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Bihar

Eastern Zonal Council to meet in Patna on January 16

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The 21st Meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council, comprising the States of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal, will be held tomorrow in Patna under the chairmanship of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. 
 
The agenda for the meeting was finalized at the 8th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Eastern Zonal Council, comprising the Chief Secretaries of the four states, held in Patna on November 7, 2014.
 
Besides this, some additional items are likely to bepresented in the meeting by the concerned State Governments, an official press release said here today.
 
The release said the agenda finalized by the Standing Committee includes issues of Inter-State and Centre-State cooperation, allocation of additional assistance to the States to provide relief to the tribals and issues relating to security.
 
There are five Zonal Councils -- Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern and Central Zonal Council -- which are advisory bodies and discuss any matter in which some or all of the States represented in a Council have a common interest. These Councils advise the Central and State Governments on any matter of common interest in the field of economic and social planning, linguistic minorities, inter-state transport, matters connected with or arising out of the reorganization of states and matters concerning border disputes. 
 
Government had constituted a Commission on Centre-State relations under the chairmanship of Justice M M Punchchi, former Chief Justice of India, to look into the changing dynamics of Centre-State relations in the context of emerging social, political, economic, environmental and governance issues in the country. This Commission had recommended that the Zonal Councils should meet regularly with an agenda proposed by the States concerned to maximize coordination and promote harmonization of policies and action having inter-state ramification. 
 
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Justice Lingala Narasimha Reddy appointed Chief Justice of Patna High Court

Justice Lingala Narasimha Reddy
Justice Lingala Narasimha Reddy
The President has appointed Mr Justice Lingala Narasimha Reddy, Judge, High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for the State of Telangana and the State of Andhra Pradesh, to be the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court.
 
An official press release said the appointment would be with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office. 
 
Mr Justice Reddy, 61, who has already taken up his new assignment on January 2, completed his B. Sc. degree in the C K M College, Warangal before obtaining a Bachelor's as well as Master's degree in Law from the Osmania University in Hyderabad.
 
He was enrolled with the Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh in February 1979. He served as the Senior Central Government Standing Counsel for the Government of India in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh for some time. 
 
He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the High Court on September 10, 2001 and as a permanent judge on July 31, 2002.
 
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5 killed, 4 injured as train hits SUV in Nawada district of Bihar

 
5 killed, 4 injured in train-SUV collision in Nawada
At least five persons were killed and four others suffered injuries when a Mahindra Bolero sports utility vehicle (SUV) carrying them was hit by the Howrah-Gaya Express in Nawada district of Bihar this morning.
 
Nawada District Magistrate Lalan Prasad told NetIndian over the telephone that the injured had been rushed to the district hospital for treatment.
 
Mr Prasad said the victims, all men, were returning to Pakri Baraya village from a wedding around 8.45 am when their vehicle was attempting to crossed the railway track near Shafiganj village. He said there was no level crossing at the point, but the people of the area had made an approach path to help them cross the tracks.
 
He said preliminary reports suggested that the wheel of the vehicle got stuck on the tracks and it could not get out of the way before being hit by the oncoming train.
 
The movement of trains on the Nawada-Keul section was disrupted for some time as a result of the mishap.
 
Senior railway and district officials rushed to the spot to supervise the rescue efforts and the restoration of rail services.
 
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Keshari Nath Tripathi to hold additional charge as Governor of Bihar

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The President has appointed Mr Keshari Nath Tripathi, Governor of West Bengal, to discharge the functions of the Governor of Bihar, in addition to his own duties.
 
A press communique from Rashtrapati Bhavan said Mr Tripathi would hold the additional charge until regular arrangements for the office of the Governor of Bihar are made vice Dr. D.Y. Patil, who will complete his tenure on November 26.
 
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Mukherjee condoles loss of lives in Patna stampede

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President Pranab Mukherjee today expressed his condolences over the loss of lives in a stampede during the Dussehra festival celebrations at Gandhi Maidan in Patna, Bihar, yesterday evening.
 
“I am saddened to learn about the accident in which a number of persons have lost their lives and some were injured during the stampede in Dussehra celebrations," he said in a message to Bihar Governor D Y Patil.
 
"I call upon the State Government and other agencies to provide all possible aid to the bereaved families, who have lost their near and dear ones as well as medical facilities to the injured. 
 
"Kindly convey my heartfelt condolences to the family members of the deceased. I pray to the Almighty to give them the strength and courage to bear this irreparable loss. I wish speedy recovery to the injured persons," he added.
 
At least 32 people died and more than 50 others suffered injuries in the stampede, which occurred during the "Ravan Dahan" ceremony at the ground.
 
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32 killed, 50 injured in stampede during Dussehra celebrations in Patna

At least 32 people died and more than 50 others suffered injuries in a stampede that occurred during the "Ravan Dahan" ceremony on the occasion of Dussehra at Gandhi Maidan in Patna this evening.
 
32 killed in stampede in Patna
At least 32 people died and more than 50 others suffered injuries in a stampede that occurred during the "Ravan Dahan" ceremony on the occasion of Dussehra at Gandhi Maidan in Patna this evening.
 
The tragedy occurred around 7 pm when thousands of people were present at the ground to witness the burning of Ravana's effigy at the end of Navratri.
 
Chaotic scenes were witnessed at the Patna Medical College Hospital where the injured were rushed in ambulances and other vehicles as hundreds of angry relatives of the victims gathered outside its gates.
 
The Bihar government has ordered an inquiry by the Principal Secretary, Home into the incident and announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the next-of-kin of those killed.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and reviewed the situation arising out of the stampede.
 
Mr Modi condoled the loss of lives in the incident and sanctioned Rs 2 lakh to the next-of-kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 for those who have suffered critical injuries from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF).
 
Bihar Principal Secretary, Home, Amir Subhani confirmed to mediapersons that at least 32 people had died in the stampede.
 
Several of the victims were women and children and many of them had died due to suffocation, sources said.
 
Some media reports said that the stampede took place after a rumour spread that a live electric wire had snapped and fallen to the ground. Several of those at the venue started rushing to the exit gate, leading to the stampede, they said. Poor lighting added to the confusion, they said.
 
Police and teams of the Rapid Action Force and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rushed to the scene to help in the rescue efforts.
 
Officials told reporters that the stampede occurred because the crowds had become unmanageable.
 
Congress President Sonia Gandhi also expressed shock over the tragedy and said she was "dismayed" by the loss of lives.
 
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International Buddhist Conclave to be held at Bodhgaya, Sarnath from Sep 26-28

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The Ministry of Tourism has organized the 4th International Buddhist Conclave in Bodhgaya and Sarnath, in collaboration with the State Governments of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh from September 26-28 to showcase and project India's Buddhist heritage and pilgrim sites.
 
India, the birthplace of Buddhism, has a very rich Buddhist heritage, with several important sites associated with the life of Lord Buddha which are essential pilgrimages for followers of Buddhism the world over, an official press release said.
 
It said the event would give the participants an opportunity to interact, promote, package and sell pilgrimage itineraries to the Buddhist sites in the country for overseas visitors. 
 
International Buddhist Conclaves have earlier been organized in New Delhi and Bodhgaya (February 2004); Nalanda and Bodhgaya (February 2010) and Varanasi and Bodhgaya (September 2012). 
 
The conclave is one of the initiatives being taken by India as its commitment as the land of origin of Buddhism and to improve the experience of pilgrims as well as tourists wishing to savour the essence of Buddhist heritage, at the Buddhist sites of the country. 
 
The release said the conclave would include presentations, panel discussions, business to business meetings between international and domestic tour operators, an exhibition highlighting the Buddhist attractions in India, as well as visits to important Buddhist sites in and around Bodhgaya and Sarnath. State Governments will set up booths at the conference venue for interacting with the international delegates and for showcasing India’s Buddhist Heritage. 
 
Participants in the event will include international Buddhist opinion makers, tour operators and media, as well as State Governments and domestic tour operators promoting pilgrimages to the Buddhist sites in the country. 
 
Approximately 120 international delegates comprising tour operators, media representatives and opinion makers from 32 countries are participating in the conclave. 
 
In addition to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the State Governments participating in the conclave include Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana and West Bengal. 
 
The conclave will be inaugurated on September 27 at the Kagyupa International Monlam Trust, near Terger Monastery, Bodhgaya, by Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and Union Minister for Tourism and Culture Shripad Naik.
 
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GAIL says to begin work soon on Jagdishpur-Phulpur-Haldia natural gas pipeline

The public sector gas major GAIL (India) Limited today said it was all set to begin work soon on the 2050 km Jagdishpur-Phulpur-Haldia natural gas pipeline which will serve as the "energy highway" for carrying efficient and environment-friendly fuel to West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
 
The project will fulfill the commitment made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a speech in Ranchi, Jharkhand last week for the overall development of Eastern India and meeting its energy requirements, a press release from GAIL said.
 
According to it, the pipeline will benefit millions of people in the four states and lead to setting up of city gas networks in 17 major cities of the region.
 
These include Varanasi,  Allahabad, Patna,  Gaya, Chhapra,  Siwan,  Gopalganj, Mujaffarpur, Bettiah, Bhagalpur, Bokaro,  Dhanbad,  Ranchi,  Jamshedpur,  Asansol,  Durgapur and Kolkata. 
 
This means that residents of these cities can enjoy the convenience of piped natural gas (PNG) that directly reaches households and the economical compressed natural gas (CNG) for vehicles.
 
Besides city gas distribution, the pipeline will supply feedstock/fuel to fertilizer and power plants and major industries located in the region.
 
The estimated investment for the project is about Rs 10,000 crores. The first phase of the pipeline will have a capacity of 16 MMSCMD which would be augmented to 32 MMSCMD in the second phase.
 
The fertilizer plants which will benefit from the project include units at Gorakhpur, Barauni, Sindri and Matix Durgapur. In addition, the pipeline will also supply natural gas to refineries at Barauni and Haldia, steel industries, power plants and other large SME manufacturing units in the region. The pipeline will also boost agricultural and economic development and generate employment opportunities in the region, the release said.
 
The pipeline will consist of a 922-km main line (36 inch-diameter) and 1,128 km of spur lines and feeder lines (12 to 30 inch diameter). The compressor station will be located at Haldia in West Bengal.
 
GAIL has already started activities related to detailed survey of the pipeline route. The survey will include engineering survey (topography, population density index, soil resistivity and soil investigation survey) and cadastral survey (collection of revenue details of every village along the route along with ownership details). Actual construction activities will commence once the survey is completed, the release said.
 
It is estimated that the project will have 46 river crossings, 17 railway crossings, 14 State Highway crossings and 12 National Highway crossings, thus making it one of the most difficult engineering projects of its kind, it said.
 
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18 killed as train hits crowded autorickshaw in Bihar's East Champaran district

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At least 18 people were killed when the crowded autorickshaw in which they were travelling was hit by a speeding express train at a level crossing near Sugauli station in East Champaran district of Bihar today, official sources said.
 
East Champaran district magistrate Abhay Kumar Singh told NetIndian over the telephone that two others had suffered injuries in the incident and had been taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
 
He said the incident occurred around 4 pm at a manned level crossing, about 100 km west of Muzzaffarnpur town, and investigations were on to establish the circumstances in which the tragedy occurred.
 
The Vikram autorickshaw, which is larger in size than its urban counterparts and is popular in rural areas, was hit by the Rapti Ganga Express.
 
Mr Singh said most of the victims belonged to the same larger family and were returning to their village after participating in a prayer at a nearby temple.
 
Mr Singh and other senior officials of the district administration, police and other agencies rushed to the spot to supervise the rescue and relief operations.
 
Senior railway officials from the Samastipur division also rushed to the scene of the tragedy, sources added.
 
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Flood situation in UP, Bihar remains grim, NDRF teams deployed for relief operations

Several rivers continued to flow above or near the danger mark in Uttar Pradesh, where floods have affected more than a thousand villages in nine districts and claimed at least 28 lives so far, official sources said.
 
17 dead, 200 injured in latest floods in UP
Several rivers continued to flow above or near the danger mark in Uttar Pradesh, where floods have affected more than a thousand villages in nine districts and claimed at least 28 lives so far, official sources said.
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told journalists yesterday that the Centre was extending all possible help to Uttar Pradesh and other states affected by floods and heavy rains.
 
Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Alok Ranjan told reporters in Lucknow yesterday that more than a thousand villages in nine districts -- Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur, Gonda, Lakhimpur, Barabanki, Sitapur, Faizabad and Azamgarh -- had been affected by the floods.
 
He said Bahraich was the worst affected district, where floods had hit more than 200 villages and claimed 14 lives so far.
 
He said teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had been sent to the affected villages and two army helicopters were being used for rescue and relief work.
 
Mr Ranjan said two people had died in Shravasti district, where the flood waters were receding. He said about 117 villages in two tehsils, with a population of around 60,000 people in all, had been affected by the floods.
 
The Uttar Pradesh government has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1.5 lakh to the next-of-kin of those who have died in the floods and Rs 65,000 to those who have suffered injuries.
 
The Union Ministry of Water Resources had said in a statement yesterday that the river Rapti in Balrampur district was flowing at an unprecedented level of 105.41 metres, 0.79 metres above its danger level of 104.62 metres. Its previous high flood level (HFL) was 105.25 metres recorded on September 11, 2000, the statement added.
 
The Ghaghra and Saryu were some of the other rivers in spate.
 
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah has expressed concern over the flood situation in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam and urged the party's Members of Parliament, Members of Legislative Assemblies, leaders and workers to help in the flood relief efforts.
 
In Bihar, Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, accompanied by top officials, made an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas on Sunday and asked the authorities to provide immediate relief to the affected people.
 
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No immediate threat of flooding in Kosi river in Bihar: Centre

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The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) today said that it appeared that there is no immediate threat of flooding in the Kosi river in Bihar where thousands of people had been evacuated to safety as a precautionary measure after a landslide in Nepal blocked the flow of the river Sunkoshi/Bhotekoshi on Saturday.
 
"In view of the steady release of water from the artificially pounded area on river Bhutakoshi in Nepal and the absence of any significant rainfall in the upstream region, there appears to be no immediate danger to the poundage area," a statement from MHA said.
 
"Besides this, the water level at Bahrabise, Pachuwrghat, and Chatara in Nepal is below the danger level. Looking further at water level at Birpur, Basua, Baltara and Kursela in Indian side, it appears that there is no immediate threat of the flooding in the Kosi river," it said.
 
The Ministry said the Bihar administration had placed a Secretary level officer in charge of the each of the districts likely to be affected in case of flood. 
 
More than 65,000 people have been moved to 128 camps from the areas likely to be affected over the past few days.
 
The Central Government is monitoring the situation regularly through the National Crisis Management Committee and has promised to extend all possible help to the State Government. 
 
As many as 19 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been deployed in these areas.
 
Air force aircraft and helicopters as well as diving teams of the Indian Navy are also on standby to deal with any eventuality.
 
Nepalese Water Commission is in constant touch with India's Central Water Commission (CWC) and although there is no immediate cause for alarm in the near term all steps are being taken for enhanced preparedness, the statement said.
 
"The situation is being monitored closely," it added.
 
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Bihar authorities evacuate 44,000 people following flood threat in Kosi river

 
Bihar flood threat: CM appeals to people to take shelter in relief camps
The Bihar government has evacuated more than 44,000 people so far as a precautionary measure against possible floods in the Kosi after a landslide  landslide blocked the flow of the river Sunkoshi/Bhotekoshi in Mangkha Village Development Committee area in Sindhupalchowk district of Nepal yesterday.
 
The authorities are worried that the formation of a large water body upstream could create a potential danger of inundation in areas downstream of the Kosi barrage, which is about 270 km from the location of the blockage.
 
The Centre has urged the state administration to speed up the process of evacuation of people. As many as 107 camps have been set up and 30 cattle camps have also been set up.
 
The evacuation has been carried mainly from villages lying within the embankment area in 22 panchayats of Supaul district and seven other districts.
 
A six-member team, consisting of two officials from the Central Water Commission (CWC), two from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and one each from the Indian Army and the Geological Survey of India (GSI), reached Nepal last night to make an initial assessment of the situation.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed concern over the situation and directed that all possible assistance should be made available to the state government.
 
Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth has chaired three emergency meetings of National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) since yesterday afternoon.  Two meetings were held yesterday.  One meeting was held today morning and another meeting is scheduled in the evening today, an official press release said.
 
Mr Seth is in constant touch with the Bihar Chief Secretary, the release said.
 
The release said the CWC was doing a computer simulation exercise to assess the likely impact of sudden release of water.
 
"Water discharge so far is not alarming.  But it cannot be predicted when the flow might increase suddenly.  CWC is issuing advisories," it added.
 
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According to it, the NDRF has deployed eight teams in the areas likely to be affected and seven more would be deployed soon. Five more teams are on standby. The teams are equipped with fibre boats and other equipment.
 
A composite column of the Army and Air Force has reached Supaul and another is in Saharsa. Three more columns have been mobilised from Sukna to Katihar.
 
An Engineering Task Force (ETF) has reached Danapur and two more ETFs  being moved to the state. An AN-32 Aircraft has reached Delhi from Agra to carry persons and communication equipment to Purnia. Another aircraft is on standby at Agra.
 
Two Mi-17 helicopters each are on standby at Gorakhpur, Bagdogra and Barrackpore. Two Chetaks and four Mi-17s have been moved to Bihta near Patna. Naval diving teams are also in readiness.
 
A C-17 aircraft was scheduled to leave late this afternoon from Delhi with a 25-member medical team. Twenty civilian doctors from the government hospitals in Delhi will also leave by that aircraft.
 
The Centre has sent 15 satellite phones to the Bihar government. The Department of Space will start providing satellite inputs from tomorrow.
 
The Department of Food has been asked to provide full assistance and godowns of the Food Corporation of India (FCI)in the areas likely to be affected have sufficient foodgrains, the release added.
 
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Bihar on flood alert after landslide in Nepal blocks flow of Sunkoshi river

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The Centre has put the Bihar government on alert against floods in the Kosi after a landslide blocked the flow of the river Sunkoshi/Bhotekoshi in Mangkha Village Development Committee area in Sindhupalchowk district of Nepal today.
 
"The formation of a large water body thereby can create a potential danger of inundation in areas downstream of the Kosi barrage which is about 270 kms from location of the blockage," a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs said.
 
"Bihar Government has been put on alert. They have started taking action for evacuation of persons living in villages lying within the embankment area in 22 panchayats of Supaul district and other seven districts of Bihar. Relief camps including cattle relief camps are being organised for the evacuated families," it said.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern over the blockage and directed that all possible help should be provided to the affected areas.
 
Eight teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and four of the  State Disaster Response Force have been pressed into service. An additional seven teams of the NDRF are being mobilized from the neighboring state of West Bengal, the statement added.
 
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Bye-elections to 18 Assembly seats in four states to be held on August 21

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The Election Commission today said it would hold bye-elections to fill up vacancies in 18 seats in the legislative assemblies of four states on August 21.
 
The vacancies include 10 in the Bihar Legislative Assembly, three in Karnataka, three in Madhya Pradesh and two in Punjab, an official press release said.
 
The notification for the bye-elections will be issued on July 26 and the last date for filing nominations will be August 2. Counting of votes will be taken up on August 25.
 
The seats which are lying vacant include Narkatiaganj, Rajnagar (SC), Jale, Chhapra, Hajipur, Mohiuddinnagar, Parbatta, Bhagalpur, Banka and Mohania (SC) in Bihar; Chikkodi-Sadalga, Bellary (ST) and Shikaripura in Karnataka; Vijayraghavgarh, Bahoriband and Agar (SC) in Madhya Pradesh; and Talwandi Sabo and Patiala in Punjab, the release added.
 
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4 dead, 8 injured as New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derails in Bihar

Four passengers died and eight others suffered injuries when 12 coaches of the 12236 New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed near Chhapra in Bihar in the early hours of Wednesday, official sources said.
 
4 dead as 12 bogies of Rajdhani Express derail near Chhapra
Four passengers died and eight others suffered injuries when 12 coaches of the 12236 New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed near Chhapra in Bihar in the early hours of today, official sources said.
 
The injured were admitted to a hospital in Chhapra and some of them may be shifted to state capital Patna later, they said.
 
They said three of the victims died on the spot, while the fourth succumbed to his injuries in hospital.
 
The mishap occurred around 2.15 am today when the 12 coaches -- B1 to B10, the power car and the pantry car -- derailed at a spot near Chhapra, about 75 km from Patna, they said. Most of the passengers were asleep and were rudely awakened by the derailment.
 
While the cause of the derailment is yet to be ascertained, East Central Railway (ECR) officials have not ruled out the possibility of sabotage.
 
"There was a general strike called by Maoists in the area and there are some other indications also pointing to possible sabotage," ECR officials said.
 
Railways Minister D V Sadananda Gowda told newspersons in Delhi that the Commissioner of Railway Safety would inquire into the accident and establish the cause of derailment.
 
He, however, said 18 coaches of a goods train had derailed today at a spot 60 km from Chhapra, and that incident appeared to be a case of sabotage.
 
Mr Gowda, who was on his way to Patna to visit the scene of the mishap, announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh to the next-of-kin of each of the deceased, Rs 1 lakh to each of the grievously injured and Rs 20,000 to those who suffered simple injuries.
 
Senior ECR officials from its headquarters Haipur and Chhapra, district administration and police officials and rescue and relief teams rushed to the spot immediately.
 
The passengers of the train were taken to Hajipur and will be sent to their destinations by a special train later today, ECR officials added.
 
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5 virological diagnostic labs to be set up in Bihar to fight encephalitis: Harsh Vardhan

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Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan has announced that five virological diagnostic laboratories would be set up at Gaya, Bhagalpur, Bettiah, Pavapuri and Nalanda in Bihar as part of the efforts to combat encephalitis in these areas.
 
During a visit to Muzaffarpur district of the state yesterday, he also said that a 100-bed paediatric intensive care unit (ICU) would be set up at the Sri Krishna (SK) Government Medical College Hospital there.
 
In the adjoining districts, 10-bed paediatric ICUs would be set up, Dr Harsh Vardhan, who is a medical practitioner, said.
 
He said the SK Medical College Hospital would be upgraded to super-specialty standards. 
 
He said that, apart from the five virological diagnostic laboratories, two multi-disciplinary research units would be set up, one each at Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga. New research initiatives on encephalitis were also announced. 
 
Dr Harsh Vardhan said a Model Rural Health Research Unit on Kala Azar would be set up in Muzaffarpur district. 
 
He said the Medical Council of India (MCI) would be requested to look into extension of medical seats from 150 to 250. He also asked the officials to meet MCI requirements for medical seat extension. He stressed the need of preventive health and making healthy Indians a mass movement by enlisting participation of all sections.
 
During the visit, Dr Harsh Vardhan met the parents of disease affected children in Shahbazpur village in Kanti block of Muzaffarpur. He administered Japanese Encephalitis (JE) vaccine to children in an Anganwadi Centre in Shahpur panchayat. 
 
He inspected the primary health centre (PHC) at Kanti and met the indoor patients at the maternity ward of the PHC. 
 
Dr Harsh Vardhan's three-day visit to the state was aimed at understanding the situation on the ground in one of the disease-affected states where morbidity and mortality of children in the current outbreak of encephalitis had caused concern in the Ministry.
 
He spoke about the efforts being made by the government to eradicate diseases such as Kala Azar, measles, filariasis and leprosy in the country. He said 100 per cent vaccination woud be ensured so that no child goes without immunization. He said the aim should be to achieve a drastic reduction in the infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the state.
 
In Patna, Dr Harsh Vardhan met Bihar Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi and told him that the Centre would do everything possible to halt the morbidity and mortality of mothers and children.
 
Mr Manjhi said the state government had taken many steps for improving the health scenario in the state and added that it was committed to give additional land of 50 to 100 acres for expansion of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Patna.
 
The Union Minister also visited AIIMS Patna and inspected the facilities being set up there. He met the faculty and students of the institute.
 
He announced that a School of Public Health and a Department of Environmental Health Occupational Medicine would be opened in AIIMS Patna.
 
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11 killed, four injured as goods train hits car in Bihar's West Champaran district

 
Train hits wedding party's car, 11 killed
At least 11 people were killed and four others suffered serious injuries when the Mahindra Bolero sports utility vehicle in which they were travelling was hit by a goods train at an unmanned railway level crossing in the West Champaran district of Bihar yesterday evening.
 
Bettiah Superintendent of Police Saurabh Kumar Sah told NetIndian over the telephone that the mishap occurred around 6.30 pm yesteday at the Rajghat railway crossing, about 200 km from state capital Patna.
 
The victims were part of a wedding party and included the bridegroom, who was among those injured, he said.
 
Mr Sah said four people died on the spot while seven others succumbed to their injuries in hospital. Four of those who were killed were children, he added.
 
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Jeetan Ram Manjhi to be new Chief Minister of Bihar

 
Nitish Kumar names Jeetan Ram Manjhi as next Bihar CM
Mr Jeetan Ram Manjhi, Bihar's Minister for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Backward and Economically Backward Classes Welfare, will be the new Chief Minister of the state, succeeding Mr Nitish Kumar, who had resigned after the Janata Dal (United) suffered a major debacle in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections.
 
The JD (U) had won just two of the 40 Lok Sabha seats from Bihar, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its erstwhile partner in the state, bagged as many as 22.
 
The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of former Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, an ally of the BJP, got five seats. The Congress won two seats, the NCP one, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) four and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party won three.
 
Accepting responsibility for the defeat, Mr Kumar, 63, had resigned on May 17, a day after the results were announced.
 
Mr Manjhi, 64,  was chosen as the leader of the JD(U) legislature party at its meeting here today and JD (U) chief Sharad Yadav, Mr Kumar and Mr Manjhi later went to meet Governor D Y Patil and apprise him of the party's decision.
 
No decision on a successor to Mr Kumar could be taken at yesterday's meeting of the JD(U) legislature party after many members insisted that he withdraw his resignation.
 
At today's meeting, the members asked him to choose his successor after he refused to go back on his decision to quit. Mr Manjhi is said to be one of his closest aides in the Bihar Cabinet. He was among those who were defeated in the Lok Sabha elections.
 
On June 16 last year, the JD (U) had formally withdrawn from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and ended its 17-year-old partnership with the BJP in Bihar after it became increasingly clear that Mr Narendra Modi would be the Prime Ministerial candidate of the party.
 
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Nitish Kumar quits as Bihar CM after election debacle

 
Nitish Kumar resigns as Bihar CM
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose Janata Dal (United) suffered a major setback in the state in the Lok Sabha elections, tendered his resignation to Governor D Y Patil today, taking moral responsibility for the debacle.
 
Mr Kumar's party ended up with just two of the 40 Lok Sabha seats from Bihar, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), its erstwhile partner in the state, won as many as 22.
 
The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of former Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, an ally of the BJP, got five seats. The Congress won two seats, the NCP one, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) four and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party won three.
 
On June 16 last year, the JD (U) had formally withdrawn from the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and ended its 17-year-old partnership with the BJP in Bihar after it became increasingly clear that Mr Narendra Modi would be the Prime Ministerial candidate of the party.
 
Talking to newspersons after meeting the Governor, Mr Kumar said he had not recommended dissolution of the Legislative Assembly. He said a meeting of the JD (U) Legislature Party would be held tomorrow to decide on its further course of action.
 
In response to a query, he said he had no regrets about the decision to part ways with the BJP and explained that it had been taken when it had become clear that the two parties could not work together.
 
Mr Kmar said that, as the person who led the party's campaign in Bihar, he was responsible for the debacle.
 
He decried the kind of campaign which had been conducted by the BJP in the elections.
 
"There was no discussion on programmes and policies but only allegations and counter-allegations and personal attacks. I have never seen such a campaign in my political career," he said.
 
Mr Kumar said that his party had conducted itself with dignity throughout the campaign, but did not get the kind of support from the people it had hoped to get.
 
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EC censures BJP's Giriraj Singh for "highly provocative" speeches

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The Election Commission has "condemned" Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Giriraj Singh for his "highly provocative" statement of April 18 in which he had said that those who oppose BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi must move to Pakistan and "censured" him for the misconduct.
 
Mr Singh, who is a candidate of the BJP in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, made the speeches at Deoghar and Bokara in Jharkhand, following which the Commission had asked him to explain his conduct by 5 pm of April 24.
 
The Commission said it had considered his reply and seen the video recording of the impugned speeches and was convinced that he had made highly provocative speeches which had the impact of aggravating existing differences or creating mutual hatred between different communities, religious or linguistic, and were thus violative of the Model Code of Conduct for candidates and political parties.
 
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EC bans BJP's Giriraj Singh from addressing meetings in Jharkhand, Bihar

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The Election Commission today banned Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Giriraj Singh from holding any public meetings, processions, rallies and road shows in Bihar and Jharkhand during the campaign for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections in view of the highly inflammatory statements made by him recently.
 
The Commission also directed the Chief Secretaries of Jharkhand and Bihar that, to ensure peace and tranquitlity during elections as well as a level playing field , to ensure that the first information reports (FIRs) filed in the matter are investigated quickly and brought to a logical conclusion.
 
The letter said all preventive measures shall be taken against Mr Giriraj Singh under the relevant provisions of Sections 107 to 110 and 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr PC) to ensure that no act of commission or omission is resorted to by him which has the effect of prejudicially affecting the public tranquitlity and faw and order.
 
The Commission asked the two officials to send a compliance report in respect of its directions by 5 pm on April 24.
 
Mr Singh had, during a speech at Bokaro in Jharkhand on April 18, said that critics of BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had no place in India and should go to Pakistan. He had repeated the remarks later to newspersons.
 
"These statements promote feelings of enmity, hatred and ill-will and create
disharmony between different communities. Further, the said statements made by him are highly prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious communities and are also likely to disturb peace and public tranquillity and such public utterances by him have the malicious effect of outraging the religious feelings and religious beliefs of different classes of citizens of India and threatening some section of the voters," the Commission said.
 
The Commission said the remarks were also totally violative of the principles of the Constitution, which guarantees equality before law and equal opportunity, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, and the sacred right of free exercise of franchise by the electors as per his or her free will and choice.
 
The Commission also stated that Mr Singh's statements were not ony violative of the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct but also constitutd serious offences 
under various provisions of law like Section 125 [and also Sections 123(3) and 123(3A)] of the Representatlon of the People Act, 1951, Sections 153A, 153B, 171C, 295A and 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code, apart from the relevant provistons of the State laws. 
 
The Commission also issued separately a notice to Mr Singh asking him to explain his stand before 5 pm on April 24.
 
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Two additional judges appointed to Patna High Court

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The President has appointed Mr Prabhat Kumar Jha and Mr Jitendra Mohan Sharma to be Additional Judges of the Patna High Court.
 
An official press release said here today that the appointments, in that order of seniority, would be for a period of two years with effect from the date they assume charge of their offices.
 
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Additional Judges appointed to Punjab & Haryana, Patna High Courts

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The President has appointed Ms Lisa Gill as an Additional Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
 
An official press release said here today that the President had also appointed Mr Chakradhari Sharan Singh to be an Additional Judge of the Patna High Court.
 
The appointment will be for a period of two years with effect from the date she assumes charge of her office in the case of Ms Gill and for two years with effect from April 5 in the case of Mr Singh, the release added.
 
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Former bureaucrat, RS member N K Singh joins BJP

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Former Revenue Secretary and Rajya Sabha Member Nand Kishore Singh, who quit the Janata Dal (United) yesterday, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of party president Rajnath Singh here today.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Singh, 73, who is a retired officer of the 1964 batch of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and served as the Revenue Secretary in the 1980s, said he was confident that the BJP could help revive growth and progress in the country and remove the prevailing atmosphere of gloom.
 
“I believe that the BJP-led NDA government can give a new and fair deal to India,” he told journalists.
 
Mr Singh had been denied a renomination to the Rajya Sabha by Bihar chief Minister Nitish Kumar, which is believed to be one of the reasons for the parting of ways between the two.
 
He said he felt only the BJP could provide a strong and stable government with credible leadership to the country.
 
H said the JD (U) government in Bihar had strayed from its development agenda after its break-up with the BJP in the state and was focused entirely on survival.
 
He said the India faced serious economic and political challenges and needed a strong and stable government at this stage. 
 
"Only the BJP can provide the purposive and resolute policies, programmes and leadership in the current scenario. “I believe that only an NDA government led by the BJP can usher a new India reviving the engines of growth and progress and replace the prevailing atmosphere of gloom with optimism and hope,” he said.
 
He also voiced support for BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, saying that the allegations against him had not been proved. 
 
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Rebel RJD leader Ram Kripal Yadav joins BJP

 
Rajya Sabha member Ram Kripal Yadav joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here today, four days after he had announced his resignation from all parts in the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) after he was denied a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections from the Pataliputra constituency in Bihar.
 
Mr Yadav, 56, was formally inducted into the BJP by its president Rajnath Singh in the presence of Bihar BJP chief Sushil Modi and other senior leaders.
 
He said he had served the RJD for 35 years but was forced to quit because the party had started to give more importance to its chief Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family rather than its stated goal of social justice.
 
"In RJD, family is getting preference over others. I was pained at what was happening to ordinary workers like us. We felt that social justice was what we must fight for and not for one family," he said.
 
"The party has strayed from the path of social justice and from the ideals of leaders such as Ram Manohar Lohia, Jayaprakash Narayan and Karpoori Thakur," he said.
 
Mr Yadav said secularism was only an electoral slogan for the RJD now and the need of the hour was development. "People feel alienated because of the lack of development," he said.
 
He was all praise for the development agenda of BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. "We need development for all sections of the people," he said.
 
Mr Yadav, who was a close aide of Mr Prasad for all these years, said that he would work as a grassroot levelworker in the BJP. 
 
Mr Yadav was said to have been keen on contesting from Pataliputra, but the RJD chose to give the ticket to Mr Lalu Prasad's daughter, Misa Bharti.
 
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