|Sunday, January 23, 2000,
Armymen to get Param Vir Chakra
Abu Salem behind attack on Roshan?
Funds needed for
Rise in deficit despite hype
Talks on minimum N-deterrent
Indian of century
PSEBs appeal to employees
Panel to examine NRI problems
Tansi case verdict: TN moves SC
Four Armymen to get Param Vir Chakra
NEW DELHI, Jan 22 (UNI) Param Vir Chakra (PVC), the nations highest gallantry award, will be given after more than a decade on the Republic Day to four Armymen, two of them posthumously, who showed exemplary courage during last years "Operation Vijay" in Kargil against Pakistani intruders.
Rifleman Sanjay Kumar and Y.S Yadav (18 Grenadiers) will receive the highest military honour from the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces President K.R. Narayanan while Capt Manoj Pandey, 1/11 Gorkha, Capt Vikram Batra (13 JAKRIF) receive the award posthumously.
Two of the last PVCs were awarded in 1988 to Major Ramaswamy Parmeshwaran (posthumously, Mahar Regt) for the IPKF operations in Sri Lanka and Subedar Major Bana Singh (JAKLI) who was bestowed with the honour for an operation in the icy Siachen glacier following which a post there has been named after him. Subedar Major Bana Singh will be seen mounted on a jeep this year along with the other surviving PVC awardee Lieut-Col Dhan Singh Thapa (retd).
Among the four awardees this year, Grenadier Yadav is the youngest to get the PVC at the age of 19 years. He has been chosen for the assault on the vital Tiger Hill by 18 Grenadiers which was the most crucial operation in the entire Kargil conflict.
So far, only 17 PVCs had been awarded since the 1947-48 Kashmir operations against Pakistani tribal attack, months after the country secured independence. With this years list, the total will go up to 21. For the 1947-48 Kashmir operations, five PVCs were awarded, one for the 1961 Congo crisis, three during the Sino-Indian war of 1962, two for the 1965 war against Pakistan and four for the 1971 war against Pakistan which saw the creation of Bangladesh.
Recalling the assault on the strategic Tiger Hill on the intervening night of July 3-4 last year at the height of the Kargil conflict, Yadav said the "Ghatak Platoon" of 18 Grenadiers crawled up the height with the battlecry "sarvada shaktishali" (always powerful) in the face of enemy fire from the top and the ridges on the side. The battalion lost six of its men during the operation led by Capt Balwan Singh who has been awarded Mahavir Chakra (MVC).
Describing an account of his men during those defining moments in, he said Yadav was hit by about 15 bullets but marched on to capture the enemy bunkers with fellow Grenadiers atop the hill. Four of the bullets hit Yadavs left arm on which he still sports a bandage.
Yadavs mother and wife will come down from Bulandshahr (UP) to be by his side on the Republic Day when he gets up to receive the award. "I got married barely 20 days before the Kargil operations started," he said.
"We took advantage of the prevailing weather conditions. There was a snow storm and in the darkness of the night, the enemy was caught by surprise," recalled Capt Balwan Singh.
The other PVC awardee, Rifleman Sanjay Kumar (13 JAKRIF), gave a vivid account of the assault on point 4875 in the Mushkoh valley on July 3-4 riding in the face of a very steep incline. "Lot of us had breathing difficulties due to less oxygen ... coupled with this was the heavy enemy machine gun fire and artillery shelling," he said. "It was by July 5 that we could capture the enemy bunkers inflicting heavy casualties on them," narrated Sanjay who himself was hurt in the knee and back.
Gopi Chand Pandey, father of Manoj Pandey, betrays elation for his sons glory but regrets that he is not alive to experience it. "Manoj wanted to receive the PVC himself. He failed in achieving that objective," Gopi Chand, a resident of Lucknow, said with a firm control over his emotions. Twentyfour-year-old Manoj was the eldest of his four children.
"The last telephone call that I received from him was on May 26. He died on July 3 and my wife was the first to be informed by the Army authorities the next day," he said.
Col Lalit Rai, who was
the Commanding Officer of 1/11 Gorkhas when it strode to
capture Khalubar peak in the Batalik sector, said even
after being hit several times by enemy fire and bleeding
profusely, Manoj told the fellow soldiers,
"dont leave them". "Manojs
binoculars were also pierced by bullets ... He survived
many bullets which whizzed past but fell to a burst of
machine gun fire that hit his head through the
helmet," recalled Colonel Rai.
Abu Salem behind attack on Roshan?
MUMBAI, Jan 22 (UNI) The Mumbai Police suspects the involvement of the Abu Salem faction of the Dawood Ibrahim gang behind the attempted murder of actor-director-producer Rakesh Roshan, according to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who also holds the Home portfolio.
"All aspects of the case are being investigated and there are reasons to believe that the Abu Salem gang may be behind the shootout," Mr Bhujbal told UNI at the Ghatkopar firing range where he witnessed an exercise of Mumbai Police commandos, better known as the SOS the Special Operations Squad.
Rakesh Roshan survived
an attempt on his life yesterday when two unidentified
assailants sprayed bullets on him outside his Mayur
building office off the Poddar Road at Santacruz in the
western suburbs of this metropolis.
Funds needed for cloning
BANGALORE, Jan 22 (PTI) Scientists here have said cloning animals like Dolly the sheep or the more recent Tetra the monkey can be a reality in India if funds are made available to some research units which have the required know-how.
At least four institutions in the country have been conducting transgenic technology research work which includes producing an organism with a foreign gene. IISC scientists said such research had been carried out on mouse models to produce proteins which were tissue specific or cell-type specific and this technology is "just a step away from cloning animals."
Scientists told PTI that while such work was in progress at the National Institute of Immunology, Delhi, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, the infrastructure could be upgraded to accommodate animal cloning research for commercial and medical benefit.
Dr P.B. Shashagiri, Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics, IISC, said though technical know-how and manpower for animal cloning research was not difficult to obtain in India, it was the infrastructure and the funding which posed a problem.
Indian scientists could clone animals using both methods the cell nuclear transfer cloning as was used to clone Dolly at the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, in 1996, and the embryo-splitting method of cloning in case of Tetra the female rhesus macaque monkey at the Oregon Regional Primate Research Centre in Beaverton, last week.
However, Dr Shashagiri said, to conduct animal cloning in India the national funding agencies should be able to provide money for research of this kind. The per laboratory unit annual costs could go up to Rs 50 lakh in fixed capital, while approximate recurring costs could be Rs 10-15 lakh for cloning mice and other smaller animals, and about Rs 25 lakh for cloning domestic animals.
He said the high costs were due to infrastructure requirements, including central air-conditioning and special air filter units in the laboratory to reduce suspended particulate matter to less than 0.5 microns (a micron is a thousandth of a millimetre) to make conditions favourable for cloning research.
Despite such high costs, scientists have felt the need to commence research in cloning after the funding agencies identify research priorities and define research objectives in this field.
Dr R. Nayak, Chairman,
Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology and Central
Animal Facility, IISC, said animal cloning research could
lead to improvement in livestock and quality of milk when
applied to cattle. When it does commence it should be
restricted to livestock like cattle and poultry for
better yield in terms of milk, meat and to increase the
number of quality draught animals, he said.
Rise in deficit despite hype
NEW DELHI, Jan 22 The Vajpayee governments progress report during its first 100 days in office appears impressive if one goes by its publicity blitzreig, but a critical appraisal shows the government has still miles to go if it has to fulfil the National Democratic Alliances (NDA) charter of commitments released before the general elections.
The NDAs charter of commitments covers the entire gamut of governance, including a sound national security system, various economic measures to strengthen the economy, stress on agriculture, focus on trade and commerce, infrastructure, basic services like health, housing, water and electricity, better Centre-state relations, evolving a friendly policy with neighbours, human resource development and an impetus to information technology.
The governments list of achievements talk about the various developments in the field of finance, including the passage of the Insurance Regulatory Development Bill, Securities Laws (Amendment) Bill and Foreign Exchange Management Act Bill. The consensus among states to implement uniform floor rates of Sales Tax from January 1, 2000, and containing inflation rate to a record low of 2 per cent have also been highlighted.
What has, however, not been highlighted is the governments commitment to control both fiscal and revenue deficit and reform public sector units.
Studies by various expert bodies show that the government is unlikely to contain the fiscal deficit at around the targeted Rs 80,000 crore and the final figure is likely to exceed it by around 25-30 per cent.
Compulsions of politics, with four States going to the polls next month, has prevented the Government from going in for another round of increase in diesel and other petroleum products prices and this has led to a heavy deficit in the oil pool account. Increasing prices of petroleum products could bring down the deficit but then the governments promise of containing inflation at a record low figure would be negated.
On public sector reforms, the Government has taken one step ahead by creating a separate disinvestment ministry but disinvestment in public sector units is nowhere around the budgeted target of Rs 10,000 crore. The Government proposal to disinvest in the IPCL also met with stiff political resistance and it ultimately backtracked.
Though focus on agriculture with diversion of 60 per cent of Plan funds to the sector has been promised, there has no discernible progress on the front. To begin with the Agriculture Ministry had no independent minister when Mr Nitish Kumar, was appointed as one he was too preoccupied with party politics. The coming Bihar poll is likely to further delay the farm policy, which he promised would be released in a month.
The governments promise to assert more robustly Indias national interests in the World Trade Organisation was achieved at the Seattle meeting recently but the question is how long will India be able to withstand the combined might of the developed countries like the USA and Europe.
On the infrastructure front, the governments commitment to restructure the state electricity boards with adequate incentives has been strongly resisted with no signs of an end to the strike by powermen in Uttar Pradesh. Other northern states too have challenged the governments move.
The ongoing strike in ports could also delay the governments commitment to corporatise major ports, and increase their operational autonomy.
On the food front, there has been considerable progress with the Minister for Public Distribution, Mr Shanta Kumar maintaining that a draft national storage policy would be ready soon. Incentives to develop cold storage capacity in the country are also likely to yield results.
The government has moved in the right direction to keep up its promise of making India a leading power in information technology. The creation of a new Ministry of IT, the setting up of a Rs 100 crore National Venture Capital Fund and the introduction of the IT Bill, 1999, in Parliament are a move in this direction.
The NDAs commitment to improve Centre-state relations has come under criticism from the Opposition parties as its efforts to impose Presidents rule in Bihar was seen as a step backwards.
Its commitment to put a statutory ceiling on the size of the Council of Ministers came unstuck on the very first day when the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, was forced to create a jumbo Cabinet, in keeping with the aspirations of the coalition partners.
Talks on minimum N-deterrent
NEW DELHI, Jan 22 (PTI) India yesterday said its dialogue with the US Government and other countries on the nuclear issue was "predicated" on New Delhi having a credible minimum nuclear deterrent.
"Our dialogue with the US Government on the nuclear issue as well as with other countries is predicated on India having a credible minimum deterrent," a Foreign Office spokesman told reporters in response to questions on remarks made by US President Bill Clintons top adviser on proliferation John Holum on the Worldnet programme of the State Department.
Mr Holum said it was not possible for the USA to accord recognition to India as a nuclear power under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
"It is not possible under the treaty - we dont support it... I dont think members of the NPT will accept the idea that they should be formalised, recognised and accepted in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty", Mr Holum said.
"The treaty began from the proposition that there were five nuclear weapon states who undertook to negotiate ultimately towards nuclear disarmament. It doesnt accept that there should be additional nuclear weapon states", he said.
India has in the post-Pokhran phase stuck to its stand that it will maintain a minimum nuclear deterrent and will undertake necesary steps to ensure its credibility.
Elaborating on New Delhis stand, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh said in a recent interview that "in order that our minimum deterrent be credible we shall adopt and maintain a deployment posture that ensures survivability of assets. Such a posture provides for greater safety and security."
He, however, made it clear that India would not engage in an arms race or pursue an open-ended programme.
Mr Holum said: "...
There has been a diplomatic effort (Strobe
Talbott-Jaswant Singh talks) underway. The CTBT signature
will be an important part of that, something President
Bill Clinton will certainly place a heavy emphasis on
both in the time leading up to his trip and then when he
does go to India."
Indian of century
NEW DELHI: In hail and snow, in icy blizzards and pouring rain, he stands sentinel over the nations borders in the Himalayas. He maintains a silent and lonely vigil along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the Actual Ground Position Line at Siachen Glacier and the Line of Actual Control with Tibet. He is the Indian soldier.
From the humid jungles of the "seven sisters" in the North-East to the sands of the Thar desert in the West, he never lowers his guard. He braves daily spells of intermittent fire from a wily enemy. Sometimes he lives through many days of heavy artillery shelling. Despite the omnipresent danger, hardships and privations of life on the nations troubled frontiers, he stands tall and firm. Stoic and resolute, his spirit never flags.
He saved Srinagar and stopped the rape of Baramulla by Pakistani razakars in 1947. He took tanks to Zoji La in 1948. He fought to the last man at Razang La, Chushul, in 1962. He stood fast against the Chinese at Walong. He smashed Pakistans Patton tanks at Assal Uttar in 1965. He stormed the invincible Haji Pir citadel. In 1971, he raced across the Sunderbans to liberate Bangladesh and gave back the oppressed Bengali people their freedom and their dreams.
He sank the Pakistans vaunted submarine Gazi and left Karachi burning. His tiny Gnat flew rings around Pakistans Sabres and Starfighters. At Nathu La in 1967 and at Wangdung in 1986, the glint of his bayonet made the Chinese blink. In 1999, his indomitable courage in the face of daunting odds and steadfast devotion to duty triumphed over Pakistans regular soldiers entrenched on the mountain tops near the LoC in Kargil. His unparalleled valour inflicting a crushing defeat on the perfidious enemy.
For many decades in the North-East and since 1989 in J&K, he fought insurgents and mercenary terrorists unleashed by enemies to destabilise India. He has been ambushed, fired upon with machine guns, made the target of landmines and has been tortured and killed in cold blood by ruthless Islamist fundamentalists but has never wilted. He has been called out for flood relief. He has removed bodies buried under the rubble of earthquakes. He has risked his life in cyclonic storms to bring succour to his sufferings countrymen. He has quelled communal and political riots and police revolts. He has often provided essential services during strikes. He has taken medical aid to remote corners. He has braved epidemics and plagues.
PSEBs appeal to employees
NEW DELHI, Jan 22 Reacting to the decision of PSEB employees to strike work on Monday to express solidarity with UP powermen, Mr Baldev Singh Mann, member (Administration) of the PSEB, appealed to the employees to avoid a confrontation.
The Badal government and the PSEB management was willing to discuss the problems of its employees at any time and thus resorting to the strike was uncalled for, he said.
Panel to examine NRI problems
NEW DELHI, Jan 22 The Union Minister for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, today said the government would soon set up a committee to look into the problems faced by non-resident Indians (NRIs).
"A committee would be set up before the next session of Parliament to look into the grievances of NRIs," Mr Dhindsa said at a reception organised here for the president of the NRI Sabha, Punjab, Giani Rosham Singh.
Mr Dhindsa said the Union Home Minister and the Prime Minister have been apprised of problems faced by NRIs and the Punjab Government was also favourably considering the demands of the NRIs.
Mr Rosham Singh said a number of NRIs figure in the "black list" even though they have a good track record.
Tansi case verdict: TN moves SC
NEW DELHI, Jan 22 (UNI) The Tamil Nadu Government today filed a special leave petition with the Supreme Court, challenging the Madras High Court judgement discharging AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalitha in the Tansi deal case.
The high court had discharged the AIADMK leader who was charged with acquiring state government property at throwaway price while she was the Chief Minister.
to study wonder iron pillar
4 lose eyesight
education in govt schools
adventure sports in Delhi
4 drowned as
Two CRPF jawans
injured in Imphal
seized in Andhra
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