|Friday, February 4, 2000,
to kick off campaign in Bihar
CWC warns govt on amending statute
mid-air miss: Navy, IAF pass buck
Indo-US JWG to meet on February 7
NTPC ultimatum to Bihar, W. Bengal
UP Bill sent to President
Girl rescued from diplomats
Scribes observe black
Inebriated father kills children
CWC warns govt on amending statute
NEW DELHI, Feb 3 (PTI) The Congress today warned the Vajpayee government that any attempt to amend the Constitution bypassing major political parties would not be acceptable to the people.
The CWC, which met here tonight for more than two and half hours on the issue, said the constitution had served the country admirably for 50 years and any process to amend it would only be a political process.
"Any attempt to amend the Constitution bypassing major political parties will not be acceptable to the people of India," it said, adding before proceeding further the government should clarify its "real intentions" and delineate specific areas wherein such an exercise should be conducted.
"Once that is done, the Congress would be in a position to respond to the proposed changes", senior party leader Pranab Mukherjee told reporters soon after the meeting attended among others by three constitutional experts Kapil Sibal, H.R. Bhardwaj and P. Shivshanker.
Mr Mukherjee said the Congress had always taken the lead in initiating necessary constitutional changes to protect and further the interests of backward sections and minorities, specially the poorest of the poor, and it would continue to do so.
Asked to comment on the suggestion of former Prime Minister V.P. Singh that the Vajpayee government should have taken into confidence all opposition parties before deciding to set up a commission to review the Constitution, Mr Mukherjee said "this will not serve any purpose."
Cheetal episode raises questions
BHOPAL, Feb 3 The cheetal episode in Mr Arjun Singhs Kerwa mansion has raised questions. First, why was Mr Arjun Singh and his minister son Ajay Singh keeping cheetals in their farmhouse without proper authorisation? Secondly, what provoked the cheetal on January 25 to attack a security guard and gore him to death? The third, and perhaps the most important, question is: why had the state Wild Life Department issued an almost blanket certificate of ownership to the Singhs?
The certificate of ownership issued under Rule 42 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, should have the name (and parentage) of the person applying his address, the captive specie, dimension and description and sex of the specie, age (in years), size (in cms) and quantity (in kgs), the place where it is to be kept and identification marks.
The certificate of ownership produced by Mr Ajay Singh was issued by the office of the Chief Wild Life Warden in 1992. It gives his address as "C..19, Shivaji Nagar, Bhopal". The certificate mentions the cheetal as male and about one-year-old. It does not mention its dimension and description, or its size or even identification marks.
The certificate does not authorise Mr Ajay Singh to keep the cheetal anywhere except on the premises of his Shivajinagar residence. There is no mention of the Kerwa farmhouse, which is outside Bhopal.
The age of the cheetal
that gored Kailash Yadav to death, has been estimated at
around seven years by Wild Life experts. The age of the
cheetal for which Mr Ajay Singh produced the certificate
of ownership should have been over nine years old. What
happened to that cheetal and when (and from where) did Mr
Ajay Singh acquire this cheetal? The matter is further
complicated by the discovery of a female cheetal at the
farmhouse for which Mr Ajay Singh had no authorisation.
PATNA, Feb 3 (UNI) The campaigning for the first phase of elections in 108 assembly constituencies of Bihar on February 12 is picking up with stalwarts of several parties fanning out to woo the voters. The first phase would cover most of the areas in the violence-prone south Bihar.
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which had a trying time in conjuring up a plan for seat sharing, had at last struck a concord among its constituents, and launched a massive poll campaign in favour of its candidates from yesterday.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi will kick off the partys campaign from Ranchi tomorrow. She will also canvass in Hazaribagh, Daltonganj, Jamshedpur, Dhanbad and Giridih.
Senior Congress leaders, including Mr Rajesh Pilot, Mr Madhavrao Scindia and Ms Mohsina Kidwai, are a few among party star campaigners, likely to canvass from February 6.
Rashtriya Janata Dal President Laloo Prasad Yadav had already traversed a number of constituencies to woo the voters in the southern belt to get a semblance of respectability this time as south Bihar has been a stronghold of the BJP.
Besides sparing no pains for garnering support from south Bihar Mr Yadav was also taking some time everyday from his hectic poll campaign to visit one of his assembly segments either Danapur or Raghopur.
Janata Dal (United) leader and Telecommunication Minister Ramvilas Paswan along with Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Sushil Kumar Modi addressed several election meetings in Gaya, Jehanabad and other adjoining districts yesterday.
R-Day mid-air miss: Navy, IAF
NEW DELHI, Feb 3 Indian Air Force and Navy are on a collision course over the near mid-air collision between IAFs Ilushyin-76 and the Navys Tupolev-142 M aircraft just opposite the VVIP enclosure on the Republic Day.
Even as it has come to light that a similar incident, although not so serious one, had occurred during the flypast at the Republic Day parade last year also, IAF and Navy have been pointing a finger at each other for the incident this year which could have assumed alarming proportions.
While IAF and Navy are trying to play down the incident by saying that the "facts were still being ascertained" and that independent court of inquiries were underway to fix the responsibility, officers from both fighting arms of the Indian Armed Forces are putting the blame on the pilot of the others aircraft.
IAF officials say that it was the fault of the leader of Navys TU-142 M formation which resulted in the near mid-air collision. They point out that the pilot leading the TU-142 M formation, which had three aircraft in it, had delayed informing the air controller about his position specially at the "flag off" point which resulted in this mess.
On the other hand Navy officials say that not only were the radars being manned by IAF men, but since the IL-76 aircraft, leading the Big Boy formation, was ahead it was the job of the Air Force to keep a watch. They also point out that possibly the aircraft in the Big Boy formation had slowed down which resulted in the TU-142 M aircraft coming so close to it.
IAF officials say that the leader of the TU-142 M formation, which actually comes all the way from Arakonam in Tamil Nadu, had not informed the controller for almost a minute that he had already crossed the flag off point. So in turn the air controller informed the pilot of the IL-76 aircraft of the TUs formation almost a minute late.
Eventually the two formations got "bunched up" just opposite the VVIP enclosure. The leader of the TU formation seeing the IL-76 just ahead of him on the same path then pulled up. Being a faster aircraft, it in fact flew over the Big Boy formation overtaking it just opposite the enclosure.
An IAF spokesman said, "the Naval formation of TU-142 M aircraft came one minute ahead of time and therefore instead of being three km behind the Big Boy formation in front of the saluting dais, it overtook the formation". The overtaking formation of the TU-142 M had the Big Boy formation in direct visual contact and was able to further increase the existing vertical separation before overtaking the Big Boy formation, the spokesman said.
Navy officials point out that it was experience and the presence of mind of the leader of the TU formation that the collision was averted. Besides, when the TU formation did overtake the Big Boy formation the aircraft were already separated by almost 600 feet. So there was no question of any lapse on their part.
IAFs and Navy have been conducting independent
court of inquiries and the statements of all those who
flew the IAFs and the Navys aircraft have
been recorded. Even the Air Force Traffic Controller has
been asked to explain its role.
Indo-US JWG to meet on Feb 7
NEW DELHI, Feb 3 Even as the first meeting of the Indo-US Joint Working Group on counter-terrorism takes place in Washington on February 7 and 8, preparations for US President Bill Clintons visit to India beginning from March 20 have begun.
Briefing newspersons, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesmen, Mr R.S. Jassal, said the Indian side at the first JWG meeting would be led by Mr Alok Prasad, Joint Secretary in charge of USA in the ministry. Other members include Mr Dinkar Shrivastva, Joint Secretary (United Nations) in the ministry, Mr Rakesh Hooja, Joint Secretary, Internal Security, in the Ministry of Home Affairs and two counter-terrorism experts.
The US side would be led by Ambassador Michael Sheehan who is the Chief Coordinator on counter-terrorism in the US Department of State.
While officials of the two countries have met each other on the issue in the past, this is the first formal meeting of the JWG. In October last year, Mr Prasad had led a team to Washington for talks on counter-terrorism where a decision to set up a JWG was taken.
While the Indo-US talks on stepping up bilateral cooperation to tackle terrorism would be going on in Washington, the Foreign Secretary, Mr Lalit Mansingh, would arrive in the US capital on February 8 for three-days of intensive talks with US officials for giving a concrete shape to Mr Clintons visit.
Meanwhile, a team of US officials is in the country for making initial assessment on Mr Clintons visit. The team is discussing matters of protocol and publicity with Indian officials.
While Washington has been silent on whether Mr Clinton would touch Pakistan during his visit to India and Bangladesh, it is understood that New Delhi has sent signals to the US Administration that the Presidents visit to Islamabad would not go well with the Indian people.
Mr Mansingh, during
talks with his US counterpart, Mr Thomas Pickering and
the US Presidents South-Asia Advisor, Mr Bruce
Reidel, would elabroate on New Delhis logic on how
Mr Clintons even a symbolic halt in Islamabad would
be a source of encouragement to anti-democratic,
fundamentalist and terrorist groups, the sources said.
Gupta accepts Centres decision on Water
ALLAHABAD, Feb 3 (UNI) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ram Prakash Gupta today said the Centres decision on Deepa Mehtas film water was acceptable to the state government.
Talking to newspersons after inaugurating an exhibition of the Uttar Pradesh Khadi Gramodyog at the Magh mela here, Mr Gupta said since the Centre had already cleared the film, his government would deal with any law and order problem arising out of this decision.
Regarding the allocation of funds for the Mahakumbha next year, he said the details of the project had not been received yet.
However, paucity of funds would not be allowed to hamper the Mahakumbha. But unnecessary expenditure would be checked, he said.
Now it is to be seen how the people of Varanasi react, he said replying to a question. When asked if it meant that the fate of the film depended upon the sentiments of the people of Varanasi, he replied in the affirmative. He, however, suggested that Deepa Mehta consult the enlightened people of Kashi regarding the script to dispel any confusion.
The Chief Minister clarified that the state government was only concerned about the law and order situation and it had nothing to do with the merit of the script.
Meanwhile, Deepa Mehta today returned to Varanasi and is expected to begin the shooting of the film in the next few days.
Ministry passes buck on CP shootout
NEW DELHI, Feb 3 (PTI) The Home Ministry today told the Delhi High Court that it was the responsibility of the city police to reply to a petition for compensation by the kin of two businessmen gunned down by a police team in the 1997 Connaught Place shootout incident.
"Whatever defence has to be taken in the case, is the responsibility of Delhi Police and it is not necessary for the Home Ministry to file reply," Government Counsel Rakesh Tiku told Justice C M Nayar.
Two ministers "roughed up"
RANCHI, Feb 3 (PTI) Two Union Ministers were today roughed up by Youth Congress workers at the Ranchi airport when they were about to board a chopper for campaigning in the Jharkhand areas for the forthcoming Assembly polls, the police said.
About 40 Youth Congress
workers led by their regional unit president Manishankar
went to the airport at 10 am and pounced upon Union
Minister of State for Forest and Environment Babulal
Marandi and Union Minister of State for Food Processing
Syed Shahnawaz Hussain who were about to leave in a
NTPC ultimatum to Bihar, W. Bengal
NEW DELHI, Feb 3 (PTI) The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) today said that it had issued disconnection notices to Bihar and West Bengal for failing to clear their dues which had mounted to Rs 3,397 crore.
We have given them (Bihar and West Bengal) one-month notice to clear dues by March, failing which the NTPC will start the regulation of power supply in these two states. Executive Director Commercials, Mr H.L. Bajaj, said.
Bihar had to pay about Rs 2,209 crore (including surcharge while West Bengal owed the corporation Rs 1,188 crore till January end (provisional) he said.
The Letter of Credit
(LC) extended by Bihar was also not workable because as
against the LC of Rs 75 crore, the NTPC was able to cash
only Rs 25 crore posing problem for the companys
UP Bill sent to President
LUCKNOW, Feb 3 (PTI) Uttar Pradesh Governor Suraj Bhan said today he had referred the controversial UP Regulation of Public Religious Buildings and Places Bill, 2000, to President K R Narayanan for his assent.
Mr Bhan said he had referred the bill to the President as it involved four Central Acts, including the Cr PC, Religious Endowment Act, Waqf Act and the Transfer of Property Act.
Girl rescued from
NEW DELHI, Feb 3 The Delhi police has rescued a 21-year-old girl, Puja, from the residence of an official of the Saudi Arab Embassy who had allegedly confined her in his residence at Shivalik in Malviya Nagar area of South Delhi.
A case of wrongful confinement has been registered at police station of Malviya Nagar against the official, Nasir Ahmad Al, Delhi police sources said.
Though senior officers of the police were not available for the comment, the sources said the PCR received a call last night that a girl was being harassed inside a house in Shivalik.
When the police reached there, it found that the house belonged to the official of Saudi Embassy. His identity card mentioned that he was an official of the embassy.
When the police made their way inside the house, they found Puja, who had reportedly made the distress call.
PM to launch Bihar campaign
NEW DELHI, Feb 3 (UNI) Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will launch the joint campaign of the NDA in Bihar on February 9.
The venue from where Mr Vajpayee would launch the campaign is being worked out, party spokesman M Venkaiah Naidu said here today.
He said Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi today launched the partys campaign for the Assembly election from Chakradharpur in Bihar.
Home Minister L K Advani
would tour the state for two days February 6 and 7
to address a series of election meetings. Mr
Advanis campaign would start from Bhagalpur and end
up at Ranchi. Mr Naidu said the party had identified 15
leaders to campaign for the Assembly elections in Bihar,
Orissa, Haryana and Manipur.
Scribes observe black day
NEW DELHI, Feb 3 (UNI) Journalist and non-journalist employees observed "black day" today in protest against the "ridiculous pittance" proposed in the tentative proposals of the Manisana Wage Board.
The employees wore black badges and put up posters denouncing the tentative proposals.
The Delhi Union of Journalists and the Delhi State Newspaper Employees Federation, who gave the call for the protest, also urged the BI TV and The National Herald managements to release the due salaries of their respective workers.
Inebriated father kills children
NEW DELHI, Feb 3 A 30-year old employee of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ranbir, reportedly killed his two children in an inebriated state of mind at his residence at Netaji Nagar in South-West district.
The incident took last evening when his wife, Sunita, was out for fetching kerosene. When she entered the house, Ranbir started fighting with her, the police said.
dacoits lynched by villagers
houses to ground; 5 die
kidnap 3 fishermen
up in banks
K.C. Pant to
head research committee
institutes awards for women
Carnatic music exponents
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