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West Bengal

Heavy polling as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry vote to elect new assemblies

Voters turned out in large numbers on Monday in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the crucial single-phase elections to elect new legislative assemblies in the two Southern states and one Union Territory.

 
Kerala, Puducherry, TN vote to elect new Assemblies
Voters turned out in large numbers today in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the crucial single-phase elections to elect new legislative assemblies in the two Southern states and one Union Territory.
 
Voting began at 7 am and ended at 6 pm and initial figures said that 71.5 percent of the electors had exercised their franchise in Kerala.
 
In Tamil Nadu, 69.19 percent polling had been recorded by 5 pm and 81.94 percent in Puducherry, and the final figures were expected to be higher.
 
Campaigning for the elections in the three states had come to a close on Saturday evening.
 
Polling was by and large peaceful in all three states, with no major untoward incident reported from any constituency. Rains in the morning played a dampener for a while in some parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala but voters did not allow this to affect their enthusiasm and brisk polling was seen in these places later in the day.
 
In Kerala, there are a total of  2,61,06,422 electors, including 1,35,08,693 women, in the 140 constituencies that went to the polls. There are 1203 candidates, including 109 women, in the fray. The Election Commission had set up 21646 polling stations in the state.
 
In Tamil Nadu, a total of 5,82,59,801 voters, including  2,93,33,954 women, were eligible to exercise their franchise in the 234 constituencies.
 
However, voting was held today for 232 seats, with polling in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur constituencies having been deferred by the Election Commission to May 23. There were a total of 3728 candidates in the 232 constituencies and voting took place at 65,486 polling stations.
 
In Puducherry, there are a total of  9,41,935 voters, including 4,94,238 women. There were 344 candidates, including 21 women, in the fray for the 30 seats. As many as 930 polling stations were set up by the Election Commission across the Union Territory.
 
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Counting of votes in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, as well as in Assam, which went to the polls in two phases on April 4 and 11, and in West Bengal, where polling was held in six phases between April 4 and May 5, will be taken up on May 19 and all the results are expected by that evening. In Aravakurichi and Thanjavur constituencies of Tamil Nadu, counting of votes will be taken up on May 25.
 
The term of the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu is due to expire on May 22, West Bengal on May 29, Kerala on May 31, Puducherry on June 2 and Assam on June 5.
 
Polling was also held today in bye-elections to fill one vacancy in the Lok Sabha -- Tura in Meghalaya -- and six in legislative assemblies in four states -- Jharkhand, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.
 
The assembly constituencies where bye-elections were held are Godda and Panki in Jharkhand, Talala in Gujarat, Jangipur and Bilari in Uttar Pradesh, and Palair in Telangana.
 
The Election Commission has deferred the bye-elections in Ghoradongri (Madhya Pradesh), Anantnag (Jammu & Kashmir) and Kanubari (Arunachal Pradesh).
 
The bye-election in Tura (ST) was necessitated by the death of former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A. Sangma on March 4 in New Delhi.
 
Counting of votes in all these constituencies will also be taken up on May 19.
 
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Polling begins for 25 seats in final phase of West Bengal Assembly elections

Polling began amidst tight security in 25 constituencies in the sixth and final phase of the elections to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly on Thursday morning.

 
WB polls: 25 constituencies go to polls in last phase
Polling began amidst tight security in 25 constituencies in the sixth and final phase of the elections to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly this morning.
 
The constituencies include 16 in Purba Medinipur district and nine in Cooch Behar district.
 
There are a total of 58,04,019 voters in the 25 constituencies, including  27,80,150 women. There are 170 candidates in the fray, including 18 women.
 
The Election Commission has set up 6774 polling stations and made elaborate security and other arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll.
 
Elections to the 294-member West Bengal Assembly are being held in six phases, along with elections in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
 
Phase 1A of the polling in 18 constituencies in West Bengal was held on April 4 and Phase 1B in 31 constituencies on April 11, Phase 2 (56 constituencies) on April 17, Phase 3 (62 constituencies) on April 21 , Phase 4 (49 constituencies) on April 25 and Phase 5 (53 constituencies) on April 30. 
 
Assam went to the polls in two phases on April 4 and 11 while polling will be held in a single day on May 16 to choose new legislative assemblies in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up in all four states and the Union Territory of Puducherry on May 19 and all the results are expected to be in by that evening.
 
The term of the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu is due to expire on May 22, West Bengal on May 29, Kerala on May 31, Puducherry on June 2 and Assam on June 5.
 
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Polling begins in 49 constituencies in fourth phase of West Bengal assembly elections

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Voting was underway in 49 constituencies that went to the polls amidst tight security in the fourth phase of the elections to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly today.
 
The constituencies where polling is being held today include 33 in North 24 Parganas and 16 in Howra district. Polling began at 7 am and will end at 6 pm.
 
A total of 1,08,16,942 electors are eligible to vote in today's elections, including 52,24,395 women. There are, in all, 345 candidates in the fray, including 40 women.
 
The Election Commission has set up 12454 polling stations and made elaborate security and other arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll.
 
Elections to the 294-member West Bengal Assembly are being held in six phases. Phase 1A of the polling in 18 constituencies was held on April 4 and Phase 1B in 31 constituencies on April 11, Phase 2 (56 constituencies) on April 17 and Phase 3 (62 constituencies) on April 21. 
 
Polling in Phase 5 (53 constituencies) will be held on April 30 and Phase 6 (25 constituencies) on May 5.
 
Assam went to the polls in two phases on April 4 and 11 while polling will be held in a single day on May 16 to choose new legislative assemblies in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up in all four states and the Union Territory of Puducherry on May 19 and all the results are expected to be in by that evening.
 
The term of the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu is due to expire on May 22, West Bengal on May 29, Kerala on May 31, Puducherry on June 2 and Assam on June 5.
 
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More than 79% polling in 62 constituences in third phase of polling in West Bengal

Women voters waiting for their turn at a polling booth, during the third phase of West Bengal Assembly Election, at Shyampukur constituency of Kolkata North on April 21, 2016.
Women voters waiting for their turn at a polling booth, during the third phase of West Bengal Assembly Election, at Shyampukur constituency of Kolkata North on April 21, 2016.
More than 79.22 percent of the electorate turned out to exercise their franchise in 62 constituencies that went to the polls in the third round of the six-phase elections to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly today.
 
The 62 constituencies were spread over Kolkata Uttar and the districts of Murshidabad, Nadia and Burdwan.
 
Election Commission officials said 79.22 percent polling was recorded till 5 pm, when there was still one hour of voting to go.
 
A total of  1,37,42,000 electors, including 65,79,218 women, were eligible to vote in today's elections. There were 418 candidates in the fray, including 34 women.
 
The Election Commission had set up 16451 polling stations in the 62 constituencies and made elaborate security and other arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll.
 
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BSF to get land for 4 Battalion HQ at Farakka

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The Union Cabinet today approved the transfer of 58.81 acres of surplus land of Farakka Barrage Project under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation to Border Security Force (BSF) under the Ministry of Home Affairs for establishment of 4-Battalion Headquarters of BSF at Khejuriaghat in Mouza Jagannathpur, in Malda district of West Bengal.
 
An official press release said the Farakka Barrage Project (FBP)would also be benefitted by guarding of crucial Indian frontiers with Bangladesh by BSF in Malda District, which is adjoining to Farakka Barrage Project.
 
Also, possibility of encroachments of FBP land and ensuing security concerns to FBP would be reduced due to presence of the BSF personnel in the area, it added.
 
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More than 80% voter turnout in second phase of West Bengal assembly polls

More than 80 percent of the electorate turned out to vote on Sunday in 56 constituencies spread over seven districts in the second phase of polling in the elections to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.

More than 80 percent of the electorate turned out to vote today in 56 constituencies spread over seven districts in the second phase of polling in the elections to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.
 
The districts are Birbhum, Malda, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur and Darjeeling.
 
The voting figures were as at 5 pm when one hour of polling was stil to go in several of the constituencies and the final figure is expected to be higher.
 
These constituencies had registered 86.51 percent polling in the last assembly elections in the state in 2011.
 
Polling, which began at 7 am and ended at 4 pm in Left-wing extremism affected areas and at 6 pm in the other constituencies, was by and large peaceful, officials said.
 
In all, 1,21,74,947 electors, including 58,91,717 women, were eligible to exercise their franchise in today's elections. There were 383 candidates in the fray, including 33 women.
 
The Election Commission had set up 13645 polling stations in these 56 constituencies and made elaborate security and other arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll.
 
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Elections to the 294-member West Bengal Assembly are being held in six phases. Phase 1A of the polling in 18 constituencies was held on April 4 and Phase 1B in 31 constituencies on April 11.
 
Polling in Phase 3 (62 constituencies) will be held on April 21, Phase 4 (49 constituencies) on April 25, Phase 5 (53 constituencies) on April 30 and Phase 6 (25 constituencies) on May 5.
 
Assam went to the polls in two phases on April 4 and 11 while polling will be held in a single day on May 16 to choose new legislative assemblies in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up in all four states and the Union Territory of Puducherry on May 19 and all the results are expected to be in by that evening.
 
The terms of the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu is due to expire on May 22, West Bengal on May 29, Kerala on May 31, Puducherry on June 2 and Assam on June 5.
 
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Voting begins for 56 seats in second phase of West Bengal Assembly elections

Voting began began on Sunday morning in 56 constituencies spread over seven districts in the second phase of polling in the elections to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.

Voting began began this morning in 56 constituencies spread over seven districts in the second phase of polling in the elections to the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.
 
The districts are Birbhum, Malda, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur and Darjeeling.
 
Polling began at 7 am and will end at 4 pm in Left-wing extremism affected areas and at 6 pm in the other constituencies.
 
In all, 1,21,74,947 electors, including 58,91,717 women, are eligible to exercise their franchise in today's elections. There are 383 candidates in the fray, including 33 women.
 
The Election Commission has set up 13645 polling stations in these 56 constituencies and made elaborate security and other arrangements to ensure a free and fair poll.
 
Elections to the 294-member West Bengal Assembly are being held in six phases. Phase 1A of the polling in 18 constituencies was held on April 4 and Phase 1B in 31 constituencies on April 11.
 
Polling in Phase 3 (62 constituencies) will be held on April 21, Phase 4 (49 constituencies) on April 25, Phase 5 (53 constituencies) on April 30 and Phase 6 (25 constituencies) on May 5.
 
Assam went to the polls in two phases on April 4 and 11 while polling will be held in a single day on May 16 to choose new legislative assemblies in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up in all four states and the Union Territory of Puducherry on May 19 and all the results are expected to be in by that evening.
 
The terms of the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu is due to expire on May 22, West Bengal on May 29, Kerala on May 31, Puducherry on June 2 and Assam on June 5.
 
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79.5% polling in West Bengal, 82% in Assam, EC orders FIR against Gogoi

More than 79.5 percent of the voters exercised their franchise in the second part of the first phase of polling in the elections to the West Bengal legislative assembly and more than 82.2 percent of the electorate turned out in the second phase of polling in Assam on Monday.

 
Polling underway in part B of phase I of elections to the West Bengal Assembly
More than 79.5 percent of the voters exercised their franchise in the second part of the first phase of polling in the elections to the West Bengal legislative assembly and more than 82.2 percent of the electorate turned out in the second phase of polling in Assam today.
 
Election Commission officials told journalists here this evening that the final figures were still being tallied and the actual polling percentage could be higher.
 
The polling was by and large peaceful in both the states and no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere, they said.
 
In West Bengal, polling was held today for 31 Assembly constituencies in the districts of Paschim Medinipur, Bankura and Burdwan.
 
These constituencies had recorded 83.72 percent polling in the last assembly elections in 2011.
 
A total of 69.9 lakh electors were eligible to vote in today's polling in these 31 constituencies. There were a total of 163 candidates in the fray, including 21 women.
 
The Election Commission had set up 8465 polling stations in these 31 constituencies.
 
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In Assam, voting was held in 61 constituencies in the lower and central parts of the state. These constituencies had recorded 76.05 percent polling in the 2011 Assembly elections and 80.2 percent in the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the officials said.
 
In all, 1.04 crore voters were eligible to vote in these 61 constituencies, including 50.44 lakh women. There were 525 candidates in the fray, including 48 women. The Election Commission had set up 12699 polling stations for today's polls.
 
A 19-year-old youth succumbed to injuries he suffered during an incident of stone-throwing and consequent lathi-charge by security personnel in Barpeta district of Assam. The Election Commission has directed the district administration to order a magisterial inquiry into the incident and establish the sequence of events.
 
The Commission said a first information report (FIR) had been filed by the election authorities in Assam against Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for holding a press conference in alleged violation of the Representation of Peoples Act during polling hours today.
 
The election laws prohibit the holding of such press conferences within 48 hours of the closure of polls.
 
The officials also said that the allegations levelled by Mr. Gogoi against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Himanta Biswa Sarma during the press conference were found to be incorrect. 
 
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Voting begins in first phase of assembly elections in West Bengal, Assam

Voting began in the first phase of polling in the elections to the legislative assemblies of West Bengal and Assam amidst tight security on Monday morning.

Voting began in the first phase of polling in the elections to the legislative assemblies of West Bengal and Assam amidst tight security this morning.
 
Queues of voters were seen at many polling booths in the two states from the start of voting at 7 am.
 
In West Bengal, voting is being held today in 18 constituencies in Phase IA of polling. They include six seats in Paschim Medinipur, nine in Purulia and three in Bankura districts. 
 
These constituencies have a total electorate of 40,09,171 voters, including 20,47,202 men and 19,57,453 women. There are 4500 service electors in these constituencies.
 
There are a total of 133 candidates in these constituencies, including 11 women.
 
The Election Commission has set up 4945 polling stations and made elaborate arrangements to ensure a smooth poll in these constituencies.
 
As many as 65 constituencies went to the polls in the first phase of voting in Assam. There are 566 candidates in all, including 44 women. Prominent candidates in the fray include Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi of the Congress, who is seeking a fourth conseccutive term, and Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the chief ministerial candidate of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).
 
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Death toll in Kolkata flyover collapse rises to 23, rescue ops continue

The death toll in Thursday's collapse of an under-construction flyover in the Burra Bazaar area of North Kolkata rose to 23 on Friday even as search and rescue teams continued to work round-the-clock to find people feared trapped under the tonnes of mangled steel and concrete.

 
Kolkata flyover collapse: Death toll rises to 23
 
The death toll in yesterday's collapse of an under-construction flyover in the Burra Bazaar area of North Kolkata rose to 23 today even as search and rescue teams continued to work round-the-clock to find people feared trapped under the tonnes of mangled steel and concrete.
 
Soldiers from the Army and teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), state agencies, the police and hundreds of volunteers worked through the night last night to extricate people from under the debris.
 
Police sources told NetIndian that those killed in the tragedy included 20 men and three women.
 
At least 67 others suffered injuries in the incident and were taken to various hospitals for treatment. Several of them were discharged after first-aid, the sources said.
 
A 60-metre portion of the 2-km under-construction flyover, which has been in the making for more than six years, crashed suddenly on vehicles and pedestrians using the road below around 1215 yesterday afternoon.
 
Even as the incident has triggered off a blame game among political parties, the West Bengal government has ordered a high-level probe into the incident to fix responsibility for any lapses that may have occured.
 
Kolkata Police have registered a case against the Hyderabad-based construction company IVRCL, which is building the flyover, under sections 304, 308 and 407 of the IPC. Police carried out searches at the three offices of the company in the city yesterday and later sealed them.
 
Burra Bazaar is one of the oldest markets in the region and one of the busiest localities in the city. The bridge is meant to link the area with Howrah.
 
Hundreds of people of the locality and passers-by rushed to the spot as soon as the flyover came crashing down and began trying to remove the debris with their bare hands, using whatever equipment they could lay their hands on, even as the authorities made arrangements to rush cranes, gas cutters, heat sensors, other machinery, sniffer dogs as well as ambulances to the scene. 
 
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Scores of witnesses told journalists at the scene that they heard a loud rumble and then a massive thud as the huge bridge suddenly came down without any warning.
 
Footage from a closed circuit television (CCTV) camera in the area showed people going about their normal business and traffic moving as usual under the flyover when it suddenly came crashing down.
 
Traffic in the entire area came to a total standstill and there were traffic snarls in several nearby areas as a consequence.
 
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was campaigning for the state assembly elections outside Kolkata, rushed back to the state capital and visited the scene of the tragedy.
 
She said stringent action would be taken against officials of the construction company, IVRCL Limited, or any others found guilty of negligence.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently in the United States on an official visit, took stock of the situation and expressed shock and grief over the incident. He also talked to Ms. Banerjee over the telephone and assured her of all possible help from the Centre.
 
“Shocked and saddened by collapse of under construction flyover in Kolkata. Took stock of the situation and rescue operations. 
 
"My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in Kolkata. May the injured recover at the earliest," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
Media reports said the bridge has been under construction since 2009 and suffered several delays along the way. 
 
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19 dead, 77 injured as under-construction flyover collapses in Kolkata

At least 19 persons died and 77 others suffered injuries when an under-construction flyover, which has been more than six years in the making, collapsed in the busy and congested Bura Bazaar area of north Kolkata on Thursday.

 
Kolkata: 10 dead in under-construction bridge collapse
 
At least 19 persons died and 77 others suffered injuries when an under-construction flyover, which has been more than six years in the making, collapsed in the busy and congested Bura Bazaar area of north Kolkata today.
 
Police sources told NetIndian that the 19 dead included two women. All of them were crushed under the tonnes of concrete and steel that came crashing on them around 1215 pm today without any warning.
 
They said 77 others had been taken to various hospitals in the city for treatment of injuries.
 
Officials feared the number of casualties could increase as search and rescue teams made their way through the mangled steel and concrete late into the night.
 
Army personnel and teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) joined the local police, the fire brigade, other agencies and hundreds of volunteers in a massive rescue effort with specialised equipment, sniffer dogs and so on.
 
Several people were feared trapped below the debris of the bridge and frantic efforts were being made to reach them without loss of time. As people dug through the rubble, they found cars, taxis and other vehicles trapped under the concrete.
 
Hundreds of people of the locality and passers-by rushed to the spot and began trying to remove the debris with their bare hands, using whatever equipment they could lay their hands on, even as the authorities made arrangements to rush cranes, gas cutters and other machinery as well as ambulancesto the scene. 
 
Scores of witnesses told journalists at the scene that they heard a loud rumble and then a massive thud as the huge bridge suddenly came down without any warning.
 
Footage from a closed circuit television (CCTV) camera in the area showed people going about their normal business and traffic moving as usual under the flyover when it suddenly came crashing down.
 
Traffic in the entire area came to a total standstill and there were traffic snarls in several nearby areas as a consequence.
 
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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was campaigning for the state assembly elections outside Kolkata, rushed back to the state capital and visited the scene of the tragedy.
 
She said stringent action would be taken against officials of the construction company, the Hyderabad-based IVRCL Limited, or any others found guilty of negligence.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is currently in the United States on an official visit, took stock of the situation and expressed shock and grief over the incident.
 
“Shocked and saddened by collapse of under construction flyover in Kolkata. Took stock of the situation and rescue operations. 
 
"My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives in Kolkata. May the injured recover at the earliest," he said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was touring West Bengal as part of the BJP's election campaign, asked the Director General, NDRF, Mr. O.P.Singh, to rush rescue teams to the spot.
 
An official press release said seven NDRF teams had been deputed to the site and two more teams were being mobilized for the rescue operations.
 
"I am deeply saddened to know that precious lives have been lost in the Kolkata accident," he added.
 
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Navy's sixth landing craft utility ship launched in Kolkata

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The sixth ship of the Indian Navy's landing craft utility (LCU) MK IV project, was launched at a ceremony at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE) here yesterday.
 
In accordance with the traditions, invocations from Atharva Veda were recited and Mrs. Seema Verma, wife of Vice Admiral Bimal Kumar Verma, Commander-in-Chief, Andaman & Nicobar Command, applied ‘kumkum’ on the ship’s stem.
 
She, thereafter, named the ship as ‘LCU-L56’, wished the ship good luck and launched the vessel.
 
Rear Admiral AK Verma (Retd), VSM, Chairman & Managing Director, GRSE Ltd, commenced the proceedings with a formal welcome, which was followed by an address by the chief guest, Vice Admiral Bimal Kumar Verma.
 
Vice Admiral Verma said the Indian Navy had been supporting the drive for indigenous construction of warships leading to advancements of the country's shipbuilding industry and acknowledged the role of GRSE as a reliable partner in pursuing the national goal of ‘Make in India’. He extended warm felicitations to the entire team of the GRSE for their significant contribution towards meeting the Navy’s growing requirements of state-of-the-art warships.
 
LCU L-56 is the sixth vessel of the series of eight LCU ships being designed and built by GRSE for the Indian Navy. The ship can be deployed for multi-role activities like beaching operations, humanitarian and disaster relief operations and evacuation from distant islands. 
 
The first ship of the class ‘LCU-L51’ was launched on March 12, and is presently undergoing sea trials at GRSE. The vessel is likely to be delivered shortly to the Indian Navy.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Jalpaiguri region of West Bengal

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale, shook the Jalpaiguri region of West Bengal tonight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.7 N and longitude 89.4 E, occurred at 2145 hours at a focal depth of 21 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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India-Pakistan ICC World T20 clash shifted from Dharamsala to Kolkata

The venue of the much-awaited India-Pakistan ICC World Twenty20 clash was today shifted from Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh to Eden Gardens in Kolkata for security reasons.
 
The two neighbours and arch-rivals are due to meet each other in a Group 2 match of the Super 10 in the tournament on March 19.
 
The evening match will take place as scheduled on Saturday, March 19 and will start at 1930 hours local time.
 
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had earlier raised concerns about the security for the match, referring to possible demonstrations and efforts to disrupt the event.
 
Later, Pakistan had sent a delegation to Dharamsala to review security in the town.
 
“The decision has been taken following consultation with the BCCI, the relevant state associations, the ICC and BCCI security consultant and other relevant authorities," International Crikcet Council (ICC) CEO David Richardson said.
 
“The decision to relocate the match has been made for security reasons. The concerns initially arose following alleged public comments recently reported by the Chief Minister of Hamachal Pradesh, warning of demonstration and attempts to disrupt the peaceful conduct of the match.
 
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“Our concerns relate both to uncertainty as to the level of those threats as well as the level of commitment to implement any security plan developed to mitigate such treats.
 
“The decision was not taken lightly," Richardson said. "The ICC and the BCCI understand the disappointment that is likely to be felt by many over the decision to move the match. But the safety and security of the event is of paramount importance to the ICC and we have taken into consideration the concerns shared with us by our security advisors as well as Pakistan Cricket Board.
 
“As far as those who have purchased tickets online for the match, they will be offered the choice of a full refund or the opportunity to exchange their tickets for ones for the Kolkata match.
 
“Finally, I would like to confirm that the ICC has been assured by all relevant state authorities that all adequate security measure are in place and will be implemented to ensure that the event is staged in a safe and secure environment for all stakeholders.”
 
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EC announces dates for Assembly polls in Assam, West Bengal, TN, Kerala, Puducherry

Assam will go to the polls in two phases on April 4 and 11, West Bengal in six phases between April 4 and May 5 and Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will have a single-day poll on May 16 to elect new State Legislative Assemblies, the Election Commission announced in New Delhi on Friday.

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Assam will go to the polls in two phases on April 4 and 11, West Bengal in six phases between April 4 and May 5 and Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will have a single-day poll on May 16 to elect new State Legislative Assemblies, the Election Commission announced here today.
 
In Assam, as many as 65 constituencies will go to the polls in the first phase on April 4 and 61 in the second phase on April 11.
 
The notification for the first phase will be issued on March 11 and for the second phase on March 14.
 
In West Bengal, Phase 1A of the polling (18 constituencies) will be held on April 4, Phase IB (31 constituencies) on April 11, Phase 2 (56 constituencies) on April 17, Phase 3 (62 constituencies) on April 21, Phase 4 (49 constituencies) on April 25, Phase 5 (53 constituencies) on April 30 and Phase 6 (25 constituencies) on May 5.
 
The notifications for Phase IA will be issued on March 11, 1B on March 14, Phase 2 on March 22, Phase 3 on March 28, Phase 4 on April 1, Phase 5 on April 4 and Phase 6 on April 11.
 
Notifications for the single-phase polling on May 16 in Kerala, TAmil Nadu and Puducherry will be issued on April 22. 
 
Counting of votes will be taken up in all four states and UT on May 19 and all the results are expected to be in by that evening.
 
The terms of the legislative assembly of Tamil Nadu is due to expire on May 22, West Bengal on May 29, Kerala on May 31, Puducherry on June 2 and Assam on June 5.
 
The Kerala Assembly has a total of 140 seats, including 14 reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes (STs); Tamil Nadu 234 (44 SC, 2 ST); West Bengal 294 (68 SC, 16 ST); Puducherry 30 (5 SC); and Assam 126 (8 SC, 16 ST).
 
The electoral rolls of all the existing Assembly constituencies in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry have been revised, with reference to 01.01.2016 as the qualifying date, and have been finally published.
 
The total number of electors in Assam is 1,98,66,496; Kerala 2,56,08,720; Tamil Nadu 5,79,15,075; West Bengal 6,55,46,101; and Puducherry 9,27,034.
 
Briefing mediapersons about the election schedule, Chief Election Commissioner Naseem Zaidi said the Commission had directed the States concerned to conduct a time-bound and systematic drive for the improvement in the quality and health of their respective electoral rolls, so as to enhance their fidelity for the conduct of free and fair elections. 
 
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The Commission will set up 24,888 polling stations in Assam, 21,498 in Kerala, 65,616 in Tamil Nadu, 77,247 in West Bengal and 913 in Puducherry to ensure a free and fair poll.
 
Dr. Zaidi said that, for the first time, the Commission has provided a new symbol for the None of the Above (NOTA) option on the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
 
The Model Code of Conduct has come into effect immediately from now onwards. All the provisions of the Model Code will apply to the whole of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry and will be applicable to all candidates, political parties and, the State Governments of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Pudducherry. The Model Code of Conduct shall also be applicable to the Union Government insofar as announcements/policy decisions pertaining. for these States/UT is concerned.
 
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Modi to visit Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal on Sunday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay a visit to Chhattisgarh, Odisha and West Bengal tomorrow, an official press release said here today.
 
In Chhattisgarh, Mr. Modi will lay the foundation stone for houses to be built under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, at Naya Raipur in Chhattisgarh tomorrow. 
 
He will also launch the Shyama Prasad Mukherji National Rurban Mission at Kurubhat in Rajnandgaon district of the state.
 
The Rurban Mission aims at development of rural growth clusters in all States and UTs, which would trigger overall development in the region. These clusters would be developed by provisioning of economic activities, developing skills and local entrepreneurship and providing infrastructure amenities. 
 
Mr. Modi will address a public meeting at Bargarh in Odisha and attend the inauguration of the centenary celebration of Gaudiya Mission and Math in Kolkata tomorrow evening, the release added.
 
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Cabinet okays amendment to Delimitation Act, Representation of the People Act

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The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for amendment of section 11 of the Delimitation Act, 2002 and section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950. 
 
This will enable the Election Commission to carry out limited delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies in the Cooch Behar district of West Bengal consequent upon the exchange of 51 Bangladeshi enclaves and 111 Indian enclaves, respectively, between India and Bangladesh, with effect from 31st July, 2015. 
 
This is in pursuance of the Constitution (One Hundredth Amendment) Act, 2015 and also allows for introduction of a Bill, namely, the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament. 
 
In a historic pact between India and Bangladesh, 51 Bangladeshi enclaves (Chhitmahals) in Indian Territory and 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh territory were exchanged with effect from 31st July, 2015. The move altered the geography and demography of the district of Cooch Behar in West Bengal. 
 
With a view to carry out consequential geographic and demographic alterations vis-à-vis the electoral mosaic of the affected areas, the Election Commission requested the Government to amend section 11 of the Delimitation Act, 2002 and section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 to enable it to carry out limited delimitation of constituencies in the affected areas. 
 
Since the newly acquired area consequent upon the exchange of territory between India and Bangladesh has become part of Indian territory, it is required to make delimitation exercise within the limited constituency area before the ensuing State Assembly elections in West Bengal, the release added.
 
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NDRC inks MoU with IICB to promote entrepreneurship

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The National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) has entered into  a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (IICB), Kolkata to promote entrepreneurship.  
 
NRDC Chairman and Managing Director H. Purushotham and CSIR-ICCB Director Samit Chattopadhyay signed the MoU in the presence of Union Minister of Science & Technology Harsh Vardhan  and West Bengal Minister  for Science, Technology & Biotechnology Rabiranjan Chattopadhyay.
 
CSIR-IICB is engaged in research on diseases and certain biological problems of global interest. To spin out these R&D outcomes and with a view to contribute country’s startup movement, CSIR-IICB established a Translational Research Unit of Excellence (TRUE) which includes an Incubation Centre of about 10,000 sq. ft..  
 
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13 Additional Judges appointed in Calcutta High Court

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The President has appointed 13 Additional Judges in the Calcutta High Court, an official press release said here today.
 
They include Mr. Indrajit Chatterjee, Mr. Shib Sadhan Sadhu, Mr. Sudip Ahluwalia, Mr. Tapash Mookherjee, Mr. Ranjit Kumar Bag and Mr. Ishan Chandra Das who have been appointed for a period of six months with effect from December 31.
 
In the case of Mr. Sadhu, the appointment is with effect from 31st December, 2015 till 9th April, 2016, the date of his superannuation, it said.
 
The others appointed are Ms. Samapati Chatterjee, Mr. Sahidullah Munshi, Mr. Subrata Talukdar, Mr. Tapabrata Chakraborty, Mr. Arindam Sinha, Mr. Arijit Banerjee, and Mr. Debangsu Basak.
 
Their appointment is for a period of six months with effect from 30th January, 2016, the release added.
 
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Mukherjee to visit West Bengal from Jan 5-6

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President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a two-day visit to West Bengal from tomorrow, an official press release said.
 
On January 6, Mr. Mukherjee will inaugurate a new building of Vidyanagar College in South 24 Parganas.
 
On the same day, he will also inaugurate the 200th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Pandit Madan Mohan Tarkalankar at Bilwagram, Nadia before returning to New Delhi, the release added.
 
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Mosaic of being multi-religious makes India an oasis of communal harmony

President Pranab Mukherjee at the closing ceremony of the Bicentenary Celebrations of the Diocese of Calcutta, Church North India, in Kolkata on December 13, 2015.
President Pranab Mukherjee at the closing ceremony of the Bicentenary Celebrations of the Diocese of Calcutta, Church North India, in Kolkata on December 13, 2015.
President Pranab Mukherjee today said that it was the mosaic of being multi-religious that made India an oasis of peaceful co-existence and communal harmony.
 
"The fabric of our society would remain strong when every individual irrespective of caste, creed, language, region and religion can live and partake in its progress without fear and prejudice," he said in his address at the closing ceremony of the bicentenary celebrations of the Diocese of Calcutta, Church of North India, at St. Paul’s Cathedral here.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said that every religion preached the fundamental values of humanity. 
 
"Forbearance, restraint and acceptance of different views form some of our core principles. India prides itself in its pluralistic ideals. In India, several major religions have thrived due to its assimilative character that has come to define our civilization over the centuries. People professing different faiths have lived here in harmony for a long time," he said.
 
"It is here that the Christian community is looked upon with respect for their peaceful and humanitarian nature and for their magnanimous contribution to the process of nation building. In this context, the Diocese of Calcutta’s effort in promoting inter-faith dialogue is truly commendable," he said.
 
"The Diocese of Calcutta has a significant history behind its inception and existence. In 1814, a Letter of Patent was issued where upon the 'Bishopric of Calcutta' was given effect to and the Diocese of Calcutta was defined. The Diocese of Calcutta at that time comprised entire India, including Burma. It extended up to Ceylon and gradually even as far as Borneo, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Cape Town and China. However by the time India became independent in 1947, most of the dioceses outside the geographical boundary of India had become separate. Presently, the Diocese of Calcutta comprises the Churches and institutions in and around the city of Kolkata, a Church at East Midnapore, and the churches located in the neighbouring districts of Howrah and Hooghly," he noted.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said it was sacrosanct to have faith in the greatness of God through kindness and concern for others.
 
He said it was heartening to note that the Diocese of Calcutta along with its Churches, educational institutions and organizations was extensively involved in helping the underprivileged sections of society. 
 
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"Their efforts are aimed at providing equal opportunity to all the deprived and needy people in terms of developing social awareness, gaining access to quality education, building capacity, and providing healthcare services," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee also noted that the Diocese of Calcutta runs many educational institutions, including schools at all levels, from pre-primary to primary, secondary and higher secondary levels. 
 
"These schools impart quality education in both the vernacular and English medium. The society also operates under-graduate colleges and offers post-graduate courses as well. Nursing and engineering colleges, a hospice for AIDS patients, Child Care Centre for the children of AIDS affected or infected parents, Tuberculosis centre and hospitals, Old Age Homes, Orphanages and Day Child Care Centres are other priority projects of the diocese. Women, children, the elderly and backward sections of the population residing in both urban and rural areas are helped by the Diocese through these projects. It has empowered them to break the chains of poverty and injustice, and has helped them to lead a life of human dignity and respect," he said.
 
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Mukherjee says 8% growth achievable with united efforts

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President Pranab Mukherjee today said India could achieve an 8 percent growth in its gross domestic product (GDP) if it made united efforts in this direction.
 
Inaugurating the 185th anniversary celebrations of the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce here, he said various countries today considered India an attractive investment destination because of political stability and the government’s new initiatives like Swachh Bharat, Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, and so on.
 
Mr. Mukherjee said India had witnessed a period of high growth, particularly in the middle years of the last decade.
 
"Though the tempo could not be maintained thereafter, we did have good years of growth. This was despite the fact that prolonged global economic slowdown had affected the growth performance of all major economies. Barring a below five percent growth in 2012-13, our economic growth in all other years has been not less than 6.6 percent," he said.
 
The President stressed that a re-energized manufacturing sector was crucial for better economic performance
 
"During the years 2005-06 to 2007-08 when our economy grew by more than 9 percent, exports grew in excess of 20 percent in each of these years. Though exports have come down in the last three years, the import bill has also fallen because of the decline in oil prices. This has helped to keep the current account deficit at a manageable level of 1.4 percent last year. Foreign exchange reserves at US dollar 353 billion as of end October are also at comfortable levels, giving us a cushion to meet any crisis," he said.
 
Mr. Mukherjee called upon the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce to contribute substantially to the development of the region and the economic regeneration of India.
 
He said the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, which is one of the oldest associations of its kind in the world, since inception, had played a catalytic role not only in the industrial growth of the region but also in its socio-economic development. 
 
"A unique contribution of the association is its efforts to improve Calcutta’s civic amenities. It took an active interest in the enactment of key legislations in areas like Bengal Town Planning, Merchandise Marks, Copyright, Apprenticeship and Calcutta Port Trust etc.," he added.
 
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Mukherjee to visit West Bengal from Dec 12-14

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President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a three-day visit to West Bengal from tomorrow, an official press release said here today.
 
Tomorrow, Mr. Mukherjee will inaugurate the 185th anniversary of Calcutta Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata. He will also inaugurate an exhibition of Shahbuddin Ahmed organized by Ganges Art Gallery at ICCR, Kolkata on the same day. 
 
On December 13, the President will deliver the Debranjan Mukherji Memorial Lecture at Raj Bhavan, Kolkata and inaugurate the statue of Lord Shiva at Seth Banshidhar Jalan Smriti Mandir, Howrah. 
 
On the same day, he will also inaugurate the closing ceremony of the Bicentenary Celebrations of the Diocese of Calcutta at St. Paul 's Cathedral, Kolkata and attend the concluding function of 125th Birth Anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru organized by the Bidhan Memorial Trust in Kolkata. 
 
On December 14, Mr. Mukherjee will deliver the Indira Gandhi Memorial Lecture organized by the Asiatic Society in Kolkata. He will also be the chief guest at the final match and prize distribution ceremony of the 6th Edition of KKM Memorial Gold Cup-Rural Football Tournament at Jangipur before returning to New Delhi, the release added.
 
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Mukherjee to present standard to 18 Sqn, 22 Sqn of IAF on Saturday

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President Pranab Mukherjee will present the standard to 18 Squadron and 22 Squadron of the Indian Air Force at Air Force Station Hasimara in Alipurduar district of West Bengal tomorrow.
 
The event will take place during a two-day visit by Mr. Mukherjee to the district from today, an official press release said.
 
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Government formulates strategy to address price rise of raw jute

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The Government has formulated a three-pronged strategy to address the rise in prices of raw jute including imposition of stock limits and dehoarding operations.
 
The strategy was worked out after Textiles Minister Santosh Gangwar held a meeting with stakeholders here on Monday to evolve a suitable strategy for stabilizing the raw jute market and for tackling the situation of rise in the price of raw jute. 
 
Mr. Moloy Ghatak, Minister in charge, Labour, West Bengal government, Mr. Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, MP, also a member of National Jute Board, Mr. S.K. Panda, Secretary (Textiles), Mr. A.M. Reddy, Joint Secretary and Mr. Subrata Gupta, Jute Commissioner were amongst those who attended the meeting.
 
Representatives of the Indian Jute Millers Association and the Jute Balers’ Association were also present.
 
An official press release said the Jute Commissioner had been requested to take appropriate measures for notifying stock limits for raw jute for balers, traders and millers and to undertake de-hoarding measures with the help of State Governments, so that jute produced during the season becomes available for jute mills for continuing their production, as was last done in 2005. 
 
The release said the Department of Commerce and Ministry of External Affairs had been requested to take up the matter with their counterparts in Bangladesh for lifting the ban on export of raw jute by Bangladesh.
 
Appropriate long-term measures shall be taken by the State Governments and Department of Agriculture, Government of India for encouraging jute cultivation and checking its declining trend, it added.
 
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