|N A T I O N|
|BJP dissidents in UP suspend
KANPUR, April 25 Dissident legislators of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh who have been craving for a change in the leadership of the state government today decided to suspend their campaign till a solution was found to the political impasse at the Centre.
Bar foreigners from becoming PM: George
NEW DELHI, April 24 Samata Party leader and Defence Minister George Fernandes today said the Constitution should be amended suitably to bar a person of foreign origin from occupying top constitutional offices, including that of the Prime Minister.
BJP communalising forces:
Uncertainty cloaks Assembly
No improvement in
One killed in road mishap
Filmfare (South) awards presented
BJP dissidents in UP suspend campaign
KANPUR, April 25 (UNI) Dissident legislators of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh who have been craving for a change in the leadership of the state government today decided to suspend their campaign till a solution was found to the political impasse at the Centre.
Dissident group leader Neeraj Chaturvedi, after a meeting of fellow legislators of his camp today, told UNI the decision was taken in the partys interests.
"At a time when several political parties are trying to create instability in New Delhi in collusion with foreign forces, it is the duty of each BJP worker to foil the conspiracy. The issue there (at Centre) is bigger," he said.
He said suspension of the ongoing camp also meant postponement of scheduled meetings of the dissident leaders here on April 27 and April 30. "The dissident workers would now devote themselves in a campaign to create public awareness to expose the intentions of those trying to create chaos at the Centre," Mr Chaturvedi added.
In their campaign for
the removal of Mr Kalyan Singh as Chief Minister, the
dissident legislators had held a series of meetings in
Lucknow and elsewhere in the state. They had met the
partys central leadership and submitted a
memorandum to press for a change in the state leadership.
Bar foreigners from becoming PM: George
NEW DELHI, April 24 (PTI) Samata Party leader and Defence Minister George Fernandes today said the Constitution should be amended suitably to bar a person of foreign origin from occupying top constitutional offices, including that of the Prime Minister.
Making a scathing attack on the Congress party for reposing their total faith in a person of foreign origin, Ms Sonia Gandhi, Mr Fernandes said without naming her that only citizens of Indian origin should be eligible for getting elected to the offices of the President, Vice-President and Prime Minister.
"The Constitution should be amended accordingly," he said.
Mr Fernandes was addressing a public meeting organised by the Delhi unit of the BJP at the Ferozeshah Kotla grounds here.
He alleged that Congress President Sonia Gandhi did not acquire Indian citizenship even 14 years after her marriage to Rajiv Gandhi and that she continued to retain her Italian citizenship.
"We have fought against alien rule and won freedom 50 years back. How can the Congress hand over the destiny of the nation on a platter to a person of foreign origin," he asked.
MDMK leader Vaiko also
took a dig at the "Italian" origins of the
Congress President while Shiv Sena leader and Lok Sabha
MP Madhukar Sripotdar wondered why the Congress could not
find a single person from among the countrys 100
crore population to lead it.
BJP communalising forces: Bhagwat
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, April 25 (UNI) The former naval chief, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, today accused the BJP- led government at the Centre of trying to link up the party's defence cell with serving officials as part of its secret agenda to "replace the present parliamentary system with new structures".
Participating in a meet-the-press programme at the Press Club here, he said the move to "communalise" the armed forces was anti-democratic. "It is happening in wholesale. If you are loyal to a particular group, you can get an appointment in the defence forces approved within 10 minutes," he said.
Alleging that certain persons holding high offices were out to destroy the morale of the armed forces, he pointed out that there was already an existing pattern in the armed forces. A large number of RSS men got into the defence forces during the "1962 emergency recruitment."
"This is evident from the fact that several persons joined the BJP defence cell immediately after their retirement. Naturally, their game plan was to link up the BJP defence cell with the serving officials for their ulterior motives," he added.
Admiral Bhagwat said he was ready to produce all required proof to substantiate his charges against people holding high offices, if a joint parliamentary committee was constituted to probe them.
He termed as 'baseless' the charge by Defence Minister George Fernandes that he had leaked information on certain sensitive projects and that he had made adverse remark in the confidential files of certain subordinator officials.
PIL seeks master plan for Anandpur Sahib
NEW DELHI, April 25 (PTI) Even as hectic development activities are on in Anandpur Sahib after the week-long Khalsa tercentenary celebrations ended last week, conservationists have taken the Punjab government to court alleging that lack of any master plan for the holy town and arbitrary demolitions are threatening its very historical value.
A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court praying for an appropriate writ or direction to the state government that a comprehensive conservation plan be prepared before any construction was carried out in violation of principles of preservation of historic sites within Anandpur Sahib.
Also, in the eye of the storm is a proposed 80-foot-wide road connecting Kesgarh Sahib Gurdwara with Sisganj Sahib Gurdwara which would result in the demolition of two buildings dating back to the 18th century while also disrupting the residential setting of Gurdwaras Sisganj Sahib and Bhora Sahib.
A total of 5886 acres of land has been earmarked by the Punjab-government and the Anandpur Sahib Urban Development Authority (ASUDA) for development, but sans any town development scheme, alleges the petitioner of the PIL Gurmeet S. Rai.
The lack of any such master plan will affect the very ambience and historic flavour of the historical settlement, says Rai. Conservation architect and director of a project Inventory of Historic Building Sites in Anandpur Sahib.
Further, commercial shops and related activities will in turn destroy the old havelis and structures of historic values, she says.
Endorsing her views, noted Sikh historian Patwant Singh says most physical evidence of the past in Anandpur Sahib has been either bulldozed out of existence or changed beyond recognition by well-intentioned though ill-informed keepers of these historic sites.
A few remaining structures have been wilfully defaced by covering centuries-old brick buildings with white marble, he charges.
Anandpur Sahib is one of the few surviving settlements associated with the Sikh Gurus and I have identified around 130 buildings in the town which need to be conserved, says Rai, adding also left out in the cold is the old township of Anandpur Sahib which seems to be out of any developmental scheme of the town.
In a rejoinder to the PIL, the Punjab government has discounted these charges and said that no building of historical or national importance is being demolished in Anandpur Sahib.
The widening of the road linking gurdwaras Kesgarh Sahib and Sisganj Sahib is rather a necessity for the smooth flow of pilgrims keeping in view the urgent need to avoid any untoward happening, the Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, Punjab said on behalf of the state government.
In fact non-wideneing of the road can create law and order problems and there can be a stampede as well, he says, adding land acquired for it has been voluntarily surrendered by people.
No arbitrary demolition has taken place in Anandpur Sahib and on the contrary developmental work has helped enhance the economy and centuries-old infrastructure of the town, says Mr Tejveer Singh, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Anandpur Sahib.
Mr Rai also finds fault with the committee that oversees the developmental work in the holy town and says that with no expert member on its board, it functions in clear violation of the Constitution of India.
Out of the committee members comprising ASUDA there are bureaucrats, politicians and religious heads but no professionals or specialists like architects, town planners etc, she says, adding it is the involvement of experts only that can help formulate a town development scheme for Anandpur Sahib.
Lack of involvement in the so-called development of the holy town shows the insensitive way in which most of the constructions have been carried out, says Patwant Singh alleging that not only has Guru Tegh Bahadurs original home been destroyed but many other historical buildings including gateways and walls of forts have been demolished.
But the Punjab government rejoinder points out that a landscaping consultant and other specialists like town planner had been closely associated with the planning and development scheme of Anandpur Sahib.
A special committee has also been constituted to approve the building plans, it says.
Ms Rai, who is also the Director of the CRCI, however, makes light of these explanations and says it is the wrong intentions of the government and its officials that is threatening the very existence of many monuments in the holy town.
I fear that the 1200 years old Akal Bunga (where Guru Gobind Singh gave his spirited speech after his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, was martyred) might be pulled down to pave the way for the 80-foot-wide road, she alleges.
I agree that in this day and age one needs to be progressive but at the same time it is our duty to preserve the old for posterity, says the architect, adding there is also a need to preserve the environment of the region which too is facing destruction.
The state Secretary denies any destruction to the environment and maintains that no damage has been caused to the ecosystem of the region.
People come to Anandpur
Sahib not because of the celebrations held by the Punjab
government but because of the association of the town
with the creation of the Khalsa Panth, says Patwant Singh
pointing out that the slow and steady erasement of
the symbols of Sikh religion could have a disastrous
effect on the religious psyche of the common man.
Uncertainty cloaks Assembly session
MUMBAI, April 25 (PTI) The political uncertainty at the Centre overshadowed the six-week Budget session of the Maharashtra Assembly, particularly during its later stages with both Opposition leaders in the state Assembly and the council being summoned to Delhi by the Congress high command for deliberations.
A highlight of the session that ended on April 23, was the legislature expressing its displeasure over the Mumbai High Court staying a Lower House resolution sentencing a sub-divisional engineer of Buldhana district, D.N. Ingle, to one months simple imprisonment after the House Privileges Committee held that his bribery charge against local Panchayat Raj Chairman Raosaheb Danve, was unsubstantiated.
The issue of transfer of
Pune Municipal Commissioner Arun Bhatia, who was
subsequently reposted there following a high court order,
rocked the legislature. The Opposition demanded Social
Welfare Minister Baban Gholaps resignation over
fresh corruption charges.
Tamil scholars on fast unto death
CHENNAI, April 25 (UNI, PTI) At least 100 Tamil scholars today began an indefinite fast demanding that the Tamil Nadu government make Tamil a medium of instruction at all levels in the educational sphere.
Rejecting Chief Minister M. Karunanidhis plea to observe a token fast, the scholars led by Mr Tamil Annal, former Vice-Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University, came in a procession along with their supporters to the Valluvar Kottam, a memorial for Tamil saint poet Thiruvalluvar here and went on an indefinite fast.
However, agitation committee chairman Silamboli Chellappan did not take part in the agitation, heeding the Chief Ministers appeal and statement that the government was considering the formation of a committee comprising Tamil scholars and legal luminaries to frame guidelines for introducing Tamil as a medium of instruction.
Meanwhile Tamil Maanila Congress Chief G.K. Moopanar has appealed to Tamil scholars, now on a fast unto death demanding implementation of government policy making the language the medium of instruction in all schools, to give up their agitation.
In a statement here today, he said the state government had already announced its intention of constituting a committee to go into the legal issues involved in the issue, as there were many legal hurdles before the decision could be implemented.
He said when the Congress was in power in the state, English was removed from all elementary schools and it was taught as language only from standard VI.
But after 1967, when the
government came out with an order permitting starting
English medium sections in the schools, the problem
arose, he said, adding that all political parties should
share the blame for not utilising Tamil fully though it
had been made the official language of the state in 1956
NEW DELHI, April 25 The Municipal authorities in the Capital have shown no signs of improvement in solid wastes management despite Supreme Court directives, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in its latest report submitted to the Delhi High Court has stated.
The management of municipal solid wastes in Delhi is not up to the mark. If both authorities (Municipal Corporation of Delhi and New Delhi Municipal Council) are not making efforts to implement the action plan suggested by the CPCB within a targeted time frame, they cannot expect satisfactory results, the report stated.
The apex court had directed the CPCB and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to inspect the municipal solid waste management every two months as its management was the obligatory function of the municipal authorities and the non-disposal of such wastes was hazardous to the environment.
The open sites, designated as waste receptacles, are still continuing even after CPCBs three years of constant persuasion to stop them, the ninth inspection report of the CPCB stated.
The report stated that hospital and slaughter house wastes were seen mixed with domestic waste in the waste receptacles located near hospital and slaughter houses and also in the areas of unauthorised slaughter houses.
The CPCB observed that the bi-monthly inspections have not shown significant improvement in the maintenance of waste receptacles and sanitation in the absence of time targeted action plan.
The total quantity of garbage transported during sanitation drive from March 4 to March 31, 1999, was 1,44,795 tonnes, which was on an average 5171 tonnes per day.
About 5171 tonnes of garbage, which were 86 per cent of the total garbage generated in the city, were disposed off in three landfill sites Gazipur, Okhla and Bhalswa, the report said, adding that these sites had relatively improved in terms of operation and maintenance.
One killed in road mishap
NEW DELHI, April 25 One person was killed and another injured in an accident which took place in North Delhi today. The police said Mohd Asim, 22, was travelling on his motor cycle near DESU colony on the Ring Road when it was hit by a truck.
While Mohd Asim was killed on the spot, the pillion rider, Riazuddin, 40, sustained serious injuries. The truck driver, Mohd Sattar, has been arrested. In another incident, one person was stabbed by a chain snatcher in Vikrant Enclave last evening.
The police said Surjit Singh was taking an evening stroll along with his wife, Manjit Kaur, when a youth tried to snatch his wifes chain. Surjit Singh tried to intervene but the chain snatcher stabbed him.
Meanwhile, a case of rioting has been registered against a group of people which set two Delhi police patrol motor cycles on fire.
The incident took place at about 2.15 pm when constable Virender Singh on patrol duty found a few persons in the Anand Parbat area digging up land at a public place. Constable Virender Singh objected to it and he told them to go away.
Seeing the group of people near the bridge late at night, two constables on patrol duty went to investigate.
Filmfare (South) awards presented
HYDERABAD, April 25 (PTI) Evergreen actress Lakshmi and veteran actor Allu Ramalingayya received lifetime achievement awards at a glittering star studded 46th Filmfare awards (South) nite here last night. The awards were given away by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu at Lalith Kala Thoranam.
Ch Ramoji Rao, Chairman, Eenadu Group and Ramoji Film City won the special award instituted this year for outstanding contribution to the film industry.
Anthapuram (Telugu), Natpukkaga (Tamil), Thayi Saheba (Kannada) and Chinthavishtayaya Shyamala (Malayalam) bagged awards for best films.
Girish Kasaravalli, director of Thayi Saheba and Jayamala, who enacted the role of Narmada Thayi, received the best director and actress awards respectively. Ramesh bagged the best actor award for Hoo Male.
Venkatesh (best actor for Ganesh), Soundarya (best actress for Anthapuram), Krishna Vamsi (best director for Anthapuram) and Mani Sharma (best music for Choodalani Vundi) were the winners in the Telugu category.
In the Tamil section, Sarath Kumar (best actor for Natpukkaga), Kousalya (best actress for Pooveli), Cheran (best director for Desiya Geetham) and A.R. Rehman (best music for Jeans) received the awards.
Balachandra Menon (best
actor for Samantharangal), Manju Warrier
(best actress for Kanmadam), Sreenivasan
(best director for Chinthavishtayaya
Shyamala), Vidasagar (best music for Summer
in Bethlehem) received the award for Malayalam
PATNA, April 25 (PTI) Noted Bihar economist and former member of the Bihar Legislative Council Hargovind Singh died late yesterday at Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) after a protracted illness, family sources said today.
He was 73. Dr Hargovind Singh is survived by his wife, three sons and three daughters.
|43 freed Pakistanis again
put in jail
NEW DELHI: Forty-three Pakistanis, recently released by India, have been imprisoned in their home country for further scrutiny, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has said. The 43 persons continue to languish in Kot Lakhpat Central Jail and jail authorities have informed their families that they would be released after fresh verification and scrutiny, an HRCP statement published in Pakistan Times recently said. Demanding their immediate release, the HRCP said the Nawaz Sharif government should end the trauma of these people and set them free. PTI
hacked to death
CPM leader shot
Cotton worth 10
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