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Jharkhand

Lalu Prasad, Jagannath Mishra convicted, given 5 years in jail in fodder scam case

A Special CBI in Ranchi on Wednesday convicted and sentenced former Bihar Chief Ministers Lalu Prasad Yadav and Jagannath Mishra to five years in prison in a fodder scam case.
File photo of Lalu Prasad Yadav
File photo of Lalu Prasad Yadav
A Special CBI Court convicted and sentenced former Bihar Chief Ministers Lalu Prasad Yadav and Jagannath Mishra to five years in prison in a fodder scam case here today.
 
Special CBI Judge Swarn Shankar Prasad also imposed a fine of Rs. 10 lakh on both of them in the case pertaining to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs. 33.67 crore from the Chaibasa Treasury, then a part of undivided Bihar and now in Jharkhand, in 1992-93.
 
Mr. Yadav and Mr. Mishra were convicted on two separate counts and sentenced to five years in prison on each, but the sentences will run concurrently and the period of jail term already served would be set off.
 
In all, as many as 50 people were convicted in the case, while six were acquitted. The 50 people convicted today included six politicians, three former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers and four woemn. They were given three years of imprisonment and fined Rs. 50,000 each.
 
There were a total of 76 accused persons in the case, of whom 14 died during the trial, three turned CBI approvers, two admitted to their crime and one is absconding.
 
This is the third fodder scam case in which Mr. Yadav, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief, has been convicted, while it is the second for Mr. Mishra.
 
Mr. Yadav had, on September 30, 2013, been sentenced to five years of five years of rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 25 lakhs for his role in another case in the multi-crore fodder scam, which broke out 17 years ago when he was Chief Minister of Bihar.
 
He and 44 others were convicted by the CBI Court in Ranchi in one of the several cases related to the Rs 950 crore scandal, in which Rs 37.70 crore had been fraudulently withdrawn from the treasury at Chaibasa. Mr. Mishra was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for four years with a fine of Rs 2 lakhs in that case.
 
On December 13 that year, the Supreme Court granted bail to Mr. Yadav. He had moved the apex court after the Jharkhand High Court had dismissed his application for bail until his appeal against his conviction by the Special CBI Court in Ranchi was decided by the High Court.
 
The bail was granted by a bench headed by then Chief Justice P Sathasivam after it noted that many other similarly placed convicts had been been granted bail in the case.
 
 
Lalu Prasad given three years in third fodder scam case
On January 6, Mr. Yadav was sentenced to three and a half years in prison by a CBI Special Court for his role in a second fodder scam case, relating to the fraudulent withdrawal of funds from the Deoghar Treasury. Fifteen others were convicted in that case, while Mr. Mishra and five others were acquitted.
 
The former Union Minister is an accused in two other cases related to the alleged scam, pertaining to illegal withdrawal of Rs 3.97 crore from the Dumka Treasury and Rs 184 crore from the Doranda treasury. 
 
Despite the charges he is facing, Mr. Yadav remains popular with large sections of the people in Bihar and had led a grand alliance that included the Janata Dal (United) and the Congress to a handsome victory over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2015 Assembly elections. The alliance later came apart when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar walked out of it and later joined hands with the BJP to return as Chief Minister.
 
Mr. Yadav's conviction is likely to be a setback for the efforts to put together a similar alliance against the BJP for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
 
Mr. Yadav's son Tejaswi Yadav, former deputy chief minister of Bihar, told journalists today that they would file appeals against the verdicts in the High Court. He said the people of the state consider Mr. Yadav as a hero and believed he was innocent. He also said that the people could see that Mr. Yadav was being framed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar, who is heading a JD (U)-BJP coalition government in Bihar.
 
Mr. Yadav, who is lodged in the Birsa Munda Central Jail here following his conviction in the Deoghar Treasury case, was brought to the CBI Court to hear the verdict in today's case.
 
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Modi says that if India has to develop, no part of country can remain underdeveloped

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that, if India has to emerge as a developed nation, no part of the country could remain weak and underdeveloped.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that, if India has to emerge as a developed nation, no part of the country could remain weak and underdeveloped.
 
Pointing out that eastern India had remained underdeveloped, he said growth should be balanced across north, south, east and west so that common people all over the country could enjoy the fruits of development in equal measure.
 
Mr Modi was addressing a gathering after launching the National Digital Literacy Mission in Ranchi.
 
He also dedicated to the nation Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) oil terminal at Jasidih and the 765 kV Ranchi-Dharamjaygarh-Sipat transmission line.
 
Mr Modi announced that work would commence shortly on the Jagdishpur-Phoolpur-Haldia gas pipeline, which would become a major source of energy for eastern India. 
 
He also initiated work at the North Karanpura Super Thermal Power Plant which, he said, would dispel darkness from Jharkhand. He also laid the foundation stone for two IT-related projects.
 
Mr Modi said Jharkhand had huge potential for development and promised to repay the love and affection shown to him by the people of the state through development.
 
Stating that India could develop only if its states developed, he referred to yesterday's decision by the Union Cabinet to increase royalty rates on minerals which would benefit Jharkhand enormously.
 
Jharkhand Governor Sayed Ahmed, Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal and Dharmendra Pradhan were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
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Five policemen killed in Maoist attack in Jharkhand

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Five policemen were killed in a Maoist attack in Saraikela district of Jharkhand on Friday, police said.
 
This was the third attack on security forces by the Left-wing rebels since the Lok Sabha polls ended last month. 
 
According to a police spokesperson, the Maoist guerrillas attacked a police patrol at Kukru Bazar under Tiruldih police station area of Saraikela district, killing two assistant sub-inspectors and three constables. The rebels also took away the rifles of the killed police personnel.
 
Following the incident, additional troops from the district headquarters were rushed to the spot.
 
Chief Minister Raghubar Das condemned the attack and asserted that the death of the police personnel would not go in vain. 
 
A security personnel was killed and four others injured in a gun battle with Maoists in Jharkhand's Dumka district on June 2. On May 28, 16 security personnel were injured in Maoist landmine blast in Seraikela.
 
IANS
 

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15 security personnel injured in Jharkhand IED blast

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At least 15 security personnel were injured when Maoists detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) in Jharkhand on Tuesday, police said.
 
The IED hit a vehicle of the security personnel while they were on patrol duty in the forest area of Rai Sindri hill in Seraikela district. 
 
After the blast, Maoist guerrillas started firing at the security forces.
 
The injured personnel were airlifted to Ranchi for treatment.
 
"The IED had been planted to influence the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. The security personnel were returning after patrolling when the blast took place," Jharkhand Director General of Police D. K. Pandey told the media.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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11 security personnel injured in IED blast in Jharkhand

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Eleven security personnel were injured in an IED blast set off by Maoist Guerrillas early on Tuesday, police said.
 
According to police, the security personnel were on Long Range Patrolling (LRP) when the IED blast hit their vehicle. After detonating the IED, the Maoists started firing and the security personnel retaliated.
 
In the IED blast, eight jawans of COBRA and three of the district police were injured. The incident took place in a jungle situated in the Kuchai area of Seraikela district.
 
The injured security personnel have been airlifted to Ranchi for treatment.
 
IANS
 

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Maoist attack in Jharkhand: 3 cops injured

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Three policemen were injured in a Maoist attack in Seraikela district of Jharkhand on Monday, police said.
 
Members of the banned Left-wing extremist group detonated landmines and then fired indiscriminately on a police bus in Hudanga village. 
 
The police personnel were on their way to the Suru irrigation project and dam when the attack took place.
 
The injured policemen were rushed to a Jamshedpur hospital.
 
IANS
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Four people die in blast in Jharkhand

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Four people were killed on Sunday in Jharkhand's Giridih district when some men were unloading explosives from a motorcycle, police said.
 
The incident took place in Pandanatand village when Siraj Ansari along with Jabbar Mia were unloading the explosives.
 
The explosives suddenly went off, killing three people instantly and injuring three others, one of whom died while being given medical treatment.
 
A police officer said the explosives were to be used for blasting the rocky surface to make a well.
 
IANS

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Priest, others convicted in gang rape case in Jharkhand

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A Christian priest and three others were convicted on Tuesday for the gang-rape of five girls in Jharkhand's Khuti district.
 
"Four people including Father Alphanso have been convicted by the Additional District Judge. The quantum of sentence will be delivered on May 15," Sushil Jaiswal, Public Prosecutor of Khuti district, told reporters.
 
Five girls were gang-raped in June 19, 2018 in Arki in Khuti district. Based on the statement of the victims, police arrested four people including the priest.
 
The five girls had gone to Arki to perform a play to create awareness regarding government schemes. They were abducted and raped.
 
IANS
 

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Minor earthquake shakes Seraikella Kharsawan region of Jharkhand

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale, shook the Seraikella Kharsawan region of Jharkhand early this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 22.8°N and longitude 86.1°E, occurred at 0620 hours at a focal depth of 18 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Trooper, 3 Maoists killed in Jharkhand encounter

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A CRPF trooper was killed on Monday when the Central Reserve Police Force took on Maoists in a forested area here and brought down three of the banned Left wing extremists, officials said.
 
The operation took place at 6.15 a.m. in the Belbha Ghat area of Jharkhand.
 
Bodies of three extremists along with one AK-47 Rifle, three magazines and four pipe bombs were recovered after the gun battle ended, an official statement said. 
 
A CRPF constable-guard of the 7th Battalion was killed in the gunfight, it said.
 
IANS
 

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One body recovered as rescue operations start at Hindalco

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One body was recovered on Wednesday by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team from the debris of the caustic pond of aluminium major Hindalco, which had collapsed the previous day near here.
 
"One body has been recovered. The NDRF team has started rescue work," Ranchi Deputy Commissioner (DC) Rai Mahipat Ray told IANS.
 
The NDRF team launched the rescue operation on Wednesday amidst heavy security arrangements. The debris has spread over the area causing a threat to the environment.
 
Hindalco, however, has said that only four people were injured, and no damage has been done to the environment.
 
Many people were trapped and swept away in the debris as the caustic pond suddenly broke up following a land cave-in at Muri, situated around 25 km from Ranchi.
 
According to local residents, the incident occurred at the red mud store point which is left after manufacturing aluminium from bauxite.
 
According to an eyewitness, the heap of mud caved in, causing the debris to spread rapidly, following which many workers were trapped.
 
Hindalco was sealed in 2017 on order of the pollution control board for not following the environment and safety rules. The company was restarted last year.
 
Opposition parties have alleged that the relief work started late. 
 
IANS
 

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Many trapped as caustic pond of Hindalco collapses

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Many people were said to be trapped and several vehicles buried as the caustic pond of aluminium and copper manufacturers Hindalco collapsed in Jharkhand on Tuesday, officials said.
 
Jharkhand Chief Secretary D. K. Tiwari has ordered a probe. 
 
Shubhra Verma, Commissioner of North Chhotanagpur, will probe the accident, a government press release said.
 
"The Chief Secretary has directed to probe all angles of the accident and submit a report to the government. A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team has been sent to the spot for relief work," the release said.
 
Many people were trapped and swept away in the debris as the caustic pond suddenly broke up following a land cave-in at Muri, situated around 25 km from Ranchi.
 
According to local residents, the incident occurred at the red mud store point which is left after manufacturing aluminium from bauxite. 
 
According to an eyewitness, the heap of the mud caved in due to which the mud started spreading away rapidly following which many workers were trapped.
 
Opposition parties have alleged that the relief work started late.
 
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Congress fields Kirti Azad from Dhanbad

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The Congress on Monday named cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad as its candidate for the Dhanbad Lok Sabha seat in Jharkhand.
 
The party also fielded Kalicharan Munda from Khunti in the state. 
 
Azad, who represents Darbhanga in Bihar in the outgoing Lok Sabha, had joined the Congress in February. 
 
A three-time MP, he was suspended from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2015 after some of his remarks were seen as a violation of party discipline.
 
IANS
 

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BJP axes two sitting Jharkhand MPs, fields former RJD leader

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday announced its remaining three candidates from Jharkhand, dropping two sitting MPs and fielding the RJD state President who had joined it last month.
 
While the BJP had announced 10 candidates for 13 of the state's 14 parliamentary constituencies last month, it was yet to announce its nominees for the Ranchi, Koderma and Chatra seats. The Giridih seat, which was also held by the party, has been given to ally, the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU).
 
The party has fielded sitting MP Sunil Singh again from Chatra but denied ticket to Ram Tahal Chaudhary (Ranchi) and Rabindra Rai (Koderma).
 
In place of Chaudhary, Khadi Board president Sanjay Seth, a close associate of Chief Minister Raghubar Das, will fight from Ranchi while Annapurna Devi, who quit the Rashtriya Janata Dal to join the ruling party, has been fielded from Koderma. 
 
In its earlier list, the BJP had fielded all the sitting MPs except Kariya Munda, a former Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker. Former Chief Minister Arjun Munda will contest from Khuti in his place.
 
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Economist Jean Dreze detained in Jharkhand briefly on Thursday

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Noted economist Jean Dreze was detained in Jharkhand's Garwah district on Thursday for allegedly holding a public meeting without permission, an official said. He was later released.
 
The Belgian-born Indian economist and activist and two others were taken into custody when they were holding a public meeting in Vishunpur market of Garwah.
 
According to police, holding any public meeting without permission is violation of the Model Code of Conduct in place after the Lok Sabha elections were announced.
 
The meeting, in which Dreze was invited as the main speaker, was organised by a social organisation.
 
"The organisers had sought permission but they did not provide the name of the main speaker. The district administration did not give permission for the public meeting for this reason," Sub Divisional Officer Kamleshwar Narayan told reporters.
 
According to reports, Dreze was in police custody for two hours before being released.
 
Terming the event a "peaceful and non-political meeting", Dreze said: "Understanding of democracy is shrinking. Gradually, all freedom being curbed."
 
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi expressed concern over Dreze's detention and alleged that the BJP was in a "state of war" with everybody who works for the poor and the downtrodden. He made the remarks in a Facebook post.
 
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Modi unveils development projects in Bihar and Jharkhand

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a slew of development projects in the areas of infrastructure, connectivity, energy security and healthcare at functions in Barauni and Hazaribagh during a day's visit to Bihar and Jharkhand today.
 
At Barauni in Bihar, Modi inaugurated or laid the foundation stones of projects worth Rs. 33,000 crore at a function at which Bihar Governor Laljee Tandon, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi and Union Minister for Food and Consumer Affairs Ramvilas Paswan were present.
 
He laid the foundation stone of the Patna Metro Rail Project that will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 13,365 crore. It will have two corridors -- Danapur to Mithapur and Patna Railway Station to New ISBT and is likely to be completed in five years. The project will ease the public transport in Patna and adjoining areas.
 
He also inaugurated the Phulpur to Patna stretch of the Jagdishpur-Varanasi natural gas pipeline, a project initiated by him in July 2015. “It will ensure the supply of gas to the local industries and to the revived Barauni Fertilizer factory besides marking the start of piped gas supply in Patna. A gas-based ecosystem will create employment opportunities for the youth in the area,” he added. 
 
“The Government is committed for the overall development of Eastern India and Bihar. Under Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga Yojana, Varanasi, Bhubaneshwar, Cuttack, Patna, Ranchi and Jamshedpur are being connected by gas pipeline,” he said. 
 
Modi also inaugurated the Patna City Gas Distribution project which will provide piped gas supply in the city and adjoining areas.
 
“The NDA government’s vision of development is on two lines, infrastructure development and upliftment of the marginalized sections of society who have been struggling to avail basic amenities for over 70 years,” he said.
 
”It is a historic day for Bihar in terms of health care infrastructure development. New medical colleges will now be coming up in Chapra and Purnia while Medical colleges in Gaya and Bhagalpur are being upgraded. He added that AIIMS has come up in Patna while work is on to set up another AIIM in the state to meet the healthcare needs of the people,” he added.
 
He inaugurated the first phase of River Front Development in Patna and also laid the foundation Stone for the Karmalichak Sewerage Network spanning 96.54 kilometres.  Works related to Sewage Treatment Plants at Barh, Sultanganj and Naugachia were kicked off by the Prime Minister. He also laid the Foundation Stone for 22 AMRUT projects at various locations.
 
Referring to the pain, anger and grief in the country after the terror attack in Pulwama, he said, “I feel the same fire in my heart that’s burning inside you.” He paid tributes to martyr Constable Sanjay Kumar Sinha from Patna and Ratan Kumar Thakur from Bhagalpur who laid down their lives for the country and said the entire nation stood with the family of martyrs in this hour of grief. 
 
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He laid the foundation stone of the 9 MMT AVU of the Barauni Refinery Expansion Project. Another one was for the augmentation of the Paradip-Haldia-Durgapur LPG pipeline from Durgapur to Muzaffarpur and Patna besides the ATF Hydrotreating Unit (INDJET) at Barauni Refinery. These projects will significantly augment the availability of energy in the city and the region.
 
The Ammonia-Urea Fertilizer Complex at Barauni foundation stone was laid by Modi during this visit to boost fertilizer production.
 
He also inaugurated the electrification of railway lines on the following sectors: Barauni-Kumedpur, Muzaffarpur-Raxaul, Fatuha-Islampur,· Biharsharif-Daniawan and flagged off the Ranchi-Patna AC Weekly Express train.
 
Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu, Chief Minister Raghuvar Das and  Union Minister Jayant Sinha were among those present at the function at Hazaribagh.
 
Addressing the gathering, Modi said “I pay homage to Vijay Soreng, the brave son of Jharkhand who laid his life for the nation. At every step we will have to take care of the families of martyrs."
 
He inaugurated the Medical Colleges at Hazaribagh, Dumka and Palamu. The foundation stone of these colleges were laid by him in 2017. The new Medical colleges are built at a cost of Rs 885 crore. Each college campus is made disabled friendly. The modern medical facilities will benefit 1.5 crores people of 11 districts of Jharkhand. 
 
"It is this land of Jharkhand that witnessed the launch of Ayushman Bharat Yojana that has benefitted lakhs of people across India including thousands from Jharkhand. And constant efforts are being made to improve the health infrastructure of the state," he said.
 
He laid the foundation stone for four 500-bedded hospitals at Hazaribagh, Dumka, Palamu and Jamshedpur.
 
Modi said that health and safe drinking water are inseperable. And the water projects unveiled in Jharkhand will ensure good health of its people. He inaugurated four Rural Water Supply Schemes in Ramgarh and Hazaribagh districts. He laid the foundation stone for an additional six Rural Water Supply Schemes in these two districts along with foundation stone for water supply schemes in areas inhabited by Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups. He also laid the foundation stone for Urban Water Supply Scheme in Hazaribagh. To be set up at a cost of Rs 500 crore, this project will supply safe drinking water to 56,000 households of Hazaribagh.
 
The Prime Minister also inaugurated the Sahibganj Sewerage Treatment Plant, and the Madhusudan Ghat, under the Namami Gange initiative.
 
Modi distributed cheques to select beneficiaries to mark the launch of DBT scheme for farmers to purchase mobile phones under e-NAM. He said “the scheme will benefit 27 lakh farmers. With the help of a smartphone they would not only get weather information but information of crop prices, government schemes and new methods of farming also."
 
The Prime Minister e-inaugurated a Women's Engineering College at Ramgarh. He noted that it is the first such college in Eastern India and only the third in India where only women will study engineering.  
 
Foundation stone for the Centre for Tribal Studies, Acharya VinobaBhave University, Hazaribagh was also laid by the Prime Minister. He said that the institute will help in garnering and spreading the knowledge on tribal ways and culture. He said that sabka saath sabka vikas entails empowerment of all sections of the society including the poor, women, youth and tribals. And the colleges for women and tribals are efforts in this direction.
 
The Prime Minister distributed packed milk to select schoolchildren to mark the launch of Kanha Milk Scheme for students in government schools. The students will get 200 ml of milk everyday which will help in fighting malnourishment. “I hope each child will realise her full potential and make the nation proud," he said.
 
Modi reiterated that his government is making efforts to preserve and promote the memories of tribal heroes of the country's freedom struggle in museums and memorials. The Birsamunda Museum of Jharkhand is one such example, he added.
 
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Congress wins Jharkhand assembly bye-election

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The Congress on Sunday won the Kolebira assembly bye-election in Jharkhand, said an Election Commission official.
 
Congress candidate Naman Bixal Kongari defeated the BJP candidate by over 9,000 votes, the official said. Kongari polled 40,343 votes while the BJP candidate Basant Soreng managed to get 30,685 votes.
 
The sitting legislator Enos Ekka's wife Menon Ekka managed to get only 16,445 votes. The polling took place on December 20.
 
The seat fell vacant following conviction of former Minister Enos Ekka in the murder of a school teacher. There were five candidates in the fray. 
 
The Congress candidate was ahead of his BJP rival from the first round, sources said.
 
"It's a victory of secular forces in the country. People of the country have started rejecting the BJP," said Alok Dubey, Congress general secretary.
 
IANS
 

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Shatrughan Sinha, Congress, JMM leaders meet ailing Lalu

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Senior BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha, Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leaders met jailed and ailing RJD chief Lalu Prasad in a hospital in Ranchi on Saturday.
 
Sinha met Lalu along with former Central minister and Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay in the paying ward of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Ranchi. 
 
Lalu is suffering from multiple diseases and is admitted to RIMS for treatment.
 
After meeting Lalu, Sinha said: "I enquired about his health. We have family relations, and our conversations were related to family. No political matters were discussed." 
 
Replying to a query about his younger son Tejashwi Yadav, Lalu said, "Tejashwi is a good and promising youth. He is the face of Bihar."
 
Besides Sinha and Sahay, senior Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad also met Lalu. 
 
Former Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) executive president Hemant Soren, too, arrived in the hospital to meet Lalu on Saturday.
 
Soren said, "There is a wave against the BJP in the country. We discussed ways to form a strong platform to defeat the BJP in Jharkhand and the country."
 
Lalu was convicted in three cases in the fodder scam by a CBI court in December last year. He is serving a jail term of 14 years.
 
IANS
 

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Jharkhand Literary Meet 2018 to be held in Ranchi on December 8-9

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Eminent writers and personalities such as Ruskin Bond, Uday Prakash, Mahadev Toppo, Alok Rai and Rekha Bhardwaj will be among the doyens of Hindi and English literature who will congregate for the second edition of the Jharkhand Literary Meet (JLM) here on December 8-9.
 
The event promises to be a literary high point encompassing writing, short films and evening performances, the organisers, Tata Steel, said.
 
Bond, the author practically every English-speaking child in India has grown up reading, will be present for two sessions -- one of which will be on the Bollywood adaptations of his stories.
 
Chanakya Chaudhary, vice president, corporate services, Tata Steel, told a press conference here on Thursday that the event would build on the "resounding success" of the first edition of the JLM last year.
 
“We initiated the first Jharkhand Literary Meet with the belief that a culturally rich region such as Jharkhand must have its very own festival celebrating literature and allied cultural pursuits, like dance, music, recitation, cinema and theatrical performances. The focus has been to engage premier authors, speakers and performance artists from the region and across India.
 
“It was our privilege and pleasure to have hosted, in the very first year itself, eminent writers and personalities such as Ashok Vajpeyi, Mark Tully and Sharmila Tagore, among others. We hope to make the Jharkhand Literary Meet an integral part of Ranchi cultural canvas as well as the region’s premier literary event,” Chaudhary said.
 
Festival director Malavika Banerjee said, “We are privileged to have iconic author Ruskin Bond to inaugurate and be a part of JLM 2018, especially as this his first-ever visit to Ranchi. Uday Prakash, one of the stalwarts of modern Hindi literature, is another author we are privileged to bring to JLM 2018.”
 
Banerjee also spoke of the presence of authors from the region who are making a mark on the country’s literary scene, such as Mahadev Toppo, Mohua Maji and Anuj Lugun. “This is part of our continued, strong focus on making the meet a balance between writing from the region and elsewhere,” she added.
 
The formal inauguration of the event will take place on December 8 morning, with Bond and Prakash doing the honours. The venue for this year’s meet is Audrey House, a gracious colonial-era bungalow near Raj Bhavan.
 
A curtain-raiser has also been planned at Jamshedpur on December 7, featuring Bond, to flag off the Tata Steel Literary Meet Season, which includes ‘Kalam’, the Kolkata Literary Meet, and BLM, the ‘Bhubaneswar Literary Meet’.
 
Rekha Bhardwaj’s performance will be another major highlight of the festival. 
 
"The National Award winning singer would surely be a perfect fit for the Jharkhand Literary Meet, not only because of her reputation as a powerhouse performer but because of her known interest in Hindi / Urdu literature," a press release from the organisers said.
 
A session on late film music composer S D Burman’s music, as explored in an award-winning book, would be an added draw for music lovers. For the millennials, a session on the advent and mass popularity of web-streamed content aided by platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime will be discussed with the cast of ‘Mirzapur’ (an Amazon Prime original).
 
A stand-up comedy performance by renowned comic and writer Sorabh Pant and a musical tribute to Begum Akhtar will round up the offerings at JLM 2018.
 
Ashutosh Chaturvedi, chief editor, representing event media partner ‘Prabhat Khabar’ and Shailesh Verma, chief resident executive, Tata Steel, based at Ranchi were also present on the occasion.
 
NNN

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World Bank to provide $ 310 million loan for Jharkhand Power System Improvement Project

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The Government of India, the Government of Jharkhand and the World Bank signed here today a $310 million loan agreement for Jharkhand Power System Improvement Project to provide reliable, quality, and affordable 24x7 electricity to the people of the state.
 
The project will help build new power transmission infrastructure, as well as put in place systems to improve the technical efficiency and commercial performance of the state power sector utilities, an official press release said.
 
The project will help bring in modern technology solutions such as automated sub-stations, and network analysis and planning tools to provide reliable power supply and enhance customer satisfaction, it said.
 
While a significant portion of the proposed investments are aimed at improving power transmission infrastructure, the project will also focus on developing institutional capacities of State-owned power transmission and distribution companies and improving their operational performance.
 
The project is part of the Government of India’s Power for All program launched in 2014. The plan envisages addition of over 4.5 GW generation capacities by 2022 (including a significant share of 1.5 GW from solar energy), through a mix of private and public sector investments.
 
The agreement for the Project was signed by Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India; Ms. Vandana Dadel, Secretary, Energy Department, on behalf of the Government of Jharkhand; and Mr. Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank.
 
Mr. Khare said that Jharkhand was one of the first States to join the Power for All plan and is making efforts to improve access to power through reforms in transmission and electricity distribution. He said that with the demand for reliable power expected to almost double in the coming years, the project will help meet the energy needs of the State for its economic growth.
 
Mr. Ahmad said that the Government of Jharkhand is committed to providing quality power supply to its people for the State’s economic development. The project will help the State increase supply of reliable electricity to households, industries, businesses and various other productive sectors, and contribute to poverty alleviation, and inclusive growth, he said.
 
The release said the Government of Jharkhand has achieved significant results towards electrification. As per data from the Jharkhand Distribution Company, more than 80 percent of all citizens in the State have access to electricity. However, the State will have to continue to work towards providing reliable 24x7 power for all its consumers. The per capita consumption of electricity in Jharkhand at 552 kWh at the end of FY16 is roughly half of the national average. Improved availability of power in the region from plants owned by the Central Government and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) has helped the State achieve lower demand supply deficits in recent years.
 
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Some of the major components of the project include construction of new sub-stations and transmission lines, primarily at 132kV voltage level. It will provide support to the Jharkhand Urja Sancharan Nigam Limited (JUSNL) in setting-up systems for strengthening the State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) operations including financing software solutions for improving scheduling and dispatch functions. This will help integrate renewable energy in the State grid, the release said.
 
The project will also support smart meters, with two-way communication and backend IT infrastructure, deployed in select urban towns. These meters will not only reduce technical and commercial losses, but also improve peak load management. The meters are expected to provide consumers with better access to data which will encourage them to reduce their electricity consumption. To begin with, the project will finance smart metering for around 350,000 consumers in the capital city of Ranchi.  
 
“Implementing such a large program and improving the financial health of the sector, requires deeper institutional development of its power transmission & distribution utilities. Hence, one of the key elements of the current project will be to support institutional strengthening of the State-owned utilities in the areas of procurement, contract implementation, financial management, and commercial operations among others,” said Mr. Amol Gupta, Energy Specialist and Ms. Kavita Saraswat, Senior Power Engineer and World Bank’s Task Team Leaders for this project.
 
The $310 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a 5-year grace period, and a final maturity of 25 years, the release added.
 
 IANS

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Jharkhand declares drought in 18 districts

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The Jharkhand government on Monday declared 129 blocks in 18 districts drought-affected and released Rs 49 crore for immediate relief, an official said.
 
A communication in this regard has been sent to the central government asking for assistance, the Disaster Management official told IANS following a survey conducted by the Raghubar Das government. 
 
"Rs 49 crore have been sent to the affected districts to be used for drinking purposes, fodder for animals and help to farmers," he added.
 
The survey came after Chief Secretary Sudhir Tripathy conducted a meeting in October. 
 
As per the data, Jharkhand received 72 per cent average rainfall in 2018. However, at some places it was less than 50 per cent. The worst affected are Pakur and Koderma. 
 
Ranchi, Khunti, Gumla, Garhwa, Latehar, Dumka, Jamtara, Deoghar and others received more than 50 per cent but less than 75 per cent rainfall.
 
The drastic lack of rainfall affected paddy sowing, which was less than 16 per cent of the average.
 
According to the official, paddy sowing is done on 18 lakh hectares of land in the state. However, this year sowing took place only in 15.27 lakh hectares. 
 
The average rainfall in the state is 1,027.7 mm, but in 2018 it received only 741.9 mm. 
 
In August and September, the normal rainfall in Jharkhand is 276.2 mm and 235.5 mm, respectively, but it received only 213.2 mm and 133.6 mm. The shortfall in the September rainfall damaged the crops, the official added.
 
IANS

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Jharkhand journalist beaten to death

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A journalist of a Ranchi-based Hindi daily who had been facing threats was beaten to death in Jharkhand's Chatra district, authorities said on Tuesday.
 
Chandan Tiwary, who worked for the "Aaj", was abducted on Monday night from Pathhalgada, police said. 
 
According to police officials, Tiwary was found in the Balthar forest on Tuesday in a badly wounded condition. He succumbed to his injuries in a hospital.
 
"Our correspondent has been brutally killed," the newspaper's Resident Editor Amit Kumar Agarwal told IANS. 
 
"Tiwary had filed a complaint in April regarding threats to his life. But he was not provided any security," Agarwal said.
 
He said the police had set up a special team to probe the killing. 
 
"But our reporters have handed over a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner of Chatra seeking a CBI probe. It is the duty of the government to provide security to journalists. We also demand compensation to the family," Agarwal added.
 
Deputy Commissioner Jitendra Kumar Singh said efforts were on to nab the killers.
 
In 2016, another journalist of a Hindi daily was shot dead in Chatra.
 
IANS
 

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Jharkhand HC orders CBI probe into encounter of 12 alleged Maoists

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The Jharkhand High Court on Monday ordered a CBI inquiry into an alleged fake encounter in 2015 in Palamu, in which security forces killed 12 people after branding them as Maoists.
 
Justice R. A. Mukhkhopadhaya ordered the probe on a petition seeking an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the incident. The court observed that the investigation was not going in the right direction, petitioner lawyer Jawahar Yadav said.
 
People's faith in the judicial system has been dented due to the police and CID investigation. To restore the faith of the people in the judicial system, a CBI probe is ordered, Yadav said, citing the court order.
 
The case was being probed by the state Criminal Investigation Department, which gave a clean chit to the police officials involved just before the High Court was to hear the case on Monday.
 
Police had claimed that 12 Maoists were killed in a gunbattle at Bakoria in Palamu district on June 8, 2015. 
 
Those killed included a temporary teacher and a 10-year-old boy. The family members of the victims had termed the encounter as fake. They alleged that innocent people were branded as Maoists.
 
Jawahar Yadav had filed a case in the Jharkhand High Court seeking a CBI probe into the matter. 
 
The role of at least three IPS officers, besides their subordinates, had come under scrutiny.
 
IANS
 

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Maoists blow up railway tracks in Jharkhand

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Maoists blew up railway tracks in Jharkhand's Giridih district affecting train services on the busy Grand Chord in Dhanbad division for seven hours, an official said on Tuesday.
 
On Monday at around 10.45 p.m., the insurgents detonated a bomb on the tracks of the Chauribandh station situated between Parasnath and Hazaribagh Road, Chief Public Relation Officer of North Eastern Railway Rajesh Kumar told IANS over telephone.
 
The insurgents had called for a shutdown in five districts to protest the death penalty given to two Maoists accused of killing Pakur Superintendent of Police Amarjeet Balihar.
 
Around two feet of the railway track was damaged and the signalling system stopped functioning. 
 
Six trains at different stations had to be halted. The railway services resumed at 4.30 a.m., Rajesh Kumar said.
 
The blast could have led to a major accident, but it was averted due to the alertness of railway staff Mubarak Hussain and Chandra Kumar, Railways Director (Media) Rajesh Dutt Bajpai in New Delhi told IANS.
 
"Both were on night patrol. The moment they heard the blast they immediately alerted the Assistant Station Manager (ASM) who prevented an approaching goods train from progressing on the damaged tracks," Bajpai said.
 
Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani has decided to award Hussain and Kumar on Wednesday at a ceremony in the national capital.
 
IANS
 

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Tribal girl tortured in Delhi dies in Ranchi

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A tribal minor girl, who was tortured brutally by her employer in Delhi, died in a hospital here on Wednesday.
 
The girl, who worked as a domestic help, was one of the 16 girls rescued from New Delhi and brought to Ranchi on September 25. 
 
The deceased, who hailed from Jharkhand's Godda district, had a pin inserted in her tongue so that she could not relate the brutality inflicted on her. 
 
"The girl, admitted to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Science, died on Wednesday. She had multiple injuries," said Arti Kujur, Chairperson of Jharkhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
 
According to doctors, she was also suffering from tuberculosis. 
 
Prabha Minj Muni, who was allegedly running a human trafficking racket, was arrested by Delhi Police last month and handed over to Jharkhand Police. The 16 girls rescued narrated horror stories of rape and physical violence.
 
During investigation, it was revealed that Prabha ran an NGO that lured girls with promises of employment but "sold" them off. 
 
IANS
 

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