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Lucknow

Ginger Hotels launches its first hotel in Lucknow

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Ginger Hotels, the budget hotel chain from the Tata Group, has opened Ginger Hotel Lucknow, its first hotel in the capital of Uttar Pradesh.
 
A press release from Roots Corporation (RCL), which operates the Ginger chain of hotels, said the hotel is located in Gomti Nagar, the commercial hub of the city, a a short drive from the airport and the railway station.
 
The release said the hotel offers easy access to the business districts of Vibhuti Khand and Virat Khand and is located in close proximity to important government offices.
 
The hotel offers 72 rooms, free wi-fi, a multi-cuisine restaurant and a fitness centre, among other facilities.
 
Mr. Rahul Pandit, MD & CEO, Ginger Hotels, said, “We are proud to expand our presence in the cultural capital of north India. Ginger is the pioneer and the largest chain of branded budget hotels in India, with a resilient promise of safety, cleanliness, relaxing sleep experience, refreshing shower experience, a hearty breakfast and seamless wi-fi. We assure travellers of a consistently pleasant experience with us.”
 
Roots Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Indian Hotels Corporation (IHCL), was established in 2003.
 
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Cabinet okays transfer of AAI land to Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation at Lucknow Airport

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The Union Cabinet yesterday gave its approval for the permanent transfer of land measuring 1899 sq.m. by Airports Authority of India (AAI) to Lucknow Metro Rail Corportion (LMRC) at Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport, Lucknow.
 
The land is required by LMRC for the construction of Entry/Exit structure for Transport Nagar Metro Station which is an operational requirement of LMRC, an official press release said.
 
"This is a Public Utility Project of mass transportation to be used by the public at large, and will provide better connectivity and convenience to general public," the release added.
 
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AAI to develop new airport at Rajkot, add facilities at Lucknow, Deogarh, Allahabad airports

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The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will take up the work of development of a greenfield airport at Hirasar, Rajkot in Gujarat on build, operate and maintain basis.
 
The Government of Gujarat has provided land free of cost and proposed construction of the greenfield airport to meet the traffic potential of the Saurashtra region, as indicated by its high level of economic growth, an official press release said here today.
 
The release said the AAI would undertake new development works at Lucknow, Deogarh and Allahabad airports to improve infrastructure and meet growing traffic demands.
 
AAI plans to construct a new integrated passenger terminal building at Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport, Lucknow at an estimated cost of Rs. 1230 crore. Passenger traffic at this airport has grown steadily during the last five years. The new terminal will be able to handle 4000 passengers during peak hour and 6.35 million passengers per annum, it said.
 
At Deoghar in Jharkhand, AAI will develop the airport to facilitate joint use for civil operation up to Airbus-320 and DRDO operation up to C-130 type of aircraft, the release said.
 
The work will be carried out at an estimated cost of Rs. 401.34 crore on fixed cost basis and Rs. 427.43 crore on completion cost basis. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the Government of Jharkhand, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and AAI in March, 2017. As per the MoU, there will be financial input to the tune of Rs. 50 crore by Government of Jharkhand, Rs. 200 crore by DRDO and balance cost by AAI. 
 
To meet the demand of increasing air travel in Allahabad, a new civil enclave at will be developed by AAI at an estimated cost of Rs. 125.76 crore. The new terminal is to be made operational before the ‘Ardh Kumbh Mela’ to be held in January 2019. 
 
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Kovind to visit Uttar Pradesh on September 14-15

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President Ram Nath Kovind will pay a two-day visit to Uttar Pradesh from tomorrow, an official press release said here today.
 
Tomorrow, the President will attend a civic reception in Lucknow. On September 15, he will launch the ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ Programme at Ishwariganj village in Kanpur, the release added.
 
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43 injured as 12 coaches of Kaifiyat Express derail in Auraiya district of UP

 
43 injured as Kaifiyat Express derails in UP
At least 43 passengers suffered injuries when 12 coaches and the engine of the 12225 Azamgarh-Delhi Kaifiyat Express derailed in Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh after a dumper collided with the train at an unauthorised crossing in the early hours of today.
 
The dumper was attempting to cross the tracks at a place where crossings are not allowed when it stalled and was hit by the engine of the train, resulting in the derailment, between Pata and Achalda stations on the Kanpur-Tundla section of Allahabad Division of North Central Railway, official sources said.
 
Today's accident has occurred just four days after 21 passengers died and 97 others suffered injuries when 14 of the 23 coaches of the 18477 Utkal Express, from Puri in Odisha to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, derailed at Khatauli, about 25 km from Muzzafarnagar, in Uttar Pradesh, last Saturday evening.
 
North Central Railway spokesman Gaurav Krishna Bansal told NetIndian over the telephone that 43 passengers had suffered injuries and were taken to nearby hospitals. Of them, four had serious injuries while 39 had received "simple injuries", he said.
 
Railway officials from nearby stations, including Allahabad, Kanpur and Etawah, have rushed to the scene of the mishap to oversee relief operations.
 
Among others, the General Manager of North Central Railway and the Divisional Railway Manager, Allahabad have left for the scene, the sources said.
 
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Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu is monitoring the rescue and relief efforts and has directed senior officers to reach the site immediately, they said.
 
Mr. Bansal said work on restoration of normal rail traffic on the affected section was in progress and was expected to be completed soon.
 
Apart from railway officials and staff, district administration officials, police and other emergency services personnel rushed to the scene. A team from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was also sent to the spot.
 
Following the accident, the Railways have cancelled or diverted some trains, the sources said.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines for the benefit of passengers and their relatives:
 
New Delhi: 011-23342954, 23341074
Delhi: 011-23962389, 23967332
Nizamuddin: 011-24359748
Anand Vihar 09717648382
Ghaziabad 09412715210
Allahabad: 0532-1072, 220095, 220096, 220097
Etawah-05688-1072, 266382, 266383
Lucknow-0522-2237677, 9794830975
Faizabad-05278-222603
Kanpur-0512-1072, 2323015, 2323016, 2323018
Aligarh-0571-1072, 2403458, 2403055
Tundla-05612-1072, 220337, 220338, 220339
Shahganj-9794839010
Allahabad-0532-1072, 2408149, 2408128, 2407353
Fatehpur-05180-1072, 222025, 222026, 222436
Hathras: 05722-107200, 242741, 242742, 242803
Khurja: 05738-1072, 253084, 253085, 253308
Chuna: 05443-1072, 222487, 222137, 290049
Mirzapur: 05442-1072, 220095, 220096, 220097
 
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21 injured as 12 coaches of Kaifiyat Express derail in Auraiya district of UP

At least 21 passengers suffered minor injuries when 12 coaches and the engine of the 12225 Azamgarh-Delhi Kaifiyat Express derailed in Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh after a dumper collided with the train at an unauthorised crossing in the early hours of today.
 
The dumper was attempting to cross the tracks at a place where crossings are not allowed when it stalled and was hit by the engine of the train, resulting in the derailment, between Pata and Achalda stations on the Kanpur-Tundla section of Allahabad Division of North Central Railway, official sources said.
 
Today's accident has occurred just four days after 21 passengers died and 97 others suffered injuries when 14 of the 23 coaches of the 18477 Utkal Express, from Puri in Odisha to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, derailed at Khatauli, about 25 km from Muzzafarnagar, in Uttar Pradesh, last Saturday evening.
 
North Central Railway spokesman Gaurav Krishna Bansal told NetIndian over the telephone that 21 passengers had suffered "simple injuries" in today's accident and had been taken to nearby hospitals.
 
Railway officials from nearby stations, including Allahabad, Kanpur and Etawah, have rushed to the scene of the mishap to oversee relief operations.
 
Among others, the General Manager of North Central Railway and the Divisional Railway Manager, Allahabad have left for the scene, the sources said.
 
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu is monitoring the rescue and relief efforts and has directed senior officers to reach the site immediately, they said.
 
Mr. Bansal said work on restoration of normal rail traffic on the affected section was in progress and was expected to be completed soon.
 
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Apart from railway officials and staff, district administration officials, police and other emergency services personnel rushed to the scene. A team from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was also sent to the spot.
 
Following the accident, the Railways have cancelled or diverted some trains, the sources said.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines for the benefit of passengers and their relatives:
 
New Delhi: 011-23342954, 23341074
Delhi: 011-23962389, 23967332
Nizamuddin: 011-24359748
Anand Vihar 09717648382
Ghaziabad 09412715210
Allahabad: 0532-1072, 220095, 220096, 220097
Etawah-05688-1072, 266382, 266383
Lucknow-0522-2237677, 9794830975
Faizabad-05278-222603
Kanpur-0512-1072, 2323015, 2323016, 2323018
Aligarh-0571-1072, 2403458, 2403055
Tundla-05612-1072, 220337, 220338, 220339
Shahganj-9794839010
Allahabad-0532-1072, 2408149, 2408128, 2407353
Fatehpur-05180-1072, 222025, 222026, 222436
Hathras: 05722-107200, 242741, 242742, 242803
Khurja: 05738-1072, 253084, 253085, 253308
Chuna: 05443-1072, 222487, 222137, 290049
Mirzapur: 05442-1072, 220095, 220096, 220097
 
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Indian scientists find how arsenic reduces immunity

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A group of Indian scientists has figured out how exposure to arsenic reduces immunity.
 
Arsenic’s role in disrupting body’s immune response by hindering development of thymus – a gland that helps develop immunity-providing T lymphocytes or T cells – is known. A new study done by scientists from the Lucknow-based Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR) has now explained the mechanism behind this.
 
This may help explain why people exposed to arsenic become susceptible to infections like tuberculosis.
 
Researchers investigated the effect of arsenic exposure on the process by which T cells transform into specialized cells (CD4+ and CD8+) and the role of regulatory T- cells. CD4+ cells are found on helper T cells and direct the body to fight viral infections, while CD8 are found on fighter T cells that protect the body by killing infected cells.
 
The study exposed mice in the laboratory to arsenic. It was noticed that arsenic exposure enhanced transformation of T lymphocytes in the thymus into CD4+ cells without affecting the CD8 population. The cells then moved to the spleen and got transformed into regulatory T cells that decreased functional activity of other immune cells and further reduced immunity following arsenic exposure. CD4+ cells got converted into another form and not what they were meant to do. At the same time, secretion of cytokines that help in fighting an infection also decreased.
 
Researchers also found that treatment with wortmannin -- a drug used for cancer treatment -- can significantly bring down arsenic-induced increase in regulatory T cell population. It resulted in reversing the effects of reduced immunity by hindering conversion of CD4+ cells to regulatory T cells within the body.
 
“Our study is significant as it has shown that regulatory T cells can be a potential target to intervene in arsenic-induced immune suppression. This could help in prevention of prevalent infectious diseases in arsenic-affected areas,” pointed out Dr Debabrata Ghosh, who led the research team. 
 
Low cost inhibitors can be designed that potentially interfere with regulatory T cells and can be used to reverse effects of reduced immunity in arsenic-affected regions in the country. The study has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.
 
The research team included Ruchi Gera, Vikas Singh, Sumonto Mitra, Anuj Kumar Sharma, Alok Singh, Arunava Dasgupta, Dhirendra Singh, Mahadeo Kumar, Pankaj Jagdale, Satyam Patnaik and Debabrata Ghosh. 
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Adityanath: Won't spare those responsible for children's deaths in Gorakhpur hospital

Amidst mounting criticism of his government's handling of the crisis in the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur, where more than 60 children have died in the past week due to encephalitis and other reasons, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday declared that the strictest action would be taken againt those found guilty of negligence.

 
Yogi Adityanath visits Gorakhpur hospital
Amidst mounting criticism of his government's handling of the crisis in the Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur, where more than 60 children have died in the past week due to encephalitis and other reasons, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today declared that the strictest action would be taken againt those found guilty of negligence.
 
Speaking to newspersons in Gorakhpur after visiting the hospital for the second time in four days, he insisted that the deaths had not been caused by the disruption in supply of oxygen on the night of August 10 and said that an inquiry by the Chief Secretary, ordered by him, would establish the causes of the tragedy.
 
"I can assure that we will not spare anyone found guilty. We will act against them very strictly so that it also acts as a deterrence for others," he said.
 
He said the committee headed by the Chief Secretary would look into all apsects of the crisis, including the disruption in supply of oxygen and if it had caused any of the deaths.
 
The Chief Minister was accompanied by Union Health Minister J. P. Nadda, who visited the hospital today. Union Minister of Health Anupriya Patel and the Health Secretary were in Gorakhpur yesterday and a team of top doctors from Delhi are in the town to conduct an in-depth study of the situation as well as the protocols of medical treatment followed for handling cases of Japanese encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrom (AES) in the hospital.
 
Yogi Adityanath said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was extremely concerned over the situation and had assured the state government of all help from the Centre in handling the crisis.
 
The crisis has sparked political and public outrage after reports that as many as 30 children had died in the space of 48 hours on August 9 and 10, with as many as 23 children dying on August 10. The fact that there was a disruption in the supply of liquid oxygen to the hospital on August 10, because of a default in payment by the hospital to the supplier, led to allegations of negligence against the hospital authorities as well as the state government.
 
Yesterday, the state government suspended the Principal of the Medical College amidst a growing clamour for heads to roll after fixation of responsibility for the tragedy.
 
According to official sources, as many as nine children died on August 7; 12  on August 8; nine on August 9; 23 on August 10 and seven on August 11. Since then, there have been more deaths over the past two days.
 
The tragedy has come as a major embarrassment for Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, because Gorakhpur is his home town and was his Parliamentary constituency for long years. 
 
Further, he  had paid a visit to the hospital on August 9 and also gone to the paediatric ward, but officials now claim that he was not aware of the huge number of deaths that had occurred in the previous days.
 
State Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh and Medical Education Minister Ashutosh Tandon visited the hospital yesterday. 
 
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At his press conference today, Yogi Adityanath said he had been campaigning for measures to fight encephalitis in Uttar Pradesh, where it has claimed thousands of lives over the past three decades, for many years. He said the government had now introduced the Japanese encephalitis vaccine as part of the Universal Immunisation Programme. He said 90 lakh children in 38 districts had been covered under the programme.
 
He said the issue has remained a matter of high priority with him after becoming Chief Minister and he has already visited the hospital four times since assuming office on March 19.
 
"I have been involved in this fight since the early 1990s. I have seen children die...," he said, breaking briefly into tears. He said he had taken up the matter at all levels, and raised it several times in Parliament when he represented Gorakhpur in the Lok Sabha. "Nobody understands this problem better than me," he said.
 
He said that, along with encephalitis, there was need to fight other diseases such as swine flu, kala azar, dengue and chikungunia.
 
The Chief Minister urged the media to visit the wards in the hospital and see for themselves the treatment being provided to the patients instead of reporting from outside. He said he  had instructed the hospital to arrange for the media to visit the wards in small groups in such a way that the patients and doctors were not disturbed.
 
He also urged the media to wait for the report of the inquiry committee before coming to any conclusions about the tragedy. "We are waiting for the report of the committee constituted by our Government. I would urge everyone to wait for that report. Not just in Gorakhpur but across the state, if any death is caused by the negligence of hospital authorities, the government will take strong action those responsible," he said.
 
He also said there was an urgent need for a full-fledged Viral Research Centre at Gorakhpur. He said work on the All India Institute of Medical Sciences at Gorakhpur had already begun.
 
Mr. Nadda said the Centre would provide all possible assistance to the state government in coping with the crisis. He said the Union Government had decided to establish a full-fledged Regional Medical Research Centre at Gorakhpur at a cost of Rs. 85 crore.
 
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Tata Projects completes first part of tunneling for Lucknow Metro Rail

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Infrastructure company Tata Projects Limited and Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) today said they had completed the underground tunnel boring project between Lucknow Secretariat and Hazratganj in a seamless and disruption free manner and in the fastest time period.
 
LMRC and Tata Projects achieved the completion of the tunnel of 812 meters within five months (excluding one and a half months of waiting period to confirm breakthrough dates) of its commencement under the EPC (Engineering, Procurement, Construction) project, a press release from the company said.
 
The 75 meter long TBM (Tunnel Boring Machine) - Gomti saw the light at the end of tunnel and came out in the open (breakthrough) near Sahu Cinema at Hazratganj, it said.
 
According to the release, the state-of-the-art onboard tunnel guidance system has been provided in the TBM to ensure that the tunneling is done as per the designed alignment to the highest level of accuracy. Extensive instrumentation had been done throughout the underground stretch and continuous online and real time monitoring was done by a team of dedicated experts to ensure safety during TBM operation, it said.
 
The TBM - ‘Gomti’, successfully constructed this tunnel below the dense city centre areas of Sachivalaya (the Secretariat area) and Hazratganj (Heritage Building area) without any disturbance to the buildings, public utilities and traffic on the land above, it said.
 
"LMRC and Tata Projects have accomplished the difficult mission of not affecting the working of commercial establishments even for a day while tunneling beneath them. Tata Projects will now install Gomti to construct another tunnel between the Sachivalaya and Hussainganj Metro Station as the next part of the construction plan," it said.
 
Mr. Kumar Keshav, Managing Director, Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation said, “This unique achievement was only possible due to the hardwork and commitment of Lucknow Metro Project team. The tunneling in this stretch posed an enormous technical challenge as the route passes beneath highly congested areas and basements of commercial establishments to lay the tracks at the depth of 12 to 15 meters below ground level. With this ‘breakthrough’, LMRC achieved one of the biggest milestones in form of completion of first TBM drive in the construction of underground metro in the state of Uttar Pradesh.”
 
Mr. Vinayak Deshpande, Managing Director, Tata Projects Limited said, “Due to many heritage structures the stretch was highly challenging. With excellent guidance from LMRC team, state of the art TBMs and dedicated, passionate project team, the daunting task was completed in a world class manner with outstanding quality and before time completion. We all at Tata projects feel very proud of this accomplishment and thank LMRC, people of Lucknow for the cooperation extended."
 
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Tata Projects is executing the designing and construction project of overall underground track of 3.67 km from Charbagh Metro Station to KD Singh Babu Stadium Metro Station. Under the project estimated at Rs. 1,190 crores, Tata Projects will also construct three underground metro stations at Hussain Ganj, Sachivalaya and Hazratganj, which included Architectural Finishes, Electrical and Mechanical System (E&M), Tunnel Ventilation System (TVS) and Environment Control System (ECS) on the North-South Corridor of Lucknow MRTS, Phase 1 A Project. 
 
The company is implementing Top-Down Construction Methodology for station construction wherein the permanent structure is built from top to bottom of the basement along with the excavation.
 
“Today’s feat is a milestone achievement, during the last five months this very complex project was executed in one the busiest of the areas and there was no disruption to the common man. We are sure that Lucknow Metro will prove to be a model Metro Rail project of the country and will be showcased as one of the best Metro Rail projects in the country,” added Mr. Vivek Singhal, Chief Operating Officer, Tata Projects Urban Infra.
 
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PM inaugurates development initiatives in Lucknow, to attend Yoga Day event on Wednesday

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the building of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technical University, dedicated the 400KV Lucknow-Kanpur D/C transmission line and distributed sanction letters to the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), the Government's flagship housing scheme, in Lucknow today.
 
Speaking at the event, Mr. Modi spoke at length about connecting India’s youth to latest technology. “Our youth can think about start ups and innovation in the health sector, particularly in healthcare equipment," he said.
 
The Prime Minister congratulated the Uttar Pradesh government for ensuring electricity in all districts. He added, “Power and energy matter immensely in the development journey of a nation. Today solar energy is gaining popularity in India.” 
 
The Prime Minister also spoke at length about the implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST) from July 1 and said that it demonstrated the strength of democracy.  “Credit for implementation of GST goes to 125 crore people of India," he said.
 
Constructed as a part of “Northern Region Strengthening Scheme-XXXII”, the Lucknow-Kanpur transmission line will provide high-quality transmission infrastructure for ensuring reliable and quality power supply in Uttar Pradesh especially in areas like Lucknow, Panki, Unnao and Kanpur.
 
The transmission line will also facilitate import of additional power to Uttar Pradesh from power surplus Eastern Region/ North Eastern Region.
 
Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were present at the ceremony along with senior officials.
 
Mr. Modi, who arrived here earlier in the day, will join the event organised on the occasion of International Day of Yoga at the Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan here.
 
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Modi to visit Lucknow, will take part in Yoga Day programme on Wednesday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel today to Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh where he will take part in various programmes, including the Yoga Day programme tomorrow.
 
This evening, the Prime Minister will visit CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CSIR-CDRI), an official press release said.
 
Mr. Modi will inaugurate a building of the Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Technical University. He will also dedicate to the nation the 400 KV Lucknow-Kanpur D/C transmission line. 
 
The Prime Minister will also distribute sanction letters to beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, it said.
 
Tomorrow morning, on the 3rd International Day of Yoga, Mr. Modi will join the event organized on the occasion at the Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan in Lucknow. 
 
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Eleven coaches of Mumbai-Lucknow AC Superfast Express derail in UP, no one injured

 
11 coaches of Lucknow-bound Superfast Express derail at Unnao
Eleven coaches of the Lucknow Air-conditioned Superfast Express from Mumbai derailed at Unnao railway station, about 20 km from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, today but none of the passengers suffered any serious injuries, official sources said.
 
Passengers of the affected coaches were cleared to their destinations in a relief train as well as in buses and cars, official sources said.
 
Senior railway officials, incuding the General Manager of Northern Railway and the Divisional Railway Manager, Lucknow, rushed to the spot to oversee relief efforts, they said.
 
The Up line was not affected by the mishap and normal train movement was restored on it soon, the sources said.
 
The Railways set up helplines on telephone numbers 0522-2234607, 9794830973 and 9794830975.
 
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NITI Aayog, UP Govt. to set up Joint Working Group to draw roadmap for state's development

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at a meeting with NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya and CEO Amitabh Kant, in Lucknow on May 10, 2017.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at a meeting with NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya and CEO Amitabh Kant, in Lucknow on May 10, 2017.
The NITI Aayog and the Uttar Pradesh government will set up a Joint Working Group (JWG) to prepare a roadmap and identify action points within the next 15 days for the development of the state.
 
This was decided at day-long deliberations held by a 17-member NITI Aayog delegation, led by its Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other top officials of the state government here yesterday.
 
The JWG will have three members from NITI Aayog -- Member Ramesh Chand, CEO Amitabh Kant and Adviser Alok Kumar -- and three from the State Government -- Minister of Health, Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary, Planning.
 
"The joint working group will prepare a roadmap and identify action points for the development of UP within the next 15 days. Respective departments of the State Government will then implement these action points," an official press release said.
 
Yesterday's meeting was held as part of the NITI Aayog's key mandate of fostering cooperative federalism, the release said.
 
Yogi Adityanath said habitations with populations between 250 and 499 should be taken up for connectivity with all-weather roads. He also suggested that the below poverty line (BPL) survey be conducted once every five years. 
 
The Chief Minister has also asked for extension of the Bundelkhand package and special assistance in areas of the state where drinking water has been affected by arsenic and fluoride contamination.
 
Members of the high-level delegation made a series of presentations on addressing key developmental needs of the State across sectors. Dr. Panagariya, suggested important recommendations for the overall transformation of Uttar Pradesh, while Mr. Kant presented a detailed picture of the state’s current status. Mr. Chand laid down the significance of agricultural growth for economic transformation of Uttar Pradesh. 
 
Opportunities for the state by focusing on the ease of doing business and the Start-up programme were presented by Mr. Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotions. Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, Mr. Amarjeet Sinha made recommendations focusing on Mission Antyodaya and other key rural development schemes.
 
Important recommendations on improving health outcomes in UP were jointly presented by Adviser, Health, NITI Aayog, Mr. Alok Kumar and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Mr. Manoj Jhalani. Joint Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Dr. Rajesh Kumar detailed the measures that ought to be taken to address major challenges in fighting malnutrition among the state’s children.
 
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Efforts to be taken in order to better education outcomes in UP were outlined by Advsier HRD, NITI Aayog, Ms. Maninder Kaur Dwivedi. Joint Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Mr.Arun Baroka, made a presentation on improving implementation of  Swacch Bharat Mission, the national cleanliness campaign.
 
Other members present at the deliberations included NITI Aayog, Additional Secretary, Mr. Anil Jain, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Mr. Utpal Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy, Ms.Anita Karwal, Joint Secreatry, DIPP, Mr.Shailendra Singh, Director Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Mr. K.B Singh and PS to Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, Mr. Prem Singh, among others.
 
Officials of the state government who were part of the discussions included Minister of Health, Agriculture Minister, Minister of Women and Child Development, Rural Development Minister, Minister of Education, Chief Secretary of the Government of UP, among others.
 
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Firebrand BJP MP Yogi Adityanath sworn in as CM of Uttar Pradesh

Firebrand Bharatiya Janata Party MP Yogi Adityanath was sworn in as the 21st Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, at a ceremony held at the Kanshi Smriti Upvan in Lucknow on Sunday.

 
Yogi Adityanath takes oath as CM of Uttar Pradesh
Firebrand Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Yogi Adityanath was sworn in as the 21st Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, at a ceremony held at the Kanshi Smriti Upvan here today.
 
The five-time member of the Lok Sabha from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh was administered by the oaths of office and secrecy by Governor Ram Naik.
 
Along with him, Lok Sabha member and state BJP president Keshav Prasad Maurya and Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma were sworn in as Deputy Chief Ministers along with 44 other Ministers -- 22 Cabinet Ministers, nine Ministers of State with independent charge and 13 Ministers of State.
 
The Chief Minister and the two Deputy Chief Ministers are not members of the UP Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council and would have to be elected to one of the two Houses within six months in keeping with the Constitutional requirement.
 
The new Ministers include former UP Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who had switched sides to the BJP ahead of the Assembly elections, and two cricketers-turned-politicians -- Chetan Chauhan, a former Test player and Mohsin Raza, who will be the sole Muslim in the Council of Ministers. Mr. Raza, too, is not a member of either House at present.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and several other Union Ministers and Chief Ministers of States ruled by the BJP and its allies in the National Democratic Alliance were amongst those present at the swearing-in ceremony.
 
Outgoing Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Samajwadi Party patron Mulayam Singh Yadav, also a former Chief Minister and Union Minister, were also present at the function.
 
Others who attended the swearing-in ceremony included veteran BJP leaders Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi and a host of sadhus, sanyasis and sanyasins as well as a large number of Adityanath's supporters.
 
Adityanath, 44, was elected unanimously as their new leader by the newly-elected MLAs of the BJP at a meeting here yesterday at which Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu was the party's Central observer. His name was unanimously endorsed by all members and no other names were proposed.
 
In his acceptance speech, Adityanath said he would like Mr. Maurya and Mr. Sharma to be deputy chief ministers to assist him in the daunting task of governing such a large state as Uttar Pradesh. Mr. Naidu said this was conveyed to the Central leadership, which agreed to the suggestion.
 
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Adityanath, 44, is the head of the Gorakhnath Mutt in Gorakhpur, which has a huge following in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Nepal and other parts. He has been representing Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha from 1998, having been elected five times consecutively. He is also the founder of the Hindu Yuva Vahini in Uttar Pradesh.
 
He had played a key role in helping the BJP score a resounding win in the seven-phase elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly held between February 11 and March 8, securing 312 seats in the 403-member Assembly. Its allies Apna Dal (Soneylal) and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party won nine and four seats, respectively.
 
The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) could manage only 47 seats, while its ally Congress ended up with a single-digit tally of just 7. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of former Chief Minister Mayawadi picked up 19 seats and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) one. The Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal secured one seat and independents three seats.
 
Born on June 5, 1972, Yogi Adityanath has a degree in Science from the  H.N.B. Garhwal University, Srinagar, Uttarakhand.
 
He was elected for the first time to the Lok Sabha in 1998, making him the youngest member of the House at that time. He was re-elected in 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014. He was the youngest member of the 12th Lok Sabha at the age of 26 years in 1998. He has been elected as an MP from Gorakhpur to the Lok Sabha for five consecutive terms in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
 
 
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Firebrand BJP MP Yogi Adityanath to be new CM of Uttar Pradesh

Firebrand Bharatiya Janata Party MP Yogi Adityanath was on Sunday chosen as the leader of the BJP Legislature Party in Uttar Pradesh, paving the way for his swearing-in as the new Chief Minister of India's most populous state on Sunday.

 
Yogi Adityanath to be new Uttar Pradesh CM
Firebrand Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Yogi Adityanath was today chosen as the leader of the BJP Legislature Party in Uttar Pradesh, paving the way for his swearing-in as the new Chief Minister of India's most populous state tomorrow.
 
Adityanath, 44, will be administered the oaths of office and secrecy by Governor Ram Naik at a ceremony at the Kanshi Smriti Upvan here at 2.15 pm tomorrow.
 
Along with him, State BJP president Keshav Prasad Maurya and Lucknow Mayor Dinesh Sharma will be sworn in as Deputy Chief Ministers.
 
He was elected unanimously as their new leader by the newly-elected MLAs of the BJP at a meeting here today, Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, who was the party's Central observer to the meeting, told journalists later.
 
BJP vice-president Om Mathur and general secretary Bhupendra Yadav were also present at the meeting.
 
Mr. Naidu said Adityanath's name was proposed by BJP leader Suresh Khanna and was supported by several others. He said Adityanath's name was unanimously endorsed by all members and no other names were proposed. He said he announced Adityanath's election as the new leader after consulting BJP President Amit Shah and others over the telephone.
 
In his acceptance speech, Adityanath said he would like Mr. Maurya and Mr. Sharma to be deputy chief ministers to assist him in the daunting task of governing such a large state as Uttar Pradesh. Mr. Naidu said this, too, was conveyed to the Central leadership, which agreed to the suggestion.
 
Mr. Naidu said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers of states ruled by the BJP and its allies and other leaders are expected to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
 
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Adityanath, 44, is the head of the Gorakhnath Mutt in Gorakhpur, which has a huge following in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Nepal and other parts. He has been representing Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha from 1998, having been elected five times consecutively. 
 
He had played a key role in helping the BJP score a resounding win in the seven-phase elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly held between February 11 and March 8, securing 312 seats in the 403-member Assembly. Its allies Apna Dal (Soneylal) and Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party won nine and four seats, respectively.
 
The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) could manage only 47 seats, while its ally Congress ended up with a single-digit tally of just 7. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of former Chief Minister Mayawadi picked up 19 seats and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) one. The Nirbal Indian Shoshit Hamara Aam Dal secured one seat and independents three seats.
 
Born on June 5, 1972, Yogi Adityanath has a degree in Science from the  H.N.B. Garhwal University, Srinagar, Uttarakhand.
 
He was elected for the first time to the Lok Sabha in 1998, making him the youngest member of the House at that time. He was re-elected in 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014.
 
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Lucknow encounter: Rajnath says prompt action by police averted major security threat

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday that the prompt action taken by the police of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, which culminated in the death of a suspected terrorist in Lucknow in the early hours of Wednesday, had helped to successfully avert a threat to national security.

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said that the prompt action taken by the police of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, which culminated in the death of a suspected terrorist in Lucknow in the early hours of yesterday, had helped to successfully avert a threat to national security.
 
In a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha on the entire sequence of events, Mr. Singh said they presented an "excellent example of coordination amongst the State Police and Central agencies".
 
He said further investigations in the case would be handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
 
“As per the available information, on 7th March, 2017 at 09.41 hours a blast took place in the general compartment of train no. 59320 Bhopal-Ujjain Passenger near railway station Jabdi, district Shajapur, Madhya Pradesh. 10 passengers got injuries in this blast and railway property was also damaged. The injured were immediately rushed to the hospital. All the injured are presently out of danger," Mr. Singh said.
 
He said that, with regard to this incident, a case crime number 47/17 under sections 3/4 of the Explosive Substances Act was registered against unknown accused in police station GRP, Ujjain for investigation on the report of train guard.
 
Mr. Singh said that, as soon as the information about the incident was received, the Director General of Police (DGP), Madhya Pradesh rushed to the spot along with other senior officers of Police and Administration and initiated necessary action with regard to the investigation of the incident.
 
"Initial inspection of the scene of crime indicated that the accused had used an IED prepared by using locally available explosives for the blast," he said.
 
The Minister said the Madhya Pradesh Police coordinated with Central agencies for the investigation of the incident. 
 
"Subsequently, based on available intelligence, three suspects were taken into custody by Madhya Pradesh Police during vehicle checking at a place Pipariya in district Hoshangabad. Interrogation of these suspects indicated their involvement in the aforesaid incident and they were arrested. Further investigation of the case is being done in coordination with central agencies and information is being collected about other accomplices of the accused.
 
"Based on the interrogation of the above suspects and other available information, Uttar Pradesh Police initiated action at different places in Lucknow, Etawah, Kanpur and Auraiya.
 
"In Lucknow, information was received about one Mohammad Saifullah alias Ali, resident of Kanpur, renting an accommodation in Haji Colony, Police Station Kakori," he said.
 
Mr. Singh said the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Uttar Pradesh laid a siege of the house and made vigorous attempts to arrest the suspect Saifullah. 
 
"However, he refused to surrender and started firing on ATS team. Ultimately, after 12 hours of efforts, the ATS team entered the room in which Saifullah was holed up and in the ensuing encounter, this suspected terrorist was killed. From the room of the deceased, 8 pistols, 630 live cartridges and other material which included cash of Rs. 1.5 lakh, about 45 grams gold, 3 mobile phones, 4 sim cards, 2 wireless sets and some foreign currency was recovered," he said.
 
"A case crime number 2/2017 u/s 307/121A/122/123/124-A IPC, 3/4/25/27 Arms Act and 16/18/23 UAPA has been registered at Police Station ATS, Lucknow with regard to the incident.
 
"ATS Kanpur Unit has arrested one more suspect from Jajmau Police Station area against whom a case crime number 3/2017 u/s 121/121A/123/124A IPC and 16/18/23/38 of UAPA has been registered.
 
"Apart from the above, two more accused, one from Etawah and one from Auraiya have been arrested by Uttar Pradesh Police on the charge of supplying weapons to the above gang of suspected terrorists. Thus, total 6 arrests have been made in these incidents so far," he added.
 
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Mr. Singh also said the Government and the Lok Sabha sympathised with Mohammed Sartaj, the father of the slain terror suspect, who refused to accept his " traitor" son's body.
 
Media reports had quoted Sartaj as saying on Wednesday, "A traitor cannot be related to me, let alone be my son."
 
"My child has done something wrong and I regret it. I would have personally handed him over to the police if I had the slightest inkling about his activities," he said.
 
Sartaj asserted that he was an Indian citizen, who was born in this country and whose ancestors were also born here. He said Saifullah had left home about two and a half months ago after being scolded for not working. Last week, the youth had called his family to stay that he was going to Saudi Arabia for a job.
 
The Home Minister said that when the Uttar Pradesh met Sartaj to hand over Saifullah's body, he had refused to accept it. "He said I have worked hard all my life for my family, but this boy has shamed me. I sympathise with the father of Saifullah, I am sure the whole House sympathises with him," Mr. Singh said.
 
"He has lost a son. The government is proud of such people, the whole House is proud of such people," Mr. Singh said.
 
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Day ahead of final phase of UP polls, ATS corners suspected terrorists in Lucknow house

A day ahead of the final phase of polling in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the State Anti-Terrorism Squad cornered a suspected terrorist holed up in a house in the Thakurganj area of state capital Lucknow and top police officials said every effort was being made to nab him alive.

 
Encounter between suspected terrorists, ATS underway
A day ahead of the final phase of polling in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, the State Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) cornered suspected terrorists hold up in a house in the Thakurganj area of state capital Lucknow and top police officials said every effort was being made to nab them alive.
 
One of the men was identified as Saifullah and he was allegedly involved in a blast in the 59320 Bhopal-Ujjain Passenger train in Shajapur district of Madhya Pradesh earlier in the day, in which eight persons suffered injuries, official sources said.
 
Uttar Pradesh Additional Director General (Law & Order) Daljeet Singh Chaudhary told journalists that the operation was launched this afternoon following a "tip-off from outside the state" about the presence of suspected terrorists in the state. 
 
He said one person was arrested from Kanpur and the second person was traced to the house in the Thakurganj area here and the ATS and police rushed to the scene, surrounded the house and cordoned off the entire area.
 
The man, who was believed to be alone in the house, locked himself inside and did not respond to announcements made by the police asking him to surrender.
 
UP ATS chief Aseem Arun told reporters that the police outside had heard the cocking of a pistol and believed he was armed. He said there was intermittent firing from inside but the police were holding their fire and were making every effort to catch him alive. "He is alone, and there are no hostages, so we are not in a hurry. Time is on our side," Mr. Arun said, as darkness fell in the area.
 
However, by late tonight, there were indications that there could be at least one or two more persons holed up inside the house but there was no official confirmation.
 
Mr. Daljeet Singh said the security forces had drilled a hole through the roof of the one-storeyed house and found evidence suggesting that there were at least two youths inside and both of them were alive. He said efforts would continue to catch them alive.
 
The operation by the ATS came less than 24 hours before voting was due to begin tomorrow morning for 40 seats in the final phase of polling in the elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
 
As the police descended on the neighbourhood where the house is located, people in other houses around it were advised to evacuate as a precautionary measure. Police used teargas and "chilly bombs" in an effort to smoke the men out.
 
The blast in the Bhopal-Ujjain Passenger occurred around 9.50 am near Jabri railway station in Shajapur district in the jurisdiction of the Ratlam Division of the Western Railway.
 
A press release from the Ministry of Railways said the blast took place in an ordinary second class coach next to the guard's brake van.
 
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The guard of the train immediately informed the railway control room, the state police and local authorities and ambulances reached the spot shortly after the incident, it said. The affected coach was separated from the rest of the train and fire extinguishers wre used to put the flames out.
 
The injured passengers were taken to the Civil Hospital at Kalapipal and Railway doctors are assisting the civil hospital doctors, the release said.
 
Senior Railway and police officials also rushed to the scene, as did a team of forensic experts and a dog squad.
 
"Prima facie, the incident appears to be a low intensity blast. However, the exact cause will be known after reports by the forensic authorities," the release said.
 
All passengers of the affected train were taken to Ujjain by another train. Police clearance of the line was given at 14.50 pm. The track was certified safe at 1510 hours and the first train on the up line passed the spot at 1512 hours. Since one line was working, there was no major disruption of traffic, it said.
 
"t is to be noted that till date 40 incidents including events of sabotage have been reported in this year 2017 as compared to 45 incidents happened in the year 2016. Three incidents are being investigated by NIA and one incident is being inquired by CBI. Ministry of Railways has seriously viewed today’s incident and has beefed up the security," the release added.
 
"The terror suspects who tried to wreak havoc in Bhopal-Ujjain train today, are apprehended near Hoshangabad," Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivrajsinh Chouhan said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"Madhya Pradesh is an island of peace, those who try to disturb its harmony will not be spared. Those responsible will be brought to justice," he added.
 
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Polling begins for 51 seats in fifth phase of UP Assembly elections

Polling began on Monday morning amidst tight security in 51 constituencies in the fifth phase of polling in the crucial elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

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Polling began this morning amidst tight security in 51 constituencies in the fifth phase of polling in the crucial elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
 
The 51 constituencies are in the districts of Balrampur, Gonda, Faizabad, Ambedkar Nagar, Bahraich, Shravasti, Siddharth Nagar, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar, Amethi, and Sultanpur.
 
Polling for the Alapar seat in Ambedkar Nagar district has been postponed to March 9.
 
Polling began at 7 am and will end at 5 pm. There are a total of 1.81 crore voters in these 51 constituencies, including 97,91,140 men, 83,79,745 women and 941 of the third gender. There are a total of 607 candidates in the fray, including 40 women.
 
The Election Commission has set up 18,822 polling stations and deployed 22,378 electronic voting machines (EVMs), besides making elaborate security and other arrangements, to ensure a free and fair poll, official sources said.
 
Uttar Pradesh is among the five States where Assembly elections are being held mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.
 
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Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- is being held in seven phases.  About 64 percent of the voters in 73 constituencies exercised their franchise in the first phase of polling on February 11. In the second phase of polling on February 15, 65.5 percent of the electors turned out to cast their votes, about 65 percent polling was recorded in the third phase on February 19 and more than 61 percent in the fourth phase on February 23.
 
About 70 percent of the electorate in Punjab and a record 83 percent in Goa exercised their franchise on February 4 when single-phase polling was held in those two states. 
 
Similarly, single-phase polling was held in Uttarakhand on February 15, when about 68 percent of the electorate exercised their franchise. Manipur will have polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. 
 
In the remaining phases of polling in Uttar Pradesh, 49 constituencies will go to the polls on March 4; and 40 on March 8.
 
The main contest in Uttar Pradesh is between the alliance forged by the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party led by former Chief Minister Mayawati and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the Centre and is making a bid to add Uttar Pradesh to the kitty of states ruled by it.
 
Counting of votes in all the five states will be taken up on March 11 and all the results are expected by late evening that day.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
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Polling for 53 seats in fourth phase of UP Assembly elections on Thursday

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Polling will be held for 53 seats in the fourth phase of voting in the crucial elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly tomorrow.
 
Campaigning in these constituencies had drawn to a close yesterday evening. Polling will begin at 7 am and end at 5 pm.
 
The 53 constituencies are spread over 12 districts  -- Allahabad, Chitrakoot, Banda, Fatehpur, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Jhansi, Kaushambi, Lalitpur,Mahoba, Pratapgarh and Raebareli -- in the Bundelkhand and Eastern regions of the state. 
 
A total of 184,82,166 electors are eligible to exercise their franchise in these constituencies, including 10031093 men, 8450039 women and 1034 voters of the third gender.
 
In all, 680 candidates in the fray, including 61 women, the Election Commission said.
 
The Commission has set up 19,487 polling stations and will deploy 23,924 electronic voting machines (EVMs) in these constituencies, official sources added.
 
Uttar Pradesh is among the five States where Assembly elections are being held mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 banknotes. The polls are being seen as a test of the Modi government's popularity as well as an indication of how the people have reacted to the sudden and drastic move to withdraw high-value notes, which accounted for 86 percent of the total cash in circulation in the country. 
 
Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- is being held in seven phases.  About 64 percent of the voters in 73 constituencies exercised their franchise in the first phase of polling on February 11. In the second phase of polling on February 15, 65.5 percent of the electors turned out to cast their votes, while about 65 percent polling was recorded in the third phase on February 19.
 
About 70 percent of the electorate in Punjab and a record 83 percent in Goa exercise their franchise on February 4 when single-phase polling was held in those two states. Similarly, single-phase polling was held in Uttarakhand on February 15, when about 68 percent of the electorate exercised their franchise. Manipur will have polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. 
 
The main contest in Uttar Pradesh is between the alliance forged by the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party led by former Chief Minister Mayawati and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the Centre and is making a bid to add Uttar Pradesh to the kitty of states ruled by it.
 
In the remaining phases of polling in Uttar Pradesh, 52 constituencies will go to the polls on February 27; 49 on March 4; and 40 on March 8.
 
Counting of votes in all the five states will be taken up on March 11 and all the results are expected by late evening that day.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
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Campaigning ends for fourth phase of polling in UP Assembly elections

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Campaigning drew to a close this evening for the fourth phase of polling that will be held in 53 constituencies in the crucial elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly on Thursday.
 
A total of 184,82,166 electors are eligible to exercise their franchise in these constituencies, including 10031093 men, 8450039 women and 1034 voters of the third gender.
 
In all, 680 candidates in the fray, including 61 women, the Election Commission said.
 
The Commission has set up 19,487 polling stations and will deploy 23,924 electronic voting machines (EVMs) in these constituencies, official sources added.
 
Uttar Pradesh is among the five States where Assembly elections are being held mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 banknotes. The polls are being seen as a test of the Modi government's popularity as well as an indication of how the people have reacted to the sudden and drastic move to withdraw high-value notes, which accounted for 86 percent of the total cash in circulation in the country. 
 
Polling in Uttar Pradesh -- India's most populous state -- is being held in seven phases.  About 64 percent of the voters in 73 constituencies exercised their franchise in the first phase of polling on February 11. In the second phase of polling on February 15, 65.5 percent of the electors turned out to cast their votes, while about 65 percent polling was recorded in the third phase on February 19.
 
About 70 percent of the electorate in Punjab and a record 83 percent in Goa exercise their franchise on February 4 when single-phase polling was held in those two states. Similarly, single-phase polling was held in Uttarakhand on February 15, when about 68 percent of the electorate exercised their franchise. Manipur will have polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. 
 
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The main contest in Uttar Pradesh is between the alliance forged by the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party led by former Chief Minister Mayawati and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the Centre and is making a bid to add Uttar Pradesh to the kitty of states ruled by it.
 
In the remaining phases of polling in Uttar Pradesh, 52 constituencies will go to the polls on February 27; 49 on March 4; and 40 on March 8.
 
Counting of votes in all the five states will be taken up on March 11 and all the results are expected by late evening that day.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
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65% polling in 69 constituencies in third phase of UP Assembly elections

 
UP elections phase 3: Polling begins for 69 seats
About 65 percent of the 2.4 voters exercised their franchise in 69 constituencies that went to the polls in the third phase of polling in the elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly today.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful, with no major untoward incidents reported from anywhere, official sources said.
 
The 69 constituencies where polling was held today are spread over 12 districts -- Farrukhabad, Hardoi, Kannauj, Mainpuri, Etawah, Kanpur, Kanpur Dehat, Auraiya, Lucknow, Unnao, Sitapur and Barabanki.
 
Polling began at 7 am and ended at 5 pm today, official sources said.
 
A total of 2,41,67,407 electors were eligible to exercise their franchise in these 69 constituencies, including 1,31,38,989 men, 1,10,27,390 women and 1,028 voters of the third gender. 
 
There were a total of 826 candidates in the fray, including 105 women.
 
The Election Commission had set up 25,606 polling stations, deployed 30,135 electronic voting machines and made elaborate security and other arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll.
 
Uttar Pradesh is among the five States where Assembly elections are being held mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 banknotes. The polls are being seen as a test of the Modi government's popularity as well as an indication of how the people have reacted to the sudden and drastic move to withdraw high-value notes, which accounted for 86 percent of the total cash in circulation in the country. 
 
Uttar Pradesh is going to the polls in seven phases. About 64 percent of the 2.6 crore voters in 73 constituencies exercised their franchise in the first phase of polling on February 11. In the second phase of polling on February 15, 65.5 percent of the electors turned out to cast their votes.
 
About 70 percent of the electorate in Punjab and a record 83 percent in Goa exercise their franchise on February 4 when single-phase polling was held in those two states. Similarly, single-phase polling was held in Uttarakhand on February 15, when about 68 percent of the electorate exercised their franchise. Manipur will have polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. 
 
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The main contest in Uttar Pradesh is between the alliance forged by the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party led by former Chief Minister Mayawati and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the Centre and is making a bid to add Uttar Pradesh to the kitty of states ruled by it.
 
In the remaining phases of polling in Uttar Pradesh, 53 constituencies will go to the polls on February 23; 52 on February 27; 49 on March 4; and 40 on March 8.
 
Counting of votes in all the five states will be taken up on March 11 and all the results are expected by late evening that day.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
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Polling underway in 69 constituencies of UP in third phase of Assembly elections

 
UP elections phase 3: Polling begins for 69 seats
Voting began amidst tight security in 69 constituencies in the third phase of polling in the elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly this morning.
 
These 69 constituencies are spread over 12 districts -- Farrukhabad, Hardoi, Kannauj, Mainpuri, Etawah, Kanpur, Kanpur Dehat, Auraiya, Lucknow, Unnao, Sitapur and Barabanki.
 
Polling began at 7 am and will end at 5 pm today, official sources said.
 
A total of 2,41,67,407 electors are eligible to exercise their franchise in these 69 constituencies, including 1,31,38,989 men, 1,10,27,390 women and 1,028 voters of the third gender.
 
There are a total of 826 candidates in the fray, including 105 women.
 
The Election Commission has set up 25,606 polling stations, deployed 30,135 electronic voting machines and made elaborate security and other arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll.
 
Uttar Pradesh is among the five States where Assembly elections are being held mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and just two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 banknotes. The polls are being seen as a test of the Modi government's popularity as well as an indication of how the people have reacted to the sudden and drastic move to withdraw high-value notes, which accounted for 86 percent of the total cash in circulation in the country. 
 
Uttar Pradesh is going to the polls in seven phases. About 64 percent of the 2.6 crore voters in 73 constituencies exercised their franchise in the first phase of polling on February 11.
 
In the second phase of polling on February 15, 65.5 percent of the electors turned out to cast their votes.
 
About 70 percent of the electorate in Punjab and a record 83 percent in Goa exercise their franchise on February 4 when single-phase polling was held in those two states. Similarly, single-phase polling was held in Uttarakhand on February 15, when about 68 percent of the electorate exercised their franchise. Manipur will have polling in two phases on March 4 and 8. 
 
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The main contest in Uttar Pradesh is between the alliance forged by the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party led by former Chief Minister Mayawati and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the Centre and is making a bid to add Uttar Pradesh to the kitty of states ruled by it.
 
In the remaining phases of polling in Uttar Pradesh, 53 constituencies will go to the polls on February 23; 52 on February 27; 49 on March 4; and 40 on March 8.
 
Counting of votes in all the five states will be taken up on March 11 and all the results are expected by late evening that day.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. 
 
Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
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Polling begins for 73 seats in first phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections

 
Battle for Uttar Pradesh begins
Polling began amidst tight security this morning in 73 constituencies in the first phase of polling in the crucial seven-phase elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
 
The 73 constituencies are located in 15 western districts of India's most populous state, including Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Dadri, Meerut, Ghaziabad and Agra. 
 
Voting, which began at 7 am, will end at 5 pm. More than 2.60 crore voters, including 1.42 crore men and 1.17 crore women, will decide the electoral fate of  839 candidates, including 77 women, in today's polling.
 
The main contest is between the alliance forged by the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party led by former Chief Minister Mayawati and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the Centre and is making a bid to add Uttar Pradesh to the kitty of states ruled by it.
 
The Election Commission has set up 26,823 polling stations and deployed 32,441 electronic voting machines (EVMs), besides making elaborate security and other arrangements, to ensure a free and fair poll.
 
Uttar Pradesh is among the five states where Assembly elections are being held mid-way through the five-year term of the Narendra Modi government at the Cente and just two months after the November 8 demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 banknotes. The polls are being seen as a test of the Modi government's popularity as well as an indication of how the people have reacted to the sudden and drastic move to withdraw high-value notes, which accounted for 86 percent of the total cash in circulation in the country.
 
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About 70 percent of the electorate in Punjab and a record 83 percent in Goa exercise their franchise on February 4 when single-phase polling was held in those two states.
 
Uttarakhand will have single-phase polling on February 15, Manipur will have polling in two phases on March 4 and 8 and Uttar Pradesh will have polling in seven phases between today and March 8.
 
In Uttar Pradesh, 67 constituencies will go to the polls on February 15; 69 on February 19; 53 on February 23; 52 on February 27; 49 on March 4; and 40 on March 8 in the remaining phases of polling.
 
The terms of the Goa, Manipur and Punjab assemblies are due to normally expire on March 18, Uttarakhand on March 26 and Uttar Pradesh on May 27.
 
The Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly has 403 seats, including 84 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes. Punjab Assembly has 117 seats (34 SC), Goa 40 (1 SC), Uttarakhand 70 (13 SC, 2 ST) and Manipur 60 (1 SC, 19 ST).
 
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SP, Congress finalise alliance for UP polls, to contest 298 and 105 seats, respectively

 
Congress, SP finalise alliance for UP Assembly polls
The ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress today announced they would fight the coming elections to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly together, with the former contesting from 298 of the 403 seats and the latter from 105.
 
"The Samajwadi  Party and the Congress party will fight the 2017 Assembly elections jointly," SP state president Naresh Uttam told a press conference with UP Congress chief Raj Babbar at his side.
 
He appealed to all SP leaders and workers to ensure the victory of all the candidates of the alliance and return SP leader Akhilesh Yadav for a second consecutive term as Chief Minister of the state.
 
Both Mr. Uttam and Mr. Babbar said the alliance was aimed at keeping the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) away and to ensure the overall development of Uttar Pradesh.
 
Today's announcement came after several days of negotiations between the two parties. Top leaders of both the parties were involved in the efforts to get both sides to scale down their initial demands.
 
Mr. Babbar said the circumstances in the country and the state necessitated such an alliance. He said the Congress, under the "able leadership" of its Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, had made the decision taking into account the welfare of the people and the wishes of various sections, including intellectuals and like-minded people.
 
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The film actor-turned-politician said the two parties would work to eradicate the "communal and divisive politics" of the BJP. He said they would work for the welfare of all sections of society and the overall development of the state.
 
Mr. Babbar said the two parties would chalk out a common minimum programme within a week of coming topower.
 
"Our ideologies are not different. We share many common ideologies," he said. He said both parties believed in social justice and development, peace and good atmosphere.
 
The SP had won 224 seats in the last Assembly elections in 2012 with a vote share of 29.3 percent, while the Congress had won 28 seats with a vote share of 11.7 percent.
 
The alliance will make the UP polls a triangular contest with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power at the Centre, and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) headed by former Chief Minister Mayawati.
 
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Prabhu flags off new express train on Gorakhpur-Badshahnagar (Lucknow) route

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Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu flagged off the 15069/ 15070 Gorakhpur-Badshahnagar (Lucknow) Express, a new daily train, through video-conferencing here yesterday.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Prabhu said the new inter-city service would help Gorakhpur grow in social and economic terms.
 
The train will have stoppages at Anand Nagar, Naugarh, Balrampur, Sohratgarh, Barhni, Tulsipur, Gonda, Barabanki and Malhaur. 
 
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