a public meeting.
 
The four sewerage projects include Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) at Beur, Sewerage System with Sewer Network at Beur, Sewage Treatment Plant at Karmalichak and STP and Sewer Network at Saidpur. These projects together will create new STP capacity of 120 MLD and upgrade the existing 20 MLD for Beur.
 
The four National Highway projects for which foundation stone will be laid include 4-laning of Aunta–Simariya section of NH-31 and construction of 6-lane Ganga Setu; 4-laning of Bakhtiyarpur-Mokama section of NH-31; 2-lane construction of Maheshkhunt-Saharsa-Purnea section of NH 107; and 2-lane construction of Biharsharif-Barbigha-Mokama section of NH-82, the release added.
 
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Nitish inducts 27 Ministers, keeps Home, Sushil Modi gets Finance, Commerce

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sarurday inducted 27 Ministers in his Council of Ministers and, in the allocation of portfolios, retained Home with himself and gave Finance and Commerce to Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.

File photo of Nitish Kumar
File photo of Nitish Kumar
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today inducted 27 Ministers in his Council of Ministers and, in the allocation of portfolios, retained Home with himself and gave Finance and Commerce to Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.
 
The new Ministers were administered the oaths of office and secrecy by Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at a ceremony in Raj Bhavan.
 
They include 14 MLAs from Mr. Kumar's Janata Dal (United), 12 from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and one from the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) headed by Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
 
Mr. Kumar had resigned as Chief Minister on Wednesday evening after ending  the JD (U)'s alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress and was sworn in again on Thursday at the head of a coalition government with the BJP. He won the vote of confidence in the state legislative assembly yesterday with 131 of the 243 legislators voting for him. 
 
This is the sixth time in his political career that Mr. Kumar, 66, a former Union Minister, has become the Chief Minister of Bihar.
 
The JD (U) had formally withdrawn from the NDA in June 2013 and ended its 17-year-old partnership with the BJP in Bihar after the latter had named then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the chairman of its campaign committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in a clear indication that he would be the party's Prime Ministerial candidate.
 
The JD (U) and Mr Kumar, in particular, had repeatedly made it clear in the preceding weeks that they would not accept Mr Modi as the NDA's Prime Ministerial candidate in view of his alleged failure to control the 2002 post-Godhra violence in which hundreds of people were killed in Gujarat.
 
Mr. Kumar was sworn in for the fifth time as Chief Minister on November 20, 2015 after leading the "Mahagathbandhan" comprising his party, the RJD and the Congress to a resounding win in the elections to the state legislative assembly. That was the first time that the three parties had come together in an alliance in Bihar and was seen by many as the model for a larger alliance of Opposition parties ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
 
The alliance had ended up with 178 seats in the 243-member assembly, while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), finished with 58 seats. Among the alliance partners, the RJD became the single largest party in the assembly with 80 seats, while the JD(U) bagged 71 and the Congress got 27.
 
As it turned out, the alliance lasted less than two years as Mr. Kumar resigned on Wednesday evening, hours after RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav reiterated that his son Tejashwi Yadav would not quit as deputy chief minister despite the CBI filing a case against him.
 
Events began unfolding rapidly after that. Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Mr. Kumar's resignation, saying on micro-blogging site Twitter, "Congratulations to Nitish Kumar ji for joining the fight against corruption. 125 crore citizens welcome and support honesty."
 
"In the interest of the bright future of the nation, especially of Bihar, we have to rise above political differences and fight as one against corruption, that is the call of the nation and the time," he said. 
 
Within minutes, Mr. Kumar responded to that, conveying his "heartfelt thanks" to Mr. Modi for his reaction to his resignation.
 
The BJP Parliamentary Board went into a huddle in Delhi that night and said later that the party did not wish to see mid-term elections in Bihar and would like to ensure stability in the state. It said a three-member committee of the party in Bihar would advise the party's leadership about the future course of action.
 
Shortly thereafter, MLAs of the JD (U) and the BJP started gathering at Mr. Kumar's residence. Mr. Sushil Kumar Modi told journalists here  on Wednesday night that the BJP had decided to support the JD (U) in formation of a new government and also join it.
 
 
Nitish Kumar inducts 27 ministers in Council of Ministers
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Yadav addressed a press conference at which he said Tejashwi Yadav, 28, would not resign from his position, arguing that the case filed against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) earlier this month was a "fake case".
 
Mr. Kumar said that he had tried his best to run the state government and adhere to the "coalition dharma" but a stage had been reached where he found that he could not continue in office without straying from his principles.
 
He said he had never asked for Tejashwi's resignation but had asked him and Mr. Yadav that they must give a public explanation about the charges against them.
 
He said he had raised this issue with Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at their meeting in New Delhi some days ago. He regretted that there was no response from any of them.
 
"The atmosphere had become such that it was impossible to work. My conscience told me to resign," he had said.
 
But there were enough indications that Mr. Kumar was cosying up to the BJP in recent months, as seen by his support for the Centre's demonetisation move and his decision to back the BJP-led NDA's candidate Ram Nath Kovind, who was the Governor of Bihar until then, in the Presidential election.
 
On July 7, the CBI had conducted raids at the residence and other premises of Mr. Yadav and others in five cities in connection with a case registered by it on July 5 against them for alleged irregularities in the award of tender for managing two IRCTC hotels in 2006.
 
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Nitish Kumar wins trust vote in Bihar Assembly, denies charge of opportunism

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had resigned on Wednesday evening after ending his JD (U)'s alliance with the RJD and the Congress and was sworn in again on Thursday at the head of a coalition government with the BJP, won the vote of confidence in the state legislative assembly on Friday with 131 of the 243 legislators voting for him.

File photo of Nitish Kumar
File photo of Nitish Kumar
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had resigned on Wednesday evening after ending  his Janata Dal (United)'s alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress and was sworn in again yesterday at the head of a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), won the vote of confidence in the state legislative assembly today with 131 of the 243 legislators voting for him. 
 
The discussion the motion of confidence moved by Mr. Kumar and the discussion on it were marred by noisy protests by RJD members. As many as 108 members voted against the motion.
 
In his brief response to the debate, Mr. Kumar rejected allegations by the Opposition that his new alliance with the BJP was an act of political opportunism.
 
Responding to criticism that his move was against the anti-BJP mandate of the 2015 elections, Mr. Kumar asserted that secularism could not mask corruption and political parties should remember that they had got a mandate to serve the people.
 
BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi also said that the "mandate was not for corruption".
 
Mr. Kumar and Mr. Modi had been sworn in at a function at Raj  Bhavan yesterday morning by Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, who asked the new Chief Minister to prove his majority in the Assembly within two days.
 
This is the sixth time in his political career that Mr. Kumar, 66, a former Union Minister, was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar.
 
The JD (U) had formally withdrawn from the NDA in June 2013 and ended its 17-year-old partnership with the BJP in Bihar after the latter had named then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the chairman of its campaign committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in a clear indication that he would be the party's Prime Ministerial candidate.
 
The JD (U) and Mr Kumar, in particular, had repeatedly made it clear in the preceding weeks that they would not accept Mr Modi as the NDA's Prime Ministerial candidate in view of his alleged failure to control the 2002 post-Godhra violence in which hundreds of people were killed in Gujarat.
 
Mr. Kumar was sworn in for the fifth time as Chief Minister on November 20, 2015 after leading the "Mahagathbandhan" comprising his party, the RJD and the Congress to a resounding win in the elections to the state legislative assembly. That was the first time that the three parties had come together in an alliance in Bihar and was seen by many as the model for a larger alliance of Opposition parties ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
 
The alliance had ended up with 178 seats in the 243-member assembly, while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), finished with 58 seats. Among the alliance partners, the RJD became the single largest party in the assembly with 80 seats, while the JD(U) bagged 71 and the Congress got 27.
 
As it turned out, the alliance lasted less than two years as Mr. Kumar resigned on Wednesday evening, hours after RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav reiterated that his son Tejashwi Yadav would not quit as deputy chief minister despite the CBI filing a case against him.
 
Mr. Kumar met the Governor here that evening and handed over his resignation. Later, Mr. Kumar told journalists outside his official residence that the Governor had accepted his resignation and asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangements were made.
 
Events began unfolding rapidly after that. Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Mr. Kumar's resignation, saying on micro-blogging site Twitter, "Congratulations to Nitish Kumar ji for joining the fight against corruption. 125 crore citizens welcome and support honesty."
 
"In the interest of the bright future of the nation, especially of Bihar, we have to rise above political differences and fight as one against corruption, that is the call of the nation and the time," he said. 
 
Within minutes, Mr. Kumar responded to that, conveying his "heartfelt thanks" to Mr. Modi for his reaction to his resignation.
 
The BJP Parliamentary Board went into a huddle in Delhi that night and said later that the party did not wish to see mid-term elections in Bihar and would like to ensure stability in the state. It said a three-member committee of the party in Bihar would advise the party's leadership about the future course of action.
 
Shortly thereafter, MLAs of the JD (U) and the BJP started gathering at Mr. Kumar's residence. Mr. Sushil Kumar Modi told journalists here  on Wednesday night that the BJP had decided to support the JD (U) in formation of a new government and also join it.
 
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Earlier on Wednesday, Mr. Yadav addressed a press conference at which he said Tejashwi Yadav, 28, would not resign from his position, arguing that the case filed against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) earlier this month was a "fake case".
 
Mr. Kumar said that he had tried his best to run the state government and adhere to the "coalition dharma" but a stage had been reached where he found that he could not continue in office without straying from his principles.
 
He said he had never asked for Tejashwi's resignation but had asked him and Mr. Yadav that they must give a public explanation about the charges against them.
 
He said he had raised this issue with Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at their meeting in New Delhi some days ago. He regretted that there was no response from any of them.
 
"The atmosphere had become such that it was impossible to work. My conscience told me to resign," he had said.
 
But there were enough indications that Mr. Kumar was cosying up to the BJP in recent months, as seen by his support for the Centre's demonetisation move and his decision to back the BJP-led NDA's candidate Ram Nath Kovind, who was the Governor of Bihar until then, in the Presidential election.
 
On July 7, the CBI had conducted raids at the residence and other premises of Mr. Yadav and others in five cities in connection with a case registered by it on July 5 against them for alleged irregularities in the award of tender for managing two IRCTC hotels in 2006.
 
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Nitish Kumar sworn in as Bihar CM, BJP's Sushil Modi is Deputy CM

JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar, who resigned on Wednesday evening as Chief Minister of Bihar after breaking off his party's "grand alliance" with the RJD and the Congress, was sworn in again on Thursday morning to that position at the head of a coalition government with the BJP, the ruling party at the Centre.

File photo of Nitish Kumar
File photo of Nitish Kumar
Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar, who resigned yesterday evening as Chief Minister of Bihar after breaking off his party's "grand alliance" with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, was sworn in again this morning to that position at the head of a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling party at the Centre.
 
Along with him, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi was sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister, a position that he held in a previous government headed by Mr. Kumar when the JD (U) was a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
 
They were adminstered the oaths of office and secrecy by Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at a simple ceremony at Raj Bhavan here.
 
The two parties will finalise the list of other Ministers later and they are expected to be sworn in after Mr. Kumar proves his majority in the state legislative assembly within two days as directed by the Governor.
 
This is the sixth time in his political career that Mr. Kumar, 66, a former Union Minister, has been sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar. The JD (U) had formally withdrawn from the NDA and ended its 17-year-old partnership with the BJP in Bihar after the latter had named then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the chairman of its campaign committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in a clear indication that he would be the party's Prime Ministerial candidate.
 
The JD (U) and Mr Kumar, in particular, had repeatedly made it clear in the preceding weeks that they would not accept Mr Modi as the NDA's Prime Ministerial candidate in view of his alleged failure to control the 2002 post-Godhra violence in which hundreds of people were killed in Gujarat.
 
Mr. Kumar was sworn in for the fifth time as Chief Minister on November 20, 2015 after leading the "Mahagathbandhan" comprising his party, the RJD and the Congress to a resounding win in the elections to the state legislative assembly. That was the first time that the three parties had come together in an alliance in Bihar and was seen by many as the model for a larger alliance of Opposition parties ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
 
The alliance had ended up with 178 seats in the 243-member assembly, while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), finished with 58 seats. Among the alliance partners, the RJD became the single largest party in the assembly with 80 seats, while the JD(U) bagged 71 and the Congress got 27.
 
As it turned out, the alliance lasted less than two years as Mr. Kumar resigned yesterday evening, hours after RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav reiterated that his son Tejashwi Yadav would not quit as deputy chief minister despite the CBI filing a case against him.
 
Mr. Kumar, 66, met the Governor here yesterday evening and handed over his resignation. Later, Mr. Kumar told journalists outside his official residence that the Governor had accepted his resignation and asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangements were made.
 
Events began unfolding rapidly after that. Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Mr. Kumar's resignation, saying on micro-blogging site Twitter, "Congratulations to Nitish Kumar ji for joining the fight against corruption. 125 crore citizens welcome and support honesty."
 
"In the interest of the bright future of the nation, especially of Bihar, we have to rise above political differences and fight as one against corruption, that is the call of the nation and the time," he said. 
 
Within minutes, Mr. Kumar responded to that, conveying his "heartfelt thanks" to Mr. Modi for his reaction to his resignation.
 
The BJP Parliamentary Board went into a huddle in Delhi and said later that the party did not wish to see mid-term elections in Bihar and would like to ensure stability in the state. It said a three-member committee of the party in Bihar would advise the party's leadership about the future course of action.
 
Shortly thereafter, MLAs of the JD (U) and the BJP started gathering at Mr. Kumar's residence. Mr. Sushil Kumar Modi told journalists here late last night that the BJP had decided to support the JD (U) in formation of a new government.
 
"We are going to join the government. The MLAs of the two parties will elect Mr. Kumar as their new leader. A letter conveying our support to Mr. Kumar has already been sent to the Governor," Mr. Modi said.
 
Earlier yesterday, Mr. Yadav addressed a press conference at which he said Tejashwi Yadav, 28, would not resign from his position, arguing that the case filed against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) earlier this month was a "fake case".
 
Mr. Kumar said that he had tried his best to run the state government and adhere to the "coalition dharma" but a stage had been reached where he found that he could not continue in office without straying from his principles.
 
He said he had never asked for Tejashwi's resignation but had asked him and Mr. Yadav that they must give a public explanation about the charges against them.
 
He said he had raised this issue with Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at their meeting in New Delhi some days ago. He regretted that there was no response from any of them.
 
"The atmosphere had become such that it was impossible to work. My conscience told me to resign," he said.
 
Mr. Kumar said he had informed Mr. Yadav, the state leadership of the Congress and his party legislators of his decision before driving down to Raj Bhavan to hand in his papers.
 
He said he was attacked for supporting demonetisation and later for backing the NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. "I faced so many charges. The Opposition has no agenda, no discourse. They only have a reactive agenda," he said.
 
Mr. Kumar also talked about the various steps he had taken to ensure good governance and social justice in Bihar, including imposition of prohibition. "I tried to run the government as long as possible," he said.
 
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On July 7, the CBI had conducted raids at the residence and other premises of Mr. Yadav and others in five cities in connection with a case registered by it on July 5 against them for alleged irregularities in the award of tender for managing two IRCTC hotels in 2006.
 
The CBI said the case had been registered under section 120 B, read with section 420, of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 13 (2) read with 13 (1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against Mr. Yadav; his wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi and his son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav; Vijay Kochhar and Vinay Kochhar, directors of Sujata Hotels, Patna; Mrs Sarla Gupta, wife of RJD leader Prem Chand Gupta; Delight Marketing Company, Patna; Lara Projects, a company owned by Mr. Yadav's family; then IRCTC Managing Director P K Goyal; and unknown others.
 
The case related to the award of tenders for the development, maintenance and operation of BNR Hotels at Ranchi in Jharkhand and at Puri in Odisha to Sujata Hotels in 2006, when Mr. Yadav was Minister for Railways. Mr. Yadav is also a former Chief Minister of Bihar.
 
A CBI spokesman had said at that time that the case had been registered consequent to a preliminary enquiry conducted by the agency which "prima facie revealed" that Mr. Yadav had derived undue advantage by abuse of his official position.
 
He said that the private hotel company had, in return for favours, sold three acres of Patna to the private marketing company, in which Mrs. Gupta, the wife of Mr. Yadav's close associate, was a director, at a price which was less than the prevalent circle rate.
 
It was alleged that this favour was in return for the award of long term lease for the two hotels by manipulating the tender process. The ownership of the hotels, owned by the Railways, was first transferred to the public sector Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) which, in turn, invited tenders for managing them.
 
It was also alleged that, as per available records, the entire shareholding of the private marketing company was transferred to Mrs. Rabri Devi and Mr. Tejaswi Yadav between 2010 and 2014 for a consideration of approximately Rs. 64 lakh when the company owned land worth around Rs. 32.5 crore as per the circle rate and around Rs. 94 crore as per the market rate.
 
The spokesman said that between 2004 and 2014, a conspiracy was hatched under which the two railway hotels were first transferred to IRCTC and then given on lease to the private hotel company by manipulating the tender process and tweaking the terms so as to benefit the Patna company.
 
"The allegation is that during this process, the tender process was rigged and manipulated and the conditions were tweaked, to help the private party. In return, three acres of land in western Patna was given to Delight Marketing Private Limited, owned by associates of Mr. Yadav, at a price far below the circle rate," he said.
 
The land was finally transferred to Mr. Yadav and his family, again at rates far below the circle and market rates, the spokesman said.
 
"Subsequently between 2010 and 2014, this land was transferred to Lara Projects, owned by Lalu's family. This transfer was also at a very low price. The land was valued at Rs 32 crore as per circle rates at that time. It was transferred for a mere Rs 54 lakhs to Lara Projects," he said.
 
Mr. Yadav has repeatedly said that the case and the raids were an act of  "political vendetta" by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre.
 
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Nitish quits as Bihar CM, BJP extends its support to him

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today resigned from his position, breaking off his Janata Dal (United)'s "grand alliance" with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress, and withiin hours the Bharatiya Janata Party, the ruling party at the Centre, extended its support to him.

File photo of Nitish Kumar
File photo of Nitish Kumar
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today resigned from his position, breaking off his Janata Dal (United)'s "grand alliance" with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, and withiin hours the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling party at the Centre, extended its support to him.
 
Mr. Nitish Kumar's move to quit as Chief Minister came hours after RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav reiterated that his son Tejashwi Yadav would not quit as deputy chief minister despite the CBI filing a case against him, signalling the end of the JD(U)-RJD-Congress Mahagathbandhan that won a dramatic victory in the state elections in November 2015.
 
Mr. Kumar, 66, met Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi here this evening and handed over his resignation. Later, Mr. Kumar told journalists outside his official residence that the Governor had accepted his resignation and asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangements were made.
 
Events began unfolding rapidly after that. Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Mr. Kumar's resignation, saying on micro-blogging site Twitter, "Congratulations to Nitish Kumar ji for joining the fight against corruption. 125 crore citizens welcome and support honesty."
 
"In the interest of the bright future of the nation, especially of Bihar, we have to rise above political differences and fight as one against corruption, that is the call of the nation and the time," he said. 
 
Within minutes, Mr. Kumar responded to that, conveying his "heartfelt thanks" to Mr. Modi for his reaction to his resignation.
 
The BJP Parliamentary Board went into a huddle in Delhi and said later that the party did not wish to see mid-term elections in Bihar and would like to ensure stability in the state. It said a three-member committee of the party in Bihar would advise the party's leadership about the future course of action.
 
Shortly thereafter, MLAs of the JD (U) and the BJP started gathering at Mr. Kumar's residence. Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, who was Deputy Chief Minister in Mr Kumar's cabinet earlier, when the two parties were in alliance, told journalists that the BJP had decided to support the JD (U) in formation of a new government.
 
"We are going to join the government. The MLAs of the two parties will elect Mr. Kumar as their new leader. A letter conveying our support to Mr. Kumar has already been sent to the Governor," Mr. Modi said.
 
Earlier in the day, Mr. Yadav addressed a press conference at which he said Tejashwi Yadav, 28, would not resign from his position, arguing that the case filed against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) earlier this month was a "fake case".
 
Mr. Kumar said that he had tried his best to run the state government and adhere to the "coalition dharma" but a stage had been reached where he found that he could not continue in office without straying from his principles.
 
He said he had never asked for Tejashwi's resignation but had asked him and Mr. Yadav that they must give a public explanation about the charges against them.
 
He said he had raised this issue with Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at their meeting in New Delhi some days ago. He regretted that there was no response from any of them.
 
"The atmosphere had become such that it was impossible to work. My conscience told me to resign," he said.
 
Mr. Kumar said he had informed Mr. Yadav, the state leadership of the Congress and his party legislators of his decision before driving down to Raj Bhavan to hand in his papers.
 
He said he was attacked for supporting demonetisation and later for backing the NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. "I faced so many charges. The Opposition has no agenda, no discourse. They only have a reactive agenda," he said.
 
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Mr. Kumar also talked about the various steps he had taken to ensure good governance and social justice in Bihar, including imposition of prohibition. "I tried to run the government as long as possible," he said.
 
On July 7, the CBI had conducted raids at the residence and other premises of Mr. Yadav and others in five cities in connection with a case registered by it on July 5 against them for alleged irregularities in the award of tender for managing two IRCTC hotels in 2006.
 
The CBI said the case had been registered under section 120 B, read with section 420, of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 13 (2) read with 13 (1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against Mr. Yadav; his wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi and his son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav; Vijay Kochhar and Vinay Kochhar, directors of Sujata Hotels, Patna; Mrs Sarla Gupta, wife of RJD leader Prem Chand Gupta; Delight Marketing Company, Patna; Lara Projects, a company owned by Mr. Yadav's family; then IRCTC Managing Director P K Goyal; and unknown others.
 
The case related to the award of tenders for the development, maintenance and operation of BNR Hotels at Ranchi in Jharkhand and at Puri in Odisha to Sujata Hotels in 2006, when Mr. Yadav was Minister for Railways. Mr. Yadav is also a former Chief Minister of Bihar.
 
A CBI spokesman had said at that time that the case had been registered consequent to a preliminary enquiry conducted by the agency which "prima facie revealed" that Mr. Yadav had derived undue advantage by abuse of his official position.
 
He said that the private hotel company had, in return for favours, sold three acres of Patna to the private marketing company, in which Mrs. Gupta, the wife of Mr. Yadav's close associate, was a director, at a price which was less than the prevalent circle rate.
 
It was alleged that this favour was in return for the award of long term lease for the two hotels by manipulating the tender process. The ownership of the hotels, owned by the Railways, was first transferred to the public sector Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) which, in turn, invited tenders for managing them.
 
It was also alleged that, as per available records, the entire shareholding of the private marketing company was transferred to Mrs. Rabri Devi and Mr. Tejaswi Yadav between 2010 and 2014 for a consideration of approximately Rs. 64 lakh when the company owned land worth around Rs. 32.5 crore as per the circle rate and around Rs. 94 crore as per the market rate.
 
The spokesman said that between 2004 and 2014, a conspiracy was hatched under which the two railway hotels were first transferred to IRCTC and then given on lease to the private hotel company by manipulating the tender process and tweaking the terms so as to benefit the Patna company.
 
"The allegation is that during this process, the tender process was rigged and manipulated and the conditions were tweaked, to help the private party. In return, three acres of land in western Patna was given to Delight Marketing Private Limited, owned by associates of Mr. Yadav, at a price far below the circle rate," he said.
 
The land was finally transferred to Mr. Yadav and his family, again at rates far below the circle and market rates, the spokesman said.
 
"Subsequently between 2010 and 2014, this land was transferred to Lara Projects, owned by Lalu's family. This transfer was also at a very low price. The land was valued at Rs 32 crore as per circle rates at that time. It was transferred for a mere Rs 54 lakhs to Lara Projects," he said.
 
Mr. Yadav has repeatedly said that the case and the raids were an act of  "political vendetta" by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre.
 
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Nitish Kumar quits as Bihar CM, signals end of JD (U)'s alliance with RJD

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday resigned from his position, hours after RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav reiterated that his son Tejashwi would not quit as deputy chief minister despite the CBI filing a case against him, signalling the end of the JD(U)-RJD-Congress Mahagathbandhan that won a dramatic victory in the state elections in November 2015.

File photo of Nitish Kumar
File photo of Nitish Kumar
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today resigned from his position, hours after Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav reiterated that his son Tejashwi would not quit as deputy chief minister despite the CBI filing a case against him, signalling the end of the JD(U)-RJD-Congress Mahagathbandhan that won a dramatic victory in the state elections in November 2015.
 
Mr. Kumar, 66, met Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and handed over his resignation.
 
Later, Mr. Kumar told journalists outside his official residence that the Governor had accepted his resignation and asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangements were made.
 
Earlier in the day, Mr. Yadav addressed a press conference at which he said Tejashwi, 28, would not resign from his position, arguing that the case filed against him by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) earlier this month was a "fake case".
 
Mr. Kumar said that he had tried his best to run the state government and adhere to the "coalition dharma" but a stage had been reached where he found that he could not continue in office without straying from his principles.
 
He said he had never asked for Tejashwi's resignation but had asked him and Mr. Yadav that they must give a public explanation about the charges against them.
 
He said he had raised this issue with Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at their meeting in New Delhi some days ago. He regretted that there was no response from any of them.
 
"The atmosphere had become such that it was impossible to work. My conscience told me to resign," he said.
 
Mr. Kumar said he had informed Mr. Yadav, the state leadership of the Congress and his party legislators of his decision before driving down to Raj Bhavan to hand in his papers.
 
He said he was attacked for supporting demonetisation and later for backing the NDA's presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind. "I faced so many charges. The Opposition has no agenda, no discourse. They only have a reactive agenda," he said.
 
Mr. Kumar also talked about the various steps he had taken to ensure good governance and social justice in Bihar, including imposition of prohibition. "I tried to run the government as long as possible," he said.
 
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On July 7, the CBI had conducted raids at the residence and other premises of Mr. Yadav and others in five cities in connection with a case registered by it on July 5 against them for alleged irregularities in the award of tender for managing two IRCTC hotels in 2006.
 
The CBI said the case had been registered under section 120 B, read with section 420, of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 13 (2) read with 13 (1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against Mr. Yadav; his wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi and his son and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav; Vijay Kochhar and Vinay Kochhar, directors of Sujata Hotels, Patna; Mrs Sarla Gupta, wife of RJD leader Prem Chand Gupta; Delight Marketing Company, Patna; Lara Projects, a company owned by Mr. Yadav's family; then IRCTC Managing Director P K Goyal; and unknown others.
 
The case related to the award of tenders for the development, maintenance and operation of BNR Hotels at Ranchi in Jharkhand and at Puri in Odisha to Sujata Hotels in 2006, when Mr. Yadav was Minister for Railways. Mr. Yadav is also a former Chief Minister of Bihar.
 
A CBI spokesman had said at that time that the case had been registered consequent to a preliminary enquiry conducted by the agency which "prima facie revealed" that Mr. Yadav had derived undue advantage by abuse of his official position.
 
He said that the private hotel company had, in return for favours, sold three acres of Patna to the private marketing company, in which Mrs. Gupta, the wife of Mr. Yadav's close associate, was a director, at a price which was less than the prevalent circle rate.
 
It was alleged that this favour was in return for the award of long term lease for the two hotels by manipulating the tender process. The ownership of the hotels, owned by the Railways, was first transferred to the public sector Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) which, in turn, invited tenders for managing them.
 
It was also alleged that, as per available records, the entire shareholding of the private marketing company was transferred to Mrs. Rabri Devi and Mr. Tejaswi Yadav between 2010 and 2014 for a consideration of approximately Rs. 64 lakh when the company owned land worth around Rs. 32.5 crore as per the circle rate and around Rs. 94 crore as per the market rate.
 
The spokesman said that between 2004 and 2014, a conspiracy was hatched under which the two railway hotels were first transferred to IRCTC and then given on lease to the private hotel company by manipulating the tender process and tweaking the terms so as to benefit the Patna company.
 
"The allegation is that during this process, the tender process was rigged and manipulated and the conditions were tweaked, to help the private party. In return, three acres of land in western Patna was given to Delight Marketing Private Limited, owned by associates of Mr. Yadav, at a price far below the circle rate," he said.
 
The land was finally transferred to Mr. Yadav and his family, again at rates far below the circle and market rates, the spokesman said.
 
"Subsequently between 2010 and 2014, this land was transferred to Lara Projects, owned by Lalu's family. This transfer was also at a very low price. The land was valued at Rs 32 crore as per circle rates at that time. It was transferred for a mere Rs 54 lakhs to Lara Projects," he said.
 
Mr. Yadav has repeatedly said that the case and the raids were an act of  "political vendetta" by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre.
 
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TCS launches new centre in Patna to create opportunities as part of Digital India push

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IT services major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has set up a business process service (BPS) centre here as part of its India BPO Promotion Scheme (IBPS), envisaged under the Digital India programme, to leverage IT industry’s growth to create new opportunities for the country's talent and drive inclusive growth.
 
The TCS centre was inaugurated yesterday by Union Minister of Law & Justice and Electronics & Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad.
 
The facility in Patna is one of three such BPS centres being set up by TCS, with the other two located at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Nashik in Maharashtra.
 
The BPS unit of TCS is among the largest in the country with annual revenues of over $2 billion. It works with customers on core industry-specific processes, delivers analytics and insights as well as enterprise services such as finance and accounting, HR and supply chain management, a press release from the company said.
 
According to it, TCS complements its experience and expertise with innovative delivery models such as robotic automation and providing Business Processes as a Service (BPaaS). With four decades of global experience and a delivery footprint spanning six continents, TCS is one of the largest BPS providers globally today, it said.
 
Mr. Rajesh Gopinathan, CEO and MD, TCS, said, “The launch of the new centre in Patna is aligned with the government's ambitious IBPS scheme, aimed at creating thousands of new jobs, driven by technology and taking the IT revolution beyond the metros. The TCS centre is a state-of-the-art facility with robust administrative and technology infrastructure that will drive new opportunities for business and jobs and help build an IT eco-system in the region.”
 
The release said TCS has been working closely with several large customers to redefine the processes of their business to deliver a superior experience to their end customers. 
 
"The BPS enterprises seek to drive business growth and agility through innovation in an increasingly regulated, competitive, and global market. TCS helps clients achieve these goals by managing and executing their business operations effectively and efficiently," it added.
 
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Mukherjee honours freedom fighters on occasion of centenary of Champaran Satyagraha

President Pranab Mukherjee felicitating a freedom fighter, on the occasion of the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s Champaran Satyagraha, at Patna, in Bihar on April 17, 2017.
President Pranab Mukherjee felicitating a freedom fighter, on the occasion of the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s Champaran Satyagraha, at Patna, in Bihar on April 17, 2017.
President Pranab Mukherjee honoured freedom fighers at an event to commemorate the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s Champaran Satyagraha here today.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that Champaran in Bihar had served as the laboratory of Satyagraha and the national freedom movement.
 
He said that the symbolic significance of Champaran Satyagraha was much greater than what actually happened in Champaran.
 
Along with the Kheda Satyagraha of 1917-1918, the Champaran Satyagraha was the movement responsible for putting Mahatma Gandhi in the front seat of the Indian nationalist movement and making satyagraha a powerful tool of civilian resistance, he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said that the Government of Bihar deserved appreciation for commemorating the centenary of the Champaran movement and for organising the event to felicitate the freedom fighters of India. 
 
"It is a true homage to our roots – the freedom fighters, who under the able and inspiring leadership of Gandhiji laid the foundation of a resilient Indian freedom movement. The event is not only to recognize the contribution of our freedom fighters but was also important because it is necessary that we know our history and are acquainted with our roots," he said.
 
He said that India must celebrate its diversity and should make efforts to ensure that it reaches at rightful place in the comity of nations. 
 
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Mukherjee inaugurates ADRI International Conference on Bihar & Jharkhand

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The strategy for development of seriously disadvantaged regions like Bihar and Jharkhand requires policy makers to unleash the productive forces of the economy, and not just unquestionably follow a path of industrialization, President Pranab Mukherjee has said.
 
Inaugurating a conference on “Bihar and Jharkhand: Shared History to Shared Vision’ here yesterday, Mr Mukherjee pointed out that despite the region being a land of rich mineral resources and fertile soil, relative economic progress and development could not take place.
 
“We also need to realize that, for seriously disadvantaged regions like Bihar and Jharkhand, a strategy of development requires the policy makers to unleash the productive forces of the economy, and not just unquestionably follow a path of industrialization, as was done by countries or regions which had developed earlier. It is here that one requires directed research which can identify appropriate policies that best suit the interests of the regions,” he added.
 
“More specifically, one may consider the immense potential of human development for promoting economic development in regions like Bihar and Jharkhand. The international experience shows that, for specially disadvantaged regions, human development, could indeed be an alternative development strategy.
 
“Under this strategy, it is possible for disadvantaged regions to change their comparative advantage from low skill labour-intensive goods and services to more skill-intensive goods and services provider through deliberate human development. A logical requirement of this alternative development strategy will be prioritizing investment on education beyond what would happen under 'normal' circumstances.
 
“One may also note here that education does not mean economic advantage for the educated persons alone. It has some other important advantages as well — it empowers people and also promotes their participation in both development programs and the political process,” he added.
 
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In the recent past, both the states have started doing well. Particularly Bihar has shown the way in implementation of many social development schemes. The growth performance of Bihar economy has been steady over the past one decade registering an annual growth rate at 10.5%. This is a remarkable achievement.
 
While Bihar still remains a largely agricultural state, Jharkhand is slowly transforming itself into an economy with larger share of service sector. Governments in both the states have taken a large number of steps to speed up the transformation of the social and economic conditions of the states. I wish the people of this region all the best in their march forward.
 
The Conference was organized by the Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI) as part of its Silver Jubilee Celebrations.
 
The President said he was very happy to learn that the Asian Development Research institute (ADRI) is one of those institutions which have been active in social science research during the last 25 years. He expressed the hope that they would continue their efforts in coming years and attain new heights in their academic pursuit and simultaneously provide valuable research support to various development agencies.
 
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Projects worth Rs. 1050 crore to arrest sewage pollution in Ganga from Patna

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In a major step to develop adequate sewage treatment infrastructure in Patna to keep the Ganga clean, projects worth Rs. 1,050 crore have been awarded under the Namami Gange programme.
 
An official press release said here yesterday that the amount would be spent on setting up two sewage treatment plants (STPs), renovation of one existing STP , construction of two pumping stations and laying of new underground sewage network of about 400 km.
 
Contracts to build STP of 60 MLD capacity and laying of new underground sewage network of 227 km in Saidpur zone of the city have been awarded to UEM India Pvt. Ltd and Jyoti Build Tech Pvt. Ltd at a total cost of Rs. 600 crore, it said.
 
Three other firms – Larsen & Toubro Ltd, Voltas Ltd and GAA Germany JV have been awarded separate projects in Beur zone of the city worth over Rs. 450 crore to build one STP of 23 MLD, renovate existing STP of 20 MLD and lay down new underground sewage network of about 180 km. The scope of work also includes creation of main pumping stations of 83 MLD and 50 MLD capacity in Saidpur and Beur zones, respectively.
 
The contracts include the cost of operation and maintenance of STPs and sewage networks for a period of 10 years.
 
The release said the projects aimed not only to treat the current sewage generation in respective zones of Patna but also take into account the sewage estimates of next one decade, considering the expected rise of population in the city. As per a survey by the World Bank, Patna is also one of the fastest growing city in the world in terms of infrastructural development.
 
After time-bound commissioning of these projects, no untreated water will go into the Ganga from these zones, saving the river from contamination and deterioration, it said.
 
The progress of the construction will be monitored by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) to ensure that deadlines are met, the release said.
 
Patna city, spread in an area of more than 100 square kilometers, is divided into six sewerage zones – Digha, Beur, Saidpur, Kankarbagh, Pahari and Karmali Chak. Contracts for sewage related projects in Karmali Chak zone are expected to be awarded shortly, he added.
 
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Cabinet approves transfer of 11.35 acres of land to AAI for expansion of Patna Airport

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The Union Cabinet today approved the transfer 11.35 acres of land at Patna airport to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) by way of exchanging equivalent land of AAI at Anisabad.
 
The proposed land at Patna Airport will be used for expansion of the airport and construction of new terminal building along with other associated infrastructure, an official press release said. The Bihar Government has also agreed in principle for transfer of the land.
 
The new terminal building will have a capacity of 3 million passengers per annum. The existing terminal building at Patna Airport was built for a capacity of 0.5 million passengers per annum, against which 1.5 million passengers per annum are already using it, leading to  extreme crowding in the terminal building, the release added.
 
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Cabinet approves transfer of AAI land at Patna Airport

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The Union Cabinet today approved the transfer 11.35 acres of land at Patna airport to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) by way of exchanging equivalent land of AAI at Anisabad.
 
The proposed land at Patna Airport will be used for expansion of the airport and construction of new terminal building along with other associated infrastructure, an official press release said. The Bihar Government has also agreed in principle for transfer of the land.
 
The new terminal building will have a capacity of 3 million passengers per annum. The existing terminal building at Patna Airport was built for a capacity of 0.5 million passengers per annum, against which 1.5 million passengers per annum are already using it, leading to  extreme crowding in the terminal building, the release added.
 
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24 dead as boat capsizes in Ganga at Patna in Bihar

As many as 24 people, including five children, died after a boat carrying them capsized in the river Ganga at Patna in Bihar on Saturday evening.

 
24 dead as boat capsizes in Ganga at Patna
As many as 24 people, including five children, died after a boat carrying them capsized in the river Ganga at Patna in Bihar yesterday evening.
 
Patna District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar Agarwal told NetIndian that the victims included 16 men, three women and five children.
 
He said about eight people had swum to safety and a similar number had been rescued by people who jumped into the river to save them.
 
Mr. Agarwal said the boat was carrying about 40 people and none of them are now reported missing. However, search and rescue teams were continuing their operations for some more time to ensure that all the passengers of the boat are accounted for, he said.
 
He said that two of the eight persons admitted to a local hospital had been discharged, while the other six were undergoing treatment and in a stable condition.
 
The search and rescue efforts had continued through the night last night, sources said.
 
The victims were among a large crowd that had gathered at the Ganga Diara here to witness a  kite festival held every year on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. The boat, which had taken people for a free ride on the river, capsized around 6 pm, perhaps, due to overcrowding, the sources said.
 
Video footage shot by onlookers on the river banks showed rescuers making frantic efforts to save the people.
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has asked the District Magistrate to look into the lapses that led to the tragedy.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives in the incident and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families.
 
He also approved an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 2 lakh for the next-of-kin of those killed and Rs. 50,000 for the seriously injured from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund, an official press release in Delhi added.
 
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63 dead, 150 injured as Indore-Patna Express derails near Kanpur

At least 63 people died and more than 150 others suffered injuries when 14 coaches of the 19321 Indore-Patna Express derailed near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh in the early hours of Sunday in one of the worst rail disasters in the country in recent years, official sources said.

 
63 dead as Indore-Patna Express derails near Kanpur
At least 63 people died and more than 150 others suffered injuries when 14 coaches of the 19321 Indore-Patna Express derailed near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh in the early hours of today in one of the worst rail disasters in the country in recent years, official sources said.
 
Additional Director General of Police Daljit Singh Chawdhary told journalists that at least 63 bodies had been extricated from the mangled coaches, and that the death toll could rise further.
 
He also said that more than 150 people with injuries had been rushed to hospitals in Kanpur.
 
Two coaches, which capsized and telescoped into each other, were the worst affected and cranes and gas cutters were used to cut through the twisted and mangled steel to reach victims trapped inside. One of the coaches had climbed onto the other, crushing the coach below, he said.
 
The mishap occurred around 3.10 am between Pokhraya and Malasa stations on the Jhansi-Kanpur section of North-Central Railway at a time when most passengers were fast asleep, official sources said.
 
Accident relief trains and medical teams have rushed to the spot and scores of ambulances were deployed to rush the injured to hospitals, the sources said.
 
Personnel of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were on their way to scene of the accident and the district administration has also sought the help of the Army for the rescue efforts.
 
Senior district administration, police and railway officials have rushed to the scene to oversee the rescue and relief efforts. The Minister of State for Railways is also on his way to the spot.
 
"All rescue relief work on to deal with unfortunate accident. All medical and other help rushed. Enquiry ordered. Situation monitored closely," Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said on micro-blogging Twitter said.
 
"Strictest possible action will be taken against those who could be responsible for accident. All possible mobilisation for relief initiated," He said.
 
"Enquiry team will start investigation for cause of accident immediately All necessary assistance provided to the  affected, We r taking care," he said.
 
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The stranded passengers were being moved in buses from the site to Malasa station, from where a special train was being arranged to take them to their destinations.
 
The Ministry of Railways has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 3.5 lakh to the next-of-kin of those who died in the accident, Rs. 50,000 to those with grievous injuries and Rs. 25,000 for those with simple injuries.
 
This is in addition to the compensation which will be available through the Railway Claims Tribunal.
 
The Railways have also promised to provide the best possible medical treatment for the injured.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his shock and grief over the loss of lives in the acident. "Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families," he said on Twitter.
 
"Prayers with those injured in the tragic train accident. I've spoken to @sureshpprabhu, who is personally monitoring the situation closely," he added.
 
Traffic on the section, which has only a single line, has been affected and several trains have been cancelled or diverted. Efforts are being made to restore normal traffic at the earliest, sources said.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines for the benefit of passengers and their relatives:
 
Indore- 0731 1072, Ujjain 0734 2560906, Ratlam 07412 1072, Jhansi 0510-1072, Orai 05162-1072, Kanpur 0512-1072, Pokhrayan 05113-270239, Patna 0612-220 2290, 220 2291, 2202292
 
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Inland water transport terminal to come up in Kolkata, Patna

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Inland water transport terminals will come up in Kolkata and Patna under the public-private partnership (PPP) model with the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) having identified development and operation of Kolkata Terminal’s GR Jetty -I, GR Jetty-II & BISN and Patna Terminal’s Gaighat & Kalughat on the river Ganga.
 
After invitation of bids, nine firms have expressed their interest in taking up the project and the work is expected to be awarded by November, an official press release said.
 
These are the first PPP projects undertaken by the IWAI. Under the transactional structure worked out by International Finance Corporation (IFC), the operator will undertake the operations and maintenance services at both Kolkata and Patna clusters and invest in equipment handling mechanism, goods, items, container loading and unloading equipment and warehousing. The operator will also provide labour, professionals, supervisory, and managerial personnel for performance of operations and maintenance services.
 
The operator will have the right to demand and collect user fees from the users. Service charges would be revised from time to time so as to suitably reflect variation in the market conditions. 
 
The operator will be responsible for the payment of revenue share to IWAI for the period commencing from the third anniversary of the appointment date until the duration of the concession. 
 
The release said the operator is expected to handle 10,000 TEU or 15,000 tonnes at both the terminals within five years of signing the contract.
 
IWAI will finalise the Front End Design (FEED) of the Kalughat Terminal and construct it with the technical assistance of the World Bank under Jal Marg Vikas Project. IWAI will initially invest Rs. 80 crore for the estimated cost construction of the Kalughat Terminal and Rs. 10 crore as the cost of land acquisition of about 2-3 hectares for the container cargo Terminal. 
 
IWAI has taken land on lease for thirty years for GR Jetty I & II, and BISN Terminal in Kolkata.
 
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16 dead as bus plunges into pond in Madhubani district of Bihar

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At least 16 people died when a private bus they were travelling in veered off the road and fell into a deep roadside pond, Sundar Kund, in Madhubani district of Bihar today, official sources said.
 
District officials at the scene of the mishap told NetIndian over the telephone that about 12 passengers of the ill-fated bus had been rescued.
 
Search and rescue teams were searching the pond, said to be about 25 feet deep, to see if there were any more victims.
 
The officials said they had no exact figures for the number of passengers in the bus, which was completely submerged under water.
 
By late this evening, the search teams, including personnel of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), had managed to pull the bus out of the water and extricate several bodies from it.
 
The bus was on its way to Sitamarhi from Madhubani, 180 kms northeast of Patna, when the mishap occurred around 12.30 pm near Basaitha chowk in Benipatti police station area of the district.
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives in the accident and urged district officials to speed up the rescue and relief efforts.
 
He asked Revenue Minister Madan Mohan Jha and Panchayati Raj Minister Kapil Dev Kamat to rush to the scene of the tragedy.
 
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Earthquake of magnitude 6.7 jolts Myanmar, tremors felt in eastern, NE India

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An earthquake of magnitude 6.7 jolted Myanmar this afternoon and the tremors were felt in several parts of eastern and north-eastern India.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 21.0 N and longitude 94.4 E, near Chauk town on the Irrawaddy river, occurred at 1604 hours IST at a focal depth of 58 km.
 
Reports reaching here said the tremors were felt in Kolkata and other parts of West Bengal, Patna in Bihar, Guwahati in Assam and Tripura, among other places. They were also felt in Bangladesh and Thailand.
 
Residents of the affected areas ran out of their homes and offices as a precautionary measure.
 
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Fruitful exchanges on international, regional issues at BRICS Policy Planning Dialogue

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The BRICS Policy Planning Dialogue successfully concluded here today with "fruitful exchanges" on strategic assessments of international situation and the regional situation of each country and trends, going beyond immediate issues of customary diplomacy.
 
The delegations also discussed the role of BRICS in international governance, ongoing cooperation at BRICS Forum and reflected on areas of convergence among the member countries.
 
BRICS brings together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. India has assumed the Presidency of BRICS in February this year. 
 
The two-day dialogue gave an opportunity for sharing of best practices in foreign policy planning and assessment between the BRICS countries, an official press release said.
 
The quality and scope of discussions affirmed the significance of the voice of BRICS given that it is a grouping that brings together five major world economies that are home to 43% of the world population, it added.
 
The release said the discussions would contribute towards India’s objective as Chair of BRICS for 2016 to further consolidate Intra-BRICS cooperation by adopting a five-pronged approach – institution building to further deepen and sustain BRICS cooperation; implementation of the decisions of previous Summits including the Prime Minister’s announcements at the Fortaleza and Ufa Summits; integrating synergies among the existing cooperation mechanisms; innovation, that is, new cooperation mechanisms and continuation of mutually agreed existing BRICS cooperation mechanisms.
 
During their stay in Patna, the heads of delegations called on Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Some delegations also took the opportunity to visit historic places of interest in the vicinity of Patna such as Nalanda and Rajgir.
 
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Nalanda Mahavihara gets inscribed in World Heritage List

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The excavated remains at Nalanda of the great monastic-cum-scholastic establishment has got inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
 
Located around 88 km from Patna, the capital of Bihar, the site presents a key archaeological evidence of a truly international centre for organised learning.
 
Nalanda Mahavihara was founded by Kumargupta I of the Gupta dynasty in 5th century CE. It was patronized by various rulers including King Harshavardhana of Kannauj (7th century CE) and the Pala rulers (8th – 12th century CE) as well as various scholars.
 
Later, a number of factors spread over centuries caused the decline of this famed institution. The same region later saw emergence of a number of reputed educational institutions like Vikramshila and Odantpuri but the eminence of Nalanda remains unrivalled.
 
About six centuries after Nalanda’s decline, the site was first discovered and reported by Sir Francis Buchanan. The site was systematically excavated and consolidated by Archaeological Survey of India from 1915 to 1937 and again from 1974 to 1982.
 
Nalanda is a rare combination of outstanding achievements in institution-building, site-planning, art and architecture. It symbolized the multiplicity of knowledge production, the innovative processes of the organized transmission of ideas through education and a shared heritage of people living in multiple regions of Asia.
 
Nalanda distinguished itself as the earliest planned university of the Indian sub-continent. Thematic and iconographic assimilation of features from major art centres of the sub-continent with local practices is evident in art of Nalanda. While Nalanda stucco influenced practices in Thailand, its metal art influenced art of the Malayan archipelago, Nepal, Myanmar and Tibet travelling out through scholars.
 
Nalanda attracted scholars from the Indian sub-continent and beyond and received patronage of local rulers and foreign kings for an unbroken period of 800 years.
 
Students were admitted after rigorous evaluation only. Apart from teaching of topics related to Buddhism, contemporary texts and philosophies, logic, grammar, science, and medicine were also part of the knowledge imparted at Nalanda. Earning the title of ‘Medieval School of Discussion and Logic’, Nalanda`s scholars mastered the art and science of debate developing it into a critical tool for higher learning.
 
Today, the continuity of its systems is also evident in contemporary monasteries in Sri Lanka, Tibet and Nepal. In fact, the term Nalanda has become synonymous with aspired standard of education as evidenced in several 21st century namesake institutions all over the world.
 
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All surviving remains of Nalanda Mahavihara in the proposed property area demonstrate amply the attributes of the property such as its planning and layout, its architectural manifestation and extant building materials and applied ornamental embellishments.
 
Preserved in-situ is structural remains of viharas (residential-cum-scholastic structure) and chaityas (temple-like structure) whose layers of construction show evolution of the respective forms.
 
The positioning of these structures over the length of the site shows the planned layout unique to Nalanda. The viharas retain infrastructure for residential-cum-scholastic functions.
 
The quincuxial or five-fold plan-form characteristic of a Nalanda chaitya is evident in the temple within the property. The site also retains a corpus of moveable and immoveable artefacts and artistic embellishment that shows iconographic development reflecting changes in Buddhist belief system. While stucco and engraved art are conserved in-situ, metal and stone objects are exhibited today at the adjoining Site Museum.
 
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CCEA okays rehabilitation of Mahatma Gandhi Setu on Ganga at Patna

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) yesterday approved a project for the rehabilitation of the four-lane 5.575 km Mahatma Gandhi Setu on national highway (NH)-19 on the Ganga at Patna in Bihar. 
 
An official press release said the bridge would be constructed after dismantling the damaged pre-stressed cantilever arms superstructure and subsequent re-decking by steel truss.
 
The project will be implemented in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode. The cost is estimated to be Rs.1742.01 crore, it said.
 
The bridge was constructed in the 1980s by the Government of Bihar. The distressed bridge is very important link between North Bihar and South Bihar and is a route for several economic as well as socio-political activities. Business with Nepal and Bhutan also flow through this connection. 
 
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has made efforts to rehabilitate this bridge in the last 15 years but they were not successful. After a lot of studies through national and foreign experts, it has now been decided that the only remedy left is to dismantle the existing superstructure followed by subsequent re-decking by steel truss, the release added.
 
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Lightning claims 56 lives in Bihar, 24 suffer injuries

 
Lightning claims 56 lives in Bihar
At least 56 people died and 24 others suffered injuries when lightning struck several parts of Bihar during heavy rains in the state late last night, official sources said here today.
 
While six peope were killed in Patna, five died in Buxar and four each in  Aurangabad, Rohtas, Bhojpur and Nalanda districts, the sources told NetIndian. 
 
In all, deaths were reported from as many as 19 districts, including Gaya, Bhagalpur, Saran, Kaimur, Saharsa, Katihar, Samastipur, Monghyr, Madhepura and West Champaran.
 
Officials said the casualties could be higher with reports from some remote areas yet to come in. The victims included women and children.
 
Mr. Vyas Ji, Principal Secretary, Disaster Management in the Bihar Government, told newsmen that the state administration had received reports by late yesterday that several people had been killed due to lightning.
 
He urged people to avoid staying out in the open and remain indoors to minimise the risks.
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 4 lakh to the next-of-kin of those killed in the incidents.
 
Lightning strikes are common during the monsoon in Bihar. The south-west monsoon advanced into the state earlier this week and yesterday's rains were among the first downpours of this season.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the loss of lives due to lightning in Bihar as well as parts of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and other places over the last few days.
 
"Deeply anguished by loss of lives due to lightning in parts of UP, Bihar, Jharkhand & other parts of the nation over the last few days.
 
"My thoughts & prayers are with those who lost their near & dear ones due to the lightning. May the injured recover quickly," he said on microblogging site Twitter.
 
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