West Bengal

Bye-elections to be held in Rajasthan, West Bengal on January 29 for three LS, two Assembly seats

The Election Commission of India (ECI) today said it would hold bye-elections on January 29, 2018 to fill three vacancies in the Lok Sabha – two from Rajasthan and one from West Bengal – as well as a vacancy each in the Legislative Assemblies of the two States.
The Lok Sabha seats which are vacant are Alwar and Ajmer in Rajasthan and Uluberia in West Bengal, while the vacant Assembly seats are Mandalgarh in Rajasthan and Noapara in West Bengal.
An official press release said that the notifications for the bye-elections would be issued on January 3 and the last date for filing nominations would be January 10. Nominations will be scrutinized on January 11 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature is January 15. Counting of votes will be taken up on February 1.
All the three Lok Sabha vacancies have arisen due to the death of sitting members.
The Ajmer seat fell vacant after the death on August 9 of former Union Minister and BJP MP Sanwar Lal Jat, while the Alwar seat became vacant after the death on September 17 of BJP MP Chand Nath.
The Uluberia vacanacy has arisen following the death of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sultan Ahmed on September 4.
The electoral rolls of the constituencies with reference to January 1, 2018 will be used for the bye-elections and these will be finally published on January 2.
The Commission has decided to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units in all the polling stations in these constituencies.
The Model Code of Conduct has come into force with immediate effect in the district(s) in which the whole or any part of the Parliamentary/ Assembly Constituency going for bye-election is included, subject to partial modification as issued vide Commission’s instruction No. 437/6/INST2016-CCS, dated 29th June, 2017 (available on the Commission’s website). The Model Code of Conduct shall be applicable to all candidates, political parties and the State Government concerned. The Model Code of Conduct shall also be applicable to the Union Government for the State concerned, the release added.
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Karnataka only state to provide facilities for regional branch of National School of Drama

Karnataka is the only state to provide space for setting up a regional centre of the National School of Drama (NSD), the Lok Sabha was informed yesterday.
Minister of State for Culture Dr Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply during Question Hour that the Broad-Based Committee (Vision Committee) set up by the National School of Drama (NSD) Society in February 2005, inter-alia, had recommended opening of five regional centres of the NSD across the country.
On the basis of these recommendations, a decision was taken to establish Five Regional Centres during the 11th Five Year Plan period (2007-2012), one each at Kolkata, Mumbai/Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, and North-East besides upgrading the existing Regional Resource cum Research Centre, Bengaluru to a full-fledged regional centre.
These regional centres were to be established in consultation with concerned State Governments, who were required to provide land and accommodation for the purpose.
Karnataka had provided space in 2013 at Bengaluru for the purpose where a training course is being organized by NSD. Currently, the Bengaluru centre is running a one-year course on dramatic arts, he said.
Jammu & Kashmir and Assam governments have been reminded about providing the accommodation for the purpose of opening of NSD’s regional centre but there has been no response from them so far, he added.
As far as the opening of NSD’s centre at Mumbai is concerned, the requisite space has yet not been located in spite of an advertisement issued in 2016 in the leading newspapers. An effort is also being made with Maharashtra’s Department of Culture to provide the requisite space.
In so far as the opening of a new centre of NSD at Kolkata is concerned, as per the observations made by the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, the Ministry of Culture had taken up the matter with various organizations under its control at Kolkata for providing accommodation for a new centre.
NSD had also requested them to intimate if they could provide a suitable accommodation to the NSD for the purpose. However, the organizations have shown their inability to provide any accommodation, the Minister said.

Border Protection Grid to be set up in border States, says Rajnath Singh

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday said that a Border Protection Grid (BPG) would be set up in border States as a multi-pronged and foolproof mechanism to secure the country's border.
Chairing a meeting with Chief Minnisters of the Indo-Bangladesh Border (IBB) States here, he said the grid would comprise various elements such as physical barriers, non-physical barriers, surveillance system, Intelligence agencies, State Police, Border Security Force (BSF) and other State and Central agencies.
He said BPG would be supervised by a State-level Standing Committee under the chairmanship of respective Chief Secretaries. BPG will ensure greater help for the States in the overall border security, he said, and sought the active participation of all stakeholders, including State Governments.
Mr. Rajnath Singh had earlier conducted border-specific review meetings for India-China, India-Myanmar and India-Pakistan borders.
In yesterday meeting, the Home Minister underlined the need for securing the country’s borders and putting in place systems to facilitate legitimate trade and commerce. He said India has friendly relations with Bangladesh and all these measures will facilitate genuine trade and legitimate cross-border movement of people while curbing radicalization, illegal migration, and smuggling of cattle, fake Indian currency notes and drugs, and so on.
Mr. Rajnath Singh stressed the need to prevent entry, at international borders, of illegal migrants, some of whom have links with extremist groups for furthering anti-national activities with ulterior motives and posing threat to internal security. 
He emphasized the need to fast track border infrastructure development and to strengthen border security. 
The Indo-Bangladesh Border covering five States -- Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and West Bengal --  is 4096 km long. So far, in 3006 km border security infrastructure of fence, roads, floodlights and border out posts (BOPs) are in place and works in the remaining 1090 km are yet to be started. Out of this, 684 km will be secured with fence and related infrastructure, and the balance 406 km with non-physical barriers. 
Although bulk of the infrastructure is in place or under construction, construction in some parts is yet to commence, mainly due to land acquisition issues. The Home Minister urged the Chief Ministers to take personal interest to expedite land acquisition in the interest of national security. They promised to make land available at the earliest. 
The areas to be covered by non-physical barriers are those where fencing is not feasible like rivers or nullahs. In these areas technological solutions of a networked combination of electronic gadgets like radar, day-night cameras and various types of sensors, all integrated in a command and control architecture, will be used. 
The Home Minister said that the people living in the border areas are a strategic asset and need to be provided with all the infrastructure and socio-economic development facilities. He emphasized the importance and necessity of improved infrastructure such as roads, railways, health and education and also boosting border economy in the border areas in a holistic and comprehensive manner. He said the State Governments must pay greater attention to these areas while the Home Ministry was working to supplement their efforts.
Appreciating the role of BSF for their unshakeable courage, skills, determination and dedication in securing the border, Mr. Rajnath Singh reiterated that they should be more vigilant. He expressed satisfaction over the active participation and assurance of all cooperation given by the states. 
The meeting was attended by Union Minister of State (Home Affairs) Kiren Rijiju, Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Assam and Mizoram, Union Home Secretary, Secretary (Border Management), MHA, DG BSF, Chief Secretary Meghalaya, Secretary, Home, Tripura. 
Senior officers of MHA and other Ministries of Government of India besides State Governments also attended the meeting, an official press release said.

Bengal has great history, ensure that it also has a great future, says Kovind

President Ram Nath Kovind today said while Bengal has a great history, it is for each one of the people to ensure that the state, which was an early industrial and manufacturing centre in India, also has a great future.
“Its economy must sing again in this age of digital and robotic technologies. Its green fields and hard-working farmers must be equipped with the latest agricultural knowledge to allow them to realise their potential,” Mr Kovind said in his address during a civic reception hosted in his honour.
“In 2022, India will be celebrating 75 years as a free country. This will be an occasion to reach certain developmental milestones for our people and to create a better India. For this, we need to invoke the same idealism and fervour that contributed to our freedom movement. Bengal was one of the leaders of our freedom movement. It must lead this effort for a better India by 2022,” he added.
Referring to the Union Government’s ambitious Act East Policy, he said this involves building connectivity projects and taking economic initiatives. The people of Bengal are crucial to this programme that will be of mutual benefit to the eastern and Northeastern states as well as to neighbouring countries.
The President said, being a border state, Bengal has certain advantages. It also gives it certain responsibilities. “Forces of radicalism and extremism, some of them with cross-border linkages, seek to take advantage of our democratic spaces. We must guard against this,” he added.
Mr Kovind said though this was his first visit to the city as President, he was not a stranger to Bengal. “I have been visiting the state and I have been coming to Kolkata for decades now. I would say I have long been an admirer of Bengal and its culture and its history.
“In fact, there are few people anywhere in our country who have not been touched by Bengal or by some creation of Bengal. Somehow, in some manner, this state has touched every Indian and enriched the lives of every Indian. Every Indian child has grown up on stories about Bengal or written in Bengal,” he added.
"Bengal has been central to our national identity. The national anthem, Jana Gana Mana, was written on the soil of Bengal by the Nobel Laureate Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore. The national song, Vande Mataram, a rallying cry for our freedom fighters, was composed by Maharishi Bankim Chandra Chatterjee as early as the 19th century. And our beloved slogan Jai Hind was given to us by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, a great son of Bengal and a leader who is cherished, remembered and missed to this day in all parts of our country,” he added.
“A few days ago, I had the honour of visiting the Indian National Army Memorial in Moirang in Manipur. This is where freedom fighters of the INA, inspired by Netaji, raised the national flag for the first time on Indian soil. It was a very moving moment for me.
“ These three – Gurudev Rabindranath, Maharishi Bankim and Netaji Subhas – were instrumental in defining our nationalism. Our freedom came faster because of the energy they gave our people,” Mr Kovind said.
During his visit, he will also be travelling to Belur to pay his respects to Ramakrishna Paramhansa and his finest disciple, Swami Vivekananda.
"In their own manner, they rediscovered our ancient Indian ethos not only for us in India – but for the world. Swamiji was among our earliest modern cultural ambassadors. His work lives on through the Ramakrishna Mission. This institution has been instrumental in our nation-building process,” he added.
“Our nation-building owes so much to Bengal and the sacrifices and achievements of the people of this land. A galaxy of revolutionary heroes from Bengal helped us get Independence, each doing his or her little bit, quietly, without seeking any reward.
“Young Khudiram Bose went to the gallows with a smile and with the dream of a free India in his eyes. The elderly but determined Matangini Hazra was shot by the colonial police. She died with Vande Mataram on her lips and the hopes of our motherland in her heart,” the President said.
“A number of our pioneering women leaders were from Bengal – perhaps the most famous of them being Sarojini Chattopadhyay, who became Sarojini Naidu after her marriage. So many of our foundational social reform movements began here – from the times of Raja Ram Mohan Roy and later Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, who set up among the first institutions for women’s education,” he added.
“And in education, we cannot forget the contribution of that remarkable father and son, Ashutosh Mukherjee and Shyamaprasad Mukherjee. Or in the field of law, the humanism of that upholder of justice, the jurist Radha Binod Pal. He is still recalled with affection in Japan for his sympathy for ordinary men, women and children who had suffered the horrors of two nuclear bombs,” Mr Kovind said.

Kovind to visit West Bengal, Mizoram, Nagaland from Nov 28 to Dec 1

President Ram Nath Kovind will visit West Bengal, Mizoram and Nagaland from November 28 to December 1 in his first trip to the three states after assuming office in July this year.
An official press release said Mr. Kovind would attend a civic reception hosted in his honour at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata tomorrow. He will also address the "Vigyan Chintan - Scientific Ecosystem in Kolkata" at Raj Bhavan in Kolkata.
On Wednesday, the President will visit the birthplace of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore at Jorasanko and Netaji Bhawan in Kolkata. He will also address the closing ceremony of the centenary celebrations of the Bose Institute in Kolkata and visit the Ramakrishna Mission and Math at Belur.
On the same day, at the Raj Bhavan, Aizawl, Mizoram, the President will inaugurate housing complexes for economically weaker sections under the ‘Basic Services to Urban Poor Scheme’. On November 30, 2017, the President will address a special session of the Mizoram Legislative Assembly.
On the same day, he will meet and interact with various prominent citizens and NGOs in Kohima, Nagaland. On December 1, the President will inaugurate the Hornbill Festival and State Formation Day celebrations of Nagaland in Kisama, before returning to Delhi.

Bye-elections in R. K. Nagar, Tamil Nadu and four seats in Arunachal, UP, West Bengal to be held on December 21

The Election Commission today announced that it would hold bye-elections on December 21 to fill up five vacancies in the State Legislative Assemblies of Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
The vacant seats include Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, where a bye-election was necessitated by the death on December 5, 2016 of then Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.
The other seats for which bye-elections will be held are 12 – Pakke-Kasang (ST) and 28 – Likabali (ST) (Arunachal Pradesh); 207-Sikandra (Uttar Pradesh); and 226-Sabang (West Bengal).
The notification for the elections will be issued on November 27 and the last date for filing nominations is December 4. Scrutiny of nominations will be held on December 5 and the last date for withdrawal of candidatures is December 7.
Counting of votes will be taken up on December 24 and all the results are expected by that evening.
The electoral rolls of the five constituencies, revised with reference to 01.01.2017 as the qualifying date, will be used for the bye-elections.
The Commission has decided to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails in the bye-elections in all the polling stations, an official press release added.
The bye-election to fill the Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar seat was originally slated for April 12 this year, but the Commission had, on April 10, rescinded it because the electoral process had been "seriously vitiated" by unlawful activities of candidates and political parties, including bribing of voters.
At that time, the Commission had said that the bye-election would be held in due course when the vitiating effect created by the distribution of money and gift items to allure the electors got removed with the passage of time and the atmosphere in the constituency became conducive to the holding of free and fair election.

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Modi, Sheikh Hasina, Mamata flag off new train between India, Bangladesh

India, Bangladesh launch connectivity projects
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh  Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today jointly inaugurated a series of connectivity projects between the two countries and flagged off the inaugural run of the Bandhan Express between Kolkata and Khulna through video conference from Kolkata railway station.
The projects include the second Bhairab and Titas Railway Bridges; and the International Rail Passenger Terminus at Chitpur in Kolkata. 
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also joined the event from New Delhi. Mr. Sudip Bandyopadhya, Member of Parliament & Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways, Ms. Mala Saha, MLA, Mr. Harindra Rao, General Manager, Eastern Railway and Mr. Toufique Hassan, Deputy High Commissioner, Bangladesh Deputy High Commission, Kolkata were also present on the occasion at Kolkata station. 
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Modi said that the close connection and understanding between two countries required connectivity between the people across the border and the Maitree Express and the Bandhan Express trains would help strengthen the bonding between  the two countries.
He said India had emerged as the most trusted partner of Bangladesh by undertaking and completing a series of developmental projects in Bangladesh.
Ms. Hasina lauded the initiative and expressed hope that there would be more such initiatives for increasing rail links and connectivity between the two countries. She also highlighted the fact that the introduction of International Passenger Rail Terminus with End-to-End Immigration and Customs Clearance Facilities would help reduce the journey time for rail passengers between the two countries.
Ms. Banerjee said the new train would strengthen ties between the two countries.
The Bandhan Express train is the second train to be flagged off after the introduction of Maitree Express’ between Kolkata and Dhaka Cantonment stations in April, 2008. It covers the distance between Kolkata and Khulna through Petrapole and Benapole route.
The Bandhan Express will be a weekly service on every Thursday. The Kolkata - Khulna Bandhan Express (13129 Up) will depart from Kolkata at 07.10 hrs.(IST) and arrives at Khulna at 12:30 hrs.(BST). On the return journey the Khulna-Kolkata Bandhan Express ( 13130 Down) will depart from Khulna at 13.30 hrs. (BST) and arrive at Kolkata at 18.10 hrs.(IST) on the same day. The immigration and customs checks will take place at Kolkata International Passenger Terminal for the Indian side and at Benapol border station for Bangladesh side.
The one kilometer long second Bhairab Railway Bridge was built over the Meghna river at a cost of around $ 75 millions by Indian contractors and consultants. Similarly, the Titas bridge over river Titas in Eastern Bangladesh was built with a cost of around $ 25 million. Both these bridges are on the main Chittagong to Dhaka Trunk Rail Line which will help in faster movement of both passenger and freight trains of Bangladesh, the release added.

Former Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy joins BJP

Former Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Mukul Roy, who quit the party as well as his Rajya Sabha seat last month, formally joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here today.
Speaking to reporters after joining the BJP in the presence of Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Mr. Roy, 63, said he considered it a privilege to work under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah.
Considered to be a close confidant of West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee at one stage, Mr. Roy said he believed that the BJP was not a communal party but a secular one.
"I am confident that, in the near future, the BJP will grab power in West Bengal," he said.
According to him, the TMC could not have established itself in West Bengal without the help of the BJP and recalled that Ms. Banerjee had served in the previous NDA government headed by veteran BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Mr. Prasad said Mr. Roy's presence would strengthen the BJP and help it in its efforts to expand its footprint to West Bengal.
Mr. Roy, a founding member of the TMC, served as a member of the Rajya Sabha from April 2006 to April 2012 and was re-elected for a second term in 2012. He resigned from the Upper House of Parliament on October 11 after quitting the TMC.
He had served as Minister of State for Shipping from May 19 to July 12, 2011 and then as Minister of State for Railways in the Manmohan Singh Government from March-September 2012. 

Renowned singer Girija Devi passes away

Girija Devi
Girija Devi
Renowned classical vocalist Girija Devi, whose renditions of thumris, khyal and tappa won her millions of admirers, passed away at a hospital here tonight after suffering a cardiac arrest, sources said.
She was 88. She is survived by a daughter.
Girija Devi was taken to the B M Birla Heart Research Centre this afternoon for treatment of cardiovascular ailments and was put on life support, the sources said.
Hospital sources said she was admitted to the Cardiac Care Unit and kept under continous watch. The end came at around 8.45 pm, they said.
"Saddened by demise of Girija Devi ji. Indian classical music has lost one of its most melodious voices. My thoughts are with her admirers," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on micro-blogging site Twitter. 
"Girija Devi ji's music appealed across generations. Her pioneering efforts to popularise Indian classical music will always be remembered," he added.
Girija Devi was born on May 8, 1929 to Ramdeo Rai, a zamindar. Her father played the harmonium and taught music, and he made Girija Devi take lessons in singing khyal and tappa from vocalist and sarangi player Sarju Prasad Misra from the age of five.
She made her public debut in 1949 on All India Radio, Allahabad and sang at her first concert in Bihar in 1951. She continued to study with Sri Chand Misra for some more years, until his death. She worked as a member of the faculty at the ITC Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata in the 1980s and at the Banaras Hindu University during the early 1990s. She also toured and continued to perform and taught several students to preserve her musical heritage.
Girija Devi sang in the Banaras gharana and performed the purabi ang thumri style, typical of the tradition, whose status she helped elevate. Her repertoire included the semi-classical genres kajri, chaiti, and holi and she sang khyal, Indian folk music, and tappa.
The Government had honoured her with the Padma Vibhushan, the country's second highest civilian honour, in 2016. She had been awarded the Padma Shri in 1972 and the Padma Bhushan in 1989.
She was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1977 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 2010.

Depression over coastal Odisha likely to weaken gradually: IMD

The depression over coastal Odisha is likely to move nearly northwards for some time and then north-northheastwards and weaken gradually into a well-marked low pressure area during the next 24 hours, the India Meteorological Department  (IMD) said this morning.
A bulletin from IMD, issued at 0830 hours this morning, said the depression had moved moved northward and lay centered at 0530 hours of today over coastal Odisha near latitude 20.8º N and longitude 86.5º E, about 25 kms west of Chandbali. 
"The system would move nearly northwards for some time and then north-northeastwards and weaken gradually into a well marked low pressure area during next 24 hours," it said.
The bulletin said that, under its influence, rainfall was very likely at most places over coastal Odisha, with heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places and isolated heavy rainfall over interior Odisha during the next 24 hours.
It said rainfall was very likely at most places over Gangetic West Bengal during the next 48 hours with heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places during the next 24 hours, and isolated heavy rainfall over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal during the next 48 hours.
The bulletin also said that rainfall was likely at many places over east Jharkhand, Mizoram and Tripura during next 24 hours, with isolated heavy rainfall, and over Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur during the next 48 hours.
It said rainfall was very likely at most places over west Assam and Meghalaya during the next 48 hours, with heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and isolated extremely heavy rainfall.
Squally winds speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph would prevail along and off Odisha and West Bengal coasts during the next 12 hrs and 30-40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph along and off north Odisha and West Bengal coasts during subsequent 12 hours, the bulletin said.
The bulletin said sea conditions would be rough to very rough along and off Odisha and West Bengal coasts during the next 12 hours and rough along and  off north Odisha and West Bengal coasts during the subsequent 12 hours.
Fishermen along and off north Odisha and West Bengal coasts are advised not to venture into sea during the next 24 hours and along and off south Odisha coast during the next 12 hours, it added.

Minor earthquake shakes Jalpaiguri region of West Bengal

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale, shook the Jalpaiguri region of West Bengal in the early hours of today.
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.8°N and longitude 89.3°E, occurred at 0259 hours at a focal depth of 10 km.

Rajnath appeals to GJM to withdraw "bandh" in Darjeeling Hills

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today appealed to the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) to withdraw the ongoing "bandh" (general strike) in the Darjeeling Hills.
He also asked the Union Home Secretary to convene an official level meeting in the Ministry of Home Affairs within a fortnight to discuss all related issues, an official press release said.
“On the call of Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) an indefinite strike is currently on in the Darjeeling Hills since June 12, 2017. Eleven precious lives have been lost so far, several have been injured and the entire people of Darjeeling hills have suffered a lot since the strike. I have been pained immensely by what has happened in Darjeeling hills,” the Home Minister said in his appeal.
“In a democracy, dialogue is the only way out to resolve any problem. Solutions can be found through restraint, mutual dialogue and within the legal ambit,” he said.
“I have asked the Home Secretary to convene an official level meeting in the Home Ministry within a fortnight to discuss all related issues. I also appeal to the GJM and its leader Bimal Gurung to withdraw the ongoing bandh and to help create a conducive atmosphere for allowing normalcy to return to the area, particularly in view of the festive season,” Mr Rajnath Singh added.

Scientists develop natural material for faster blood clotting

Excessive blood loss due to injury may result in serious medical complications and, in extreme situations, even death. The problem could be severe in case of patients with impaired blood clotting capacity such as in hemophilia. To address this challenge, Indian scientists have developed a nature-inspired biomaterial with enhanced blood clotting efficiency to treat injuries.
The new material has been developed by scientists at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata (IISERK) and Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata. Researchers have modified natural biomaterials, peptides, to develop sealants with improved strength, stability and clotting properties.
"We have engineered fibrin-inspired peptide-based sealants which have demonstrated superior blood clotting ability than natural fibrin,” explained Dr Rituparna Sinha Roy, a member of the research team.
The study has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Computer based analyses was employed, using various approaches, to generate sealant structures with desired properties, explained Prof Dhananjay Bhattacharyya, a senior researcher of the study. These structures were then synthesized and evaluated under laboratory conditions.
These tests revealed that the engineered sealant was able to self-assemble, much like the human body’s natural clotting mechanism, to form an interwoven structure resembling a clot but in nearly half the time. This enhanced clotting rate can play an extremely crucial role in treating injuries sustained during accidents or military combat, researchers pointed out.
The natural material of the engineered sealant will ensure that it is tolerated by the body with minimal inflammatory response. It is also bio-degradable, similar to the natural clotting factor. “Such sealants might be potentially translated into clinics for handling traumatic coagulopathy and for treating patients suffering from impaired blood clotting", felt Sinha Roy.
The researchers claim that the sealant may also find use in treating injuries where surrounding healthy skin tissue is absent and the body is incapable of closing its own wounds. The study also proposes the use of the engineered sealants in suture-free wound closing, such as in deep cuts or after surgical procedure.
The research team included Snehasish Ghosh, Sanchita Mukherjee, Chiranjit Dutta, Kasturee Chakraborty, Paramita Gayen, Somnath Jan, Dhananjay Bhattacharyya and Rituparna Sinha Roy. 
(India Science Wire)

Rajnath Singh urges GJM leaders to call of hunger strike, withdraw bandh call

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday appealed to the leaders of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) and other stakeholders in Darjeeling to call off their hunger strike and also withdraw the "bandh" call so that normalcy could return to the area.
Mr. Rajnath Singh also West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to initiate a dialogue with the GJM and other stakeholders of Darjeeling, who are on a strike for the past 60 days.
The Home Minister made the appeal during a meeting with a delegation of Gorkhaland Movement leaders who called on him here yesterday. The delegation submitted a memorandum on their demands to him.
“The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) has called for an indefinite strike in Darjeeling hills with effect from 12-06-2017 demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland," Mr. Rajnath Singh said in his appeal.
"I am concerned about the developments in Darjeeling and the loss of valuable lives and sufferings of people over the past 60 days which pains me immensely. 
"Violence can never be a solution to any problem. In a democracy, solutions are always found through restraint, mutual dialogue and within the legal ambit," he said.
Mr. Rajnath Singh said the Government was aware of the strategic importance of the region and the challenges faced in the region. He said he was kept informed on the developments in the region on a regular basis by his ministerial colleague, Mr. S S Ahluwalia, the Lok Sabha member from Darjeeling.
"Keeping in mind the national interest, as well as in the interest of our Gorkha brothers and sisters, who are brave and large hearted people and have contributed immensely to nation building, I appeal to GJM and all other stakeholders to call off the hunger strike, and also to withdraw the bandh call, allowing normalcy to return to the area. It is a move that will help to create an atmosphere for finding a solution to the current crisis. 
"I also appeal to West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee to initiate a dialogue with the GJM and other stakeholders of Darjeeling, who are on a strike for last 60 days. In the meantime, the state government should restore all civil supplies and also restore internet services, Cable TV & local channels. 
"I also appeal to the people of Darjeeling to display sensitivity, and also keep in mind their civic responsibilities. No grievances & problems can be resolved without any dialogue," he added.

Kolkata East-West Metro Corridor's underwater tunnel by December 2019

The underwater tunnel in Kolkata East-West Metro corridor, an Indian Railways project, is expected to be completed by December 2019, the Lok Sabha was informed yesterday.
The twin tunnel, being constructed below the Hooghly river, between Howrah and Mahakaran stations, is the first underwater transportation tunnel in the country, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said in a written reply during Question Hour.
The length of the river crossing is 520 meters and the internal diameter of each tunnel is 5.55 meters, he added.
The total estimated cost of the Kolkata East West Metro Corridor Project is Rs 8996.96 crore. Construction of the underwater tunnel below is completed. The work of construction of tunnel (total 10.81 Km) in this project is targeted for completion by December 2019, he added.

Minor earthquake shakes West Bengal on Monday afternoon

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale, was recorded in West Bengal this afternoon.
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.8°N and longitude 89.2°E, occurred at 1517 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin said.

Mukherjee distributes free LPG connections under PMUY at Jangipur, West Bengal

President Pranab Mukherjee today distributed free LPG connections to 11 women under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) at Jangipur in Murshidabad district of West Bengal.
With this, the Central Government has distributed 2.5 crore LPG connections under PMUY among the poor and marginalised households across the country since its launch. The PMUY was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 1, 2016.
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Abhijit Mukherjee, MP and Ranjan Mahapatra, Executive Director, Indian Oil, Kolkata were also present on the occasion.
The LPG connections granted under PMUY crossed the 25 million mark with the one given to Ms Gouri Sarkar of Raghunathgunj by Mr Mukherjee.
On the occasion, Mr Pradhan said more than 600 distributorships will be commissioned in the state out of which more than 50 will be in Murshidabad district.
The scheme aims to provide LPG connections to 50 million BPL households by 2019 and is a part of a larger program of adding 100 million new LPG connections by 2019 to achieve full coverage.
This is the first time in the history of the country that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is implementing a welfare scheme benefiting millions of women belonging to the BPL households. The identification of BPL families has been made on Social Economic Caste Census (SECC)- 2011 data.
The scheme of providing clean cooking fuel has also reduced drudgery, the time spent on cooking and also provides employment for rural youth in the supply chain of cooking gas. 
PMUY scheme provides assistance of Rs. 1600 to the woman beneficiary, comprising security deposit of 14.2 Kg cylinder and domestic pressure regulator; Suraksha hose; domestic gas consumer card and installation charges.
In the financial year 2016-17, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have given 32.5 million new connections across the country. This is the highest ever LPG connections released in any given year. In the current fiscal PMUY connections have been presented so far to women beneficiaries from across the country, taking the total number of active LPG consumers to 207 million.
LPG demand in the country has registered a growth rate of more than 33% during last three years. More than 5000 new distributors have been added in the last 3 years which have come up primarily in rural areas to cater to the enhanced LPG demand generated by PMUY.

Mukherjee inaugurates Satya Bharti School in Kanidighi, West Bengal

President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated a new school of the Satya Bharti Foundation at Kanidighi in Murshidabad district of West Bengal yesterday.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Mukherjee said that Satya Bharti schools are providing quality education to students with main focus on girls belonging to weaker sections of society. He appreciated the Satya Bharti Foundation for establishing schools in rural areas to cater to educational needs of local children. 
On the occasion, the President also launched a special compendium capturing the dreams and aspirations of an ideal schooling experience as expressed by the students under various education programs being run by the Bharti Foundation across the country. 
Mr. Abhijit Mukherjee, MP (Lok Sabha), Mr. Subrata Saha, MLA, Sagardighi, Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Co-Chairman, Bharti Foundation and Mr. Vijay Chadda, CEO, Bharti Foundation were also present on the occasion. 
The school is the tenth in West Bengal under Bharti Foundation's flagship "Satya Bharti School" programme, which currently provides quality education to more than 1900 students across 10 schools in the State, 57% of them girls. Bharti Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises.
"With this new school at Kanidighi, we aim to continue delivering on our promise of quality education to every underprivileged child in the school’s vicinity. The new school marks the beginning of a new chapter for us and further strengthens our resolve to continue our journey in the State," Mr. Mittal said.
The Kanidighi School is proposed to be an elementary school with classes from Pre-Primary up to Class VIII. Currently, the school has classes up to Class II, with one class to be added every subsequent year. In addition to local students, this school will also cater to students from neighbouring Satya Bharti Schools.
The Satya Bharti School program currently operates 249 primary / elementary schools and five senior secondary schools across six states ( Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal) reaching out to 43,664 children employing 1,667 teachers. With a focus on the girl child [49% girl students] and the weaker sections of society [75% of children from SC/ST/OBC communities], the program is one of the largest end-to-end education initiatives by a corporate in the country. 
It also enhances the schooling experience in Government Schools under its Satya Bharti Quality Support Program and Satya Bharti Learning Centre Program. Overall, Bharti Foundation’s education initiatives are reaching out to close to 2,00,000 underprivileged children in 13 states, the release added.

Mukherjee to visit West Bengal from July 14-15

President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a two-day visit to West Bengal from tomorrow, an official press release said here today.
Tomorrow, Mr. Mukherjee will inaugurate the Satya Bharti School at Kanidighi. On the same day, he will also inaugurate the 7th Edition of KKM Memorial Gold Cup- Rural Football Tournament -2017 at Mackenzie Park Football Ground.
On July 15, the President will distribute LPG connections at Jangipur Bhawan. He will also address an ex-servicemen's rally at Nabagram Military Station before returning to Delhi, the release added.

CBI registers case against Principal Commissioner of IT, Ranchi, recovers Rs. 3.5 crore in cash, 5 kgs of gold

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had registered a case against the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, Ranchi and others on the allegations of criminal conspiracy, illegal gratification and criminal misconduct.
Sleuths of the agency conducted searches at the premises of the accused persons at 23 locations, including 18 in Kolkata and five at Ranchi, today, a press release from the CBI said.
During the search at the residence of Principal Commissioner at Kolkata, cash of approximately Rs. 3.5 crore and about five kg of gold, along with some incriminating documents, were recovered, it said.
Searches at various locations are in progress and further investigations are continuing, it said.
Apart from the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, the case has also been filed against the Additional CIT, Ranchi; ITO (Tech), Ranchi; another officer of Income Tax, Ranchi; six private persons and other unknown public servants/private persons/companies under sections 120-B of Indian Penal Code (IPC), read with sections 7, 12, 13(2) r/w 13 (1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
It was alleged that the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, Ranchi, while functioning as such during the years 2016 and 2017, had entered into a criminal conspiracy with Additional CIT, Ranchi, ITO (Tech.), another officer, Income Tax Department and five private persons, all Kolkata based businessmen and entry operators and a CA of Kolkata for getting Income Tax assessment files of their different assessee companies transferred from Kolkata/ Hazaribagh to Ranchi for providing undue favour to those assesses, who have been charged with heavy tax liability, in lieu of huge bribe. 
It was further alleged that the Principal Commissioner of Income Tax, Ranchi had already issued favourable orders in the case of private companies, who already paid huge bribe, which has allegedly been stashed with a private person, the release added.

Cabinet approves creation of posts of Directors for new AIIMS in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra

The Union Cabinet today approved the creation of three posts of Directors in the pre-revised scale of Rs. 80,000 (fixed) {plus NPA Ceiling limit Rs. 85,000} for the three new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Mangalagiri near Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, Kalyani in West Bengal and Nagpur in Maharashtra. 
An official press release said that, as per the AIIMS Act 1956 amended vide AIIMS (Amendment) Act, 2012, there shall be a Chief Executive Officer of the Institute. He shall be designated as the Director of the Institute and shall be appointed by the Institute provided that the first Director of the Institute shall be appointed by the Central Government. 
The Director shall act as the Secretary to the Institute as well as the Governing Body and support proper functioning and governance of the three AIIMS. 
The post will be immediately filled up following due procedures. The annual financial implication for each of the post of the Director will be around Rs. 25 Lakhs, as per the 6th Central Pay Commission.
The Union Finance Minister in his Budget speech for the year 2014-15 had announced for setting up of four new AIIMS in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The Cabinet had approved establishment of new AIIMS at Mangalagiri near Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, Kalyani in West Bengal and Nagpur in Maharashtra at a cost of Rs. 4949 crore on 07.10.2015. 
The three AIIMS are being set up as a part of the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) launched in 2003 with objectives of correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.
PMSSY has two components: (i) Setting up of AIIMS like institutions (ii) Upgradation of Government Medical Colleges/Institutions. Under this scheme AIIMS have been established in Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Raipur, Jodhpur, Rishikesh and Patna while work of AIIMS Rae Bareli is in progress. Also, three AIIMS in Nagpur(Maharashtra), Kalyani (West Bengal) and Mangalagiri in Guntur (A.P) have been sanctioned in 2015 and two AIIMS have been sanctioned in Bathinda and Gorakhpur in 2016 and Assam in 2017. All necessary steps are being taken for creation of the physical infrastructure and creation of faculty and non-faculty position required for operationalization of these three new AIIMS in Nagpur(Maharashtra), Kalyani(West Bengal) and Mangalagiri in Guntur (A.P). 
Design consultants have been appointed for all the three AIIMS on the basis of global bid as per mandate of the Cabinet. The master plans for these AIIMS have also been finalized. Detailed designs are under preparation. Proposals for creation of faculty and non-faculty positions are under consideration/discussion with Department of Expenditure, the release added.

Rajnath Singh assures Sikkim CM of all assistance from Centre

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling today regarding the security situation in Sikkim and areas neighbouring West Bengal. 
In a telephonic conversation, Mr. Chamling apprised Mr. Rajnath Singh that Sikkim is facing an acute shortage of supplies specially essential commodities such as medicines, baby milk powder, vegetables and petrol and diesel due to closure of the national highway, the critical road link to Sikkim. 
The Home Minister assured him that the Centre would ensure the safety and security of National Highway (NH) 10 and do everything possible to save the people of the state from any misery and ensure essential supplies to the State of Sikkim. 
Mr. Rajnath Singh has asked Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi to coordinate with West Bengal administration and ensure the safety, security and smooth traffic on NH 10. 
The West Bengal Government is being requested to ensure that the road link to Sikkim remained open, an official press release added.

SpiceJet to operate special flight for stranded passengers in Bagdogra

Low-cost carrier SpiceJet will operate a special flight on the Kolkata – Bagdogra – Kolkata route on June 10 to help tourists stranded in West Bengal's hill town of Darjeeling.
A press release from the airline said it would be operating its Q400 aircraft for this special flight. 
The special flight SG9371 will fly from Kolkata at 16.55 hrs on 10 June and will arrive at 18:15 hrs at Bagdogra. The return flight would depart Bagdogra at 18.35 and arrive in Kolkata at 19.55 hrs.
The flight will be in addition to the daily direct flight which SpiceJet operates on this route, the release added.

Minor earthquake shakes Jalpaiguri region of West Bengal

An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale, shook the Jalpaiguri region of Bangladesh tonight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 26.7 N and longitude 88.8 E, occurred at 2013 hours a focal depth of 30 km, an IMD bulletin added.

Mukherjee to pay two-day visit to West Bengal on May 18-19

President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a two-day visit to West Bengal on May 18-19, during which he will inaugurate the Indian Institute of Liver and Digestive Sciences at Sonarpur, South 24 Parganas, tomorrow.
Also tomorrow, he will receive the first copy of the book 'Metaphysics, Morals and Politics’ from Prof. Amal Kumar Mukhopadhyay in Kolkata, an official press release said.
On May 19, the President will pay floral tributes to late Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, former President of India, on his birth snniversary at Raj Bhavan, Kolkata. Later in the day, he will present Dr. Malati Allen Noble Award, Dr. Sarkar Allen Mahatma Hahnemann Award and Dr. Sankar Allen Swamiji Award instituted by the Dr. Malati Allen Charitable Trust in Kolkata and inaugurate the Integrated Renewable Energy Smart Microgrid Centre and Centre for Water and Environmental Research at the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology at Shibpur, Howrah.  
Before returning to Delhi, he will also receive the books ‘Jnan, A-Jnan O Bijnan’ and ‘Samudra Banijjer Prekshite Sthala Banijjya, Bharat Mahasagar Anchal, 1500-1800’ from Dr. Sushil Chaudhury and Dr. Mahasweta Chaudhury in Kolkata, the release added.
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