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Bihar

Four coaches of train gutted in fire at Mokama yard in Bihar

 
Fire guts four empty coaches of train, no casualties
Four coaches of an empty rake of the Patna-Mokama passenger train stationed at the Mokama Railway Yard, about 90 km from here, were gutted in a fire in the early hours of today, official sources said.
 
East Central Railway (ECR) spokesperson Rajesh Kumar told NetIndian over the telephone the train had reached Mokama around 2230 hours yesterday and was later moved to the yard for routine maintenance and cleaning operations.
 
Around 0115 hours today, a fire was noticed in two of the coaches and railway staff from the Mokama station rushed to the spot and began using fire extinguishers to put out the flames.
 
Fire brigade personnel also reached the spot after a while and the fire was doused by 3.30 am, he said.
 
Mr. Rajesh Kumar said there were no casualties in the incident. The cause of the fire could not be immediately ascertained. A three-member inquiry committee has been set up to investigate the incident, he said, adding that there was no disruption to traffic on the Patna-Howrah route.
 
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Lalu Prasad gets three and a half years in jail in second fodder scam case

RJD leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav was on Saturday sentenced to three and a half years in prison by a CBI Special Court for his role in a 21-year-old fodder scam case -- the second of five such cases in which he has been convicted and given jail terms.
File photo of Lalu Prasad Yadav
File photo of Lalu Prasad Yadav
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav was today sentenced to three and a half years in prison by a CBI Special Court for his role in a 21-year-old fodder scam case -- the second of five such cases in which he has been convicted and given jail terms.
 
CBI Special Judge Shivpal Singh had, on December 23, convicted Mr. Yadav, 69, and 15 others in the case while acquitting former Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra and five others.
 
The court also slapped a fine of Rs. 5 lakh on Mr. Yadav in a case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 89.27 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury, then a part of undivided Bihar and now in Jharkhand, between 1991 and 1994.
 
The court had said it would pronounce the quantum of sentence on January 3 but it was put off for various reasons till today.
 
Mr. Yadav, who has been lodged in the Birsa Munda Jail here after his conviction in the case, heard the sentence through video-conference.
 
"The court has awarded Mr. Yadav three-and-a-half years in jail and imposed a fine of Rs. 5 lakh on him. If he fails to pay the fine, he will have to spend an additional six months in prison," Mr. Prabhat Kumar, his lawyer, told journalists.
 
He said Mr. Yadav, who is also a former Union Minister, would move the High Court in Ranchi for bail on Monday.
 
Mr. Yadav's lawyers had, during arguments on the quantum of sentence, had pleaded for leniency, citing his poor health. He could have applied for bail in the special court if he had been given a sentence of three years or less.
 
The judge also awarded sentences ranging from three and a half years to seven years in prison for the 15 others convicted in the case.
 
Mr. Yadav and the other accused had been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act in the case.
 
Apart from Mr. Mishra, 80, the five others who were acquitted in the case are  former Public Accounts Committee chairman Dhruv Bhagat, former Indian Revenue Service officer A C Choudhary, fodder suppliers Saraswati Chandra and Sadhana Singh and former State Minister Vidya Sagar Nishad. 
 
Those convicted along with Mr. Yadav are politicians Jagdish Sharma and R K Rana, Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers Beck Julius, Phoolchand Singh and Mahesh Prasad, and government officials Krishna Kumar and Subir Bhattacharya. The others are suppliers and transporters Tripurari Mohan Prasad, Sushil Kumar Sinha, Sunil Kumar Sinha, Raja Ram Joshi, Gopinath Das, Sanjay Agarwal, Jyoti Kumar Jha and Sunil Gandhi. 
 
In 1996, the Patna High Court had ordered a probe into the so-called fodder scam cases and a charge sheet in the Deogarh Treasury case was filed against 38 people on October 27, 1997. During the two decades, 11 of the accused died, three became approvers and two others confessed to their parts and were convicted in 2006-07.
 
RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad had told journalists after the conviction that Mr. Yadav would appeal against the order in the High Court.
 
 
Lalu Prasad Yadav gets 3.5 years in jail in fodder scam case
Mr. Yadav had, on September 30, 2013, been sentenced to five years of five years of rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 25 lakhs for his role in another case in the multi-crore fodder scam, which broke out 17 years ago when he was Chief Minister of Bihar.
 
He and 44 others were convicted by the CBI Court in Ranchi in one of the several cases related to the Rs 950 crore scandal, in which Rs 37.70 crore had been fraudulently withdrawn from the treasury at Chaibasa, then a part of undivided Bihar and now in Jharkhand. Mr. Mishra was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for four years with a fine of Rs 2 lakhs in that case.
 
On December 13 that year, the Supreme Court granted bail to Mr. Yadav. He had moved the apex court after the Jharkhand High Court had dismissed his application for bail until his appeal against his conviction by the Special CBI Court in Ranchi was decided by the High Court.
 
The bail was granted by a bench headed by then Chief Justice P Sathasivam after it noted that many other similarly placed convicts had been been granted bail in the case.
 
The former Union Minister is an accused in three other cases related to the alleged scam, pertaining to illegal withdrawal of Rs 3.97 crore from the Dumka Treasury, Rs 36 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury and Rs 184 crore from the Doranda treasury. 
 
Despite the charges he is facing, Mr. Yadav remains popular with large sections of the people in Bihar and had led a grand alliance that included the Janata Dal (United) and the Congress to a handsome victory over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2015 Assembly elections. The alliance later came apart when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar walked out of it and later joined hands with the BJP to return as Chief Minister.
 
Mr. Yadav's conviction is likely to be a setback for the efforts to put together a similar alliance against the BJP for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Mr. Yadav's son Tejaswi Yadav, former deputy chief minister of Bihar, held an emergency meeting with senior RJD leaders to discuss the party's strategy.
 
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Lalu Prasad, 15 others convicted in fodder scam case, Jagannath Mishra acquitted

In a major setback for the RJD, a CBI Special Court in Ranchi on Saturday convicted its leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and 15 others in a 21-year-old fodder scam case, while another former Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra and five others were acquitted.
File photo of Lalu Prasad Yadav
File photo of Lalu Prasad Yadav
In a major setback for the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), a CBI Special Court here today convicted its leader and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and 15 others in a 21-year-old fodder scam case, while another former Chief Minister Jagannath Mishra and five others were acquitted.
 
The verdict was pronounced by CBI Special Judge Shivpal Singh in a crowded court room in the case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from the Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994. 
 
The court said it would pronounce the quantum of sentence for the convicted persons on January 3.
 
Mr. Yadav and the other accused had been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act. The court had on December 13 reserved its verdict on the matter. 
 
Mr. Yadav, 69, and the other convicts were taken into custody immediately after the verdict was pronounced and taken to the Birsa Munda Jail here.
 
Among those present in court was Mr. Yadav's son Tejaswi Yadav, former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and now the Leader of the Opposition in the State Legislative Assembly.
 
Apart from Mr. Mishra, 80, the five others who were acquitted are  former Public Accounts Committee chairman Dhruv Bhagat, former Indian Revenue Service officer A C Choudhary, fodder suppliers Saraswati Chandra and Sadhana Singh and former State Minister Vidya Sagar Nishad. 
 
Those convicted along with Mr. Yadav are politicians Jagdish Sharma and R K Rana, Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers Beck Julius, Phoolchand Singh and Mahesh Prasad, and government officials Krishna Kumar and Subir Bhattacharya. The others are suppliers and transporters Tripurari Mohan Prasad, Sushil Kumar Sinha, Sunil Kumar Sinha, Raja Ram Joshi, Gopinath Das, Sanjay Agarwal, Jyoti Kumar Jha and Sunil Gandhi. 
 
In 1996, the Patna High Court had ordered a probe into the so-called fodder scam cases and a charge sheet in the Deogarh Treasury case was filed against 38 people on October 27, 1997. During the two decades, 11 of the accused died, three became approvers and two others confessed to their parts and were convicted in 2006-07.
 
Immediately after the verdict, senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh told journalists that the party would appeal against today's order in the High Court.
 
 
Lalu Yadav, 15 others convicted in a fodder scam case
A post on Mr. Yadav's Twitter page said: "Truth can be made to appear as a lie, as ambiguous or a half lie by concerted onslaught of bias driven propaganda. But blurred layer of bias and hatred will still be removed, come what may! In end Truth will win."
 
"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. ....But still prevails...In the end though," he said.
 
"Powerful people and powerful classes always managed to divide society into ruling and the ruled classes. And whenever anyone from the lower hierarchy challenged this unjust order, they would be deliberately punished," another post said.
 
"Had people like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Baba Saheb Ambedkar failed in their efforts, history would have treated them as villains. They still are villains for the biased, racist and caste-ist minds. No one should expect any different treatment," he post said.
 
Mr. Yadav had, on September 30, 2013, been sentenced to five years of five years of rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 25 lakhs for his role in another case in the multi-crore fodder scam, which broke out 17 years ago when he was Chief Minister of Bihar.
 
He and 44 others were convicted by the CBI Court in Ranchi in one of the several cases related to the Rs 950 crore scandal, in which Rs 37.70 crore had been fraudulently withdrawn from the treasury at Chaibasa, then a part of undivided Bihar and now in Jharkhand. Mr. Mishra was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for four years with a fine of Rs 2 lakhs in that case.
 
On December 13 that year, the Supreme Court granted bail to Mr. Yadav. He had moved the apex court after the Jharkhand High Court had dismissed his application for bail until his appeal against his conviction by the Special CBI Court in Ranchi was decided by the High Court.
 
The bail was granted by a bench headed by then Chief Justice P Sathasivam after it noted that many other similarly placed convicts had been been granted bail in the case.
 
The former Union Minister is an accused in three other cases related to the alleged scam, pertaining to illegal withdrawal of Rs 3.97 crore from the Dumka Treasury, Rs 36 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury and Rs 184 crore from the Doranda treasury. 
 
Despite the charges he is facing, Mr. Yadav remains popular with large sections of the people in Bihar and had led a grand alliance that included the Janata Dal (United) and the Congress to a handsome victory over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2015 Assembly elections. The alliance later came apart when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar walked out of it and later joined hands with the BJP to return as Chief Minister.
 
Today's verdict will be a setback for the efforts to put together a similar alliance against the BJP for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
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BHEL bags R&M order for ESP Package at Kahalgaon Super Thermal Power Station in Bihar

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) toay said it had, in the face of stiff international competitive bidding (ICB), secured an order for the renovation and modernization (R&M) of Electrostatic Precipitators (ESP) at Kahalgaon Super Thermal Power Station (STPS) in Bihar.
 
Valued at over Rs. 215 crore, the turnkey order envisages carrying out R&M of ESPs at Kahalgaon STPS, Stage-I (4x210 MW) of NTPC Limited. 
 
The ESPs, originally supplied along with the units by BHEL, have been in successful operation for more than 25 years since the commissioning of the units, a press release from the company said.
 
According to it, renovation of these ESPs will enable these units to meet the new norms for suspended particulate matter (SPM) emission, recently announced by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEF & CC). Modernisation of the units will facilitate the operation of these units for many more years, it said.
 
BHEL’s scope of work in the contract includes design, engineering, manufacture, supply, dismantling, erection, testing and commissioning of the ESPs to bring down the SPM emission to the stipulated level for all the four units of Kahalgaon STPS, Stage-1.
 
Major equipment for the project will be supplied by BHEL’s units located at Ranipet and Bhopal, while the execution on site will be undertaken by Power Sector Eastern Region.
 
BHEL is already executing similar R&M projects on turnkey basis for NTPC Limited and state utilities like GSECL, CSPGCL, and so on. With the R&M of ESPs by BHEL, many old units will be able to comply with the new emission norms, the release added.
 
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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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Conference of States Power Ministers to be held in Rajgir on November 10-11

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A two-day conference of Ministers for Power and New & Renewable Energy of States & Union Territories will be held in Rajgir, Bihar, on November 10-11.
 
The conference will be inaugurated by Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy Raj Kumar Singh, an official press release said here today.
 
The release said the conference would review the implementation of various ongoing schemes/programmes and deliberate on a host of issues pertaining to Power and Renewable Energy sectors.
 
Ministers and Secretaries of the States and Union territories and senior officials of the two sectors and public sector undertakings under them will meet to discuss various issues. These include Saubhagya (Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana) for achieving 100% household electrification by December 2018; DDUGJY for completion of feeder separation; system strengthening projects; Prepaid/Smart Meters;          expediting IPDS works in Urban areas and reduction of AT&C losses to less than 10%; Promotion of Digital Payments; Strategy towards 24x7 Power for All.
 
The reforms include compliance of RPO targets and REC mechanism by the States/UTs. RPO trajectory for the year 2022 and incentives to DISCOMs for achievements of these RPO targets; Mandating Cross Subsidy Charges within the specified limit prescribed in Tariff Policy; ISTS: Transmission charges; PPAs: Signing and honouring.
 
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In the thermal sector, Ash Management System: Launch of Mobile Application will be taken up. In hydropower sector, operating hydropower projects at designed maximum peaking capacity will be taken up along with a discussion on Infrastructure Funding of Hydro Power Projects.
 
The Right of Way (RoW) issues in Transmission Projects will be taken up. In Energy Conservation,  potential opportunities and action plan for making Buildings Energy Efficient: Review of progress of adoption of Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) by States; Demand Side Management through use of energy efficient appliances and Promoting E-Mobility (Electrical vehicles) in India: Standards, Charging Infrastructure and Market Transformation will be covered.
 
Renewable Energy Sources will cover issues including Scheduling & Forecasting for Renewable Energy Integration. A review of Implementation of Solar programme challenges being faced in implementation of Solar Rooftop programme and presentation on new Decentralized ground mounted Grid-connected solar energy/KUSUM Programme will be taken up.
 
RE-INVEST 2017 will have a review of Wind Power, SHP and Biomass programme along with LWE Districts. The concluding session of the conference would have comments and feedback by States/UTs and adoption of Conference Resolution by the delegates.
 
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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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Modi announces immediate assistance of Rs. 500 crore for flood-hit Bihar

 
Modi conducts aerial survey of flood-hit areas of Bihar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today undertook an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas of Bihar and later announced an immediate Central assistance of Rs. 500 crore for the state.
 
Mr. Modi, who was accompanied by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during the aerial survey, held a meeting with Mr. Kumar and top officials later at the Chunapur Air Force Station to review the situation before flying back to the national capital.
 
He promised all possible Central assistance to the state to cope with the situation and said a Central team would be sent to Bihar to make an assessment of the damages and losses caused by the floods.
 
Mr. Modi said the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways would take appropriate action to ensure the early restoration of roads affected by the floods.
 
He also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 2 lakh for the next-of-kin of those killed in the floods and Rs. 50,000 for those who suffered serious injuries.
 
According to the Department of Disaster Management in the Bihar Government, as many as 440 people have died in the floods, which have affected a population of 1.71 crore in 19 districts.
 
As many as 28 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) with 118 boats and seven Army teams with 70 boats have been deployed in the flood-hit areas. Further, 16 teams of the State Disaster Response Force with 92 boats have been deployed, official sources added.
 
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PM speaks to Assam, Bihar CMs regarding flood situation in the two states

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today spoke to Chief Ministers Sarbananda Sonowal of Assam and Nitish Kumar of Bihar regarding the flood situation in the two states and assured them of all possible assistance from the Centre to cope with the crisis.
 
Later, Mr. Modi said on Twitter that the Centre was closely and constantly monitoring the situation in Assam and that all possible support was being provided to the state  for overcoming the crisis.
 
“Ever since Assam has witnessed flooding, the Central Government has been closely and constantly monitoring the situation. All possible support is being provided to Assam for overcoming the flood situation prevailing in parts of the state," he said.
 
Similarly, he said the Centre had assured all support to the Bihar government to mitigate the flood situation and that the situation was being monitored closely.
 
“My thoughts are with all those affected by floods in parts of Bihar. The situation is being monitored closely. Centre assures all support to Bihar government to mitigate the flood situation. Teams of NDRF are in Bihar for rescue and relief work," he added.
 
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Buxar DM found dead on railway tracks near Ghaziabad, suicide suspected

Mukesh Pandey
Mukesh Pandey
Mukesh Pandey, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 2012 batch (Bihar cadre) who took over only a week ago as the district magistrate of Buxar in Bihar, was found dead on the railway tracks near Ghaziabad station, near here, last night, police sources said.
 
The sources said Pandey's mutilated body was discovered on the tracks near the railway yard. His identity was established through a suicide note as well as his identity card and wallet found on his person, they said.
 
Police said that it appeared prima facie to be a case of suicide and that the IAS officer had been run over by a train. 
 
The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination that will be conducted today.
 
Pandey was previously serving as Deputy Development Commissioner in Katihar district before being transferred on July 31 as district magistrate in Buxar. He had taken charge on August 4. He was married and the couple have a three-month-old daughter.
 
According to the sources, Pandey, who hailed from Chhapra district of Bihar, had travelled to Delhi yesterday morning after taking leave and handing over charge to the Buxar deputy development commissioner, saying that he had to visit an ailing relative. He had checked into a local hotel here, they said.
 
The sources said Pandey had posted a message on a WhatsApp group of his friends saying that he planned to commit suicide.
 
“I am committing suicide in district centre area of janakpuri west delhi near hotel Piccadilly by jumping off the 10th floor of the building (sic),” he wrote in that message. “I am fed up with life and my belief on human existence has gone, my suicide note is kept in Nike bag in room 742 of Leela Palace Hotel in delhi! I am sorry I love you all! Plz forgive me!” he added.
 
 
Buxar DM found dead on railway tracks in Ghaziabad
His friends informed the Delhi Police, which sent teams to the location mentioned in the message but did not find him. On checking the CCTV footage in the area, the found that he had left the West End Mall in the area around 5.55 pm. More CCTV footage showed that he had then moved towards a Delhi Metro station.
 
Police said that around 9 pm they were informed that his body had been found on the tracks near the Ghaziabad railway station in Uttar Pradesh.
 
A note found on his person said: "I am Mukesh Pandey IAS 2012 batch Bihar cadre, currently posted as DM Buxar. I am committing suicide of my own volition and after my death please inform my relatives about my suicide. I am residing in room 742 of Leela Palace, Delhi. Detailed suicide note in my bag."
 
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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.
 
ADVERTISEMENT
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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Minor earthquake shakes Purnia region of Bihar

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, shook the Purnia region of Bihar late last night, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 25.7 N and longitude 87.1 E, occurred at 0006 hours today at a focal depth of 50 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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BJP names Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as NDA's Presidential nominee

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday named Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the nominee of the the ruling National Democratic Alliance led by it for the Presidential elections slated for next month.
Ram Nath Kovind
Ram Nath Kovind
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today named Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind as the nominee of the the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by it for the Presidential elections slated for next month.
 
The decision to nominate Mr. Kovind, 71, a Dalit leader, for the august office was taken at a meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Party, its top decision-making body, here today at which senior party leaders were present, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah.
 
Senior BJP leaders had met top leaders of various Opposition parties, including Congress President Sonia Gandhi and CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechuri on the Presidential election, following which the Opposition parties had said that the Government must name its choice at the earliest so that they could decide on their stand.
 
Mr. Shah had met Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai yesterday in this connection.
 
Mr. Shah told journalists here that Mr. Modi had called up Mrs. Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other Opposition leaders to inform them of the BJP's choice.
 
The Election Commission of India (ECI) had, on June 7, announced that polling, if necessary, in the 15th Presidential Election to elect a successor to President Pranab Mukherjee, whose five-year term will end on July 24, would be held on July 17 and the votes counted on July 20.
 
The ECI's notificatin calling the election was issued on June 14 and the last date for making nominations is June 28. Scrutiny of nominations will be conducted on June 29 and the last date for the withdrawal of candidatures is July 1, he said.
 
Mr. Kovind is expected to file his nomination papers on June 23, BJP sources indicated.
 
The President is elected by the members of the Electoral College consisting of elected members of both Houses of Parliament, and elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all States including National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
 
(The nominated members of either Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha or Legislative Assemblies of the States are not eligible to be included in the Electoral College and therefore, they are not entitled to participate in the election. Similarly, members of the Legislative Councils are also not electors for the Presidential election).
 
Article 55 (3) of the Constitution provides that the election shall be held in accordance with the System of Proportional Representation by means of single transferable vote and the voting at such election shall be by secret ballot. In this system, the elector has to mark preferences against the names of the candidates.
 
Poll for the election will be taken in the Parliament House and in the premises of the State Legislative Assemblies.
 
 
Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind is NDA's Presidential nominee: Amit Shah
In case there is a contest for the post, the BJP-led NDA is expected to get its nominee through with the support of some regional parties.
 
Born on October, 1945 in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Kovind has degrees in Commerce an Law from the Kanpur University.
 
He practised as an advocate in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India for about 16 years till 1993. He was a Central Government advocate in the Delhi High Court from 1977 to 1979 and Central Government Standing Counsel in Supreme Court from 1980 to 1993. He became Advocate-on-Record of the Supreme Court of India in 1978.
 
Mr. Kovind was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh in April, 1994 and served for two consecutive terms till March, 2006. 
 
He served as a Member of the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kolkata and of the Board of Management of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University, Lucknow.
 
He has been an advoate for the rights and causes of weaker sections, specially Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, Minorities and women. He has also supported the development of basic infrastructure for education in rural areas through the MPLAD Scheme. As an advocate, he used to provide free legal aid for the weaker sections under the aegis of the Free Legal Aid Society in Delhi.
 
Mr. Kovind is married to Ms. Savita Kovind and they have a son, Prashant Kumar and a daughter, Swati.
 
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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 to visit West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar from April 1-3

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President Pranab Mukherjee will visit West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar from April 1-3 during which he will, among other engagements, attend the 52nd annual convocation of Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC) in Kolkata as the chief guest.  
 
On April 2, the President will lay the foundation stone of Rabindra Bhawan and Haj House at Ranchi in Jharkhand. On the same day, he will also inaugurate the 44 km Deoghar-Basukinath Solar Street Light Project and lay the foundation stone of Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) Centre; Employees State Insurance Corporation Hospital and Driver's Training Centres at Deoghar in that state.
 
On April 3, Mr. Mukherjee will visit Vikramshila University Monuments and Museum at Vikramshila in Bihar.  He will also visit Guru Shyama Charan Lahiri Peeth, Gurudham-Bounsi before returning to Delhi, an official press release added.
 
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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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Scourge of violence can be overcome with Buddhist philosophy: Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the closing ceremony of an international conference on “Buddhism in the 21st Century - perspectives and responses to Global Challenges and Crises”, at Rajgir, Nalanda, in Bihar on March 19, 2017.
President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the closing ceremony of an international conference on “Buddhism in the 21st Century - perspectives and responses to Global Challenges and Crises”, at Rajgir, Nalanda, in Bihar on March 19, 2017.
President Pranab Mukherjee today said no part of the world today is free from the scourge of violence and this all pervasive crisis can be overcome with the philosophy of Buddhism.
 
Addressng the closing ceremony of an international conference on “Buddhism in the 21st Century – perspectives and responses to Global Challenges and Crises” here, Mr Mukherjee said the basic question being raised today is how to stop this wanton destruction and come back to sanity. 
 
The philosophy of Buddhism is as relevant today as ever - especially as the world grapples with complex problems that seem intractable, he said.
 
"Buddhism has had a deep influence on human civilization. The mighty Emperor Ashoka who had the ambition of extending his empire as far as he could was converted into a missionary. Dhamma Ashoka is remembered in history rather than warrior Ashoka," he said.
 
The President said Nalanda reflected the country's ancient educational system which attracted mighty minds in the form of students and teachers.  Education means the development of mind and requires an atmosphere which is conducive to free exchange of ideas, he said.
 
The President said that, as they return to their respective areas of activity and influence, the delegates should redouble their efforts to promote the simple truths and the path of the Buddha that show people can be better citizens and contribute to making the country a better place to live in.
 
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He expressed happiness that the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara has published the entire Pali Tripitaka (texts or words of the Buddha) in 41 volumes in the Devanagari script. He congratulated the University for this achievement and for opening the first ever Department of Buddhist Sciences in the world.
 
Mr Mukherjee said he would encourage the texts to be further dispersed – like seeds by migrating birds – far beyond the institutions of Buddhist studies and the region – to Universities in all parts of the world – regardless of their academic specialization.
 
"These initiatives will go a long way in popularizing the tenets of Buddhism. They will help the coming generations to easily connect with the supreme ideals of humanity, forbearance, discipline and compassion. Once these values are adopted by more and more scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and leaders in letter and spirit, he said he had no doubt that they will work to gear up to address the scepticism and cynicism that ails modern societies," he added.
 
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