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Monday, May 2, 2011

84.08 % turnout in fourth phase of West Bengal Assembly polls

Kolkata, New Delhi, 3 May : An estimated 84.8 per cent voting has been recorded in the fourth round of assembly polls in West Bengal which passed off peacefully across 63 constituencies spread over Howrah, Hooghly, East Midnapur and parts of Burdwan district, the Election Commission announced today.
However, the turnout is set to go up as people were till waiting to cast their franchise in some places, Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutshi told reporters in New Delhi today. "Polling has gone off very peacefully just like the previous three phases", he said. In 2006 assembly polls, these 63 constituencies spread over Howrah, Hoogly, East Midnapur and parts of Burdwan districts had witnessed 83.19 per cent voting, he said.
There are 16 seats each in Howrah and East Midnapur districts, 18 in Hooghly district and 13 in Burdwan.
The EC had put Chief Electoral Officers of Bihar and Orissa as special observers, over and above the general observers and expenditure observers to monitor the polls.
CPI(M) heavyweight and Industries Minister Nirupam Sen is pitted against retired professor of Burdwan University Dr Rabiranjan Chattopadhyay of Trinamool Congress from Burdwan South constituency.
Other ministers from the CPI(M) are Higher Education Minister Sudarshan Roychowdhury, Food Processing Minister Mohanta Chatterjee, Minister of State for Information and Culture Soumendranath (Anjan) Bera, Technical Education Minister Chakradhar Maikap. Agriculture Minister Naren Dey belonging to Forward Bloc and Fire Services Minister Pratim Chatterjee belonging to Marxist Forward Bloc are also contested. Trinamool Congress has fielded former IPS officers Rachpal Singh, H A Sawfi and Sultan Singh in this phase.
The state has already witnessed three phases of the polls on 18, 23 and 27 April. The fifth and sixth phases would be held on 7 May and 10 May respectively. (With PTI inputs) Photos : Sandip Ghosh Choudhury, Dipankar Chatterjee

Five die in subsidence in colliery area at Jamuria in Asansol
Jamuria, Durgapur, 3 May : At least five persons were killed and six others injured when several houses were flattened as the area on abandoned coal mines subsided at Jamuria near Asansol in Burdwan district today.
Police said Munni Devi (40), Mohan (8), Uttam Bauri (26), Purnima Bauri (21) and Bristi Bauri (4) died in sleep early this morning when their houses at Chatimdanga village collapsed. Bristi was the only daughter of Uttam and Purnima Bauri, the police said.
This area is prone to subsidence as locals steal coal from the blocks of coals in the mines abandoned by Eastern Coalfields Limited.
Coal theft over the years has made the area prone to subsidence and similar incidents of subsidence occurred for three times in the past two months.
Locals and police have started rescue operation and the injured people were rushed to Asansol Sub-Divisional hospital.