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Bihar

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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BHEL commissions 195 MW thermal power unit in Bihar

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had successfully commissioned another 195 MW thermal unit in Bihar.
 
This is the second 195 MW unit to be commissioned by BHEL at the 2x195 MW Muzaffarpur Thermal Power Station (TPS) Stage-II of Kanti Bijlee Utpadan Nigam Limited (KBUNL), a joint venture of NTPC Ltd. and BSPGCL, in Bihar. The first unit was commissioned in March, 2015, a press release from the company said.
 
BHEL’s scope of work in the project envisaged design, engineering, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of steam turbines, generators and boilers, along with associated auxiliaries and electricals, besides state-of-the-art controls & Instrumentation (C&I) and electrostatic precipitators (ESPs).
 
Earlier, in the 1980s, BHEL had executed two units of 110 MW each at this project, which are still operational. 
 
"The successful commissioning of these units has reinforced BHEL’s proven capabilities in execution of thermal power projects involving supply of state-of-the-art equipment, suited to Indian coal and Indian conditions," the release added.
 
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Cabinet nod for financial restructuring of Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Limited

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The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for the financial restructuring of Hindustan Fertilizers Corporation Limited (HFCL). 
 
An official press release said the Cabinet, amongst other things, approved waiver of the Government of India (GoI) loan of Rs. 1916.14 crore (as on 31.03.2015) and the outstanding interest on GoI loan as on date (the interest amount was Rs. 7163.35 crores as on 31.3.2015). 
 
The Cabinet also approved transfer of 56 acres of Ash Dyke land of Barauni unit to Bihar State Power Generation Company Limited (BSPGCL) to settle dues of HFCL for faster revival of Barauni Unit, it said.
 
The release said the decision would facilitate de-registration of HFCL from BIFR by making its net worth positive. It will clear the way for faster revival of Barauni unit of HFCL, which is lying defunct and was not in operation since January 1999. Its associated facilities are also lying unutilized. 
 
The release pointed out that there is no functional urea unit in the Eastern part of the country except two small units at Namrup in Assam.
 
The annual consumption of urea in the country is approximately 320 LMT, out of which 245 LMT is produced indigenously and rest is imported. 
 
"The setting up of a new unit at Barauni will meet the growing demand of urea of Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand. It will also ease the pressure on railway and road infrastructure due to long distance transportation of urea from Western and Central Regions and thereby saving in govt. subsidy on freight. This unit will create opportunities for 400 direct and 1200 indirect employments. 
 
"Barauni unit will also serve as anchor unit to Jagdishpur- Haldia gas pipeline being laid by Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), which is critical for development and growth of economy and infrastructure in eastern India," the release added.
 
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OMCs to absorb six crore litres of ethanol from Bihar in wake of liquor ban

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The state-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs) have told the Central Government that they would strive to absorb the entire quantityof about six crore litres of ethanol that may be produced in Bihar through the molasses route.
 
The Bihar government, which recently announced a new excise policy under which there is a total ban on liquor in the state, had written to the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoP&NG)requesting it to explore whether the OMCs would be able to lift the entire ethanol produced by distilleries in the state.
 
An official press release said here today that the Centre was keen to undertake developmental works, more specifically for the agriculture sector, in the State of Bihar. 
 
The release said the proposal had been considered by the Ministry in consultation with OMCs. It said the OMCs would strive to absorb the six crore litres of ethanol likely to be available for ethanol-blended petrol (EBP) to help Bihar.
 
This initiative is likely to give approximately Rs. 300 crore to the farmers of Bihar through sugar mills and distilleries and also ensure proper utilizatio of molasses.
 
"This Government is committed to promote alternate renewable source of energy such as bio-ethanol and bio-diesel which would reduce our dependency on import of crude oil, address growing environment issues and provide better remuneration to the farmers. As a step in this direction, Government of India is running Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme in 21 states and 4 UTs with immediate target to achieve 10% ethanol blending in petrol. In order to support the domestic industry, Government has also decided to source ethanol from domestic sources only," the release said.
 
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In the past, ethanol supplies were enough to meet only 30% of the blending requirement. During the sugar year 2013-14, only 38 crore litres of ethanol could be supplied for EBP programme. In order to give a stimulus to this programme, Government in December 2014 enhanced the ethanol procurement price and opened alternate route including lignocelluloses route for ethanol production. OMCs also eased the procurement process for the benefit of suppliers. 
 
The release said these steps had helped in doubling the ethanol supplies during the Sugar Year 2014-15 wherein 67.42 crore litres had been supplied for blending in petrol. This year, OMCs have floated tender for 266 crore litres of ethanol procurement to meet 10% blending target. There is considerable improvement in the response from the sugar Industry which has offered more than 135 crore litres for the current sugar year. 
 
Other plans by the Ministry specifically for Bihar include capacity expansion of IOCL Barauni Refinery from 6 MMTPA to 9 MMTPA, upgradation of the refinery to produce BS-VI quality products, integration of the refinery to produce other value-added options and specialty products and establishment of a petrochemical complex at Begusarai, the release added.
 
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High-level Central team reviews the PDS in Bihar

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A high-level Central team today urged the Bihar Government to ensure timely lifting of foodgrains from Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns so that they can reach fair price shops (FPS) in the beginning of the month.
 
All the States have also been asked to upload the data of all beneficiaries of National Food Security Act (NFSA) on State PDS portal, an official press release said.
 
A high-level Central team, deputed by Union Minister for Consumer, Food & Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan visited the Bihar capital to review the public distribution system (PDS) after the death of Jago Manjhi reportedly due to starvation.
 
After day-long discussions with senior officials of the State Government, the team led by Joint Secretary Deepak Kumar in the Department of Food, found that there was delay in lifting of foodgrains by the state in some districts which was the main reason for not getting ration allocations by the beneficiaries on time, the release said.
 
It was also observed by the team that the State had not uploaded the data of NFSA beneficiaries on the portal till now, which is one of the mandatory requirement for the allocation of highly subsidized foodgrains. It was depriving a number of beneficiaries from the allocation of wheat at Rs. 2 per kg and rice at Rs. 3 per kg.
 
During the visit, the Central was informed that problem of lifting of foodgrains was being faced only in districts of Patna, Araria, Bhojpur, Bhagalpur and Saharsa. On receiving complaints of irregularities in these districts, raids were conducted in godowns and licenses were suspended of some private transporters. Now, State Government was arranging transport of foodgrains through State Civil Supplies Corporation. 
 
Because of non-availability of FCI godowns in some districts, foodgrains were being lifted from neighbouring districts leading to delay in delivery. The Centre asked the FCI and state government agencies to find out ways to avoid this delay. 
 
During the discussion, computerization of targeted PDS was also reviewed. The State has digitized the data of NFSA beneficiaries but it has not been uploaded on States PDS portal. The committee was informed that a campaign, being conducted in each village and town to collect Aadhar number and other details of beneficiaries,  will be completed in three months. 
 
In order to check leakage in PDS, states should install ‘Point of Sale Device’ at FPS for biometric identification of beneficiaries at the earliest. State Food Secretary said that such devices were being installed at 56 FPS of Noor block of Nalanda district under system integrator model. 
 
Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) will also be introduced as pilot project next month in one of the blocks of Purnia district, he added.
 
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BHEL commissions 250 MW thermal plant in Bihar

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) tday said it had successfully commissioning a 250 MW coal-based thermal power plant (TPP) in Bihar.
 
A press release from the company said the 250 MW unit had been commissioned at the upcoming, greenfield 1,000 MW Nabinagar Thermal Power Project (4x250 MW), being set up by Bhartiya Rail Bijlee Company Limited (BRBCL), a joint venture of NTPC Limited and the Indian Railways.
 
This is the first 250 MW unit to be commissioned at Nabinagar TPP, located at Nabinagar in Aurangabad district of Bihar. Execution of the other three units is also in progress, the release said.
 
BHEL has a long-standing partnership with NTPC and has supplied over 30,000 MW of the coal-based power plants of NTPC and its JVs that account for around 80% of NTPC’s coal-based installed capacity, the release added.
 
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World Bank to provide assistance of $ 250 million for Bihar Kosi Basin Development Project

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India and the World Bank signed the financing agreement for International Development Association (IDA) assistance of $ 250 million for the Bihar Kosi Basin Development Project here today.
 
The financing agreement was signed by Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs on behalf of Government of India and Mr. Onno Ruhl, Country Director in India, on behalf of the World Bank. 
 
The project agreement was signed by Mr. Shishir Sinha, Development Commissioner, on behalf of Government of Bihar. 
 
An official press release said the objective of the project is to enhance resilience to floods and increase agricultural production and productivity in the targeted districts in the Kosi River Basin, and to enhance Bihar’s capacity to respond promptly and effectively to an eligible crisis or emergency. 
 
The primary beneficiaries will be rural producers and households in the Kosi River Basin who are regularly exposed to floods. They includes farmers who lost their agricultural lands due to the silt deposits brought by the 2008 Kosi river flood as well as farmers in the project area that are currently without access to irrigation and other technologies, improved agricultural practices and an adequate transport network. 
 
The project has five components: Improving Flood Risk Management; Enhancing Agricultural Productivity and Competitiveness; Augmenting Connectivity; Contingent Emergency Response; and Implementation Support. 
 
It is a loan for an implementation period of 5 years. Government of Bihar is the implementing agency, the release added.
 
IDA is the part of the World Bank that helps the world’s poorest countries. Established in 1960, it aims to reduce poverty by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people’s living conditions.
 
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CCEA okays six-laning of Aurangabad-Bihar/Jharkhand Border-BarwaAdda section of NH-2

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today gave its approval for the development of the six-laning of the Aurangabad-Bihar/Jharkhand Border-BarwaAdda section of National Highway-2 in Bihar and Jharkand.
 
An official press release said the work would be taken up under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-V. 
 
The approval is in BOT (Toll) mode on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (BOT/DBFOT) basis, it said.
 
The cost of the project is estimated to be Rs. 4918.48 crore including cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation and other pre-construction activities. The total length of the road will be approximately 222 kms.
 
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L&T JV wins Rs 3115 crore new Ganga bridge project in Bihar

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Infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) today said its Heavy Civil Infrastructure Business of L&T Construction, along with its joint venture (JV) partner, Daewoo E&C of South Korea, had won a major order worth Rs. 3,115 crore from the Bihar State Road Development Corporation Limited (BSRDCL).
 
A press release from the company said the contract was for th  design and construction of a greenfield six-lane extra-dosed cable bridge over river Ganga near Kachchi Dargah in the district of Patna on National Highway (NH)-30, near Bidupur in the District of 
Vaishali on NH-103 (Bihar). 
 
The prestigious engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract involves construction of a 22- km road alignment including a 9.76 km long extra-dosed bridge spanning the Ganga. The project also includes viaducts, road overbridges (ROBs), major bridges and road works. 
 
"After completion, this will be the country’s longest extra-dosed bridge. The project is scheduled to be completed in four years," the release said.
 
“This is a significant win in the heavy civil infrastructure space and we hope that this is a sign for many such projects involving vital infrastructure that are in the offing to materialize,” said Mr. S.N. Subrahmanyan, Deputy Managing Director & President, L&T. 
 
“This mandate is truly representative of our expertise in building bridges as we are already building some major bridges in India: one across the Narmada, one in Goa, another near Delhi. With the support of our JV partners, we are confident of delivering as per the requirements of our clients,” he added.
 
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Bye-election to Bihar Legislative Council to be held on February 11

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The Election Commission today said it would hold a bye-election on February 11 to fill a casual vacancy in the Bihar Legislative Council caused by the resignation of a sitting member, Bhim Singh, elected by the members of Legislative Assembly.
 
Mr. Singh, whose term would have continued till May 6, 2018 in the normal course, had retired on October 23, an official press release said.
 
The notification for the bye-election will be issued on January 25, and the last date of making nominations is February 1.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up at 5 pm on February 11, an hour after polling ends at 4 pm that day, the release added.
 
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Seven coaches of Amrapali Express derail in Bihar, no casualties

 
Seven coaches of Amrapali Express derail near Khagaria
 
Seven coaches of the 15707 Katihar-Amritsar Amrapali Express derailed near Khagaria in Bihar in the early hours of today but none of the passengers was injured, officials said.
 
The mishap occurred around 1.15 am when the train had just left from a stop at Pasraha station in Sonepur division of East Central Railway (ECR) and was still moving at slow speed in the outer yard.
 
ECR spokesperson Arvind Kumar Rajak told NetIndian that the derailed coaches included five second class sleeper coaches, one AC 3-Tier coach and one AC 2-Tier coach.
 
He said all the passengers of the train, including those travelling by the affected coaches, were first taken to Barauni in the remaining coaches. At Barauni, all 1360 passengers of the train were accommodated in a new rake and sent on their onward journey this morning.
 
Mr. Rajak said that two accident relief trains were rushed to the scene and had managed to re-rail al the derailed coaches. Normal traffic was expected to be restored by early this afternoon, he said.
 
District administration and police officials as well as emergency personnel also rushed to the spot immediately.
 
Some trains were delayed and others diverted as a result of the accident.
 
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Contracts signed for two locomotive factories in Bihar

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Formal contracts were signed here yesterday for two joint venture projects -- for manufacturing electric lomotives at Madhepura and diesel locomotives at Marhowra, both in Bihar.
 
The factories to manufacture the high horse-power best-in-class modern locomotives signify a giant leap in the "Make in India" initiative.
 
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu and other Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Giriraj Singh, Manoj Sinha and Ram Kripal Yadav were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav and other MPs from Bihar, French Ambassador to India Francois Richier and Railway Board Chairman A K Mittal were also present.
 
The contract for the Madhepura factory was signed by Mr. Sudheer Kumar, Executive Director (Electrical Development), Railway Board and Mr.  Bharat Salhotra, MD, Alstom Transport India. 
 
The signatories to the contract for the Marhowra factory were Mr. Jayant Kumar, Director (Mechanical Works), Railway Board and Mr.  Nalin Jain, MD, GE Transport India. 
 
Mr. Amitabh Kant, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), GE Transport CEO Jamie Miller and Alstom CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge were also present at the function.
 
The Railways had earlier this month awarded the letters of acceptance (LoA) for setting up the two factories.
 
DLF Marhowra will manufacture and supply modern diesel electric locomotives of 4500 HP and 6000 HP (which in combination can operate as 9000 HP and 12000 HP multiple units). 
 
ELF Madhepura will manufacture and supply modern electric locomotives of 12000 HP.  
 
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Under the agreement, 1000 diesel locos will be manufactured in a period of 11 years with a basic cost of Rs. 14,656 crore and 800 electric locos will be manufactured in a period of 11 years at a basic cost of Rs. 19904 crore.  
 
The cost of setting up factories is around Rs. 1300 crore each.  Taking into account the cost of setting up factories and maintenance facilities, these two projects together are worth Rs. 40,000 crore, an official press release said.
 
"These modern powerful state of the art locos will be useful for heavy haul freight operations and mega freight operations in the dedicated freight corridor and for pan India operation.  These factories would lead to substantial development of ancillary manufacturing units, generation of direct and indirect employment and substantial development in the region," an official press release said.
 
"These projects will usher in new technologies into the Indian industry at large through high paced indigenization," it said.
 
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Nitish Kumar announces plan to impose liquor ban in Bihar from April 2016

 
Nitish Kumar announces plan to impose liquor ban in Bihar from April 2016
 
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has announced plans to impose a ban on liquor in the state from April 1, 2016 in fulfilment of one of his promises during the recent elections to the state legislative assembly which saw the "Grand Alliance" formed by his Janata Dal (United), the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress win an overwhelming majority.
 
"My government is committed to fulfilling the promises made to women during he election campaign," he said at a function here yesterday.
 
He said he had instructed the Chief Secretary and other officials concerned to start work on drafting the new policy so that it could be implemented from April 1 next year.
 
He said there were large numbers of complaints from women about the problems arising out of the addiction to liquor among men in their families.
 
Mr. Kumar said people from the low income groups were the worst-hit because of the consumption of liquor. It affected not only their health but also the economic condition of their families, especially the education of their children, he said. He said men's addiction to liquor led to tension within families, and women had to bear the brunt of such problems.
 
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Mr. Kumar said the government would make efforts to ensure that such families lived happy lives again, that they spend money they saved by not consuming liquor on their children's education and nutrition. 
 
He said the policy would make women in the state happy and help the development of families. He said women's self-help groups had already done good work in curbing consumption of liquor, which had helped create the atmosphere for such a ban by the government.
 
He said the state government would find other ways of making up the loss of revenue from excise duty arising from the ban.
 
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Nitish Kumar sworn in as Bihar CM, Tejaswi Yadav is Deputy CM

 
Nitish Kumar sworn in as Chief Minister of Bihar for fifth time
 
Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar was today sworn in as the Chief Minister of Bihar for the fifth time in his political career after leading the "Grand Alliance" comprising his party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress to a resounding win in the recent elections to the state legislative assembly.
 
Mr. Kumar, 64, was administered the oaths of office and secrecy by Governor Ramnath Kovind at a ceremony at the historic Gandhi Maidan here, watched by thousands of supporters and dozens of leaders from several non-BJP parties.
 
This is the first time that the JD (U), the RJD headed by former Union Minister Lalu Prasad and the Congress have come together in an alliance in Bihar.
 
Along with Mr Kumar, 28 others took oath as Ministers in the new government, including Tejaswi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, sons of Mr Lalu Prasad. Tejaswi Yadav, 26, was named as Deputy Chief Minister in the allocation of portfolios announced later.
 
The "Grand Alliance" 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 just 58 seats.
 
Among the "grand 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.
 
The BJP ended up with 53 seats on its own, while its allies Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RSLP) picked up two seats each and and the Hindustan Awam Morcha (Secular) one. Among the others in the fray, the CPI (ML) won three seats and independent candidates bagged four.
 
Apart from Mr. Kumar, the Ministry includes 12 members each from the JD (U) and RJD and four from the Congress.
 
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal, Oommen Chandy of Kerala, Arvind Kejriwal of Delhi, Virbhadra Singh of Himachal Pradesh, S. Siddaramaiah of Karnataka, Tarun Gogoi of Assam, P K Chamling of Sikkim, O Ibobi Singh of Manipur and Nabam Tuki of Arunachal Pradesh were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu represented Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the event. Mr. Lalu Prasad and JD (U) President Sharad Yadav were among the prominent guests at the function.
 
Also present were CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI's D. Raja, former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda, Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, Congress leaders Ghuulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge, DMK's M. K. Stalin, former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi.
 
Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupendra Singh Hooda and former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi were also present.
 
In the allocation of portfolios, the Chief Minister retained the portfolios of Home, General Administration and Information & Public Relations with himself.
 
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Mr Tejaswi Yadav, the new Deputy Chief Minister, will be in charge of Road Construction and Building Construction Departments. His brother Tej Pratap Yadav has been given Health and Environment & Forests.
 
Mr. Abdul Bari Siddiqui has been given the Finance portfolio, while Mr Bijendra Prasad Yadav, who held Finance in the previous Nitish Kumar government, will now handle Energy.
 
Mr. Ashok Choudhary, the state Congress president, has been given Education and Information Technology. Another Congress leader Madan Mohan Jha was put in charge of Revenue while JD (U) MLA Rajiv Ranjan Singh will handle Water Resources.
 
Jay Kumar Singh of JD (U) will look after Industry, while Manju Varma, also of JD (U) has been given Social Welfare.
 
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CCEA okays revised cost estimate for rail-cum-road bridge over Ganga at Munger

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today gave its approval for the revised cost estimate amounting to Rs. 2774 crore for the construction of a 14 km rail-cum-road bridge across the river Ganga at Munger in Bihar.
 
The Railways' share of the cost will be Rs 1247 crore and that of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will be Rs 1527 crore, an official press release said.
 
The approval has been given with a provision that the cost of land for road approaches might increase in the future as the Bihar government has not yet initiated acquisition proceedings for the same. 
 
The railway line part of this project is likely to completed during the current financial year, the release said.
 
Munger, Khagaria, Saharsa, Bhagalpur districts of Bihar will be benefitted through this project.
 
The bridge was included in the supplementary Railway Budget for 1997-98 for providing adequate infrastructure for all season rail and road connectivity between North and South Bihar for rapid economic development of the State. 
 
This bridge would also produce an additional connectivity to North East region States, the release added.
 
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Four BJP veterans lash out at party leadership after Bihar debacle

Four senior BJP leaders -- Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha -- on Tuesday lashed out at the party leadership for the crushing defeat it suffered in the elections to the Bihar Legislative Assembly and demanded fixing of responsibility for the debacle.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting former Deputy Prime Minister and veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani on his birthday, in New Delhi on November 8, 2015.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting former Deputy Prime Minister and veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani on his birthday, in New Delhi on November 8, 2015.
Four senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -- Lal Krishna Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Shanta Kumar and Yashwant Sinha -- today lashed out at the party leadership for the crushing defeat it suffered in the elections to the Bihar Legislative Assembly and demanded fixing of responsibility for the debacle.
 
"The results of the Bihar elections show that no lesson has been learnt from the fiasco in Delhi," the veterans, who have all been denied an active role in the party's affairs since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May last year, said in a joint statement here this evening.
 
"To say that everyone is responsible for the defeat in Bihar is to ensure that no one is held responsible. It shows that those who would have appropriated credit if the party had won are bent on shrugging off responsibility for the disastrous showing in Bihar," they said.
 
The four leaders said the principal reason for the latest defeat is the way the party had been emasculated in the last year.
 
"A thorough review must be done of the reasons for the defeat as well as the way the party is being forced to kowtow to a handful, and how its consensual character has been destroyed.
 
"This review must not be done by the very persons who have managed and who have been responsible for the campaign in Bihar," the statement, signed and issued on behalf of the others by Mr. Sinha, former Union Finance Minister, added.
 
Mr. Sinha, Mr. Advani, former Deputy Prime Minister, and Mr. Joshi and Mr. Shanta Kumar, both former Union Ministers, are among the many party veterans who find themselves on the sidelines of the organisation after the new dispensation, led by Mr. Modi and party president Amit Shah, a close confidant of the Prime Minister, have taken control of the BJP.
 
Mr. Advani and Mr. Joshi, along with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who is suffering from ill health, are members of the party's Margdarshak Mandal, that is supposed to provide guidance to the leadership.
 
Other members of the Margdarshak Mandal are Mr. Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
 
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While there have been calls from several quarters for a review of the reasons for the humiliating defeat, the BJP's top leaders met here yesterday and said the debacle was the result of the party's failure to gauge the effectiveness of the Grand Alliance, comprising the Janata Dal (United), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress.
 
The party said it had got its arithmetic wrong to explain Sunday's results in which the Grand Alliance romped to a resounding victory with 178 seats in the 243-member assembly, while the National Democratic Aliance (NDA) led by the BJP, now in power at the Centre, ended up far behind with just 58 seats.
 
The elections were seen as a major test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to the voters and as a battle for survival for Mr. Nitish Kumar and his foe-turned-ally, RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
 
The results are being seen as personal setbacks to Mr. Modi, who had campaigned extensively in Bihar and addressed more than 30 election rallies, and for Mr. Shah, who had fashioned the party's strategy for the elections.
 
Polling in the elections was held in five phases on October 12, October 16, October 28, November 1 and November 5.
 
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GE Global Sourcing wins contract for diesel locomotive factory in Bihar

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The Indian Railways today issued the letter of award (LOA) for setting up a diesel locomotive factory (DLF) at Marhowra in Saran district of Bihar and procurement and maintenance of mainline diesel electronic locomotives to GE Global Sourcing India Pvt Ltd.
 
The project was announced in 2006-07 to select a joint venture partner through international competitive bidding for manufacture and supply of modern diesel electric locomotives of 4500 HP and 6000 HP to Indian Railways. 
 
The RFP was issued to two short listed bidders at RFQ stage on March 11, 2015. The bid was opened on Septmber 1 and awarded today.
 
An official press release said a joint venture (JV) company between Ministry of Railways and GE Global Sourcing would now be incorporated to construct and run the DLF, Marhowra. 
 
The Ministry of Railways will hold 26% equity in the JV company subject to a maximum of Rs. 100 crore. Railways have completed acquisition of 226 acres of land for this project and taken possession. The factory is expected to be established within  three years at a cost of about Rs. 1000 crore.
 
The release said the company would work on an assured off-take model of 100 locomotives per annum for 10 years. The basic cost of 1000 freight locomotives will be about Rs.14,656 crores. The company will also maintain these locomotives upto the 13th year. 
 
Thereafter, Indian Railways will take over the maintenance of these locomotives. 
 
The 4500 HP and 6000 HP locomotives will also operate as 9000 HP and 12000 HP multiple units to provide the necessary economical and environmentally friendly motive power to growing heavy haul freight business of Indian Railways. 
 
The project will also support the upcoming Dedicated Freight Corridors. In future, passenger version of these locomotives may also be manufactured. 
 
The release said the factory would lead to direct and indirect employment and development of ancillaries and support industry in the neighboring region which is economically less developed leading to much more investment and related job creation. 
 
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JD (U)-RJD-Congress "grand alliance" storms to power in Bihar with resounding win

The "grand alliance" led by the ruling Janata Dal (United), which includes the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress, romped to power with a resounding victory as votes were counted in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly on Sunday.
 
Nitish hails verdict as victory of Bihar's swabhimaan
 
The "grand alliance" led by the ruling Janata Dal (United), which includes the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, romped to power with a resounding victory as votes were counted in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly today.
 
As results for all 243 seats became available late tonight, the "grand alliance" or "Mahagathbandhan" ended up with 178 seats, well past the two-thirds mark, while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), now in power at the Centre, was far behind with just 58 seats.
 
Among the "grand alliance" partners, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of former Union Minister Lalu Prasad won 80 seats to end up as the single largest party. The JD (U) of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar won 71 and the Congress 27.
 
The RJD's performance is particularly impressive, given the fact that many political observers felt that its presence was a liability for the JD (U).
 
The BJP ended up with 53 seats on its own, while its allies Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RSLP) picked up two seats each and and the Hindustan Awam Morcha (Secular) one.
 
Among the others in the fray, the CPI (ML) won three seats and independent candidates bagged four.
 
In terms of vote percentage, the RJD got 18.4% of the votes, the JD(U) 16.8% and the Congress 6.7%.
 
The BJP secured 24.4% of the votes cast, the LJP 4.8%, the BLSP 2.6% and HAMS 2.4%. Independents garnered 9.4% of the vote, while the CPI(ML) got 1.5%.
 
The campaigning for the elections was marked by sharp and bitter exchanges of barbs among the main contestants.
 
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The elections were seen as a major test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to the voters and as a battle for survival for Mr. Nitish Kumar and his foe-turned-ally, RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
 
The results will be seen as personal setbacks to Mr. Modi, who had campaigned extensively in Bihar and addressed more than 30 election rallies, and for BJP President Amit Shah, who had fashioned the party's strategy for the elections.
 
Polling in the elections was held in five phases on October 12, October 16, October 28, November 1 and November 5, and more than 56.80 percent voting was registered.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful across the state and no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere.
 
A total of 67063004 electors, including 31282535 women, were eligible to exercise their franchise in the elections and there were, in all, 3450 candidates, including 272 women, in the fray.
 
The Election Commission had set up 65349 polling stations and made elaborate arrangements to ensure a freee and fair poll.
 
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Counting of votes began at 8 am today amidst tight security at 39 centres across the state and al the results are expected to be in by this evening. All counting centres are situated in the district headquarters. There were two counting centres separated by a common road in Saharsa distict and one each in the 37 other districts.
 
The Election Commission ensured 24x7 three-tier security at all counting centres, with the inner cordon being manned by personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). Closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed at all counting centres.
 
The commission also deployed an observer each in all 243 constituencies to oversee the counting process.
  
Exit polls had produced varying forecasts, with some putting the "grand alliance" ahead and others predicting a victory for the NDA.
 
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JD (U)-RJD-Congress "grand alliance" romps to power with overwhelming win in Bihar elections

The "grand alliance" led by the ruling Janata Dal (United), which includes the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress, romped to power with an overwhelming victory as counting of votes progressed in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly on Sunday.
 
Nitish hails verdict as victory of Bihar's swabhimaan
 
The "grand alliance" led by the ruling Janata Dal (United), which includes the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, romped to power with an overwhelming victory as counting of votes progressed in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly today.
 
As counting trends became available for all 243 seats, the "grand alliance" or "Mahagathbandhan" had won or was leading in 178 constituencies, well past the two-thirds mark, while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), now in power at the Centre, was far behind with wins or leads in just 59.
 
Among the "grand alliance" partners, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of former Union Minister Lalu Prasad was ahead in 80, the ruling JD (U) of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in 71 and the Congress in 27.
 
The RJD's performance is particularly impressive, given the fact that many political observers felt that its presence was a liability for the JD (U).
 
The BJP was leading in 53 constituencies, while its allies Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) was ahead in three, the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RSLP) in two and the Hindustan Awam Morcha (Secular) in one.
 
Among the others in the fray, the CPI (ML) won two seats and independents were ahead in four.
 
The campaigning for the elections was marked by sharp and bitter exchanges of barbs among the main contestants.
 
The elections were seen as a major test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to the voters and as a battle for survival for Mr. Nitish Kumar and his foe-turned-ally, RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
 
The results will be seen as personal setbacks to Mr. Modi, who had campaigned extensively in Bihar and addressed more than 30 election rallies, and for BJP President Amit Shah, who had fashioned the party's strategy for the elections.
 
Polling in the elections was held in five phases on October 12, October 16, October 28, November 1 and November 5, and more than 56.80 percent voting was registered.
 
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Polling was by and large peaceful across the state and no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere.
 
A total of 67063004 electors, including 31282535 women, were eligible to exercise their franchise in the elections and there were, in all, 3450 candidates, including 272 women, in the fray.
 
The Election Commission had set up 65349 polling stations and made elaborate arrangements to ensure a freee and fair poll.
 
Counting of votes began at 8 am today amidst tight security at 39 centres across the state and al the results are expected to be in by this evening. All counting centres are situated in the district headquarters. There were two counting centres separated by a common road in Saharsa distict and one each in the 37 other districts.
 
The Election Commission ensured 24x7 three-tier security at all counting centres, with the inner cordon being manned by personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). Closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed at all counting centres.
 
The commission also deployed an observer each in all 243 constituencies to oversee the counting process.
  
Exit polls had produced varying forecasts, with some putting the "grand alliance" ahead and others predicting a victory for the NDA.
 
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JD (U)-led "grand alliance" set to gain power with big win in Bihar Assembly elections

The "grand alliance" led by the ruling Janata Dal (United), which includes the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress, was headed for a huge victory as counting of votes progressed in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly on Sunday.
 
Supporters of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) celebrate their victory in Patna
 
The "grand alliance" led by the ruling Janata Dal (United), which includes the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, was headed for a huge victory as counting of votes progressed in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly today.
 
As counting trends became available for 239 seats, the JD (U) and its allies were ahead in 163, past the two-thirds mark, while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), now in power at the Centre, was far behind with leads in just 66.
 
Among the "grand alliance" partners, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of former Union Minister Lalu Prasad was ahead in 75, the ruling JD (U) of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in 72 and the Congress in 16.
 
The RJD's performance is particularly impressive, given the fact that many political observers felt that its presence was a liability for the JD (U).
 
The BJP was leading in 58 constituencies, while its allies Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) was ahead in four and the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RSLP) and the Hindustan Awam Morcha (Secular) in two each.
 
Among the others in the fray, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was leading in one seat, the CPI (ML) in two and independent candidates in five constituencies.
 
The campaigning for the elections was marked by sharp and bitter exchanges of barbs among the main contestants.
 
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The elections were seen as a major test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to the voters and as a battle for survival for Mr. Nitish Kumar and his foe-turned-ally, RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
 
The results will be seen as personal setbacks to Mr. Modi, who had campaigned extensively in Bihar and addressed more than 30 election rallies, and for BJP President Amit Shah, who had fashioned the party's strategy for the elections.
 
Polling in the elections was held in five phases on October 12, October 16, October 28, November 1 and November 5, and more than 56.80 percent voting was registered.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful across the state and no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere.
 
A total of 67063004 electors, including 31282535 women, were eligible to exercise their franchise in the elections and there were, in all, 3450 candidates, including 272 women, in the fray.
 
The Election Commission had set up 65349 polling stations and made elaborate arrangements to ensure a freee and fair poll.
 
Counting of votes began at 8 am today amidst tight security at 39 centres across the state and al the results are expected to be in by this evening. All counting centres are situated in the district headquarters. There were two counting centres separated by a common road in Saharsa distict and one each in the 37 other districts.
 
The Election Commission ensured 24x7 three-tier security at all counting centres, with the inner cordon being manned by personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). Closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed at all counting centres.
 
The commission also deployed an observer each in all 243 constituencies to oversee the counting process.
  
Exit polls had produced varying forecasts, with some putting the "grand alliance" ahead and others predicting a victory for the NDA.
 
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Counting of votes begins in Bihar Assembly elections

Counting of votes began on Sunday morning in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly.
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Counting of votes began this morning in the crucial and bitterly-contested elections to the 243-member Bihar Legislative Assembly.
 
Polling in the elections was held in five phases on October 12, October 16, October 28, November 1 and November 5, and more than 56.80 percent voting was registered.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful across the state and no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere.
 
A total of 67063004 electors, including 31282535 women, were eligible to exercise their franchise in the elections and there were, in all, 3450 candidates, including 272 women, in the fray.
 
The Election Commission had set up 65349 polling stations and made elaborate arrangements to ensure a freee and fair poll.
 
Counting of votes began at 8 am today amidst tight security at 39 centres across the state and al the results are expected to be in by this evening. 
 
All counting centres are situated in the district headquarters. There are two counting centres separated by a common road in Saharsa distict and one each in the 37 other districts.
 
The Election Commission has ensured 24x7 three-tier security at all counting centres, with the inner cordon being manned by personnel of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). Closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed at all counting centres.
 
The commission also deployed an observer each in all 243 constituencies to oversee the counting process.
 
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The campaigning for the elections was marked by sharp and bitter exchanges of barbs among the main contestants -- the so-called grand alliance formed by the ruling Janata Dal (United), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress, on the one hand, and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the centre, on the other.
 
The elections are being seen as a major test of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to the voters and as a battle for survival for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) and his foe-turned-ally, RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
 
Exit polls have produced varying forecasts, with some putting the "grand alliance" ahead and others predicting a victory for the NDA.
 
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